The "pastoral plan" (there's that word "pastoral" again!) is on the archdiocesan site. I'd suggest that we all download it for safe-keeping. It's a 58-page tome, but quite a bit of it is blank space and pictures. The thing is rife with talks of "pastoral accompaniment". For example, on page 11 of the pdf, right-hand column under "step by step", we read "In considering a pastoral approach toward people who have contracted a civil marriage, who are divorced and remarried, or simply living together, the Church has the responsibility of helping them understand the divine pedagogy of grace in their lives and offering them assistance." The Church does that by telling them in no uncertain terms that they must quit their sinful situations and go to Confession. Why, oh why, is that not plainly stated? Their eternal salvation hangs in the balance.
On page 13 of the pdf, we read "If there is a breakdown that leads to separation or even divorce, that loving accompaniment by the Church needs to continue, said the Holy Father. It is important that the divorced who have entered a new union should be made to feel part of the Church". There is so much wrong with this.
- If a Catholic divorces and civilly remarries, they have ejected Our Lord from their lives by their mortal sin. The Church cannot "accompany" them in their sin. The Church must practice the Spiritual Works of Mercy. That entails "rebuking the sinner".
- Notice the word "feel". Feelings often have nothing to do with reality. The goal of making them "feel part of the Church" when in fact they have separated themselves from sanctifying grace would be to engage in deception that can only have disastrous consequences for the souls of these divorced Catholics living in adultery.
Let's be plain-spoken, shall we? This gobblygoop is nothing more than an attempt at a disclaimer of responsibility for those who are literally hell-bent on thumbing their noses at God's moral teachings on marriage, family, sexuality, etc. I'll point out some of the more obvious nonsense.
- culpability of any of us does not depend solely on exposure to the teaching. It is not enough simply to hear the teaching. We have to be helped to grasp and accept it. Would the same excuse be given if the teaching in question regarded the topic of theft? If someone hears the teaching "thou shalt not steal", they simply must obey it. No one has to "help them to accept it". If a thief is caught and tried, that defense (in most cases) will be laughed off.
- Here is the link to Veritatis Splendor from the Vatican website. I looked up the word "experiential" and couldn't find it. Is anyone else able to cite the specific section of that encyclical where this term "experiential moral knowledge" exists? If not, I must assume that either Pope Francis fancied something that wasn't there OR it's a cheesy attempt to misuse the name of Pope Saint John Paul II to lend undeserved credibility to both AL and this "pastoral plan".
- Priests are called to respect the decisions made in conscience by individuals who act in good faith since no one can enter the soul of another and make that judgment for them Let's not kid ourselves. Anyone whose "conscience" directs them to disobey God's commands is NOT acting in good faith, absence of "acceptance" notwithstanding.