Friday, January 13, 2017

Should the Koran Be Read During Christian Worship?

I saw this reported on a few websites in the past couple days that an Episcopalian cathedral in Glasgow had invited a Muslim woman to read from the Koran during their liturgy for the Feast of the Epiphany (or Theophany in the East). Thank God this would never be allowed in a Catholic Church, but nonetheless, this act is scandalous to Christians of any creed. At least it should be. What makes it even more problematic was that the reading that was used was from the 19th Surah. While this selection speaks of the Annunciation and Jesus' conception, it is wholly inappropriate as the 35th verse completely denies that Jesus was divine. It flat out affirms that that Jesus was not God. And this selection was read during a Christian liturgy, where Jesus, God the Son, is worshiped.
The Theophany in Heaven with the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist

Sunday, January 8, 2017

What To Do About Confusion?

The whole confusion surrounding the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia truly saddens me, and I just don't understand how there can be so many contradictory interpretations of this document among not just theologians, clergy, and laypeople, but between bishops.

I was just made aware of an interpretation by Bishop Benno Elbs of Feldkirch, Austria who told an Austrian newspaper that regarding the doctrine telling us the D&R can't receive Communion,
"The doctrine is changed inasmuch as the door is now open. People have done this before, but now with the Pope's blessing, they can, so to speak, make this decision with their conscience... If it's in a footnote or not isn't significant to me. The entire document breathes the spirit that the individual finds in his own conscience a way to deal with life's situations."
Bishop Benno Elbs

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Elephant(s) in the Room

With a new year just beginning, the same controversies that plagued the last continue. It appears that all the discussion surrounding Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Latetia (AL) will continue into 2017. In an interview, Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the four cardinals who submitted the dubia, explained that a formal correction could appear in the new year if the dubia were not addressed. Things are getting pretty serious, and how things will play out is anyone's guess. I sincerely pray there will be no division and all will be resolved by God's grace. I've read a lot of commentary on the issue, and had some discussions with others on this as well, and it all seems to boil down to a couple of issues that are the clear "elephant, or elephants, in the room". One of those, taken from a conversation I was a part of can be seen below:
"Is the idea that refraining from sexual intercourse from a civilly-married partner is too large of a burden and too great of an expectation?"
"It may be that this question is THE elephant in the room re[garding] AL.
"From my own... experience re married couples, especially a Catholic woman married to a non Catholic man, yes, this may well be an unreasonable ask (sic) for a variety of reasons."
To which another person replied, citing the Council of Trent, Session VI: "CANON XVIII.-If any one saith, that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep; let him be anathema."

What's being referred to here is the apparent (not actual) contradiction found in one interpretation of AL's footnote #351 (on page 237) and section 84 of Pope St. John Paul II's Familiaris Consortio (FC) which reads:
"[T]he Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.
"Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they 'take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.'"
The rest of the conversation, or at least the relevant portions, will follow below. I believe this conversation was very fruitful, and I was able to learn quite a bit, especially by reading more of the papal documents promulgated by Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI; documents I had never given the time of day to read, but now realize the entirety of these documents are a great treasure of the Church. My words will be in blue, my main interlocutor's in red, and other people chiming in during the conversation will be in other various colors:
Pope St. John Paul II