Dissolution of Catholic moral theology. Sin is dead for Synodalists.

Walser: Gap between teaching and practice promotes double standards

Salzburg moral theologian on opening up blessings for homosexuals: Human dignity does not need mercy, but rather changed normative rules - Pope relies on personal responsibility instead of regulations

"The danger of a gap between flexible pastoral practice and unchanging teaching promotes the typical Catholic double standards": This is the conclusion of the Salzburg moral theologian Angelika Walser on the Pope's answers to the questions published by the Vatican on Tuesday five cardinals ("Dubia"). When it comes to blessing homosexual couples, the Pope relies on the personal responsibility of those involved in pastoral work, rather than on regulations. What is necessary, however, is a change in normative regulations, emphasized the moral theologian in an interview with Kathpress on Thursday. Examples of changes in teaching include the topics of organ donation and the death penalty.

Human dignity cannot be protected solely through mercy and pastoral wisdom, the professor at the University of Salzburg emphasized to "Kathpress". Although the “Dubia” answers are a first step in the global context of the world church, “in this country it is of course far too little,” stated Walser, who also missed findings from the human sciences regarding sexuality.

Despite the signs of appreciation for non-marital forms of partnership, the church is "still light years away from sexual self-determination and justice for homosexual couples" because the argument is still made for "mercy for sinners," said Walser. But she also pointed out that change processes within the church usually require “a long struggle”. “When it comes to sexual morality, at least from a doctrinal perspective, we are just at the beginning.”

Individual case and conscience

In the Pope's response to inquiries from some cardinals regarding the blessing of same-sex couples, the Pope was probably guided by the virtue of epikeia, according to which generally formulated norms must be applied in a particular situation in a person-appropriate manner, explained Walser. Each individual has the competence to do this by virtue of their conscience: "The Pope argues here very strongly with personal forms of thought from moral theology and thus overcomes the fixation on the act." Francis is guided by the theology of “personal justice,” which goes back to the patron saints of theological ethics, Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) and Alfons Maria von Liguori (1696-1787).

Cathcon: Both are horrified to have their good and holy names being used to justify this laxity.

According to the moral theologian, the Pope draws a clear line with his arguments: Walser referred to the post-synodal letter "Amoris laetitia" about love in the family, which was published in 2016, in which Francis had already emphasized the function of the individual's conscience. “Truth is not something fixed, but a search process,” summarized the theologian whose research focus is bioethics.

It is noteworthy that the Pope had attested that theology contributed to a "mature judgment of the Church" in his "Dubia" answers. “As a member of the guild of theological ethics in a theological faculty, you can’t hear anything nicer,” said Walser.



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