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By James Kalb, Crisis Magazine, October 3, 2018
Pope Francis famously downplays law and doctrinal formulations, which he often associates with Pharasaism, in favor of “discernment,” which seems to involve the direct application of ultimate considerations to particular situations. As he put the matter in his address at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family, “The true defenders of doctrine are not those who uphold its letter, but its spirit.”
Discernment of some sort is always needed, so the Holy Father is right to note its importance. A true musician does more than play the notes on the page one after another. But he does play the notes, and it seems that a true defender of doctrine would uphold the doctrines themselves as well as their spirit. Many Catholics are therefore concerned that Francis fails to balance his denunciations of legalism with warnings about lawlessness—a tendency that seems a far greater problem in today’s Church.
There’s a personal background to the Holy Father’s outlook. He’s a Jesuit, and Jesuit training famously emphasizes discernment. And he took his papal name from Francis of Assisi, showing his admiration for an unconventional man whose very personal discernment of the needs of the Church has benefited us all immensely…..Read entire article: http://crisismagazine.com/2018/the-pope-as-supreme-being