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Clue Today we begin with news that Pat Archbold, co-founder of the Creative Minority Report has also recognized the significance of the Francis interview from the 7th of December published in the Argentine newspaper La Nacion. His blog post is titled: “This Papal Interview Changes Everything”. (see here) On the Deus Ex Machina blog, we take a breather from the running analysis to regroup and take stock of the present lay of the land. From the information we have gained so far, we will begin to construct a framework through which we can better understand what it is in fact that Francis is trying to tell us.


This post is a continuation of a thread that we have been exploring since the publication of the Francis interview in the Argentine La Nacion daily on the 7th of December 2014. Since the publication of this interview, this blog published a series of posts analyzing the Synod of the Family in light of the information already in the public domain and the new information contained in this interview. To be more precise, the Deus Ex Machina blog has recognized the watershed nature of the interview, and has incorporated this new information along with the information contained in the “Lineamenta”, (the preparatory outline for the next synod of bishops) that has been sent to the episcopate conferences on the 9th of December into this analysis. The analysis is being performed for three reasons:

1) to construct a framework that will provide an understanding of the true agenda driving the Synod of the Family,

2) to use this framework to test the accuracy of any statements or hypothesis which may arise as to the true agenda of the Synod of Families,

3) to use this framework to gain a “predictive functionality” to help to anticipate events that can transpire in the second half of this synod scheduled for October of 2015.


The framework mentioned above has already been defined in earlier posts. Therefore a quick review will suffice. For more in depth information, a re-reading of the source posts would be recommended. Here is what has been established in the preceding posts:

Modernist’s Magic Words (“MMW”) (see here)

We have established that Francis’s strategy is of a linguistic nature, i.e. replacing a word that according to him has a negative connotation or imagery with another word that, again according to Francis, has a positive connotation or imagery. The definition of what constitutes a positive/negative connotation and imagery is subjectively defined by Francis. Examples of the “MMW” strategy are: “dropping out” replaced by image of “field hospital”, “proselytism” replaced by “attraction” and “strategy” replaced by “Lord’s pastoral call”. And these are the limits of depth and breadth of the Francis magisterium.

The „Jesuitical” Bait-and-Switch (“JBS”) (see here)

We established that the “Family” is for the most part irrelevant to the true agenda of the Secret Synod of 2014/2015 by pointing out the absence of any hermeneutic of continuity between the Synod 2014 documents produced by Team Francis and the John Paul II Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio. Furthermore, we demonstrated that there was a hidden agenda since three paragraphs produced by Team Francis (written by Bruno Forte) the Synod bishops rejected. However, Francis through the power of his absolute authority put them back into the Final Relatio. This was proof positive that the “Bait and Switch” strategy was to “Bait” the Synod bishops with a nominal Family agenda, and then “Switch” to an alternative agenda, i.e. “communion for remarried” (“cdr”) and/or “changing teaching on homosexuality” (“cth”). Confirmation of the accuracy of the above hypothesis was the fact that the Relatio post disceptationem was pre-written and did not represent what was said at the Synod by the bishops.

Francis „Showing a Leg” (“FSL”) (see here)

We established that the hidden agenda that was based on the two pillars, i.e. communion for divorced remarried (“cdr”) and/or changing teaching on homosexuality (“cth”) was in fact not correct. The “cdr” pillar was actually a diversionary tactic to get the real agenda, the “cth” past the Synod bishops. We demonstrated that, if in fact the “cdr” was a part of the real agenda, the documents produced by Team Francis in this matter would have been grounded in previous Church teaching documents, i.e. the JPII “FC” and by extension the Vatican II Gaudium et spes. This would have tied the “cdr” issue into the “Family” issue. We supported this contention by demonstrating that Team Francis was desperately seeking a “hermeneutic of continuity” with previous Church teachings since they repeatedly cited “FC” and Benedict XVI texts during the run up to the Synod, yet completely ignored linking their “pre-written” synod documents with the “FC”. This created a “rupture in continuity” with previous Church teachings and the associated problems with the Synod bishops. On the basis of this evidence, we hypothesized that the “Synod of the Family” was in fact the “Synod for changing Church teaching on homosexuality”.

Practical Application of Framework

So now that we have the framework defined, let’s take it for a spin. Here is an example of how we can use the framework to interpret what Francis is saying on issues relating to the Synod. A good case in point is the passage in the La Nacion interview that we all should be familiar with by now. With respect to the “communion for divorced remarried”, Francis said the following:

…The fifth is the question of what do we do with divorcees who have remarried; they are part of our congregation after all. Kasper´s hypothesis is not his own. Let´s look into that. What happened? Some theologians feared such assumptions and that is keeping our heads down. Kasper urged us to seek hypothesis, i.e., he made the first move. And some panicked. And went as far as to say: Communion, never. Only spiritual Communion. And tell me, don´t we need the grace of God to receive spiritual communion?

First we need to define all the terms. In our case, a definition for spiritual Communion is needed. According to Wikipedia it is this:

Spiritual Communion is a practice among Catholics (and Anglicans) of desiring union with Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist as a response to God’s own desire for union. It is used especially as a preparation for Holy Mass. This practice is well established in the Catholic Church and highly recommended by many saints, according to Pope John Paul II. He explained that practicing this constant desire for Jesus in the Eucharist is rooted in the ultimate perfection of Eucharistic communion, which is the ultimate goal of every human desire


If we run the above passage through our framework, here is what we get:

1) Is this an exercise of a linguistic nature? Definitely yes. What does “spiritual communion” have to do with receiving communion? Not a lot really. The later is a physical act, while the former is a desire, a desire that can be had sitting on one’s living room couch. And then there is the question of being in a state of mortal sin. Looks like we are on the verge of another novelty to be defined at a later point in time.

2) Does it relate to “the Family”: No. Receiving the Sacrament of Communion is an individual act. Has nothing to do with “The Family”, and not tied into previous church teaching in this area.

3) Does this passage pertain to either of the “two pillars”: Yes. The first one, i.e. “cdr”. Therefore, this is Francis “showing the leg”. And points 1 and 2 confirm this.

By putting Francis’s words through our framework, we gain a better understanding for what Francis is saying. And what he is saying is that a new novelty, along the lines of “expansion of the concept of Spiritual Communion” is needed.

What this has to do with the Sacrament of Communion is simply this, to create the impression that someone who is living in a state of mortal sin, when he comes to church, can appear just like all the others, and the others will not be able to distinguish that he is different. What are the ramifications of this new potential novelty? Here is a few:

Will it help him feel better about himself? Maybe yes.

Will it bring him back to church? I doubt it.

Will this “strategy of mercy” help the sinner obtain the grace necessary for obtaining salvation? Definitely not.

At the end of the day, he is still living in a state of mortal sin.

With respect to the predictive capability of our framework, we can look at the most important question: Will Francis change Church teaching with respect to communion for divorced remarried? No. Not because he doesn’t want to, but because he doesn’t have the cover from the other bishops to do it.

So a new linguistic novelty of an expanded definition of the term “spiritual communion” will have to do. And it is this animal that we need to be on the look out for.

Post Scriptum

Doesn’t look like the “spiritual communion” was that big a deal at the Secret Synod. Only mentioned once in the interim Relatio and once in the final Relatio. Please keep in mind that there were “Three Paragraphs” on the subject of changing Church teaching on the “objectively disordered” homosexuality in the interim Relatio alone. “Spiritual Communion” appears in the Relatio post disceptationem once. (see here)

48. Suggesting limiting themselves to only “spiritual communion” was questioned by more than a few Synodal Fathers: if spiritual communion is possible, why not allow them to partake in the sacrament? As a result a greater theological study was requested starting with the links between the sacrament of marriage and the Eucharist in relation to the Church-sacrament. In the same way, the moral dimension of the problem requires further consideration, listening to and illuminating the consciences of spouses.

“Spiritual Communion” appears in the Final Relatio once. (see here)

53.Some synod fathers maintained that divorced and remarried persons or those living together can have fruitful recourse to a spiritual communion. Others raised the question as to why, then, they cannot have access “sacramentally”. As a result, the synod fathers requested that further theological study in the matter might point out the specifics of the two forms and their association with the theology of marriage.

The basis for the present practice of “spiritual communion” was explained in the JP II encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, not in the Familiaris Consortio.

Post Post Scriptum Notice how the wording got more restrictive in the Final Relatio?