5. Jan, 2017

Tradition Reveals Catholics are a Bunch of Rigid Pharisees

Tradition Reveals Catholics are a Bunch of Rigid Pharisees?

Certainly, Pope Francis has come down on those who’s thinking he judges rigid (particularly the Curia). And, in Amoris Laetitia there is a wonderful, pastoral tone almost begging pastors to recognise just how merciful Jesus was and is – so that is all good, right?

Certainly, I love the prophesy about Jesus in Matthew (12:20) “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.” This reveals a God who recognises and responds lovingly/mercifully to our human weakness due to the wound of sin.

Certainly, it is impossible for us to eradicate sin without God’s help – the help of Christ (Augustine’s position).

So, is it okay for those struggling with sin to receive communion as a “powerful medicine” as Amoris Laetitia suggests? Are those who oppose this idea just sticklers for the law, saying that as these people are living in objectively sinful situations, they should repent of their sin before being eligible to receive communion?

Breaking Down Footnote 351

In my last blog post I suggested the absurdity of Christians not striving to be faithful to Christ, to pretend it’s okay to commune with Christ. The issue taken up in Amoris Laetitia revolves around whether persons living in objective situations of sin, are actually living in God’s grace because of “conditioning and mitigating factors” (Amoris Leatitia, paragraph 305). If what paragraph 305 claims is correct—that a person can live in objective sin, yet not be culpable of personal sin—then footnote 351 makes perfect sense.

I caution the reader here. This abandoning of the objective requirement of fidelity to Jesus is nothing new. For example, Luther’s doctrine of sola fide also abandoned elements of practice, e.g. good works!

In Veritatis Splendour, John Paul II clearly defines the battleground for paragraph 305 in Amoris Laetitia. JPII taught that weighing up mitigating factors did not change the moral quality of our actions. Although a person’s intentions and circumstance may lessen the culpability of our bad actions, the bad things we do (in the chosen situations we find ourselves) are still objectively bad, and hence are bad!

I do not agree that a person in an objective situation of sin could be living in God’s grace (Amoris Laetitia, paragraph 305) and I think I can justify this by a reading of Veritatis Splendour. (What we need here is contrition. 100% contrite hearts are 100% forgiven, even before absolution! But what does contrition mean other than being so sorry that we never want to do that again?)

Jesus said clearly to the adulterous woman “go and sin no more” (John 8:11). In my opinion, Amoris Laetitia is saying to Catholics not to worry about the fight against sin. That is not very merciful, and contrition seems to be overlooked. But, on the other hand, we absolutely do need the help of God’s grace to transform our cupidity (passions) into charity (Augustine). Does this mean we are to be excluded from the Eucharist?

My last blog post says yes. I now qualify that by saying yes—unless that person is contrite—no communion. Some say if we crack-down on communion to those living in sin, then many more people would be excluded from the Eucharist. This is/was traditional Catholic teaching and practice. But what the hell, that is only the true faith . . . right?