October 9, 2015

Will the "Kasper proposal" Lead the Church to Schism? One Observer Says "Yes"

While I do not agree entirely with Michael Brendan Dougherty's article "Does Pope Francis fear God? On the Synod of the Family and the fracturing of the Catholic Church," (I am generally more optimistic) it does, nonetheless, raise compelling questions, in light of Pope Francis' actions and public statements. Dougherty writes:
My prediction is that, after much fixing and machinations by its leaders, the Synod on the Family will declare that the Holy Spirit led them to a new understanding of the truth. The Synod's leaders will adopt the position that those living in second marriages, irrespective of the status of their first marriage, should be admitted to Holy Communion. This is commonly called the "Kasper proposal" after its author, the German Cardinal Walter Kasper. The Synod will likely leave the details of a "penitential period of reflection" for these souls up to local bishops and parish priests The leading bishops will assure critics that in fact no doctrine has been changed, only a discipline — even if these will make no sense when considered together.
He goes on to discuss the potential fracturing of the Church in view of the alarm sounded by many Synod Fathers that Synod proceedings are undermining, and indeed, altering Church doctrine. According to Dougherty, this, alongside other developments, constitutes a crisis:
The conservative opponents of the Kasper proposal now talk of the recent history of the church as a "crisis." This is remarkable language for a church that has canonized or beatified almost every pontiff in living memory. Previously, it was thought bold to talk about "confusion" in the church in the years after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. The language of crisis is a word that conservatives borrow from the traditionalist critics of that council and its aftermath. I am one of them.  
Church doctrine is immutable and cannot change. However, it can be presented badly and taught in error. As one blogging priest put it:
I am not worried that the Synod will attempt to change God’s and the Church’s teaching. ...I am worried that the widely reported antics that might take place at the Synod will create an atmosphere of expectation that God’s and the Church’s teaching can change and that, based on that expectation, people will start doing whatever... they want.  
In July, we posted on false internet memes purporting that Francis had, or has intentions to, alter Church doctrine. In response, one commenter offered the following with supporting links:
"Nothing but confusion will be and have been the result of his own words. Who needs to make up hoaxes, what he says and who he appoints and removes speaks volumes.
'The world has changed and the Church cannot lock itself into alleged interpretations of dogma. We have to approach social conflicts, new and old, and try to give a hand of comfort, not to stigmatize and not to just impugn,' - Pope Francis"
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Shock with the appointment of Danneels to a Synod on the Family - and the memories of a 2010 tape

Hundreds in Chile try to stop Bishop Barros ordination

Some Questions Cardinal George Would Like to Ask Pope Francis

Vatican appointee says gay sex can express Christ’s ‘self-gift’

Go here to read the article in full.

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