Monday, September 30, 2019

The Fabulous (Selectively) Forgiving Pp. Francis!!

News item from across the pond:

Pope Francis made a phone call to a leading gay theologian and priest who was suspended from active ministry in part over his LGBTQ-affirming work, and gave the theologian “the power of the keys,” a phrase indicating his restoration to active priesthood.

Francis placed the call two years ago to Fr. James Alison who only yesterday shared in The Tablet his account of the experience, which was first reported about anonymously in Frédéric Martel’s In the Closet of the Vatican published earlier this year. ...

Francis is certainly a forgiving sorta guy; apparently Alison is not "rigid" and is obviously not an American who associates with Evangelicals.  So he can be forgiven, no sweat!!

But since the above news story came from the official Queer Advocacy Bunch in the US, a look at Wiki proves interesting.

...Alison was a member of the Dominican order – his master's degree is a Dominican lectorate – from 1981 to 1995. In 1996, he wrote to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith telling them that he believed his vows to be null as they were based on his previously, but no longer, held belief that sexual activity between members of the same sex sinful.[2] He offered to let them issue a decree saying his ordination was null, but they declined, saying it was valid.[2] Instead, the Congregation asked him to seek laicisation, but Alison declined believing that he would have to lie on the paperwork.[2]

More than 10 years later, a superior in the Dominican Order asked if Alison would object to his processing paperwork dismissing Alison from the Order.[2] Alison said he did not mind the paperwork, but would not participate as he believed he was never truly a member anyway.[2] He eventually received a letter stating that he was a priest in good standing, not currently incardinated but available to be incardinated if a bishop wished to have him.[2]
While living in Brazil, the local bishop asked for Alison's consent to be defrocked.[2] Alison declined, but instead offered to be incardinated into the diocese.[2] The bishop declined that offer.[2] The bishop then began a process of defrocking without Alison's consent.[2] A year later, a letter from the Congregation for the Clergy arrived announcing that Alison had been defrocked, forbidding him from teaching, preaching, or presiding over any sacraments.[2].....

Let's clarify the above a bit. Alison was exclaustrated--thrown out--of the Dominican Order, but remained an ordained priest, without an assignment.  Note well that the Dominicans acquired a reputation for accepting and ordaining homosexuals during the 1980's and hasn't done much to change thatWhy do you think that Fr. Fiore (RIP) bailed out of that bunch?

Apparently Alison moved back to Brazil, where he had obtained his Ph.D. from a Jesuit university.  Perhaps he missed his old friends at the university, eh?

Now comes the part which .....ummmhhh.......discerning Catholics will understand. The local Ordinary in Brazil "defrocked" Alison involuntarily. This action is not taken because the Bishop doesn't like Alison's taste in neckties, nor his wackdoodle "theology" (albeit there's little doubt that the "theology" was a part of this.)

Nope. The Bishop probably acted based on good old-fashioned "scandal." and you can take a hint from two passages above: Alison believes that 'same-sex activity is licit' and that 'his vows (which include chastity) are null.'  Now go ahead and add 2+2.

Being a sinner, I love the fact that sins can be forgiven. But having spent plenty of time in "the box," I also know that forgiveness requires "a firm purpose of amendment"--that is, that the sinner will try to sin no more.

I suppose +Francis obtained such a promise from Alison.  


One more thing:  while Pp. Francis un-did the 'defrocking', he apparently limited Alison's activity to hearing Confessions ONLY.  ("Power of the keys" = 'forgive/retain.')  No preaching, no public Masses.  Some question as to whether he can "teach" as a Catholic--but not in my mind.

So.  New Ways writes a story which is much less than they'd like to convey, yet revealing of Pp. Francis' rather selective "mercy"--which makes it a big story.

Confused?  Then you're a discerning Catholic!!

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