14 December 2016

On applications of Amoris Laetitia, and dubious reporting about said...

It increasingly seems to me that there are few more poisonous elements in the modern Catholic Church than the nest of vipers that is churchmilitant.com – there are reasons, after all, while Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput has said it and another site are ‘destructive’, tending to ‘sow division wherever they tread’. Indeed, Archbishop Chaput’s diocesan office is said the site is ‘not interested in presenting information in any useful way’, its ‘sole desire’ being ‘to create division, confusion, and conflict within the Church’. 

Philadelphia’s observation that Church Militant’s ‘reports are not to be taken seriously’ sprang to mind this afternoon as I’ve seen people linking to an article on the site, declaring that, ‘Following a diocesan synod, Bp. Robert McElroy has ordered priests in his diocese to post invitations in parish bulletins welcoming divorced and remarried Catholics to “utilize the internal forum of conscience” when it comes to receiving the Eucharist.’

Supporting this claim, the article linked to one of the parish bulletins in question, and indeed if you read down the article you will at least see the relevant passage, which, in summarising the diocesan synod, says:

‘The delegates spoke movingly to the need for the Church to reach out to divorced men and women at every moment of their journey, to support them spiritually and pastorally, to help them move through the annulment process, and to assist those who are divorced and remarried and cannot receive an annulment to utilize the internal forum of conscience in order to discern if God is calling them to return to the Eucharist.’

The bulletin, in other words, describes how delegates at the synod said they believed the Church should help people to see if they are called to return to Communion. Granted, you might think this imprudent for various reasons, but even so, if you're honest you'll admit that the reality is not quite the same as the headline description. And yet, if you didn't bother to click through, you might think that initial claim was a fair.

It’s funny how people get things so wrong when it comes to San Diego’s current bishop. 

Only the other week, Ross Douthat was talking in the New York Times about what he calls ‘the teaching document recently produced by San Diego’s bishop, the Francis-appointed, beloved-of-progressives Robert McElroy, following a diocesan synod convened to discuss the implementation of Amoris’. 

He then proceeds to quote from – as he had linked to – Embracing the Joy of Love, a document Dr McElroy issued in May of this year, just a month after Amoris Laetitia had come out, as he makes clear in the opening line, and most certainly not after the diocesan synod that took place at the end of October.

There’d be a lot less craziness in online Catholicism if people only took the time to read things properly.

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