Here it comes

Here it comes

You should expect in the coming days to see op-eds published in major American publications from US bishops talking the gay priests off the ledge, and explaining that the Instruction is not really the final word, that it must be interpreted, and that it doesn’t carry the weight of a papal pronouncement. This is part of the campaign to water down the Instruction and make sure that it is only honored in the breach, not in its implementation.

Diogenes anticipates this reaction—that the Instruction does not have the force of canon law—and provides a rebuttal from a “highly placed Vatican official”:

That is true [that it was not issued in forma specifica, meaning the Pope has not officially invested it with his personal authority]—but the reason is important: “Instructions” do not normally promulgate new legislation (which would require the forma specifica approval of the Pope). Instructions rather provide greater specification to the way that the existing discipline of the Church is to be understood. That is what we have here: a restatement in more precise terms of the centuries old discipline of the Church.

As this document breaks no new ground legislatively, no forma specifica approval is warranted. In converse fashion, one may likewise conclude that the notions of the likes of [a prominent Log Cabin Dominican] are not only ruled out by this document, his ideas were never a part of authentic Catholic discipline (note esp., the letter of Card. Medina footnoted in this Instruction).

This won’t stop people, including some very high-ranking clergy, from trying to say that whether to implement the Instruction is a matter of personal interpretation on behalf of bishops, superiors, and rectors. But when you see these op-eds appear, they will clearly indicate who is on the side of the Good Guys and who is not.

Keep an eye out.

Technorati Tags: Catholic, doctrine, homosexuality, priesthood

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli