Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pastoral crisis? What pastoral crisis?

Kevin O'Brien, "Pope Francis, Remarriage and Flag Burning" (Waiting for Godot to Leave, December 11, 2014), says that the following is a sample of what he's been emailing a few friends lately:
In 1974, when I was 14, and still an atheist, I served as godfather at my nephew's baptism. It was my first time inside a Catholic church. I was neither novice nor professed in the Faith [to be professed in the faith is what the 1917 Code of Canon Law required for all godparents]. Had the parish priest been even minimally vigilant, he would not have allowed this.

And so I wonder, as I have for a while now, why we are so worried that, while doctrine cannot change, the practice of it can? For over forty years unchanged doctrine has been abandoned at parishes, at schools and in living rooms. Our infallible teaching has simply been ignored.

So why the hand-wringing all of a sudden in Rome? If there's a problem in the Church, it's certainly not a lack of pastoral care for bigamists. Honestly. Matrimony is in a shambles, and "remarried" Catholics don't seem to have consciences that trouble them. Where's the pastoral crisis?

Why is this suddenly an issue?

Do you remember when the Republicans won Congress in 1994 or thereabouts with their "Contract for America"? They took their win as a license to make sweeping change. And what was the first change they tried to implement? They wanted to pass more strict legislation against flag burning. Flag burning! A thousand things seriously wrong in America, and they went after flag burning! I don't think a U.S. flag had been publicly burned at that time for maybe 20 years.

And now, with the Faith in crisis and marriage in shambles, the pope is concerned about pastoral care for "remarried" Catholics???? That's what amazes me about this.
Quite seriously, I would add that if there is a crisis in this matter, it is the utter lack of solicitude toward those spouses who have been unjustly injured by abandonment, divorce, or even carelessly-granted annulments. Why should all the "pastoral concern" lie on the side of the adulterers, bigamists, and sodomites?

[Hat tip to JM]




I have some sympathy with this commentator.

For over forty years doctrines have been ignored in the post-Vatican II Catholic Church. The doctrines of the Real Presence, of the Ordained Priesthood, and the understanding of the Mass as the commeration of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross for the redemption of Mankind, for example.

Now we have an attack on further doctrines, an example of what has been described as the “Dictatorship of the Minorities”. Notable here is the well financed push in favour of active homosexual, at most 1.5% of the male population and less of the female, (as opposed to heroic chaste homosexuals). It has penetrated into the very fabric of the Church, probably because there are many sympathisers amongst the clergy to the highest ranks.

And now we have an attack on Marriage, an expression of the Misogamy now prevalent in Secular society but which has penetrated into the very fabric of the Church. And all of this under a false excuse of “mercy”. The one thing that is certain is that if ground is conceded this, we will not have a vast influx of twice or thrice married into the Church.

No, the few such people who are not prepared to face up to their responsibilities, but who still hope to change the Church to their convenience, will smugly, and probably occasionally, when holidays etc don’t intervene, attend the Sacrifice of the Mass and certainly receive Holy Communion and make sure that everyone else see them doing so!



Nice to read something that reflects my experiences over my entire life but most menacingly over my adult life.

But I know the game is over, so hope for me is all but gone. On another note, however:

I went to Mass to in the Extraordinary Form today, in the parish of my youth, most of my life, in fact. I went to pray for my family and to "support" the "old Mass".

I am glad there were people at Mass who knew the appropriate postures at the appropriate times; I certainly didn't, but I was able to "parrot" those who did.

Glad that I chose to go. Glad that my family matters enough to me to pray for them. Glad that our kids see some value in their old man's faithfulness, even though his faith is all but gone. Yet, the old fool still prays that his children and his grandchildren do not lose their faith, as he has.

I do not understand the old man.




Kevin O'Brien posted something in his comments box an Anonymous commenter who calls himself Fr. Nathaniel has written to him ...

"Actually, I'm not sure where Pope Francis is getting his list of prohibitions from. As regards being godparents, canon 874, 1, 3 of the Code just says that as well as having been confirmed and received First Communion, godparents must be persons who "live a life of faith which befits the role to be undertaken". That leaves some wiggle room for us parish clergy to make close calls. (A person can still have the virtue of supernatural faith while living in mortal sin.)In pastoral practice it sometimes happens that a divorced and civilly married couple may be the only people known to the parents of the child who are able and willing to be godparents. If this couple are believing and regularly practicing Catholics, then even conservative priests such as myself will usually let them be godparents if no one more qualified is willing and able.

The same is true of those who do Scripture readings in Mass and "Sunday School" teachers, AKA catechists. Nothing in canon law says anything about moral requirements for fulfilling such functions, so pastors can use their own prudential judgment. Sometimes you just have to make do with the folks you have available in your parish. Especially in First Communion classes, no scandal will be given to these small children by the irregular marital state of their catechist, about which they will know and understand nothing at all. Experience shows that such catechists can sometimes be zealous and prayerful people who will have a good influence on the children.

Of course, since they can't receive Communion, much less can they be Ministers of Holy Communion to others. (For the record, I am totally against Cardinal Kasper's proposal - scandalously supported by the Pope himself - to admit divorced-and-civilly remarrieds to Communion.)

Fr. Nathaniel"

So the Pope is likely taking about the social stigma of allowing a divorced or re-marred person being a godparent or a particular pastor not allowing a divorced re-married person to be a godparent.

It seems canon law does not exclude a divorced and remarried person from godparent hood unless the Pastor objects.