Saturday, July 9, 2016

News Flash: Archbishop Chaput Has Not Changed Church Teaching... And Neither Has the Pope

"Archbishop Chaput's Arrogant Contradiction of Pope Francis"
"Archbishop Chaput's actions 'are not Christian'"
"Divorced Catholics Must Avoid Sex"

These are actual headlines in response to Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia's letter “Pastoral Guidelines for Implementing Amoris Laetitia” released last week.  You'd think three things from headlines in the secular main-stream media (MSM) looking at the examples above:

1. Pope Francis changed Church doctrine to be more lax
2. Archbishop Chaput has thought he can change this doctrine again to make it more "rigid"
3. This is actually news.

Here's a hint for number 3... it's not news. It's not because the first and second points are false. Pope Francis didn't change anything with Amoris Laetitia, no matter how bad people in the secular or liberal Christian world want it to, and Archbishop is saying nothing new; he's just reiterating Catholic teaching. And judging by the response, the world, especially those Catholics who have embraced modernity and the lifestyles of the secular culture, need to hear it.
Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia
In today's world, asking anyone to refrain from sex for one reason or another is the equivalent of asking someone not to breathe. It's obvious that our culture is obsessed with sex. Obviously, it's not for the reasons intended, the unity of the spouses and the life-giving gift of procreation. Casual sex, hook-up culture, and the copious use of contraceptives reigns supreme. These people in the MSM seem to scream "The Church can't tell us what we can and can't do in our bedrooms!" of course, I agree. One can do whatever they want; the question is should we engage in sexual activity outside of marriage? Is living in a state of adultery while contracepting something we ought to do?

In addition to that, these MSM "journalists" (yea, I'll use the so-called scare quotes here because it's obvious many of these men and women have done no research on the subject of Church authority) don't know the first thing about how the Church works and how she proclaims her doctrines. They treat Amoris Laetitia as if it's an ex cathedra  statement from the Pope himself (it's not, and is merely a pastoral letter [by Pope Francis' own admission in paragraph 5] and not even expressly an exercise of the Ordinary Magisterium), while something like Humane Vitae is a part of the deposit of faith and is part of the Ordinary Magisterium. Since they think this, they believe that Pope Francis has basically said, "Hey y'all, it's all right if you shack up before marriage, it's all right if you contracept, it's OK to engage in perverse sexual acts since it's your own bedroom, and it's OK to mortally sin and receive the Holy Eucharist now!" Obviously, he said no such thing. That's because Pope Francis is, as he has said "A son of the Church", and he will not change Church doctrine and cannot change Church doctrine. Cardinal Raymond Burke put it well in the link above when he said that the apostolic exhortation, "by its very nature, does not propose new doctrine and discipline, but applies the perennial doctrine and discipline to the situation of the world at the time." Those journalists should keep that in mind, and also take a cue from the Dummie's Guide to the Magisterium.

The Marriage at Cana
Archbishop Chaput has given some wonderful insight on Amoris Laetitia in the guidelines he set forth, and will hopefully serve as a model for all dioceses across the United States. He's taken what Pope Francis has said and is applying it, as he's supposed to it being a pastoral letter and all, to the lives of those in his flock in accord with Church teaching:
"Amoris Laetitia therefore calls for a sensitive accompaniment of those with an imperfect grasp of Christian teaching on marriage and family life, who may not be living in accord with Catholic belief, and yet desire to be more fully integrated into Church life, including the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist. 
"The Holy Father’s statements build on the classic Catholic understanding, key to moral theology, of the relationship between objective truth about right and wrong – for example, the truth about marriage revealed by Jesus himself – and how the individual person grasps and applies that truth to particular situations in his or her judgment of conscience. Catholic teaching makes clear that the subjective conscience of the individual can never be set against objective moral truth, as if conscience and truth were two competing principles for moral decision-making. 
"As St. John Paul II wrote, such a view would 'pose a challenge to the very identity of the moral conscience in relation to human freedom and God's law... Conscience is not an independent and exclusive capacity to decide what is good and what is evil' (Veritatis Splendor 56, 60). Rather, 'conscience is the application of the law to a particular case' (Veritatis Splendor 59). Conscience stands under the objective moral law and should be formed by it, so that '[t]he truth about moral good, as that truth is declared in the law of reason, is practically and concretely recognized by the judgment of conscience' (Veritatis Splendor 61). "
What's really sad, is that people think Pope Francis, in asking for a year of mercy, is giving everyone carte blanche to go out and do whatever they want, and when they're done, they can just ask for mercy without being sorry. That's why people are so up in arms with Archbishop Chaput's statement. It's like he's basically telling us straight up, "No, that's obviously, and clearly not what Pope Francis means! Look what I wrote, this is how we read the apostolic exhortation, in light of Church teaching!" Even the mayor of Philadelphia, who calls himself a "lifelong Catholic" is against his own bishop, and had the audacity to tell him via Twitter that his actions "are not Christian". So much for obedience to one's bishop, something all lifelong Catholics should know. And so much for avoiding calumny as well. It's a sad day when a man, especially one in government, can tell his own bishop that his actions are not Christian. But then, temporal leaders have been doing this centuries. One would just think the mayor wouldn't want to be in the same company as King Henry VIII, the prime example of how a civil leader can be disobedient to one's bishop.

It's a sad state of affairs when many Catholics, because of poor catechization, disagree with the timeless teaching of the Church in regard to the married life, sexual ethics, and the worthiness of receiving the Eucahrist. Yes, the Pope is right. The Eucharist is medicine for the sick. A lot of people forget that the Eucharist remits venial sin! But as St. Paul reminds us, we cannot receive the Blessed Sacrament unworthy, or else we'll be guilty of profaning the very Body and Blood of our Lord. We are unworthy to receive when we are in mortal sin. But now, a number of Catholics who have bought into the secular view on life see the Eucharist as little more than food shared at a meal between friends. How sad this is. And because of this outlook, it leads to a degradation of understanding on other areas of Catholic teaching, such as the married life and sexual ethics. Cardinal Burke raised some good points when he said in a recent interview:

"We as Catholics have not properly combated (the culture) because we have not been taught our Catholic Faith, especially in the depth needed to address these grave evils of our time. This is a failure of catechesis both of children and young people that has been going on for fifty years. It is being addressed, but it needs much more radical attention... What has also contributed greatly to the situation is an exaltation of the virtue of tolerance which is falsely seen as the virtue which governs all other virtues. In other words, we should tolerate other people in their immoral actions to the extent that we seem also to accept the moral wrong. Tolerance is a virtue, but it is certainly not the principal virtue; the principal virtue is charity... Charity means speaking the truth. I have encountered it (not speaking the truth) many times myself as a priest and bishop. It is something we simply need to address. There is far too much silence — people do not want to talk about it because the topic is not 'politically correct.' But we cannot be silent any longer."
Man Of Sorrows- from Church of Our Lady in Prague
Catholics need to understand the Church's teaching inside and out, or at least, submit to the teachings of the Church that Christ founded. This is especially true of our elected officials, like our friend the mayor. He believes that the Archbishop is "un-Christian" for not allowing sexually active homosexuals to receive the Eucharist. Well, it's the same for those who are divorced and civilly remarried, and those who are not yet married. But obviously, he's forgotten that, just as he's forgotten that all sexual activity outside of marriage (between those of the same-sex and those who are of the opposite sex) is grave matter. It'd be good if the mayor actually looked at what the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith under then-Cardinal Ratzinger (with official approval from Pope St. John Paul II) had to say back in 2003's "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons", as it applies directly to him:

"In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty...  If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications... 
"When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth."
It's pretty obvious what the Church's stance is, so one would certainly be right in saying that the mayor's actions during his tenure have been "not Christian", while Archbishop Chaput has defended the faith valiantly. By publicly opposing his bishop (and this isn't the first time), he is also standing against his own Church. The Catholic Church either holds the Truth, or it doesn't. It can't have some of the Truth; it either has the fullness of it, or else Jesus is a liar. It's time for the mayor and for others in the MSM to evaluate how their actions and witness influence, and are seen by, others and realize the implications of their statements. It's apparent that we must not cease in praying for our elected officials, and for those in a position who are able to reach many people, i.e., those in the media. Catechesis is sorely needed, making St. John Paul II's call for the "new evangelization" ever more necessary. Let's heed his words, and the words of Cardinal Burke and "not be silent any longer".

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