April 18, 2017

Catholic Scholar Asks, “Is the Pope Catholic?”

The Vatican

Douglas Farrow, the Kennedy Smith Chair in Catholic Studies at McGill University, writing for First Things last month, asks whether the papacy of Pope Francis is driving the Church toward schism. The confusion surrounding Amoris Laetitia has resulted in a diversity of understandings based upon the subsidiarity judgment of individual priest and prelates. Seeking clarity, four cardinals issued a dubia asking the Holy Father to answer questions about his post-synod apostolic exhortation.

Pope Francis has yet to answer the dubia. Consequently, prelates worldwide have interpreted Amoris in radically different ways. Farrow observes, "The trauma of the two synods on the family, which led to Amoris and to the dubia, is a trauma for which Francis himself is largely responsible."

"Actually, very little one hears from the Vatican these days reassures." Farrow continues. "This leaves those of us who are struggling with “discernment of situations” (to use the phrase from Familiaris Consortio that was taken up by Amoris Laetitia) in some perplexity, not so much in the matter of marriage and family life as in the life of the Church herself. Reckoning with a pope whose own remarks seem somewhat erratic is one thing. But how are we to reckon with a situation in which the administration of the sacraments, and the theology behind their administration, is succumbing, with his blessing, to regionalism?"

Farrow asserts that, "The ongoing rebellion against Humanae Vitae and Veritatis Splendor is something that he [Francis] has permitted, if not encouraged. And the flaws in Amoris are of his making. His unwillingness to respond directly to the dubia is not, then, a matter of taste only. In any event, the very fact that the dubia have been put—and they have been well put, whether or not they should have been put publicly—has carried the whole difficulty beyond matters of taste. Cardinal Müller’s denial that there is a doctrinal problem here is unconvincing."

To read Dr. Farrow's article, "Discernment of Situation", in full go HERE.

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