- Posted by Mary's Advocates
- On November 17, 2017
By Bai Macfarlane, Cleveland.
Fewer Catholics are getting married, perhaps, because those teaching about marriage don’t make any sense. Edward Pentin, ETWN’s Rome correspondent, spoke at a nearby conference about the current crisis in the Church teaching about marriage, morality, and other issues.
3-Minute Excerpt, Oct. 27, 2017, Edward Pentin, Presentation given at “Catholic Identity Conference 2017.” See full video HERE
His sources at the Vatican say there are those who are blind to the crisis because they do not have the right formation. We have “a mass of priests willing to agree with contradictions in a very trendy and modern way dialectically juggling with concepts illogically, at will, perhaps with sentimentality.”
One priest who appears willing to agree with contradictions is the Vice-Rector of the Cleveland Diocese seminary, Fr. Gerard Bednar, who is a Professor of Systematic Theology in the graduate school. On November 11, an article he wrote appeared in Rome’s “L’Osservatore Romano” where he discredits the critics of Amoris Laetitia. Fr. Bednar gives an example of a couple in a second marriage who should be given mercy and be welcomed to receive Communion, and continue having sex if they want to conceive children. “The issue is not whether divorce is permissible. Clearly it is not. The issue is whether a second marriage must be characterized continuously as adultery.”
In Fr. Bendar’s article, he describes a difficult case in which a divorced man, in a second relationship, after having “come to his senses about his first marriage” and admitting his sin, was impeded from returning to his true first wife because she had remarried. Fr. Bednar sounds and if it is only the rigid law that prevents the man from having sex with his second wife. However, I find that if the man really had “come to his senses about the first marriage,” he would know that his first true wife was the one living in a simulated marriage, and he’d want to do everything a good husband could do for her. He would not discard her, and pretend to be married to someone else, just because she had entered an adulterous so-called remarriage.
When Fr. Bednar holds two contradictory stances–1st) divorce is not permissible, and 2nd) having sex in second marriage is not necessarily adultery–he seems to miss that divorce is not a one-time occurrence for which one can be forgiven in the confessional, without an ongoing future change of mindset and action.
Key distinctions should be made between divorce and civil divorce according to Dr. Donald Asci, STD, Professor of Moral Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. In Asci’s essay “The Evil of Divorce and the Dignity of the Human Person – Understanding the Immorality of Divorce through St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body,” he shows that divorce entails the claim to revoke someone’s spousal identity. In Fr. Bednar’s example, the man in the difficult situation is revoking his true spouse’ spousal identity, when he intends to continue with his replacement-wife to bear children. Therein lies the tragedy. A truly converted husband recognizes his spouse’ spousal identity, and would spurn the suggestion of having a substitute wife, even when his spouse is behaving horribly towards him. He would want his children to know his change of heart too. Fr. Bednar teaches that it would be merciful to tell this husband to have sex with someone other than his true wife, which I think would break the hearts of the children from his true marriage, or least give them grave scandal.
The irony in Fr. Bednar’s situation is that he is the Vice-Rector of the Cleveland Diocese seminary, where ten seminarians are in the Capuchin Formation Program and three Capuchins serve as the Director of Pastoral Formation, Spiritual Director, and Seminary Formation Faculty.
A renowned Capauchin, who was born three hours west of Cleveland (Delphos, Ohio), made international headlines on November 1st for criticizing Pope Francis and Amoris Laetitia. After receiving a miraculous sign from God, Fr. Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., wrote to Pope Francis, warning that he’s risking sinning against the Holy Spirit. The genius in the framing of Weinandy’s letter to the Pope was described in The Deus Ex Machina Blog, “Fr. Weinandy offers us this gem of a passage wherein he sets out his position by incorporating the formula: clarity=truth=work of the Holy Spirit.”
In Fr. Weinandy’s letter to Pope Francis, he explains:
If I was a seminarian in the Capuchin Formation Program in the Cleveland seminary, I would see that two of my spiritual fathers contradict each other on a matter fundamental to faith, morals, and pastoral practice. I’d have to choose between Fr. Bendar and Fr. Weinandy O.F.M.Cap..
Another son of Ohio made headlines for criticizing Amoris Laetitia too. Fr. Anthony Pillari, who graduated from Cleveland’s St. Ignatius Jesuit High school, was one of the original signers of The Filial Correction. Fr. Pillari is a canon lawyer, who serves as the Promoter of Justice in the Diocese of Plymouth, England. He gave an interview for LifesiteNews where he said he corrected Pope Francis because, while it was painful, it was “the Catholic thing to do.”