My eye was struck by article in the Press this morning. I can't find that precise article on the internet but here is a close relative. About that jokey but now EXTREMELY SERIOUS question, for some Catholics at least, Is the Pope a Catholic?
I notice a certain cunning in the way some public comment is circulating in conservative Catholic circles: really, there hasn't been a "proper" Pope since Pius XII in the 1950s. Clever deflection from making it all about Francis or looking like wistfulness for Benedict. But I don't recall this angst running through the college of cardinals during the reigns of Pius' successors. Only the SSPX rose to that particular improper pope anxiety. Otherwise it was mutterings about Vatican 2.
Of course the specific issue today is Francis' intransigent ambiguity on eucharist for the remarried divorcees. On the one hand I get it that there is a logic to Roman teaching on marriage and eucharist, with the "get out of jail" card called Annulment, which proscribes reception of the host by one who, according to that logic is a continuing adulterer. On the other hand, I do not see many Kiwi Catholics particularly discomforted by Francis' pastoral approach to the matter. Nor, of course, is there a lot of evidence these days of assiduous adherence to Humanae Vitae.
In short, Francis may be canonically wrong but pastorally attuned to the life situation of the laity.
I continue to think about these things, including preparing for a recent opportunity to teach on 1 Corinthians 5-7.
My simple question concerns what Jesus himself would do in this situation. That, surely, is worth examining while reiterating the canons and reviewing whether the Pope is Catholic.
Briefly, I cannot get from Jesus in, say, Luke 7:36-50, or John 8:1-11, to the rigor of discipline that offers no repentance for the divorced and remarried person (save for strict celibacy within marriage) and no share in the eucharist. And I still cannot find Annulment as a way round Jesus or Paul's teaching on divorce.
In those few sentences I am not pretending to have advanced a case to overturn the full weight of canonical, catechetical teaching (as if ...) but I wonder if those sentences might take us to the heartbeat of Francis?