Pope Changes Tack on Intercommunion, Says Local Bishops Should Decide

From Steve Skojec at OnePeterFive:

I tried to warn everyone.

When it comes to Pope Francis, you cannot trust what he says. There’s more and more evidence of that all the time.

And of course, we must never forget The Peron Rule.

On the matter of intercommunion, it’s true that he signed off on the CDF’s rejection of the German bishops’ handout.

Catholics who wanted to believe the best immediately got excited. “Hey look! He’s orthodox on this one!”

But now, we see what it for what it was: sleight of hand. A rhetorical head fake. Another papal shell game.

Pope says local bishop should make the call on intercommunion” reads a new headline over at Crux. The pope has circled back to the intercommunion issue and spun it in a new direction. If you want to see what he did, you have to pay close attention to the way the cups move. Do you see which one the ball — which of course represents papal authority and approval in our little metaphor here — is under when he starts? Watch closely – the emphasis is mine:

After a day of touting ways in which Christians might share in greater unity, that commitment to coming together didn’t prevent Pope Francis from backing the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog in its decision to insist on caution regarding proposals for intercommunion with Protestants.

On a return flight to Rome on Thursday from a day-long ecumenical pilgrimage to Geneva, Francis said he supported the Vatican’s Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal-elect Luis Ladaria, in requiring a rethink of a draft proposal from the German bishops that would allow for non-Catholics to receive communion under certain conditions.

[…]

Last month, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) rejected the German proposal, which was approved by roughly three-quarters of the bishops during a meeting earlier in the spring. In a letter published this month, Ladaria said the proposal was “not mature enough to be published.”

Francis said that Ladaria did not act unilaterally, but with the pope’s permission

Up until now, we’re all on the same page. Everybody is watching the cup labeled, “Francis forbids intercommunion via the CDF”. But while he’s talking about Ladaria having his permission, he’s distracting us. People are watching his words, and when he sees our eyes are not on his hands, he makes the switch. The ball goes under another cup so quickly that almost nobody even sees the transition. Slow it down and keep your eye on the ball:

…and that under the Code of Cannon [sic] Law it is up to the local bishop to decide under what conditions communion can be administered to non-Catholics, not local bishops’ conferences.

“The code says that the bishop of the particular church, and that’s an important word, ‘particular,’ meaning of a diocese, is responsible for this… it’s in his hands.”

Moreover, Francis said, the problem with having an entire bishops’ conference deal with such questions is that “something worked out in an episcopal conference quickly becomes universal.”

Did you see him make the switch?

The problem with the Bergoglian version of this illusion is that there’s no final reveal. The magician distracts the audience from what’s happening on the table and then thanks them for coming without ever lifting the cups to show them where the ball landed. He doesn’t actually want them to know he performed his magic, because his whole job was simply to distract them long enough that they forget he was pulling a trick at all.

The ones watching the stage show go home assuming the ball stayed right where it was.

But it’s not under the “Francis forbids intercommunion via the CDF” cup anymore. It’s now under the “Francis says individual bishops can decide the rules on intercommunion” cup.

Some people have seen him perform his version of this trick enough times that they’ve learned how to look for the switch. But most, unfortunately, have not. And since they’re confident that the ball is still under the cup it should be under, they will argue with anyone who tells them otherwise.

Meanwhile, the Catholic media is unlikely to report on the unscrupulous magician who isn’t really doing harmless party tricks, but playing a confidence game.

So the game will continue.

Departing from my imperfect metaphor before it falls all the way apart, I’d like to return for a moment to what I wrote back in April. I said that I believed Francis wasn’t happy with the flaming bag of… um… intercommunion handouts that was left on his doorstep. The Germans overstepped. They got a little too cute. This isn’t how Francis works, and that’s “a good part of the reason why this document was rejected. Because where Francis seems most comfortable working through insinuation, the Germans tried to create something more explicit. In writing.”

He more or less confirmed exactly this when he said, in the comments cited above, that “something worked out in an episcopal conference quickly becomes universal.”

We can’t have that. Remember what he told the Lutheran lady who asked him if she could receive Communion back in November 2015:

I wouldn’t ever dare to allow this, because it’s not my competence. One baptism, one Lord, one faith. Talk to the Lord and then go forward. I don’t dare to say anything more.

No ruling from the top. No official decree. Much easier to kick it downstairs and create chaos. Atomize and deconstruct the universal faith, one bishop at a time.

Because Hagan lío or something.

Cardinal Brandmüller sets the record straight

Here Fr Z writes about the Dubious dubia about the Dubia 

 

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13 Responses to Pope Changes Tack on Intercommunion, Says Local Bishops Should Decide

  1. johnservorum says:

    I would like to see him retire but I fear the man who will follow him to the Seat of Peter.

  2. Crow says:

    One comment in the Australian newspaper today about Trump, ‘while he has probably done more for Christianity than Pope Francis’….,

  3. John says:

    Trump wouldn’t need to do much to achieve that. Funny that a former playboy American president does so much to support Christianity and a Pope does so much to tear it apart.

    The Guardian headline: Fears Trump’s anti-choice picks could set back abortion fight for a generation.

    How Trump’s anti-abortion agenda impacts women around the world
    By Kara Fox and Henrik Pettersson, CNN

    https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-38778322/president-trump-persecuted-christian-refugees-to-get-priority

    Crow on June 24, 2018 at 05:35
    One comment in the Australian newspaper today about Trump, ‘while he has probably done more for Christianity than Pope Francis’….,

  4. kathleen says:

    Catholic apologist and blogger, Mark Lambert, calls this cup trick of Pope Francis as doing the Okey Pokey:

    “First he is in, then he is out, then he is in again, now he shakes it all about.”

    And ends his article with a plea many of us would willingly add our names to:

    ”Please can someone hold a conclave and get someone who understands the Catholic faith in the See of Peter please?”

  5. Mary Salmond says:

    Crow: I agree about Trump doing HUGE things for the Catholic church and religious freedom.

  6. JabbaPapa says:

    “Pope says local bishop should make the call on intercommunion” reads a new headline over at Crux. The pope has circled back to the intercommunion issue and spun it in a new direction. If you want to see what he did, you have to pay close attention to the way the cups move. Do you see which one the ball — which of course represents papal authority and approval in our little metaphor here — is under when he starts? Watch closely – the emphasis is mine

    This is NOT a “rhetorical trick” — it’s the Canon Law.

  7. mmvc says:

    Jabba:
    This is NOT a “rhetorical trick” — it’s the Canon Law.

    Cardinal Burke, Canon Lawyer:
    Canon 844, paragraph 4, provides for the giving of Holy Communion to a non-Catholic who has no access to his own minister and who manifests the Catholic faith, if he is in danger of death or, in the judgment of the Diocesan Bishop or Conference of Bishops, another grave necessity warrants it. Both conditions on the part of the person who is to receive Holy Communion must be verified, and there must be a grave necessity such as the danger of death, judged to be present by the Diocesan Bishop or Conference of Bishops.

    Can. 844, paragraph 4, needs to be revised because of its lack of clarity which has led to many contradictory practices in the matter of “intercommunion.”

    It is patently clear what Marx, Kasper and the majority of the German Bishops’ Conference are hellbent on achieving in the name of “ecumenism”. And with a bit of trickery, a twist and some hokey pokey, they’ll get what they want.

  8. JabbaPapa says:

    mmvc, I actually agree with you (and with Cardinal Burke) that the Law, where it concerns the providing of Communion to non-Catholics in certain situations (particularly those where the non-Catholic is not a member of an Eastern Orthodox Church or some other church with genuine Apostolic Succession and genuine Sacraments), has become confusing to too many people.

    One element of the Law is however perfectly clear — intercommunion as such (which is the “regular” partaking of common eucharists of Catholics with non-Catholics) may never be permitted (its why the shared worship at Taizé has not the Eucharist for instance), but only some individual cases of indulgence, whether for an individual Mass or for a particular individual. These are allowed only with the approval of a Bishop or Pope (interestingly, an Abbott may not authorise it, but only a Diocesan Ordinary and so on).

    Intercommunion with Protestants is specifically disallowed by Catechism of the Catholic Church :

    1400 Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, “have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders.” It is for this reason that, for the Catholic Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible. However these ecclesial communities, “when they commemorate the Lord’s death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory.”

    As for Canon 844, the conditions sine qua non are quite strict :

    §4. If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.

    Some comments :

    First, it is obvious that a Canon describing situations where a non-Catholic may take Communion is not a Canon flatly denying that it can ever possible.

    Second, Cardinal Burke is actually wrong about the toughest conditions, or perhaps he is simply looking at things from the point of view of a Catholic Bishop rather than from that of a non-Catholic lay person seeking Catholic Eucharist.

    Certainly he describes the conditions where a Bishop or Bishops Conference might define some local conditions that the clergy must abide by in individual cases. It is nevertheless clear that 844.4 refers precisely to individual cases that need individual discernment, and so not at all to such things as permanent authorisations being provided within certain territories (only a Pope can authorise such things, as in the case for example of some old indulgences for non-Catholic foot pilgrims en route to Catholic Shrines and unable to fulfill their days of obligation elsewhere than in a Catholic church).

    But Thirdly, the conditions imposed upon the non-Catholic who might seek the Eucharist are actually far tougher.

    Such a person must “manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments”, in other words manifest overt belief in the Real Presence of Christ in Eucharist, and the Catholic teachings on the Credo, and in the Priesthood, and so on. And such a person must be “properly disposed”, in other words must have made Sacramental Confession within the year and to be in a Sacramental state of Grace.

    These conditions are not easily attained by those outside of the orthodox Churches, Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. They are much tougher conditions than those governing the matter from the Episcopal side.

    The membership of some of the Reformed churches might have particular difficulty satisfying these conditions, particular where the members of such a “church” might need to formally announce disbelief in the Real Presence, or the Sacramental Priesthood, or might declare that no Sacrifice is necessary after the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, or so on — those having such beliefs purely & simply cannot partake of the Holy Eucharist. Except potentially in the cases of some individuals belonging to those “churches” but actively and freely confessing the truth of Catholic doctrine in these matters, conditio sine qua non.

    Most importantly though, Canon 844.4 clearly establishes that these possibilities can only exist within an individual discernment, and NOT within ANY kind of blanket authorisation by any Bishop whomsoever unless he is the Pope.

  9. JabbaPapa says:

    “the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary” I meant to write, if it’s possible to correct it please ?

    [Moderator – comment corrected and name of person to whom you were responding]

  10. mmvc says:

    Second, Cardinal Burke is actually wrong about the toughest conditions

    Well, perhaps the good Cardinal and Canon Lawyer will read this, and stand corrected. ;o)

    I happen to agree with Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider who are in a much better position to assess what is going on here. The fact is that the ‘progressive’ and ‘ecumenically minded’ Bishops in Germany are not recommending the obvious solution of RCIA formation to Evangelical/Protestant spouses who are ‘yearning for the Eucharist’ whilst ‘affirming the Catholic Faith’. Instead, with the help of the Bishop of Rome, they are paving the way for the slippery slope to full intercommunion.

    The final paragraph from the above post sums it up:

    Remember what he told the Lutheran lady who asked him if she could receive Communion back in November 2015:

    I wouldn’t ever dare to allow this, because it’s not my competence. One baptism, one Lord, one faith. Talk to the Lord and then go forward. I don’t dare to say anything more.

    No ruling from the top. No official decree. Much easier to kick it downstairs and create chaos. Atomize and deconstruct the universal faith, one bishop at a time.

    Because Hagan lío or something.

  11. mmvc says:

    And so it begins.

    From Gloria TV:

    Official Apostasy: First German Diocese Introduces Protestant Communion

    Paderborn Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker is the first German bishop to officially introduce [heretical] intercommunion, that de facto was practiced for decades in Germany.

    According to the Westfalenblatt (June 30), Becker told his priests that he expects them to act according to a heretical text which recently was published by the German bishops.

    In “individual cases” [meaning: in all cases] the priests should [meaning: are obliged to] give Communion to Protestants, Becker told Westfalenblatt.

    This means that the German apostasy from the Church is now officially accomplished.

  12. kathleen says:

    What a sacrilege! What an offence against the Sacred Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ! Does this blasphemous German bishop (and the priests who follow him) have no fear of God?

    So now where is the Pope who should be condemning this outright apostasy?

    For that is the role of Christ’s Vicar on Earth as Prime Witness to the One Faith handed down through Peter and the Apostles, isn’t it? To “confirm the brethren in the Faith”.

    It always used to be…. till 2013 !

    Edit @ 12:35p.m. – And now this from Gloria TV: The Apostasy Continues: Two More German Dioceses Introduce Protestant Communion

  13. JabbaPapa says:

    It’s technically sacrilege rather than apostasy — though clearly there are dogmatic red lines that are being ignored, or even deliberately crossed, which could constitute crimes in the Canon Law.

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