Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What Historians Will Say about Francis

From Commonweal-

A recent column by Ross Douthat in the New York Times (“Pope Francis’ Next Act” July 15, 2017) tags the issue of communion for the divorced and remarried as the “great controversy” of the past two years of the Francis pontificate. He says it has reached “a stalemate,” with Francis on the one side, and “bishops the world over” on the other. Now that Cardinal George Pell has gone to Australia to face sex abuse charges, and Cardinal Gerhard Mueller’s term as Prefect of the CDF has not been renewed, and Cardinal Meisner has died, and Cardinal Angelo Scola has retired from the Archdiocese of Milan, Douthat worries that “resistance to Francis in the highest reaches of the hierarchy” is eroding. What will be the “next act” of the “drama” of this “liberal pope”?

I hope the readers of the New York Times take Douthat’s analysis with a grain of salt. First of all, I think that history will look on Pope Francis’s post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (2016) as a very modest gesture toward a more humane pastoral approach to marriage, not a great standoff between Pope Francis and his bishops. The kind of flexibility and accompaniment recommended by the Pope is not outside the scope of church teaching. Anxiety about rules-making and rules-keeping has magnified the controversy over communion (something which has always been subject to discernment in the “internal forum”) far beyond its actual weight. All that Pope Francis has done is to affirm that the pastoral people who are exercising faithful judgment and extending mercy in individual circumstances with the divorced and remarried are right to do so. The fact that some prelates are having a hard time with this makes it their drama, not the Pope’s.

More here-


No comments: