Conservative Theologians Accuse Pope of Spreading Heresy [NewYorkTimes]

Discussion in 'Anglican and Christian News' started by World Press, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. World Press

    World Press Active Member

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    Conservative Theologians Accuse Pope of Spreading Heresy
    By The Associated Press | Sept. 23, 2017, 6:18 P.M. E.D.T.


    VATICAN CITY — Several dozen tradition-minded Roman Catholic theologians, priests and academics have formally accused Pope Francis of spreading heresy with his 2016 opening to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

    In a 25-page letter delivered to Francis last month and provided Saturday to The Associated Press, the 62 signatories issued a "filial correction" to the pope — a measure they said hadn't been employed since the 14th century.

    The letter accused Francis of propagating seven heretical positions concerning marriage, moral life and the sacraments with his 2016 document "The Joy of Love" and subsequent "acts, words and omissions."

    The initiative follows another formal act by four tradition-minded cardinals who wrote Francis last year asking him to clarify a series of questions, or "dubbia," they had about his 2016 text.

    Francis hasn't responded to either initiative. The Vatican spokesman didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment late Saturday.

    None of the signatories of the new letter is a cardinal, and the highest-ranking churchman listed is actually someone whose organization has no legal standing in the Catholic Church: Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the breakaway Society of St. Pius X. Several other signatories are well-known admirers of the old Latin Mass which Fellay's followers celebrate.

    But organizers said the initiative was nevertheless significant and a sign of the concern among a certain contingent of academics and pastors over Francis' positions, which they said posed a danger to the faithful.


    Click here for the rest of the article:
    https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/09/23/world/europe/ap-eu-rel-vatican-heresy.html
     
  2. Philip Barrington

    Philip Barrington Well-Known Member

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    Whilst I am loath to weigh in on what happens within Ecclesia Romana, it does seem to me that the approach taken by Francis I in The Joy of Love was a position of pastoral caring rather than legal application. The message of the Gospel has at it's heart crucifixion and resurrection, which for me also embodies forgiveness and new beginnings. Condemning people to live in loveless prisons seems to be to be counter gospel, and fails to understand that much of the best we have to offer may well be flawed.

    Clearly the intent in Holy Matrimony has to be 'in sickness and in health as long as we both shall live' however it does seem to continue in some relationships beyond the logical conclusion helps neither God nor people.

    There are five primary purpose for Marriage set out in the Book of Common Prayer, and the overriding one is as a sign of God's Love for the Church. To insist on the continuance of some relationships may suggest something other than the truth of God's love for the Church.

    I see the Pope as looking for a balance between high moral aspiration and a solid pastoral realism. I think this is a struggle that we have explored in Anglicanism in the past 50 years or so.
     
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  3. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I'd have to register my disagreement that Pope Francis is doing alright in allowing people in objective adultery to receive Holy Communion. There is a reason that when ACNA was formed, the House of Bishops rejected anyone for candidacy of bishop who have been previously divorced. Divorce and remarriage is not simply less than perfect, it is a violation of God's plan for the world.

    We shouldn't do that, and I haven't seen anyone who does say that we do. That's a rather uncharitable representation of the proper defense of marriage. People may separate from their spouse, even indefinitely, but they may not consummate a second 'marriage' for that would make it adultery. What God has joined, let no man put asunder.


    I'm curious on two counts here. I am aware of the place where the three purposes of Marriage are specified, but where do you find the five? Second, not one of the purposes of marriage was a sign of God's Love for the Church. So I'm not sure where you're getting these things. Here is the Order for the Solemnization of Matrimony from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer

    http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1662/marriage.pdf
    ...the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.
    • Firſt, it was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.
    • Secondly, it was ordained for a remedy againſt sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the giftof continency might marry, and keep them selves undefiled members of Chriſt’s body.
    • Thirdly, it was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.
    Into which holy eſtate these two persons present come now to be joined.

    In other words, the first purpose of marriage is for the procreation of children. Those who cannot procreate don't need to marry. Second it is a remedy against sin, so that when we marry to produce children, we are also protected from sins of fornication. And thirdly, as we are procreating children and remain safe from sin, lastly we can also provide mutual support and comfort to each other.
     
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  4. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    The most basic societal unit is the family. Indeed societies revolve around attending to the needs of the family. Anything which attacks the family, eg the sanctity of marriage , is a threat to our society
     
  5. Philip Barrington

    Philip Barrington Well-Known Member

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    Look, I take your points absolutely, however I do think it is a harsh reading of the Gospel, which finds it's central message in death and resurrection, forgiveness and new beginnings. Somehow we need to hold to the ideal and yet at the same time be able to gather up the broken scraps of humanity for the one who came to call sinners to repentance.

    As I would argue that marriage is a sacrament, (and I know that there are those who argue against that), I take it that marriage is a sign of God's love for his people (the Church). I guess I ask the question what do you do when the sign is pointing in the wrong direction?

    The business of annulling marriages as if they never happened (even though there may be children of those marriages) I find convoluted, complex and often seems, superficially at least, to lack integrity. I do not think any of this stuff is easy, and I absolutely respect your stance on the matter, and I hope that you understand that I mean no attack on the honourable estate.
     
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  6. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    While I appreciate that we're all brothers here I still have to register my disagreement with the above. The problem I have with it is: Does this mean that the Anglican Divines have read the gospel too harshly all these prior centuries, and now we're in a position to interpret all things anew? What gives us this right? Or better yet, have the great bishops and theologians like St. Clement and St. Ambrose read the gospel too harshly?

    The problem I have with your and Pope Francis' hermeneutic is that it acts as if we're reading the Gospel for the first time. The Pentecost has just happened and now we're finally ready to interpret everything for the first time, and what "seems right" to us in our effete 21st century is how the Gospel ought to be interpreted. We interpret the Gospel according to the times.

    Instead we have to recognize that the Gospel is the same for all times. Times change, and we ought to understand that human nature never changes, and the gospel never changes. People always want to soften the gospel, and run away from the hard responsibility of Christian sanctity. They wanted to do it in the 17th century, and the Divines said no, the Gospel is what it is. They wanted to do it in the 5th century and the great and heroic saints and martyrs said no: the Gospel is what it is.
     
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  7. Philip Barrington

    Philip Barrington Well-Known Member

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    Not exactly as I understand it. The Gospel is everlasting and new every day. The task of the Church, of us as Christians is to proclaim the eternal truth amidst the shifting sands of temporal reality. Are we simply to say this is holiness take it or leave it? I believe we are called to follow in the steps of Jesus, and that in part calls us to be in dialogue with the world. We have no right to be heard in the world if we do not listen to the world. The big issue is that we do not simply listen to the world.

    The circumstances in the 16th century that gave impetus to a new chapter in the Anglican Story is not simply one of heroic holiness, nor simply one of depraved lustfulness, though it seems to have elements of both, along with a good dose of the Tudor obsession with succession and a whole lot more. Catherine of Aragon was very well connected in Europe, as was Anne of Cleves, and those marriages ended somewhat differently to those born of English stock. Into this world someone penned the homily against whoring and adultery (probably in 1542-3) taking pretty clear aim at the chambering for which the Tudor Court (along with other contemporary European Courts) had become a little notorious.

    We consign people to locked in relationships and given that we now live another twenty years or so longer that has many pressures. And in truth we are aware that there are many reasons why relationships break down. By the standard you suggest those persons are to all live fruitful chaste lives henceforth. Romes approach for many is to find some seeming impediment which allows the annulment - and many outside see this as being a flawed approach and open to abuse. In the Anglican Diocese in which I live, where a divorced person wants to remarry, there is an interview - normally with an Archdeacon - the intent of which is to underscore the aim of marriage as a lifelong union, and being prepared to discuss what went wrong in the previous marriage to protect against that happening again.

    There is the standard, and the practical reality, and our task is to glue these together, which I believe for the most part requires a great deal of grace. Of course marriage itself is subject not simply of love, but of a great deal of grace.
     
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  8. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    You have answered your own question my friend, and would have answered it correctly had you stopped there. We are christians. We have a master and we take our cues from him, not the world. The world is one of the 3 evils we pledge to renounce in order to follow Jesus and to follow him more closely. Our Lord said divorce is wrong, that what is joined by God man cannot tear asunder. If that is strict we can only assume it is because God knows that the breaking of that covenant is so harmful. As a product of a broken home, I rhink I know why God hates divorce, or at least why I share with Him the same emotion.
     
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  9. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Yes God is a loving and merciful God, He is also a just God. The Ten Commandments and the teachings of Our Lord and Saviour are the perfect road map for achieving eternal glory in Heaven and can be ignored at great peril. No one , especially Jesus, said that it would be easy or that we should only follow instruction if we want to. God the Father and Christ the King have given instruction, who are we humans that dare to question?
     
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  10. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Not sure where you have that from... did not St. Paul say that if anyone, even an Angel come to him trying to proclaim something 'new' that he would not abide by it? If an Angel cannot bring something new, then can Philip Barrington, or Archbishop Welby, or Pope Francis?

    I think you've answered the question yourself...

    It is as the saints have always done. They went into barbarian Saxon England and said to the barbarian pagans, this is holiness, take it or leave it. They went into Germany and chopped down the tree of the pagans and said this is holiness, take it or leave it. Peter Damian wrote The Book of Gomorrah against sodomy and said, this is holiness, take it or leave it. The saints and martyrs of the Reformation did much the same. Archbishop Cranmer said, this is holiness, take or leave it... burn my perfidious hand. The Divines to the anarchic Quakers and Baptists always said: this is holiness, take it or leave it.

    King Edward VIII could not marry his girlfriend Wallis Simpson, the king himself, because that would be adultery. Archbishop Gordon Lang said, you shall not marry. You will step down as king. This is holiness, take it or leave it.

    This is the way of the Church of Christ, friend. It has ever, and ever shall be thus.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
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  11. Philip Barrington

    Philip Barrington Well-Known Member

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    Clearly I have not expressed my intended meaning adequately. The Gospel (Good News) is eternal, and yes St Paul did speak of those who came to proclaim another Gospel.

    Perhaps some of the challenge is that he also said.
    As human beings we do make mistakes (often), and indeed we make mistakes in love. If a 16 year old makes a mistake, and marries someone who later for whatever reason changes and the relationship loses all meaning, is that person, now perhaps 30, only outlook on life 50 years of solitude? We were made for each other, and in the main we were made (in the image of the Holy Trinity) to live in relationship. I am not wanting to have an argument, and I do respect what you are saying, however I can't see God locked up in legislation, for I know God in the incarnation, and in the liberation from a raft of rules and regulations. We are called to draw people into the kingdom, not lock them out.

     
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  12. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Dear Philip, why, may I ask, have you not subscribed as most of the others have done? If it's a private matter please don't answer
     
  13. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    My problem with quoting here these passages on verses like Love is that we equivocate them with Permissiveness. We say love, but we mean permission. We say love but we mean 'it doesn't matter'. That isn't what St. Paul had meant when he said "love", for he would never allow those living in adultery to receive communion...
     
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  14. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    God also shows love by imparting and upholding the Law. He is a just God , one of His many attributes
     
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  15. DouayJamesGeneva

    DouayJamesGeneva Member

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    When you mean the gospel, that means mainly faith and moral issues. Anything outside of that can be dynamic throughout time such as the prophetic books, the relationship between science and the bible, archaeology, and so forth, because they're meant to be revealed as the world goes on, so they are not entirely subject to what the early fathers and councils thought, unless we count the traditional understanding of symbols in the bible to help us interpret and apply them whenever they may come to pass. Some laws have dynamic traits, like rendering unto Caesar, and so forth.

    My understanding of the marriage commandment, is that divorce outside of unfaithfulness is considered adultery, because it means the commitment was founded on temporal aspects of human relationships that are foreign to a stable relationship based on Godly love, which acknowledges that we are all flawed in some way and need actual grace to intervene when enduring hardships so that it will last. You don't know how you'll handle it until it happens. The temporal aspects I speak of are things that often draw people to another but are not guaranteed to be kept between the people throughout their entire lifetime: money, physical beauty, sexual potency, etc. and likewise, our commitment to God is based on the idea that we will not always have everything we want or not suffer, but that God will give us what we need if we invoke and trust him (the daily bread spoken of in the Lord's prayer), even if we don't end up rich like the prosperity gospel teaches these days. Otherwise, it's like buying a sex slave. Nothing else besides the 'convenient' aspects are considered when the union is granted. Thus, adultery.
     

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