Priest: In Krakow Pope can heal – or widen – his rift with JPII adherents

If Francis doesn't show continuity with St. John Paul II's teaching at World Youth Day, he risks widening the growing rift, warns Fr. Raymond de Souza.
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Pete Baklinski By Pete Baklinski

Pete Baklinski By Pete Baklinski

KINGSTON, Ontario, July 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- That there exists a rift among Catholics between Pope Francis and Saint John Paul II is “beyond question,” according to Fr. Raymond de Souza in a piece he wrote this week in The Catholic Herald. 

The question is, according to de Souza, will Pope Francis seize the opportunity provided by World Youth Day in Kraków, Poland next week to heal the rift by showing continuity with the sainted pope, or further widen it by disregarding him and his influential body of teachings?

Fr. de Souza wrote that the rift, which is “spoken about openly in private, but rarely in public,” first began with the joint canonization of John Paul II, who had the required miracles needed to proceed with the event, along with John XXIII, who did not have the required miracles. 

If ever there was a contemporary Cause that deserved, as it were, a solo canonisation, it was that of John Paul, perhaps the most consequential historical figure of our time. Had Providence brought the two Causes to maturity at the same time, that would have been one thing, but it was altogether different to waive the requirements for John XXIII in order, it appeared, to diminish or to balance out the attention given to John Paul.

Fr. de Souza continues:

The actual canonisation exacerbated the problem. It was conducted in such an understated fashion as to come off rather flat, despite the enormous number of bishops who came from all over the world. Pope Francis said next to nothing about John Paul, and nothing about Poland at all, despite the immense number of Poles in Rome.

The rift substantially widened, according to de Souza, with Pope Francis’ not so subtle attempt to “undermine” the Polish pope's substantial teachings on marriage, the family, and the moral life in the two-year long synod process that cumulated in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, released in April. 

According to de Souza Amoris Laetitia “does not overturn Familiaris Consortio – there is too much deliberate ambiguity for that reading to be sustained – as much as it undermines the vision of Veritatis Splendor, John Paul’s 1993 encyclical on the moral life.”

Earlier this month sixteen life and family leaders called on Pope Francis to “end the confusion” caused by Amoris Laetitia on the topics of marriage, divorce, sin, reception of Holy Communion, and sex education for children by either scrapping the document or issuing a clarification. 

This was followed by forty-five Catholic academics who urged the Pope to to repudiate a list of erroneous propositions that can be drawn from the exhortation. 

Fr. de Souza said it would be easy for Pope Francis to begin healing the rift by showing “continuity with, and offering honour to, his great predecessor,” but it remains a question whether or not the Pope will take advantage of this “excellent chance.”

Read Fr. de Souza's full article here

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