New Jersey Archbishop puts pope Francis in his place


Pope Francis may be trying to put a kinder, gentler face on the Catholic church but it is good to remember that he has not actually changed the doctrine in any way, just shifted attention away from church stances that are becoming increasingly unpopular. The Synod of Bishops is currently in session and there is clearly tension between the various factions in the church.

It was reported that some thirteen cardinals were so alarmed by recent changes the pope made to the synod’s entrenched (and predictable) methodology that they sent him a letter of appeal and protest (though a number of those identified as signatories have denied it). Nonetheless, Francis basically rejected their claims the day after allegedly receiving the letter when, in a rare intervention before the entire general assembly, he told the bishops to stop using the “hermeneutics of conspiracy,” which he called “sociologically weak and spiritually unhelpful.”

The pope’s enemies — and there are many at every level of the church and in the media — have seized upon the bishops’ real and perceived hysteria to forge the narrative that Francis’ 31-month-old pontificate is now in grave danger of totally unraveling.

But there’s another storyline to what’s been transpiring in these early days of the three-week-long synodal assembly. It is this: for the first time in the half-century that the synod has existed, there is a pope who — with increasing evidence — seems intent on finally developing the potential of this permanent body and making it a constitutive element of universal Church governance.

This alarms many bishops and it scares the bejesus out the old guard in the Roman Curia. At least those who have been paying attention.

(I am amused that the National Catholic Reporter uses the term ‘bejesus’.)

But an archbishop in America has decided to tell parish clergy not to be confused by all this debate and instructed them to exactly follow the current doctrines. This means that anyone who publicly contradicts doctrine or joins or supports any organization that does, should not be allowed to receive communion or even use any of the church facilities.

This means that divorced people and gays are ruled out. Note also that church doctrine also forbids contraception so strictly enforcing this rule would, for starters, keep out pretty much all women.

Comments

  1. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Note also that church doctrine also forbids contraception so strictly enforcing this rule would, for starters, keep out pretty much all women.

    This is really the formulation you want to use?

  2. Mano Singham says

    I used it simply because of this widely publicized statistic that “Data shows that 98 percent of sexually experienced women of child-bearing age and who identify themselves as Catholic have used a method of contraception other than natural family planning at some point in their lives.”

    Can you suggest a better/more accurate way to make the point?

  3. mr.ed says

    Regardless of the current turmoil, the possibility of another Jesuit pope is pretty slim. I think he eats his own food because he’s afraid of being poisoned. If it were me, I’d have a cardinal taste it first. Another day, another cardinal.
    As slowly as he’s moving in a microscopically progressive way, it’s way too fast for some.
    And they vote.

  4. machintelligence says

    mr.ed @3 I suppose that they have a backup pope who could be called out of retirement as well.

  5. says

    CD has a point, Mano. I grok why you went with “women”, but there are a good number of people who, while they have ovaries and uteri, are not women.

    Unfortunately, I’ve no suggestions on how to rephrase — everything I can think of is awfully awkward.

  6. Mano Singham says

    WMDKitty,

    Thanks! Now I get it. I know I am somewhat ignorant on many of the nuances involved with gender issues and although I am trying to get up to speed on them, I fear this will not be the last time I phrase things awkwardly.

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    … he has not actually changed the doctrine in any way, just shifted attention away from church stances that are becoming increasingly unpopular.

    Francis/Bergoglio has done all he can to switch the topic to issues such as global warming and economic equality – that is, areas where other nation-states carry all the weight and the Vatican’s contribution is inconsequential.

  8. says

    Ah, I wouldn’t worry too much about awkwardness. We don’t exactly have a word, widely-accepted or otherwise, to express the idea of “person who is female-bodied but not a woman.” (The same applies to male-bodied people who aren’t men.) Nor do we have any kind of concept of a third gender, unlike some societies, which can leave a lot of people in the lurch, forced to identify as fe/male despite being neither/both.

    So, awkwardness is pretty much a given ’til we collectively get our (metaphorical) shit together.

  9. Steersman says

    WMDKitty (#5):

    CD has a point, Mano. I grok why you went with “women”, but there are a good number of people who, while they have ovaries and uteri, are not women.

    While I’ll grant you a point or two for “grok” – thanks for the memories, one might reasonably ask, just what is your definition for “woman”? Considering that most dictionaries, including medical ones, suggest that we have more or less agreed that “woman” means “female human” with “female” in turn being defined as the ability “to produce ova or bear young”, one might reasonably argue that Jenner, for example, certainly doesn’t qualify on either account. Although, if one wanted to be a stickler for detail, one could also argue that many people who are menopausal don’t really qualify for the term “woman” either since they, presumably, can’t “produce ova” despite having both ovaries and uteri.

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