We are so blessed to have Bishop Steven Lopes as the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter and his marvelous “A Pledged Troth: A Pastoral Letter on Amoris Laetitia.
He is among the bishops of the world who have come out with an interpretation of Pope Francis’ post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation that affirms what has always been taught by the Catholic Church regarding Holy Matrimony and the Holy Eucharist.
It’s beautifully-written, steeped in our Anglican/English Catholic patrimony through reference to our marriage rite and gives us firm direction in a time when confusion abounds as well as a divisive factionalism.
I thought of this upon reading this piece on the Patheos site by Dr. Greg, in which the blogger airs his frustration with some of the progressive polemics that interpret Pope Francis’ document in a manner inconsistent with previous papal teaching, and indeed with Scripture and Tradition.
Dr. Greg writes:
I’ve grown more than a little weary of the progressive trope that any confusion caused by chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia is simply a matter of conflict between people who want an “adult church…a mature people of God” versus those who are childish, rigid, and “afraid of the unknown.”
I would propose that this debate is really between those who believe in the Universal Call to Holiness and those who believe that “heroism is not for the average Christian” (as Cardinal Kasper proclaimed in an interview with Commonweal explaining his support for a new approach to communion for those who are remarried without the benefit of an annulment)
The idea that the laity are doomed to be spiritual also-rans strikes me as a particularly pernicious failure of pastoral practice. I am, frankly, appalled that what appears to be driving the progressive advocacy of an interpretation of Chapter 8 of AL that supports communion for Catholics who are remarried without the benefit of annulment is that lay people are just too weak to live holy lives.
What progressives fail to acknowledge is that any proposed changes to the doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage and how it relates to the marriage supper of the Lamb (i.e., Communion) is a de facto denial of the universal call to holiness and the dignity that marriage holds in the divine plan.
We are blessed to have clear teaching from Bishop Lopes on these matters. This teachings helps us to maintain our serenity while various factions battle it out. This teaching is not meant to be something to fill our heads with knowledge, but to guide us to holiness, a roadmap to deeper conversion and better understanding of the graces that flow from the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and the Holy Eucharist.