Sunday, April 10, 2016


As we all know, the liberal progressives of the Church after Vatican II created tremendous dissension and division in the Church. Of course they were pushing for this, that and the other behind the scenes and secretly before the Council but afterwards they came out in steroidal full force with their de-Catholicisization of the Church. They, not orthodox Catholics, are responsible for the state of confusion, dissension and division in the Church today. But what is done is done.

Under Popes John Paul II and Benedict, there appeared to be progress in restoring sanity and orthodoxy to the Church. But one method of trying to do this noble work of charity was the use of repressing discussion on the hot button issues of the Church as it concerns human sexuality and gender ideologies, not to mention same sex marriage and female priests (these later two are intimately linked to each other).

Thus, when Pope Francis allowed discussion on issues once thought closed to discussion during the past two synods on the family, everyone thought that this was the beginning of the end of the John Paul II and Benedict eras. And in a sense it was, as discussion was allowed rather than repressed.

However, the open discussion and the reactions these provoked in the hierarchy of the Church allowed all to have their say, meaning the most important players, those bishops in the synod (along with the lay voices that were invited to speak to the bishops). It brought out into the open the heterodoxy of bishops in Germany and other European countries where the Church is now on life-support because of the heterodoxy and genuflecting to secularism as they receive their bloated salaries from the state!

And now, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, after having heard the orthodox, the heterodox and everything in between has spoken (or written) in his final word on the subjects in the Apostolic Exhortation "The Joy of Love."

And after having read it, I must say that we are seeing a continuation of the Popes John Paul II and Benedict eras with a pastoral sensitivity that only a pope from the peripheries could bring, a pope who as a priest, bishop and cardinal worked as a pastor, not a university professor,  in the trenches and on the periphery and knows the reality on the ground and not from an ivory tower or what others have told him about the peripheries or real life. 

The new direction of Pope Francis is pastoral realism but he embraces every bit of the doctrines and dogmas of the Church that his heterodox bishops and cardinals do not. He has reiterated these.

And now that the heterodox have had their day and say in the sun of the Vatican and before the pope himself, they have be called to unity and oneness with the true Church and her Magisterium but more importantly to embrace completely the "Deposit of Faith!"

One has to understand that the term "Deposit of Faith" had fallen into disrepute with heterodox progressives as they viewed it as static and preventing them from desconstructing the Catholic Faith.

Pope Francis, time and time again, has referred to the "Deposit of Faith" and recovered the feminine nature of the Church, anathema to heterodox progressives because of its implications for preventing them from accomplishing their dastardly deeds of heterodoxy.

We have seen the writing on the wall and in the daily homilies that this pope, while down to earth and practical in his love for the sheep, was and is the Trojan Horse warrior against heterodox Catholicism and in a stroke of Jesuitical Genius has conquered them in a brilliant way!


Rood Screen said...

Perhaps you're right, Father.

Anonymous said...

Opening already settled Catholic teaching for discussion suggests to me (and the world no doubt) that such teachings are able to be changed. What next? Should the Church open for discussion pedophilia, polygamy and so on? No doubt there will be some bishops who would like to see change in many other Church teachings but to open them for discussion as the last synod did would further confuse the laity. All we can do is await a new pontificate to restore the Church. In the meantime any priest who suggested to a lay person in confession that it is acceptable for them to receive communion while living in a homosexual relationship or fornicating, well such priest would be guilty of the body and blood of Christ.

Anonymous said...

A Catholic said to me today that the Pope has left it open for a priest to tell a Catholic they can receive communion even if they are a practising homosexual or a Catholic in a second marriage without annulment of their first marriage. How many Catholics will read the whole document? Damian Thompson has missed the boat on this occasion because the footnote IS the smoking gun where Francis tells priests that communion is not for the perfect. No one is perfect. That has always been understood so it was unnecessary to state that, unless the idea was to loosen things up. What Francus forgot to mention, however, is the Church's constant teaching that those in mortal sin are not to be admitted to communion. I have known Catholics in difficult situations and they have not been treated mercilessly by priests at all. Instead they have been encouraged to keep going to Mass and to pray. In most cases the spouse has passed away leaving the Catholic able to receive communion again. So again I see that as a smokescreen. Homosexuals are not Ill treated either. So I agree with Rorate Caeli's comparison of the Church to the slow boiling up of the frog. I hope all priests hop out of the water before it is too late for them. As it is, I see it, as will many others, that Pope Francis has opted not to cross the line that no Pope can cross and remain pope but has encouraged priests to do the dirty work. Most priests will consider their own souls first I'm sure.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Only the bishop can confirm or censure his priests and make them stop heterodox practices. Why blame this on not reading the Exhortation. Who's read the Bible, or the catechism of the Church?

GenXBen said...

People getting worked up about a footnote or a single sentence! There's an old (maybe Protestant) saying: A proof-text without Context is a Pretext. What's the context of the note? Isn't there anything else in the 200+ pages that would guide the interpretation of a single sentence. If your context is that "Francis is a modernist who wants to change church teaching and this sentence is proof.", then you may be correct about Francis, but the proper context OF THIS TEXT is not Francis' personal preferences, but the Magisterium. Francis may want all kinds of things, but we don't read Papal documents in light of off-the cuff statements not protected by the Holy Spirit but on the constant teaching authority of the Church, which is. In 30 years people will read this document blissfully unaware of Francis' verbal diarrhea and only in the context of the documents referenced therein. We should read it the same way.

If the Pope decries gradulism in the law in one part of the document, then he can't be advocating for it in another. He must mean something else (like what kind of baby-steps are necessary to bring people to compliance with the law). Bishop Morlino (no liberal) said that the law of gradualism means that if someone comes up to him and says "I used to be having an affair with 4 women, but now I'm only having an affair with 1 woman" then Bishop Morlino would have to say "that's good! Now let's work on this a little more." THat doesn't mean he lets the adulterer come to Communion. It means he encourages him in the progress he made and encourages him to make it the rest of the way.

I'm sure I'll be hated on now. So I have my asbestos undershorts ready :(

rcg said...

I wondered some time ago if this was his strategy. If it is I still think it is very dangerous.

Marc said...

Having read the exhortation, I disagree that it is orthodox. It clearly sets out the reception of Holy Communion for the divorced and "remarried." Throughout the document, the pope assumes as an ontological possibility "divorce," contrary to the Church's teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. Late in the document, he clearly states that he is changing the practice and encourages people to no longer adhere to rigidity in definitions. He has created a distinction between ideal and reality to provide the framework for his novel suggestions, borrowing from Vatican II's novel understanding of ecclesiology. Specifically, he says that indissoluble marriage is an ideal that should be preached, but the reality of irregular unions should be excused by way of graduality.

All of this is based on a rejection of categorical distinctions, including the Church's teaching on mortal sin and the lack of sanctifying grace that accompanies that terrible state. Since he has undone those distinctions, his new teaching of Communion follows. Put simply, he suggests that those in mortal sin are not dead members, but living members of the Church, just like those having committed venial sins. And so both should partake in the Eucharistic medicine in the same way.

To the extent he recognizes mortal sin as a reality, he negates it by setting up mitigating examples that swallow the general rule. And he suggests that, in the case of serial adulterers, not only might their sin be excused by force of habit, but that their adulterous relationship should continue in Christian charity as an example to children and to avoid other adultery.

As for the first roughly 290 paragraphs, I found some parts interesting. He exhibits a strange fascination with youth, in my opinion. And his experiences must be quite bizarre because he makes connections I have never seen made by others. Sometimes it is very difficult to know what he is really trying to say since he uses strange phrases (to me, anyway). I did like some of his practical advise about families praying together, but I strongly disagree with his section on the need for sex education.

Marc said...

I must also mention that this document exhibits a fundamental problem insofar as it has as its focus only the temporal. There is no mention made of the ends toward which all of these questions are properly oriented -- namely, death, judgment, heaven, and hell.

Anonymous said...

The Pope first requested a synod on the Family that sought answers to already settled Church teaching. To have such a synod, therefore, gave the impression that these already settled Church teachings were open for change. This was compounded by asking questions of the laity as to how they felt about Catholics not being able to receive communion if they were divorced or homosexual. Can anyone point to when the laity has been asked to give their views on Church teaching before? I certainly can't think of any.

Did Our Lord said to the woman at the well that he did not condemn her but she was to go and sin no more. No gradualism in that statement. Mortal sin is mortal sin there is no gradual state in it. The person who is in adultery with one person and dies in that state may well go to hell even if they have given up three or four other adulterous situations. Bishop Morlino is talking through a hole in his hat if he says to a person in that situation that's good. Certainly a priest can tell a person to keep striving but he must be unequivocal as Our Lord was unequivocal.

For example, what would our Bishop Molino's answer be if a man came to him and said, "I used to punch my wife three times a night but now I only punch her once a night"? Or a priest said to Bishop Morlino, "I am a priest and I used to have sex with three boys but now I only have sex with one boy". In that instance of gradualism if he answered "That's great now let's work on this a little more" his graualistic approach would most likely land him in prison because one is not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to say "great let' work on that" to an adulterer.

The Church is in a very sorry state if we are now accepting those weak arguments for our failure to stand up for the truth as Our Lord was truthful in obedience to the Father when He said, "Go and sin no more".

Let the Pope be lax if he will and give his own opinions where he will but I pray that our priests remain in the truth of Christ.

Anonymous said...

How could Damian Thompson and others have overlooked this little gem from the exhortation and it's meaning explained on OnePeterFive:

" many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living “as brothers and sisters” which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, “it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers” [Here, a reference is made to the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on the Church in the modern world, Gaudium et Spes.]"

What this means concretely is that the pope is sending a deeply troubling message: those who are living in the objective state of adultery (since they are still sacramentally and validly married to their real spouse, not the person they are living with) and have children from this second “marriage” are essentially bound to stay in this relationship, living as husband and wife (which they are not) and continuing to engage in acts proper only to spouses, and thus, adulterous in nature. Otherwise, the pope reasons, their new relationship – and the welfare of the children involved – could be put at risk! In this, Pope Francis undermines Catholic moral teaching at its core, and puts supposed practical concerns over the higher concern of the salvation of souls."

Or these other little gems@

"This question of access to the sacraments for the divorced and remarried is taken up again in paragraph 305:

"Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end."

At the end of that sentence, footnote 351 clarifies: “In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments,” and then refers to both Confession and the Eucharist. He writes: “I would also point out that the Eucharist ‘is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.’”

These statements call to mind the substance of the so-called Kasper proposal. The language of the Eucharist as “not a prize” is something BOTH KASPER AND FRANCIS HAVE USED on this topic since the Synod process began in 2014. There is no specific prescription on whether the divorced and “remarried” can have access to the sacraments in this, but one sees the opening of a door.

THE SECOND GRAVE SCANDAL comes in paragraph 301. In the context of the question of “discernment” for those “irregular” relationships, Pope Francis does away with the claim that those who do not live according to God’s law are living in the state of mortal sin! He says:

Hence it is [sic] can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” [to include homosexual relationships?] situations are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace. More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values” [?], or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin."

Anyone not finding these statements problematic and out of line with Catholic teaching are blinding themselves to the truth of the matter.

What next? How long can this go on unchallenged?

Rood Screen said...


We must preserve the Apostolic Tradition, but, more importantly, we must save souls. Perhaps the Holy Father is simply advocating pastoral tactics that more effectively, even if only gradually, lure sinners towards repentance and conversion. Which is more effective: to walk around the town square reciting to passersby the doctrines of the Catholic Faith, or to build the kind of friendships with sinners that gradually lead them to salvation? It's a question of effectiveness, or, to use Gospel language, fruitfulness, rather than just being satisfied with doctrinal accuracy.

Anonymous said...

Dialogue, I'm sorry but I believe that most people would rather know what sins are likely to lead us to hell rather than to be lulled into a false sense of security where we think we can continue on in mortal sin but might live long enough to repent.

Which is better, to tell a child if they put their hand in the fire they will get burnt or to let them find their own way by trial and error?

Can you tell me why you think Our Lord didn't take the "pastoral" way that you describe? He was satisfied with the doctrinal accuracy of: "Go and sin no more". I don't see any gradualism there.

Jusadbellum said...

Jan, the crucial distinction on which the entire 'footnote' controversy is raised is that there is AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN IN CATHOLIC MORAL THEOLOGY, a difference between an objective sin and one's subjective culpability.

Take the basic distinction between killing and murder. In both cases 1 man kills another man. But justified self-defense can be praiseworthy while premeditated murder of a defenseless innocent can never be praiseworthy.

The only way to know what the subjective status is of a given homicide is to know the subjective circumstances, intent, and freedom in the mind of the killer at the moment of death.

But some nosey neighbor looking through a telescope might not be in the position to tell the subjective state of the killer that renders him innocent of murder (while still provably the killer).

In an analogous way, John Smith might have divorced Mary Jones and then later courted and married Sue Adams. 3rd parties might conclude "mortal sin!!!!" and condemn both John and Sue as adulterers.

But until/unless the judge is in possession of the couple's circumstance, intent, freedom etc. they can't really know whether the first wedding was a real sacramental marriage or not. We usually presume good faith and so presume every wedding is sacramental....but it's not necessarily the case and the ONLY way to really get to the bottom of it is via an investigation.

So now John and Sue are in a crisis: are they truly married or in a state of adultery? Might they live temporarily as brother and sister pending the decree of nullity? I suppose the pastor would encourage them to do so.

Inasmuch as their situation can't be decided by the general public, the peanut gallery at their parish, or random strangers on the internet, I don't see how the 'bombshell' paragraphs of the Pope's letter is the damnable lines you presume them to be.

The Pope didn't say fornication or adultery is a-OK. The whole point is that they're not...BUT WHAT WE MIGHT HERETOFORE HAVE PRESUMED WAS ADULTERY MIGHT NOT IN FACT BE ADULTERY.

Until/unless the parties in question can go through the annulment process the jury is out. You, me, and everyone online can't really know because we don't know their circumstances, intent at the time of wedding, state of soul etc.

The Pope says: divorce is wrong. God hates it. Fornication is wrong. Don't do it.

Those who do it should stop. But everyone ought to strive to know where they stand with respect to God's will for humanity (marriage and family or virginity/celibacy).

There is no 3rd licit way in the document for Catholics: you're either a virgin or celibate....or you are in a heterosexual, exclusive, permanent marriage. The document does not allow any other type of sexual expression.

Anonymous said...


I can easily imagine a situation in which divorce is wrong, but when we look hard enough at the subjective circumstances of every one of the millions of "divorced" couples through the new pastoral theology, it turns out that none of them is really divorced. Therefore none of them is barred from Communion. The pastoral exception has thus swallowed the doctrinal rule. (As the bumper sticker says, "My karma ran over your dogma.")

Everybody has trouble doing what is right. This is understood as/explained by concupiscence. The question is do we excuse this, say that we're all fallen and thus we should just do as Luther said, i.e., love God and sin boldly? (Not quite the right phrase to explain the new theology, since if we really can't help ourselves and it's all due to things beyond our control, it isn't sin). Or do we accept that, being concupiscent, we deceive ourselves when we say we have no sin and try to live up to the command to be perfect?

True, in most other cases, when we fail, we can go to Confession. The problem with marriage from this perspective is that it's a sacrament that, by definition, involves a minimum of two people (more, if there's "remarriage" and/or children) and thus a potential clash of interests, and thus problems with it and questions regarding whether it exists that extend beyond a single individual's relationship to God and others. This means that problems with it often can't be solved by a quick trip to the confessional. This is regrettable and sometimes tragic. But unless someone literally or figuratively put a gun to the heads of at least one of the putative spouses and forced a "marriage," then those spouses bear the responsibility for having entered into the marriage to begin with. Actions have consequences. That's why the Church provides tribunals to deal with them properly. To submit all of this to the internal forum is to let the person be a judge in his own case, which greatly increases the likliehood of a presumptuous self-interested judgment ("God loves me too much to send me to hell for this, He understands my situation") and subjects the Magisterium to this judgment of the individual conscience.

It's certainly possible to do it this way. Ask the nearest divorced Protestant. It simply isn't the Catholic way.

Anonymous said...

Jusadbellum, St John Paul II The Great set out the Church's teaching in Familiaris Consortio and gave reasons for why those in a second marriage cannot receive Communion. There has been an annulment procedure in place for decades, which I believe Pope Francis has recently made even more simple. Either you never accepted the Church's teaching in Familiaris Consortio or you never read it. I suggest you do. Whatever, the only thing that Pope Francis has done has shifted the burden to Catholic priests as they will be the ones who will have to say "No" to those who wish to receive Holy Communion in an unreconciled state. I say "Catholic priests" because there will undoubtedly be some priests who have been and will continue to give communion to those in an unreconciled state regardless of what the Church teaches.

Rood Screen said...


I don't disagree with you, but my inclination is to find some way, however remote, to follow the pope.