Skip to comments.[Catholic Caucus] Prelate close to pope: Divorced/remarried can be teachers, lectors, godfathers
Posted on 03/04/2018 12:22:56 PM PST by ebb tide
ROME - At one level, it could be said, it probably doesnt matter a great deal in ecclesiastical terms what the Bishop of Albano, Italy, says about the implementation of Pope Franciss much-discussed document on the family, Amoris Laetitia, and its cautious opening to Communion for Catholics who divorce and remarry outside the Church.
Located in the hills outside Rome near the erstwhile summer papal residence of Castel Gandolfo, Albano is a place the vast majority of Catholics in the world probably have never been, and its bishop generally a figure few of them could pick out of a lineup.
Yet Bishop Marcello Semeraro isnt just any old shepherd of Albano, because hes also the secretary to the C9, the council of cardinal advisers from around the world created by Francis shortly after his election to serve as his kitchen cabinet. Its formal remit is to develop a plan for reform of the Roman Curia, but in reality, Francis uses it as a sounding board for many of his important decisions.
That means Semeraro is often in the room when the sausage of this papacy is being ground. He knows the popes mind and will as well as just about anyone, so when he released a set of pastoral guidelines on implanting Amoris Laetitia for his presbyteral council on Friday, the contents attracted more than the usual amount of attention.
Summing up, one could say that Semeraro didnt walk back from the cautious yes Francis delivered on the Communion question, extending it to a range of other roles in the Church from which divorced and civilly remarried Catholics at times have been excluded, including:
None of those roles, he stressed, should be automatic.
On the part of the bishop, or a pastor or confessor, its not at all a matter of conceding a sort of permission form to enter the community of the faithful, or more simply, for being able to take Communion, Semeraro wrote.
Put in those terms, the question is radically misleading, he said.
Among other things, Semeraro identified certain conditions as indispensable for any meaningful discernment, such as the status of ones previous union and loyalty to the new one, as well as awareness that the new situation is irregular.
In terms of the new union, the 70-year-old Semeraro said it should be consolidated in time and lived in fidelity, marked by sincere affection and responsibility with regard to the children, sustained by prayer and habitual participation in the life of the parochial community.
Amoris Laetitia never talks about a generalized permission for receiving the sacraments on the part of all divorced and civilly remarried persons, Semeraro said. It also doesnt say that the path of conversion begun by those who desire it must necessarily lead to access to the sacraments.
Instead, Semeraro wrote, the emphasis in Amoris is on discernment, without pre-determining where that might lead.
The heart of it is accompaniment and discernment, he said, meaning the search for the will of God that needs to be realized, and of steps and concrete means for putting it into practice.
On the other hand, Semeraro also appeared to discourage making the requirements for Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried unnecessarily restrictive.
Its fundamental that whats proposed always take account of the real situation in life of the interested parties, he said, and avoid making disproportionate requests that are beyond their abilities, and, for that matter, beyond whats asked of other faithful.
Its no longer possible, Semeraro wrote, simply to say that everyone living in an irregular situation is therefore automatically in a state of mortal sin, deprived of sanctifying grace.
Whats called for, he said, is an examination of conscience to verify if theres sincere repentance, never asking more from the penitent than he or she is capable of giving.
Part of the task of the pastor, Semeraro wrote, is to indicate to the faithful the moral horizon of Christian life helping the person to see what depends on him or her in the situation being lived at the moment, and what doesnt.
He rejected one-size-fits-all solutions.
A new general norm as in canon law, equal for all, is absolutely out of place, he said. Whats needed, he said, is to accompany specific situations.
The instruction was titled Rallegratevi con me, Italian for Rejoice with Me, and makes special reference to chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia, where Francis deals with irregular situations such as divorce and remarriage outside the Church.
All but one of the Cardinals look like bobble toys. And I suppose Pope Francis is the Bobbler.
Does this mean the second marriage? How about the third? Maybe the fourth?
What about the sincerely never married and just living together?
How about the married in a secular courthouse, but because of conscience, not married in the church because of a, b, or c.
Stretching the semantics into pretzels is not a good way to live the Gospel.
Calling Bishop Spong!
How about loyalty to Jesus Christ and his teaching that those who divorce and marry again are committing adultery?
We hear him very well and see his devastation. Bent on replacing the devout Shepherds and the faithful, with apostate wolves, and non-believers, anti-Catholics and the dis-ordered, he must hope to create the largest Protestant sect of them all.
These works are not of God and are intentionally schismatic. Since these actors possess the buildings and the Seat of Peter, the galactically stupid will happily believe that the faithful are schismatics and the diabolical Modernists are now Seat of Peter and represent Holy Mother Church. This is to be, but only until all the faithful are gathered into the new Israel, His Church, The Mystical Body of Christ, built on Peter, the rock.
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