(I have had many people contact me regarding the Pope talking about decentralizing the Church, following a more participatory model. Naturally, many people are getting the vapors, fearful that this means each synodal sect can choose whatever doctrine it wants -and the Church will come apart. My friends, I say this in the best sense possible: Get a grip. The Pope specifically said, in discussing this, that “Doctrine will not be touched.” Cardinal George Pell confirmed that the Pope insisted on that.
This deserves a complete column – and I will do that after the Synod is finished. But two things here: First, do not get your news on the Church from secular establishment sources. It is not just that they are hostile to the faith, but they are utterly theologically illiterate. It is like getting agitated because a five-year-old says your dissertation on nuclear physics is messed up. Second, stop looking for the flaw and judge righteous judgment. So many people are so fearful that the Pope is going to contradict doctrine and, thus, invalidate the promises of Christ, that they look for it with every statement he makes. Stop it or you are going to drive yourselves nuts. Be deliberate and judge righteous judgment.
The Pope is looking at gently restructuring the Church in the form of the Family of God rather than a mere classroom. Done properly, it will set many things right. I will write at length about it after the Synod is over….but I have LONG been hoping for this. This Pope is going to steer us through the Storm, re-evangelize the world, and prove a worthy guardian of the Magisterium. He has entered the beginning of his greatness, Watch and see.
Instead, today I will reprint this piece by Fr. Regis Scanlon from the Capuchin Franciscan’s News Blog. It addresses the Synod as it goes forward.-CJ)
By Fr. Regis Scanlon, O.F.M. Cap.
Today’s world-wide conflict between the Church and secular society over the family has been anticipated and even prophesied — both by John Bosco’s dream in 1862 (see my previous post, Oct. 1, 2015), and by the powerful encyclical, Humanae Vitae, issued by Pope Paul VI in 1968.
Bishops against bishops, cardinals against cardinals? Worldwide conflict? Who expected this instability to explode in our own day and even enter the heart of the Church at her highest levels. But it has begun. Today at the October 2015 Synod in Rome, bishops and cardinals are sharply divided and challenging one another over the very meaning of marriage, human sexuality, and the family.
Even before the Synod, Cardinal Walter Kasper of Germany championed the reception of Holy Communion for the civilly divorced and remarried in certain cases, and also said that we should honor homosexual relationships which last –and recognize “elements of the good” in them.
If that wasn’t startling enough, the “Kasper Proposal” uncovered a lot of hidden approval among the bishops: Archbishop Blase Cupich, recently appointed to the influential Archdiocese of Chicago stated : “If people come to a decision in good conscience then our job is to help them move forward and to respect that. ” And he said: “It’s for everybody”. But, does he mean this “everybody” to Include racists and pedophiles? Apparently this means that communion is open to all as long as they are following their conscience—and only they know that.
This is truly a rupture of belief among the hierarchy. Consider that at the very opening of the Synod Cardinal Peter Erdo stated that the push to permit the civilly divorce and remarried to be able to receive Holy Communion is “a pressure with no foundation.” In other words it is a closed question.
Cardinal Erdo’s statement met with complete resistance from other bishops: Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli and Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher responded by saying that giving communion to the civilly divorced and remarried was still an “open question.”
This is truly a chasm between Church teaching and the push to re-fashion the Church to reflect the modern world, which is the exact opposite of the advice given to the Christian by St. Paul who urged: “Do not be conformed to this world”
So, the members of the Synod must face a hard fact. The Church must now throw out her the teachings on human sexuality which she has firmly held since her very beginning or pick it up and carry it — even, if necessary, as a cross.
How did we get to this point?
Looking back, the Sexual Revolution of the mid 1960’s seems to be the general period that the Church drifted off course. It was approximately then that Catholics first explicitly pressured the Church to approve of artificial forms of birth control in hopes of finding an easy and comfortable method for family planning
However, when Paul VI published his now famous — and infamous — 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, he rejected the appointed study commission’s opinion that contraception was morally acceptable and taught that “contraception” is “intrinsically wrong” and can never be practiced without grave moral consequences.
Once more, he said if contraception was accepted into society, we could see many evils we have not seen for centuries, like: an increase of “marital infidelity” ; “a general lowering of moral standards” ; and a loss of reverence for women. And, he warned: if governments think that Catholics will accept contraception as a solution to population problems, “they may even impose their use on everyone.”
But, the world jeered at the Pope — many of them from inside the Catholic Church. Theologians, professors, feminists, priests, nuns, authors, pundits and politicians — all notable for being Catholic — ridiculed the pope and refused to listen to his warnings. To this day the vast majority of priests do not preach Paul VI’s teaching in Humanae Vitae publicly from the pulpit. This, beyond any doubt, is the key to the collapse of the family.
However, nearly 50 years after Paul VI stated his warnings in Humanae Vitae, every one of his predictions have come true. Chastity has become, in a cultural sense, a bygone virtue. Easy sex — without the supposed “threat” of pregnancy — has led to unfaithfulness in marriage, domestic violence, broken homes, sexual predators, rampant pornography, and the sexual exploitation of children. Of course even contraception couldn’t stop all pregnancies and thus the “claimed” necessity to open the door to legal abortion and infanticide. In the 21st century, even man-woman marriage itself has fallen to the wayside.
One of the most clear proofs that the teachings of Paul VI in Humanae Vitae were inspired is the result of the use of artificial birth control, especially the pill, on marriages– even Catholic marriages. Statistical graphs of 1955–2010 show clearly that the divorce rate rose hand and hand with the frequent use of contraception, particularly the pill.
The rate of divorce among Catholic families increased as well, growing to about 20–28% among practicing Catholics.
And of course, now governments around the world are poised to “impose” the acceptance of contraception, abortion, and homosexuality on all families— even in the United States, the “land of the free.”
So, the rejection of Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae on July 25, 1968 by what seemed to be the majority of Catholics was no doubt, the precise point when things changed for the worse– not only for the Church and the family– but for the entire world.
Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller who was made prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Benedict XVI on July 2, 2012, is one Synod member who recognizes this fact. He stated: elsewhere “…..where the teaching of Humanae Vitae has been down-played, or worse still ignored, we have witnessed a collapse of family life, an increase in extra-marital infidelity and a diminishment of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.” But, he says, “On the other hand, we have also seen that in those places where Catholic teaching (on Humanae Vitae) has been robustly presented, it has indeed taken root and has flowered in a renewal of family life and a new vitality for the Church.”
Honest Catholic people everywhere today know where we Catholics went off the moral course and, they know quite well that we must get back on course. But how?
Must the Church’s teaching in no. 14 of Humanae Vitae on contraception be declared ex-cathedra and therefore, infallible to get Catholics to believe this teaching and get them back onto the correct moral course?
Only the Pope can decide this.
One thing, however, is already infallible: without the acceptance and preaching of Paul VI’s teaching on contraception by the heart and body of the Church, especially bishops and priests –more than just once a year at every parish– a remedy to the problems of the family will be impossible. The Church must begin where She left off in 1968 and move forward with those who are Catholic.
John Bosco predicted that in the future the only salvation for the Church at this time would be frequent communion or (i.e., devotion to the Blessed Sacrament) and devotion to Our Lady. These were the Two Columns to which all Catholics would have to anchor their faith to win the victory over the enemies of the family and obtain peace.
But, today, I would like to add a Third Column by which God will accomplish all of these wonderful things. This Third Column is St. Joseph.
So keep watch for Part III coming soon-titled: John Bosco’s prophecy (Part III) the healing of the family and world peace.