The following paragraph is a citation from an email I received recently from a devout Catholic lady here in St. Louis who sometimes visits my church for Mass. She has given permission for this slightly edited version of her remarks to be made known to others who may be concerned about the grass-roots-level fallout from Amoris Laetitia. Her experience may well be symptomatic of situations that will now arise more and more frequently as the result of the Apostolic Exhortation’s tendentious guidelines for the pastoral “accompaniment” of divorced and remarried Catholics.
I’m especially concerned about the turmoil Amoris Laetitia will create at parish level. I’ve already seen this in action with good friends of ours who are in an irregular marriage. Their new pastor invited them to present themselves for Communion because they had “certainly done their penance.” They announced this to a Catholic group we belong to, to let us know that after not receiving Communion since their civil marriage over 25 years ago – and yet always going to Mass – they would now be receiving. Everyone in the group expressed their happiness and support of this decision – except me and my husband. We just sat stunned that there was no concern for their souls in receiving Communion unworthily. This priest – who is an older pastor – has led them into grave sin. I’ve suggested to my husband that our group be renamed to the Not-So-Catholics. I recommended to our friends in the irregular marriage that they read the [“five cardinals'”] book, Remaining in the Truth of Christ, which they did. They are still going to Communion. I just keep them in my prayers. I wonder how many other couples that pastor has led astray. And if he excuses this sin, I can only imagine what other sins he excuses.
If nothing else, the above testimony gives an indication of the kind of division and confusion over this issue that is likely to spread now in many or most dioceses, as different pastors interpret and implement AL in very different ways. It is likely to get to the point of the word getting around that if you’re divorced and civilly remarried, Father X in Parish A will give you Communion, but Father Y in Parish B won’t. (What’s mortal sin in one parish is quite OK in the next!)
The Rev. Brian W. Harrison, O.S., M.A., S.T.D., a priest of the Society of the Oblates of Wisdom, is a retired Associate Professor of Theology of the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce, P.R. In 1997 he gained his doctorate in Systematic Theology, summa cum laude, from the Pontifical Athenæum of the Holy Cross in Rome.
Since 2007 Fr. Harrison has been scholar-in-residence at the Oblates of Wisdom Study Center in St. Louis, Missouri, is well-known as a speaker and writer. He is the author of three books and over 130 articles in Catholic books, magazines and journals in the U.S.A., Australia, Britain, France, Spain and Puerto Rico.
And then we have this letter, published in the June 2016 edition of the “North Coast Catholic,” the newspaper of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, in response to a piece by Mark Brumley of Ignatius Press: “I would like to address the reception of the Eucharist by divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. Mr. Brumley is quite defensive and neglects to mention key statements such as where the Pope states that problems faced by divorced and remarried Catholics ‘should not be pigeonholed’ to fit into general rules leaving no room for pastoral guidance (298). The Holy Father suggests the use of the ‘internal forum’, conversations with the priest, to help them form the correct judgment (of conscience) to discern and repent, resulting in full participation in the life of the Church (300). Pope Francis continues that ‘in certain cases this can include the help of the sacraments’ and ‘I would also point out that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak”‘ (footnote 351). Pope Francis does open to door for these persons to receive the Eucharist.”
There is a striking bit of sophistry in the initial fallacious qualifying clause in the phrase taken from now notorious footnote 351.
First of all, who is it, exactly, who has claimed that the Eucharist is “a prize for the perfect?”
On the other hand, for anyone suffering or lacking health (‘sanitas’) or who is weak, is not a truly efficacious “powerful medicine and nourishment” a “prize” and precious means of attaining the very ‘sanitas,’ wholeness or perfection for which one so ardently longs?
It’s strange. Perhaps the Pope no longer prays “may it (the Eucharist) not bring me condemnation but health in mind and body? Therefore eating the Eucharist can bring condemnation.
I pray this prayer every Sunday just before receiving. It is a most beautiful prayer. Notice my avatar to the left. I am retired from the military and also love the “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof…” I can relate so well to the Roman Centurion and his encounter with Jesus. Holy Communion is always a blessing for me.
Better yet, “Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum, sic tantum dic verbo, sanabitur anima mea.”
What one among ANY of us is really WORTHY to receive Our Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament??? Have always been blown away by the infamous: “Prize for the perfect” mantra that the dissidents throw around in defense of sacrilege. NO ONE is perfectly stainless to receive Our Lord, but living in blatant mortal sin is a horse of a different color. We are ALL ‘weak’ and in need of Our Lord which is why we pray: “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed” !!!!!
Too true. It is one thing to say that we are weak and need saving. It is totally another to almost affirm our weakness and celebrate it. It’s like saying “I am a fornicator and that is what I am. Deal with it”. There is an arrogance inherent in it. A thumbing of one’s nose at God’s teaching.
From our Catholic newspaper, a syndicated column by Fr. Kenneth Doyle dated 4/26/16, in answer to a question about the “internal forum”:
“The degree of responsibility is not equal in all cases, circumstances can sometimes mitigate culpability and that ‘discernment can recognize that in a particular situation, no grave fault exists.'”
And our priests are in a frantic mode to dish out the cool aid.
I think the same person who thinks the confessional is a torture chamber.
I can’t get my head around such thinking.
One wonders if he was ever tortured in one.
Exactly what I’d like to know. When in the last 50 years has the confessional been a ‘torture chamber’??? If anything the priest is going to err on the side of leniency and tell you your sin really isn’t a sin (like I’ve been told in the confessional!!!!)
Do you know that if a priest gives knowlingly false advice to a penitent he takes that sin on himself, even if he tries to enlist Amoris Laetitia on his side, as he is supposed to have had theological training in the seminary and know the basics of the moral teaching of the Church, the ten commandments, the teaching of Jesus in the Gospel and St. Paul regarding the basic condition for receiving the Eucharist, and all the rest reaffirmed by recent Popes like Pope Pius XII, who condemned situation ethics, and St. John Paul II who clarified the foundations of moral teaching in Veritatis Splendor, and other documents. He cannot claim ignorance, just as a doctor cannot do so if he allows a patient to die due to negligence. Surely eternal savlation is more important than physical health.
Hello Fr. Kocik,
And here I keep being told that we should not get too worked up about the footnotes.
Obviously it’s not just traditionalist and conservative critics who are picking up on them.
So you’re saying it’s either this one way or nothing Fr. Harrison?
That’s considered a heresy now-a-days don’t’cha’know?
A certain someone at the top said it!
Let us all roll over and rethink our ‘ideals’…
A new version of “cuius regio, eius religio”? – A Latin phrase which literally means “whose region, his religion”, meaning that the religion of the ruler of a region was to dictate the religion of that region. At the Peace of Augsburg of 1555, which ended a period of armed conflict between Roman Catholic and Protestant forces within the Holy Roman Empire, the rulers of the German-speaking states and Charles V, the Emperor, agreed to accept this principle – Wikipedia.
Thus, the bishop(s) of a region or a diocese or the pastor of a parish determine whether or not adulterers and other public sinners may receive Holy Communion – for example, in countries such as Germany the bishops would say “Yes,” while in Poland they would say “No”; or in dioceses such as Chicago where Abp. Cupich has no problems with couples in adulterous or sodomite unions receiving Holy Communion as long as they do such in “good conscience.”
I am sure that Fr. Harrison is as aware as I am that there are wicked priests who have been doing this for a long time and all they get is a nod and a wink from their superiors.
The effect that AL will have is that many priests who have resisted this sacrilege will now come under great pressure to compromise and those who have already sold their souls to the devil will become far more brazen about it. If a bishop decides that he will implement the above interpretation of AL throughout his diocese what fate lies in store for those priests and deacons who want to be faithful to Christ?
The “Pope” has set the Church on a path of auto-destruction.
It saddens me to think that the very people who took the vow to preach the gospel and protect the sheep, have now turned into wolves.
This is what AL has done to the Church. Heretical bishops like Kasper, Bruno Forte, Daneels and others have been hand picked by P. Francis to lead the church astray.
God help them all on judgment day !
We PRAY for their conversion and repentance. Jesus have MERCY on them, and on ALL of us!!!
The whole thing was orchestrated. And it is not by the Holy Spirit.
He can’t. Because this is Christ’s church not his. Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail.
This means that hell will certainly make an attempt but will not be succesfull. The Pope seems intent on helping this attempt along.
Absolutely – Christ’s promises are sure. He did not promise how big the Church would be or exactly where it would endure, however.
Well it certainly was meant to be big (Go and make disciples of all nations). I don’t get what you mean by where it would endure. Are you meaning here the Church triumphant only. But that would be totally illogical. He came to save humanity so it can’t just be those who have already gone to Him. The Church militant is as much a part of His Church as the Triumphant and Suffering. Besides, it is only in the context of the Church Militant that the promise (of the gates of hell not prevailing) makes sense.
By “where” I am simply referring to earthly geography. There was a wonderful thriving Church in Ephesus once – St Paul wrote a letter to them and they even hosted an Ecumenical Council of the Church there. Where is it now apart from an entry in the Liber Defunctorum?
Yes, they are all gone. But you know what, the tiny Christian communities in these ancient lands may just be the people who are keeping the faith afloat especially in the way they maintain their witness despite Islamic persecution. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.
We have to keep remembering that this is Christ’s church and He is after all God. He created the universe, He rose from the dead. Evil will have its day in His Church but it will never triumph. Benedict is right, we probably need to grow small and fervent so that we can be bloom again.
Wasn’t it Benedict that said (paraphrasing) that all that means is if there is one Mass being said somewhere. The Church as we know it with Mass available in free countries worldwide, a recognizable hierarchy, and a clear doctrine taught and understood by the faithful can certainly fail.
I would also add that good, true, and holy vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and the religious life will most certainly nosedive. For the past year I have been in the discernment process for my diocese as to whether or not I will pursue the road to ordination as a permanent deacon. As of right now, I do not what I could possibly offer the Church (I completed three and half years of major seminary twenty-five years ago and was booted out just six months before ordination to deacon because I spoke out against the heresies the faculty taught). I continue to pray and wait for God to show me what He wills for me. Please keep me in your prayers.
Will keep you in prayer Al, along with ALL of the clergy!
I know that the Holy Spirit will guide you for you obviously love our Lord.
May God grant you a generous heart and a will bent to His that He may accomplish the work He wants to do through you.
I will indeed.
What you say about nosediving vocations is certainly borne out by experience in the archdiocese of Buenos Aires under a certain incumbent. Did none of them bother to check before they voted him in and should we be surprised if the same results are now seen on a universal scale?
My prayers go with you.
i know a fine young man, strong, wise for his years and probably the most kindest person I have ever met. He is off to seminary and has been discerning with an orthodox priest, I think? This young man stated to me regarding AL, ” The dogma has not changed, just the pastoral care.” It is too difficult, too much temptation for adulterous relationships to remain chaste. What harm could this do the children?” ??????
I ask, ” What about shack up relationships?”
He responds, ” It depends.”
An obedient young man is he, and knowing him well, I cannot help but think this obedience to what is so objectively wrong, so against our Lord, will lead him to hell as well.
He is my son. And I will protect him! Get my drift?
I have four sons. They are never too old for a fatherly clip round the ear!!! 😉
They seem to go through a phase of thinking that they know it all, but I have come to conclude that it is borne out of a worldview in which they have no responsibility for anybody apart from themselves. Strange how my eldest changed when he became a father himself! But I do regularly remind a couple of them who think they are indestructible that they are on the path to hell.
I wonder if the prospect of being responsible for the fate of another person’s immortal soul might make your son see things a little differently?
I have a few tricks from Benedict XVl and JPll to pull out of my sleeve.
How so many have forgotten Pope John Paul ll!
How this Pope has lied and twisted the words of JPII. I can’t believe the deviousness with which he quoted JPII.
I have a deep devotion to John Paul ll.
We must not let them forget him.
Yes. And he is the one who reformed the seminaries. You are lucky your son is entering now. You’d probably have had a heart attack if he went in way back then when the homosexuals controlled the seminaries.
I have heard of faithful men who have walked out because they were propositioned not only by fellow seminarians but also by the rectors.
I pray that he will be faithful and not fearful. Courage is the one virtue that we lack now: the courage to be truly Catholic.
It was good that these young men walked out.
There is NOTHING worth selling your soul for.
Augustine is right. Make him see that he is answerable to Jesus for the counsels that he will give others. Jesus has very harsh words for shepherds who lead others astray.
You are not without resources. Get him to read all the intelligent orthodox commentaries. There are many of them.
Protect him wolves who inhabit the sheep’s clothing. Truth wins out in the end but we need to propose this truth. When they read only the take of the apologists for the Pope, then they will buy that. Give him the brilliant critiques.
Good advice. Thank you.
Yes, my husband ran a copy of JP ll Splendor of Truth.
My son fortunately has a great appreciation of Pope Benedict XVl, and has read several of his books.
I had not thought of the excellent critiques which raise grave concerns, possible heresy of the implications of AL>
God bless you.
I loooove Pope Benedict ( he’s my Papa).
What a grace that your son loves him. He’d be hard-pressed to find a better guide.
We are now watching the movie of John Paul ll with Jon Voight right at this very moment.
I love both of our popes. For me, i have a special place in my heart for him for personal reasons.
Our Church has prepared us for this time, if only we do not forget.
God bless again and many thanks for your helpful words of counsel and support.
Exactly, I have met many a divorced or civilly married Catholic who has been told they are perfectly welcome to receive communion from their parish priest. This has been happening for a long time. I note not all priests do this, but once they are told this by any priest you can not convince them otherwise.
I think I will be bold with them and I will simply tell them: You know the priest is wrong and you know you are wrong, but it is easier to lie to yourself and pretend that everything is good.
That will not win me friends but that will probably be the first encounter with truth that they will have. And in that, the tiny seed is sown.
MOST REV. MICHAEL J. SHERIDAN, S.Th.D. Bishop of the Diocese of Colorado Springs on Amoris Laetitia [http://www.coloradocatholicherald.com/AuthorPage/tabid/1204/pfauthid/32/Michael-J-Sheridan.aspx]
On balance I suggest we conclude that AL is an evil document. Evil in the way it dissembles on the truth. Evil in the way it is interpreted. Evil in the way it allows people to sin.
Yes, yes, yes! That is exactly what it is. It is evil because it lies. And the devil is the Father of lies.
In any of the pre-Vll papal documents addressing the heresy of Modernism, did the Popes ever make note of modernists promoting their doctrines and beliefs in sly, subliminal manners?
I think the answer is yes. Previous Popes were quite familiar with the treachery of the theologians. The devil is very clever as we all know.
It is not of the Holy Spirit.
Recently in the confessional I was given advice and a penance which suggested (without being explicit, mind you) that my failing was not the sins which I confessed, but not believing enough that my sins were already covered by Christ’s mercy and understanding. I was treated as though I lacked faith in the Church because I had sorrow for my sins, and was given a penance of saying the Creed slowly and meditatively, because the corrective I needed was that I should believe more readily in the Church’s new understanding of Christ’s “mercy” in this jubilee year. So sorrow for my sins was the equivalent of a lack of faith!! Seriously weird and corrupt. I sensed a very deep disdain for my (sorrowful) frame of mind. I might go back to this man just to annoy him further, Hagan Lio, after all…
Indeed it didn’t take long for AL to trickle down to the Parish level, did it?
Had a similar thing happen to me. I decided to do a general confession and the priest told me off for doing so.
Yikes! “Sins were already covered??”It sounds like this priest was getting in touch with his inner Martin Luther! Just what we need with the world about to go to a kind of hell not seen since the ’30’s and ’40’s (and which may very well surpass that which so many experienced during those terrible times!)
Yep. Similar things happened to me quite few times. Once I even had discussion about if God condemns me to hell. I said, no. I do by my acts, and am not worthy to face Him because He is pure Goodness and perfect. Anyway, at the end it was a long “theological” debate, and the priest gave up seeing that I know more about my faith than you usual pew-sitter.
One can only hope that the horrific advice to receive communion sacrilegiously has “informed” their consciences into ignorance through no fault of their own, and that they are free from subjective mortal sin.
Francischurch, where inculpable ignorance is the best you can hope for!
Matthew 5:37: But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
AL, and countless papal documents post Vatican ll, have violated this Biblical passage. Pope Francis should reread this scriptural gem
That might be asking too much. He had troubling getting Matthew 19:9 right.
It’s the Humanae Vitae Playbook. These 70s priests haven’t forgotten how it was done.
Look, existentially, ideologically, and incrementally we Catholics have been led to consider the Eucharist as aught but a symbol and this novel papal praxis is a tacit confession of that reality.
People go to the Lil’ Licit Liturgy to spend sunday morning with their friends and what presider at a family meal is so nasty as to exclude some family members from eating and drinking the communal meal?
Mr. James Larson has exhaustingly explained – using quotes from Ratzinger’s own texts – how he who abdicated did not hold the Faith when it came to the Eucharist; he aped Luther.
How many in The Hierarchy no longer believe the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass is a Holocaust; how many in the Hierarchy no longer believe in the real presence; how many in the Hierarchy no longer believe The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – The Real Mass, not the LIl’ Licit Liturgy – is, in part, an act of propitiation?
Prolly a majority no longer believe these basic Catholic Dogmatic Truths and so, of course, we will have more and more of this evil insipidity but what about the abandoned lambs (such as IANS) who is constrained to assist at the Lil’ Licit Liturgy in the local Palm Beach County Franchise of Dead Diocese, Inc. America?
IF the Hierarchy did believe in the Faith once delivered, they would have KILLED the Pauline Rite and stopped its deliberate destruction of Catholic Truth and they would have reinstated the Real Mass as normative but such putative traditional stalwarts – he who abdicated – did not do that; hell, he never even once – NOT ONCE – offered the Real Mass in public.
Hell, man; The Lil licit Liturgy is now the way of the Cross for those who keep the Faith once delivered and trying to convince real men otherwise is a waste of time and effort no matter how many faux Bishops rhetorically beat us with their modernistic crosiers.
And don’t even start on the putative beauty of the Brompton Oratory for IANS was there for the Lil’ Licit Liturgy about a year or so ago and despite the beautiful singing of the Oratorians, the Lil’ Licit Liturgy has done its damage there also with its jewish meal prayers instead of the Offertory.
As he was waiting for the service to begin (can’t really call it a Mass) IANS was forced to get out of his pew and walk forward about twenty paces to tell some local loser teens to stop talking loudly and to stop pushing each other.
The Bride told me “it is not your place” but it was; for there was not one other man present, and much closer to those clowns than IANS , who did one damn thing to keep order in what is supposed to be the best example on earth of how to say the Lil’ Licit Liturgy.
IANS has known he has been abandoned for a LONG DAMN TIME and he understands he is an enemy of the One True Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church into which he was born in 1948 and he also knows that Church no longer exists in observable reality and still INVISIBILIUM within the Hierarchy is a Prelate whose possession of Tradition is such that it could be used as a force against Our Inertia Into Indifferentism.
Other than that everything is jake….
Father Connors reassured his audience of roughly 60 people that no doctrine had been changed and that none of the Catholic Church’s moral teachings had been altered. [http://www.thericatholic.com/stories/As-Church-welcomes-all-marriage-teachings-remain-unchanged,8122?]
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence on Amoris Laetitia: http://dioceseofprovidence.org/search?query=amoris%20laetitia
Priests need to review their training on infallibility. Even if a pope were to define and declare a doctrine ex cathedra, if the doctrine conflicts with prior doctrine, it fails to meet one of the criterion for infallibility, (nevermind the imputation of heresy).
This may be out of context, but in a way it’s all of a piece. Those of us who oppose the AL fall into the category of ‘fundamentalist Catholics’.
John Henry Western’s latest post on Lifesite News is on the effects of Pope Francis’ constant barrage against orthodox Catholics [too bad, I have to put a qualifier before the word Catholic]:
Not every parish in St. Louis is like this, but just the same I’m very tempted to tell this woman: time for you to make the move over to one of St. Louis’s two fantastic traditional oratories – the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales, or the Oratory of Ss. Gregory and Augustine.
She can rest easy that neither parish will conflate such laxity with true mercy.
The “diabolical disorientation” which Sr Lucy spoke of, is currently at work in the Church. A footnote in the hundreds pages Apostolic Exhortation was able to sow the trouble. Every priest now can give the Communion, in good conscience, to a divorced remarried couple. Everyone is OK since the Pope is OK…
Who will bear the number one guilt of that disastrous sacrilege? We have to pray a lot for the Pope’s soul’s salvation on the day he will meet Jesus in God’s Court.
To be honest though, Father, at least here in New England that sort of scandal has been going on for some time. AL gives a shred of SEEMING legitamacy to the priests non-sensical suggestion and their current course of action–WHICH IS BAD, a huge problem, don’t get me wrong. However, the biggest problem has always been the bad priests. Until we acknowledge that many of our brothers are protestants and drive them out of their rectories–hopefully out into houses of prayer where they can do pennance and hopefully save their souls–the church will continue to rot. One bad priest is like one cancerous cell or one virus cell… they infest, they reproduce their error, and soon even the healthy cells are suffering. If your right hand sins, cut it off!
I wonder if the Holy Spirit isn’t using Francis essentially as a contrast MRI, to hightlight the parts of the body that are sick, that have always been sick, so that another can come and excise them?
Perhaps this is wishful thinking… but my hope is that Francis quickness to act and speak will carry over to the next Pope who hopefully understand the world we live in and what it needs a little bit more than Francis.