It is a war being fought on multiple battle fronts. When we focus too exclusively on one; we risk failing to notice how enemy forces are assembling on another.
Case in point: We’ve been paying so much attention to Francis’ in-flight assault on Catholic doctrine with respect to contraception, that many of us have overlooked what is perhaps even bigger news.
In mid-November, I suggested that Francis had tipped his hand regarding the upcoming post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation when he responded to a Lutheran woman’s question about “not being able to participate together in the Lord’s Supper” with her Catholic husband.
Yesterday, he confirmed it.
Please allow me to refresh your memory:
In response to this Lutheran woman, Francis began by misinforming her, saying “we have the same doctrines.”
If that wasn’t bad enough, he went on to imply that sacramental confession is no different than seeking God’s forgiveness on one’s own in the manner of the heretics:
When you feel sinful … you go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness. Your husband does the same and goes to the priest and asks for absolution; remedies to sustain the Baptism.
With regard to the upcoming post-synodal exhortation, the point is this:
If it is true, as Francis says, that one who seeks forgiveness outside of the confessional “does the same” as he who seeks absolution from a priest in the sacrament, what is to prevent a public adulterer or active homosexual from privately uttering words of pseudo-contrition on the way up to the Communion rail every Sunday?
The answer – nothing.
Francis concluded his response to the heretic lady who wishes to receive Holy Communion with her Catholic husband:
One baptism, one Lord, one faith. Talk to the Lord and go forward. I dare not say more.
It is obvious to all but the willfully blind that he was encouraging this woman who is not properly disposed to receive Holy Communion (she’s not even Catholic!) to take it up with the Lord directly; with the clear implication being that He just might tell her to receive!
Fast forward to yesterday’s aerial assault on the Catholic faith courtesy of Bombardier Bergoglio:
An American journalist, Ann Thompson of NBS News, asked, “Some wonder, how a Church that claims to be merciful, how can the Church forgive a murderer easier than someone who has divorced and remarried?”
Francis began by congratulating the reporter for her disrespectful posture and anti-Catholic bias (something they obviously share in common) saying, “The question is true, you posed it very well.”
He then made mention of “the post-synod document that will be published, perhaps before Easter.”
This, my friends, is a heads-up; he is letting us know that what follows is a glimpse into the document’s contents.
From there, not to be outdone in denigrating the Faith by a media member, Francis went on to say:
Imagine, to become a priest there are eight years of study and preparation, and then if after a while you can’t do it, you can ask for a dispensation, you leave, and everything is OK. On the other hand, to make a sacrament (marriage), which is for your whole life, three to four conferences…
Francis was setting the stage for a word or two about the importance of marriage prep. Fair enough, but notice what he considers to be the “givens.”
To him, the sacrament of Holy Orders and the resulting ontological configuration to Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest can be easily dispensed with and then “everything is OK,” but marriage… well that’s supposed to be for life!
My God, my God, why have You foresaken us?
Getting to the heart of the matter, Francis tells the following tale (real or fiction is anyone’s guess):
There was a couple, married again in second union integrated in the pastoral ministry of the Church. The key phrase used by the synod, which I’ll take up again, is ‘integrate’ in the life of the Church the wounded families, remarried families, etc. But of this one mustn’t forget the children in the middle. They are the first victims, both in the wounds, and in the conditions of poverty, of work, etc.
Remember; the question he is answering concerns “someone who has divorced and remarried.” Those who hold the Catholic faith know that this simply isn’t possible.
Francis, on the other hand, has no problem speaking as if being “married again” is perfectly acceptable. In fact, as you’ll see, he does this several times during the exchange.
Thompson pressed: “Does that mean they can receive Communion?”
Now, pay close attention to the answer Francis gives:
This is the last thing. Integrating in the Church doesn’t mean receiving communion. I know married Catholics in a second union [LV: really?!] who go to church, who go to church once or twice a year and say I want communion, as if joining in Communion were an award. It’s a work towards integration, all doors are open, but we cannot say, ‘from here on they can have communion.’ This would be an injury also to marriage, to the couple, because it wouldn’t allow them to proceed on this path of integration.
We cannot say, ‘from here on they can have communion.’
There can be no doubt that the neo-conservative ostriches will trumpet this quote often over the next few days and weeks in a feeble attempt to make Francis appear faithful, but don’t you believe it.
Notice that he says of Communion for the adulterers, “This is the last thing.”
And how does the happily “remarried” couple arrive at the “last thing”?
Francis tells us as he proceeds to drop the following bomb:
And those two were happy. They used a very beautiful expression: we don’t receive Eucharistic communion, but we receive communion when we visit hospitals and in this and this and this. Their integration is that. If there is something more, the Lord will tell them, but it’s a path, a road.
So, how might we expect all of this to play out in the post-synodal exhortation?
First, since Francis obviously has no qualms with the idea of “married Catholics in a second union,” we can fully expect that no serious attention will be given to real remedies (annulment, validation of a so-called “second union,” confession, firm purpose of amendment, continence, etc.) much less the matter of adultery.
We might also expect some suggestion that forgiveness should be sought outside of the confessional.
Most importantly, we can well expect the document to throw open the doors of the Church to such couples, inviting them to take part in a fabricated and ill-defined process of “integration.”
How that process might be described therein is anyone’s guess, but I suspect that it will include a call to join the parish community in performing random acts of kindness, like “visits to hospitals and this and this and this,” to quote His Humbleness once more.
From there, the adulterous couple will be encouraged to do precisely what Francis instructed the Lutheran woman to do, “Talk to the Lord and go forward,” with the punchline being exactly what he told that snarky little American reporter:
If there is something more, the Lord will tell you…
In the most general sense, I think that we can expect the post-synodal document to amount to little more than this:
Church law says one thing, but go off in private to speak with the God of Surprises; He may just tell you something altogether different.
Makes perfect sense, really.
After all, the tension between authentic Catholic doctrine and the God of Surprises (aka Jorge the Horrendous) has been the overriding theme of this entire disastrous pontificate.
Why would anyone expect that to change now?