52 Movies: Week 48 - Diên Biên Phú
John Amutabi Nzenze: Angelike Twist

The Amoris Laetitia Controversy

I've been following it in a half-hearted sort of way, and this article in the Catholic Herald strikes me as an excellent assessment of the situation.

Personally I do not take a position on the matter, other than that the whole thing is depressing. I haven't read AL and don't plan to, as it doesn't affect me directly and I have no voice in the controversy. I'm resigned to the likelihood that the Church is going to be mired in these post-Vatican-II intramural fights until well after I'm dead. 


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Insofar as it bears on the integrity of the teaching authority of the Church, I think all Catholics can plausibly have a voice in the controversy.

My reading of the situation is that the Holy Father wants to pursue a certain course, knows that for political or doctrinal reasons he cannot do it overtly, and so is intentionally being officially ambiguous while turning a blind eye to those who use his ambiguity as cover to do what he wants done. I'm not happy to see it that way, but that's how it looks to me.

I'm not at all sure that submitting the dubia was wise, because it backs him into a corner. I'm actually glad he hasn't replied, for fear of what his answers would be. I'm hoping that the whole controversy convinces the Cardinals that next time around we need a Pope less "imprecise".

That said, I do think the Pope's objective -- to bring people back to the Sacraments -- is a praiseworthy one. But the course he has chosen appears imprudent to me.

I'd like more clarity on just what the theological consequences would be were the Pope to come down decisively for "liberalization". If only there were a theologian in our midst...

By "no voice " I really mean "no power". Or influence. It will play out as it plays out no matter what I think. I certainly agree that it's important. The bit in this piece describing the pope's dilemma is accurate, I think. Certainly his stated intention is laudable, as you say. Wish I didn't have to add "But..."

Oh, I see what you meant. In that sense you're right; we can't influence the outcome, except by prayer.


I really think it's going to take a miracle. I'm praying every day now for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. Only God can sort this out.

Of course, He's trustworthy!

Craig I just do not know what to think.

I find myself feeling relieved that I'm not really obliged to come to a definite conclusion.

I think God will sort it out. Eventually. But of course he has a way of letting the Church make some pretty big messes in the process.

"Craig I just do not know what to think."
Me neither.

"I find myself feeling relieved that I'm not really obliged to come to a definite conclusion."

Yes, that's about all I have to say about it. I have been avoiding it as much as possible.


Another good piece on this is this one by Ross Douthat -- The End of Catholic Marriage -- written a few days ago. In it, he looks closely at what the bishop of San Diego has been doing in response to “Amoris Laetitia,” and it's disheartening to say the least.

Douthat ends with this:

I am uncertain of the wisdom of the dubia offered by the four conservative cardinals, fearful (unlike certain heighten-the-contradictions traditionalists) of what might happen in the church if the pope actually clarified his teaching and intentions. But if Pope Francis does not mean his apostolic exhortation to be implemented along the sweeping, come-all-eventually-back-to-communion lines proposed by Bishop McElroy [of San Diego], he should say so, and soon. Because in the diocese of San Diego, there may be something called the sacrament of matrimony, but the church itself plainly does not believe in Catholic marriage anymore.
Put me in the fearful camp along with Douthat.

The Buttiglione-McElroy contrast there is illuminating.

Ignoring the theological reasoning and ramifications, and just looking at human nature and the times, it seems likely that this could work out similarly to the contraception question, with millions of Catholics ignoring the "official teaching."

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