Dave Andrews (Ref Patheos, 24 Sep), respectfully, I do feel that for an apologist you do protest too much. I do not have the learning of the authors of the troublesome “Dubai”; nor that of the theologians, scholars, journalists, and faithful of various social strata proposing correct interpretations of the Pope’s exhortation on family values. But, as a simple Catholic who wants to develop his spirituality round “Amoris Laetitia” and “Laudato Si”, I find the storm a bit enigmatic.
I admit I am no fan of our anachronistic structure that promotes egotistical self indulgence, power and privilege. The authors, as I understand from the summary given in the “National Catholic Register”, are vexed by potentials of “divisions” or “conflict”, posed by the Pope’s expressed opinions on broken families. Strongly, in the interests of “justice and charity”, care for the “Universal Church”, and “according to a progressive/conservative paradigm” (whatever that means), they make, what they want us to believe is a filial correction. With, I might add, a bit of pressure through the media demanding a please explain from the Pontiff.
The prelates are wrong in their assertion to be acting as pastors. As pastors their duty lies in leading their flock, playing a nurturing role in caring for the flock’s spiritual needs; guiding them in the merits of dogma and Church values and practices. Nothing in the “Dubai” suggests spiritual considerations. Obviously, prayer and appeals to the Holy Spirit were absent. Priests and prelates are not paid for their personal opinions. When it comes to personal beliefs we are all equal. So. When the authors have been through their rhetorical maneuvering, we end up with a rather paradoxical situation; briefly, “(the Pope’s words) can be read in continuity with previous magisterium and do not contain a modification in the Church’s practice and teaching”. I believe that means that the Pope’s exhortation does not contradict Catholic Catechism. So, one questions the motivation.
Then we come to the part where journalists are miffed because the Pope has not offered a “please explain”. Here I salute the wisdom of Pope Francis. For, any “clarification” would amount to putting forward a different view- the very division the prelates wished to avoid. In our Pop culture, so used to instant gratification, Pop Catholics too expect instant solutions and gratification. The way of The Spirit is different. The Pope’s silence speaks louder than words. Time is providing answers (though maybe in an obtuse way). How do the Prelates respond to the LGBT question? In their response they will have the Pope’s answer. With a little more patience the future will be revealed in the forthcoming Synod. The Pope I feel will be vindicated. Those who made judgements on authority might find themselves being judged by their followers.