Monday, April 11, 2016

Schönborn: “Developments ‘Я’ Us”

Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis’ document on the family reflects an “organic development” of church teaching and doctrine, said Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, theologian and participant in both synods that dealt with the topic.

“There are true innovations, but no break” in tradition, the cardinal told reporters during a news conference at the Vatican April 8 presenting the apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”).

The document emphasizes the need for greater reflection and discernment by pastors and Catholic couples in so-called “irregular” situations as they look for ways they can participate more deeply in church life, he said.

Proper discernment is nothing new, the cardinal told another reporter. It has always been the serious duty of the lay faithful and their pastors or confessors. Everyone is responsible, he said, because “you cannot play with the sacraments, you cannot play with the conscience.”

But you can make it quick-and-easy to get annulments, you can give winks and nods to German bishops, enabling them to "seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs", without the "need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium.

See what was predicted in March 2014 when all of this came up:

Kasper’s proposed solution is, “change anything we want and call it development”. We can effect ‘further developments’ ourselves because we are the Magisterium”. You can read the larger selection here.

This was the nature of the proposal that Kasper put forward in the “Gang of Eight” cardinals meeting last week. It seems now as if the proposal on the table will have the opportunity to put Kasper’s “solution” to a vote among the full “Synod of Bishops on the Family” to be held later this year – this will have the full backing of this new pope behind it. How can it fail?


  1. John, help me here: your original post had Schoenborn speaking of one party in a divorce being "repentant:" if I embezzled $10k from my church and claimed to have repented, I should not be taken seriously if I didn't return the money and then some; if I ditch my wife for a hoochie mama, leave the church, marry the hoochie, and later repent, don't I have to ditch the hoochie due to the marriage being adultery in the eyes of God (never mind what the State says)? What then, does Schoenborn mean by "repent" other than feel bad, "do the Vatican rag," and shy some money Romeward? The cardinal is making a mockery of repentance, but seems consistent with penance.

    As for other relationships, do you see the gay subculture in the papish clergy driving this to eventually recognize gay marriages or, at the very least, homosexual relationships? What of plural marriage; even more, should ongoing extramarital affairs simply be written off as concubinage?

    1. Kirk -- there is a "living like brother and sister" phrase (brought up by JPII to represent the very 10k you mentioned here) -- So I'm not quite sure what Schönborn specifically means. The document talks about perhaps having been the innocent party in adultery, then marrying someone else, having children, and so not being easily able to get into that "brother and sister" role. They want to allow some flexibility (which, as Schönborn indicates, has never been a part of the equation prior to this) about re-admitting them to communion. (The whole document says, even if you don't repent, we kinda want you to still remain Roman Catholic because there's room for you and we need people not to leave).

      This document came down very strong against the notion that there can be "gay marriage". Although I would be certain that there are homosexuals in the clergy who want to get themselves out of the "gravely disordered" category. Bergoglio has certainly given them an example of how to "do development". Depending upon how long he lives, we may see movements along those lines. (And if he lives long enough to name a majority of cardinals and bishops, who knows where they'll go?)

    2. Who today, besides brothers and sisters, lives like brothers and sisters (exempting a certain notorious blue state)? Even so, such a domestic relationship would be an enormous temptation. I can see some validity to applying the concept of Scripual divorce, but is that who the document is aimed at? To make that distinction and enforce it would take a lot of work; besides I don't think Rome has ever thought about that and so would have to do a lot of defining (or just plagiarizing Protestants.

      As for the gays: you're spot on about the development thing, as it gives them an inch of maneuvering room, which I can't believe they won't eagerly slither through and hence it's but a toothless decree.

    3. Hi Kirk -- if you look at the Donald Wuerl video in the initial linked article, he puts a lot of emphasis on the individuals involved -- their consciences -- to police themselves.

      Really, "who is the document aimed at?" -- I have to think that, with the recent expansion of annulments (they are now free, quick, and easy, instead of long and costly procedures) -- the universe of people is actually significantly reduced. I think the real target was Kasper and the German bishops -- a wink and a nod, to say, "we're not changing dogma -- who could do that? -- but we're giving local bishops far more freedom to do whatever they want, "pastorally", in these situations.

      I think for Bergoglio, the whole situation is a bit of an embarrassment, given that more bishops weren't following the Kasper line, but he wanted to do *something*. So the conservatives can crow, and Kasper can crow, and meanwhile, they all are enmeshed in more and more contradictions.