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Archbishop Coleridge: dubia prompted by search for ‘false clarity’

December 12, 2016

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, has suggested that the prelates seeking clarification of Amoris Laetita are pursuing a “false clarity that comes because you don’t address reality.”

In an interview with the Jesuit journal America, the Australian archbishop—who participated in the Synod on the Family—said that during the sessions “I heard voices that sounded very clear and certain but only because they never grappled with the real question or never dealt with the real facts.” He said that while some people prefer to see things in black and white, pastors are “very often often dealing in a world of grays and you have to accompany people, listen to them before you speak to them, give them time and give them space, and then speak your word perhaps.”

Archbishop Coleridge conceded that many people have been “unnerved” by the papal document, as his fellow Australian, Cardinal George Pell, had suggested. But he said that Pope Francis is taking the pastoral approach. “Some people expect from the Pope clarity and certainty on every question and every issue, but a pastor can’t provide that necessarily,” he said.


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  • Posted by: claude-ccc2991 - Dec. 16, 2016 3:14 AM ET USA

    It seems the Archbishop is engaging in clarification, and does well enough at what HE thinks should be clarified. With a little more practice, and a good dose of the Holy Spirit, perhaps he will someday be able to clarify through God's eyes instead of the flawed human eye. "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition" (Mark 7:9).

  • Posted by: stpetric - Dec. 15, 2016 11:01 PM ET USA

    The pope's ambiguity seems to be leading to the disedifying spectacle of one prelate sniping at another. (For that matter, perhaps the pope led the way on the sniping by his comments on populations within the Church.) This is another level entirely to the Amoris Laetitia debacle.

  • Posted by: WNS3234 - Dec. 14, 2016 10:50 AM ET USA

    Well .Is "false clarity" a "false charity? The Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka Penance) had changed because of the pastoral needs that emerged during the various active persecutions of the apostolic era and beyond -- from "nope" to "once" through public reconciliation after public enrollment in the order of penitents into and through the Monastic Penitentials and into the form and doctrine we have presently. Likewise the various Rites, as they approach Christian Initiation of infants.

  • Posted by: VICTORIA01 - Dec. 13, 2016 10:24 PM ET USA

    Archbishop Coleridge is not a Jesuit; he was interviewed by the Jesuit magazine Americs. That such words would come from Abp Coleridge would not surprise Australians.

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Dec. 13, 2016 3:12 PM ET USA

    What's sad is that this is being promoted by bishops and archbishops. "False clarity" I suggest is a strawman. There are many things in the Catholic that must be of eminent clarity for the formation of conscience. Open questions admit of discussion, debate, etc. The Lord's teaching on marriage and divorce is NOT an open question nor is the teaching that receiving the Lord in mortal sin is sacrilege. A discernment claiming to avoid/change those teachings is situation ethics rejected by the Faith

  • Posted by: Travelling - Dec. 13, 2016 3:14 AM ET USA

    50 shades of grey??! This statement makes no sense. The Church has the job of providing clarity in moral issues and it is quite correct that the Dubai was issued. We await clarification.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Dec. 12, 2016 8:06 PM ET USA

    Exactly what I have thought,having read Amoris Laetita.

  • Posted by: MatJohn - Dec. 12, 2016 7:59 PM ET USA

    If a pastor cannot provide clarity on a Catholic teaching, is he familiar with it? There are indeed shades of human endeavor. Attributing shades of gray in God''s word has brought us thousands of non-Catholic denominations.

  • Posted by: Ken - Dec. 12, 2016 7:39 PM ET USA

    Sounds a lot like moral relativism.

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Dec. 12, 2016 7:34 PM ET USA

    Sigh! Yet another defense of the defenseless for there is no defense in failing to respond to yes/no questions that are well framed. And yet another over exaggeration to cover the shortcoming ("clarity and certainty on every question...); no, just five questions which I doubt the Archbishop has read. And what better way to deal with the murky world of gray then by having some guiding beacons to help light the way. "False clarity" is a new synonym for relativism. Natch it appears in a Jesuit J.