….My view of this papacy is that Pope Francis—slowly and brick by brick—is attempting to subvert the theological hermeneutic of the previous two papacies: Pope John Paul II’s in particular, and primarily in the realm of the late Pontiff’s moral theology. Bishop McElroy has been an unabashed supporter of Amoris and his promotion to the red hat is the Pope’s way of signaling that McElroy’s approach to the moral theological principles of Amoris is correct.
This also explains, as I have blogged on before, why Pope Francis has systematically dismantled the John Paul II Institute in Rome and replaced numerous professors and leadership—all of whom were devotees, of course, of John Paul’s thought, of Communio theology, and of Familiaris Consortio/Veritatis Splendor—with theologians who are largely proportionalists in moral theology and strong supporters of a more “progressive” agenda. And they have all been given the specific mandate to transform the Institute into a think tank for Amoris Laetitia. This is also why nobody from the previous regime at the Institute was invited to the Synod on the Family.
Therefore, in my view, the various red hats that Francis has given out to the Church in the U.S. are primarily, although not exclusively, about moral theology and the revolution in the post-conciliar theological guild on the topic of human sexuality. People tend to focus on the great controversies surrounding liturgy in the post-conciliar era. And those issues are important. But take it from someone who lived through it—the deepest, most important, most contentious, most divisive, and most destructive debates surrounded moral theology, especially after Humanae vitae and the massive dissent from it that followed.
Charles Curran, Richard McCormick, Bernard Häring, Joseph Fuchs, and many others, developed a form of moral theology called “proportionalism” or “consequentialism” that taught that there can be no absolute moral norms since moral actions are largely determined, not by the moral object of the act itself or the teleology of the faculty in question (classic natural law principles), but by the concrete circumstances in the life of the person committing the act. They spoke of “premoral goods” that had to be weighed against each other and that these kinds of judgments are almost always prudential and fraught with the ambiguity of “difficult and mitigating” circumstances. It is a bit of a caricature, but for the sake of a useful shorthand familiar to most readers, proportionalism is a subspecies (in Catholic drag) of situation ethics. They deny this, but it is what it is.
Along these lines, Pope Francis, in a much ignored but enormously significant comment in October 2016 (made to Jesuits gathered for the 36th general Congregation), praised the dissenting, proportionalist, moral theologian Bernard Häring (1921-1998) as a great “model” for the renewal of moral theology. This is the same Bernard Häring who dissented from Humanae Vitae and Veritatis Splendor. And Pope Francis said that Häring’s kind of moral theology is expressive of Vatican II and of how moral theology should be done. A clearer endorsement from a Pope for a proportionalist approach cannot be found. Imagine the consternation if Pope Benedict had said, when issuing Summorum, “You know, that Lefebvre dude was right all along.” But Pope Francis praises a leading proportionalist theologian as a wonderful role model for renewing moral theology—and nobody even blinks twice….
The above comes from a June 2 posting by Larry Chapp in Catholic World Report.
Francis is doomed to fail.
John Paul built his theology on rock.
Francis builds his on sand.
Even worse, many of Pope Francis’ new Cardinals have horrific records on the “LGBT
gay agenda,” and cover-ups for clergy gay sex predators, like McElroy and McCarrick. Plus, many have horrible records on support for pro-life! 16 of the new “Red Hats” will be eligible to vote in the next papal election.
The way things are looking, it’s probably best to live your life to the fullest and then make a deathbed conversion. The church is so screwed up you’ll go batty trying to live in it.
God has a Divive Purpose for each life that He created. Life is a precious Gift! We must ignore and rise above the world of sin, that is all around us. It is always a battleground, of Good and Evil, of Christ and the Devil. Christ guides and strengthens us in Spiritual Warfare, and shows us The Way!
Clerical leaders may say many things and impose their will upon structures in the church. For me, I’ll give them a hearing while obeying Jesus in the Scripture and Tradition of the Church: Prayer, Sacraments, Commandments. I do not get too involved with the machinations of prelates, honors, elevations to power. Jesus is the One sent for redemption and salvation, not any church leader who is called to herald the Lord with clarity rather than to opine an ideology. I follow Jesus over anything that is not revealed by Him and in accord with what He taught. Jesus is present to me to forgive me, to lead me to repentance, to guide me through this life through the cacophony of studied ambiguities from so many who were given holy office and orders to proclaim him. I work out my salvation by reading the Bible, studying the Fathers of the church, and moving on with my life with Jesus, while some in power use their time trying to create new structures and statutes that fit their thinking and ideology. “Now is the acceptable time. Now is the day of salvation (2Cor 6:2).. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Thank you for your clarity of purpose. You are an inspiration.
Amen!!!!!! “Consumatum est”, DEO GRATIAS!!!!!!
Can we all just admit that perhaps as many as 65% of self-identifying Catholics don’t actually profess Catholic faith? They view Catholicity as an ethnicity, not a personal commitment to a revealed religion. They differ with the revealed truth about abortion, gayness, marriage, sex, contraception and so forth. In what sense are they Catholic, then?
Agreed. It’s just like the difference between orthodox and secular Jews. They bear no resemblance to each other, yet share their Jewishness.
The creed for starters. Christianity isn’t simply a collection of moral laws, but a relationship with a creator, a savior, and a Holy Spirit. Follow all the moral laws you wish but without the relationship, it’s all for naught.
If we have the relationship, we will seek to follow the moral laws. When the rich young ruler asked the Lord, “What must I do to be saved?” his answer was, “Keep the Commandments.” He meant all of them that are included in the Ten and their subtitles. The Ten Commandments are not multiple choice. AND they WERE written in stone. No pope, priest nor layman can change them, and my sin does not excuse someone else’s, and someone else’s does not excuse mine. We will all answer to God for our own sins. We are called to be holy as the Lord is holy. (Divinization.)
Pope Francis will soon make a visit to the Italian city of L’Aquila, for their annual “Celebration of Forgiveness” ceremony. The tomb of Pope St. Celestine V is located in L’Aquila. Pope Celestine reigned for five months, and then resigned, to return to his former monastic life. His successor annulled all of his acts. Celestine was the last Pope to resign, before Pope Benedict. He was later made a Saint. Many are now wondering about what the 85-year-old pontiff might have in mind, as he is elderly, disabled, and now uses a wheelchair. Plus, all the new, too-liberal “red hats,” those pals of his, entrusted to to carry on the Church… what will be the future?? And will a future papacy someday correct the “modernist” immoral “Moral” Theology, of the current era??
Pope Francis is going to say Mass at the Shrine of Pope St. Celestine V, on Aug. 28, the very day after he makes his 21 new Cardinals, in the consistory, at the Vatican. And he will then open the Holy Door to the Shrine. It is all part of the annual Crlebration of Celestinian Forgiveness, in L’Aquila. The Pope is age 85, the same age as Pope Benedict, when he resigned, due to poor health, in 2013. Pope Francis will be 86 in Dec. of this year. The Pope will have to celebrate Mass outside the Cathedral Basilica Shrine, in L’Aquila, due to damages from an earthquake in 2009– they are still repairing the danages. He will meet with families of the earthquake victims. Pope Benedict visited L’Aquila in 2009, and placed his woolen pallium that he wore for his installation Mass, on top of the glass casket of Pope St. Celestine V, as a gift. Before resigning, Pope Celestine drew up a Bull of Forgiveness, to offer free plenary indulgences, each year, for penitents who make a pilgrimage to the Cathedral Basilica Shrine, on Aug. 28-29.
The tomb of Pope St. Celestine V is inside the Shrine, located in the Basilica of the Cathedral of Santa Maria di Collemaggio, in L’Aquila.
I thought it was very unlikely his Celestial visit would indicate impending resignation, that is until I read that the Holy Father is calling all of the Cardinals to Rome for the Consistory, which is to be followed up by a two day conference discussing his reforms of the Roman Curia. Such reform has now finally been announced after 9 years, and was apparently the main reason the last conclave elected Francis. And some say that a conclave now would be difficult because most of the Cardinals don’t know each other, and the two day pow-wow might be intended to change that. I’d sill rate the possibilities of a resignation within the year at less than 30%, but within 5 years around 65%.
What odds do you give to death by natural cause?
Well, all of this speculation is kind of superstitious, anyway, but fun. It helps to have a little fun, when everything seems to be going wrong. Things were pretty bad in the Church in 1294, when Pope Celestine V was elected, at age 79. The Papacy had been vacant for two years. Celestine was an elderly monk, and really didn’t want the job.
I did not know about the Pope’s remarks about Haring, who was a disaster for moral theology, along with the infamous Charles Curran and Richard McCormick. Pray for the conversion of Fr. Curran, he’s now 88 and teaching at a Methodist school, since he was stopped from calling himself a Catholic theologian in 1986. He sued the Catholic University of America and lost. Curran contended that homosexual acts, in the context of a committed relationship, fell short of the ideal but were to be considered good for homosexual people; he stated that “I had come to accept the moral legitimacy of a union of two gay men or lesbians.” In 1992, he said that “the official hierarchical Roman Catholic teaching should accept the moral value and goodness” of same-sex relationships, “not excepting those that include sex.” Fr. Curran is a priest of the Diocese of Rochester, New York, though he has spent most of his life in various parts of the country spreading error. At 88, it seems likely he will soon stand before the Truth and, like all of us, give account for his life.
(Fr. Haring, a Redemptorist priest, has already gone on to his eternal reward or otherwise, as has Jesuit Fr. McCormick.)
As always, thank you for your insight.
Here is a working link to the 1998 article from The NY Times that Larry Chapp references. I find it curious that he would pick them as a reference. The author was Barbara Stewart. I think the Wikipedia article on Fr. Bernard Haring is much better as it discusses his accomplishments before and during Vatican II, including his 1954 3-volume series The Law of Christ. McCormick and Curran loved to claim him as one of their own, but it looks more to me that he was someone who, like Rhaner, placed his bets on some “bad horses” during the later part of his life. https://novak.livejournal.com/417128.html