It is fairly well-accepted that Pope Francis is in favour of the so-called Kasper proposal, or the German-School, which seeks to allow publically known recalcitrant adulterers to receive Communion. The German State taxes individuals who self-identify as Catholic and then it gives those taxes to the German Church. However, the German Church has recently seen a large drop in the numbers of people who identify as Catholic as well as a concomitant drop in the amount of taxes it gets paid by the State.
Needless to say, the drop in funding has not been taken well by the German hierarchy which has taken to a carrot-and-stick approach. In an position of dubious canonical merit, the German hierarchy has alleged that the Faithful who opt out of the German tax are excommunicated, while simultaneously attempting to increase the ranks of Church attendance by reaching out with mercy to those on the margins of society, including the “divorced and remarried.” http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/december-12th-2014/why-the-german-church-is-rich-and-arrogant/
As one German Cardinal who wished to remain anonymous explained the shift towards mercy: “In terms of Catholics, you have got to pay to play. In terms of increasing the numbers of non-Catholics playing, the traditional insistence on moralizing is counter-productive and has got to stop. It is driving people away. Our take in the plates is dropping, our taxes are diminishing, and something has to be done about this. We need the people who are coming to Church to pay up, and we need to increase attendance, or we simply cannot afford our lifestyles much longer. Specifically, in terms of ‘the divorced and remarried’ we need to be more welcoming and less judgmental. If doctrine is driving people away, then doctrine needs to be changed. It is that simple”
Aside from changing the annulments process into a quickie-divorce process, last year’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family suggested a possible way around the Communion issue, with some prelates suggesting that the Church simply pretend that the problem does not exist. In other words, it was suggested that doctrine could be separated from practice. In this way, the Church would essentially say, as one Cardinal explained: “Yes, ongoing unrepentant adultery is arguably, possibly, wrong, but we should not treat ongoing unrepentant adulterers as if they were engaged in gravely immoral conduct, because to do so is very hurtful to them, and this hurt could be one reason that they are not giving us money. Also, why must we ask that they reform their ways? That, too, is insulting to them. That is discrimination. It is wrong! These negative labels like ‘adultery’ are counter-productive. Instead, I believe that the phrase ‘Extra-Marital Adventurers,’ which has been suggested, is a much more merciful and welcoming phrase.”
Indeed, recently Pope Francis intimated that Extra-Marital Adventurers would be given more roles in the Church, such as God-parents, for the sake of their children. The Holy Father did not specify whether the children he was concerned about were those who were the issue of the sacramental marriage who had been subsequently abandoned by the Extra-Marital Adventurer, or the children of the Extra-Marital Adventure(s).
Unfortunately many people within the Church have rebelled against this position, choosing, instead to cling to doctrine. In support of their position, they cite the intellectual impossibility of honestly separating doctrine from practice. Some point to Vatican II, which was ostensibly a pastoral Council, but which nonetheless arguably had many questionable doctrinal repercussions under the “Spirit of Vatican II” rationale. This conservative response to the Kasper proposal has been called the “Fool me once” position.
Surprised by the strength of the Fool me once resistance, forces within the Vatican have been rumoured to be searching for a compromise lest the Church fall into schism, or otherwise amend its ways. Such a compromise may very-well be in the offing. In that regard, it is being suggested that during Communion Extra-Marital Adventurers will be allowed to approach the priest while holding hands with their “new spouse.” The priest will then hand them both the Host, whereupon they will be required to politely and respectfully return it and say: “We do not feel fully welcome and accepted here, as Jesus intended, and until we do, we cannot share this meal at your table.” In this way, the Extra-Marital Adventurers are saying “No” rather than compelling the Church, the priest, or the congregation to do so. This change in presentation and perception will be important over the long-run, as it will appear to leave the power for the decision in the Extra-Marital Adventurer’s hands.
In line with the foregoing, a program of change is to be implemented gradually, and discrimination against Extra-Marital Adventurers is to be slowly phased out, so that ultimately they do feel welcome and will no longer have to return the Host.
In implementing this program, Extra-Marital Adventurers will be asked to speak at all pre-Cana classes on such issues as “How to Teach your God-Child How to Get a Hotel Room When His Wife Pays the Credit-Card Bills,” “How to Get a Secret Cell Phone, and Keep it Secret,” “The Wife Gets Old, the Secretary Looks Good, and How You Should Handle That,” and “Why Child-Support and Alimony Hurt my Feelings.”
The compromise, it is believed, will afford everyone involved the ability to save face, and, as such, it will be acceptable to all. Moreover, it acknowledges the Eucharist as a common meal, but for those who still believe in Transubstantiation and the teachings of Jesus and Saint Paul, it does not actually allow for actual consumption of the Host until this belief is, itself, officially phased out.