‘It gives the feeling of a schism’: EWTN panel analyzes current ‘disaster’ in the Church
The Conciliar Church is ALREADY in a MATERIAL SCHISM with the Catholic Church. The FORMAL Schism is close.
NOTE: Not an endorsement for EWTN
On Thursday, Raymond Arroyo, canon lawyer Father Gerald Murray, and The Catholic Thing’s Robert Royal presented a somber analysis of the confusion caused by Amoris Laetitia.
“This highly unusual vote of confidence comes at a serious time, a time of tension at the Vatican as major concerns are being raised about the direction of papal teaching and curial reform,” said Arroyo. “I’ve never seen anything like this sort of a pledge of confidence. I mean, Parliament’s done this in England, but I’ve never seen it done at the Vatican.”
“It’s very odd when you have a vote of full confidence in a pope,” said Royal. “In the entire history of the Church I don’t think this has ever happened before. Yet…it was felt necessary. So there must be – even among that very close group of advisors – there must be a sense that they needed to affirm something because of a threat that seems to be from the outside. And it’s not just Cardinal Burke…The joke is often that when you, in a parliamentary system, express full confidence in someone, it’s at the point where they’re about to be dismissed from office.”
“Things got strange” at the “much-publicized release of a booklet purporting to be an official response to the questions surrounding Amoris Laetitia,” Arroyo explained. Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts, “failed to show up at his own press conference” and then attendees were told the booklet is not an official response to questions about the dubia. In this booklet, Coccopalmerio writes that Catholics living in adulterous unions “must be given” Holy Communion.
“Father Murray, what is this, in your estimation, and are good intentions enough to receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church?” Arroyo asked.
“This is really a disaster, I’ll say it straight out,” Murray replied. “It’s a direct contradiction of what the Church has always taught, of what John Paul II, now St. John Paul, taught in Familiaris Consortio and in subsequent documents. The idea that you would say people who are living in an adulterous union are not exactly models of Catholic marriage but nonetheless they should be given Communion – this is casting aside the message of the Gospel.”
Catholic teaching is clear and simple, the canon lawyer explained: “Holy Communion is the Bread of Life given to those who approach the altar in the proper disposition, which means if you’re committing mortal sin, you go to Confession. If you’re planning on committing a mortal sin in the days ahead, then you can’t go to Confession ’cause you can’t repent…there are a lot of slogans, a lot of euphemisms. Holy Communion should not be received by people who are objectively contradicting the truth of Christ.”
“We have yet again the highest levels except for the very highest level saying contradictory things that…as Father said, contradict the entire tradition of the Church,” said Royal. “The only way that this can be resolved is for the Holy Father himself to step forward. I’ve said this before. After Humanae Vitae, when Paul VI took a very unpopular position about contraception affirming the [Church’s] teaching, there was controversy all over the place but there was no doubt about what he said.”
The panel explained that at this point, only Pope Francis can clarify the confusion, but that doesn’t seem likely any time in the near future.
Murray said “pastoral charity” requires the pope to intervene and affirm the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage and the Sacraments.
“You’re not allowed to commit adultery,” said Murray. “That’s the sixth commandment. One thing that really puzzles me in this whole discussion is the resistance to describing things as they are. Adultery means adultery…’irregular’ has all kinds of meanings. We’re talking about Gospel truth here. The Lord reaffirmed quite clearly…‘the man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.’ We should have Gospel frankness here. That’s what the pope has called for, and I agree with Bob – the only one who can solve this debate is Pope Francis and I think, you know, as an appeal to him from a pastor in the trenches, pastoral charity requires that he solve all of these confusing doubts because no one is in good shape when you have one cardinal criticizing another and then priests like me having to get on TV and tell people, ‘no, things don’t change even though a cardinal says it changes.’ This is confusing.”
Royal explained how intellectually dishonest it is for promoters of adultery to accuse those who defend Catholic teaching of being “pharisees.”
“Because, it’s Jesus who made this rule” against divorce and remarriage, he said. “It was a rule that was shocking to the Pharisees under the strict Jews of this time. This is something that has always been taught by the church. We now have a conflict not just between existing cardinals but it’s made to appear as if people who remain faithful to the teaching are somehow themselves Pharisees – the ones that Jesus was contradicting with this very teaching that they’re trying to defend.”
“There’s something very odd going on here,” warned Royal, “and I would have to say that this can only get worse as time goes on, as various people take one side or the other in what has to be determined at the very highest level of the Church.”
This “gives the feeling of a schism,” Arroyo remarked. “It’s not a schism, but it gives the feeling of one.”
Arroyo said that a “fairly common” question now is “if there is schism, is the Church automatically on the side of the Pope? How do we discern which side is correct?”
“This is a very difficult question, because we’ve never had a circumstance with a pope obstinately teaching something that seems to be contradictory to the longstanding, permanent tradition of the Catholic Church,” said Royal. “I think that we’ll find ourselves sorting this out and it’s gonna be very, very painful. It may go on for decades. Things like this have happened in the past…I don’t think there’s any automatic mechanism here, or automatic principle that you can apply.”
Murray said his “prayer and hope” is that Pope Francis will “pull back” and acknowledge “it’s a mistake to go this way” of trying to change a doctrine that can’t be changed.