Saturday, 3 December 2016

Can't teach? Won't teach!

Despite the protestations of Austen Ivereigh, we do not know what the Holy Father is teaching the Church about the admission of 're-married' divorcees to communion.

We may have a good idea what His Holiness's personal view is, and even his personal desire (though I would argue that even that is less clear than many think - intellectual clarity and consistency not being his long suit, and some of his comments indicating a more, and others a less, 'liberal' approach to these and related issues). But the thinking and even wishes of the individual who sits on the throne of Peter are not the same as the teaching of the Pope.  This was something that the Holy Father Emeritus  (whose intellectual clarity and consistency I, for one, miss sadly) always made very clear, and rightly so.

Therefore although we may have clues - strong clues, perhaps - from the Synod, from the footnotes, from a private letter... none of these amount to the exercise of the magisterium. Indeed, I would agree with the estimable Fr Hunwicke that what we are witnessing is the suspense of the magisterium.  That is, the Holy Father, in declining to answer the dubia, is choosing not to exercise his teaching office.  

Perhaps it is ill-advised to speculate as to why that might be the case. But I like to think of myself as a fool (in the Shakespearian tradition, you understand), and therefore will rush in where the angelic might, rightly, fear to tread. So for what it's worth, my guess (or is it just my hope?) is that the Holy Father has realised that he cannot teach what he would like to teach. And my fear is the corollary, that he won't teach what he could and should.

Howsoever that may be, one thing that is clear is that orthodox Catholics have a very definite duty in such difficult times: to love and pray for the Holy Father.


Left-footer said...

Very hard. I pray for him, but to love him is for the moment beyond me.

Ben Trovato said...

Love, of course, is an act of the will, not an emotion: to wish for his good; in particular for his eternal salvation and to do what you can towards it (eg pray). Failing that, pray for the grace to love him...