Saturday, March 15, 2014

Synod on the Family in October

Survey says: Catholics don't want the Church interfering with their sex lives. (Is anyone surprised?)

Rorate Caeli has a great story on Cardinal Caffarra's, Archbishop of Bologna, rebuttal to Cardinal Kasper and the Germans' push for communion and remarriage for divorced Catholics. The Church's complete sexual doctrine is at stake.

National Catholic Reporter has an interesting March 14, 2014 editorial that begins with Pope Francis' famous quote: "I want things messy and stirred up." Bishop Stephen Ackerman of Trier, Germany, comments on the results of the survey the Vatican sent out. He said that the current teachings on remarriage after divorce, cohabitation without marriage, and artificial contraception had been decisively rejected by Germans. The National Catholic Reporter claims that trend holds for the West in general. Of course, does it surprise anyone that people would prefer the Catholic Church didn't comment on their sex lives? What did they expect would result from sending out surveys?

Just so you all caught that, this is what the good bishop was talking about:

  • divorce and remarriage
  • cohabitation without marriage
  • contraception

Of course, all of this, from the stupid survey to the synod, stems from Pope Francis himself. He called Cardinal Kasper's recent all-out assault on marriage before the Consistory of Cardinals "beautiful." I don't think he necessarily means he approves (although I don't know). Francis enjoys being perceived as open to controversy, even chaos. See how I shake things up? For him, it is humble and trusting to bring together bishops and throw doctrine up for grabs. It's so Vatican II, don't you know? Such are the novelties of the Franciscan Church. But what happens if the Germans carry the day?

Or what if they don't, but go back and pastorally Humanae Vitae him anyway? This is not on the radar screen now, but I promise expectations will be raised sky high when October rolls around. Does he suddenly become Francis the Idealogue, dust off his throne and set the erring Teutons straight? (That was St. Corbinian's mission in the 8th century, which is how the Frankish holy man found himself in the wilds of Bavaria.) Or does he think his personal popularity is going to trump people's sex lives? That would be naive, to say the least.

Friends, the Synod is in October. The Bear does not think people are scared enough about this. We need to storm heaven with our prayers. St. Corbinian was persecuted by Germans for upholding the sanctity of marriage, and would make an excellent patron of the synod.

Vatican II showed what happens when well-prepared German, Benelux and French liberals catch conservatives flat-footed. And while we're on the subject, let us remember wise and courageous Cardinal Ottaviani's observation that there is only one instance in the gospels where the apostles acted collegially: "They all fled."


  1. I'm still puzzling my wits wondering when -- and why -- the Church decided that non-Catholic marriages were real enough for its annulment process to be applicable to them. I feel like a dope for not knowing the answer to this.

  2. Quote: [T]here is only one instance in the gospels where the apostles acted collegially: "They all fled."

    Interesting observation I had not considered.

    1. That was from the wonderful Cardinal Ottaviani. Google Ottaviani Intervention for an interesting read.

  3. I don't know, either, but it would seem that the Church has an interest in recognizing and even promoting non-sacramental marriages for the good of children and society. Otherwise, a man could just walk out on his wife and marry a Catholic! Not to mention it wouldn't be very ecumenical to say, "oh, Mr. Heretic and your concubine! And how are the little bastards today?" Scripturally, a man "becomes one flesh" even with a prostitute, so there are real spiritual implications with sex between a man and a woman regardless of the canonical status of that union. I suspect there are all sorts of reasons the Church can't simply ignore a non-Catholic marriage. But I can't cite canon law. I can barely cite my own jurisdiction's law.


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