Having now read the text of the “filial correction” of the Pope, I find it to be mostly a massive exercise in question-begging.
Thus, e.g., while it’s true that unrepentant adulterers and fornicators should not receive the Eucharist, the real question is whether every irregular marriage or cohabiting relationship constitutes unrepented adultery or fornication. The Pope thinks not, and I agree with him. But the text never addresses that question.
The same goes for the idea that some irregular sexual relationships are the best people can do in their current circumstances. Sometimes the answer is yes, but it doesn’t follow that recognizing as much is premised on the heresy that the grace of God is insufficient for acting rightly. The real question is whether some such relationships themselves constitute a moral advance beyond where one or both partners had been. The text doesn’t tackle that question either. It just assumes that if your relationship is not regular, it’s sinful by that very fact. The Pope rejects that assumption, and I agree with him. Once again, they beg the question.
This never-ending drama arises from the same sort of problem that inhibits theological progress on other fronts too: old, unexamined assumptions that do not require unconditional assent from Catholics and might even be wrong.
He’s a better man than I am. Between the Holocaust deniers, and the SSPX kooks and assorted other fringe figures, all backed by nutty sites like 1 Peter 5 and Rorate Coeli, the whole thing is absurd to me. But I’m glad he bothered to read it so I wouldn’t have to.
I remember, long ago, totally believing that it would be liberals, lefties and all that sort who would push for schism in the Church while we True Blue Conservatives held the line and stood with the Holy Father and orthodoxy.
I should have remembered my history. It’s always been the rigorists, hardliners, Judaizers, Donatists, Jansenists, Calvinists, and SSPX types who have believed themselves anointed by God to purge the Church of the Impure and, failing that, to purge the Church of themselves and found the new City on a Hill. The Pharisees “correcting the Pope” fit that historical pattern perfectly.
Francis’ real sin is evangelism: his desire to obey Christ by going out to the highways and byways and bringing in the poor, crippled, blind, and lame. The Reactionaries hate him for it and as they hated JPII for it. They want a purged Church, not one that welcomes sinners and the broken. They seek a Fortress, not a hospital.