Friday, 21 October 2016
Amoris Latitiae: Catholicism or Francisism?
Francis has named to the College of Cardinals men who are not known for their loyalty to the Doctrine of the Faith. Some folk have asked troubling questions about Francis; others are just severely critical. I have always tried to respond in defence of Francis, but folk now ask such serious questions as:
 Is this a deliberate stacking the cards in favour of a Church where the Doctrine is abandoned in practice?
 Is such a stacking of the cards an abuse of papal power?
 If Francis is changing pastoral practice so that it no longer fits with the doctrine, is he not a subversive; a ‘quisling’?
It is difficult to know how to answer these questions, but we must try.
 If Francis is stacking the college without a deliberate intention to favour a private opinion, then he simply needs our prayers to make better choices so that the Deposit of Faith given us by Christ may be protected and promoted not only in word but in application to life (pastoral care). We cannot state definitively that Francis is deliberately stacking the cards since some of his appointments to the College of Cardinals have been O.K., but there are many folk who would add up the good and the bad and decide that Francis is weighting the College in the direction of Francisism rather than Catholicism.
 If it could be proved that any pope was ‘stacking the cards’ (deliberately constructing a college whose members are known to disregard The Deposit of Faith) it would be a serious abuse of papal power, and a treachery worthy of the devil himself.
 Such a Pope could not avoid being called a subversive, since rather than defend Christ’s Deposit he would be setting himself (and the Church) against it -and therefore setting himself against Christ.
It cannot be a surprise -even to those who think Francis is wonderful- that in the wake of Amoris Latitiae he is seen by many as someone who has no regard for the Deposit of Faith in application to pastoral care. Francis cannot be surprised if he is thus accused of throwing out Catholicism in favour of Francisism (or Bergoglianism).
The problems in today’s Church run very deep but in truth, responsibility for the problem does not lie with so much with Francis but with the Bishops. How so? Well, few Bishops have followed the example of St Paul who tells us: “When Cephas came to Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he had clearly done wrong” (Gal.2v11). While Protestants have long pointed to this verse as showing the Apostolic Church did not believe in Papal Infallibility, Catholics have always pointed out that what Peter was confronted about was not denying The Faith but failing to live by it. Isn’t this exactly what Francis is saying the Church should do in Amoris Laetitia?
Sadly, too many Bishops and priests are of the same mind as Francis and therefore failing to imitate St Paul, and Francis could not act if the Bishops resisted -and resist they should, because what Francis is proposing is in conflict with the entire pastoral history of the Church. Pastoral care is not an invention of the Church post Vatican II. (A number of the Bishops and Cardinals have sort to correct what Francis says in A.L., but they are in a minority as yet).
Scripture warns us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange doctrines”. Hebrews 13v8-9. Many of the Bishops are carried away with the alien doctrines of the world, and are seeking to placate the world by trying to fit in with its morality (perhaps in order to look intellectually enlightened or pastorally caring)?
We need to pray for our Bishops and for the world around us; pray that they see the beauty of Truth, seek it out, and live by it, so that they may be one with Christ “The Way (to live), The Truth (to be believed) and The Life (to inherit)” (Jn.14v6). Above all we must pray especially for Francis, who is to lead the Bishops in The Truth which, coming from God, is never opposed to Charity (Caritas/love): for God IS Truth (Jn.14v6) and God IS Charity (1.Jn.4v8). To think of pastoral care as not applying the Truth on marriage, sexuality and human life (while claiming that those who apply Doctrine and Canon Law are Pharisees), is to put God is in opposition to Himself, wherein His Truth and His Charity are in conflict with one another. Yet following the Gospel correctly means to do the Truth in Charity (Eph.4v15). If we are not applying the Truth to daily living we are not applying charity either; we are not acting according to the mind and nature of God. And if we are not acting in accord with the mind of God, we are endangering souls.