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De Mattei: A Response to Edward Peters on the Buenos Aires Letter & Authentic Magisterium

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Professor Edward Peters is a reliably orthodox scholar who wants to contain the damage of the Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris laetitia by relying on the defense of canon law, in particular Canon 915 of the new Code of Canon Law, which says: “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion” (cf. E. Peters,  Three ways to not deal with Canon 915, in “The Catholic World Report”, Jan. 24, 2017, and Some remarks on the de Mattei interview, in “The Catholic World Report”, Dec. 13, 2017, in which he criticizes my interview published at “OnePeterFive” on December 11, 2017). To this end he attempts to minimize the “Rescriptum ex audientia SS.mi” of June 5, 2017, rendering the two documents to which were attached to it practically irrelevant on the theological and canonical level (cf. On the appearance of the pope’s letter to the Argentine bishops in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, in In the Light of the Law – A Canon Lawyer’s Blog, Dec. 4, 2017).

I will try to explain why this position, although motivated by good intentions, seems to me to be both weak and dangerous.

With regard to canon law I refer to the study of a talented Italian canonist who uses the pseudonym Augustinus Hipponensis. He observes that when Canon 915 speaks of “those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin,” it is not referring only to the divorced and remarried, but to a much wider category of persons which also includes, for example, politicians who publicly support legislation favoring abortion or euthanasia, as Cardinal Burke affirmed in one of his articles (Canon 915: The Discipline Regarding the Denial of Holy Communion to Those Obstinately Persevering in Manifest Grave Sin,  in “Periodica de re canonica” (2007), pp. 3-58). The intention of Pope Bergoglio is not to change Canon 915 in toto, but only to expunge from it one category of persons (the divorced and remarried). In order to do this it was not necessary, or even logical, to amend the general norm. The papal rescript intends to deal only with the specific and particular ban (on the divorced and remarried), leaving the general meaning of the law intact. Canon 20 of the new Code effectively allows the canonical legislator to repeal a preceding discipline, even tacitly or implicitly, when the newer law is incompatible with the preceding one, or when the matter of the preceding law is reorganized ex novo [from scratch].

In the present case it seems doubtful that, on the legislative level, the prohibition established in Familiaris Consortio and also by divine law has been removed simply as a result of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia. The Italian canonist writes,

Today, surely it is assumed that the Bishop of Rome, making the Criterios Básicos (of the Argentine bishops) his own and praising them as the only possible interpretation of his exhortation, intended to admit the divorced and remarried – also known as adulterers – to Communion, providing for them a graduality in admission to the Sacrament. Therefore the prohibition – at one time absolute – would no longer be considered so stringent. Certainly, as the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts declared in 2000, we are dealing with a prohibition of divine law. Of this there is no question. And yet then this means that there is an indisputable difference between the human law [of Amoris Laetitia] and the divine law, which must be acknowledged, without trying to avoid it by affirming that the two documents are irrelevant and without wanting to draw out the logical theological and canonical consequences.

As for the theological aspect of the question, permit me to define the erroneous, or at least minimalist, conception of the Magisterium of the Church which Professor Peters seems to have. The ordinary Magisterium, exercised day by day by the Church, includes the encyclicals, decrees, pastoral letters, and dicourses of the Pope and Bishops throughout the world. Almost the entirety of the teaching of Pius XII on the matter of the regulation of birth was expressed in discourses, such as those to obstetricians or Catholic doctors, whose value as authentic Magisterium would have to be negated if we apply the reductive vision of Professor Peters. The hundreds of ecclesiastical documents gathered in the Enchiridion Symbolorum definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum of Heinrich Denzinger (1819-1883), updated to the present day, include constitutions, bulls, briefs, motu proprio, decrees, encyclicals, exhortations, and apostolic letters of every type, and taken together, constitute the depositum fidei of the Church. Few of these acts are infallible by themselves. But the ordinary Magisterium can become infallible when it is universal, in the sense of being continually repeated. The instruction Ad Tuendam Fidem of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of May 18, 1998 (AAS, 90 (1998), pp. 542-551), reiterates that a doctrine is to be understood as infallibly proposed when, although no solemn form of definition exists, “this doctrine pertains to the patrimony of the depositum fidei and is taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium” (n. 2). As the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith explains, in order for the ordinary universal Magisterium to be considered infallible it must be “intended in a diachronic, and not necessarily only in a synchronic, sense (New formula of the “Profession of Faith” of June 29, 1998). In this regard, “in the Encycicals Veritatis Splendor, Evangelium Vitae, and in the same Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, the Roman Pontiff intended, although not in a solemn form, to confirm and reaffirm doctrines which belong to the teaching of the ordinary and universal Magisterium, and which therefore must be held in a definitive and unequivocal manner” (Doctrinal Commentary of the CDF on the Concluding Formula of the Profession of Faith).

On December 2, 2017, the Vatican communicated that on June 5 of this year Pope Francis conferred the status of “authentic Magisterium” on the letter sent by him on September 5, 2016, to the bishops of the region of Buenos Aires. The text of the letter together with the “Criterios básicos” laid down by the Argentine bishops was published, in the form of an Epistula Apostolica [Apostolic Epistle], in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official register of the Apostolic See (volume 10, 2016, pp. 1071-1074). The two documents were promulgated with a rescript ex audientia SS.mi, signed by the Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who, in addition to seeing to the publication of the two preceding texts, qualified them as expressions of the authentic Magisterium (Summus Pontifex decernit ut duo Documenta quae praecedunt edantur per publicationem in situ electronico Vaticano et in Actis Apostolicae Sedis, velut Magisterium authenticum).

This document, like the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, certainly belongs to the ordinary Magisterium of the Church. As Fr. Brian Harrison has rightly pointed out, in a text presented by another illustrious scholar, Professor Paolo Pasqualucci, Apostolic Epistles [Epistulae apostolicae] are of a higher level than Apostolic Letters [Litterae apostolicae], than Motu Proprio, and even than Apostolic Constitutions, such as the one with which John Paul II promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church [Fidei Depositum, October 11, 1992]. John Paul used an Apostolic Epistle to promulgate what came to be considered as a definition ex cathedra proclaiming an infallible truth of the second category (definitive tenenda); namely, that only men can be ordained as priests (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, 1994). The infallible character does not come automatically from the nature of an Apostolic Epistle, but from the fact that the teaching of the Pope confirmed the perennial teaching of the Church. Therefore, not incorrectly, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmiero, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, declared on December 5, as reported by Catholic News Service:

The fact that the pope requested that his letter and the interpretations of the Buenos Aires bishops be published in the AAS means that His Holiness has given these documents a particular qualification that elevates them to the level of being official teachings of the church. … While the content of the pope’s letter itself does not contain teachings on faith and morals, it does point toward the interpretations of the Argentine bishops and confirms them as authentically reflecting his own mind,” the cardinal said. “Thus together the two documents became the Holy Father’s authentic magisterium for the whole church.

The Epistula of Pope Francis sweeps away every “hermeneutic of continuity,” affirming with authority that the only correct interpretation of chapter 8 of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia is the one held by the bishops of Buenos Aires in their pastoral letter of September 5, 2016 (“There are no other interpretations [No hay otras interpretaciones]”). In article 6 of this letter, the bishops affirm that

If one arrives at the recognition that, in a particular case, there are limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability [cf. 301-302 of AL], particularly when a person judges that he would fall into a subsequent fault by damaging the children of the new union, Amoris Laetitia opens up the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist [cf. footnotes 336 and 351 of AL].

According to Peters, the two documents of Pope Francis do not contain any assertions concerning faith and morals, but only disciplinary provisions. But a normative act having a disciplinary character in a matter of faith and morals is always an act of the Magisterium. Denzinger is full of disciplinary and/or pastoral provisions, such as the responses of Pope Nicholas I (858-867) “Ad consulta vestra” to  the Bulgarians of November 13, 866, which ought to be considered acts of the authentic Magisterium. In the case of the Epistula of Pope Francis we are not dealing with a rule having a disciplinary character, but with a new teaching on a matter of morals, which intends clearly to admit adulterers to Communion, foreseeing for them a graduality in admitting them to the Sacrament.

The “hermeneutic of continuity,” or the attempt to interpret erroneous or ambiguous documents in the light of the Tradition of the Church, did not work well even when it was promoted by a Pope like Benedict XVI. Is it not an illusion to pretend to keep using it when it is now the Pope himself who proposes the hermeneutic of discontinuity? Is it not simpler and more logical to remember that there can be errors contained in non-infallible acts of the ordinary Magisterium? “Authentic Magisterium” does not in fact mean “dogmatic,” and if the believer observes, in a reasonably evident manner, a precise opposition between a text of this Magisterium and the divine law of the Church, after accurately studying the matter, he may licitly suspend or negate his assent to the papal document.   This doctrine is found in the writings of the most authoritative theologians, such as Fr. Hugo von Hurter (1832-1914), who affirms:

“If in the mind of the believer there are grave and solid reasons, above all theological, against decisions of the authentic Magisterium (= non-infallible), whether episcopal or pontifical, it will be lawful for him to reject the error, assent conditionally, or finally also to suspend assent” (Theologiae Dogmaticae Compendium,  Wagneriana-Bloud et Barral, Innsbruck-Parigi, 1883, vol. I, p. 492).

Recalling the words of Saint Paul: “But even if we ourselves or an angel from heaven should preach to you a Gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let him be anathema” (Galatians 1:8), St. Vincent of Lerins comments:

“But why does he say ‘even if we ourselves’ and not ‘even if I myself’? Because he means that also if Peter or Andrew or John or the entire college of the apostles preaches to you a Gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let him be anathema. What tremendous rigor! In order to affirm his fidelity to the primitive faith he spared neither himself nor the other apostles” (Commonitorium, cap. VIII, 2).

The possibility of infidelity to the Tradition of an assembly of bishops, and of Peter himself, however rare, is not excluded. To close one’s eyes to reality means to put oneself in a dead end. Both reason and the sensus fidei demand resistance, including public resistance, to a Pope who promotes, encourages, and favors errors and heresies within the Church.

Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino

192 thoughts on “De Mattei: A Response to Edward Peters on the Buenos Aires Letter & Authentic Magisterium”

  1. Thank you for this essay. It is time to call out these silly people who explain away grave error or spin like Rumpelstiltskin. Mueller, as one example, claims we should simply “interpret” the document in a faithful way. As if we ignore the obvious and pretend. How revolting is that?

    • I would especially be interested in an assessment of Dr de Mattei’s statements about the documents of Denzinger, as it was a question that popped up to me when I read your previous piece on the Argentine letter.

      What strikes me is what Dr de Mattei stated in this article; that many of the documents in my copy of Denzinger seem to be of a very similar nature to the letter to the Argentine bishops sent by Pope Francis. If those documents are valuable in affirming Church teaching, and they are identical in nature to the letter Pope Francis has sent, how can the Argentine letter be said to be of no more import than last week’s newspaper and thus only suitable for similar domestic purposes which is, I believe, essentially what you have already said?

  2. If someone could enlighten me…Isn’t the entire argument of those who agree with the “liberal”, if you will, interpretation of AL that although a divorced and remarried couple are living in an objective state of adultery, they are not subjectively culpable of mortal sin? And if this is so, then canon 915 would not apply to them, since it refers to those who “obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin?” What am I missing?

    • But as soon as they enter a ‘discernment process’ they KNOW they are in sin – the priest would tell them right? So that is not a valid excuse. They could say they did not know yesterday, but that they know today – and either separate, or stop having sex until their marriage is regularized however that comes about.

      I can’t see how we could make the above complicated. Didn’t know? Well ya know now. Case closed.

    • davidc there are two acts and two Canons which apply in the administration of Holy Communion. The first act is on the part of the communicant who decides to approach to receive Communion on the basis that his conscience is clear with regards to being in a state of grace – or not being in a state of mortal sin. The Canon which governs this act is Canon 916 where you will see being taught the necessity of being in a state of grace. This first act and this first Canon are essentially dealt with in the “internal forum” of the conscience of the communicant. No minister of Holy Communion is able to look on those approaching to receive and determine whether they are subjectively culpable of mortal sin or not – it is solely the communicants decision to approach based on a hopefully well-formed clear conscience.

      The second act is on the part of the minister of Communion who ministers Holy Communion to the communicant. This second act is governed by a second Canon – Canon 915. Canon 915 sets out the law governing the conduct of the minister of Holy Communion – not the communicant. It is here that you will see that all those who “obstinately persevere in MANIFEST grave sin” are to be refused Holy Communion by the minister of Communion. The key word here is MANIFEST i.e. they are publicly known to be living in a state of grave sin because they are public permanent adulterers, or politicians who publicly support abortion and/or “same-sex marriage”, or members of the freemasons or KKK etc. etc. etc.

      The matter of subjective culpability for mortal sin is irrelevant as far as Canon 915 is concerned. This Canon exists to prevent the ministers of the Church committing acts of grave scandal by administering Holy Communion to those who are publicly known to be living lives which are incompatible with the Gospel and thus leading the faithful into grave sin.. This is why in FC JPII clearly taught that even those d&r who are living as brother and sister should only receive Holy Communion in situations where doing so would not cause scandal.

      • Thanks, Deacon for the explanation. But what if through the “discernment” process their pastor determines (erroneously, since in this scenario they are continuing to live more uxorio and are not married to each other BUT correctly according to PF’s letter to the Argentinian bishops recently entered into the AAS) that they are not living in mortal sin? If the pastor and the EMHC’s that he informs of the situation believe they are in a state of grace, then they couldn’t be “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin” and canon 915 wouldn’t apply. Or so the argument would go. Or would it?

        Of course, the problem is exactly as Barbara describes below, which I have mentioned several times but for some reason don’t see described very often and which seems to me to be the crux of the whole matter, namely, that the pastor through the discernment process should – on the contrary – *enlighten* their consciences as to the true teachings of the Church regarding the indissolubility of marriage, the fact that engaging in sexual relations with a person to whom you are not married is an act of adultery and a mortal sin, the necessity of the intention of amending one’s life to receive absolution, and the fact that it is an act of sacrilege to receive Holy Communion if one is not in a state of grace, and from that point if they refuse to separate (and they certainly must if no children are involved) or at least live as brother and sister if absolutely necessary for the sake of any children involved, THEN they would be in a state of mortal sin, even if they weren’t before through sheer ignorance and both canon 915 and canon 916 would apply.

        • davidc;

          The bottom line here is that we are wasting immense emotional and temporal resources trying to decipher a riddle that was solved 2000 years ago, the solution to which the Church has posted in public for all the world to see.

          Bergoglio now happens to want to revisit this issue, but no amount of “reflection” or “dialogue” can change one iota of meaning that has been to so many for so long, clear.

          • I can’t argue with that.

            It’s as simple as “thou shall not commit adultery” and “If a man divorces his wife and marries another, he commits adultery and if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

        • When the couple come to talk to the pastor it is conceivable that they might not be fully culpable for the sin if they were genuinely ignorant of the gravity of what they were doing ( some people are as thick as pig-sh@t so it is not inconceivable.) Neverthless, Canon 915 still applies because whatever the state of their souls, they would still manifest as a couple who were living in grave sin. It would be Canon 916 which was not being flouted in this case.

          However, the pastor would be obliged to inform them of the gravity of their sin if he cares at all about their souls and leading them back to Christ. From that point on they would be fully culpable for any decision they took to continue living as husband and wife. The horror of what Bergoglio is proposing in his “pastoral, merciful accompaniment” is that the pastor gives them absolution for sins that they intend to commit again and keep on committing. Essentially it is absolution in advance for future mortal sins. It makes a mockery of the Sacrament of Penance as well as the Sacraments of Marriage and the Eucharist.

          If the devil himself had written Amoris laetitia he couldn’t have done a better job in trashing the sacramental economy.

          • “However, the pastor would be obliged to inform them of the gravity of their sin if he cares at all about their souls and leading them back to Christ. From that point on they would be fully culpable for any decision they took to continue living as husband and wife.”

            I suspect that many pastors avoid fully informing their parishioners of various things precisely so that those parishioners will NOT be “fully culpable.” I think they fear that people will be unwilling to change, and so, with the idea that “ignorance is bliss,” they let them continue on in ignorance so that at least they won’t be fully culpable of mortal sin.

            See: Dostoevsky, “Legend of the Grand Inquisitor”

            I am blessed to have a pastor who is NOT like that. He’s a brave and good man who frequently reminds us that missing Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is a MORTAL sin, and that one may not receive Holy Communion until that sin has been repented of and brought to the sacrament of Confession. I think he realizes that the majority of Catholics under the age of 55 or so barely even have the concept of what mortal sin is, much less the awareness that missing Sunday Mass is a mortal sin. Our dear pastor is trying to make up for 50 years of weak, sloppy, negligent catechesis, and inform a new generation of Catholics about things all Catholics used to know!

          • Unfortunately I have first hand experience of priests who think like that. “It is better not to disturb their consciences” is a mantra that I have heard on several occasions. Some priests are more concerned about the size of the collection plate than actually leading souls to Christ.

          • Is it really all about money, Deacon? I always assumed it was just because they were timid and/or lazy.
            Confronting people with truth is difficult and terribly uncomfortable.

            But then, I’ve been told I’m naïve about money. Just because it’s not a big motivator for me, doesn’t mean it’s not a big motivator for other people. But I really do think the emotional/psychological/social aspect is a biggie.

          • Yes, for some the desire to avoid confrontation and “to be loved by everybody” will be the motivation. But there are some who are definitely motivated by money. Coming from a professional background in finance I was quite shocked to see how many priests played fast and loose with money – it tends to be a frequent reason why some are “moved on to other duties.” The Vatican’s murky financial shenanigans is replicated throughout the dioceses around the world. The abiding curse of clericalism in the Church means that Francis isn’t the only one who thinks he is untouchable.

      • But looking at your post again, you said that, “The matter of subjective culpability for mortal sin is irrelevant as far as Canon 915 is concerned. This Canon exists to prevent the ministers
        of the Church committing acts of grave scandal.” So if one is in a state of grace but only appears to be in manifest grave sin, they shouldn’t present themselves for holy communion? Should they then receive Our Lord privately, like after mass in the sacristy?

        • Isn’t it deceitful to disguise the reception of Holy Communion by receiving it in a place where it will not cause scandal?

          To me, this very thought is scandalous. It is one of the reasons that, in spite of my fidelity to our long abused and abandoned marriage, I rarely attend mass and partake in no Sacraments.

          I no longer believe in the valid “seal of the confession” for sins involving marriage. I find confession to be immoral, unless the sins are divulged to an innocent spouse.

          • No, because in the hypothetical scenario we’re discussing, the person would be in a state of grace but wouldn’t not receive publicly because that fact wouldn’t be publicly known and hence it could cause scandal to others.

            Maybe the good deacon could help you with your situation.

          • There is no interest in the Church to address the incredible damage it has done and continues to do. Deacon Augustine cannot address that.

            It is THAT which the entire hierarchy need to address, but they will not.

            I am not writing merely of my circumstances. I am referring to the legions of errors that are ongoing.

          • HaHa!!

            Deacon cannot address that?

            Well, he did, and I can tell you that a lot of Catholics right now are addressing a lot things that you are whining about and saying nobody cares about.

            A LOT of us do care!

            Especially about folks like you.

            “Legions of errors”!

            I’ve never read that line but I’m stealing it from you!

            Because there are a lot of “Legionnaires” committed to wrecking the Catholic church from within. Don’t one of them!


          • “Legions of errors”!

            I have no copyright on it. Please feel free.

            I wish that the wounds among us all involved in this nightmare, would be healed.

            I have no doubt at all, that we could start down that road, if the main players, Karl J, my wife and the other man involved were willing to objectively face our respective choices and actions, submitting them to what has long been taught and often practiced, in the Catholic Church over the years.

            I have said for years, I do mean decades, that this has happened to us(I would NEVER have believed this could have happened to us, right up through the beginning of when it began AFTER my wife forced me from our home) because God wants the Catholic Church to be intimately involved and to learn from this experience what it must do and what it has, and continues to do that is co-responsible for this occurring in the first place.

            It would be something that would have a tremendous impact on our five children and likely, their two children and our combined 18 grandchildren, to see, before their eyes:

            Repentance, Forgiveness and Healing..

            But, this will never occur until the hierarchy, shut their mouths and listen to the fruits of their governance.

            The milieu we exist in is not conducive to fidelity.

            There is no real gospel when forgiveness is the only thing ever mentioned, along with mercy.

            Forgotten, I believe, intentionally is the need for repentance and the need for addressing the damage done by the wrong choices, which falls under the other forgotten part of this…..justice.

            Mercy and justice are one, as spouses are one, as the trinity is one.

            But, the Catholic Church must address itself, first, in order to be anything other than part of the problem.


          • You are slitting your throat to spite your face.

            Your complaints will bear more justice if you obey where you can instead of griping about how others disobey or have disobeyed.

          • I understand. But, only fear of an unjust God, who lacks true mercy, will cause me to return to the sacraments until the catholic Church does a massive about face and condemns its errors, on television…..

            Until that happens, I am morally certain that my choices are correct.

          • In a different time, our positions would be, mostly, identical. Do, pray for me, if you are so inclined, for my wife, for her lover(they are in the process of a very nasty divorce, I am told) and for all of our combined children and grandchildren. The damage is incredible and ongoing.

          • Karl: You have frankly, honestly, genuinely, guilessly and authentically expressed your denial of the Catholic faith.

            So you have 2 choices before you:

            1} Continue your path and if you still “believe in God” at all, become a Methodist or a Lutheran or an Evangelical of some stripe and feel free to run down the Catholic faith for all its ills and problems and sinful people associated therewith who have royally wrecked your life.


            2} Come home, re-affirm the teachings of the Church, admit the flaws of Her children {including you} and live according to those teachings even if “nobody else does” and when you see her in the ditch, reach down and help the other Catholics who are trying to carry Her up the slope and heal her wounds.

            I am a convert. My father was a Methodist minister, and the most decent man I’ve ever met. But as much as I hate to admit it, he was wrong about religion, and I only wish i was able to have expressed to him what I’ve found before he died. See, I hail from a long line of Protestant ministers and myself acquired a Masters in Theology from a Protestant seminary and served even as a missionary for a Protestant group, served as an “Elder” in a Protestant “church” and taught in Protestant “churches”.

            I PROMISE you, you will be taken in with open arms, treated like a king and given opportunity after opportunity to tell everyone how f’d-up the Catholic Church is. And, indeed, in so many ways, in the war that is being fought today, She has warts.

            You are a man.

            Make the decision. Live with the results.

            The path is open to you.

            As for me, I am done running. I have studied them all, even questioned Jesus and come to a final conclusion:

            “Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam.”

            I’m in for the duration, and I pray to God the creator that you are, too.

          • God has given, offered, the grace that it is not just His act that brings you to eternal life, but yours, as the Church says, in “cooperation” with His will.

            So you can’t blame God for your eternal destination, though you certainly can praise Him for it if you respond in faith to his gratuitous offer.

            Come home, Karl. No doubt you have been wronged. No doubt.

            Join the rest of us in the fight. Don’t give up, don’t let the maggot of your past consume your future. We all have maggots.

            Think about it and you’ll realize that maggots sometimes make the best bait for fish.

            Come be a fisher of men!

          • I don’t think so. I think the situation is hard, and there is no easy and/or comfortable way out.

            In my opinion, we have fallen or rather jumped very far indeed into a moral chasm filled with feathers. It tempts me to jump in, too. But once in it is harder to get of than is a chasm of rock. The latter at least offers toeholds while the former nothing but the slippery to grab hold of.

            See, we all want an easy way out, and I don’t mean that in a deriding way, but in a factual one. We do, our marred nature begs for ease and a comfortable solution to all problems, but the truth is, we cause many of our own problems and God’s path out is a narrow and hard and difficult trail.

            But the toughest, steepest, hardest trails lead to the most spectacular views.


          • You can still come to Mass and have a “spiritual communion” with Jesus. For reasons I don’t want to get into here, I have not received the Eucharist nor gone to Confession in way too long. But I never, ever, ever miss Sunday Mass. I would die without it! If your heart is open, the Lord will bless you.

        • “Manifest” means “to outward appearances.” The chance of any d&r person being in a state of grace is very slim, but they are without exception living in a manifest state of grave sin. Marriage is a public or manifest sacrament, therefore to attempt to divorce and “remarry” is always a public or manifest sin. I think JPII was indicating that if they live as brother and sister they ought to receive Communion in a place where they and their state are not known.

          • Dear Deacon Augustine, I suppose we have bigger problems than this: but I have always found it very deceptive for a couple to ” pretend” to married” when they are not

            I appreciate the intent of JPll, permitting two people to live as brother and sister, for the sake of the children from this union, but quite frankly. there is something very disturbing about that to me.
            I also must give great pause, to possible children from the man or woman’s first sacramental marriage that ended in civil divorce. How does this effect them, as their parent, for intensive purposes has strong attachments to another.

            The whole thing is so deceptive and in my opinion, I think JP ll made a tragic error.

          • I would agree with you – it was a liberalization too far and Kasper is touting it as the “development” which led to AL.

          • I agree, it is rot.

            We are told even in the Baltimore Catechism that we are to avoid the near occasions of sin.

            It is ridiculous in the extreme to expect two people who had any previous interest in each other at all to keep their paws to themselves whilst living under the same roof.

  3. Interesting read, but when are we going to address the American Tribunals over the past years, since about 1970, and have ALL of the decisions in favor of nullity reviewed, independently, by honest, objective, marital defenders, not corrupted clerics and Canon Lawyers?

    If this will not be done, then the Catholic Church in America deserves to be eliminated.

    • I have the same sort of concern thought I don’t think the Church needs to be eliminated, though it might need to be placed under an interdict.

      Having said that, I am unaware that decisions of tribunals are granted infallible status and indeed, each and every person acting on behalf of the tribunal and also the married/cohabiting seeking an annulment will need to satand before God and explain themselves.

      There is such a thing as judgment, and we here do not always know who lives and communes to their blessing, or who lives and communes to their own condemnation.

      • I have long believed that moral certainty is an insufficient standard when judging marital validity, wherein a group of fallible people can conclude that a presumedly valid marriage is invalid.

        The standard needs to be absolute certainty, wherein one accepts Hell as their personal eternal place of existance, if their judgment is not correct in declaring a presumedly valid marriage, to be invalid/null, in error.

        THAT is how much marriage needs to be prioritized.

        The Church, should be completely eliminated, if it does not act, extremely radically, to defend marriages.

        • You say:

          “The standard needs to be absolute certainty, wherein one accepts Hell as their personal eternal place of existance, if their judgment is not correct in declaring a presumedly valid marriage, to be invalid/null.”

          You have a specific problem. Others have different problems.

          We do not “eliminate” the nation because criminals go free and murderers are released without justice being served. And we do not “eliminate” the nation because some don’t like the decisions made by others, even if the decision made by others are egregious and harm us even if we are wholly innocent.

          By your assessment, your “ex-wife” made terrible decisions that impacted you negatively and by definition, you chose poorly in the selection of a mate, and not just you but the many millions who find themselves in similar straits. By your own logic, I suspect we should “eliminate” marriage?

          Many of us disagree and think that both the tribunal system and indeed marriage itself should be repaired and strengthened.

          • I agree with you 100% that the Church leadership needs to address the problems with tribunals, but you must understand, there wouldn’t be problems with tribunals if there weren’t people who fail in their relationships like you have.

            As long as the Church is led by fallible men, there will be imperfect actions.

            As long as the Church is made up of imperfect men and women, there will be imperfect marriages.

            By your own words, you have expressed in some detail that you failed in your marriage. One can lay the entire blame on another, and some do, but in the end, even the one who likes to think of themselves as the pure victim was “guilty” of making a very bad choice in people in the first place, even assuming the victim is pure as the driven snow in intent, word and deed from the time they said “I do” to the day they got the bad news from the tribunal.

          • I have never, nor will I ever, abdicate my responsibility in the issues involved in our marital difficulties.

            But, there is no desire, nor has there ever been, to work to heal the wounds.

            Nor, have I, or will I close the door to that possibility.

          • By the way, RodH. Not sure if you know this. Twice I have defended our marriage in the Tribunal System. Twice, ultimately, the truth prevailed.

            But, everywhere, this knowledge has been ignored by priests and bishops….through today.

          • I don’t know what you mean by “Twice, ultimately, the truth prevailed” in conjunction with the subsequent statement.

          • My wife filed for nullity two times:

            Once in 1991, Ultimately denied at the Rota in 2002, in the Third instance.

            Again, about 3 years ago. First Instance Court denied her case, it went for a review….Second Instance, but she withdrew.

          • So what is your problem with the Church, then?

            It seems you believe your marriage to be valid and so does the Church. You are in agreement.

            I believe you have stated that your wife lives with another man or otherwise lives apart from you in relationship with another man? ? {Did I read that right?}

            What possible blame can you lay at the feet of a tribunal that agrees with you on the validity of your marriage?

        • Knowing with “Absolute certainty” isn’t given for mortals to know – we are subject to being lied to and manipulated because we cannot read men’s hearts. Only God knows with absolute certainty.

  4. “Is it not simpler and more logical to remember that there can be errors contained in non-infallible acts of the ordinary Magisterium?”

    Amen. This is the point that too many wish to brush aside in an attempt to spare the papal blushes. Bergoglio’s “authentic magisterium” is an erroneous magisterium which contradicts the Deposit of the Faith. This is why a formal correction is so necessary – but nobody seems to have the nouse or the balls to do it.

      • If a formal correction is issued it almost certainly will be ignored. Its sole purpose then would stand as formal grounds for his posthumous indictment – assuming that a future pope might be a Catholic.

        • “. . . assuming that a future pope might be a Catholic.”

          So you hold the nonsensical view that a non-Catholic can be Pope, contrary to Bellarmine’s assertion that a non-Catholic cannot be Pope, seeing as he is not even a member of the Church?

          • A non-Catholic is Pope right now, and that’s not empty rhetoric. Bergoglio is a Lutheran by everything he does and says.

          • Wouldn’t he be an Anglican /Lutheran, since he is allowing a Henry VIII type adultery, his break with the church in terms of divorce and remarriage goes further back than Luther.

          • Luther’s 96 theses were published 31 October 1517, Henry’s Act of Supremacy was in 1534. Henry was inspired by Luther’s actions and writings.

          • Thanks for the history lesson, I stand corrected, either way 1 heretic encouraged another, What AL is allowing would have St. Thomas More’s Martyrdom rendered null and void.

          • The parallel between the rise of the Lutheran heresy’s in St Thomas More’s day and the Lutheran heresy’s promulgated by PF (as for instance in AL) is remarkable. In addition the threat of Islamic armies invading Europe was very real. The Lutheran states (and the French) did not join and support the Catholic armies defending Europe against this Satanic threat in 1571. PF has himself ‘welcomed’ the Muslim migrant’s invasion of Europe. Luther’s position was that Catholicism and Islam were equally evil.

            Saint Thomas More, pray for us!

          • I’m watching a Netflix documentary called Wormwood. Apparently, sometimes men conspire to do bad things. Frank Olson threw himself out a window in 1953, but all wasn’t as it appeared. I don’t think the 1958 conclave was as it appeared. Our Priest told us last Sunday that we shouldn’t pay any attention to conspiracy theories. I disagree and if I had the wherewithal myself, I’d investigate one of them. I wonder why he told us that.

          • When someone uses the phrase “conspiracy theory” without irony in my presence, I put him on my list of non-thinkers, and avoid any serious conversations.

          • To the extent that nobody with authority is willing to call him out as a non-Catholic, then yes. This is the de facto situation we have now – just as was the case at the time of Honorius. He cannot be pope “de jure”, but “de jure” counts for nothing if those with the responsibility and authority are not prepared to exercise the law.

      • The way I understand it is after giving sufficient time for a response, one
        more formal correction would be issued and after another non-response,
        then that would indicate consent to the heretical propositions in the
        correction that the pope has been formally asked to publicly repudiate
        (or maybe refusal to assert the perennial teachings in the correction
        that the pope has been formally asked to publicly assert) – which amounts to
        *formal* heresy. The recognition of the objective fact that the pope is
        in formal heresy by the Church means that the pope has lost his office
        and is no longer a member of the Catholic Church.

        Though I could be wrong. Someone please correct me if so.

        • I believe that is essentially correct. Problem is that you would need an “imperfect Council” of bishops to declare that the pope is a formal heretic. It is highly unlikely that the present “College of Bishops” would vote with moral unanimity to declare the pope to be a formal heretic. Or am I just being cynical?

    • The dubia and the filial correction are function more or less as formal corrections, both of which have been ignored with the utmost diabolic arrogance & contempt. What nobody has the “nouse or the balls” for is to demand that Bergoglio recant or declare himself deposed, risking thereby a great schism between the pro- and anti-Bergoglian prelates. This would be such a dangerous proposition that, understandably, everyone is doing their best to avoid. However, in the end it may not be as dangerous as allowing the fester while the inevitable schism takes place regardless. Perhaps they are hoping that Bergoglio will pass away, and that the next Pontiff will brush the whole affair under the carpet and reset things back to 2013 (foolish hope).

      • The dubia are questions which demand a “yes” or “no” answer – hence they cannot be considered to be a formal correction. If he had answered them according to Catholic Faith, the matter would be over. If he had answered them contrary to the Faith then a formal correction would have been necessary. He has avoided answering them in order to dodge being corrected, but his evasion and refusal to teach the Catholic Faith when asked constitutes, in my opinion, sufficient grounds to be corrected. He is neglecting his office and duties as supreme pastor to feed the sheep – he should be censured for this.

        The fiilial correction was pertinent to the heretical teaching which he is permitting to be spread abroad in his name, but I along with all the other signatories lack the authority to correct him formally. It should be the bishops as a body who formally correct him, but, as we know from the synods, too many bishops are heretics on these matters and it is likely that only a handful would actually step up to the plate.

        Most bishops would rather avoid such a confrontation with the potential for schism and so we will see the de facto schism continuing to grow and fester with the likely outcome that when it is formalized in some way, it will be far worse. The hierarchy is out to lunch because they are a bunch of weak-kneed hirelings rather than shpeherds who are faithful to the Lord (with a few brave and notable exceptions).

        • “The dubia are questions which demand a “yes” or “no” answer – hence they cannot be considered to be a formal correction.”

          Why not? The point of any “formal correction” would only be either to 1. cause him to recant his heretical views, 2. cause him to manifest his formal heresy.
          By refusing to answer the dubia he already gives us his answer (2).
          “He has avoided answering them in order to dodge being corrected, but his evasion and refusal to teach the Catholic Faith when asked constitutes, in my opinion, sufficient grounds to be corrected.” No, not sufficient grounds for correction, but sufficient grounds for condemnation – like Honorius.

          “The fiilial correction was pertinent to the heretical teaching which he is permitting to be spread abroad in his name, but I along with all the other signatories lack the authority to correct him formally. It should be the bishops as a body who formally correct him . . .”

          Why does it have to be the body of bishops or any bishop at all? Why can’t it be any Catholic who has the faith? The point isn’t to get into an ecclesiastical brawl with the Pope, because the Pope’s authority is above all the bishops combined, so that would be pointless. The point is to determine whether the man is a heretic or not, and to that end it doesn’t matter whether every bishop in the world asks him, or 60 signatories of a public document, or an Italian waitress.

          • Excellent, John Common. The laity are the Church and all of us should make it knows we do not accept the Pope’s heresies; we will not follow him, we will not obey his faulty pronouncements and, though he is the Pope, we will not consider him the Vicar of Christ, so help me God.

        • I wish we could get a headcount. Cardinal Burke certainly knows who’s who in this matter. I’d like to encourage him to name some names, particularly of the traitors like DiNardo and other cowardly goers along. The homosexuals we know about. All of them should be attacked and shamed relentlessly, night and day. Like Bergoglio, they are true servants of Satan and they should be informed that we know it and are holding them accountable. Just bopping along as if somehow things are going to change if we just sit tight and pray isn’t going to get the job done.

      • Again, I say, that a formal, public correction by the Dubia Cardinals is NOT enough. Their dilemma is that they fear (just as Deacon Augustine said) the schism which would logically follow such a correction. Why? Because the next move is to depose a sitting pontiff, which the Church has never done. Ever. There is no clear-cut blueprint for how the ecclesiastical authorities in the Church do this. THAT, I contend, is the real reason why Cardinal Burke and his supporting brother cardinals seem not to want to take the next step. They need courage in the Holy Spirit. Something, I fear, they have not.

    • Francis has been spouting a lot of Catholic sounding preaching recently. I wouldn’t be surprised if he already has the formal correction but Burke et al., are giving him yet another chance to “come to Jesus”, if I could use that phrase, before making the correction public.

  5. Thank you. A much more serious and appropriate response than simply hand-waving it away on a technicality.
    I have two questions:

    (1) How do you square Fr. Hugo von Hurter’s assertion that one can suspend assent to the Authentic Magisterium, with the assertion of Vatican II that we owe the Authentic Magisterium: “religious obedience of mind and will”?

    (2) If we grant that the Authentic Magisterium can contain errors (statements merely erroneous), does it follow that the Authentic Magisterium can actually contain heresies (statements contradicting revelation)?
    And my follow up question to this is: does not a Pope’s attempt to publicly promote heresy as “Authentic Magisterium” manifest pertinacity and formal heresy and thus incur automatic excommunication and deposition from the papacy (c.f. Bellarmine)?

    • “…the assertion of Vatican II that we owe the Authentic Magisterium: “religious obedience of mind and will”?”

      That was a shamelessly self-serving statement and expresses the opinion of the sainted Pope John Paul II. Vatican II just misses being as heretical as the Bergoglio travesty. Like tie revolt of Luther, it is a grievous wound to the Body of Christ.

    • For the umpteenth time, “Authentic Magisterium” is a phrase invented by the Modernists inside the Church since the Second Vatican Council. There is only the Magisterium (Ordinary- via Councils in union with the pope; and, Extraordinary- via an Ex Cathedra pronouncement from the pope). Popes have only exercised the Extraordinary twice- the dogmatic statement on the Immaculate Conception, and the Assumption. Yes, lesser forms of the Magisterium exist, but one must keep in mind that various Curial and papal documents carry different weights when it comes to teaching and exhortations.

  6. About 10 years ago, Cardinal Burke said that during most of his career, if you had asked him, he would have said that c. 915 was “part of the church’s marriage law.” Which, of course, it is not. But the canon was obeyed, and discussed, only in connection with the illicitly married. Another canonist pointed out the obvious, that c. 915 concrrns ALL grave sin. Following this “discovery of canon 915” (as he called it) Cardinal Burke made the obvious point that all bishops and pastors giving Communion to pro-abortion public figures were committing grave sin.

    The American bishops responded by voting themselves permission to commit this mortal sin, in “Catholics in Political Life.” That document says that a bishop may “legitimately” give communion to pro-abortion politicians.

    Cardinal Donald Wuerl has been a pioneer in concocting specious and misleading rationalizations for giving Communion to pro-aborts. It is noteworthy that these rationalizations have popped up in Amoris Laetitia and associated propaganda, in connection with the illicitly married.

    1) The priest is required to know “the state of the soul” of a would-be communicant;

    2) The Eucharist is a source of grace. Therefore, unworthy reception is a step TOWARD conversion;

    3) What is at issue is not any teaching of the Church, but only whether we choose a “canonical approach” or a “pastoral approach.”

  7. Prof de Mattei’s position that the two letters published in Acta Apostolica specify intent is unquestionable. However does it meet the standard of Prop Two of the Doctrinal Commentary that it must be expressed “sententia definitive intenda”? That the Pope in his own writing [sententia] definitively states his intention, regardless of Cardinal Parolin purporting it does. If it takes such painstaking effort to prove it is that in itself indicates it is not definitively stated [I look forward to E Peters response]. Perhaps the best response was Dr Joy’s take quoted to me by Steve Skojec 12 days ago: “I thought this was the key takeaway: ‘I think it can be summed up best by saying that we should accept that teaching as true precisely to the extent that it does not conflict with irreformable Catholic doctrine.'” A hermeneutic of discontinuity cannot be validly instituted by a Pontiff.

    • How can they not be specifying intent? For what other reason were they published in the Acta Apostolica except to state the intent of the Pope and to be perceived as his intent?

        • You’re right. Thank you. I misread ‘unquestionable’ as ‘questionable.’ My brain is slipping away from me.

          I’m sorry Fr. Morello.

      • They do specify intent. The difficulty i perceive is that it’s done obliquely rather than as required for sententia definitive intenda exactly as explained in my comment. Okay. I just noted your response below to Tem.

  8. “Both reason and the sensus fidei demand resistance, including public resistance, to a Pope who promotes, encourages, and favors errors and heresies within the Church.”
    Professor de Mattei

    The beginning of the end of the shenanigans of Jorge Bergoglio.

  9. Dear Mr. De Mattei, Hey, Matthew 19: 1-12. Jesus said it, that settles it. If it carries Street Cred in New Jersey then it carries Street Cred in Rome. Ab Apostolis apporbata Dude….

  10. Maybe the most important article published this year on 1P5. The conclusion is this: Francis teaches error officially, publicly, clearly and magisterially.
    Since the beginning of Bergoglio’s pontificate, many in both the conservative and traditional movements tried to excuse his errors by saying he spoke privately, not as the pope. Then came Amoris Laetitiae. To them there were two options: AL is not magisterial or only the Catholic interpretation (which required a lot of word bending) is right. Then the letter to the Argentinian bishops got published in the AAS. I thought it would put the final nail in the coffin of this poor argument until Dr. Peters came up with a novel way to cancel papal teaching: yes he says it, yes he promulgated it as magisterial, but since he didn’t amend the Code of Canon Law accordingly it doesn’t count.

    This last action of Francis is the equivalent of one’s significant other cheating at a family reunion. It’s about time bishops and cardinals do something about it unless they want to continue looking like castrated kittens.

    • One wonders, Chris, if Peters’ has a “fall-back position” already prepared for a Bergoglian attempt to amend the Code of Canon Law.

    • Exactly. I have the utmost respect and reverence for the papal office, but it is the office of chief shepherd, not the office of an untouchable god. It’s the duty of all Catholics, but especially the bishops, to call the chief shepherd to account when he becomes a false shepherd. You know our sensus catholicus is faulty just by looking back on past eras of the church when both the laity and lower clergy were quick and decisive in correcting false shepherds, or throwing them out when they refused to be corrected. We’ve gotten too used to playing along with heretics, even when they’re in our midst.

    • Yep, his typical lawyer-logic. Now the faith is apparently a legal contest. These lawyers are exactly like magicians. They demand you only look where they direct you because if you look more closely, or widely, you will see their direction is nothing but an attempt deflect you from the obvious.

  11. Dr. Peters: “Ignorance, even betrayal, of conciliar teachings by many of those responsible for its implementation is not the fault of a council, and an ecumenical council should not be listed alongside a heresy as a possible source of disaster.”

    That is true, but we cannot logically apply it to Vatican II. If Dr. Peters has missed the many heresies in the documents of the Council, he’s not trying. Conflating the errors and deliberate heresies of revisionists with the errors of the Fathers of the Council serves only to blur the lines of responsibility. The Council itself is responsible for allowing the Masons (Bugnini) and other assorted heretics (Protestants) to bend the Council to their will by destroying the Mass and essentially forfeiting the Church’s authority in the world as its moral leader in favor of a trumped up faux ‘ecumenism’ which gave every religion in the world the same status as the Catholic Church. The disastrous results which followed the Council’s closing, which include the current pontificate, have been plainly obvious for 60 years and continue to contaminate the Body of Christ.

    Professor Di Mattei knows Vatican II better then most of those who have studied it, including, apparently, Dr. Peters.

  12. winslow • 3 minutes ago
    Dr. Peters: “Ignorance, even betrayal, of conciliar teachings by many of those responsible for its implementation is not the fault of a council, and an ecumenical council should not be listed alongside a heresy as a possible source of disaster.”

    That is true, but we cannot logically apply it to Vatican II. If Dr. Peters has missed the many heresies in the documents of the Council, he’s not trying. Conflating the errors and deliberate heresies of revisionists with the errors of the Fathers of the Council serves only to blur the lines of responsibility. The Council itself is responsible for allowing the Masons (Bugnini) and other assorted heretics (Protestants) to bend the Council to their will by destroying the Mass and essentially forfeiting the Church’s authority in the world as its moral leader in favor of a trumped up faux ‘ecumenism’ which gave every religion in the world the same status as the Catholic Church. The disastrous results which followed the Council’s closing, which include the current pontificate, have been plainly obvious for 60 years and continue to contaminate the Body of Christ.

    Professor Di Mattei knows Vatican II better then most of those who have studied it, including, apparently, Dr. Peters.

    • Peters seems to be in the same school as Mueller. Their ideology is to pretend ambiguity is clear and consistent with constant Church teaching. Further, they seem to think you ought to overlook error and confusion by pretending it really does not matter because nothing was changed “legally” so we are okay.

      Of course, this absurd ideology has brought us exactly to the precipice where we are today.

  13. “Both reason and the sensus fidei demand resistance, including
    public resistance, to a Pope who promotes, encourages, and favors errors
    and heresies within the Church.” Even at this time of year, when many of us are retreating into our homes for Christmas, this resistance is a matter of duty. Begging the Christ-child for the Holy Father’s return to the Faith – is this what we must pray for? Mercy.

  14. I agree with Prof. de Mattei regarding what counts as magisterial authority and magisterial teaching. He does not, however, directly address some other points raised by my colleague Dr. Edward Peters, e.g. the orthodoxy of Vatican II. On these matters it would be far better for Dr. Peters himself to reply (as he has already done on some of the points).

    I think the more immediate question is whether Amoris laetitia and the Buenos Aires Guidelines can be understood in continuity with prior magisterial teaching. Prof. de Mattei, Fr. Harrison, and Fr. Murray of EWTN believe these documents are very difficult to reconcile with prior magisterial teaching. Cardinals Müller and Ouellet, however, believe these documents are in continuity when understood correctly. I tend to agree with these two Cardinals as explained in this article:

    I would have been happy if Pope Francis had chosen simply to repeat what had been taught by St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI in Familiaris consortio, 84 and Sacramentum caritatis, 29. The Holy Father, however, wishes to provide room for priests to discern some very complex and difficult cases when a declaration of nullity has not been able to be obtained. Access to the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist, though, must accord with Catholic moral and sacramental theology. A priest, in the sacred ministry of the Sacrament of Penance, must not give absolution to a penitent who manifests no purpose of amendment (cf. the 1983 CIC, can. 987). I don’t believe Pope Francis has challenged this teaching.

    I read the Buenos Aires Guidelines in continuity with the 2016 instruction of Cardinal Vallini, the Vicar of Rome, viz., La letizia dell’amore”: il cammino delle famiglie a Roma: . In his instruction, Cardinal Vallini is more specific about which divorced and remarried Catholics might have access to the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. He limits such access to the case “in which there is moral certainty that the first marriage was null but there are no proofs to demonstrate this in a judicial setting” (nel caso in cui vi è la certezza morale che il primo matrimonio era nullo, ma non ci sono le prove per dimostrarlo in sede giudiziaria; p. 13). Even in such cases, the priest-confessor must be prepared to assume responsibility before God for any access to the sacraments given to the penitent, and he must make sure that such access is only given “in a reserved manner” (in maniera riservata).

    Sandro Magister believes there is a dissonance between the Buenos Aires Guidelines and those of Cardinal Vallini: I believe, however, there is continuity between the two documents when read carefully.

    There is a certain risk involved when possible access to Penance and the Eucharist is given to divorced and remarried Catholics. This is true even when continence is observed. People will generally not know whether those in these civil unions are living as brother and sister. The truths that must be affirmed are the following: 1) the indissolubility of marriage; 2) Holy Communion may not be given to those who obstinately persist in adulterous acts; and 3) scandal must be avoided if Holy Communion is given to divorced and remarried Catholics.

    Is it possible to understand Amoris laetitia and the Buenos Aires Guidelines as upholding these three truths? I believe it is possible, but others apparently disagree. I can only present my thoughts and hope others will agree. My instinct, though, is to understand what the Roman Pontiff teaches in a benevolent and orthodox way. This, I believe, is my duty as a Catholic. In cases of uncertainty, I trust the judgment of the Roman Pontiff who is guided by the Holy Spirit in a special way.

    • Something is amiss.
      You should understand that the Argentinian guidelines can’t be understood in continuity with previous teaching because the current canon law makes any attempt at remarrying invalid due to lack of form.
      Lack of form didn’t always made a marriage invalid but it does since Trent. So even when granting the possibility of an invalid marriage which cannot be proven legally, there is the impossibility to contract a valid second marriage while the first one is presumed valid. Such second marriage can’t be blessed by the Church. It will always remain invalid.

      • Chris: Thank you for your response. I know what Trent teaches and so does Cardinal Vallini who was once the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. The issue was touched on by Cardinal Ratzinger in a 1998 essay, which is posted on the Vatican website: The question is whether those caught in these exceptional cases are always “obstinately” persisting in manifest grave sin. It’s a delicate matter. This is what (then) Cardinal Ratzinger said:

        “Admittedly, it cannot be excluded that mistakes occur in marriage cases. In some parts of the Church, well-functioning marriage tribunals still do not exist. Occasionally, such cases last an excessive amount of time. Once in a while they conclude with questionable decisions. Here it seems that the application of epikeia in the internal forum is not automatically excluded from the outset. This is implied in the 1994 letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in which it was stated that new canonical ways of demonstrating nullity should exclude ‘as far as possible’ every divergence from the truth verifiable in the judicial process (cf. No. 9). Some theologians are of the opinion that the faithful ought to adhere strictly even in the internal forum to juridical decisions which they believe to be false. Others maintain that exceptions are possible here in the internal forum, because the juridical forum does not deal with norms of divine law, but rather with norms of ecclesiastical law. This question, however, demands further study and clarification. Admittedly, the conditions for asserting an exception would need to be clarified very precisely, in order to avoid arbitrariness and to safeguard the public character of marriage, removing it from subjective decisions (n. 3c).”

          • Dear Karl,

            I am sorry you’ve been dealt with so unjustly. You should not, though. stop receiving the Sacraments. The Sacraments are gifts from Christ. Their efficacy comes from our divine Savior and not from the flawed human ministers. If you think I am deceived, I ask for your prayers.

            Trusting in Christ, our Redeemer, and Mary, the Co-redemptrix,
            Robert Fastiggi

          • Unless marriage is indissoluble, not almost. Not sort of. There can be no justified participation in Sacraments for me.

            As I said elsewhere, unless the brother and sister accomodation is anathemized, there can be no union with a Church, so corrupted.

            If I am wrong, I will accept correction only from God, Himself.

            There is no language, no sincerity that is sufficient to overcome the profundity of our marital violation at the hands of the Catholic Church except by God, unless every sidestep with marital fidelity is openly condemned in perpetuity.

          • “If I am wrong, I will accept correction only from God, Himself.”

            Indeed, you will.

            To remind you, you picked her.

          • Karl, I’m trying my best to understand these very deep posts by everyone posting here. Can you tell me what’s wrong about living with someone as brother and sister (although there may have been a sexual history between the 2)?

          • The two are one, says it all.

            Either they are one and their marriage has meaning or no “Sacrament” has any meaning.


          • And “the two are one” is referring to a valid sacramental marriage? is that correct. It is my understanding that it is so. Thus, those living in an adulterous union at one point, yet come to a point where they repent but for whatever reason can’t physically/geographically depart from the same living quarters, must live as brother and sister…I believe this is our Church’s teaching but help me if I have misstated something. Thanks

          • Your understanding, Eric, I think does, mostly, reflect what, at least to me, the Catholic Church, at present, seems to teach regarding marriage.

            My question is why?

            Why can’t one separate from a former lover?

            The usual excuse is children? And, in order to make the deceit/lies more palatable, a disgraceful human being, knowingly and completely, intellectually dishonest even to himself, I believe, simply reduces the issue to sex. Period.

            Is marriage only for sex?

            If it is then why are there a plethora of Canons related to different reasons for nullity?

            Why can’t marriages solely be null, over sex?

            The intellectually dishonest man that I am speaking of is Joseph Ratzinger, whose letter here:


            is, for me, the clearest indication of an utter disregard for anything other than sex as essential to marriage.

            Why has all of this not been thoroughly discussed in public to get to the heart of things?

            Instead this brother and sister nonsense has opened the floodgates to render marital vows as porous as a colander.

            Why the silence from Ratzinger in the years since? He cannot cite the excuse that there was no interest involved. He is not as stupid as his Papal successor. He knows the confusion and animus that are tearing Catholicism apart.

            What kind of man of character remains silent, in pandemonium, if his knowledge can calm the storm, or at least yield some respite and focus?

            A man like Jorge Bergoglio and, evidently, a man like Joseph Ratzinger, also.

            I proffer that unless we are being deceived regarding his intellectual acuity, even through the present, that Joseph Ratzinger has an obligation of honor to address this brother and sister debacle, unless he is intellectually unable to.

            If he is able and chooses not to, his arrogance and disdain for truth, indeed, for the Catholic Church and the Blessed Trinity, becomes a valid issue and calls his Papacy and his life’s legacy/value/worth into doubt in an objective view.


          • I think most here hold a certain frustration with St. JP II and Pope Benedict. I myself, who has falllin in love with the faith approx 4-5 years ago, honeslty speaking, have no frustration concerning them but with every Bishop and Cardinal that has clearly given up on the Faith. In regards to the brother and sister topic. I believe the teaching is that if the two people can’t simply leave each other (speaking in terms of home residence) then they must live as brother and sister. But the teaching implies that this is a last resort type of thing. With that being said, I find it hard to believe wealthy people fall into this difficult situation. Yet when it comes to the truly poor who do share children then I can see where the teaching is applicable. If you are truly poor one just cant simply immediately find living quarters, not to mention have the income to uphold oneself there. For years many poor, who may have been living adulterously but have now repented, may have relied on each other’s income to support themselves and the children. To immediately leave would also be too much of a financial shock to that sustenance system. Thus, if they or one of them have truly repented, then they must live as brother and sister—who are bound by blood to support each other as family. I think this is what the Church is getting at here….not a phony concern for those who are poor (as is so abundant in the here and now) but a real concern

          • I would be thoughtless to try to judge those in abject poverty. But, if there is a valid marriage involved, in addition to an adulterous relationship in separate households, poverty, outside of poverty that would likely kill, is no excuse.

            Living in lawless places is another thing altogether, as well.

          • Those in exact circumstances you describe, should be encouraged to live as brother and sister, to also teach their children of their parents scandalous gravely damaging choices, but communion should not be theirs to partake in.

          • The living as brother and sister should not be treated as a permanent thing by the two formerly adulterous persons but should be treated as a state that will come to pass so that temptation is decreased. I think we agree here. I just don’t see why you would want to withhold communion from such individuals who are not sexually active with each other but live under the same roof as brother and sister both working to ensure the spiritual health of one another and the children involved. Spiritual health meaning encouraging each other not to sin and reminding each other of the one true marriage they already have before their illicit union. Such situations believe it or not can come about through the grace of God. For God turns once wretched places into places of righteousness.

          • You are ignoring marital obligations that exist, period, whether their real spouse wants them or not.

            They are not doing a thing to try to restore their marital unity by being with their former lover.

            The children are actually, then, agents of evil and sin, because they are THE REASON to fail to work to restore the original marriage.

            Then, in my opinion, now that I have had the chance to see just how evil can be justified/excused, for raising children, it is seeming justified, to me, to make every effort to give the children up for adoption by an appropriately married couple.

            The respect for the first marriage is more important than the actual parents raising their own children.

          • This is why I stated that such a situation should not be treated by the formerly adulterous people as the permanent status quo, both should be working to separate to a different household. Yet as I said before, such a goal is not immediately attainable by people who are honestly quite poor. Even adoption is a process that requires time. Thus, in the interim, I see no wrong in living under the same rough temporarily but with a truly repentant heart that urges the adults to strive at working at living in a separate household at some point down the road. It’s important that this happens as the public image can be one of a sinful union but the reality that poverty can prohibit immediate geographic separation is true. But so is the possibility of truly repentant people who continuously work at honoring their one true marriage, as long as they put forth that effort, which is usuallIy a step bt step process, i see no infraction against the 1st marriage.

          • They have no business at the altar rail, period, until all the
            “things” which detract from their valid marriage are “disposed of”.

            You seem not to understand that under the guise of not causing scandal, the Catholic Church, OFFICIALLY ENCOURAGES DECEIT AND FALSEHOOD.

            The wrong that the Catholic Church openly embraces is so insidious that its intent, I am certain, it to intentionally deceive and to intentionally destroy the correct concept of marriage.

            Things are far, far worse than the vast majority of even the informed, are aware.

            The clergy are a Cesspool.

            I have lived this for years. Rome has been aware of this for years. So many people think highly of men like
            John Paul II, Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict and Cardinal Burke. But these men were in positions of great power and influence and did not raise a finger to address what they KNEW HAS LONG GONE ON.

            You seem so very sincere. Nor do I want to scandalize you. But the Catholic Church is filthy with corruption.

            It is quite literally a whore, who refuses to repent.

          • Being away from all things that detract from their valid marriage is not possible while living in an imperfect world. Refraining from adultery is within their power through, God’s grace. Remember their are many that violate their marriage vows and not necessarily through adultery, sometimes they simply neglect one another..yet God, seeing the true repentant heart for what it is, which is an unceasing fight to pull out of a dark situation and to never go there again, has seen such a turning as a reason for celebration. All of us have no business at the alter rail, but we, who are repentant sinners have been allowed to come. Those who live as brother and sister and are motivated by the fear and love of the Lord will find that their temporary situation may just turn into one that inspires them to honor their one true marriage and throw themselves back into the arms of their one and only spouse. As God can turn any situation into one of righteousness especially amongst the repentant

          • Now, the shoe is on the other foot.

            You, who were abandoned.

            LIKE I AM.

            Meet a truly wonderful, intelligent, beautiful, wealthy, traditional Catholic virgin.

            LIKE I DID.

            And both of you, although you know better, succumb, get pregnant, have kids, come to your senses, decide to live as brother and sister and actually do it, scrupulously.

            Does this circumstance honor the Valid, Sacramental Marriage?

            Are your children scandalized?

            Your catholic friends and relatives?

            Does it honor the unity of the spouses and their positive marital obligations, of always being an intimate helpmate?

            Or is this, objectively, only addressing not sleeping with anyone but your wife?

            So, does thus NOT primarily reduce ones wedding vows to:

            Not sleeping with another person?

            Then, is this what The two become one means?

            Is this what God’s plan for marriage means?

            Does this relationship reflect the BLESSED TRINITY and its unity?


            Your call, EricP.

            You know my answers.

            GOD BE WITH YOU.

          • I faced this 3 years ago.

            I meet Miss Right.

            Through aching hearts, aching throats and teary eyes, we faced our mutual attractions.

            I wanted her. She wanted me. She was free. I am not.

            I told her that if I were free that I would ask her out. She told me that if I was free her answer would be yes. She knew no men like me in her 56 years. But, she said, you are not free so we could not be.

            The Catholic Church is completely lost.

            It seeks the lowest accomplishments, constantly looking for excuses.

            We hugged/embraced for about one minute.

            I did not want to let her go.

            But, I had to let her go.

            She was such a prize. This was a woman who was saving herself for her husband. She sought the two becoming one.

            Though my heart and most of my mind ached for her, she deserved better than me.

            So, I had to let her go.

            Yes, it still hurts. Tears still fill my eyes.

            But, I made a vow.

            That vow was not merely to sleep with no one other than my wife.

            That vow was to work on our unity, to perfect it, to become one, increasingly and to strive to reflect the love if the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

            Did not Jesus BEG, WHILE SWEATING TEARS IN AGONY, in Gethsemene, to have the cross taken from Him?

            Yes, He did.

            But, He took His Cross, not a substitute.


            The brother and sister accomodation is SACRILEGIOUS. BLASPHEMY.

            Without THE CROSS, there is NO SALVATION.

            The brother and sister accomodation mocks THE CROSS.

            It cannot be clearer.

          • Until my last breath, God willing, I will bear MY CROSS, in unity with the sacrifice Jesus embraced in Gethsemene and on Calvary, in honor of our unity as it MUST reflect the Trinity.

  15. To me, this all boils down to making marital vows porous.

    I am abandoned, and was abandoned because priests(plural) convinced my wife that her marriage was null. Period.

    The Catholic Church knows this and has known it since early 1991 but refuses accountability.

    Nevertheless, this abandonment does not allow for me to remain with a “former lover”, for the “good of the children of our adultery,” even in PERFECT CONTINENCE and even if my spouse COMPLETELY ABANDONED ME TILL THEIR DEATH.

    It renders our marital vows useless and empty.

    I cannot and, God willing, will not be in union with the Catholic Church until it formally condemns and anethemizes the brother and sister accomodation and ANYTHING REMOTELY SIMILAR.

    • I thought you said that Church tribunals had refused your wife’s plea for a decree of nullity on 2 occasions. Therefore, how can priests (plural) have convinced your wife that your marriage was null?

      • The tribunals, ultimately, denied the petitions, but the divorce was required to process the petition.

        The sitting Bishop, on the phone, castigated me and refused to work to heal our marriage and accused me of abandoning my wife and children. I had been forced from our home under the threat of divorce.

        The sponsor of the original petition KNEW ME and did not call me before he signed of on her petition.

        When I called him, near tears, after being served with the petition, he refused to listen to my pleas, telling me that I knew nothing about Church teaching regarding marriage. He began to tell me that since I knew so much, in my mind, that I should start my own Church.

        I hung up on him.

        The original judicial vicar refused to depose three witnesses I offered him, to demonstrate that the petition was perjured. He knew that I wanted him to deny the petition in my presence. I wanted the Church to work to heal our marriage.

        I had the case teansferred, with knowledge of the Dean of the Rota.

        When that diocese denied the petition, the judicial vicar was accosted by my wife(he told me later when I called him) and to get her off his back he sent the case back to the original judicial vicar, without hearing me, as canon law required. Had he contacted me, I would have told him why I had the case transferred.

        How did the original Bishop hear of our case, to accuse me of abandonment? If not from, my wife, the petition sponsoring priest, or the judicial vicar, then from whom.

        • Ever consider that the Church is correct, your marriage actually is null and your wife wants nothing to do with you? How can the Church heal your marriage when your wife will not cooperate? Take the L and move on.

          • If I read his post right the Church did not grant an annulment (based on the tiebreaker third case). His point is that in his experience the priests and bishops he interacts with don’t care and treat his wife’s adulterous affair as no big deal.

          • As much as I do not want to foster “Church shopping”, and as much as I do believe the gist of what Karl has said took place {at least for the sake of argument} I suggest that if Karl is going to say that there is NO WHERE that the teachings of the Church are beng upheld, I suggest he keep looking.

            I actually have a lot of sympathy with Karl in that even if his case is made up {I’m not saying it is, just for sake of discussion, let’s say it is} so what, many of us, even with short experience in the CC as I have, can find violation after violation of teaching, liturgy, etc, as well as the communing of those barred by Canon 915.

            With the Church in the state it is in right now, I suggest to Karl {and all the Karls out there, as I am certain he is not alone…}, keep looking, and find a parish where the teachings of the Church are being taught and lived with something like integrity.

            Differing in details, Karl reminds me of some of the folks I’ve interacted with in {especially} Europe where every Catholic parish within anything like striking range is wholly apostate, or so they say. In light of that let’s not forget that our forefathers left all and left families, friends, jobs and nations to resettle in regions where they could worship in truth.

            Maybe Karl needs to find a parish where the Catholic faith is being lived and modeled, admitting of course that in all the doings of people, perfection is a hard thing to come by.

            Karl, keep looking, and if you need a list of good options, I’m sure many on this site can contribute. We have to drive 1 1/2 hours and pas a number of Catholic parishes by in order to attend a parish where basic Catholic teaching and practice are upheld, and maybe you could find something similar?

          • When I sent the case to the Rota, within 6 months I received a decision in Latin, which a kind old former Jesuit, still a priest(he passed away a few years ago). translated for me, by a three judge panel on the Roman Rota, which was critical of the American decision and refused to ratify it, instead indicating that a full second instance case would be heard. This was in mid 1994, I believe. Their, ultimate, decision is here:


            After this case, a third instance case was needed because there were two opposing decisions. In 2002, I believe, I cannot find my Latin copy of the decision(my only copy), the case was decided, again, against nullity being proven.

            The Ponens in the third instance case became the Dean of The Rota, but I forget when, Antonin Stankiewicz. Maybe in 2004?

            I have been, often told, to demonstrate to you how little regard there is for marriage, that our marriage was not upheld as valid, it was merely unable to be proven, with moral certainty, to be invalid.

            This is the practical reality of what the longstanding pastoral practices and tribunal practices, in the Catholic Church, have resulted in. Just look at the comment by Mike Gannome, to me, awhile ago. His is by far the more prevalent than those who respect my decision to remain faithful to our vows.

            I am actually somewhat surprised that you will take me at my word, Deacon Augustine. Not from the impression of the few comments that I have read by you, but rather from my decades of treatment, mostly being intentionally ignored, by clergy at all levels in the Church. My son was married in the Cathedral. many months prior, I wrote to the Bishop asking for his intervention. I wanted to attend our son’s wedding with our marriage in the process of healing. I heard nothing in reply. At our son’s wedding mass, my wife received communion, in attendance with her long time adulterous lover. I felt the wedding mass, fighting tears. I drove home to New York, from North Carolina.

            No one in the Catholic hierarchy is willing to listen to what has long gone on. I am beyond where I can trust the Church. You should hear some of what people, like me, have experienced by contacting Bai Mcfarlane.

            The injustices are not rare. This is NOT about me, although I certainly can understand how that impression might be taken. This is about a completely broken, dysfunctional system. Those who are part of that system, the hierarchy, theologians and Canon lawyers, among others cannot be trusted to set things right. But they are the ones who will.

            Their choices will not work.

          • Karl, I am the Director of the Marriage and Family Life Commission in my diocese. While I am far too long in the tooth to form a firm conclusion based on only one side of the story, unfortunately your account appears quite credible to me based on my experiences in my role and more generally as a member of the clergy for years before that.

            I know priests who are canon lawyers who pride themselves on their ability to find grounds for annulling any marriage. I have heard them openly despise defendants who want to fight for their marriage and its validity. They are not fit to be let near any tribunal or any pastoral work involving married couples. Just as there are many clergy who don’t believe in the most basic dogmas of the faith, there are those who do not believe in the Sacrament of Marriage and consequently they don’t give a damn about healing marriages in difficulty.

            Obviously there are places where the system works better than in others. However, the US Church has had a bad reputation internationally in Canon Law circles since the 1970’s. US Catholics make up 5% of the world population of Catholics and yet in the ’90’s they were producing 95% of the annulments in the Church throughout the world. One diocese granted 354 decrees of nullity in one year – and it only had ONE Defender of the Bond. God alone knows how many will be granted with the recent changes that Frank has brought in. The system is sick and broken in many places and is vulnerable to manipulation by sick and broken individuals.

            I am genuinely sorry for the grief and hurt you have received at the hands of those who should have helped you. It shouldn’t be this way, but I know you are definitely not alone.

          • I attempted to put a long reply here a couple of minutes ago. But apparently it was lost. I guess that is sign enough for me to cease posting here. On this topic.

  16. Waste of time to go into legalisms with this crowd. While studying civil law at a catholic university we were also taught parts on canon law particularly on marriage. This is not that difficult. They know darn well what they are doing. They simply have no respect for any law that is inconvenient and try to twist it or ignore it as needed. No respect indeed for the law of God of which any human text is merely a statement.
    These interpretations seek to avoid conflict and schism. Well intentioned I am sure but totally useless. Only plain speaking by prelates will put the issue into proper context.
    Laymen have taken the first steps. After the publication by Francis on the Sede Apostolica Acts the die is cast. Either the prelates talk or simply remain as men dressed in purple or red.

  17. I’m glad to see that at least a few people are beginning to catch on to what Ed “nothing-to-see-here” Peters is really up to.

    • I think that Ed Peters is being very careful to not overstep what he can defend. I believe him to be honest but, I do think that he has a disconnect, which I have never understood, about how corrupted things are and how powerless, nobodies, like me are, to defend our marriages.

      Literally, I lost everything, including complete custodial rights to our five young children, 1yr to 9yrs old.

      I nearly committed suicide.

      But you all need to understand
      that all of this has been known to the Church, all along and there is no method of accountability.

      The corruption is ubiquitous and the corrupt have all the power.

      Things are far, far worse than even those with decent knowledge understand.

  18. Anyone who does not know the Ten Commandments, including “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and who does not know that he is bound by the laws of the Church, including those concerning Matrimony, is not sufficiently catechized to be receiving Holy Communion, no matter what his marital state may be.

    Enough parsing of what the Pope said or intended and what the effect may be in law or doctrine. What is indisputable is that Pope Francis is failing to affirm what the Church has always taught and done. Pope Honorius was condemned not for teaching heresy himself but for failing to correct it. We have at least that here. The decisive point is not whether Amoris laetitia says that the divorced and remarried may receive Communion. The problem is that it does not clearly say that they cannot. And that was the goal. This is a point that does not require advanced degrees or subtle analysis. No previous Pope hesitated on withholding Holy Communion from those living in a manifest state of adultery. Canon 915 deals with this matter unequivocally. There is no doubt about the authentic Magisterium. Pope Francis is grieviously wrong. Just accept that and your head will stop hurting, but your heart will ache.

  19. As far as I’m concerned, it is a very serious mistake to assume that Francis has *validly* upgraded his personal opinion (cfr. AL, #3 and #4) to the level of “authentic magisterium”.
    It is incongruent to declare about a certain statement “this is my personal opinion” one day and the next day “this authentic magisterium”.
    Incongruent teachings and norms are, by their own nature, irrational and, hence, manifestly unjust. According to Aquinas and Suárez, we are all bound to *desobey* them, even when such desobedience may look scandalous.

  20. As usual, De Mattei is simply brilliant. Thank you, OP5 for the truth. And the sanity.

    Folks, let’s be honest with ourselves: for Pope Francis, “St. Vincent of Lerins” [and ‘a fortiori’ St. Paul, St. Peter, and the rest of the Apostles] would be “rigid” “pharisees” with “cold hearts” who “sit in judgment” on “the other””on the peripheries”. Blind taste test, you put the words and deeds of these great Saints and Apostles in front of Bergoglio…result: he would judge them to be “rigid conservatives with cold judgmental hearts, unwilling to ‘accompany the other’, blah blah FrancisSpeak blah.”

    And in the end is that not in itself more a judgment on Bergoglio himself than on those great Saints and Apostles?

  21. Dr. Peters comments on De Mattei’s response:

    My comments on De Mattei’s response
    December 20, 2017

    A few days ago Prof. Roberto De Mattei opined on the significance of the appearance of the so-called Buenos Aires directives in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. I replied to his observations here. Now, De Mattei has graciously responded to my remarks. There is, of course, much good in De Mattei’s latest comments, but there are also new and problematic assertions even beyond what I can respond to here. In the interest of efficiency I will respond to some of De Mattei’s points in terms of the incipits of his paragraphs.

    Read the rest at

    • More quotes from Peters in his comments on De Matei’s response::

      I think that Amoris laetitia has occasioned, and that some of the policies announced by certain bishops in the wake of Amoris have caused, real pastoral damage, but I seek neither to “contain” that damage nor to “minimize” it; rather, insofar as Amoris makes or occasions others making canonical assertions, I seek to identify those assertions and to frame them accurately for others. I take no position on whether there is ‘more behind’ the pope’s words than meets the eye. I focus on the legal significance (or lack thereof) of the pope’s materials as he published them, and leave mind-reading to others.


      1. Canon law is not the first defense of good order in the Church; it is the last. … I am immensely glad that the law is here, but the fact that we are lately having to rely on law almost exclusively to defend crucial Church teachings is a sign of serious, deeper problems.

    • I posted this over on CWR but I’ll tag it here, too.

      I am a fan of Dr Peters and I have been eagerly waiting for this. I find lots to agree with here, but one statement rises above the other statements that are worthy of repeating. This one is worthy of dispute.

      Dr Peters says: “I do not think they should be exaggerated. I describe those assertions for what I think they are: flawed, easily exploitable, expressions by a pope, which assertions nevertheless pale in the face of the Church’s unbroken enunciation of Church teaching and discipline in this area.”

      While I might be able to agree with him in some historical sense, just exactly WHERE does Dr Peters see an”unbroken enunciation of Church teaching and discipline in this area” today? Is the discipline of Canon 915 enforced anywhere? He does himself a disservice in making such a statement.

      The entire problem with this pontificate is NOT that it is such an anomaly in the representation of the Catholic faith, but rather, that it, in its studied ambiguity and its demonstration of continued abandonment of the enforcing of Canon 915, simply reflects what “Catholicism” has become and has been for many, many years. Possibly Dr Peters is a frog who is unaware of the temperature of the bathwater, but I can assure you that many that have just been dropped in the pot are screaming at the scalding.

      • Yuppers.

        I generally always read, with genuine interest, Ed Peters opinions….on just about anything.

        But, I might have missed it and if I have, link(s) would be nice, but, I have not heard him advocate holding to account, clergy and Canonists, especially Clergy who are Canonists, who actions have been demonstrably harmful to marriage, as has happened in our marriage.

        There needs to exist a very fast method to address complaints of defending respondents, especially.

        I have lived in purgatory(no one, please, tell me the value of suffering. I know the stories) for nearing three decades and no one has been held to account who, through direct behavior, or simply ignoring me, has done incredible damage in my life.

        I know others who have had and are having similar experiences.

        I have never heard of a Canonist of high standing, openly call for justice for aggrieved defending respondents.

        Or for addressing the incredible damage requiring divorce before processing a nullity petition, causes.

        I heard of one lesser known Canonist, whose name has long escaped me, but who ceased the practice of Canon Law, at least regarding annulments(if I recall accurately), due to observing corruption.

        Either the Catholic Church addresses us or I hope and may soon start to pray, for open persecution of Catholic Clergy. The Church must do us justice or it should be shut down.

        • I, too, would like to hear what Dr Peters has to say about holding to account canonists and clergy, and especially prelates. Good grief, add whole provinces to the mix.

          In every time there have been problems in the Church, and discipline seems to be the crowning disorder of this one. Possibly we can lay the blame at the feet of Pope John XXIII in his words at the opening of the Vatican 2 Council when he says the Church is going to take a new course and no longer level condemnations, but rather look for the good and issue affirmations. For since that tie grievous evil seems to get a pass while stuff that used to be Catholic gets a hard look at the nicest.

          As Dr Peters has stated in the recent piece and elsewhere nearly ad nauseum, “no Church teaching has changed”. To which a “civilian”, non-canonist might reasonably respond “So, What?”.

          Certainly it matters that the Church has NOT reneged on dogma, but who can deny that in practice, the teaching so often is left dusty and forgotten while a new tradition has in daily experience taken the place of the old?

          Right now we are relieved to know that “Poe Francis hasn’t changed Church teaching”.


          What a relief!

          And yet we can also say with good reason “Big deal…”

          As we watch as tens of thousands of annulments are issued, a sodomite priest “comes out” to the joy and praise of his {also queer??} Archbishop, while Freemasonry is coddled, liturgy is mocked with beachballs and half-naked dancers, Communism is praised over Christianity, heretics are treated as faithful, abortion and contraception are supported by favorable association with policies protecting them, Jesus and Mary are suggested to have sinned, and Cardinals seeking answers to the chaos around them can’t even get an audience with the Pope.

          As for “shutting down” the Church, many have attempted to do just that. The ones making the most effort at it used to hail from outfits foreign to the Church itself, but now it is the turn of those who call themselves Catholic. The first group failed and the current group will, too, but in the meantime, things promise to be quite the challenge indeed.

          • I do not think that more than a relatively few even care enough for even a passing thought about the damage already done and continuing because no one has the integrity to strike the first blow(and I have no idea what that would be, but I know it should happen) that would force this to a conclusion or splinter the Church. But, it needs to be done and done immediately.

      • “Possibly Dr Peters is a frog who is unaware of the temperature of the bathwater.” I see Dr. Peters more as one observing the condition of the bathwater—reporting carefully on its pH balance and its mineral content but choosing to ignore its increasing temperature.

        Then celebrity priests like Fr. Z report what Dr. Peters writes and exclaim that they were previously worried about the state of affairs at the Vatican—but are now so relieved that Dr. Peters has explained everything to them. “We have Canon 915!” “Now look over HERE at these pretty baubles, my over-the-top lunches, and my jetset lifestyle! Oh, and send me money so I can pray for you.”

        In the end, these elements all work together to distract the faithful from what’s really going on. And I don’t think that’s an accident—so we would disagree there, I’m guessing. And as bad as the problems are with this papacy, the heaven-and-hell issues are the ones happening at the parish level—matters about which Dr. Peters would never deign to comment. His work will never leave the hermetically-sealed beaker of canon lawyering. It’s already clear there will be no accountability unless the laity make it so.

        • Reading this, I’m not sure we would agree at all.

          There are parishes and more importantly to the point, priests who are striving to remain strong in orthodoxy during these terrible times.

          Truly and sadly, though, we live at a time when “let’s pretend” seems to rule.

        • “…Dr Peters would never deign to comment”… I believe Dr Peters is confining his comments to his area of expertise, giving a professional opinion on canon law, rather than something more wide ranging. That’s entirely appropriate.

          Dr. Mattei, as an historian, on the other hand has a bit more leeway given his different focus. I value both of their insights greatly, and I do not see them as “either/or”. It’s hard to do surgery with an ax. It’s hard to clear a forest with a scalpel.

          • I partly disagree about Peters. In my work, I have to deal with attorneys. I expect them to analyse the law and not muddy it up with their own opinions or even beliefs. In Peters’ case, I think he does an excellent job of the former, and sometimes strays into the latter, where I find he pretty much seems to support traditional tenets of the faith. He does, however, occasionally mix the two in ways that are silly and exhibit a tendency to play “Let’s Pretend”, as he did in the statement I criticized above. Yes, I would like him to reach out and make bold statements about what he sees going on. Maybe he could do so in a different venue than his canon law site?

            As for Father Z, he has his opinions and knowledge base. I enjoy his knowledge base and comments from time to time, but I agree with you that he definitely appears to hail from the Mueller School of Applied Polysemy.

            davend’s statement here strikes me as a pretty fair summation:

            “And as bad as the problems are with this papacy, the heaven-and-hell issues are the ones happening at the parish level—matters about which Dr. Peters would never deign to comment. His work will never leave the hermetically-sealed beaker of canon lawyering. It’s already clear there will be no accountability unless the laity make it so.”

            I’m finding out there is a well-populated bevy of Catholic public figures who will go to any linguistic length to affirm the raiment of strutting, buck-nekkid Emperors.

          • I agree with you but I had to point out that even before Jorge came to power I had problems with these two, and others.

            People, not you, but in general fall into hero worship. If you critically read them over the years you can see that yes they are basically orthodox but they fall into the Weigle-type propaganda circuit.
            They always overly “finesse” controversial issues which really not only does not help but contributes to the illness that gave us Jorge, and Tucho, and all the rest.

          • One thing I have noticed in this pontificate is that there are quite a number of theologians who have got it right. That is a good sign, even if they are at this juncture sort of outcasts. Even some sterling Germans!

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