That was the first thing I thought, reading Austen Invereigh’s claim that critics of communion-for-adulterers (or even those requesting clarification as to whether that is now official policy) have crossed the line “into dissent”. After all, Cardinal Kasper was promoting his heresy long ago. Popes John Paul II and Benedict VI answered quite unambiguously that unrepentant adulterers cannot receive the Eucharist. Wasn’t Kasper obliged to accept this ruling with full sincerity, to accept its teaching as his own belief and to never raise the issue again? What’s the difference? Why is it that when liberals don’t get the answer they want, it just means they should keep asking, whereas conservatives have to accept any answer, or ambiguous non-answer, we don’t like?
Invereigh claims that today’s critics of Amoris Laetitia resemble past heretics and schematics, but the resemblances are peculiar. One resemblance is supposed to be our insistence on logical deduction from accepted principles. One notes here the anti-intellectualism Pope Francis has fostered across the Catholic world, its hostility toward clarity and precision, its interpretation of questions as attacks. More vaguely, there is the criticism that critics are failing to move with the Church. One suspects that for some people, the Pope is only to be obeyed when he contradicts previous teaching, because only this constitutes “movement” which is our new sign of the action of the Holy Ghost. It is a prejudice directly opposite of the traditionalist’s. Thus the deepest fears of the Eastern Orthodox regarding the papacy would be confirmed. Papal authority would then be said to exist not as a weapon to preserve the immutable deposit of faith, but as an instrument to authorize unlimited novelty.
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