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German philosopher: Amoris Laetitia points toward schism

April 29, 2016

A prominent German philosopher has warned that Pope Francis has endangered the unity of the Church by contradicting the teachings of his predecessors in Amoris Laetita.

”Chaos was raised to a principle by the stroke of a pen,” said Robert Spaemann, an influential scholar who is close to Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, in an interview with the Catholic News Agency.

Spaeman charged that in Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis directly contradicts what St. John Paul II wrote in Familiaris Consortio. In the later document, he observed, St. John Paul “formulates very clearly in article 84 that remarried divorcés must refrain from sex if they want to go do Communion.” Spaemann continued:

A change in the practice of the administration of the sacraments would therefore be no “further development of Familiaris consortio” as Cardinal Kasper said, but rather a breach in her essential anthropological and theological teaching on marriage and human sexuality.

The contradiction between the two papal document, the German professor said, is evident to “every thinking person who knows the respective texts.”

“The consequences are already foreseeable: uncertainty and confusion, from the bishops' conferences to the small parishes in the middle of nowhere,” Spaemann said. He sketched the likely results in brutally candid terms:

Each priest who adheres to the until-now valid discipline of the sacraments, could be mobbed by the faithful and be put under pressure from his bishop. Rome can now make the stipulation that only “merciful” bishops will be named, who are ready to soften the existing discipline…
The Pope must have known that he would split the Church with such a step and lead toward a schism-– a schism that would not be settled on the peripheries, but rather in the heart of the Church.


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  • Posted by: bernie4871 - May. 03, 2016 12:16 PM ET USA

    How about the 12 page document from the Bishop in Kazekstan which begs the Pope to explain himself. The problems he points to certainly are valid objections and he haws requested that his paper be circulated as widely as possible.

  • Posted by: ILM - May. 02, 2016 12:09 PM ET USA

    This document is a subject that has caused much stress among faithful Catholics. I wonder about the need for it. I have not seen any data on divorced Catholics who have tried and been unable to get annulments.

  • Posted by: ILM - May. 01, 2016 1:44 PM ET USA

    In today's first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit tells the early Christians to abstain from unlawful marriage. I have never met anyone who sought an annulment from the Church who was not helped.

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Apr. 30, 2016 2:12 PM ET USA

    I am afraid I agree with Spaeman - it has been one of my worries since the beginning of this Pontificate. I don't know any other response than to pray daily for the whole Church.

  • Posted by: Edward I. - Apr. 29, 2016 11:39 PM ET USA

    Fear-mongering clickbait. Heard it all a thousand times before. Why is this news? Are we putting the "Magisterium of the theologians" ahead of the authentic Magisterium now?

  • Posted by: - Apr. 29, 2016 11:16 PM ET USA

    Let's pray that this doesn't happen. Come Holy Spirit, help our church.

  • Posted by: Leopardi - Apr. 29, 2016 5:50 PM ET USA

    My support goes to the interpretation that brings sanctifying grace in abundance to the repentant sinner, rather than the continued cruel 'shunning' of our distressed brothers and sisters. So, I'm wholeheartedly with Pope Francis on this one. The cold rigidity and intolerance of opposing views that often characterize the academic are, unfortunately, visible here. As a "thinking person who knows the texts", I say "God bless Pope Francis".