Pope Francis: Jesus Did Not Tell the Pharisees that Divorce is Forbidden

 

February 24, 2017

what-god-has-joined-togetherThere are coming to us now different reports about Pope Francis’ Santa Marta homily of today which are very troubling. He mentions the Pharisees’ question about divorce and whether it is permitted and then comments on the reaction of Our Lord (Mark 10:1-12), as follows:

Jesus does not answer whether it is permitted or not. He does not enter into their [the Pharisees’] classic casuistry. Because they [the Pharisees] thought of faith merely in the framework of “one may not” or “one may” – up to which point one may, up to which point one may not. Thus logic of casuistry: Jesus does not enter into it. And He Himself poses a question: “Now, what did Moses command you? What is written in your law?” And they explain the permission which Moses gave to write a divorce certificate and to dismiss a woman from marriage; and it is they who went into a trap, yes. Because Jesus calls them “hard hearted”: “only because you are so hard hearted, he has given you this law,” and He spoke the truth. Without casuistry, without permissions. The truth. [my emphasis]

Pope Francis also mentions the adulteress with whom Jesus repeatedly spoke and whom He did not condemn. Pope Francis explains that Jesus “puts aside casuistry.” It is in this context that the impression arises that Christ Himself ignored His own teaching.

What is stunning in these comments is the following fact: Mark 10:1-12 does make it very clear that Jesus Christ instructed the Pharisees about the right way. It reads:

He set out from there and went into the district of Judea [and] across the Jordan. Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom, he again taught them.  The Pharisees approached and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him. He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?” They replied, “Moses permitted him to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.” But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife], and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” In the house the disciples again questioned him about this. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” [my emphasis]

Pope Francis claims in his homily that Jesus Christ did not give a clear answer to the Pharisees, but Our Lord did. He did explain this law against divorce later more in detail to His own disciples, but He did not leave the Pharisees’ question unanswered.

Moreover, Pope Francis, in his homily, says that Our Lord “always speaks the truth” and then he mentions that Jesus did tell His disciples about the prohibition of divorce. Francis adds:

“This is the way of Jesus – it is quite clear – it is the path from casuistry to truth and mercy. Jesus leaves aside the logic of casuistry. To those who wanted to test him, to those who thought of this logic of ‘it is possible’, he termed them – not here, but in another passage of the Gospel – hypocrites. Even with the fourth commandment, they denied assistance to their relatives with the excuse that they had given a good offer to the Church. Hypocrites. The casuistry is hypocritical. It is a form of hypocrisy. ‘You can – you cannot’ … which then becomes more subtle, more evil: I? I can up to this point but from here to here, I cannot. This is the deception of casuistry.” [my emphasis]

While there is always a lack of clarity in Pope Francis’ speech that makes it hard to see, distinctly and reliably, what he means, he appears here to demean those faithful who wish to abide by the Law of God with regard to marriage and divorce, implying that these are the real hypocrites. The pope also implies in today’s homily that Our Lord did not give to the Pharisees a clear law. Moreover, this last quote implies that these faithful questions about what is forbidden and what is allowed are already in themselves effectively evil. The simple setting of boundaries and limits is here called a “deception of casuistry.” But, we have to remember that that is exactly what God has given to us in the form of the Ten Commandments and His Moral Precepts – so that we may have, under Grace, a life more abundant. God’s Laws are acts of love.

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22 Responses to Pope Francis: Jesus Did Not Tell the Pharisees that Divorce is Forbidden

  1. kathleen says:

    While there is always a lack of clarity in Pope Francis’ speech that makes it hard to see, distinctly and reliably, what he means…

    Well, Maike, you can say that again!! In just one homily Pope Francis speaks in more riddles than you would find in a Batman movie 😉.

    However, I don’t doubt for a moment that PF would have got on like a house on fire with old heretic, Henry VIII, who convinced himself that he could ditch doctrine and still remain a Catholic! (Oh those wiles of Satan the prideful always fall for!)

    I expect Pope Francis would have also demeaned the holy Bishop of Rochester, St John Fisher (in 1535), calling him “rigid”, when Fisher stated the Church’s clear teaching, fearing no peril other than that of putting his immortal soul in danger of damnation:

    “Therefore, both in order not to procure the damnation of my soul, and in order not to be unfaithful to the king, or to fail in doing the duty that I owe to the truth, in a matter of such great importance, I present myself before your reverend lordships to declare, to affirm, and with forcible reasons to demonstrate to you that this marriage of the king and queen can be dissolved by no power, human or Divine, and for this opinion, I would even lay down my life.
    The Baptist in olden times regarded it as impossible for one to die more gloriously than in the cause of marriage; and as it was not so holy at that time as it has now become by the shedding of Christ’s Blood, I could encourage myself more ardently, more effectually, and with greater confidence to dare any great or extreme peril whatever.”

  2. Thank you for the quote by that courageous man, St. John Fisher. It shines on the web page. Is it possible that these words of Bergoglio demonstrate that he is either a formal heretic or mentally unbalanced?

  3. toadspittle says:

    “Is it possible that these words of Bergoglio demonstrate that he is either a formal heretic or mentally unbalanced?”
    He could be both.
    Many of us are.

  4. johnhenrycn says:

    “Pope Francis Tears at History’s Ancient Walls Against Islam”

    “Oh, give over”, I said to myself, thinking that he’d burst out in tears.

  5. johnhenrycn says:

    …oops, wrong thread.

  6. toadspittle says:

    Pope Francis Tears at History’s Ancient Walls Against Islam”

    But he doesn’t give a monkey’s elbow about Trump’s contemporary wall – which will keep the Mexican and Catholic rapists out of The Greatest Country in the World.
    …Quite right, too.
    And not a moment too soon.

  7. johnhenrycn says:

    He climbs a tree and scrapes his knee
    His cassock has got a tear
    He waltzes on his way to Mass
    And whistles on the stair
    And underneath his zucchetto
    He has curlers in his hair
    I even heard him singing in the privy

    He’s always late for chapel
    But hIs penitence is real
    He’s always late for everything
    Except for every meal
    I hate to have to say it
    But I very firmly feel
    Francesca’s not an asset to the abbey

    I’d like to say a word in his behalf
    Francesca… makes me…laugh

    How do you solve a problem like Francesca?
    How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
    How do you find a word that means Francesca?
    A flibbertigibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!

    Many a thing you know you’d like to tell him
    Many a thing he ought to understand
    But how do you make him stay
    And listen to all you say
    How do you keep a wave upon the sand?

    Oh, how do you solve a problem like Francesca?
    How do you hold a moonbat in your hand?

    When I’m with him I’m confused
    Out of focus and bemused
    And I never know exactly where I am
    Unpredictable as weather
    He’s as flighty as a feather
    He’s a darling! He’s a demon! He’s a lamb!

    He’d out pester any pest
    Drive a hornet from its nest
    He could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl
    He is gentle! He is wild!
    He’s a riddle! He’s a child!
    He’s a headache! He’s an angel!
    He’s ecumenical!

    How do you solve a problem like Francesca?
    How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
    How do you find a word that means Francesca?
    A flibbertigibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!

    Many a thing you know you’d like to tell him
    Many a thing he ought to understand
    But how do you make him stay
    And listen to all you say
    How do you keep a wave upon the sand

    Oh, how do you solve a problem like Francesca?
    How do you hold a moonbat in your hand?

  8. Brian says:

    Very informative, thanks!

  9. johnhenrycn says:

    “Very informative, thanks!”

    Clearly, you mean me. You are most welcome. Stick around.

  10. Tom Fisher says:

    It’s a very fine poem JH. It shall be written on your tombstone. Yours shall not be the fate of a mute inglorious Milton

  11. Tom Fisher says:

    Although, for Toad’s many deleted comments:

    Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air

    — Philip Larkin

    Was it Larkin? Someone of that sort

  12. johnhenrycn says:

    “Full many a flower is born …”

    You’re only off by two centuries, but I think you know that.

    According to my McGuffey’s Sixth Eclectic Reader (Revised Edition, American Book Company, New York, © Henry H. Vail, 1921, page 110) that’s the last half stanza of the fourteenth verse of Thomas Gray’s Elegy; but Toad and Judas Priest (J.P.) are welcome to correct me after consulting Wikipedia.

  13. Tom Fisher says:

    Nonsense, definitely Larkin.

  14. toadspittle says:

    This Be The Verse (disgraceful, though it is.)

    They f*ck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

    But they were f*ck*d up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
    Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another’s throats.

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.

    – H. W. Longfellow…not!

  15. johnhenrycn says:

    Then Larkin was a plagiarist or was borrowing from Thomas Gray. Borrowing without attribution is permissible when dealing with famous poems like Elegy in a Country Churchyard. Here are the full four lines of the 14th verse in Gray’s Elegy, which appear in McGuffey’s Sixth and please note that my (revised) edition was published the year before your Larkin was born:

    Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
    The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
    Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
    And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

    ___
    I’ve more authoritative versions of Gray’s poem, but McGuffey’s is close at hand.
    ___
    I’m positive you know all this. Why are you pretending otherwise?

  16. Tom Fisher says:

    Well Larkin wasn’t above a bit of plagiarism now and again.

    But more seriously, McGuffey’s Sixth Eclectic Reader, is a fantastic title. And I wish I’d heard of it earlier.

    Sorry for the tomfoolery re Larkin. My copy of Thomas Gray is an Everyman, not colllectable perhaps, but the green jacket is crisp and unfaded.

  17. johnhenrycn says:

    I don’t need anymore of your tomfoolery or anyone else’s anymore! I just got this e-mail from Nigeria telling me that I’m going to be millionaire, so get lost:

    “TRANSFER OF US$ 22.5 M (TWENTY TWO MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) & BUSINESS INVESTMENTS PARTNERSHIP.

    First, I must solicit your strictest confidence in this transaction,this is by virtue of it’s nature as being utterly confidential and top secret. I am the chairman of the Economic Recovery Committee (ERC) set up by the present Government of Nigeria to review contracts awarded by the past administrations. In the course of our work at the Committee, we discovered this fund which resulted from gross re-valuation of contracts by top government officials of the past administrations.

    The companies that executed the contracts have been duly paid to the contractors leaving the sum of US$12.5 Million floating in the escrow account of the apex Bank.I have therefore been mandated as a matter of trust by my colleagues in the committee to look for an overseas partner to whom we could transfer the sum of US$22.5 Million legally to you/your company.

    This is bearing in mind that our civil service code of conduct forbids us from owning foreign company or running foreign account while in active government service hence the need for an overseas partner.We have agreed that the funds will be shared thus after it has been paid into your account:(1) 20% of the money will go to you for acting as the beneficiary of the fund.(2) 5% has been set aside as an abstract projection for reimbursementto all parties for incidental expenses that may be incurred in thecourse of the transaction.(3) 75% to us the government officials (with which we wish to commence any importation business in conjunction with you).

    All logistics are in place and all modalities worked out for the smooth conclusion of the transaction within ten to fourteen working days of commencement after receipt of the following information: Your full name/ company name, address, company’s details & activities,telephone & fax numbers.

    These information will enable us make the applications and lodge claims to the concerned ministries & agencies in favour of your company and it is pertinent to state here that this transaction is entirely based on trust as the solar bank draft or certified cheque drawable in any of the Bank of Ghana correspondent bankers in America,Asia and Europe is going to be made in your name.

    Please acknowledge the receipt of this email.”

    ___
    So long, pal. I’m heading over to Easy Street after I rip off this bumpkin, and I won’t be back.

  18. Tom Fisher says:

    I hope you consider spending a portion of your new found wealth on strengthening the Leonine wall!

    All logistics are in place and all modalities worked out for the smooth conclusion of the transaction

    I think we’ve all heard variations on that phrase far too many times in our lives 🙂

    I must solicit your strictest confidence in this transaction,this is by virtue of it’s nature as being utterly confidential and top secret

    It’s like something out of the Hardy Boys (and I say that with nostalgia)

  19. johnhenrycn says:

    …but the thing is, this Nigerian dude says there’s “the sum of US$12.5 Million floating in the escrow account” and that he has “therefore been mandated as a matter of trust by my colleagues in the committee to…transfer the sum of US$22.5 Million legally to you…”

    Like I said on another thread today, I flunked Grade 2 arithmetic, but it seems to me he’s going to be giving me a lot more money than he should. Like, I’m having a crisis of conscience here.

    Oh well, I will go to Confession and that’s all there is to it!

  20. toadspittle says:

    “…he has “therefore been mandated as a matter of trust…”
    Right. And so is to be trusted here as anything else.
    Heavens, how fantastically silly it all is.
    Metaphysics!
    …But not consistently thought so by “Liberal Catholic Sceptics,” let alone the poor old Trads.
    “Trump country.” Where everything is “known for certain,” (well, sort of) and everything vomited daily by the loony, anti-fact, news media is nothing more than a calculated, anti-Catholic, filthy pack of biased lies.
    Unless, of course, it amazingly happens to coincide with President Donald’s piously Christian viewpoint, as personally approved by Kathleen.

    Galileo would have, at least, nodded ( “Eppure se mouve.”) Silly old Italian twit.

  21. johnhenrycn says:

    You are losing it. Lay off the Laphraoig (if you can afford it) and try writing more cutting comments.

    Your friend, Karl Popper, once snickered at your other friend, Wittgenstein, saying that he (W) spent too much time cleaning his spectacles and not enough time looking through them. Just like you.

  22. johnhenrycn says:

    Don’t know why that WordPress icon appeared when I only meant to allude to Wittgenstein. God bless you and keep you, Toad.

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