I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
This story in the Telegraph sourced from an Italian and Argentine sources & a Facebook pages is getting a lot of play.
Pope Francis reportedly told a woman “living in sin” with a divorced man that she is free to take Holy Communion, in what appears to be a significant departure from Catholic teaching.
Jacqui Lisbona, who is from the Pope’s homeland of Argentina, wrote to the Jesuit pontiff to tell him that she had been refused Communion by her local priest, who objected to the fact that she was married to a previously divorced man.
Damian Thompson put it well:
— Damian Thompson (@holysmoke) April 23, 2014
CNN & Jake Tapper is jumping on it as will the left in short order I presume, but in all the excitement it’s worthwhile to take a look at the opening line from the story:
In apparent break from Catholic teaching, Pope is said to have phoned remarried Argentine Jacqui Lisbona to say ‘nothing wrong’ in her taking Holy Communion
The key word of course in this story are the words “is said“. Jake Tapper used the words “Reportedly Said” on CNN, Drudge put the story on his site with the word “Claim” & Fr. Z notes a possible holes in both the story & the understanding of what the Pope may have said which directly contradicts a report from last December.
The one thing we do know is this: What we actual know isn’t clear.
“Has Pope Francis just thrown a hand grenade into traditional teaching on divorcees and Communion?” Thompson tweeted. “The Vatican MUST clarify this or the Catholic world will divide into celebration and panic.”
The problem is that the Vatican isn’t clarifying, hence my use of “weasel words” like “apparently” and “reportedly.” And hence the celebration and panic around the Internet.
Unfortunately this lack of clarity will not stop people from spinning this to their advantage. So here is what is necessary for the Vatican to confirm or deny ASAP:
a: Did the Pope call the woman in question? CNN Reports they have.
b: Was the pope aware of the woman’s marital status? (it matters)
c: If the Pope was aware of her marital status , did he tell this woman she is allowed to receive communion?
If this is so this is a huge change bigger than you might think, because this is not a change in terms of the rules of marriage & divorce as Scripture & Christ is rather direct on the subject:
The Pharisees approached and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?“
They replied, “Moses permitted him to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.” But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and be joined to his wife), and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.“
In the house the disciples again questioned him about this. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.“
Since the Pope can not change the words of Christ he would instead be changing Canon law
Can. 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.
Can. 916 A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.
and the Catechism
1385 To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.
Put simply if the Pope can’t change what is mortal sin or not, he might be able to decide unconfessed and more importantly unrepented Mortal Sin is no longer an impediment to the receiving of communion.
If he did so, this would be a heaven shaking change to not only Catholic doctrine, but to this Pontiff’s entire push of people toward the sacrament of confession.
Or this could prefigure a set of guidelines toward dealing with marital sins differently than others in terms of the Eucharist. This would still be huge but not as earth shattering and changing the rules concerning mortal sin as a whole.
Now I’ve said more than once that if we take media reports concerning the Pope at face value we are fools, additionally as any person who ever saw the Uncle Gus show will tell you a story repeated changes so we don’t know if it is being reported wrong after repeated tellings, or if it was simply misunderstood. We neither can discount the possibility that either the husband is lying about what the Pope, or Francis looked at this woman’s personal appeal as Jesus did the Canaanite woman (Matt 15:21-28) or with the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42), is this just another question of media Pope-a-dope?
We don’t know the answer to any of this, it’s also possible that the spokespeople at the Vatican don’t know the answer to this either, my strong suggestion is they find out ASAP and bluntly and clearly say what has happened.
Every single day this is not resolved the result will be confusion and harm to the church and the body of Christ.
As to everyone else I would strongly advise anyone, particularly a priest from acting as if doctrine has been changed until we have something firm.
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