Here is this item from CNS, that I believe highlights the motivating note behind the current Franciscan efforts at 'reform.' Conservatives need to answer this, because it is the recurring accusation that conservatism = legalism, and that God is not a God of rules and regulations but love and grace.Noir also said he was reminded of evangelical singer Amy Grant's comment upon her divorce, asking if it does not 100 percent sound like Pope Francis:
My question in response would be, will looser Church 'laws" lead people to a proper understanding of and encounter with Jesus, or with their culturally-constructed and self-imagined Jesus? [PP: Reminds me of Freud's promotion of a more permissive society, arguing that looser mores would serve as a valve to relieve pent up animal inclinations. On the contrary, we have seen how feeding rather than starving such appetites causes them to grow and proliferate.]
The parable of the Rich Young Ruler seems instructive if we want to balance out this being bashed over the head with Gospel anecdotes. Jesus loved him, and sent him away. The call was to sacrifice. Somehow, it is popular to judge the rich, but not those who get ensnared in vice other than money. The question of the hour is, are the suggested reforms really merciful, or simply more democratic. Will they encourage the pursuit of holiness, or simply church attendance? I don't think the two are in the least bit synonymous. In fact, attending church can easily be its own form of 'keeping the law.'
Grant recalls something a counselor told her. "He said, ‘Amy, God made marriage for people. He didn’t make people for marriage. He didn’t create this institution so He could just plug people into it. He provided this so that people could enjoy each other to the fullest.’ I say, if you have two people that are not thriving healthily in a situation, I say remove the marriage. Let them heal."The trouble here, as Noir points out, is this: "People are not the most important thing. Nor is doctrine. They are equally important. People make doctrine matter, while doctrine, ideals, these show people their worth.... Seems like current interpretations discard the wisdom of tradition. And tradition, or a contrived 'masterpiece of perfect law,' doesn't seem like it is trapping anyone much these days anyway, at least not near my address.