Robert Royal, the editor of The Catholic Thing, published a scathing critique of Pope Francis' "Bizarre Papal Move" regarding sacramental marriage, particularly the circumstance around the question of receipt of communion by divorced and remarried Catholics.
It is troubling to see how there seems to have been a Kabuki show of holding two Extraordinary Synods on the Family, in which a clear majority of Bishops reaffirmed the traditional teaching, yet that formal process seems to have mooted by unclear footnotes in the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia and papal private letters.
In the late 20th Century, the Catholic Church had been blessed by two pontiffs who were extraordinary theologians. It is not necessary for a successor to the Chair of Peter to be like Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Francis has a gift of outreach and seems to operate on a more pastoral bent. Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si (2015) read like a hot mess. In Laudato Si, Pope Francis tried to extol a humane ecology but lapsed into six paragraphs championing Global Climate change politics as well as exhortations to forgo air conditioning and i-pads. Thus it is easy to interpret Pope Francis' quip about those who do not recycle needing to go to a confessional as a pastoral hyperbole colored by his concern for ecology.
However, it is troubling that Pope Francis' apparent will, infused with Mercy, seems to override two millennia of Church teachings on on the Sacramentality of Marriage as well as established mechanisms for discerning and promulgating God's will for the Church.
As a practical Catholic, I must on occasion explain that everything which the Pope says is not infallible. While I ought to prayerfully consider things which a Pope says, I am not bound unless it is an ex cathedra statement. Dogma must be consistent with the Magisterium and aligned with the bishops.
From the inaccurate 2014 relatio, the footnote foundation and private letter reiteration of Pope Francis' view on Kasperian gradualism for what were traditionally held as adulterous couples, this new teaching on marriage seems on shaky ecclesiastical grounds. Moreover, it lends credence to progressive Catholics, like Democrat Vice Presidential nominee Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), that the Catholic Church will follow his lead to eventually endorse same-sex marriage.
H/T: The Catholic Thing