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‘The assumption must be faced that Pope Francis is consciously breaking with the Church’s tradition’

The Daily Knight

(Pope Francis attends an ecumenical prayer with Protestants and Orthodox at St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, September 30, 2023 | Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP via Getty images)

By The Catholic Herald.

We can’t say we weren’t warned.

On World Youth day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013, Pope Francis, excited by the crowds of young people, adopted something of the energetic creativity of the teenagers he was surrounded by and exhorted them to make a mess:

“I want to tell you something. What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses!

“I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!”

During the years since, he has put into action himself what he urged the youth in his native South America to do – and a mess has followed.

Whereas youth create a mess more often by shaking the system with exuberant interrogations, Pope Francis himself has made use of a more subtle method. He has engaged in ambiguity. That is until the recent “dubia”, when the policy changed and the strategy became more overt. According to my interpretation of what Pope Francis has said, ambiguity has now given way to direct action on homosexual blessings.

Most people have become aware of the “dubia” presented by five disturbed and eminent cardinals. The Vatican most unusually released the text of his first response.

Although the form of communication was intended to produce a “yes” or “no” from the Pope, he wrote more generously. In his generosity he made a papal pronouncement on the blessing of gay couples. It might not be too much to suggest he finally broke cover. With all the ambiguous hints, it was always going to be a matter of when. Moving from “who am I to judge?” he instead gave all clergy permission to judge. Some infer from what he said that he declared his support of homosexual coupledom through the principle of facilitating pastoral blessings.

This proposal was in response to the interrogating cardinals asking if the pope believed that blessing homosexual unions continued to be, as it always had been, contrary to both the Bible and tradition.

Instead of providing the simple “yes” or “no” form that the “dubia” invite, the pope explained his thinking.

“In dealing with people, however, we must not lose the pastoral charity that must permeate all our decisions and attitudes. The defence of objective truth is not the only expression of this charity, which is also made up of kindness, patience, understanding, tenderness, and encouragement. Therefore, we cannot become judges who only deny, reject, exclude.

“For this reason, pastoral prudence must adequately discern whether there are forms of blessing, requested by one or more persons, that do not transmit a mistaken conception of marriage. For when a blessing is requested, one is expressing a request for help from God, a plea for a better life, a trust in a Father who can help us to live better.

Was there any hope that within voluminous paragraphs a slight conceptual sleight of hand might be hidden? <