Regardless on which side of the Amoris Laetitia debate you find yourself, it’s undeniable that the promulgation of this document has produced considerable churn (understatement). Earlier blogs on this site have decried the way in which AL, by its ambiguity, produced such a wildly-varying degree of interpretations. Some bishops say nothing has changed; others see the opportunity to allow divorced & remarried Catholics to start receiving Holy Communion again. In one zip code, a divorced/remarried Catholic is an adulterer; in the next that Catholic is simply “on a journey” of some sort, and receiving the Eucharist might well be possible if an unspecified number of prerequisites are met.
Who are the winners and losers in all this?
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, says that AL represents “a paradigm shift, and the text itself insists on this, that’s what is asked of us — this new spirit, this new approach!” Factions favoring such a change refer to Amoris Laetitia‘s stress on the objective relevance of extenuating circumstances, the subjective conscience and discernment to allow some divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion and apply it to allowing use of artificial contraception in some cases (National Catholic Register, 11 Jan 2018).
Although it comes a few centuries too late, it makes me wonder if one of the “winners” might not be His Majesty, King Henry VIII. Wasn’t that all he was asking when he divorced Catherine of Aragon, dumping her in favor of Ann Boleyn? One can just imagine him insisting to Thomas Moore (perhaps while visiting him in the Tower of London), that there was a bucketload of “extenuating circumstances,” and that the King was perfectly clear in his “subjective conscience of discernment,” and surely the “extenuating circumstances” of no royal heir.
Is it wrong to mention the arch-villain from the Superman comics and the founder of Protestantism in the same breath? Hardly. Both are scoundrels. While we’re at it, we might as well throw in Henry VIII, probably the only serial killer to start his own religion.
While our separated brethren prepare to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s revolt, Roman Catholics around the world have absolutely nothing to celebrate, and should think twice about joining in on the festivities.
Martin Luther was a heretic. Contemporaries of Luther who willingly followed him in his errors are heretics as well. The rending asunder of Christendom which Luther initiated has continued unabated for five centuries, so that now the number of protestant denominations and sects number in the tens of thousands. There’ll probably be a couple new ones out by the time you read this. The two dozen folks who break away from the Maple Avenue Four-Square Bible Rock of Salvation Church in order to found the Reformed Four-Square Bible Rock of Salvation Church of Birch Street will consider themselves a church every bit as legitimate as the one which Christ Himself founded two millennia ago. They’ll come up with their own particular interpretation of the Bible, perhaps form a new doctrine or two, and continue merrily along until a handful of their congregation get pissed about something and break away to form yet another church.
Gee…thanks Luther. Thanks a bunch.
Has the Church Christ founded required course corrections periodically? Yes, and at every critical juncture the Holy Spirit has raised up men and women of heroic virtue who remained loyal and enacted needed reforms within the Church, keeping her intact. These reforms were not doctrinal in the sense that the Church had developed a false doctrine. The reforms had to do with practices, procedures, and norms which had gotten out of kilter due to the errors of sinful men and women. The mechanics of the Church require fine tuning and occasionally, even a complete overhaul from time to time, but the bedrock of the Magisterium requires no such tinkering.
Luther’s big mistake (and it was a whopper!) was not the pointing out of practices requiring reform, but rather his determination that the Roman Catholic Church was in and of itself utterly defective and requiring abandonment and replacement with a church of Luther’s own invention.
That act of hubris on Martin Luther’s part, and the ensuing sorrow and chaos it created, the number of souls it led astray…well nothing Lex Luthor could accomplish with mere kryptonite could even come close.
Detractors wishing to demean the on-line activities of orthodox Catholics attempting to stand for Tradition have labeled us as “Catholic Cyber-Militias
.” it was meant as a pejorative, but you know what? Militias are composed of regular citizens to oppose tyranny. That’s not a bad description, so we’ll embrace it!
And, in case you’re wondering…no, it’s unlikely that we’ll get one of those official Vatican “Stamps of Approval” for our site!