On EWTN news show “The World Over”, canon lawyer Fr. Gerald Murray said that chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia was in “error” and he hoped it would be “withdrawn” by Pope Francis. [LifeSiteNews.com]. What would happen, in the Church, if Pope Francis withdrew that portion of Amoris Laetitia? The result is very predictable.
Groups of Catholics with particular points of view on controversial issues, as well as any individual Catholics, would begin to identify other passages in documents which they think should be “withdrawn”. And even if no other passage in any other document were withdrawn, the mere fact that a request for a withdrawal is left standing would be an excuse for individuals and groups to ignore and contradict anything in Church teaching they think should be changed.
Ecumenical Councils would be unable to teach, because anyone who disagrees will claim that the teaching will possibly be withdrawn at a later time. Each successive Pope would be unable to lead, because, for each of his decisions on doctrine and discipline, there will be a group clamoring for a withdrawal. The Church will no longer be united by our common belief in the teaching of the Magisterium. Instead, each person and group will believe whatever they like, and they will demand that the Church change or withdraw whatever is contrary to their own minds.
Conservatives, in particular, would go out of their minds with pride, if Pope Francis withdraws or changes any portion of Amoris Laetitia. They will declare victory, and then set their sights on the next target to be changed to conform to their own minds and hearts. Even now, conservative Catholics are no longer defined by faithfulness to the Pope and the Church, but rather by their opposition to a liberal Pope and to whatever is contrary to the conservative Catholic subculture.
Do you think that the next conservative Pope, after Pope Francis, will change Amoris Laetitia, or somehow nullify or withdraw its teachings? He will not. There have been conservative and liberal Popes in the past, and they did not do so. Discipline changes from time to time. So I expect the next conservative Pope to change the discipline for Communion. But the teaching of Amoris Laetitia will stand, as within the authority of the Church to permit Christian sinners to receive Communion, if they are not conscious of unrepented actual mortal sin.
The solution to the Amoris Laetitia controversy is very simple: bend your necks and accept the yoke of the Lord. Humble yourselves and accept the decisions of Pope Francis on doctrine and discipline. And turn away from all those loud-mouthed self-appointed judges over the Pope, who think that the Pope should submit to their understanding of the Faith.
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