Mercy versus Rules
The Bear is first reading the summary at the Vatican radio website, and writing. That alone has taken a full day, but the Bear's diligence knows no limits for his faithful readership.
The Bear promises he will read the whole thing and report. But, based on the summary, here, it looks like Pope Francis is creating a tension between Mercy versus Rules, with a clear preference for the former, while not touching the authority of the latter. Those are now an ideal, which is something quite different than a teaching or sin.
In other words, Pope Francis is having his irregular wedding cake and eating it, too. The practice and morals of the Church are subject to (instead of "change," we'll call them "merciful pastoral adjustments") on a case-by-case basis. The teachings are not changed (ostensibly) -- that would be heresy -- but Catholics in "irregular unions" are, if they can find a sympathetic priest, free to disregard them. Perhaps the Church's actual teaching on marriage will remain, but as an unachievable ideal. Over time, the Church's teaching on marriage will fall victim to desuetudo.
Keep in mind on this issue we have no less an authority than Jesus Christ Himself. That is Who Pope Francis is clubbing with his Mercy Stick. It is appalling. This is the time of the bishops, priests, and laity to say, "No, we do not accept this."
Unfortunately, the reality will be that your chances of "Mercy" will vary from diocese to diocese. Which, frankly, sounds crazy. This will set bishop against bishop. And the divorced and remarried, and homosexual partners will be clamoring for their "merciful pastoral discernment."
The idea of total, unconditional Mercy is wonderful. Unfortunately, Pope Francis has not shown the intellect to happily integrate it into the life of the Church. He sows confusion on a point essential to salvation! It comes across as cheap grace. It doesn't even sound Catholic. Mercy is an exchange between a soul and God, and presents a new chance to amend your life. Pope Francis' concept of Mercy sounds more Protestant than Catholic. You're saved! Snow on a dungheap!
The man conceals his goals in a dozen tropes that he constantly repeats. The Bear doesn't know what our Pope believes.
But Pope Francis is clever, sort of, but not really as sneaky as he thinks he is.
In Cauda Venenum
A Bear trick is to read things like this from back to front so he knows where the author is really going. Try it sometime. Remember: in cauda venenum. We see the return of the Holy Polyhedron, a bit of Pythagorean mysticism worthy of our recent discussions of Hermeticism.
We also revisit "the field hospital." Speaking of "controversial issues," Pope Francis has this curious remark. "The Church does not disregard the constructive elements in those situations which do not yet or no longer correspond to her teaching on marriage." [!]
Continuing through the summary of Chapter Eight, Pope Francis speaks of "unmerited, unconditional, gratuitous mercy," and "pastoral discernment," in the context of "the divorced who have entered a new union, for example, can find themselves in a variety of situations, which should not be pigeonholed, or fit into overly rigid classifications, leaving no room for a suitable pastoral and personal solutions." [?]
The whole topic of what to do with persons in "irregular unions," is so multi-faceted (much like the Holy Polyhedron) that the Pope cannot provide any rules. These matters must be resolved by "pastoral and personal discernment," on the basis of individual challenges. Not to forget "accompaniment," "dialogue," and "walking." So have at it, priests and prelates! I've given you a vague, nice-sounding document to guide you.
Pope Francis places (unconditional) "Mercy" on one side and "Rules" on the other. This tension is really the whole setup for Amoris Laetitia "We put so many conditions on mercy that we empty it of its concrete meaning and real significance. That is the worst way of watering down the Gospel." The Bear would counter that ignoring the explicit "rule" spoken of by Christ is a "worse way of watering down the gospel."
There is a fig leaf, however. "To show understanding in the face of exceptional situations never implies dimming the light of the fuller ideal, or proposing less than what Jesus offers to the human being." [?] Yep. The rules are an ideal, which is very different from a rule or a sin.
Responsible Parents Condemned
Pope Francis had this to say about parents who want to know where their children are at all times. "If parents are always obsessed where their children are and controlling all their movements, they will seek only to dominate space. But this is no way to educate, strengthen, and prepare their children to face challenges."
Helicopter moms shot down by Pope.
|No, this is the Church!|
Actually the Bear is reminded of ancient Sparta, which also incorporated free range children.
There is much more talking about the family, and marriage, in general that the Bear will get around to later. But for now, Pope Francis did not give the green light to communion by divorced and remarried, or homosexual partners. But it seems to the Bear that he is inviting bishops and priests to do what he dares not.