Let’s play a game!
It’s the predictions game…
A friend of mine on FB just sent me his personal list that he made up with some friends on March 13, 2013, as a kind of drinking game that night. (We weren’t doing this. We were mostly just drinking. Someone we know who joined us at Roberto’s after we’d got through a couple of bottles already, and were getting tweets and messages from friends in Buenos Aires, said, “You guys look like someone has just killed all your puppies.” Though later that night there was a little drunken umbrella-fencing in the piazza…which was pretty fun…)
Here’s my friend’s list:
* Communion to the divorced and remarried.
* Relaxation of mandatory celibacy (Eastern style).
* Deaconesses as liturgical functionaries.
* Women running dicasteries – dicasteries exercise delegated papal authority reserved to the ordained. Would constitute foot, not just toe in the door for women’s ordination.
* Devolution of dicasterial responsibilities (especially liturgy) to bishop’s conferences. Per the written intention of Archbishop Bugnini, recently reiterated by Archbishop Marini.
* Reduction of the papal office to power ad absurdam.
I predicted C-for-the-D&R when he was coming home from the Rio beach party. He said it at that time more or less the same way: “Maybe…” and “something we’ll have to study…” and presto!
Holy Father, during this visit too, you have frequently spoken of mercy. With regard to the reception of the sacraments by the divorced and remarried, is there the possibility of a change in the Church’s discipline? That these sacraments might be an opportunity to bring these people closer, rather than a barrier dividing them from the other faithful?
This is an issue which frequently comes up. Mercy is something much larger than the one case you raised. I believe that this is the season of mercy. This new era we have entered, and the many problems in the Church – like the poor witness given by some priests, problems of corruption in the Church, the problem of clericalism for example – have left so many people hurt, left so much hurt. The Church is a mother: she has to go out to heal those who are hurting, with mercy. If the Lord never tires of forgiving, we have no other choice than this: first of all, to care for those who are hurting. The Church is a mother, and she must travel this path of mercy. And find a form of mercy for all. When the prodigal son returned home, I don’t think his father told him: “You, sit down and listen: what did you do with the money?” No! He celebrated! Then, perhaps, when the son was ready to speak, he spoke.
The Church has to do this, when there is someone… not only wait for them, but go out and find them! That is what mercy is. And I believe that this is a kairos: this time is a kairos of mercy. But John Paul II had the first intuition of this, when he began with Faustina Kowalska, the Divine Mercy… He had something, he had intuited that this was a need in our time.
With reference to the issue of giving communion to persons in a second union (because those who are divorced can receive communion, there is no problem, but when they are in a second union, they can’t…), I believe that we need to look at this within the larger context of the entire pastoral care of marriage. And so it is a problem. But also – a parenthesis – the Orthodox have a different practice. They follow the theology of what they call oikonomia, and they give a second chance, they allow it. But I believe that this problem – and here I close the parenthesis – must be studied within the context of the pastoral care of marriage. And so, two things: first, one of the themes to be examined with the eight members of the Council of Cardinals with whom I will meet on 1-3 October is how to move forward in the pastoral care of marriage, and this problem will come up there. And a second thing: two weeks ago the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops met with me about the theme of the next Synod. It was an anthropological theme, but talking it over, going back and forth, we saw this anthropological theme: how does the faith help with one’s personal life-project, but in the family, and so pointing towards the pastoral care of marriage. We are moving towards a somewhat deeper pastoral care of marriage. And this is a problem for everyone, because there are so many of them, no?
Frankly, anyone who is surprised at anything he’s doing has just been failing to pay attention. (And do you imagine that Gianguido Vecchi was just asking the question off the top of his head?)
If you want to know what’s on his list, I think a pretty good place to look would be National Catholic Reporter. They’ve always been the place to go to find out what the freak-progs want. It’s not rocket science, people. And it doesn’t take a Nostradamus.