Thursday, April 14, 2016

"Amoris Laetitia" and the Practical Consequences -- the Pastors of Biella Will Now Give Communion to Divorced and Remarried

The Pastors of Biella
(Rome) The Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis, with its conclusions from the two Synods of Bishops 2014 and 2015 about marriage and the family, has plunged the Catholic Church plunged into a big mess and is presenting its first real impact.
The papal document led to a major disagreement in  interpretation. The Pope's closest confidants celebrate the letter as "most important document of the last 1000 years" (Cardinal Walter Kasper). The "revolutionary" implications have dawned on  progressive church circles after an initial disappointment (Alberto Melloni, School of Bologna). "Conservatives" also try desperately to explain away Amoris Laetitia,  and to reinterpret the official Magisterium of the Pope as a "personal" and therefore non-binding statement  (Cardinal Raymond Burke). Traditional Catholics who do not withdraw from the substantive debate, speak of a "catastrophic document" (Roberto de Mattei). For external observers, there reigns the perfect mess.
Rarely has the Catholic Church shown itself so fractiousness and disunited on how conceive and implement a papal document. The confusion concerns the whole Church. They range from the very top to the very bottom. How  is it now dealing with the divorced and remarried? And how with the other people who live in an irregular relationship?
The priest Don Luca Mele wrote the Pope on Twitter: "Be a little more clear: do I have to absolve them or not? Do I have to give them Communion or not? Thank you!"

The example of the Piedmontese town of Biella

The pastor of the town Biella (45,000 inhabitants) in Piedmont, which is the from which the ancestors of Pope Francis came, made it known yesterday in the local news that they are "for the admission of remarried divorcees to communion". The explosiveness lies in the subtitle of the newspaper report: "Following the publication of Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis". In other words, the pastor of the town had previously disagreed.
The German-speaking bishops had let the world know in advance: If Rome does not guarantee thaqt public adulterers receive Communion  that they would act alone. Given the "play room" (ZDF), which the papal document leaves means that the need for  "going alone" is no longer needed. The "revolution" is that there is no general rule any more. The categorical no by the Catholic Church to communion for public adulterers has been replaced by the large numbers of "case by case" solutions. One method applied by Amoris Laetitia to the so-called "divorced and remarried", could be applied equally well in a further step, including  also homosexuals and other groups of people and situations.
The part of the Church which was "loyal to Rome" under John Paul II., which had arisen in response to the post-conciliar upheaval, is proving itself spellbound. Some have, since 2013, left off progressive solutions  under the pretext of being "loyal to Rome." The rest are staring at the pope like the rabbit at the snake.  He is supposed to increase the brothers in faith and feed the flock and protect them from the wolves. The eventuality that he could lead the Church astray himself, was categorically excluded as a possibility of thought.
Now that it is in the opinion an of attentive observer, that this part of the Church acts as if paralyzed and on many it is beginning to dawn that their conception of the papacy may need to corrected.
The Catholic Church seems thus to be facing complex new upheavals as late effects of the undigested Vatican II are to be considered and  with that, unleashed forces.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Biellanews (Screenshot)
Trans: Tancred

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