Further to my recent post, in which I urged people to read Amoris Laetitia through Catholic eyes, there are a few more thoughts milling around in my head.
One is that, although I stand by that post, it would not be true to say that I have not been troubled by Amoris Laetitia. If I were pope... And of course, therein lies the absurdity. I am not (Deo gratias).
Another is this. Many who are unhappy with the document are attributing ill-intent to the Holy Father. I believe that to be profoundly, spiritually, dangerous. We are commanded not to judge. In a traditional Catholic understanding, that means, specifically, not judging the state of another's soul (we are allowed to judge actions, of course: indeed it is often necessary to do so). So I worry for those who think that they can judge the Holy Father's intentions, and judge them to be malign, for that strikes me as perilously close to judging the state of his soul (indeed, some may have been foolhardy enough to pronounce on that, too!) And to proclaim such opinions in public as facts is even more problematic.
A further thought is this: even if I were to believe that the Holy Father has an agenda which is not consistent with Catholic teaching and tradition, there is still a Catholic way to read the situation, as well as the document. I do not believe that God will abandon His Church. I also know that God respects and uses the office of sacred officials, even despite the office-holder. Consider the prophetic words of the Jewish High Priest: It is better that one man should die for the nation. The High Priest meant one thing, perhaps; but God used him, in his official role, to proclaim a truth beyond his understanding. Perhaps I should seek to read Amoris Laetitia in that light: is God speaking through this document in a prophetic way?
There is no doubt that we live in troubling times. There is no doubt that many will use Amoris Laetitia to advance ideas and practices contrary to tradition. But my responsibility is first and foremost for my own reaction: it is for that that I will answer to God.
Rushing to judgement is perilous indeed.
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