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Friday, April 15, 2016

Topsy and Tuptim Study Chapter Three and Ask Questions

Chapter Three Paragraphs 57 - 88

For all those couples out there, this is for you....
"Love is a many-splendored thing."
Tuptim and Topsy realize that their schedules don't allow time after class for a visit to the coffee shop or library to go over Chapter Three. Instead they decide to study the chapter intensively beforehand thinking of questions for Fr. Jimmy and Sr. Joanie within the small sharing groups.

They walk into the church basement, take seats in their group circles and get out their notebooks. They're a bit late, though, and Fr. Jimmy and Sr. Joanie are just finishing their long opening prayer invoking the Spirit to come upon them as leaders to enlighten their students, guiding them to the fruits of Amoris Laetitia.

Tuptim, looking over at Topsy mouths..."Here we go!" Topsy gives a slight nod, and rolls her eyes in anticipation of not being able to do so in a few minutes when everyone is looking.

Fr. Jimmy: Well as we have so far discussed we have seen that Pope Francis demands clergy shift away from evaluating people's morality based on rigid doctrinal norms and calls us to see Grace at work in all life's complicated and complex forms which is a welcome departure from staunch allegiance to rigid orthodoxy. (Wipes his forehead with his kerchief. )

Was this saint wrong to cling to orthodoxy?
Topsy: (Who is in Fr. Jimmy's circle, raises her hand) Father? I studied Chapter Three in depth and would like to know in what way the Pope wants the faithful to depart from rigid orthodoxy or is it just the priests whom he wants to depart from it? Because I didn't find that in Chapter Three. (The woman next to her, Therese, nods in agreement.) In fact... (looking at the text)... um...Here it is. The Pope quoted Lumen Gentium.

Fr. Jimmy: (Raising an eyebrow)...I think we should move on, Topsy.

Topsy: (Ignoring him)..."With inner joy and deep comfort, the Church looks to the families who remain faithful to the teachings of the Gospel, encouraging them and thanking them for the testimony they offer. For they bear witness in a credible way, to the beauty of marriage as indissoluble and perpetually faithful." (Topsy looks up.)...Actually, Chapter three was rather beautiful in its description of love, marriage, and family based on Church documents.

Fr. Jimmy: (Sighs)...Topsy! Hierarchical leaders must go further in advancing the Gospel values Catholics today embody so well which are radical welcome and openness expansive and inclusive values equality and justice for all and unconditional love for the amazing diversity of God's people. Does that answer your question?

Topsy: Not really, Fr. Jimmy. Maybe a bit more explanation of what the Pope expects of the Church would help.

Fr. Jimmy: (Raising his voice slightly.) It rests on everyday Catholics who love their Church and know it can be better to cultivate the Church we know is possible. It is our RIGHT and DUTY (Fr. Jimmy, getting overheated, wipes beads of sweat off his brow) as Francis himself IMPLORES in this exhortation to inform and operate out of our God-given conscience. (Takes a big breath) Guided by the Spirit we will continue our call and action for institutional and ecclesial reform and renewal!

Meanwhile over in Sr. Joanie's group Tuptim raises her hand....

Sr. Joanie gives Tumptim the evil eye.
Tuptim: Sr. Joanie, I don't understand what you meant. Are we now supposed to believe that Pope Francis alone is right on the issue of Communion for the divorced and remarried and that all his predecessors, including the still living Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and the Catechism promulgated by St. John Paul II, have been wrong and "unmerciful" in allowing no exceptions in this area? If so, why should we believe that? Doesn't it seem more likely that just one pope is wrong, and that all the other hundreds of popes have been right?

Sr. Joanie: (Turning red in the face is barely able to contain her anger. She deliberately walks into Tuptim's "space" and leans over Tuptim. Trying to intimidate her she hisses...) Well, missy, where did you get your degree in Theology? Are you teaching this class now. Hmm? Are you!

Tuptim: (Willing herself to smile sweetly) Why, no, Sister. I was merely wanting to glean from your superior wisdom the knowledge we need in order to do what Pope Francis is asking. What must we now believe as Catholics? Is there sin anymore? What areas must our newfound creativity move toward? That's all.

Sr. Joanie: Yes, well, (She backs away calming down)... the pope was saying that here on earth the Family is the visible image and likeness of God. But families take all kinds of different forms.

Tuptim: But Sr. Joanie, if, in our bodies, not of one person alone, but of the FAMILY - man/woman/child - we see the image and likeness of the Holy Trinity of God, how can you say that same-sex "marriage" is equal to Holy Matrimony? Everyone knows that same-sex means exactly that - man/man or woman/woman - and that definitely is NOT the image and likeness of God. One would have to conclude that, as Pope Francis says in paragraph 14 where he quotes from Psalm 128, "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain." Seems that the gays are laboring in vain since the Lord did not build same sex-marriage because it's a man-made entity.

Topsy: (Walks over to join Sr. Joanie's group since Fr. Jimmy had to end class because his blood pressure was rocketing skyward.) Sr. Joanie, On CRUX Fr. Edward Beck said that if all politics is local, so is all Church. What does he mean, Sister?

Locals in Oz discuss solutions suited to the needs
 of the munchkins and flying monkeys
Sr Joanie: He means that the pope has situated the document (sliding papers toward her from across the table to illustrate her point) right here (pointing to the papers) within the context of subsidiarity and inculturation. The pope said, and I'm quoting, that "unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it...Each country or region can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs." Hence - if all politics are local, so is all Church.

To be continued......

Fr. Jimmy's lines are quoted from Ryan Hoffman's April 8, 2016 Call to Action website article.

Tuptim's line (if the pope is wrong and the hundreds of other popes right) is quoted from Donald R. McClarey's April 14, 2016 article on the American Catholic website.