PHILADELPHIA, November 20, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput has definitively called out his brother bishops in Europe who have allowed Communion for remarried divorcees, saying they have “departed from authentic Catholic teaching.”
His remarks come in a lengthy essay on mercy published in the December issue of First Things. The Church, he says, “cannot be merciful without being truthful,” and a pastoral approach which ignores that we are called to conversion, “out of a thinly veiled pastoral despair and accommodationism will result in less faith, not more.”
Indeed, continues Chaput, “this is what we see happening in Europe, in those churches where the pastoral practice regarding divorce, remarriage, and reception of the sacraments has departed from authentic Catholic teaching.” He warns that what comes from such “an untruthful teaching about and practice of the sacraments is not a more zealous evangelical life but its collapse.”
The Philadelphia archbishop says it is false to regard ‘accompaniment’ as ‘thou shalt not judge,’ since “affirming people indiscriminately as they are” is not mercy at all.
“We should not read Christ’s mercy as a judgment against all judgments,” he wrote. “Evil exists. Sin matters. The damage it does can be bitter and not easily undone—adultery being a perfect example.”
Chaput suggests it is “misguided” to think of mercy as opposed to righteous judgment. He speaks of the temptation “to use the language of mercy to dodge our responsibility to seek justice.”
“We lie or dissemble rather than bruise the feelings of others whose behaviors are clearly wrong. This is a polite form of cowardice, not mercy. The moral law guides us toward choices that are life-giving, and true mercy is always intimately linked to truth. Indulging our own or another’s flawed choices in the supposed service of mercy defeats mercy’s true goal.”
“Confession and genuine repentance—which includes a turning away from sin,” he says, is a “condition for receiving the Eucharist.”
See the full essay at First Things here.