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Argentinian Bishop Confirms Traditional Teaching on Divorce and Communion

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Bishop Pedro Daniel Martínez Perea of San Luis, Argentina has issued a letter, on June 29 and sent to the priests of his diocese, entitled “Marriage, new unions, and the Eucharist in chapter 8 of Amoris laetitia.” The document is laudable for its clarity and notable in comparison to the bishops of the Buenos Aires region, the Argentine Bishop Angel José Macin, and that of the Argentine Pope Francis himself.

Bishop Martinez Perea’s predecessor,  Bishop Juan Rodolfo Laise, O.F.M. was one of the first signatories of the 2016 “Declaration of Fidelity to the Church’s Unchangeable Teaching on Marriage and to Her Uninterrupted Discipline“.

Here are relevant excerpts of the letter in English translation:

If the judgment [of the tribunal] determines that there is no nullity of the Marriage bond, the marriage is and remains valid… Before this judgement, the faithful who cohabitate will be invited to take path of separation. For they would be living contrary to the teachings of the Gospel. And, therefore, if they continue in that state of cohabitation (more uxorio) while the sacramental bond with another person remains, they would be in an objective state of sin. This reality of life precludes the reception of Holy Communion, except in danger of death, because it contradicts “the loving union of Christ and the Church signified and made present in the Eucharist” (Benedict XVI, Sacramentum caritatis (“SC”), February 22 2007n. 29, AAS 99 (2007)).

3. Amoris laetitia, Eucharist, new unions and pastoral conversion
A serene and harmonious reading of Amoris laetitia implies considering it within the framework of the ecclesial and hermeneutical criterion of Lumen Gentium n. 25a. In this sense and context, it can be concluded that the Apostolic Exhortation at no point affirms that it is morally lawful for the faithful united in a new union to live more uxorio, while a valid previous marriage bond remains, or that they can receive Holy Communion while remaining in that state of life.

In addition, if it is hypothetically understood, to a greater extent (because they do not have a previous bond), it would follow that those young Christians who simply cohabitate in intimacy in a stable way could also receive Holy Communion, remaining in that state. In other words, the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris laetitia, has changed in this respect neither the doctrine nor the ecclesiastical discipline, which is based on it. That is to say, the faithful united in a new union, while a valid previous marriage bond remains with another person, would be able to receive the Holy Communion, outside of danger of death, only if the conditions foreseen by the Church are fulfilled for those particular cases (cf. Supra, II.3.4 (b) [ie. living as brother and sister].


Pastoral mercy that expresses the harmony between justice and truth, since these are sometimes used as synonyms (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, S. Th., II-II, 58, article 4, ad 1m: “Since the will is the rational appetite, when the rectitude of the reason which is called truth is imprinted on the will on account of its nighness to the reason, this imprint retains the name of truth.” .). Although mercy will always be “the fullness of justice and the most luminous manifestation of the truth of God” (AL # 311).

The best service of charity to the faithful is concretized in making known the Christian truth that leads them to God himself. In this sense, it would be immoral for us to confuse the faithful about the nature of Christian marriage and the mystery of the Eucharist. In addition, it would be a cause of scandal, since it would move others towards evil or it could be understood that marriage was not indissoluble. It would especially cause scandal for the broken family, the community of the faithful and the young.


4.2. Misrepresentation of Public Divine Revelation
Some interpretations insinuate a conception of public revelation that is still being made in history and was not completed with the death of the last Apostle. It gives the impression underlying an immanent-historicist statement, in which ‘God is self-revealing or self-unfolding in history and this is the self-revelation or self-unfolding of God’ (Schelling). By showing how the two concepts of this statement are univocal, the historical is given a revealing character. So Revelation and history / history and Revelation could be interpreted as equals.

If this were so, it would mean that God of ‘today’ would also be revealed through new proposals of life (even contrary to the natural order) and that the Church should in no way reject them, but only have to accept and orient them.

In this regard, some understand that as the Church discerns new realities, it finds itself in the same situation described in its beginnings when the Apostles, illumined by the Holy Spirit, made a decision about whether or not to continue the practice of circumcision as a necessity, prescribed by the Law of Moses (Acts 15), by imposing it on the Gentiles.

In the same way, some maintain that, in the face of the so-called “new situations” of life, the Bishops, as successors of the Apostles also moved by the same Spirit, could affirm doctrines or even make decisions contrary in their essential aspects to those of the past, both dogmatic and moral.

All of which leads us to conclude that today the Bishops would have the charism of “constructing” the Deposit of Faith and not that of only transmitting it faithfully, preserving it, defending it from errors and explaining it within the homogeneous evolution of dogma. This kind of reflection and its consequences are contrary to the understanding that the Catholic Church has and teaches about public divine revelation (see above, I.1.1).

4.3. Possible dualistic conception of the Church
In other interpretations, two common concepts emerge as a common denominator. First of all, dogma (speculative truth) and morality (practical truth) are presented as two opposing realities in the hic et nunc.

It would also seem to insinuate an understanding of the Church as divided in two: an institutional, visible, of the letter, of the law, of dogma (the text of Amoris laetitia) and the other so-called charismatic, invisible, spirit, charity, and pastoral (some interpretations of Amoris laetitia).  This is a division that was held by several thinkers throughout the history of the Church, from Tertullian to G. Tyrrel, for example. To understand the Church in this dualistic way is “simply anti-Catholic” (Pius XII). For the Church “is a complex reality which coalesces from a divine and a human element. [… and that] by no weak analogy, is compared to the mystery of the incarnate Word “(Lumen Gentium 8a). […]

38 thoughts on “Argentinian Bishop Confirms Traditional Teaching on Divorce and Communion”

  1. Very clear.

    So, in light of the obvious fact that this assessment stands in total contrast to the Pope’s letter to the Argentine Bishops, will we get some guy in vestments to simply say that the Pope is wrong about Catholic doctrine, or must we suffer through more sophistry and nonsense until he is dead and another Pope can come along to make that assessment?

    • I don’t think any cardinal will say, ” the Pope is wrong”, RodH.
      Each simply will not do it. They are too bound and perhaps brainwashed into ” obedience” at ALL costs.
      They believe the Church must survive no matter ” the what”, even when souls are put into great compromise because of it.

      I was glad to see the bishop say this, at first glance. I am thirsty for any good news these days.
      But your point, as usual, is well taken!

        • Well, unfortunately, in my humble opinion it looks as though
          we are pretty much on our own down here on earth.
          When i see Father James Martin, flapping his lips here and there without
          hesitation, it is obvious that he understands that he has ‘ free rein’.

          So, yes, I do not have any sense of hope of a fraternal correction.
          But, I am always glad when a bishop or a priest stands for Truth.

          • Just saying – we have more than 12 of us, who seem to be given varieties of charisms, within the mystical body – loss of hope is the devl’s game

          • Yes, I’ve been saying for a while now: “We are on our own.” Not sure what all of the hullabaloo is about with Cardinal Burke leading us to think the ‘formal correction’ is ‘imminent’. It may have been his way of trying to get Bergoglio to answer. If he doesn’t realize by now that he just won’t answer, (basically he can’t) he’ll never realize it. Cardinal Burke has been all bark and no bite.

            And yes, I find it ironic that this Argentinian Bishop is pretty darned clear but Bergoglio not so much.

          • Yes, I’ve thought of that part too! That he MAY want to say that he;s been warned enough and given a full year to answer. Could absolutely be part of it.

  2. This good Bishop and faithful shepherd protecting his flock, reminds one of what St Augustine said about “Truth”…to wit: “Truth is like a Lion. It needs no defending. Turn it loose and let it roar. It will defend itself”
    Good Bless Bishop Pedro Daniel Martínez Perea. May he inspire courage and faith in his fellow prelates and faithful.

  3. Good man.

    The same-sex marriage in Australia is bringing Satan out into the open in the form of Fr Frank Brennan who has shown his true (rainbow) colours on the issue. He should stand down, if he had any decency.
    It is clear that a huge number of priests and bishops simply are not Catholic!

  4. Dear me. Standing in front of a communion rail and an ad orientem altar and coming out with this. I wonder how long before he is banished to some remote island.

    • I fear you may be right.

      Someone should have warned Bishop Perea that Casa Santa Marta is the tallest building in Rome. From the top floor, not only do you get a good view of Malta, but you can even see as far as Tierra del Fuego.

      On the other hand, the bishop probably knows this already but his love for the Truth compelled him to issue this letter.

  5. Unless I’m reading the excerpts from the bishop’s letter incorrectly or there is an error in the translation to English, as a moral theologian I must take exception to following:

    “…In addition, if it is hypothetically understood, to a greater extent (because they do not have a previous bond), it would follow that those young Christians who simply cohabitate in intimacy in a stable way could also receive Holy Communion, remaining in that state…”

    This appears to say that a couple who have not been previously married but are living together in an ongoing sexual relationship may still receive Holy Communion. If my reading is correct, then this is contrary to the perennial teaching of Holy Scripture and of the Church.

    The Church has always taught that the sacrifice of Jesus was both the fulfillment of God’s justice and the fullest gift of His mercy toward sinners. In addition, the satisfaction of justice for sins and the receipt of mercy through forgiveness requires true repentence, contrition and a firm resolve to sin no more (change of life). The sacrament of penance is rendered invalid if any of these are missing on the part of the penitent. The Church further teaches that receiving the sacrament of penance while knowing one or more of these conditions is lacking is a sacreligious act.

    Living together in a sexual relationship but outside the bonds of marriage and without permanent abstinence implies a lack of repentence or contrition or of a willingness to change one’s life. The mercy to be extended by the Church toward those who habitually commit the same sin does not apply to those who refuse to avoid the occasions of such sins. It matters not whether the relationship of the unmarried cohabiting couple is stable. Scripture teaches and the Church affirms that any procreative act outside of the bonds of marriage is mortally sinful. The magisterial doctrine of the Church is that any person in the state of mortal sin is ineligible to receive Holy Communion because Sanctifying Grace is not present. Tge reception of Holy Communion while not in the state of Ssnctifying Grace is also a sacreligious act, thus, adding another mortal sin to the persin’s soul when even just one results in condemnation.

    The quote above from the bishop, therefore, appears to contradict the Church’s perennial position regarding this particular issue while affirming the teaching on bew unions withiut an annulment of the previous one.

    (Please forgive my typos.)

    • That paragraph seriously bothered me the first time; I read it again & thought it could be that he was saying: IF this is inferred from AL, then that is a mistaken interpretation.

      But maybe I’m wrong. Translations also don’t help to clarify.

    • Don’t worry, it’s just a bad translation. His point is that if the case for admitting divorced and remarried people to Holy Communion is accepted there is an even stronger case for admitting never-married cohabiters. It’s effectively a reductio ad absurdum argument.

      • I thought that might be the case, but wanted to make sure everyone knew the true magisterial teaching on chastity. There did seem to be a missing conditional clause, but not knowing the bishop’s language (Spsnish? Portugese? I don’t remember what’s spoken in Argentina.) Thanks.

    • I too think the bishop was giving an argumentum a fortiori. Some arguing in favor of Holy Communion for people in an adulterous civil union might protest that they are not suggesting de facto relationships have the same dignity or seriousness as those who go the extra step of getting civilly married. We would answer that they are on the horns of a dilema – they either approve Holy Communion for de facto relationships too, or they have lost their senses thinking that “civil celebration does a valid marriage make”.

      • “Remarriage”, whether civil (nin-religious) or in another church, and subsequent sexual activities but without a previous valid marriage being annuled is adultery for both parties involved. Sexual activity between two unmarried people is fornication. Adultery and fornication are mortal sins. Tgere is no gradation between mortal sins; both hace the consequence or oenalty of eternal damnation. Sexual activity is permissable ONLY between a man and a woman who are married to each other PERIOD! Those who claim otherwise are attempting to rationalize abd excuse their behavior. Tgey’re just fooling thenselves and, unless they open their eyes and change their ways, they will pay a terrible price for their “foolishness”. And if they receive communion while in this state, they comoound their offense and their penalty will be that much greater.

  6. This bishop should have been appointed the Archbishop of Bueno Aires when Bergoglio submitted his mandatory resignation at age 75 in 2012. What happened? Pope Benedict who was terrible at governance and negligent on bishop appointments, let Bergoglio stay on as archbishop. He then went into the conclave as an active bishop and got elected to the papacy. Would he have been elected Pope as a retired emeritus bishop? Who knows, but it could have made some have second thoughts.

  7. What the heck? This good Bishop is telling us that AL must be read in the light of Revelation and Tradition. So far so good. Then he says that AL, even if the very Pope himself says differently, is not to be used as the basis for PRACTICE in his particular diocese.

    What a mess. We are told this is where the confusion lies. There is no confusion. We have a document that says something very specific about PRACTICE. It also uses weasel words to attempt to twist DOGMA into allowing this new practice.

    That is not confusion it is plain. I feel sorry for this good Bishop. What is he going to do when he is disobeyed? He is a good example for his brother bishops. I guess I’m a bit cynical here but this is a drop in the Devil’s ocean.

    • A popular meaningless phrase: “…read in the light of…”

      AL is either consistent with, or inconsistent with, the teaching of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. It is preposterous to suppose that AL says one thing when it is “read in the light of tradition,” and another when it is not “read in the light of tradition.”

      If “reading AL in the light of tradition” DOES mean anything, it means, “Stick to the teaching of Jesus and the Church and ignore what AL says.”

      This meaningless expression is extremely popular with prelates who are desperate to avoid saying, “In AL, the Pope has taught heresy.”

  8. If I’m not mistaken, this is the same diocese whose bishop used to be Mons. Laise, the very conservative, traditional bishop who wrote a book against communion in the hand and forbade it in the diocese. So the basically says if you are a conservative diocese and don’t like sacrilegious communion, that’s cool, but if you are Chicago and your cardinal never saw an abomination he didn’t want to embrace, that’s cool too.


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