Catholic synod on family makes few changes

A synod of bishops has been meeting at the Vatican discussing “the family” and possible changes to Roman Catholic practice, including being more welcoming to gays and allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion.  The meeting closed on Sunday, proposing very few changes to church teaching.  It affirmed that there is no basis for same-sex marriage and allowed for a very restrictive process that might allow some divorced Catholics, on a case-by-case basis, to receive the Sacrament.

The Pope expressed anger that so little, in his view, was accomplished, accusing conservative bishops of having “closed hearts.”

After the jump, excerpts from two stories:  One includes the reasons why divorced and remarried Catholics are excluded from the Sacrament (they commit a mortal sin every time they have sex an example of Catholic sin-counting that figured in the Reformation).  The other gives the reaction of Pope Francis, who theoretically could make changes on his own authority. [Read more...]

Pope will allow priests to forgive abortion

Pope Francis will allow priests to forgive the sin of abortion during the upcoming Holy Year, from December 8 to November 26.  Normally, abortion incurs automatic excommunication.  Bishops must give special permission before a priest can absolve a penitents of that particular sin.

That abortion cannot be forgiven, apart from an elaborate bureaucratic process, is another example of the Gospel-denying effects of the Roman Catholic penitential system.  Christ died for all sins, including abortion, and He bore every woman’s abortion in His body on the Cross.  So every woman who has committed this sin can know that she has forgiveness in Him.  Now for one year, such women can find forgiveness in the Roman Catholic Church.

But this action by Pope Francis is being interpreted as another example of the pontiff’s “tolerance” and will be taken as a weakening of the church’s position on abortion. [Read more...]

The Pope’s coming accord with evangelicals

Pope Francis believes that the Reformation is over, that the breach with Luther and later Protestants has been healed.  This is thanks to the Joint Declaration on Justification worked out between the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation.  (Conservative, confessional Lutherans reject that document.)  Moreover, Pope Francis has deep ties to Latin American evangelicals and charismatics.

As reported in the Catholic Herald, he has written a document declaring an end to the hostilities between Catholics and evangelicals, which he plans on issuing on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. [Read more...]

Catholic teaching not allowed at Catholic university?

Marquette is a Roman Catholic institution affiliated with the Jesuit order, one member of which is Pope Francis.  According to Catholic author Howard Kainz, Marquette has suspended and banned from campus a tenured professor for saying that arguments against gay marriage should be allowed to be discussed in class.   Meanwhile, a theology professor who advocates abortion and now considers himself an atheist keeps teaching, with no questions asked. [Read more...]

Family synod’s final statement is more conservative

The initial statement from the Roman Catholic synod on the family was hailed for its welcoming language for divorced Catholics and same-sex partners, but the final version emphasized more traditional moral teachings.  But votes on the sections show a very divided group of bishops.  The deliberations will continue next year with a broader selection of participants. [Read more...]

Vatican pushes back against initial report

There are liberal Catholics and there are conservative Catholics.  The latter faction at the Synod on the Family is criticizing the revisionist views of sexual morality that appeared in a preliminary working document. (See here and here.) [Read more...]


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