I was a little surprised Aleteia published this 5 February interview. It was just posted yesterday. Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle on suffocation:
(N)obody should stop anybody from saying what he or she thinks about the current state of marriage, family, etc. Nobody should suffocate anybody. We should listen to one another and we should reflect on it and try to see what the Holy Spirit will tell us about how to accompany towards Christ people who find themselves in any form of marriage.
And an exchange with the interviewer:
Holy Communion is medicine for the sick. It is not a reward for the perfect.
But according to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, whatever your sin may be, one must be in a state of grace in order to receive the Holy Eucharist (CCC 1415).
I would have to admit that, over the centuries, we have made a very tough line in that context.
The archbishop then spoke of the application of the power of the keys in Matthew 16. Can the pope unbind? The interviewer continued …
How would that be reconciled with the Lord’s words: “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”
That is true. What God has joined together. In fact, it is not “let no man put asunder,” but “what God has joined, no man can put asunder. No man can put asunder what God has joined together, and it is true. But then the same Jesus says: “Whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven, whatever you loose on earth is loosed in heaven.” So what did he mean by that? Are they two statements that contradict one another?
Well, Your Excellency, they can’t contradict one another if the Lord said them, because He is Truth.
They cannot contradict one another, so we are going to have to find out through prayer what to do.
I haven’t seen much heat on this issue in the conservative blogosphere as of today. The Ghanaian archbishop is his nation’s selection for the synod this Fall. That may relieve the African bloc of the perception of being Burke-protégés. I do worry that some Catholics are conflating the practice of possible forgiveness with weakness on the moral front. In the name of Christ, the Church, after all, will forgive abortions, and quite serious misdeeds that cannot be undone.
Also some Catholics are unnerved by discussion that was largely stifled in the years 1978-2013. We don’t need the suffocation of those years, and we have nothing to fear from prayer and discernment.