Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What Does This Say To Communion For The Divorced-Remarried? Contin'd From the Post Before Alvaro del Portillo

Francis: "Everyone consoles the bereaved, but nobody resurrects the corpse." ["Which is easier to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or get up and walk!' In order that you see... Get  up and walk!"]

Instead of lamenting the sorry state of global culture and consoling the bereaved, Francis says: Christ will recycle persons and families trapped in sin and will rejuvenate the world.

1) we become conscious of what good is by being good. That is, since we are created in the image and likeness of God who alone is good (Mk 10) - and that means being-for-other [going out of ourselves {being relational}] - we know the good only by experiencing ourselves as imaging the self-giftedness of the trinitarian God. This phenomenology of the good comes from Christ's revelation in His conversation with the rich young man ["There is only one that is good, God" (Mk. 10). 

2) Since God is Good [Self-gift], we must be in a state of goodness - self-giftedness - in order to receive Him. But to be in a second union after a ratified and consummated marriage is to be in a state of sin:  "But it was not this way from the beginning" (Mt. 19, 8) that their be justified divorce.

 3)  Sin that is not a state of corruption can be forgiven [corruption being a state of pertinacious impenitence concerning existing sin]. And there are two tiers to that forgiveness: a) according to who Christ is; b) according to who we are. 

a) According to who Christ is: being a divine Person, He is infinite Self-gift = mercy. Although we be in a state of sin, we can be forgiven as the woman caught in adultery who was open to being forgiven:10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I." (Jn. 8, 10)

b) According to who we are:  "Go and sin no more.” (Jn. 8, 11). 
 Being Self-gift Itself (Trinitarian God), Jesus forgives the sin according to who He is. But He does not take away the moral demands of her persona, and bids her sin no more. He has taken the burden of her sin into His human will that He submits (because it is His to submit) - now sinful with the guilt of her sin - in obedience to the Father to death. He heals her by the power of His gift of His humanity (burdened with her non-self-gift) to the Father.  Her obligation to not commit adultery - as all moral obligation - is grounded in the goodness of self-giftendness. It is not simply a law of nature or a moral principle that scholastic theology and philosophy had taken from the Stoic Greeks, but emerges from the ontological tendency of her persona as image of a divine Relation. 

  Notice that all the principles and laws that are in the Decalogue and accounted for by Greek "nature" and "principles," are now grounded in the person as relation. Prior to Vatican II, the human person was presented as an individual substance of a rational nature driven by "natural" tendencies. The divine was accounted for as an accidental addition to the ontological individual-in-self - substance -  thus saving the gratuitousness of the supernatural by a gratuitous accidentality. Contraception was proscribed as being anti-natural since the reason for coitus was procreation and the preservation of the species.

   After Vatican II, the publication of Humanae Vitae and Gaudium et Spes #48-52, the terminology of primary and secondary ends of matrimony as an institution of nature never appeared again. It has been accounted for by the Magisterium, prior to Humanae Vitae #11 and #12, as offending against the primary end of "nature" as tending to the procreation of children. However, Vatican II turned the entire perspective upside down by starting with the Trinity as top down instead of bottom up as in Greek thought. It started with person as relation instead of "thing-in-itself." Jesus Christ - enfleshed Son of the Father - is the prototypical meaning of the image of God, and the human person is definied in terms of Christ as relation to the Father and to others. The relations that are the Persons of the Trinity become the metaphysical anthropology of the human person who, being "the only earthly being God has willed for itself [self-determination], finds himself by the sincere gift of himself" (Gaudium et spes #24). There you have the ontological proscription of contraception, the meaning of human sexuality, the meaning of matrimony as self-gift and "golden bond" of marriage and the metaphysical structure of the persons as "priests of their own existence" and marriage.

   My point is that the turn to self-giftedness and the mercy and forgiveness of Christ and the Church does not annul morality but strengthens it giving it greater metaphysical undergirding.

4) Now, importantly, if Pope Francis opts to permit Communion to the divorced-remarried, how will this not open the flood-gates to all second "marriages" and therefore exacerbate the breakdown of the family and the whole society? That is, if they can get away with it, why can't I?

   I answer: Since the human person is intrinsically and constitutively relational, he/she develops into an "I" only when there is affirmation. I hold that as the forgiveness of sin by Christ and the Church does not proliferate sin, but the authenticity and integrity of persons, so also, the forgiveness and providing access to Penance and the Eucharist will exalt the human and supernatural dimensions of families. And the family is the key to  the authentic humanization of the global culture. With the affirmation of families and their restoration to sacramental and ecclesial life the following words of Francis will resound throughout the world: "A new alliance of man and woman would seem not only necessary, but also strategic for the emancipation of peoples from their colonisation by money”, he continued. “This alliance must once again guide politics, the economy and civil coexistence. It decides the habitability of the earth, the transmission of the sentiment of life, and the bonds of memory and hope”.

“Of this alliance, the matrimonial-familiar community of man and woman is its generative grammar, its 'golden bond', so to speak. Faith draws upon knowledge of God's creation: He entrusted to the family not only the care of intimacy for its own sake, but also the project of making the entire world domestic. It is precisely the family that is at the origin and the base of this worldwide culture that saves us: it saves us from many attacks, many forms of destruction, and many forms of colonisation, for instance by money and ideologies, that so threaten the world. The family is a base from which we defend ourselves”. (Nov. 10, 2015).

I base myself on this ontology of relation as affirmation: 

Ratzinger: “The root of man’s joy is the harmony he enjoys with himself. He lives in this affirmation. And only one who can accept himself can also accept the thou, can accept the world. The reason why an individual cannot accept the thou, cannot come to terms with him, is that he does not like his own I and, for that reason, cannot accept a thou.

            “Something strange happens here. We have seen that the inability to accept one’s I leads to the inability to accept a thou. But how does one go about affirming, assenting to, one’s I? The answer may perhaps be unexpected: We cannot do so by our own efforts alone. Of ourselves, we cannot come to terms with ourselves. Our I becomes acceptable to us only if it has first become acceptable to another I. We can love ourselves only if we have first been loved by someone else. The life a mother gives to her child is not just physical life, she gives total life when she takes the child’s tears and turns them into smiles. It is only when life has been accepted and is perceived as accepted that it becomes acceptable. Man is that strange creature that needs not just physical birth but also appreciation if he is to subsist. ["Principles of Catholic Theology" Ignatius (1987) 79-81].

I.e. as the "I" is recycled by affirmation (mercy), so will the family -and with that, global society.

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