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Cardinal-Vicar of Rome Sets Guidelines for Amoris Laetitia; Hesitantly Allows Communion for “Remarried”

Today, Dr. Sandro Magister, the well-informed Italian Vatican specialist, published an article of great importance because he explicitly shows another example of what Pope Francis has likely intended with his post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia. After the example of Argentina –  where Pope Francis gave express approval of a more liberalizing attitude toward those “remarried” divorcees who do not change their lives, yet still wish to receive Holy Communion – it is now his own Diocese of Rome which has set out new guidelines in light of Amoris Laetitia. These new guidelines have now reluctantly allowed, in some cases, “remarried” divorcees to receive the Sacraments.

Dr. Magister points out that, while the official status of the guidelines of the Argentine bishops is still somewhat unclear, the act of his own Cardinal Vicar of Rome is not. Magister says, as follows:

Meanwhile however, in Rome, in the diocese of which Francis is bishop, the absolutely official guidelines on how to interpret and apply “Amoris Laetitia” are in place. They have been made public by the pope’s cardinal vicar, Agostino Vallini, who gave them solemn proclamation on September 19 in the cathedral of Saint John Lateran.

Magister rightly assumes that the new guidelines set out by Cardinal Vallini will more than likely have received ahead of time the pope’s own approval: “It is unthinkable that the cardinal vicar of the diocese of Rome should have made these guidelines official without the supreme proprietor of the diocese having first read and approved them.” So now, says Magister, we know how Pope Francis wants Amoris Laetitia to be interpreted in his own Diocese.

St. John Lateran, Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome
Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Rome

Dr. Magister provides the link to Cardinal Vallini’s 17-page-long instruction in Italian and he gives quotes from its most essential parts. What his analysis of the text shows is that Vallini is somewhat more restrictive and yet vacillating with regard to the question of the “remarried” divorcees, while at the same time referring to those essential parts of Amoris Laetitia which allow some access to the Sacraments. When looking at the new guidelines, moreover, one’s impression of a confusion also abounds – just as was the case with the text of Amoris Laetitia itself.

Cardinal Vallini mentions the variously equivocal possibilities for the “remarried” to receive the Sacraments, especially when he unclearly and viscously says:

This pastoral discernment of individual persons is a very delicate aspect and must take into account the “degree of responsibility” that is not equal in all cases, the influence of “forms of conditioning and mitigating factors,” because of which it is possible that, within an objective situation of sin – that may not be objectively culpable or may not be so fully – a way may be found to grow in the Christian life, “receiving the Church’s help to this end” (AL, 305).

The text of the apostolic exhortation does not go further, but footnote 351 states: “In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments.” The pope uses the conditional, so he is not saying that they must be admitted to the sacraments, although he does not exclude this in some cases and under some conditions [the underlining is in the original episcopal guidelines]. Pope Francis develops the previous magisterium in the line of the hermeneutic of continuity and of exploration [sic], and not in discontinuity and rupture.  [emphasis added]

While Vallini objects to any “indiscriminate access to the sacraments” and mildly proposes that these “remarried” couples live abidingly together in continence, he still admits that, in some cases, there may be this access to the Sacraments, after a long period of discernment and with the help of a priest in the forum internum. Vallini states:

This is not necessarily a matter of arriving at the sacraments, but of orienting them to live forms of integration in ecclesial life. But when the concrete circumstances of a couple make it feasible, meaning when their journey of faith has been long, sincere, and progressive, it is proposed that they live in continence; if this decision is difficult to practice for the stability of the couple, “Amoris Laetitia” does not rule out the possibility of accessing penance and the Eucharist. This means a certain openness, as in the case in which there is the moral certainty that the first marriage was null but there are not the proofs to demonstrate this in a judicial setting; but not however in the case in which, for example, their condition is shown off [on public display and even flaunted ostentatiously] as if it were part of the Christian ideal, etc. [my emphasis]

In order to make such a permission for such “accessing” the Sacraments, according to Vallini, it must lie in the hands of a confessor who must then “assume the responsibility before God and [also] the penitent and then ask that the access take place in a discreet manner.”

If an outsider were to read this instruction, he might very well feel at a loss. Just how this continuously confusing instruction will be implemented by any of the local priests and confessors, only God knows. Dr. Magister implies that it could very well lead to what has been done in Europe anyway, and already on a large scale, when he says that: “actions often speak louder than words. And that therefore all the conditions and precautions recalled, for example, by Cardinal Vallini can be overturned [or bypassed] – and in reality already are in many places – by practical behaviors that go well beyond them.” [my emphasis]

The Italian journalist has also rightly observed that Amoris Laetitia has indeed already opened the floodgates, and that the laxer attitude toward sin and the Sacraments will spread. He points to this development when he says: “Once Amoris Laetitia has opened the floodgates, in fact, it is difficult for communion for the divorced and remarried to remain confined to the ‘internal forum’ and to take place ‘in a discreet manner.’” [my emphasis]

We stubborn sinners – just like stubborn and passionate little children – are also in need of clear instructions. Any ambiguity will easily soon be used as an excuse for the laxer way. And, as Magister points out, the pope himself seems anyway to favor the laxer path since he has already explicitly supported the liberalizing “Argentine approach” with the help of his clearly supportive letter.

61 thoughts on “Cardinal-Vicar of Rome Sets Guidelines for Amoris Laetitia; Hesitantly Allows Communion for “Remarried””

  1. If a person is divorced and civilly remarried, and they have not received an annulment of their first marriage, they must live together as brother and sister. If they are trying to do so, but they mess up sometimes, they can go to confession and then receive the Eucharist as long as they are repentant and are committed to living a life of continence. If they are not committed to living a life of continence, then, as with any other person who is obstinately living in a state of objectively serious sin, they cannot receive absolution or be admitted to Holy Communion. Pope Francis can say all he wants to the contrary, and to his own damnation if he persists in it, but that doesn’t change the fact that you simply cannot have sex with someone who is not your spouse, go to confession and communion unrepentant, and expect to avoid the eternal consequences. Ven. Fulton J. Sheen wrote a book called “Three to Get Married.” His “three” only happens when it is done properly according to the Church’s teachings. If not, there is still a third, but it is Satan.

    • IMHO, it seems like the gates of hell have prevailed with this which truly makes me wonder if many of the sedes are correct in believing that this has been a false church since Vat 2.

    • All so true. I might add that living together and presenting as a married couple is a public, external forum act. Additionally, going to Holy Communion is also a public, external act. Francis and his cohorts continue to lead the faithful down the road to Hell….paved first with their skulls.

  2. Just think of the practical implications of this at the parish level. The remarried “couple” who decides that they will still abstain from the sacraments will now be looked upon as “holier than thou” by other remaried “couples” who think that the rules have changed and that everyone can receive. Or they will be looked upon as “true adulterers” because evidently their conscience tells them that they can’t receive the sacraments. This is not to mention all the crazy dynamics that will take place between these “couples” and the priest. It will all be like a parish soap opera! “Hey, did you notice Jim and Sue are now going to communion? Father must have discerned that they aren’t really adulterers. Or is it just that they give a lot of money to the Church? Well, I noticed Bob and Sally are still staying put at communion. I figured Father would easily have let them go. There must be something really bad going on there.” There won’t be any problem though, Bob and Sally can just go to Father Liberal’s parish across town where he dicerns that everyone can receive the sacraments!

  3. The divorced and remarried Catholics I know are fervently anticipating this moral atrocity (Communion for them) and once it has been stamped with Francisheisse and it becomes common practice they will do it and believe “times have changed” and the relaxed standards are the norm. This will translate to every Commandment until Church dogma and morality will be a quaint footnote in history when people lived holy lives that were the product of a lifelong effort to overcome concupiscence and the march back to total paganism will resume. Fr. John Hardon said people who divorce and remarry with these flimsy annulments are tempting eternal punishment and are only blind to the reality of it no matter what the the lunacy of the Vatican 2 spirit of change made possible.

    • Then the next attack will be to force the acceptance of gay ‘marriage’. But that will be an issue not worth considering if the Holy Eucharist is fully and finally desecrated for the church as we knew it will cease to exist.

  4. Any honest, intelligent, faithful priest who has any spiritual awareness of his own profound limitations, to deeply know the soul of another, they don’t know their own souls, he doesn’t know his own soul(this is one of the bitter fruits of original sin) will quail at the prospect of helping an adulterous couple to “discern” whether they can receive Holy Communion. Knowing that he will have to answer to God if he makes an error in judgement. Eternal damnation for sure, for them and him.

    But, of course, any priest who fits this profile, won’t touch this with a barge pole. He will tell them the truth, so that there can be no room for ambiguity. To receive Holy Communion knowing they, as adulterers, are in the state of mortal sin will damn their souls. Which is his solemn obligation anyway.

    So it will be the apostate and heretical priests who will give the green light, after a period of suitable “discernment”.

    Truly this “pope” is malignant, inspired by Satan.

      • “Leading souls to hell” – Yes, to dispute that is to refuse to accept reality because it’s too frightening. It’s taken me some time to accept it, but here I am. But he’s not pure evil. Because he is made in God’s image and likeness, and that can’t be destroyed, no matter how many evil choices he makes. Another point against pure evil is that he does evil, but, unlike Satan, who chooses evil for it’s own sake, Bergoglio chooses evil for what he perceives is good. That makes him wicked because he places his will and convictions above God’s will for His children. So the sin of pride looms very large in his soul. And if he does not repent his soul will be damned, not anniliated, another one of his heretical beliefs.

        • He makes “the way” crooked. That is incredibly satanic. John the Baptist made the way straight. The way was the name of Christianity. Bergoglio makes christianity crooked – he makes the way crooked. That doesn’t mean that he is the false prophet, but it looks good from that angle.

          • Agreed. I’m cautious about jumping to conclusions based on words and acts, if there is no overt profession of rejection of any or all church doctrines.

            Because the interior life is very very hard to discern with any clarity. This is true of my own soul. And it’s doubly hard to discern someone else’s motives, drives and beliefs. So I end up leaving it to God, in this instance, the soul of Jorge Bergoglio.

            Up until recently, I considered Bergoglio a material heretic and left it at that.

            But there comes a point where I would be insulting my credulity, my intelligence and Catholic faith, if I refuse to accept the Judas like betrayal of this man based solely on his words, acts and maneuvers. He is as cunning and as devious as Satan. That the only honest conclusion to accept is that he has a plan to, forget discipline, that he is bent on gutting all the church’s infallibly defined dogmas.

            It’s just not possible for this man to be Catholic, not even a progressive Catholic. Everything he has written, said or done leaves the Teaching Church betrayed and devastated.

            There is no way that he can have any Catholic faith in his soul. He must be an apostate, an anti-pope. There, I said it!!!

    • It will also damn the priests soul as well. It will also sew confusion among the faithful which could lead them astray for which the priest would also be responsible.

      No good can come from this tendency towards leniency.

      • Tom, maybe you’re thinking about another comment but my comment(Any honest, intelligent…) you addressed, says exactly what you mention – “It will also damn the priests soul…”

        My complete comment was about the unthinkable danger the priest places himself in, if he decides to help an adulterous couple “discern” if it’s ok for them to receive Holy Communion, when obviously it can never be ok. So, yes he will go to hell with them if he buys into the Bergoglio agenda.

  5. I’d love to know when the “hermeneutic of exploration” was first said as a phrase. Was it post Augustine or post Kanye West? I’m sensing it was the latter. “Fr…’s true I’ve left my wife for a pole dancer half my age…but it’s your job to accompany me and explore how I might just be in venial sin while I hold this new union together with coition.”

    • Well of course you will be accompanied.
      And should you find that the pople dancer has aged a bit a younger one would keep you more “in love” you would be accompanied to.
      I am sure even if you decide that it is a husband you want and not a wife, you will be equally accompanied.
      We have to be merciful you see.

  6. Sounds like a lot of B.S. to me. Nothing more than situation ethics. This is a failure of courage on the part of the Pope Francis first of all and then the Bishops. The answer on the Communion question for divorced, re-married, not annulled, not living as brother and sister is NO WAY, NO HOW. PERIOD. What the Pope is doing is not Mercy, it is an invitation to sin. Shame on him.

  7. If this desecration is adopted as an acceptable practice the consecration itself will become profane, null and void and the once sacred host reduced to a ‘snack cracker’. So to faithful practicing Catholics would be reduced to the same status as publicly and unrepentant sinners. Our Lord will have been thrown from his own home.

          • Perhaps the Mass itself would not be invalid because of ‘Holy Orders’ but I would have a hard time going to a Mass celebrated by a priest who knowingly, stubbornly and willfully shuns bedrock teaching. That coupled with a priest knowingly giving the Eucharist to someone known to be an unrepentant sinner and ineligible for absolution. Even the priest would be committing grave and mortal sin doing so.

            From CCC
            1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”

            V. The Proliferation of Sin
            1865 Sin creates a proclivity to sin; it engenders vice by repetition of the same acts. This results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself, but it cannot destroy the moral sense at its root.

            1866 Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They are called “capital” because they engender other sins, other vices.138 They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia.

            1867 The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are “sins that cry to heaven”: the blood of Abel,139 the sin of the Sodomites,140 the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt,141 the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan,142 injustice to the wage earner.143

            1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others whenwe cooperate in them: —by participating directly and voluntarily in them; —by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them; — by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so; —by protecting evil-doers.

            1869 Thus sin makes men accomplices of one another and causes concupiscence, violence, and injustice to reign among them. Sins give rise to social situations and institutions that are contrary to the divine goodness. “Structures of sin” are the expression and effect of personal sins. They lead their victims to do evil in their turn. In an analogous sense, they constitute a “social sin.”144

          • Fr Riperger has a good piece about a related question which I think gets into this question. It’s a question about the novus ordo vs the TLM, and how much grace is made available. I don’t know for sure that it can be extrapolated, but the point was that Grace was transferred in relation to the ability to recieve it. So while a middling no mass would somehow be lacking vs a properly done TLM, the essence is the infinite grace in the perfect sacrifice made present. I feel that you have a point, but I also feel that I’m nowhere near receiving as much grace as is made present at even the lousiest mass. As to validity of the mass, there may be some cannon that comes into play. I thought that you might be thinking about that kind of operative negation because certainly there are ways a mass could be invalid that I would likely not notice were they to happen (or not).

          • Well that becomes quite the head twister. “… but the point was that Grace was transferred in relation to the ability to receive it.”
            That would be a long stroll in the theological weeds.

            Again from CCC

            III. The Different Kinds of Sins
            1852 There are a great many kinds of sins. Scripture provides several lists of them. The Letter to the Galatians contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit: “Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.”127

            1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace.

            So sin, mortal sin, definitively cuts off the ability to receive our Lords grace, even though he loves us and wants nothing more than to bestow grace upon the sinner. I don’t know what he meant by ‘transferred in relation to’. Like you said, how do you extrapolate that. I didn’t think God would ‘operate’ like that.

          • I reported from memory and I hope that I didn’t obscure the point with imprecise word recollection.

          • That’s ok. Just a discussion by us mere mortals that will never be heard by or influence those in the hierarchy.

    • And a just punishment from Our Lord would be to allow the Mass to be lost, if not everywhere, at least in a large portion of the Church. If the hierarchy officially sanctions sacrilege, even at the highest level of the Church, we’re going to be punished by loss of the great gift He left us. Not everywhere, but probably many places.

  8. The Communion for the divorced and remarried crowd is betrayed by the language they use. Everything is announced in a secretive manner. They go to great lengths to couch their proclamations with ambiguity. If what this crowd is proposing is such a good idea, why not shout if from the rooftops! Just like a sinner in the throes of rationalization, their methods can lead to nowhere good or holy. Lord have mercy!

  9. Is it just me or does everyone who promotes and allows this heresy missing a crucial point I their own argument? (Admittedly they’re missing a lot actually but just run with me for a second.)

    This instruction uses the example of someone who determines in conscience the first marriage is certainly null but don’t have enough evidence to prove it in a court. Hypothetically speaking, of true and their first marriage really is null, they are not still married and thus, technically, they would be free to pursue marriage. This is the argument the document puts forward. BUT in the case here, the person in question has already sought out marriage and has entered into a conjugal life with this person… these people still aren’t married! They’ve not married in the church nor received dispensations from form and cult (if the other partner is Catholic) necessary for validity. So what this document is explicitly admitting, even if the writers don’t admit it, is that sacramental marriage isn’t necessary at all and any conjugal relationship is fine.

    • You are absolutely correct, and it shows just how insidious this thing really is.

      If a Catholic has remarried civilly only, the second marriage is not valid, even if the first one is not valid. In other words, the person has had TWO invalid marriages.

    • I can’t believe I didn’t see this before, but you are absolutely right. Now that you explain it, it’s obvious — yet I didn’t see it before.

      This is devastating.

  10. The tactic is the same thing these kinds of men used to incrementally introduce abortion and birth control – only for rare cases (at first). Even the method of speading this is by-the-book satanist.


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