Matt C. Abbott
November 4, 2015
Francis the shrewd?
By Matt C. Abbott

From Catholic World News:
    Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica wrote that the pontiff told him, in a telephone interview, that during the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops, the prelates accepted the principle that divorced and remarried Catholics should receive the Eucharist. Scalfari reported that the pope when on to say that in the near future, 'all the divorced who ask will be admitted' to Communion.

    However, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, told the National Catholic Register that Scalfari's report was inaccurate. The Vatican spokesman said that the story in La Repubblica 'is in no way reliable and cannot be considered as the pope's thinking.'
I wouldn't be shocked if the report in the Italian newspaper turns out to be true; nor would I be shocked if it turns out to be false. And I must say with a certain degree of frustration: I no longer trust the Vatican press office to accurately explain what the pope is really saying, doing or not doing.

What will be, will be. However, permitting Holy Communion for Catholics living in adultery would effectively gut the Church's infallible teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. This under the guise of a "pastoral" application. Some of our wolves in sheep's clothing shepherds see this as an act of divine mercy; I see it as satanic.

Regarding the pope, Catholic writer Steve Skojec has some very interesting observations, including the following:
    The fact is that Francis is a very, very shrewd man. His Argentinian friends 'describe him as a 'chess player,' one whose every day is 'perfectly organized,' in which 'each and every step has been thought out.'' He has been described elsewhere admiringly as 'a master tactician' who has made moves 'to outflank various groups and people that continue to oppose many of his initiatives.'

    If Francis is, as so much evidence now indicates, sympathetic to the agenda to give Communion to the divorced and remarried, he must proceed cautiously, but with determination. This would explain why he stacked the deck at the synod with cardinals who align themselves with the Kasper proposal. It would shed light on the evidence of synod manipulation. It would make sense of why he rebuffed the 13 cardinals who expressed their concerns. It would help us to understand the noises he's making about a decentralized, synodal Church. It would explain why he cautioned against a 'hermeneutic of conspiracy' and lashed out at those who sought to uphold doctrine within the synod (which caused some to misconstrue the event as a 'conservative victory').
Click here to read Skojec's article in its entirety.

I agree. Francis is not a stupid man. He knows what he's doing. His "off-the-cuff" style is deliberate, as is his ambiguity.

Yet, to me, Francis remains an enigma. For instance, there was a report that he "recites 15 decades of the Rosary every day, three times that which Our Lady asked for at Fatima." Impressive, if true.

On a related note, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat penned a good response to a number of liberal Catholic professors who signed a letter of protest to the newspaper regarding a previous column of his. Click here to read Douthat's response.

We'll see what transpires in the coming days. And to quote Douthat: Welcome to the battlefield.

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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