I must say I grow weary of these monkeyshines.
Controversies about Church teachings have oftentimes provided new opportunities to retrieve certain truths that have become dormant, thereby resulting in sharper articulations of the faith. That is surely the case in this present moment, as some have raised questions about the apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, issued by Pope Francis, following the two synods on marriage and family life. The disputes cover a full range of issues, from how this document views the role of personal conscience to whether or not it represents an authentic development of Church doctrine. Some have even gone so far as to challenge the magisterial authority of this document signed by the pope. All of this has provoked a robust discussion by scholars familiar with Church history and our wider theological tradition and pastoral practice. For instance, Rocco Buttiglione offered us in his July 2016 L’Osservatore Romano article a lesson on the development of doctrine and what it means for Popes to exercise their divinely granted Petrine power of loosening and binding in different ways and in different historical circumstances.
Now comes Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio with his readers’ guide to the eighth chapter of this post-synodal exhortation…to offer a careful analysis of chapter 8 to help readers “grasp its rich doctrinal and pastoral message.” He is forthright in establishing that this magisterial document fully complies with traditional Church teaching on marriage, but is also in conformity with accepted standards of a pastoral approach that is positive and constructive. His exegesis of the document’s treatment of the subjective conditions of conscience and the role of pastoral discernment highlights the real circumstances people face, and the mitigating factors which must be taken into consideration…There are elements of a person’s being that are shared in common with all of humanity and understood in a general and abstract way. At the same time, there are unique elements of each individual “that in some way limit the person, especially in the ability to understand, to will and therefore to act.” For this reason, when it comes to dealing with certain so-called irregular situations, what is required is a pastoral approach that takes into consideration both the general and the individual aspects of a person’s life, that is, the full ontology of the person. This, he observes, “has always been and is, especially today, crucial for the life of the Church, especially for its pastoral activity.”
Read the commentary at Rorate HERE
And there came to him the Pharisees tempting him, and saying: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Who answering, said to them: Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, Made them male and female? And he said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. They say to him: Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorce, and to put away? He saith to them: Because Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery. Matt 19:3-9
But but but… Moses was so much more… PASTORAL.
And the Pharisees coming to him asked him: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. But he answering, saith to them: What did Moses command you? Who said: Moses permitted to write a bill of divorce, and to put her away. To whom Jesus answering, said: Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you that precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife. And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. And in the house again his disciples asked him concerning the same thing. And he saith to them: Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. Mark 10:2-12
But what about my “ability to understand”, and to conform my will? Don’t these “so-called” irregular situations require a more pastoral approach which considers conscience and mitigating factors? Dear Jesus, creator of the universe and everything in it, why do you speak so clearly and leave no room for “discernment”? Shouldn’t it be up to me to decide the right path? Surely these Commandments are simply ideals that we aren’t really expected to live by, right? I mean, who do you think you are?
Trent, Session the Sixth, 13 January 1547:
CANON XIV. If any one shall say, that man is absolved from his sins and justified, because he assuredly believed himself to be absolved and justified… let him be anathema.
CANON XVIII. If any one shall say, that the commandments of God are, even for a man that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep; let him be anathema.
CANON XX. If any one shall say, that a man who is justified and how perfect soever, is not bound to the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, but only to believe; as if, forsooth, the Gospel were a bore and absolute promise of eternal life, without the condition of observation of the commandments; let him be anathema.
CANON XXI. If any one shall say, that Christ Jesus was given of God unto men, as a redeemer, in whom they should trust, and not also as a legislator, whom they should obey; let him be anathema.