Everyone can sign the petition of support here.
I've been watching the reaction to the Filial Correction on the media - though I've certainly not read all of it - and the Catholic reaction in favour and against are both very interesting.
The reaction in favour has been overwhelming. At the time of writing the petition in support of the document has over 4,000 names, despite being very much an afterthought and not being integrated into the publicity.
But more important has been the tone of responses, and the range of people who have responded positively. Over the last forty years and more the 'conservative' end of the theological debate has been riven by disagreement about how bad things really are, and how strongly criticisms should be expressed. It sometimes seemed that every initiative by a conservative group would be denounced, simultaneously but by different people, as being excessively aggressive and as making too many concessions to liberalism: as being too strong and too weak. Differences of opinion on exactly how to protest about problems are inevitable, but these disagreements have at times become so violent as to cripple conservatives' ability to act at all.
This is not happening at all with the Correctio Filialis. Not everyone thinks that the wording and the general approach is perfect - of course not - but we are not being attacked by fellow-conservatives and traditionalists. I think this is extremely significant. A consensus has formed among those serious about the Faith that things have reached a point where such action is at least reasonable, and derives from sincere love of the Church and reasonably well-informed thinking about the theological issues. For a vast number of conservative Catholics, the response has been relief: someone at last has said it.
So who is opposing us? I think the long-established 'liberal' side of the argument on theological issues would be content to ignore us. There is no reference to the Catholic story of the day, on prominent display in the Daily Mail, the New York Times, The Times, and various other places, on the PrayTell blog at the time of writing. A journalist from The Tablet spoke to me today, but I fancy the result will simply be a short news item.
No, it is the strange new phenomenon of hyper-ultramontanist Francis-partizans who have taken up the fight. They are helpfully gathered together in a National Catholic Reporter article. They seem very worked up, and have developed a sort of all-purpose invective, which can be applied to any topic: the people they don't like are 'hypocrites', aren't very grand and well-connected, and are few in number. As we philosophers say, an argument that can prove too much, ends up proving nothing at all.
Search that article from end to end and you won't find a single objection to the content of the document. And here's something else. The writer of the article, Joshua J. McElwee, not only has no reaction to these spluttering accusations, in his article, from a supporter of the Correctio Filialis, but in preparing it he never took the first step in trying to get one. I know this because that step would be writing to me, at the email address included in the press release as the media contact. I have spent all of today and much of yesterday on the phone to or writing emails to journalists: the Associated Press, LifeSite, radio journalists from Poland, journalists in Rome, CNN, The Tablet, you name it. But from Joshua J. McElwee I have not heard a peep. He didn't want to hear the other side of the story. He just wanted to put together a few quotes from a tiny clique of chums. This isn't journalism, this is the Party Line.
On the one hand, they are desperate to make little of us: they don't want to quote us, they think we are insignificant, it's just a few people, move along there, there's nothing to see. On the other hand, they can't actually bear to look away. They can't stop tweeting and writing about it. We represent a totally insignificant threat that is absolutely terrifying and must be crushed at all costs.
To be fair to them, I think they may have an insight into the affair which the conventional liberals lack. I rather think we really are more significant than our numbers and our academic standing might suggest. So much so, in fact, that the Vatican itself has gone to the trouble of blocking access to the Correction Filialis website from Vatican computers, which appears rather symbolic, if not ludicrous.
|In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,|
|Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade...|
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"The people they don't like ... aren't very grand and well-connected."ReplyDelete
Yet public-school educated Austen Ivereigh has dismissed the signatories as being "middle-class". You couldn't make it up.
It is a great relief that the Correctio Filialis has been made. I really appreciate the way in which it has been written - a well developed and reasoned argument with supporting quotes and citations. Any interested lay Catholic can follow and comprehend the reasoning behind it and the necessity of the document. Thank you to all the signatories.ReplyDelete
Saint Thomas More, pray for us!
I don't think I've ever visited the website of the National Catholic Reporter before now. If I had I might not have bothered following your link. From the first sentence it was clear that the reporter had not read the Correction, or at least had not understood what he had read.ReplyDelete
But, bad though the article itself is, just look at those comments! Oh! The comments! Words fail me at the lack of Christian charity shown in the comments.
Quite - and it's we traditionalists who are supposed to be nasty, uncharitable etc....!Delete
Sorry, but the petition really bothers me. I've read the FC and believe you have a strong case, but I cannot see that it is for me to accuse the Pope of teaching heresy.ReplyDelete
The Church is not a democracy. If you get 8,000 signatures, will you be twice as right as you are with 4,000? If the opposition start their own petition and get twice as many signatures as you, will that make them right? How do you know everyone who signs is even a Catholic?
It just feels like a very un-Catholic thing to do and one that in a sense plays into the liberals' hands. If it had been a petition simply appealing to the Pope to answer the Dubia it would have been a different matter and I would gladly have signed.
Neither the correction nor the petition accuses the pope of teaching heresy. It seems to me that the correction is very carefully worded.Delete
Is the petition ill-judged? I don't know, but I am nonetheless glad to have had the opportunity to stand up and be counted in support of this initiative.
The correction refers to 'the propagation of heresy', and I would not expect it to do otherwise, since nothing less would justify the issuing of such a document. If that is the sincere judgment of individuals who have the appropriate formation to make it, they are doing the right thing and I thank God for their courage. But I do not have that formation, and therefore I don't believe that my playing the social media mob rule game will add any weight to the correction.Delete
Well done for trying, but it is sad that none of the "Bergoglians" will even try to discuss the substance of the case - their response is typically ad hominem. It says a lot about them that they cannot even say where they think the criticisms may have "misunderstood" AL.ReplyDelete
If the implications in AL that God can really want people to disobey His own Law are true for them. What does that say about the "God" they believe in? Is this in reality not a new brand of atheism?
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Not sure why you removed your comment, but the answer is simple. People in a state of sin do not 'benefit' from Holy Communion. QEDDelete
Strict legalism vs. the spirit of the Gospel - this is the substance of the case. If the former prevails, we may as well drive the last nails into the coffin of our religion.ReplyDelete
The spirit of the Gospel: that would be 'If a man divorces his wife, and marries another, he commits adultery'.Delete
From its beginning the Church has had to defend itself from heresy - both from within and without.Delete
You are mistaken in your assertion that the substance of the case can be reduced to 'strict legalism vs. the spirit of the Gospel'.
Do you understand the concept of "law" - in particular divine law - at all, and that of "obligation", which the former connotes? If not, you are wasting your time.
In addition to training in jurisprudence, you would probably benefit from training in other areas of philosophy.
Thanks for the advice. Do you understand that we can in an abstract way agree what law is, but in practice may sometimes question how it should be applied if we are to treat people justly. This cannot be an abstract matter, but can only be worked out in the circumstances of human life as it actually is.Delete
The difficulty here is that what you seem to be calling "strict legalism" has, in fact, been the constant teaching and practice of the Church, East and West, for the past 20 centuries. John Paul II did not just make this up in 1981.
If the Church could get such a fundamental thing so badly wrong, for so long, how can we trust its teaching on anything else?
Thank you, Dr. Shaw, for twice proving my point.ReplyDelete
Your point being that Jesus Christ and His teaching is the problem?Delete
On the contrary, Jesus Christ and His teaching are the answer to all our problems - but to know this we do need to listen to Him!Delete
So have the last 265 Popes and the whole Church for the last 2,000 years not been listening to Him properly? Have they missed the point?Delete
In some ways no doubt yes. The Church has got many things about God wrong in the course of its history, and its teaching has been by no means as consistent and uniform as some like to think.Delete
So if the Church could have been so consistently wrong on this subject for 2,000 years, what assurance do we have that she has now got it right?Delete
Indeed what assurance do we have? But I don't think Pope Francis in this case is proposing any change to the understanding of marriage. He is only suggesting that in some cases the Church's laws on who should or should not be allowed to receive holy communion could be relaxed in the face of people's needs, recognising that human affairs and motives are often complex and stigmatising categorisation is not appropriate. Legalists seem to think that if those whom they call adulterous sinners are admitted to communion the whole moral law will collapse. Others, including the Holy Father, do not agree. He might point out that Our Lord had things to say about those who lay heavy burdens on others, but do not lift a finger to help them bear the burdens. At the very least this should indicate that how we apply his teaching is a more complex matter than legalism likes to think and should take account of the vagaries and ambiguities of human affairs. If we just keep ourselves pure and holy, will our religion have much of a future?Delete
Not wishing to get into any debate about whether the understanding of marriage has changed, you obviously think that Pope Francis has allegedly relaxed the laws on allowing people who are d&r to receive Holy Communion. Now I would agree that human affairs and motives are complex - in fact more often than not. I would suggest they always have been - human nature has not changed from the first century to our present day. But why is he right to change the rules and why were JPII and BXVI wrong to say that the rules could never change? As for your last question, on Sunday Bishop Egan's pastoral suggested precisely that we need to become holy if we are to have any serious chance of evangelizing and "building communion." Would you disagree?Delete
To put it another way Savonarola, although we may think this or that about how the "law" if you like should be applied, according to circumstances, we do need the law itself to be consistent and logical because it is our only dependable guide to the invisible realities of the Faith.Delete
If the Church's teachings lose their logical consistency then they can all start to come unraveled. Sadly for some divorced remarried people, their state of life places them at a vital junction between various aspects of the law, right where the rubber meets the road, where humanly we would love to relax the Faith's severity but spiritually we find we can't.
I think many people were sympathetic to the idea of trying to change the pastoral practice if it could be squared with the doctrine, but alas the people near Pope Francis don't seem to be able to manage it. They either to "show their working" or admit that it can't be done.
As a fairly recent convert myself, I should say that at least some people are drawn to the Faith precisely because it takes these matters seriously.
I do course of course agree with Bishop Egan, but there are some ways of being holy that seem to repel more than they attract. How you go about it is maybe what matters most.Delete
In a reading today St. Vincent de Paul says, 'charity takes precedence over any rules.' Some will say it is not true charity if we suggest to people that they need not observe the moral law, because it will all then unravel. Pope Francis, it seems to me, is not wanting to change any rules laid down by his predecessors, but he clearly does think that charity may entail questioning in some cases how they should be applied. There is bound to be some ambiguity resulting from this. Perhaps the question is, can we live with this or does it have to be all or nothing? If we differ on this can we differ charitably?
"The Church has got many things about God wrong in the course of its history, and its teaching has been by no means as consistent and uniform as some like to think."Delete
If that's your posture, that changes everything.
Because we are no longer arguing with someone trying to work from Catholic premises, but from a premise outside the faith. You clearly do not accept the Church's authority to begin with.
That's an (apologetic) discussion that is worth having, but it's not the one I think we all thought we were having with you.
To say the Church has got some things wrong in the course of its history does not entail anything about accepting or not its authority. The issue here is not about the authority of the Church's teaching on marriage. Pope Francis has made it clear that he fully accepts that, as I do, indeed consider it to be extremely important. The issue is whether in some cases one may question how the rules on communion are to be applied and whether they may be relaxed without the whole moral law collapsing. The Pope thinks they can be and that the resulting ambiguity and messiness are things we just have to live with. Others say it has to be all or nothing. What seems to me also important is whether we can differ here charitably without imputing bad faith, not being truly Catholic etc. to each other.Delete
Always it is easy to identify when one is widely off track - the adversary will always revert to what I call the position of the schoolyard bully - name calling and the sneer - and we see this in spades by those who have no rational case against the dubia. (And when the name calling and sneer fails the schoolyard bully usually tries fistycuffs - so be alert - watch out! - phase 2 might be upon us soon !)ReplyDelete
Thank you, Dr. Shaw, for your efforts. Truth will prevail.ReplyDelete
In reading comments in various online publications, I encountered some that state that this insignificant document, signed by an insignificant number of insignificant nobodies, has zero chance of being taken seriously by "the Church."
And yet, within a matter of, literally, a few hours after dissemination, the document is being reported on and discussed throughout the entire world, including within the Church. Catholics are talking about the document and reacting to it.
Quite a feat for a small group of insignificant nobodies.
God bless you all.
No fan of Bergoglio, but wasn't his point simply that mortal sin is a matter of internal forum, to use the more 'traditional' terminology. Sin isn't necessarily mortal unless there is full consent of will and full knowledge, and this isn't something that can be determined from the external forum.ReplyDelete
Good for you for drawing attention to Bergoglio's heresies. But what will you do when he ignores the 'correction'? He ignored the dubia cardinals, after all. If he's your Pope, surely you have to submit to him? Or will you finally realise that he's an impostor?ReplyDelete