Pope Francis Tells Synod15 Bishops to Butt Out of Communion Discussion

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
March 29, 2015

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — While generally not one to take topics off the table for discussion (except for the ordination of women), Pope Francis has advised his bishops not to waste a lot of time in the upcoming Synod of Bishops discussing whether divorced and remarried Catholics should continue to be barred from receiving the Eucharist. In his homily earlier this week, the Pope said that the whole question centers on ideology rather than on mercy, so it should be dropped. The bishops should not worry about giving “instructions from on high” and “not be obsessed by the thought of divorced Catholics receiving Communion.” This “focus on appearances” is not important.

Pope FrancisHe further pointed out that the resolution of this question is really not up to them. “When I was a boy, I was taught that the sacraments were instituted by Christ to give grace, and we that receive this grace as long as our souls have the right dispositions. The current Catechism,” he continued,“preserves this teaching. But it does not instruct the clergy to put themselves in the middle of making that judgment.”

As he has done in the past, the Pope warned against being a Church driven by small-minded rules. “Ministers of the Church must be ministers of mercy above all.” Just put the question aside, he advised. Don’t worry about “appearances,” and “leave the sacramental giving of grace where it belongs – between the communicant and God.”

Getting Natural Law and Sexual Ethics Right

By The Cranky Thomist

The Cranky ThomistFinally! From a Notre Dame professor no less. Unraveling the Church Ban on Gay Sex.

He is right. St. Thomas Aquinas made natural law a significant part of his moral philosophy. In his thought, natural law is driven by the primary principle of doing good and avoiding evil. The entire structure of morality, the intent of divine and natural law, as well as the virtues and grace, are all directed toward reasoning about which behaviors can move humans toward the love of God and toward the love of fellow creatures in charity. Morality consists of reason planning action so that good may be done and evil avoided. What is right is based upon what is good.

The primary law, upon which all other laws are based, is that good be done (i.e., flourishing into the love of God and the love of fellow creatures in charity) and evil avoided. Morality and law are thus drawn from that which makes humans grow toward the good.

“Since good is grasped as always desirable, the first premise in reason’s planning of action is that good is to be done and evil avoided. And on this are based all the other injunctions of the law in us by nature, which command us to do whatever reason, when planning action, naturally grasps to be good for man, whatever man naturally seeks as a goal” (Summa Theologica, 1a2ae. 94. 2).

Aquinas pointed out three derivatives of this natural law, seeing us first as living beings, then as physical creatures, and finally as reasoning creatures.

First, we must conserve human life and oppose death. Then, we must do whatever accords with our physical nature, which is what we have in common with other animals (e.g., having sex, raising children). Finally, we must do whatever accords with our rational nature, the thing that distinguishes us as human (“to know the truth about God, for example, and to live a social life; so the law in us by nature commands whatever is relevant to such inclinations, like avoiding ignorance and not offending those we live with” (Summa Theologica, 1a2ae. 94. 2).

Since natural law is based upon practical reasoning and our understanding of the reality around us, Aquinas believed it was knowable by all and applicable to all (with the caveat that it is humans doing the thinking).

As Gary Gutting says, “the church needs to undertake a thorough rethinking of its teachings on sexual ethics, including premarital sex, masturbation and remarriage after divorce. In every case, the old arguments no longer work (if they ever did), and a vast number of Catholics reject the teachings. It’s time for the church to realize that its sexual ethics are philosophically untenable and theologically unnecessary.”

New Survey Finds Catholics Enjoying Not Being Mortified by Hierarchy

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
March 10, 2015

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — As the two-year anniversary of the election of Pope Francis approaches, a new survey shows a huge majority of Catholics view him favorably. “He’s the best,” said Lily Lonigan, a sixty-something Roman Catholic who works at the Polkadot Shamrock Bar, Internet Cafe and Daycare Center. “He acts like an actual Christian, which brings us back to the basics of the faith. But even more than that, his example has muzzled the crazies in the hierarchy,” she said. “Well, at least for the most part. What a relief. Before, if it wasn’t yet another story of a bishop covering up sexual abuse, it was some wing nut firing gay people or spouting off about the President of the United States being a Nazi. I mean, seriously. There was a time, you know,” said Lily, waxing nostalgic, “when the clergy and the bishops were acting in the public square doing honorable things and not embarrassing the faithful. They were on the forefront of the labor movement and of civil rights. Like Father Hesburgh, at Notre Dame. They don’t make them like that anymore. For the longest time, it was all, ‘oh let’s parrot everything the Pope says, that’s how we get ahead, and bag the big diocese and the red hat.’ And then the whole Fortnight of Freedom contraception thing? Really?”

Survey results support her opinion. Of Catholics surveyed, a majority chose “Doesn’t embarrass us” as the most frequent reason to like the Pope. (Multiple options could be chosen.)

Reasons why faithful like Pope Francis

And while the faithful await his evolution on issues relating to women, they appreciate what he has done to date. “I can’t wait until he comes and speaks to the U.S. Congress in the fall,” said Lily. “I’d like to see Paul Ryan blow his so-called Catholic smoke after the Pope’s speech, to try and justify the free market as a moral framework. That’s going to be a doozie!”

Pope Francis Asks for Alms to Support Home for Abandoned Hermeneutics

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
March 1, 2015

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — Upon returning from his Lenten retreat, Pope Francis asked Vatican staffers for small donations to support the Casa Famiglia per L’ermeneutica Abbandonati, or Family Home for Abandoned Hermeneutics. The family home, in a small apartment up on the Aventine Hill in Rome, houses the hermeneutics, or methods of interpreting the faith experience, that have been abandoned since the end of the papacy of Benedict XVI.

Home for Abandoned HermeneuticsIn his plea, Pope Francis said that “While we do not look at faith through these lenses much any more, we did at one time, so I hope you can support them with your generosity.”

The hermeneutics of rupture, discontinuity, and continuity were the first to move in to the small home, followed by their little buddy the hermeneutic of novelty in continuity. The hermeneutic of reform resides there as well, but keeps moving in and out. Other house members include once-popular catch-phrases such as the dictatorship of relativism, a hyper-secular modernity, and intrinsically disordered. While not strictly hermeneutics, they too were taken in, as they had nowhere else to go. Not infallible but irreformable is also a resident, but is not doing well, spending most of his days rocking back and forth wrapped in a blanket, muttering darkly that one day, currently fashionable hermeneutics such as the church of mercy and the holy-faithful-people will end up like them, discarded and forgotten.