Thursday, March 16, 2023

Rome is falling. . .

It is common knowledge that Father James Martin, S.J., is a darling of Pope Francis and the mutual admiration society they have has created no small amount of consternation among the faithful.  Martin is an outspoken LGBT advocate within the broader framework of culture but specifically within the pale of Rome.  He has before transgressed the line between denying what the Roman Catholic Catechism says about homosexuality and the whole range of alphabet attractions and identities.  This time he jumped in head first, affirming his belief that two men can enter into a real marriage that everyone [including the Roman Catholic Church] must recognize their union as such.

His remarks were in response to a lengthy essay by Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, who said that no marriage between two men [or two women] can be called a marriage.  Donahue insisted that Pete Buttigieg’s same-sex marriage to his partner Chasten is not a true marriage but rather a “legal fiction.  Father Martin countered simply that “Pete Buttigieg is married.”   The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines marriage as a covenant “by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love.”  These truths about marriage are not mere religious beliefs, according to Rome, but are “present in the order of nature and can be perceived by the light of human reason.”  Martin is not buying it.

Twitter, Martin's favorite medium, is where he is surprised by the question.  "Surprised this got so much attention. Like it or not, Pete Buttigieg is legally married. You may disagree with same-sex marriage (or not). But @SecretaryPete is married in the eyes of the state, and his church, as much as anyone else is. To claim otherwise is to ignore reality."

While I do not care a whit about Fr. Martin, the inability of Rome to bring public teachers into conformity with established church teachings is not a small issue and not one that we Lutherans have escaped either.  Indeed, this is the great challenge for our age.  Do our doctrines matter or not?  Is everything in dogma a question or are there established answers, based upon Scripture, attested in tradition, and confessed before the world?  Is it beyond expectation to presume that those who wear the collar and occupy the offices of the ministry would preach and teach and witness in conformity with this faith and truth?  

The reality is this.  If the Church cannot get her act together within herself, how can she speak to the world the unchanging truth of Christ?  Such public diversions from established truth in doctrine and in the natural law compromises the authority of Scripture and those who preach and teach those Scriptures even as it confuses and confounds the world.  While their is often mockery from Roman Catholics about sola Scriptura, the reality is that their very intricate systems of bishops and councils on top of which sits a pope is not an effective guarantee of faithfulness.  I would like to believe that public teachers who transgress such basic and long standing positions would be held accountable but, as we have seen, Frank on the seat of Peter has little desire to rein in those who are pushing the boundaries as he has done and still does.  It is always a scandal when pastors and teachers of the faith depart from that faith but it is an especially ironic one when the Pope who is supposed to be the guardian of this truth himself transgresses that truth.

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