A group of over sixty Catholic priests and lay people has issued a formal correction to Our Pope. I have defended the Church. I have defended the Pope. I’m authentically Catholic and have taught faith for more than 40 years. I have read and for the most part defended Amoris Laetitia. Pope Francis has not changed Church teaching and that is a very important distinction.
Having said all that… AL has caused confusion and in some circles incorrect or improper formation in Catechesis. It is very difficult as a Catechist to teach without clarification in this confusion, and I have witnessed grave errors and an uptick in people making decisions about faith with uninformed or improperly formed consciences. This is a spiritual danger. If “cafeteria Catholics” pick and choose what teachings to follow–then the menu has been expanded.
In a recent blog Fr. Dwight Longnecker came to this analytical conclusion…
“My own take on this, therefore, is that I understand the need for the “encounter with Christ” as opposed to a faith that is merely propositional, but I also believe that without a clear affirmation of the propositions of our faith, the “encounter with Christ” becomes no more than a subjective religious experience.”
Yes, we are missionaries in the culture. Yes, we must meet people where they are, but we do not leave them there! Yes, God’s mercy is greater. Yes, the gates of hell will not prevail (Matt. 16:18), but we are in a spiritually dangerous place, currently.
We need clarity with charity. I don’t think this discussion is noise; I believe it may be necessary, and I pray Pope Francis will approach it as a loving shepherd and will reach out to the faithful who are truly trying to evangelize the world. That may be what he was doing when he addressed members of a Jesuit order in Columbia, as reported in the National Catholic Register Online:
“I like to repeat that to be a good theologian, beyond studying you have to be dedicated, awake and seize hold of reality; and you need to reflect on all of this on your knees.”
He said a pastor has to continually shift between three positions: “in front to mark out the road, in the middle, to know it, and at the back to ensure nobody falls behind and to let the flock seek the road.”
With prayerful concern for both the Holy Father and the good of the Church, it is my hope that these questions and concerns will one day be clarified, for the good of all.