The Pope, the People, the Priest and Conscience
The pontificate of Pope Francis, just when you thought things had perhaps reached some sort of equilibrium, albeit a very unnerving one, took another nose dive yesterday.
I don't know whether the Pope is informed beforehand as to the nature of the questions he will be asked, I expect he is, but regardless, the Successor of St Peter yesterday entered into an epic Category 5 hurricane and, quite incredibly, called upon help from his personal doctor of the law, Cardinal Kasper, rather than Our Lord Jesus Christ as he slid further into the water. Sorry, Your Holiness, Cardinal Kasper cannot save you, or anyone, from choppy waters!
Rocco Palmo covered the story of Francis's incredible - and rambling - response to a Lutheran woman's question on whether she can receive Holy Communion because her husband is Catholic and its saddening that they can't receive Holy Communion together in a Catholic Church. The story has now been taken up by Vatican Insider. So here it is in all its gory reality...
'I dare not say anything more.' Ah, if only these words were acted upon on a more regular basis by Pope Francis, we would not have half the confusion that now exists. Why say, 'yes' or 'no' to a question when a thousand incoherent words will suffice?
|Just another Francis moment in the Church|
Make no mistake, we have, in Pope Francis, an embryonic new dogma, while not one universally accepted by the Catholic Church, which turns 'do whatever He tells you' into 'do whatever you think best according to your lights' and the post-Synod of the Family Church should be left in little doubt that, ultimately, this is a message that Pope Francis seems to sink into the minds of Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The really frightening thing about it, is that the Eucharistic Lord is being callously used in this way to advance an agenda. In the Eucharistic Jesus, clearly Pope Francis believes there is nothing, Nobody, to protect. Nor is safeguarding souls, it would seem, from profaning the Eucharistic Lord, a priority.
You might very well think that if - and I know this is radical - the Lutheran woman one day decides that she no longer sees any obstacle to becoming one with Jesus Christ in His One True Church, that there may come a time when she can receive Holy Communion - because then she would be in full Communion with the Church, but I don't know whether if you believe that, you are really on Pope Francis's wavelength. From his perspective, perhaps, this whole conversion thing is a bit backward, an outmoded concept that has kept adulterers, souls in mortal sin, manifest heretics and schismatics from the 'brotherhood' to be found in the Catholic Church.
It would seem that in the Pope's view there are issues of conscience, even for him. This is implied by his 'I dare not say anymore' comment at the end of his reply, but we're left in doubt as to whether he dares not to say anymore on the matter because he wishes not to imperil her soul, or his, or whether he is worried that Cardinal Kasper may disagree with him, or that those 'rigorist' faithful Catholic bishops, priests, cardinals and laity might disagree with him and call him out on it.
|Why does Francis not consider the conscience of the other person involved in the reception of Holy Communion?|
Yet this issue of conscience is a lot more thorny than the Pope will publicly say because while His Holiness, on such crucial matters of faith and morals, sends the 'conscience' ball back into the court of the layperson or the non-Catholic of another denomination what we never hear from him is a defence of consciences of those who are charged with the duty to protect the Blessed Sacrament as custodians of the Eucharistic Lord. Who His Holiness never considers in this kind of banter around Holy Communion is the parish priest.
It is as if, like an evil Government that wishes to instigate war, bloodshed and finally martial law in a civilian population through covert false flag operations, the Holy Father wishes to instigate war between the uninformed or dulled consciences of the persons sitting in the pews and the priest whose conscience is served not necessarily by giving Holy Communion to all people, no matter what, but undergoing his own 'discernment' as to whether to give Holy Communion to someone whose salvation, he may judge, is served better by refraining until a particular time in the future when the person is properly disposed to receive it.
|Jesus Christ, the Priest|
Francis has never mentioned this but there are in fact two consciences involved in the reception of Holy Communion. One belongs to the priest and the other belongs to the communicant. Arguably, in terms of divine judgement, the more weighty conscience belongs to the priest because he is the one who will have to answer for his custodianship of the Eucharist and care for souls. There are times and, seasons, occasions, periods that can be lengthy, when the Church asks many people to refrain from receiving Holy Communion. Francis refused to say it to a Lutheran but just one example of this is that if you are not a Catholic that you are asked not to receive Christ in the Eucharist because you are not in full Communion with His Church, not because the Church hates you. Other times include those times or periods in which the faithful themselves are in mortal sin, or are living a lifestyle that is in stark contradiction to the Gospel which they have not renounced. Due to the nature of the times, most Catholics will have experience of this often painful, but necessary truth.
|High praise: Francis once warned seminarians not to be 'little monsters'...|
Pray for priests, pray very much for the clergy, who, I am certain, still pray for the Chief Shepherd and Father in God everyday, but must by now long for God to place over them someone who supports, protects and encourages them in their priesthood, rather than threatens to leave them wide open to and completely unprotected from attacks from the enemy of God and mankind. In this whole 'debate' it is as if the priest does not even exist, just the 'people' and Holy Communion. We so often call them 'our priests'. The priest is for us, but that means the priest is for our Salvation, because the priest is Alter Christus, he is for Our Lord Jesus Christ, not just conceptually, but in the very person of Our Lord.
A short and helfpul guide to this issue of Communion of Non-Catholics may be read here.