Rorate Caeli

The Great Division is here: Point (the Bishops of Poland) and Counterpoint (Pope Francis)

The Bishops of Poland concluded their plenary meeting a week ago, and the central paragraph of their final communiqué was a strong reaffirmation of the doctrine of the Church on the indissolubility of marriage and its consequences for the sacramental life of the Church faithful:
Statement of the plenary meeting of the Polish Bishops' Conference

Warsaw, March 12, 2015.

On March 11-12, 2015, the Bishops gathered at the headquarters of the Secretariat of the Polish Bishops' Conference in Warsaw at their 368th plenary meeting. It was also attended by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio to Poland, and thirteen invited guests of the Bishops' Conference.

3. In view of the upcoming Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome, the bishops have undertaken a reflection on marriage and family. This reflection demonstrated the importance of the family from the perspective of philosophical, theological and legal issues. Identified once again was the indispensable importance of the sacrament of marriage, and the family for the growth of Christian life within the Church. Emphasized was the need to promote the pastoral care of families, to strengthen the faithful in understanding and the implementation of sacramental marriage, as understood as a sacred and indissoluble union between a woman and a man. The teaching and the tradition of the Church shows that people living in non-sacramental union deprive themselves of the possibility of receiving Holy Communion. Pastoral care must be provided for those living in such unions so that they may be able to keep the faith and continue in the community of the Church. Pastoral care of those in non-sacramental unions should also take account of children, who have the right to participate fully in the life and mission of the Church. [*]

Signed: the Shepherds of the Catholic Church in Poland

Warsaw, March 12, 2015.


In his daily Santa Marta homily on Tuesday, once again Francis made a veiled (or not so veiled) reference to the matter of communion to certain people, criticizing the "doctors of the law" based on the "Ordinary Form" gospel for the day - in view of the debates set loose by himself since promoting the Kasper thesis of "Mercy", it is evident that the reference is to this issue.

This story [the healing of the man by the pool of Bethesda], the Pope said, bringing his reflection into the present, “happens many times in life: a man — a woman — who feels sick in spirit, sad, who has made many mistakes in life, at a certain point feels the water stirring”. It is “the Holy spirit who moves something”. Or the person “hears a word” and reacts: “I want to go!”. Thus “they find courage and go”. But “how often today in Christian communities” that man “finds the doors closed”. Perhaps he hears: “You cannot, no you cannot; you’ve made mistakes here and you cannot. If you want to come, come to Mass on Sunday, but stop there, don’t do anything more. [L'Osservatore Romano]

So, there it is: the Church is divided from its very top. Now what?

* Source, in Polish. Translation of paragraph 3 by Toronto Catholic Witness. Tip: Vox Cantoris.