by Fr. Jonathan Atchley
I've been twisted in knots ever since Pope Francis has released his answers to the newly issued five dubia (questions) issued by four prominent Cardinals. Few of his holiness' replies made sense, but I found his tacit permission to bless same-sex relationships particularly perplexing. Until, that is, I read a scintillating article by Dr. Monica Miller published today on Crisis Magazine: https://crisismagazine.com/opinion/understanding-pope-francis-response-to-same-sex-union-blessings. Here's the skinny (from Dr. Miller):
Pope Francis believes (mistakenly) that God's greatest attribute is mercy, that Jesus came to show mercy. Mercy trumps rigid thinking of "sterile doctrine" (i.e., official church teaching). So it is pastorally merciful and therefore better to bless than not to bless. Yes, even if you're blessing sin, because in Francis' thinking, sometimes that's all we're capable of giving God--our sins.
Of course, Catholics know that God is love, and that Jesus came to bring us truth that sets us free (from sin). Good spiritual reading will remind us that we're called to holiness, that virtue takes effort, and that effort will be well-rewarded. My friend Deacon Schwerdt also kindly reminded me of a principle of logic we learned in the seminary: “Bonum ex integra causa; malum ex quocumque defectu. If one part of the sentence is false, the whole sentence is false." Applied to Pope Francis's argument, if part of his thinking is in error, one may rightly question the legitimacy of his conclusions. We would do well to pray for the Holy Father. And maybe take up a collection to send him out for a sound, Catholic re-education.