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The Chair Of Peter Is Not Vacant… But The Chair’s Occupant Is Vacating His Duties

May 24, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

As happens with the certainty of the sun’s rising, our Pope has again reportedly expressed himself in a manner seemingly contrary to Catholic belief. At the very least, his remarks raise more questions than answers. Unsurprisingly, the subject is homosexuality.
Thanks to a world media more than willing to propagate anything supporting a Godless culture, this comment promises as much if not more coverage than the old “who am I to judge” quotation.
Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean survivor of clerical sex abuse, had a private meeting at the Vatican with the Pope, and later reported that the Pope told him:
“Juan Carlos, it doesn’t matter that you’re gay. God made you that way and that is the way He wants you to be, and I don’t mind. The Pope wants you this way too, and you have to be happy with who you are.”
Notably, this is secondhand information, but as Patrick J. Buchanan points out in his column elsewhere in this issue, “The Vatican has not denied what Cruz relates.”
A staple of this Pontificate, these off-the-cuff remarks leave it up to the laity to again guess what exactly the Pope meant. Is he saying it is OK to have homosexual tendencies or is he saying it is OK to act on those tendencies? In line with his five-year track record, we are left to only guess, just as the Dubia cardinals and rest of the faithful are left in the Francis wake of ambiguity and uncertainty.
For 2,000 years, the majority of the Popes have faithfully reflected the Magisterium in explaining and clarifying what the Church teaches and why the Church teaches it. But this Papacy has been another story. Clarity has been missing in action from the beginning, causing mass confusion not only among faithful Catholics but among non-Catholics as well. Witness the Francis interpreters from Jesuit Fr. James Martin to Vatican favorites like Reinhard Cardinal Marx to the secular media who translate every Francis quote to fit every progressive narrative of the day. These are all the interpretations that make the headlines. These are headlines totally ignored or unchallenged publicly by the Pope.
Many say Francis is cunningly attempting to rewrite doctrine; some say he is not being interpreted properly. Others say he is taking a more moderate approach to Catholic teaching. Whatever the intentions of the Holy Father, he has an obligation and a duty to clarify the Church’s position on such matters, especially when he has created the confusion himself.
Given another ambiguous statement from the Vicar of Christ, the Catholic lay faithful cry out for clarity on a matter only the Pope himself can explain. As in previous instances, we are answered with deafening silence from the Vatican walls, or at best with some Vatican spin master.
With no clarification of this latest disconnect from Catholic doctrine, we can only reiterate what the Magisterium has taught on the issue of homosexuality for the last 2,000 years, as is explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (nn. 2357-2359):
“. . . Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
“The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
“Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”
Given the frequency of these troubling statements by our Holy Father, many questions arise from the world at large — not just Catholics. Are you teaching Church doctrine? Are you trying to change Church doctrine? You are the Shepherd. Your flock is confused. Your flock needs to know. Are not these legitimate questions to one who has been given the keys to Heaven by Christ himself? Is not clarity in teaching one of the primary job descriptions of the office of the Papacy?
The lack of clarity and the perceived disconnect from traditional Catholic teaching coming from the Chair of Peter appears to be nothing short of dereliction of duty. That seems to be the only clarity coming from the Vatican today.
Finally, Pat Buchanan began his column by humorously recalling the old quip, “Is the Pope Catholic?”
On that issue, Fr. John Hunwicke of the UK, on his Mutual Enrichment blog, commented as follows on May 19, in reply to a correspondent who was threatening to leave the Church:
“It is true that PF [Pope Francis] treats the Church Militant (happily, there is no way he can get his hands on the Church Expectant and it is not within his mercifully limited power to ‘make a mess’ in the Church Triumphant) as if it were some sort of private playground in which he can get up to whatever games he finds personally satisfying and heap up any number of his boasted ‘messes.’ But the Church is the Body of Christ. Not PF’s playground; not mine; not yours.
“There have been appallingly bad Popes in the past and, depending on how long it is until the Eschaton, there very probably will be more of them in the future. None of that makes a nanogram of difference to the fact that the Catholic Church is the Ark of Salvation; the only and the essential Ark of Salvation.
“And it is not a human and worldly ‘membership organization’ which one can walk out of in a huff. You and I were incorporated into it by our Baptism. It is rooted in eternity; splendid as an army with banners; a terror to the fallen spirits; a wonder to the Angels.”
We pray that the present Pontificate will become more reflective of that wonder and splendor.

The Editors

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