FALSE PROPHET BERGOGLIO…FOLLOW YOUR CONSCIENCE!
Pope Francis rejects calls for Catholic Church to approve gay marriage but softens stance on cohabiting and divorced couples in 260-page ‘Joy of Love’ report on family
. Pope Francis today released new guidelines on love, sex and the family
. It will go a long way to defining his legacy as a conservative or progressive
. He announced he wishes to maintain Church’s opposition to gay marriage
. However, it must begin to show degrees of flexibility on other issues
. Francis emphasized Jesus’ message of mercy for priests applying doctrine
. It must consider individuals’ problems within their circumstances, he says
Pope Francis has rejected liberal calls to accept gay unions in a new set of guidelines on love, marriage and the family which are expected to become one of the defining moments of his tenure.
In his 260-page text titled ‘The Joy of Love’, released today, he has denied hopes for the Church’s blessing of gay marriage or civil unions.
Not only will the new document define the 79-year-old’s legacy, but also provide a new foundation for teachings given to the world’s 1.2billion Catholics.
While not unexpected, no changes his stance on gay marriage will come as a disappointment for Catholics who had been encouraged to hope for real change by Francis’s famous ‘Who am I to judge?’ remark about homosexuality early in his papacy.
In the absence of any new language on gay believers, official Church teaching defaults to the controversial formula that same-sex relationships are ‘intrinsically disordered’.
The area in which the missive arguably signals the biggest change is in its recognition of the values embodied in the relationships of people once severely condemned as ‘living in sin’.
Officially referred to as an ‘apostolic exhortation’, the massive text targets a huge swathe of issues related to family life.
He says that individual conscience should be the guiding principle for Catholics negotiating the complexities of sex, marriage and family life.
However, it also rejects the Church’s emphasis on inflexible black and white rules for its faithful.
He makes no change in church doctrine, but in selectively citing his predecessors and emphasising his own teachings, he makes clear that he wants a revolution in the way priests accompany Catholics.
He says the church must no longer sit in judgment and ‘throw stones’ against those who fail to live up to the Gospel’s ideals of marriage and family life!
He said: ‘We have been called to form consciences, not replace to them. I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion.
‘But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness.’
‘THE JOY OF LOVE’: KEY POINTS FROM POPE FRANCIS’S DEFINING TEXT
HOMOSEXUALITY:Francis slaps down proposals to place gay unions on the same level as marriage, saying bishops found ‘there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family’.
He offered sympathy to those families with gay relatives, ‘a situation not easy for parents or for children’, and said the Church must avoid ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ towards homosexuals.
COHABITATION: Francis says couples who live together outside of marriage ‘need to be welcomed and guided, patiently and discreetly’, and the choice to cohabit may be based on external factors such as financial difficulties or cultural situations!
REMARRIED DIVORCED PEOPLE: ‘They are not excommunicated and should not be treated as such’, and should be made to feel part of the Church ‘while avoiding any occasion of scandal’. The pope says the Christian community caring for such people ‘is not to be considered a weakening of its faith’ but a sign of ‘its charity’.
BROKEN MARRIAGES:Pastors should judge situations on a case-by-case basis: ‘we know that no “easy recipes” exist’.
CHILDREN: Offspring should be taught to say ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry, they should be punished for misbehaviour, cured of the vice of ‘wanting it all now’ and prevented from watching television programmes which undercut family values.
CHURCH SELF-CRITICISM: ‘We need a healthy dose of self-criticism’, said the pope, admitting that until now the Church has ‘proposed a far too abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage’ and struggles to present marriage as more than ‘a lifelong burden’.
CONTRACEPTION: The Church sanctioned family planning method of abstaining from sex should be ‘promoted’ – not that other methods are forbidden – and children must receive sex education, albeit without focusing on ‘safe sex’.
On thorny issues such as contraception, he stressed that a couple’s individual conscience – not dogmatic rules imposed across the board – must guide their decisions and the church’s pastoral practice.
He insisted the church’s aim is to reintegrate and welcome all its members. He called for a new language to help Catholic families cope with today’s problems, and said pastors must take into account mitigating factors – fear, ignorance, habits and duress – in counselling Catholics who are not perfect.
‘It can no longer simply be said that all those in any irregular situations are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace,’ he wrote.
Even those in an ‘objective situation of sin’ can be in a state of grace, (??) and can even be more pleasing to God by trying to improve, he said!
The document’s release marks the culmination of a divisive two-year consultation of ordinary Catholics and the church hierarchy that Francis initiated in hopes of understanding the problems facing Catholic families today and providing them with better pastoral care.
The most divisive issue was whether Francis would loosen the Vatican’s strict position on whether Catholics who divorce and remarry can receive Communion.
Church teaching holds that unless these Catholics receive an annulment, or a church decree that their first marriage was invalid, they are committing adultery and cannot receive Communion.
Conservatives had insisted the rules were fixed and there was no way around Christ’s teaching on marriage. Progressives had sought to balance doctrine with mercy and look at each couple on a case-by-case basis, accompanying them on a path of reconciliation that could lead to them eventually receiving the sacraments.
Francis took a unilateral step last year in changing church law to make it easier to get an annulment.
Today he said the rigorous response proposed by the conservatives was inconsistent with Jesus’s message of mercy.
‘By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and of growth and discourage paths of sanctification which give glory to God.
‘Let us remember that a small step in the midst of great human limitations can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order but moves through the day without confronting great difficulties.’
Francis did not endorse the ‘penitential path’ of bringing such civilly remarried Catholics to Communion that was advocated by leading progressives such as Cardinal Walter Kasper.
But he repeated what the synod had endorsed the need for pastors to help individual Catholics over the course of spiritual direction to ascertain what God is asking of them.
And he went further by explicitly linking such discussions of conscience with having access to the sacraments.
In footnotes, Francis cited his previous document The Joy Of The Gospel in saying that the Eucharist ‘is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak’.
While Francis frequently cited John Paul, whose papacy was characterised by a hardline insistence on doctrine and sexual morals, he did so selectively.
Francis referenced certain parts of John Paul’s 1981 Familius Consortio, the guiding Vatican document on family life until Friday, but he omitted any reference to its divisive paragraph 83, which explicitly forbids the sacraments for the divorced and civilly remarried.
In fact, Francis went further than mere omission and squarely rejected John Paul’s call in that document for people in civil second marriages to live as brother and sister, abstaining from sex so they can still receive the sacraments.
In a footnote, Francis said many people offered such a solution by the church ‘point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of children suffer’.
Similarly, in discussing the need for ‘responsible parenthood’ and regulating the number of children, Francis made no mention of the church’s opposition to artificial contraception. He squarely rejected abortion as ‘horrendous’ and cited the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which deals with the issue.
But Francis made no mention of the ‘unlawful birth control methods’ rejected in Humanae Vitae. Instead he focused on the need for couples in their conscience to make decisions about their family size.
He also condemned at length the ‘verbal, physical and sexual violence’ many women endure in marriages, rejects ‘sexual submission’ and the ‘reprehensible’ practice of genital mutilation.
And he says the belief that feminism is to blame for the crisis in families today is completely invalid.