Pope Francis has said the "great majority" of Catholic marriages being celebrated today are invalid because couples do not fully realize it is a lifetime commitment, drawing sharp criticism from Church conservatives.The words "great majority" were later changed to some, and as an objective statement of fact, it is true. The divorce rate would not be where it is today if people truly believed marriage was for life.
The pope, who has come under fire before for making spontaneous comments about doctrinal matters, was speaking at a question-and-answer session with priests, nuns and parish workers on Thursday night in a Rome basilica.
"We are living in a provisional culture," Francis said in response to a man who spoke of "the crisis of marriage" and asked how the Church could better prepare young couples.
Where the comments raise some concern is in light of the push by Cardinal Kasper to allow divorced Catholics to receive Communion:
The journalist, Valentina Alazraki, asked Pope Francis, "Will the divorced and remarried be able to receive Communion?"The were some conservative critics:
The Pope responded, "What the Church wants is for you to integrate yourself into the life of the Church. But there are those who say, 'No, I want to receive Communion, and that's it' — like a rosette, an honorary award. No. Reintegrate yourself."
Ross Douthat, the conservative Catholic writer and New York Times columnist, said in one of his some 20 tweets on the subject that Francis had made "an extraordinary, irresponsible and ridiculous claim".There's plenty to dislike about Francis, but reading the plain meaning of his words, he is challenging all Catholics to reflect upon their sacred marriage vows. Then there's this statement:
Matthew Schmitz, editor at the conservative First Things Catholic magazine, called the pope "wrong and irresponsible".
Edward Peters, a U.S. canon lawyer who has been an adviser to the Vatican, wrote that the pope's words were "very bad" because they could spur couples in difficult marriages to "give up now" instead of trying to overcome problems.
The idea of commitments being temporary "occurs everywhere, even in priestly and religious life. The provisional. And for this reason a large majority of sacramental marriages are null. They say 'yes, for my whole life,' but they do not know what they are saying because they have a different culture," he said.This is a "red pill." Modern man immersed in the mainstream culture visits the Church on Sunday, or maybe only twice a year. Many people go to favorite restaurants more often than they go to Church. They give more 1 hour blocks of time to a favorite TV show than they do to Mass.
Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI is still active: Not One Pope But Two, One “Active” and One “Contemplative”
The resignation of the papacy was not his last act. Already in his withdrawal from the see of Peter, in that memorable February of 2013, Joseph Ratzinger made sure to say that in his election as pope there had been something that would remain “forever.”
In fact, he continues to wear the white tunic, continues to sign himself “Benedictus XVI, pope emeritus,” continues to use the coat of arms with the two Petrine keys, continues to live “in the enclosure of Saint Peter,” continues to have himself called “Holiness” and “Holy Father.”
And most recently the archbishop in closest contact with him, Georg Gänswein, has told us that Benedict “has by no means abandoned the office of Peter,” but on the contrary has made it “an expanded ministry, with an active member and a contemplative member,” in “a collegial and synodal dimension, almost a shared ministry”
And right away appeared some who justified him theoretically. Like the other canonist Stefano Violi, who maintains that Benedict XVI did not by any means renounce the office of Peter, but only his active exercise of governance and magisterium, keeping for himself the exercise of prayer and compassion. Precisely what Gänswein gave as fact one month ago: a double papacy “with an active member and a contemplative member,” Francis and Benedict, “almost a shared ministry.”
Now, that there could be two popes in the Catholic Church, of different profiles but still more than one, is something that expert theologians and canonists like Geraldina Boni and Carlo Fantappiè judge as not only unheard-of but “aberrant,” as well as being a source of conflicts.
But there is more. Violi even theorizes the hypothetical superiority of the “contemplative” pope over the “active,” in that he is closer to the example of Jesus who despoiled himself of everything, even his divinity.
And then it is not at all true that the distinction of roles between Francis and Benedict is so clear.
Ratzinger has repeatedly broken the silence that he had foreshadowed after his resignation. Roughly ten times already he has said or written something in public, each time requiring the study of what is or is not in accord between him and the magisterium of the “active” pope.
For example when, in the interval between the two synods on the family, Ratzinger retracted his youthful ideas in favor of communion for the divorced and remarried and rewrote the exact opposite, in a sort of preemptive contestation of “Amoris Laetitia.”
In the magisterium of Francis ambiguity triumphs, but the “papacy emeritus” of Benedict is an unsolved enigma, too.