First it was Cardinal Muller's letter in L'Osservatore Romano. Then it was some random papal comment affirming marital indissolubility (which ignored the fact Cardinal Kasper swearsies he's all about keeping marriages intact). Then, most recently, it was the supposed door-slamming vote at the end of the Synod, which asserted that the matter was--this time for sure, how could you ever doubt it?--done. Over. Locked into a safe, wrapped in chains and dumped square in into Challenger Deep, where it could never be seen again, thanks to our Papal Guarantee of Unassailable Orthodoxy. Take that, Huns!
Well, I was skeptical about that. Very much so.
And it appears my skepticism was warranted. Like the villain in a bad horror movie, the damned thing keeps rising from assured death to menace the protagonists again. Behold Question 38, straight from the Pope's handpicked secretary at the Vatican:
38. With regard to the divorced and remarried, pastoral practice concerning the sacraments needs to be further studied, including assessment of the Orthodox practice and taking into account “the distinction between an objective sinful situation and extenuating circumstances” (n. 52). What are the prospects in such a case? What is possible? What suggestions can be offered to resolve forms of undue or unnecessary impediments?
So much for the matter being closed, shut, finito. There's a wake-up call, for those so inclined to grab the receiver.
And then there's the Pope's words, just this week, offered in the Time-Honored Magisterium of Newspaper Interviews:
[Q:] In the case of divorcees who have remarried, we posed the question, what do we do with them? What door can we allow them to open? This was a pastoral concern: will we allow them to go to Communion?
[A:] Communion alone is no solution. The solution is integration. They have not been excommunicated, true. But they cannot be godfathers to any child being baptized, mass readings are not for divorcees, they cannot give communion, they cannot teach Sunday school, there are about seven things that they cannot do, I have the list over there. Come on! If I disclose any of this it will seem that they have been excommunicated in fact!"Communion alone is no solution." That's an...interesting formulation. There are other problems with the interview, too, as someone less biased on the topic than I am has noted. This one is particularly insightful, and warrants a careful read.
Thus, let us open the doors a bit more. Why cant they be godfathers and godmothers? "No, no, no, what testimony will they be giving their godson?" The testimony of a man and a woman saying "my dear, I made a mistake, I was wrong here, but I believe our Lord loves me, I want to follow God, I was not defeated by sin, I want to move on."
Anything more Christian than that? And what if one of the political crooks among us, corrupt people, ate chosen to be somebody´s godfather. If they are properly wedded by the Church, would we accept them? What kind of testimony will they give to their godson? A testimony of corruption?
Things need to change, our standards need to change.
Those of you who are Anglicans will have seen this movie before: dialogue does not end until the proper result is reached. Then it becomes the Laws of the Medes and Persians, hater.
Given what the Vatican just issued, the most recent interview shows the Pontiff's mind quite clearly (not that it was particularly opaque before). Throw that in with the papal power-invoking rhetoric in the wildly-overpraised speech he gave at the conclusion of the 2014 Synod (reinforced by more explicit authority to depose), and I think it's more likely than not that he forces through some variation on the Kasper proposal in 2015.
Welcome to horribly interesting times.