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Pope 'Plotting' Radical Change on Marriage, Social Issues

Pope 'Plotting' Radical Change on Marriage, Social Issues
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By    |   Monday, 19 October 2015 10:41 AM

Pope Francis is plotting to push through a liberal proposal to let divorced and remarried Catholics receive communion before they get an annulment, with an advisory body "rigged" to approve it, according to New York Times columnist Ross Douthat

But conservatives in the Church are worried the plan rewrites doctrine and could alter Catholicism itself, Douthat writes in an op-ed commentary.

"Procedurally, the pope's powers are near-absolute: If Francis decided tomorrow to endorse communion for the remarried, there is no Catholic Supreme Court that could strike his ruling down," Douthat writes.

"At the same time, though, the pope is supposed to have no power to change Catholic doctrine. … And a change of doctrine is what conservative Catholics, quite reasonably, believe believe that the communion proposal favored by Francis essentially implies."

Douthat argues the pope is "clearly looking for a mechanism that would let him exercise his powers without undercutting his authority."

The key, he writes, has been the synods, papal advisory bodies "which can project an image of ecclesiastical consensus."

"The church's teaching that marriage is indissoluble has already been pushed close to the breaking point by this pope's new expedited annulment process," he writes.

"Going all the way to communion without annulment would just break it."

To overcome resistance "from bishops who grasp this obvious point, first last year's synod and now this one have been, to borrow from the Vatican journalist Edward Pentin's recent investigative book, 'rigged' by the papal-appointed organizers in favor of the pope's preferred outcome."

The "plot" isn't working, he says, predicting it to "ultimately fail."

"There reportedly still isn't anything like a majority for the proposal within the synod," he writes. "[A]nd the conservatives — African, Polish, American, Australian — have been less surprised than last fall, and quicker to draw public lines and try to box= the pontiff in with private appeals."

"Where the pope and the historic faith seem to be in tension, my bet is on the faith," he writes.

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Pope Francis is plotting to push through a liberal proposal to let divorced and remarried Catholics receive communion before they get an annulment, with an advisory body "rigged" to approve it, according to New York Times columnist Ross Douthat.
Pope Francis, Marriage, social, issues, radical, changes, Catholicism, liberal, communion
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2015-41-19
Monday, 19 October 2015 10:41 AM
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