Sunday, February 12, 2017

Our plans as a parish to 'step it up' (Sunday homily)

In the Gospel we just heard, the key words are when Jesus says this:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”

That is the key.
Jesus is what Moses and the Law and all the Prophets hoped for.

Another way to understand what Jesus teaches is this:
Moses gave us the bare minimum.
Jesus says, “let’s step it up; let’s get to the heart of it”:
which is, that we don’t just follow rules,
we seek to know God, to follow him closely, to share his life.

We might think of what happened when the Apostles James and John,
and Andrew and Peter first met Jesus,
he didn’t give them commandments or any task,
but he simply said, “Come, follow me” – and they did.

This is a good time to talk about something
that I’ve been working on for two years, something big.
It’s time to make an announcement.

If you read my column a few weeks ago,
you saw me mention some “Pastoral Priorities”
that I’ve been working on with the staff and the Pastoral Council.
It’s time to share this with you. But I have to back up a bit.

When I first came to Saint Remy,
and after talking with so many parishioners,
you may recall what I said that,
despite all the good things going on in our parish,
I wanted to make sure we weren’t complacent.

So I began sharing with our staff and the Pastoral Council
a book I had just finished,
called Forming Intentional Disciples by Sherry Waddell.
I’d heard her give a talk in Dayton three or four years ago,
and I’d been impressed: she made sense.

But the first thing she talked about that was so powerful
was her diagnosis of what’s wrong with the Church in our country.
If you pick up this book, prepare yourself:
the first two chapters are brutal!
Let me share some of that with you now.

Ms. Waddell shared the following points – all carefully documented:

- Of all American adults who were raised as Catholics in this country,
how many still practice their faith? 30%.
- One in ten American adults were once Catholic, but no longer.
- When people leave the Catholic Faith,
4 out of 5 of them are gone by the age of 23.

Where are they going? Many are joining other religions,
especially Evangelical Christianity.
But many others are becoming so-called “nones,”
meaning they have no religious affiliation.
And one more sobering fact:

- Mass attendance, by age group, breaks down like this:
of those over 65, it’s almost half. Of those between 41-64, it’s 20%.
And of those just out of college, so called Millennials? Only 10%

What does this mean? It means that something is badly wrong,
and if things don’t change, a storm is going to hit.
Churches that are accustomed to seeing 500-600 people
on a Sunday will, before very long, see only 100-200.
The word for that is “collapse.” There is no other word.

Now, this isn’t what we’re experiencing in Russia,
and in this part of the diocese.
But we’re not walled off from the rest of the world.
So let’s not kid ourselves; we’re affected by this too.

Ms. Waddell says it simply:
“what worked before doesn’t work anymore.”
And I think she has that exactly right.

OK, that’s the end of the bad news.
I didn’t come here to deliver an obituary.
All that was simply to get your attention.
Now you see why I feel this strongly,
and why I’m now coming to you to communicate this urgency to you.

The reason I like Ms. Waddell’s book so much
that the staff and Pastoral Council and I took a year
to read it together, is this: after two chapters of bad news,
she lays out a compelling – and practical – way to respond.

And it boils down to this: the new way
must be to go beyond just following
the rules and emphasizing checking the boxes
of baptism, confirmation, first communion and marriage.
The way forward must be helping one another
to grow in our personal and intentional relationship with Jesus Christ.

Just what Jesus said in the Gospel:
following the commandments is good; that’s a starting point.
But he called us to step it up: get to know him –
that’s the whole point of it all!
That’s the whole point of the sacraments;
of the Mass; of our parish; of the Bible; of the Catholic Church.

The whole point is knowing Jesus;
following Jesus; letting Jesus change our lives.

There’s more to say, but that’s our task in one sentence.
From today, the reason this parish exists,
and the goal everything we do must aim at,
is to help everyone to know Jesus, to follow Jesus,
and to experience him changing our lives.

One more data point from the research.
When people were asked,
why they left the Catholic Faith to become Evangelical,
70% said, “my spiritual needs weren’t being met”;
62% said, “I felt called by God.”

In short, people don’t leave because they want LESS;
they leave because they hunger for MORE.

Now, let’s get into the specific priorities
the Pastoral Council and I have identified. They are as follows:

Our first priority is devout worship.
The first commandment, after all, is to love God and put him first.
As a parish, we will “foster worship and prayer that is full and faithful,
especially through the Mass and other forms of prayer.”
That’s not to say we aren’t doing that now;
but we identified that as the starting point.

Second is more disciples: it will be my task and yours
to help each other
“discover and deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ.”
I will be asking every organization, every group,
from pre-school to senior citizens,
to ask how they can grow in a personal encounter with the Lord.
As part of this, we will be seeking to discover
the spiritual gifts Christ gives us,
and how these can be put at his service in our parish.

A third priority is “better welcome.”
This means how we open our doors in every way:
here at church; in our encounter with our friends and neighbors;
in all our activities.
It also means how we reach out to those who are mourning,
those who have experienced a crisis, perhaps a divorce,
and how we treat those most in need.

The fourth priority is, quote, to “seek out.” Who? Everyone.
Catholics who are inactive; people who have no church home;
people who have never really met Jesus.
We will help each other find the ways
to share the gift we’ve been given.

And the final priority is simply “to pay for it.”
Not very exciting, but it’s important to mention
that some of these things may cost something,
and that’s something we’ll talk about as we go along.

Yes, there are storms and troubles out there, and sooner or later,
they will come here. But there’s no reason to be fearful,
and absolutely no reason just to sit still.
Jesus told us in the Gospel to step it up; know him in full.

It’s hokey to say, but it’s so true:
you and I don’t know what the future holds,
but we know who holds the future, amen?
We don’t have to reinvent anything; we don’t have to discover anything.
We only have to share with others what God shared with us:
Jesus Christ!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

'Make America great again' -- what does God think? (Sunday homily)

The main thing to notice about first reading
is that Isaiah wasn’t merely speaking to his fellow Israelites 
as individuals; he was speaking to them as a people and as a nation. 

So let’s keep that in mind 
when we hear Isaiah speak of sharing our bread with the hungry, 
and sheltering the oppressed and the homeless, 
and when he promises that “light shall rise” for us 
and our “wound quickly healed” –
these are things that will happen for them collectively.

So when we think about applying this to ourselves, 
it’s more than about how each of us acts individually; 
it’s about how we act, first, as a parish; second, as the Archdiocese; 
and third, how about as a nation?

So first, what does this mean for us as a parish community?

We can have a good conscience, 
because the people of our parish are doing a lot. 

We are providing food for the hungry and clothing for the cold, 
especially through St. Vincent de Paul.
Rustic Hope and Elizabeth New Life Center 
are sheltering women and saving the lives of unborn children 
in difficult circumstances; 
New Choices in Sidney shelters women and families facing violence; 
and our local group, RACK, makes a big difference for many.

To be clear, I am not saying our parish can take credit for all this. 
But our parishioners are definitely involved in these efforts.
And the point is not to congratulate ourselves, 
or to be satisfied with these efforts, 
but simply to say, we’re doing a lot – and let’s do even more!

What about what we do beyond our local parish, 
as part of the Archdiocese? 

This is a good time to mention the annual Catholic Ministries Appeal. 
Everyone should have gotten a letter from the Archbishop about this, 
describing the six projects that are included. 
And, as happens every year, 
this Sunday is when I invite you to make a pledge to support this fund. 

If you are ready to do that right now, 
there are pledge forms and pencils in the pews, and if you want one, 
I’m sure your neighbor will pass one down. 
Please feel free to do that as I keep speaking.

All six projects are worthy causes. Just a quick run-down, 
while you write in your name and address and so forth:

- Supporting more priests through Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary. 
This is where Elijah Putoff is studying right now, 
and after Ethan Hoying and Joseph Stickel 
finish college studies, will join Elijah there as well. 
You’ve met many of the men who have recently been ordained, 
and others who are there. Do they impress you? They impress me. 
So that tells you, our seminary is doing a good job.

- Care for our retired priests. 
The pension fund for our retired priests needs to be strengthened. 
Archbishop Schnurr deserves credit for taking this on, 
and he has made good progress, but this will help further.

- St. Rita School for the Deaf. Obviously a worthy cause. 
Think of what a difference they must be making!

- New Evangelization projects. You know the programs 
we’ve been sharing with you, which many find so helpful? 
Our parish was already on it; 
now the Archdiocese is spending money 
to get it into all the parishes. 

- Chaplains for colleges, hospitals and prisons. 
All these are important, but think especially about jails and prisons. 
They can be a dark place, full of despair. What a way to bring light!

- Catholic Charities and Catholic Social Services. 
The work these agencies do ranges from providing food and help for rent and utilities, 
to providing counseling for people in trouble. They are also helping welcome refugees. 
They are doing precisely what Isaiah was describing!

Those are the six priorities of the Catholic Ministry Appeal. 
I personally support this fund each year 
and I invite you to do what you can. 
Our parish has been very generous to this fund over the years, 
exceeding our goal each year. 

You may be interested to know that when we surpass the goal, 
some of that comes back here, 
and we put that toward our youth and children’s programs.

You can of course write a check, or provide credit card information – 
or else, you’ll get a follow up letter.

Finally, let’s talk about what Isaiah’s words mean for our nation.
Of course, we have done a lot over the years 
to help the rest of the world; 
but I think there is room for some self-examination.

We all know President Trump issued an order recently 
regarding immigration from seven specific countries, 
and also refugees, especially from Syria. 

And we all know there is a lot of confusion about this situation, 
and the situation seems to change daily. 
But let’s consider some basic facts.

According to the Department of State, 
something near 60,000 people had visas revoked, 
all in a matter of a few days. 

These are people who had previously been cleared to enter the country, 
and made plans to do so. 
That’s a lot of husbands, wives, children and families 
whose lives have been disrupted. 

Some of them were coming here for medical treatment. 
Some were people who had – at great risk – 
assisted our troops when they were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We all know that the refugees we’re talking about have endured tremendous suffering, 
especially in Syria. 
And while we didn’t cause that suffering, 
decisions our government has made over the years 
have played some part in the whole situation.

What many don’t realize is that the refugees 
who were on their way when the order took effect 
had all been subjected to rigorous checks and examinations. 
They don’t just walk in. 

The President says more needs to be done, 
and he is doing this for our safety. 
No one can fault him for these concerns.

To go back to Isaiah: what does God expect of us as a nation? 
The President has assured us 
that when he has better procedures in place, 
we will still welcome refugees, 
and he also has endorsed “safe zones” for them in Syria. 
I think part of our task as being salt and light 
is to hold him to these commitments.

We all want our country to be great – 
but I think we want to be great the right way, don’t we? 
Great as God sees greatness. That’s what Isaiah was talking about.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Jesus is speaking directly to you, right now (Sunday homily)

Notice what we just heard: Jesus went up a mountain; 
he sat down; and he began to teach. 
In these actions Jesus is showing himself to be the new Moses. 
Moses went up the mountain, he received the Law of God, 
and then he gave it to the people.

But here is a difference: 
Jesus does not receive anything on the mountain, 
because he already has it – because he is more than Moses. 
Moses received the Law from God. Jesus is God! 
That’s why Moses would say, “Thus says the Lord,” 
while Jesus simply says, “I say”!

This moment on the mountain is what Moses and the Prophets 
and God’s People all looked forward to.
And you and I are there with them, hearing Jesus speak to us.
He is speaking directly to each one of us.

So what matters here, right now,
 isn’t what Father Fox or anyone else says about this passage, 
but what Jesus says, to you and me, to our very hearts.

What is Jesus asking of you? 
How does your life measure up to these commandments of the New Law?

These words are like an examination of conscience for each one of us. 
Jesus tells us: this is what my Kingdom is like. 
Do you want to be part of my Kingdom? 
Or, to put it another way, do you want to go to heaven? 

Yes, Lord, we do, of course we do! 
This is how. These beatitudes – these ways of being – 
define what it means to be heavenly, to be citizens of heaven. 

If you and I want to be in heaven, live this way, now. 
Be these things, and you will fit into heaven; 
Ignore them, leave them aside, and heaven will be alien to you. 
You won’t go there, because you won't want to go there; 
It will be an alien place where you will be in torment.

These beatitudes define what it is to be happy in heaven – 
and it starts by living these laws here and now. 

“Poor in spirit” means living as one 
who is radically dependent on God, and knows it. 
Is that who I am? Is that how you and I live each day? Each hour?
Is each day “my” day? Or is it God’s?

Who does God ask me to mourn for? How far does my concern reach?
To put it another way: am I accepting my task, each day, 
of being my brother’s keeper? 
And do I know that every man and woman, without exception, 
is my brother and sister?

Am I meek, or am I proud? 
The proud inherit nothing – they have no share in the Kingdom to come.

Many of us live strongly by the hungers and thirsts 
we feel hour by hour – for food, for recognition, 
for entertainment, for getting our own way, for pleasure. 
We go to great lengths to satisfy these hungers, 
sometimes in shameful ways. 

Jesus says, hunger rather for righteousness. For justice. 
And not just for myself, but for my neighbor. 
Especially, above all, for the neighbor who looks different, 
acts suspiciously, isn’t welcome and is easy to condemn. 

What justice is owed to the stranger, the foreigner, the lawbreaker? 
Do I hunger and thirst that justice be done for them, too? 
Do I thirst enough for it to speak up when no one else will?

The merciful will be shown mercy, measure for measure. 
If I give only a thimbleful of mercy to others, 
that’s all I will get from God; 
but a good measure, pressed down, running over? 
What I give, will be given to me. 

Who will receive mercy from me – not because they deserve it, 
but simply because Jesus commands it? 
Will I work for my nation to be merciful, 
foreswearing torture and the death penalty, 
not for the sake of the one who deserves punishment, 
but for the sake of Christ, who asks it of me?

“Blessed are the clean of heart.”
Will I banish from my words, from my heart, from my entertainment, 
my computer, my phone, all that is not clean, so that I may see God? 
Teach us, Lord, to see each person, as made in your image; 
to see you, God, in every man and every woman, born and unborn.

What price will you and I pay for peace? 
Not only in faraway places, but at our jobs, in our homes, 
in our families? 
What words will I swallow, what pride will I set aside, 
How many extra miles will I walk, to bring peace?

Jesus has spoken to each of us today. 
He claims you and me as his own. 
How do we respond?
What are you, what am I, willing to let go of, 
to throw away and be rid of forever, 
to be empty of, so that we may be filled up with his word? 
To become those children of God 
whom Jesus calls “blessed, blessed, blessed”?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Being Christ's light: here are 3 ways (Sunday homily)

Every year at this time the Archdiocese kicks off 
its annual Catholic Ministries Appeal. 
The Archbishop sends out a recorded message, 
and invites pastors to play it at Mass. 
While I’m happy to help the Archbishop, 
playing a recording can be a little awkward, 
and sometimes, hard to hear. 

So what I’ve done in the past is to incorporate 
as much of the Archbishop’s homily into my own. 

The readings we heard today emphasize light and darkness – 
and the invitation for us is 
“both to follow the light and to be the light.”

“The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light.” 
This sentence from the Book of Isaiah in today’s first reading 
refers to a light much more profound than any torch or lamp. 

As the Archbishop explains, this passage, 
“Written more than eight centuries before Christ…
comes from a section of Isaiah 
known as the Immanuel Prophecies. 
In these twelve chapters the prophet of Israel looks ahead 
to a savior who will free His people 
from the yoke of oppression and bring great joy. 
The Church, beginning in the New Testament itself, 
has always seen the Immanuel Prophecies as applying to Jesus.” 
St. Matthew obviously makes that connection by quoting Isaiah.

We might recall what Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount – 
speaking to all who follow him: 
“You are the light of the world . . . 
your light must shine before others, 
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” 
So the light is not Jesus alone, 
but Jesus with his mystical Body – all of us. 
Christ is light in us, and each of us bears that light to the world. 

Think about that: there are a lot of implications in that. 
If I am bearing the light of Christ, what makes it burn brighter? 
What will nourish that flame – and what dims it?

And, to quote the Archbishop again: 
“Who can doubt that our increasingly secular world today 
desperately needs that light? 
In the face of poverty, crime, addiction, ignorance, despair, violence, 
discrimination, and injustices of all kinds, 
we are all called to be disciples making disciples. 

“Tens of thousands of you throughout the Archdiocese 
do that every day by giving generously of your time and talent 
as volunteers in schools, parishes, athletic programs, 
hospitals, prisons, and other areas of need. 
This is both discipleship in action – letting your light shine – 
and good stewardship of God’s gracious gifts.”

Going beyond what the Archbishop said, there are two particular ways 
that task of being Christ’s light might stand out to us at this moment. 

Today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, 
the 1973 Supreme Court decision that imposed abortion on demand 
on our country. 

On Friday, hundreds of thousands of Americans 
of all ages and backgrounds will go to Washington 
to bear witness to the urgency to protect all human life; 
including many from our area. 

Many more will take part in prayer vigils and gatherings 
around the country. 
There is a prayer vigil in Sidney on Sunday evening at 7 pm, 
at the courthouse, for example.

As important as this is, this task of light-bearing 
is needed every day, everywhere we go. 
One very powerful way you and I can be light and hope 
is to support and help to women who are facing difficult situations, 
to avoid making a terrible choice. 

Moreover, nothing is more Christ-like than when you and I 
wrap our arms lovingly around those who make this decision, 
and help them find God’s mercy and healing. 

If you know anyone bearing this burden, please tell them:
God’s mercy is without measure! 
Of course the sacrament of confession 
gives us this mercy from the source.
But also tell hurting people about Project Rachel,
Which exists to bring healing to wounded women and families. 

There’s another way our role as being light stands out today, 
and it’s in the context of a new president and a new chapter 
for our country. 

It’s our duty to give voice to values of human dignity, for all people. 
Important decisions will be made in the months ahead. 
Don’t be a spectator; it’s your task and mine 
to bring the word of God and the ways of God into those decisions.

By ourselves, each of us is limited, 
and perhaps you think you haven’t much to offer; 
you don’t have the time. 

This is where the Catholic Ministries Appeal is so powerful. 
It is the combined impact of hundreds of thousands of Catholics 
in 19 counties of the Archdiocese – that’s a mighty force! 

Let’s recall what the Catholic Ministry Appeal enables us to do:
feed the poor 
take care of retired priests 
ensure a Catholic presence on local campuses, prisons, and hospitals 
provide for evangelization efforts  
help students at St. Rita School for the Deaf
support vocations of priests, deacons, lay ministers

Let me conclude by quoting the Archbishop once more: 

“Those who carry out these ministries and programs 
are grateful on a daily basis 
for your participation in their work through your generous donations. 
As Archbishop, I share that gratitude. 
Thank you for being a light in the darkness.”

Sunday, January 15, 2017

It's not a quick sale, it's about relationships (Sunday homily)

One of the jobs I had, when I was in my 20s, 
was as a salesman in a men’s clothing store. 
I had that job for about a year or so. 
It was a good job, and I learned some valuable lessons.
The way it worked was that as customers came in, 
each sales person on the floor would be “up” – 
meaning, your turn to wait on a customer. 
And, if you made a sale, you got the commission on that sale.

Of course, not everybody walking in would buy something; 
But a smart salesman knew that Mr. “I’m just looking today” 
might well come back a week later, or an hour later, 
and make a purchase. And, if you took good care of him, 
you’d see him again, and again. 

So, one thing I learned 
was that it wasn’t just about making a quick sale, 
but rather, about creating a relationship.
Someone has a need and comes to me.
If I can help them find what they need – that’s valuable.
That’s not just a good day’s work, 
it’s a good way to live your life
And all that came to mind as I thought about our parish patron, 
Saint Remy, whose feast day we celebrate today. 

Saint Remigius, as he would have called himself,
was a Roman; he lived in northern part of the province of Gaul,
in an area near the present-day border between France and Belgium. 
As a boy, Remy was very bright and well read; 
he was renowned for his learning and his holiness. 
When he was 22, he was recommended to be bishop – 
and he wasn’t even a priest!

Remy was born in AD 437. 
This was a time when Roman society was falling apart. 
Foreign peoples were moving across the borders,
Public order was breaking down,
And when people sent for help from Rome, little help came.

This is how the Kingdom of the Franks – what later became France – 
was established, with Clovis as the first King.
And Remigius, as Bishop of Reims, was in the middle of it all.

Remy had a choice. He might have wanted to stay away 
from these barbarians, and just stick with his fellow Romans.
That would have been a lot easier and more comfortable.

Instead, Remy sought out Clovis and his wife, Clotilda. 
While Clovis was a pagan, Clotilda was a Catholic. 
Remy was eager to share the Gospel with Clovis, 
but the king wasn’t very interested.

Remy wasn’t after a quick sale; 
he and the king and queen formed a friendship, 
despite all that separated him from them.

He may well have been influenced 
by Saint Paul’s words in the second reading: 
“I have become all things to all, to save at least some.” 

Because Remy made himself available to the Lord, 
not only was King Clovis baptized, so were many of his advisors. 
That set the whole kingdom on the path to becoming Catholic; 
and thus the future nation of France.

Now, in case it’s not obvious, let’s notice how our situation is similar.
Our society is in the midst of dramatic change. 
I don’t mean technology, I mean in values.

Some of us can remember taking for granted 
that our society around us knew who Jesus Christ is. 
If that was ever really true, it’s not true now. 

Like the situation in St. Remy’s time, 
you and I can retreat into what’s comfortable and familiar – 
or we can seek out relationships that take us outside our usual circle.
Those are our opportunities to share our Faith, 
and to make a difference in people’s lives.

Just as a practical step, ask yourself:
Do you know all your neighbors – say, on all sides of your house?
How about the next house, in each direction?

What about the other students in your grade at school?
Are there students you don’t know very well?
Maybe they don’t go to St. Remy – or maybe they aren’t Catholic?

As I said a moment ago, the point is not making a quick sale, 
But about being able to help people.

The call that God placed on Isaiah’s heart, and later, 
his call to Peter and Andrew, James and John, 
was to make a difference in people’s lives 
by helping them know who Jesus is 
and the life and hope Jesus gives.

And who does God send? He sent St. Paul; he sent St. Remy; 
and he sends you, and me.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Maltese Straw that breaks the Church's back

Everyone knows about the debate over Pope Francis' Amoris Laetitia, and whether it is ambiguous in places, and whether it needs to be clarified. Many -- four prominent cardinals in particular -- have publicly asked for clarification, saying that without clarification, the ambiguities in the document will invite distortions or even implicit denial of constant Catholic teaching and practice. Others have responded by dismissing, and in some cases, ridiculing, this concern.

Well, it appears a document from the bishops of Malta may have gone exactly where Cardinal Burke and others' worst fears dreaded.

From the "Criteria for the Application of Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia,
just issued, we find this paragraph:
Paragraph 10: If, as a result of the process of discernment, undertaken with “humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching, in a sincere search for God’s will and a desire to make a more perfect response to it” (AL 300), a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (see AL, notes 336 and 351).

If so, then why shouldn’t the following likewise be true:

If, as a result of the process of discernment, undertaken with “humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching, in a sincere search for God’s will and a desire to make a more perfect response to it” (AL 300), a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship same-sex attracted person who is living in a ‘same sex marriage’ manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (see AL, notes 336 and 351).

Or indeed, why not:

If, as a result of the process of discernment, undertaken with “humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching, in a sincere search for God’s will and a desire to make a more perfect response to it” (AL 300), a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship any person persisting in a state of mortal sin who manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (see AL, notes 336 and 351).

In short, doesn't this mean that all those who, in confession, says they are committing mortal sin of any sort, and because they believe they are "at peace with God" about it, they won't change that behavior, they are to receive absolution, and then can receive communion?

In other words, priests must grant absolution in such cases? What happens if a priest refuses to do so?

Are you telling me this isn’t a break from Catholic teaching?

Tell me what I'm missing here. Specifically, please explain how this is not in direct conflict with the Catechism, paragraph 1650, and the explicit teachings of Pope Benedict and Pope St. John Paul II.

(Note: I understand many people are upset about this, and are upset with Pope Francis over this. Injudicious comments will be deleted. Expressing unhappiness at the pope's decisions is one thing; calling the pope a heretic is something else. Be wise, be charitable, please.)

Update: I see my friend Father Zuhlsdorf has addressed this, and he links Canon Law expert Ed Peters.