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Does Paragraph 298 of Amoris Laetitia Promote Adultery?

Among the more controversial paragraphs from Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia (AL), 298 seems to be a real ideological Rorschach test. Some people see the problem with it, and some don’t (or choose not to). Since it has come up several times in various online discussion, I’d like to try to break it down in the hopes of providing some clarity. There’s nothing harder to explain, in my opinion, than the obvious, so please bear with me as we take the time to pick it apart.

Let’s start with the relevant portion of paragraph 298:

The divorced who have entered a new union, for example, can find themselves in a variety of situations, which should not be pigeonholed or fit into overly rigid classifications leaving no room for a suitable personal and pastoral discernment. One thing is a second union consolidated over time, with new children, proven fidelity, generous self giving, Christian commitment, a consciousness of its irregularity and of the great difficulty of going back without feeling in conscience that one would fall into new sins. The Church acknowledges situations “where, for serious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate”.329 [emphasis added]

The second and third sentences are referencing a specific hypothetical situation — “a second union consolidated over time, with new children, proven fidelity, generous self giving, Christian commitment, a consciousness of its irregularity…” — and it is on this that we must concentrate to find our answers.

Let’s start by unpacking the language:

  • “A second union consolidated over time” — here we are speaking objectively about an adulterous second relationship after a valid marriage. It may be a second “marriage,” it may be a case of cohabitation, the specific context is unclear. But the preceding sentence says “the divorced who have entered a new union,” so we know what it isn’t: a valid, sacramental marriage in which sexual intercourse is licit.
  • We know that this union has, at least at some point, involved sexual intercourse, inasmuch as it has brought forth “new children.”
  • We know that since this union is not a valid, sacramental marriage, that any sexual activity engaged in by the couple is adulterous.
  • We know that this situation has some longevity to it, since it is described as having “proven fidelity.” This isn’t a one night stand, or even a relationship of a few months. There has been time for the conception, pregnancy, and birth of at least one new child.
  • Those involved in the union have “a consciousness of its irregularity”. This is a very strange way of putting it. The document does not, as far as I’ve been able to find, define “irregular” (nor can I find such a definition in the Code of Canon Law) but context makes this much clear: irregular unions, in the way that AL refers to them, are relationships that are sexual in nature but do not meet the requirements for valid, sacramental marriage. This means that there’s really no other way to explain this “consciousness of…irregularity” than to say, “Those involved know they’re living in a relationship that violates the 6th Commandment, and/or Our Lord’s general teaching on marriage.”

It appears then that we have a fairly clear picture of what we’re discussing in this hypothetical: long-term non-marital relationships that have generated children, and are acknowledged by the participants to exist in violation of the Church’s/God’s teaching on marriage. (This last part is important, because it handily dispenses with any claim of ignorance.)

The section of AL 298 in question continues: “…a consciousness of its irregularity and of the great difficulty of going back without feeling in conscience that one would fall into new sins.”

This is very odd language. What does it mean?

  • “the great difficulty of going back” — the obvious meaning here is, “to separate from this union and to return to the original spouse.”
  • “Without feeling in conscience that one would fall into new sins” — this is extremely vague. It could mean almost anything. New sexual sins? Sins of abandonment of duty to another or dependent children? What kinds of sins? And how does “feeling” a thing change the moral obligation one is under to make an act of the will based on an informed conscience?

Now let’s look at the last sentence of that section:

“The Church acknowledges situations ‘where, for serious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate’.329”

I left the footnote on there, because it’s very important, but we’ll get to that in a second.

The assertion in this sentence exists in contradiction to prior Church teaching as expressed in the encyclical Casti Connubii (CC). CC quotes St. Augustine when it says:

By conjugal faith it is provided that there should be no carnal intercourse outside the marriage bond with another man or woman; with regard to offspring, that children should be begotten of love, tenderly cared for and educated in a religious atmosphere; finally, in its sacramental aspect that the marriage bond should not be broken and that a husband or wife, if separated, should not be joined to another even for the sake of offspring. This we regard as the law of marriage by which the fruitfulness of nature is adorned and the evil of incontinence is restrained. (CC 10; my emphasis)

Familiaris Consortio (FC), Pope John Paul II’s own post-synodal apostolic exhortation on marriage and family, also deviated from this prior teaching by admitting the exception of those who live in such unions while living in perfect continence — the complete abstaining from any conjugal relations. (You’ll note that CC argues that it is by separation that the “evil of incontinence is restrained”, but FC posits that these couples can, in fact, live together chastely.) FC also upheld the prohibition on allowing those in such unions to receive Confession or Communion without repentance and a change of life. From FC 84:

[T]he Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.”

Though this paragraph of FC is referenced in footnote 329 of paragraph 298 of Amoris Laetitia, its specific formulation of the requirement to live in continence is not directly cited anywhere in the document. (In fact, the word “continence” appears only twice in AL — both as a reference to purposefully chosen virginity, which is therein diminished from its properly-defined role [Trent; 24th session, 10th definition] as a higher calling than marriage.)

This same prohibition was also conspicuous by its intentional omission in paragraph 51 of the 2015 final Synod report, which quoted only the part of FC 84 that supported the narrative we now see in AL 298:

Pastors must know that, for the sake of truth, they are obliged to exercise careful discernment of situations. There is in fact a difference between those who have sincerely tried to save their first marriage and have been unjustly abandoned, and those who through their own grave fault have destroyed a canonically valid marriage. Finally, there are those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children’s upbringing, and who are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid.

Do you see the way the teaching on this is being gradually repealed over the course of time? What appears in Casti Connubii explicitly is revised so that it appears with an exception in Familiaris Consortio, which is itself revised so that it doesn’t appear at all in Amoris Laetitia.  (Introducing error through gradualism is a favored post-conciliar trick, and it reminds me very much of the replacement of the first and greatest commandment with the second in Evangelii Gaudium 161, which itself first coalesced in a less egregious conflation in Gaudium et Spes 24.)

So let us return to 298, and its attendant footnote.

We have been presented with the situation of second union in which the participants know they are violating God’s law (and, consequently, that of the Church) but feel that they are unable to separate for the good of their children and for fear of falling into some other, undefined sins.

Now, with that as our context, we look to footnote 329, which states:

329 John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (22 November 1981), 84: AAS 74 (1982), 186. In such situations, many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living “as brothers and sisters” which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, “it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers” (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 51). [emphasis added]

This is where we see the big issue. Let’s parse it again:

  • “In such situations” — ie., second unions which are knowingly adulterous
  • “many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living ‘as brothers and sisters’ which the Church offers them” — these individuals also understand that the Church calls them to live in perfect continence.
  • “point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, ‘it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers'” — here is where the rubber meets the road, folks. These couples have understood and accepted the existence (and perhaps the correctness?) of the moral proposition of continence in illicit unions, but then go on to “point out” something contrary to it. Namely, that when “certain expressions of intimacy are lacking” then “faithfulness is endangered” and “the children suffer”.

This “acceptance” of the command to live as brother and sister while objecting to it is a principle corroborated in another paragraph from AL — 301 — which states, in part:

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

When the Church itself through her Supreme Pontiff creates an official document that makes excuses for obstinacy in sin, we are in very dangerous territory indeed.

So, to return to footnote 329 and wrap this up: when you read the phrase, “certain expressions of intimacy”, what does it call to mind? Doing taxes together? Watching a movie? Playing soccer? Maybe a nice game of Boggle?

“Intimacy” is a word which by its definition indicates a very close relationship. “Expressions of intimacy” between members of the opposite sex primarily connotes physical affection, up to and including sexual intimacy. If I were to “express intimacy” with a woman who was not my wife — even if sex were not involved, only holding, kissing, etc. — would that be, do you think, a form of adulterous act? Would my wife think so? Would you, if it were your spouse? Would you feel cheated on, perhaps?

Of course, “expressions of intimacy” which are so important that without them “faithfulness is endangered” are much more likely to be sexual in nature. Not to be crass, but in modern culture, we hear incessantly about how when sexual needs are not met, affairs tend to follow. A plain reading of this text makes clear that this is what is being expressed. I’ll paraphrase it for clarity:

“In second marriages or committed post-divorce relationships, many people, understanding that the Church calls them to abstain from sexual contact of any kind, point out that when this sort of intimacy is not a part of the relationship, it’s far more likely that one (or both) of the spouses will fall into infidelity (again), which could hurt the children who have come from that union.”

These are people who have already been excused, in 298, from separating — as Casti Connubii once indicated was morally necessary to avoid falling into further adultery. Now, we see yet another excuse: “If they’re not allowed to engage in at least some of the acts proper to spouses, the second union might fail, too. They should be allowed to do it. You know, for the kids.

This is, as written, an implicit promotion of the continuation of adultery — in a document issued by a pope.

Originally published on May 2, 2016. This post has been updated.

281 thoughts on “Does Paragraph 298 of Amoris Laetitia Promote Adultery?”

    • It has to be spelled out because too many, particularly the JPII-reared “conservative” crowd that treats every word a pope says as if it is beyond reproach, refuse to acknowledge just how bad this document is.

  1. When I convoked the first synod, the great concern of the majority of the media was communion for the divorced and remarried, and, since I am not a saint, this bothered me, and then made me sad. Because, thinking of those media who said, this, this and that, do you not realize that that is not the important problem?

  2. So if JPII develops the teaching of Pius XI why can’t Pope Francis develop it further? And why should Pius XI be preferred over either JPII or Francis?

    • Oh, please. If you’re willing to call what Steve has so painstakingly analyzed “development of teaching” on something (the conditions for adultery) that has already been dogmatically defined, then we’ve entered a Twilight Zone where dogma is now whatever the reigning pontiff wants it to be. And that is not, not, not his role. Punto.

      • Let’s take Francis out of it for the sake of argument. Is FC correct in allowing the divorced and remarried to live together even though that changes the teaching of Pius XI?

        • No, we can’t “take Francis out of it.” For while JPII did permit DRMs to live together as “brother and sister”, Francis is going to the point, as Steve articulated, of allowing implicitly, if not explicitly, adulterous sexual intimacy to take place. Why this isn’t raising more red flags I can’t understand; the reigning pontiff is essentially saying that adultery (a mortal sin that will send souls to Hell) can be permissible in certain circumstances, even though the parties involved (presumably) are aware that DRM is prohibited by the Church in the first place.

          • It IS raising red flags… here is what a priest writes on his blog. This is in reference to the Holy Father telling priests not to make confession a ‘torture chamber’ – which Pope Francis again recently did -. what the priest writes touches on the aspect of letting people who are in an adulterous situation go to confession and then take Holy Communion.:
            “True repentance without contrition and without some purpose of amendment is simply not possible. That would be a repentance which is not repentant at all. Or better, since repentance = rethinking (metanoia), such repentance without contrition and without some purpose of amendment would be no more than a mind game, that which is Promethean, neo-Pelagian, self-absorbed, self-referential, self-congratulatory. This is totally lacking in love, totally lacking in mercy. I think, therefore I am saved. It makes the sacraments a joke. It makes a joke of Christ’s faithful. It makes a joke of the priests who want to bring people into Christ’s love, not simply into some mind-game.
            Once entered into, how is it that one can extract someone out of such a mind-game? Is it not the same way that one might present at the very beginning of the “process”? Is it not all about Jesus and His love which is stronger than death? Yes. Repentance comes with contrition, an act of love, and purpose of amendment, an act of love. Repentance without contrition and purpose of amendment is not simply atrition, sorry for the loss of heaven and the pains of hell (which is good in and of itself and sufficient to bring one to confession and receive absolution if there is also a repentance with purpose of amendment).
            Instead, repentance without contrition and purpose of amendment is, again, simply a mind-game which has no respect for the one who would provide pardon. It makes one into the elder brother of the prodigal. It is self-righteous, loving only of self specifically apart from God.

            Holy Father, I love you to pieces, but you are wrong. Why do you torture your priests and Christ’s faithful with that which is less than love?”
            I admire the priest,…especially his last sentence above. The priest is tackling the issue and what’s wrong with Pope’s Francis’ exhortation. He is not ‘attacking the pope’… I personally think the higher clergy are not speaking out because it might lead us laity to lose respect for the Office of the Pope. I admit I came very close to that when the AL came out…but then I realized Jesus Himself instituted this Office, and no way can I lose respect for that Office. …I do have to see Jesus face to face sometime, and I have enough sins as it is…I will not add that one.

            What I do see, and am truly thankful for – is that the Gospels speak of the weakness of the occupant of the Holy See. …St. Paul having to admonish Peter, etc. Also, the sheep know the voice of the true Shepherd…that is being made abundantly clear to me “by the rejection by the sheep of the AL”. …in so many blogs that I read. In the mean time, I am clinging to, and saying my rosary,…the Lord promised that the Gates of Hell would not prevail. …

          • Can you share the link to the full article? I would love to read the entire text and send the links to my friends.

          • Here is the link to the full article. Hope Mr. Skojec allows it to be posted.


            Another interesting link from the same priest, is this post about Ignatius Press giving permission to priest bloggers to post the essay by Cardinal Ejik on whether the divorced and remarried should be admitted to communion:


            I hope the priest will publish the actual essay soon,- and then you can perhaps share that link with your friends. I have the book of the 11 Cardinals from which the actual essay is taken, and the essay is very informative. It gives the theological, doctrinal and pastoral reasons why the remarried and divorced CANNOT receive communion- in a very clear essay. If communion is given in those circumstances, then there is no reason why people in homosexual marriages cannot receive communion. This, as I have pointed out here and else where, is one of the many Trojan Horses in AL.

            In my view, the more people who read Cardinal Ejik’s essay, the more they can support their priests who refuse Communion to the divorced and remarried, and also inform their friends, co-workers, etc. It seems to me that the faithful laity really, really have to be involved.

          • The only explanation is that they don’t REALLY believe that remarrying after divorce really is adultery. In other words:

            1) They’re accepting the STATE’s definition of marriage, instead of the Church’s.

            2) They don’t believe Jesus knew what He was talking about.

        • I would suggest that this change in FC, which skirted the issue by the demand for complete continence, failed to recognize the reality that CC so clearly articulated: that separation is the remedy for temptations to incontinence.

          I don’t know if you’ve ever lived with someone you are in a relationship and tried to remain celibate. I wound up in that situation once, with my now-wife, before we were married. We slept in separate rooms. We were careful in our attempts to observe propriety. We talked about it in our pre-cana classes with our priest. I moved out as soon as I had enough money to get my own place. (It happened when I moved to the state where she was living with the promise of a job that fell through.)

          But I was there for a few months. And it was hell (in terms of temptation). And we’d never acted as husband and wife, which would have only made it worse.

          While it certainly is possible to live chastely under such circumstances, it would be exceedingly difficult to do so on a long-term basis. This is why CC advised that even for the good of children, the couple not stay living together in the second union.

          • FWIW, we prevailed in our attempts to remain celibate. Not without some mistakes, but we waited until after we were married to live like husband and wife.

            Had our situation gone on longer, I can’t imagine I could have kept that up indefinitely.

          • Thanks. But I was just talking to someone today who had a pastor tell them, “This almost never happens in real cases. It just doesn’t work.”

      • “Dogma is not only able, but ought to evolve and to be changed. This is strongly affirmed by the Modernists, and clearly flows from their principles. For among the chief points of their teaching is the following, which they deduce from the principle of vital immanence, namely, that religious formulas if they are to be really religious and not merely intellectual speculations, ought to be living and to live the life of the religious sense. This is not to be understood to mean that these formulas, especially if merely imaginative, were to be invented for the religious sense. Their origin matters nothing, any more than their number or quality. What is necessary is that the religious sense — with some modification when needful — should vitally assimilate them. In other words, it is necessary that the primitive formula be accepted and sanctioned by the heart; and similarly the subsequent work from which are brought forth the .secondary formulas must proceed under the guidance of the heart. Hence it comes that these formulas, in order to be living, should be, and should remain, adapted to the faith and to him who believes. Wherefore, if for any reason this adaptation should cease to exist, they lose their first meaning and accordingly need to be changed.”

        • Shame on you, Steve, quoting from a pre-Conciliar pope like that. You do realize that everything before 1962 is from the Bad Old Triumphalism Church™, not the Jesus-Loves-Me-and-Wants-To-Be-My-Fishing-Buddy-on-Sunday-Morning-I-Love-You-You-Love-Me Church that we are so happy and blessed to have now (hang on, let me get my guitar and bongos for Mass!). (sarcasm off)

          In all seriousness, however, it’s incredible that we’ve had the Modernist playbook for more than a century, and yet the Church, as an institution, refuses to use it. Denial is apparently no longer just a river in Egypt any longer.

    • Mr. Willard:

      You posted in part: “So if JPII develops the teaching of Pius XI why can’t Pope Francis develop it further?”

      That is a good question. But is AL a transparent, binding, papal teaching or a less than clear papal exhortation? The word develop can be defined as: grow or cause to grow and become more mature, advanced, or elaborate.Although the Deposit of Faith cannot change it can be developed or understand in a deeper, more clear and mature manner.

      However Almighty God does not change.. His Ten Commandments cannot be modified. Christ Himself raised marriage to the dignity of a sacrament.

      “The heaven and the earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35

      There are no such things a second marriages, irregular situations or new unions. There is only the sad fact of adultery.

      Our Holy Father Francis is the successor to Peter, not the successor to Christ.

      God bless

      Richard W Comerford

      • Richard,

        The 10 Commandments were modified. Keep holy the Sabbath was changed to Keep holy the Lord’s Day, which is Sunday. Most of the 10 Commandments I see posted around Catholic churches contain the old 3rd Commandment which was changed. I do not bring this up to argue the Church can change what She wants but She can obviously change certain things that align with the actions of the original Apostles.


        • Mr. Michael:

          Thank you for your reply. You posted in part: “The 10 Commandments were modified.”

          Really! By whom?

          and in part: “Keep holy the Lord’s Day, which is Sunday.”

          That is a modification?

          and in part: “contain the old 3rd Commandment which was changed.”

          It was? Again when, by whom?

          and in part: “She can obviously change certain things that align with the actions of the original Apostles”

          No. It is not obvious.

          God bless

          Richard W Comerford

          • Richard,

            Is the Saturday Sabbath the same as Sunday, the Lord’s Day? The Catholic Church, the pillar and foundation of Truth, changed it, which means, by extension, that Christ Himself changed it.

            God bless,

          • Steve,

            I recommend reading the link below at the Radical Catholic site.


            Here are two snippets from it.

            Where will our friend find a loop-hole to escape? Oh! as usual, for the Sunday as for the Bible, he will have to fall back on the old Church. What in the world could he do without her? He will find there an authority, and he is obliged to recognize it, even if he does on ordinary occasions declaim against and condemn it. Incidentally, if his eyes are open, he will discover that his individually interpreted Bible has failed most woefully to do its work; it condemns the Protestant Sunday.

            This day was changed on the sole authority of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, as the representative of God on earth, to whose keeping was confided the interpretation of God’s word, and in whose bosom is found that other criterion of truth, called tradition. It is Tradition that justifies the change she made. Deny this, and there is no justification possible, and you must go back to the Mosaic Sabbath. Admit it, and if you are a Protestant you will find yourself in somewhat of a mess.

          • Steve, the Decalogue says “Sabbath” not Saturday. If you recall, I never said it did say “Saturday”. Regardless, the Catholic Church changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, the Lord’s Day. Saturday, as far as I know, has always been considered the last day of the week, thus the seventh day, the day of rest, the Sabbath.

            The modified 3rd Commandment obliges us to worship God on the Lord’s Day (Sunday) and no other day will do, not even the Sabbath (Saturday). Can this be changed again? NO!

            If you are trying to make the case that the “Lord’s Day” can be any day, and that day chosen is the “Sabbath” as long as 6 days of work preceded it, and because of that the original wording of the 3rd Commandment still holds true, then I might possibly agree with you or at least understand your position. However, this does not change the fact that the pre-resurrection Sabbath worship on Saturday was changed to Sunday by the Church. And even today, the Church clearly distinguishes the Sabbath day of Saturday from the Lord’s Day.

            God bless,

          • The point is, the Church didn’t change the commandment; it changed the day on which it was observed. The former was God’s law, already established and immutable. The latter was man’s observance of the divine command — something Christ made clear through his various arguments with the Pharisees about their interpretation of keeping the Sabbath was disciplinary in nature, and thus subject to the authority of the Church.

            The Church has no power to change the Commandments. Not with the 3rd Commandment, and not with the 6th.

          • Steve, if I told my son that he had to put the trash out on the 7th day of the week and a month later changed it to the 1st day, then that is a substantial change in the law and thus the new law reflects the change.

            You can spin it whatever way you want but the Commandment changed and every authoritative document from the Catholic Church listing the 10 Commandments manifests the change from the Sabbath to Sunday.

            It seems you are thinking that I am using this argument to support additional changes to other Commandments. I am not.

            If the Church simply said the new Sabbath is the Lord’s Day, then I would whole heartily agree with you but She clearly distinguishes the days from each other and this is for good reason.

            The natural law aspect of the 3rd Commandment to worship God did not change but the day we are obliged to do so has. This means the Commandment, as it is written, changed.


          • Mr. Michael:Thank you for your reply. You posted in part: “Is the Saturday Sabbath the same as Sunday, the Lord’s Day?”

            No. I do not think so. But I am a Christian and not a Jew (our elder brothers in the faith).. The Jewish Sabbath does not apply to me, a Christian.

            “Listen to Paul’s words, that the observance of the law overthrows the
            gospel, and learn, if you will, how this comes to pass, and tremble, and
            shun this pitfall. Why do you keep the Sabbath and fast with the Jews?”
            (Homilies on Galatians 2:17 [A.D. 395]). ” St. John Chrysostom

            and in part: “The Catholic Church, the pillar and foundation of Truth, changed it”

            Again. It did? When and where. I am very confused.

            and in part: “which means, by extension, that Christ Himself changed it.”

            No. Not necessarily. When I was young (back in the Dark Ages) we ate fish on Friday. Now we eat meat. The change was made by the Bishops – not Our Lord and Savior.

            There is an Old Testament for our elder brothers the Jews and a New Testament for we Christians. This is a change instituted by Christ Himself – not by His bishops.

            Apologies if I appear argumentative.

            God bless

            Richard W Comerford

          • No, they are not your elder brothers. Your elder brothers are the faithful Jews who accepted Jesus Christ as Messias and Saviour end entered the New Israel, the Universal Church, whereas they who did not accept Jesus Christ formed Rabbinical Judaism in 70 A,D, and, thus, are your younger brothers who continue in a superstitious religion.

          • Mr. I am not Spartacus:

            Thank you for your reply. You posted in part: “they are not your elder brothers”

            Perhaps my memory is again failing me; but did not JPII so describe the Jews?

            God bless

            Richard W Comerford

          • John Paul II may have said it, but that doesn’t make it correct.

            IANS is correct: modern “Rabbinical Judaism” traces a direct line of descent from the Pharisees who, upon the destruction of the Temple in AD70, reconfigured their model of Judaism to suit the new circumstances. In a certain manner of speaking, we Catholics are their elder brothers–or more properly speaking, cousins–since the Church predates the destruction of the Temple by almost 40 years.

            You might recall that Jesus didn’t get on too well with the Pharisees, due in part to their labyrinthine parsings and interpretations upon interpretations, leading to a thicket of laws and practices that obscured (or in some cases, effectively nullified) the weightier matters of the Law. All of these features can be found in abundance in Rabbinic Judaism. We tend to think of Jews in an overly simplistic way, as kind of Christians-without-Christ, but they’re a lot more different than we tend to think.

          • Mr. Murray:

            Thank you for your reply. You posted in part: “John Paul II may have said it, but that doesn’t make it correct.”

            OK. I do not think it is a matter of JP II “may” have said it. He in fact did say it. He is also a canonized Saint. Further a theologian of repute. Finally JP II also lived through the Holocaust. HE seems to know of what he speaks in this matter.

            You on the other hand are another anonymous party on the internet.

            I am sure that you see the problem for a simple soul like myself. Who to believe?

            God bless

            Richard W Comerford

          • Murray is my first name. I am “Mr Love”, if you want to address me formally, but that’s not necessary. Hopefully that makes me a tad less anonymous, though my position is that arguments should be considered strictly on their merits, rather than by whether they were made by someone with a name.

            Look, St John Paul II said and did a great many things in his long papacy–many of them very good indeed, but some of them less so. Even our Mottramist brethren tend to be uneasy with the whole kissing-the-Koran thing, for instance, or his failure to take action on Fr Maciel.

            So here. I understand how, in the historical context of a Polish priest who came of age during WWII, John Paul II might have developed an acute awareness of the injustices done to Jews, but that doesn’t change the historical fact that modern Judaism is younger than Christianity. You don’t have to take it on my authority–you can look it up.

            In any case, Rabbinic Judaism is a very different thing indeed to the Temple Judaism that preceded it, and if you want to see the closest modern equivalent to the rites of Temple Judaism, you can go to a Latin Mass or a Divine Liturgy.

          • If he did – and he prolly did – he, likely, was thinking of the Jews who became Christians as the New Israel )Catholicism) is Judaism perfected whereas Rabbinical Judaism has aught to do with Christianity and is not its elder brother but its younger adversary

            There is only Christian morality, not Judaeo-Chrstian morality as what the Jews teach (see the Torah) is antithetical to the Commandments of Christ.

            However, this is off topic and IANS ought not to have raised it here.

            Apologies, Steve.

          • If he did – and he prolly did – he, likely, was thinking of the Jews who became Christians as the New Israel (Catholicism) is Judaism perfected whereas Rabbinical Judaism has aught to do with Christianity and is not its elder brother but its younger adversary

            There is only Christian morality, not Judaeo-Chrstian morality as what the Jews teach (see the Torah) is antithetical to the Commandments of Christ.

            However, this is off topic and IANS ought not to have raised it here.

            Apologies, Steve.

      • Potato PoTAHTo. By the way, and this not just a blatant attempt to kiss up to the host, I do believe you have the winning argument against the patheos crowd on what the Pope was trying to do with this Exhortation.

        My disagreement with you is only that you seem to not accept from this Pope what you were willing to accept from the post-Conciliar Popes on issues of much greater importance like ecumenism, religious liberty and Islam.

        • Words have meanings. We don’t get to change them.

          And for the record, I have problems with what the other post-Conciliar Popes did on ecumenism, religious liberty and Islam. But I wouldn’t say those issues are more important. Attacking marriage — and in so doing, the sacraments of Confession and Eucharist by extension — is pretty fundamental.

          • It’s important but not as important as the issues surrounding the salvation of non-Catholics. What’s the point of staying married to a miserable shrew if you’re going to heaven in your Lutheran Church anyway.

          • I don’t think you’re giving it enough credit. The Devil has always gone after the family. Since Adam and Eve. Since Cain and Abel. A Christian marriage is a mirror of the Holy Trinity. It is the domestic church. It is the means by which most men and women are perfected (if they remain open to God’s grace) and by which new souls are brought into the world to know, love, and serve God in this life and to be happy with him in the next.

            It is also the standard by which all other sexual propriety finds its context. To destroy it or diminish it is to allow all manner of perversity into the world. The push for gay everything is a direct consequence of the push for contraception. The final blows being struck against the institution of marriage are a direct consequence of those already accomplished through the same.

            A Church in crisis cannot resist the example of holy families who keep the faith. It is they who will influence pastors, it is they who will provide vocations, it is they who will nourish virtue in the most formative years of the lives they bring forth.

            The liturgy was struck first, because to destroy the way we worship God is to forever change our perception of our place before God. The fecundity of marriage came next, because an intentionally sterile marriage is no different, in principle, from a homosexual “marriage.” Contraception also ripped open the gateway to abortion, which, while it always existed, is now more of a mop-up operation for failed contraceptive sex than an outlier for the truly desperate.

            Now the indissolubility of marriage is being hammered, and for the most part, it will fall. There’s nothing left propping it up. With the institutional Church decimated and the domestic church breathing its last, those other issues you mentioned — which were always important, but ancillary to the main agenda — will come to to the fore.

            Ecumenism has no barriers if the liturgy is Protestant and divorce and remarriage and contraception are possible. Religious liberty is less about freedom and more about making sure the Catholic Church’s supremacy is suppressed. The sterility of Catholic marriage has created a vacuum that Islam has been only too happy to fill, hence, Europe.

            And all of this — all of it — is aimed at the toppling of Holy Mother Church and all that she believes and teaches.

            We are witnessing nothing less than the triumph of a savage demonic attack, sustained for decades, unfolding over centuries, in the hope of ultimately defeating Christ’s plan for our salvation.

            It will fail. We have been assured. But what will be left at the end remains uncertain.

          • The Bible has a word for situations like this, which occurred also in the old testament. And a newspaper uses it – Remnant.

          • Thank you all for your comments on this. The connections between all these things are becoming clearer and clearer to me. My thoughts on how to express this, however, remain somewhat of a jumble. Your prayers that I can write on this in an understandable way would be greatly appreciated.

          • As always Steve, your ability to articulate such matters is insightful to a simple convert such as I am. Having gone through the annulment process myself I know for a fact that there is no easier softer way. The connections you reference ring true, my family is praying for you and yours.

          • I just posted your comment as a note on my Facebook page, with an introductory line: “Steve Skojek at has perfectly expressed what I’ve been struggling so hard to find words for.”

            You’re doing a great job! THANK YOU for articulating beautifully what so many of us cannot express nearly as well. You have a gift. God bless you for using it!

          • Thanks. I do intend to express all this more cogently at some point than an impromptu comment would allow. The last time I sat down to write it, I realized it wasn’t fully baked yet.

          • THIS!!!!

            In this one comment, Steve, I think you have given us the most succinct, prophetic expression of what’s going on.

          • Indeed on the words having meanings. That is exactly why different words are now used, such as the soft euphemism “divorced and remarried” instead of adultery. Or “irregular union” instead of fornication or sodomite union or adulterous union. The “language event” was announced at the Sin-od also to avoid those “judgmental” words. This is Madison Avenue marketing in an Exhortation.

          • Yep, change the language and of course you will, in effect, change the perception of the doctrine, and of course, the modernists are very good at doing just that.

  3. I understand your concerns regarding AL. I share some of them.
    However, could it be possible that Pope Francis is making a “last ditch attempt” at bringing souls closer to God?
    If the Church is to take the “hardline” stance which you advocate, I genuinely believe it will not benefit many souls. The youth of today have been atrociously formed morally, by parents, social and Church authorities over the last 60 years.
    For example, why did the Church marry so many couples, who were clearly unsuited to marriage?!
    As Pope Francis pointed out; half of marriages could actually be invalid.
    This has led to the problem we have today.
    Could it be possible that this is the Father running out to the Prodigal son to meet him?
    Take the Divine Mercy devotion for example. What the devotion promises, seems almost unbelievable. Apparently Christ said that he is giving humanity “it`s final chance”.
    Could it be that if the Church maintains that rigidity regarding this problem, it will drive souls further away?
    Basically the battle for the culture is lost. The people that created this problem are long dead. It is the children and grandchildren that are left with their moral compass pointing everywhere but True North. How do we help these people?
    These people who were reared with the notion that all this immorality is fine. Pre marital sex, contraception, co habitation etc.
    How do you explain to a young man, whose father and grandfather were divorced and remarried two or three times, about the indissolubility of marriage? Where do you start?

        • Let me see if I understand where you’re coming from, John.
          Are you saying that, because so many generations have been taught falsehoods about human nature/sexuality, they will not accept the truth even when it is presented to them? Or are you saying the externals of the Church would for some reason turn away otherwise listening ears? Or that because society teaches the Church is wrong people for some reason won’t turn to listen to her?

          • No I am not saying that at all.
            I am simply saying that people today have been so badly formed, spiritually and morally and that we are living in unprecedented times regarding atheism and moral relativity, that the normal rules may not apply.
            That God is giving humanity it`s last chance to accept his mercy or receive his justice. God will do everything to save souls.

          • Ok.
            The “normal rules” in this case are (by all indications) supposed to be an unequivocal, universally binding command by God the Father and clarified through Jesus Christ His son Our Lord (i.e. the sixth commandment). Are you then saying that because of the Father’s mercy He is willing to take back or at least temporarily ignore His own words?

          • Was God, when he allowed Moses permit divorce, approving of sin?
            God`s law is eternal, so how did he permit divorce?
            My point is, it is not God`s law that changes, but the standard by which he holds people to it, over the course of human history.

          • While I certainly am no expert in the Torah, I do know that it is neither universally binding nor eternal; it was the terms of the covenant between the people of Israel and God, which has been superseded by the new covenant between God and the whole human race, sealed by Christ’s blood.
            Nevertheless, the “standard” which God expects people to hold to His law is clear, as it has come from His own mouth. Wouldn’t it be technically dishonest to suggest He didn’t mean what He said?

          • You didn`t answer the question!
            The question is not about the Jews, it is about the ability of God to permit things that are against his own eternal law.
            And that was my point!

          • To put it another way, even if God in His heaven makes exceptions to His own Law, He has not told us He does such things, and that is not something anyone alive on earth can know about, let alone presume it to be the normal state of affairs contrary to what God has already said.

    • The posture of leniency in face of sliding moral standards – so as not to scare people off – is one of the primary reasons the “youth of today” find themselves awash in such a degenerate society. Leniency leads only to further transgression, and it won’t stop until the Church has the courage to stop accommodating the culture and begin confronting and converting it.

      • Mr. Miles:
        Re: FYI

        Ms. Barnhardt posted the following recently. You may find it interesting:

        “Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church’s enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith.”

        -St. Peter Canisius

        God bless

        Richard W Comerford

      • I think you are underestimating the problem.
        We are no longer fighting to stop the slide into degeneration. The slide has already taken place. The battle for the culture is over. We are trying to save as many people from it. Take them back out of it. That is my point.
        Your argument about leniency would have applied 60 years ago.
        Now that it was not heeded, the children and grandchildren are already lost, not through their complete fault. So how do we help them? What do we do?
        I noticed you didn`t offer any solutions to the problems I outlined.

        • How about speaking the truth clearly, with simplicity and without ambiguity? At least they will have heard it, and if sometime in their lives they want to find it, they will know where to look.

          • Absolutely. Is that not Pope Francis has done in AL?!
            He has laid out the full teaching of the Church and then delved into how we can help the people who fall short of this. The type of people I outlined in my original comment.
            I think you don`t understand the magnitude of the destruction to the morality of young people. Young people are so far gone because of the “sins of their fathers”, that the Church teaching is so alien to them.
            BTW, I`m not saying everything Pope Francis said in AL is right. I am just wondering if we are missing the point here,

          • No, John, he hasn’t.

            Rather, Francis has set what the Church has always considered to be the norm for marriage—a lifelong, indissoluble sacramental bond between husband and wife—as an ideal that is beyond the ability of most ordinary mortals to attain. In doing so, he is defining a “new normal” that opens the doorway for all sorts of excuses and exceptions to what was the norm for the first 2,000 years of the Church’s existence.

            Regarding your other point, you don’t lead more people back to the Truth by finding excuses for them and allowing them to remain in their sin. As I posted earlier, God forbid if one or both members of a couple in an adulterous relationship—fully aware of the unacceptable nature of their “union”—suddenly passes away unexpectedly as their pastor is working to “meet them where they are.”

          • The whole debate hinges on this phrase you used; “fully aware of the unacceptable nature of their “union””.
            That`s the whole point. Not only are they not fully aware, they`re barely remotely aware.
            Do you have any idea of what young people are thought by parents, schools, the culture etc regarding sexual morality?!!
            Are you aware of how messed up it is?
            These poor young people are as much victims as sinners!
            They have been failed by their parents, grandparents, teachers, Church leaders etc.
            This is an unmitigated disaster socially and morally. We are an the edge of the abyss. I think what Pope Francis is trying to do in AL, is throwing out some lifesavers.

          • Yes, I’m perfectly aware. However, in this information age in which we live, in which one can find out more about Kim Kardashian than one could possibly want to know on their iPhone, there is no real excuse for ignorance of the Faith except for lack of desire to learn. Have parents and Church leaders failed? Most certainly. But being Catholic is work, dammit, if you actually care about the state of your soul; blaming others is an excuse, nothing more. I can say that because I left the Faith for nearly a decade precisely because of wishy-washy pastors who couldn’t be bothered to preach anything of substance, as well as seeing people who everyone knew were in illicit “marriages” being welcomed to Communion week after week with nary a word; this hypocrisy is what drove me away.

            Sorry, but you don’t turn evil to good by permitting evil to continue, even in the name of the greater good. The whole “meeting people where they are” approach doesn’t strengthen the Faith of anyone; it simply waters it down to avoid hurting peoples’ feelings. Being a true follower of Christ isn’t easy; it requires sacrifice, and in some cases, will require people to give up sexual relations with their partner to do so. If we are going to restore a sense of Catholic sacrificial living, however, finding exceptions and loopholes hardly seems the best way to go about doing so.

            The bottom line, from my perspective, is that people must choose to accept what the Church teaches. They cannot be forced to do so, nor can Church teaching be softened to make it more acceptable; John 6 shows just how unwilling to compromise Christ was on the truth of His teachings, even when most of His followers left. I agree there is a crisis, but we clearly disagree on how to resolve it.

          • I agree with a lot of what you are saying there. However I don`t know if we disagree on how to resolve the crisis, because you have not put forward any solutions.
            Could you please address the scenarios I mentioned? How do you go about helping these people who are the children, grandchildren and victims of the “Sexual revolution” and are already in their 2nd and 3rd marriage with possibly 4 children from two or three wives?!
            How culpable are they when their parents, grandparents and teachers reared them to believe pre-marital sex, contraception, co-habitation was fine?
            Where do we start? How do we start?

          • We start by directing the ones we love to the most faithful-to-Church-teaching parishes we can find, where the pastors have proven track records of consistently preaching the Truth of the Faith and are confessors of the highest order. (Not by coincidence, these parishes also tend to offer reverent liturgy, whether the Novus or Vetus Ordos, where it becomes clear that worship is vertical to God above us, not toward the people in the “community”.)

            We also gently but firmly—especially if they ask us, trying to trap us—speak consistently on the reality of Church teaching. If it offends them, so be it, but in my experience, that often plants the seed that may blossom into a faithful conversion, even if it is years in the future. I’m not saying it will be easy; there are several within my extended family who are not happy with me, but they have to hear the truth from somewhere.

            Finally, we get our own houses in order. We can’t change what others have done with regard to multiple marriages, cohabitation, etc., but we can model what faithful Christian marriages look like according to the teachings of the Church. We make certain our own children learn the Truths of the Faith, and that we as parents practice what we preach. We make time for the family Rosary, we make assisting at weekday Mass an expectation, we study the writings of the saints, etc. And we must live as though we are actually happy to do all these things, so when others see how content we are, they will want to know how they can experience such spiritual bliss.

          • I think Pope Francis may be trying to do exactly that, while recognising the present realities.
            But can you answer more specifically. That is a more general response.
            What do we say to the people in the scenarios I mentioned, brought up with little or no notion of the true meaning of marriage and sexuality?

          • Not trying to be blunt or come across as insensitive, but:

            You tell them the truth. Period. Phrase it however nuanced you want, but the bottom line is that if someone is in one of these situations and they are truly ignorant, they need to know immediately. If someone’s house is on fire, one doesn’t say to them, “Pardon me, sir, but, if I could trouble you for your time, you may want to take notice of the fact that your domicile appears to be experiencing a period of intense increase in temperature that may be undesirable.” You say, “Your house is on fire! Get the hell out before you die!”

          • Your analogy is flawed. It`s a false equivalency.

            As I commented before. What you and others here are advising is more geared toward those who were formed in their Faith but are rebelling.

            This is not the case here. The youth of today were and are being atrociously formed. They have been let down, abandoned.

            For example, when a friend of mine was about 16/17, his parents simply said “If your going to be having sex, be safe” and gave him a load of condoms. He was never brought up in the faith, even though he was baptised. We became friends when we about 8. We made our Confirmation together. That was about the height of his faith formation.
            Now he recently got married, in the Catholic Church, to a girl he had a child with before. Now he or she are not practising their faith. Yet when the priest baptised their child, the priest deliberately allowed the parents and godparents to promise to raise their child as a Catholic, when he knows that they are not practising. Why is the priest facilitating such things?!
            When they went to get married, the priest knew they were cohabitating, but said nothing.
            My point is this couple have been failed, by parents, teachers, and most importantly the clergy.
            So if their marriage ends, one that was not properly prepared for, what then?

          • John, all Steve, Heartlander, parishonerusa, and I have done is give you what the Church teaches. That’s it. The answers you want are already there. Are they difficult to accept? In our hypersexualized society, of course they are.

            You remind me of my own behavior before I first really became serious about the Faith, where if I didn’t like the answer I got from one priest regarding an objective sin (in my case, contraception), I would go to another, and another, until I found one that was willing to essentially lie to me about Church teaching on the matter. We’ve given you the Church’s solution, but it seems as if it’s not the answer you want to hear, so you’re asking the same question again and again, hoping someone will give you the magic bullet you want to hear.

            Are these people you describe in horrible, horrible situations? Yes. Have their parents and priests failed them? Yes. But we still have a duty to seek out the Truth, which applies even to those who have every excuse in the world not to know what Truth is. And once we find it, we have to accept it, not reject it, or try to come up with exceptions.

            I don’t know what answer you’re looking for, but I don’t think you will find it here.

          • No you`ve got it all wrong. I`m a devout practising Catholic, who by the grace of God has been formed well in the faith and has not strayed from it. And I pray I never will.
            I am talking about what`s happening at “Ground Zero”.
            I have outlined a tiny example of my experience, with friends etc regarding the state of their formation and you have no solutions for that.
            That`s grand. I have my own ideas on how it should be dealt with and I believe Pope Francis has some too.
            I feel that is you don`t have any solutions, you shouldn`t be criticising those who do.

          • AL isn’t a solution. It’s trying to put a Band-Aid on a severed limb.

            I feel that is you don`t have a any solutions, you shouldn`t be criticising those who do.

            When the only “solution” being offered is ignore someone’s mortal sin, let them continue in it, and hope they someday (maybe if we say “pretty please”?) figure it all out and resolve their situation, that’s hardly a solution at all.

            I have given you solutions; see again my post about guiding people to orthodox parishes, etc. You don’t like that solution, and you seem to want the Church to say “Hey! All of you who are in sexual sin! Well, since your parents/priests/grandparents/society failed you, you get a ‘get out of jail free’ card, so just keep on sinning until you feel you’re ready to resolve your situation.” You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. If you expose people to the truth, and yet they refuse to change their lifestyles in accordance with that truth, that’s entirely on them.

          • Firstly, I never said I totally agreed with all Pope Francis has said in AL. I actually began by asking questions. Questions nobody has really answered.
            Please reread my original comment for what I was musing that Pope Francis may be trying to achieve with AL.
            Secondly, What Orthodox parishes?!!!! This is the whole point. The Church needs to gets it`s act together before it can sort out the world. Talk about the splinter and the log parable!!!
            Thirdly, nobody is saying to “ignore someone`s mortal sin”. The Pope is simply recognising that while a sin may be objectively grave, it may not be subjectively. I think AL is trying to reverse the damage done over the last 60 years, knowing that it will take another 60 years.

          • We tell them the truth. This isn’t just doctrine, it’s natural law. It appeals even on a non-religious level.

            We challenge people to exercise so they don’t become obese and die young; why is this any harder? Truth is truth. I might not like that my obesity will kill me, but it’s up to me to decide whether the work is worth it. How it makes me feel has no bearing on the reality of it.

          • I totally agree we should tell them the truth. But I don`t think you understand the extent of the mess that the youth of today are in.
            The manner in which you advise, is more suitable for people who have been well formed in the Faith, but are rebelling. The youth of today have been failed for the last two or three generations. They haven`t a clue.
            They grew up being told that pre-marital sex, co-habitation, contraception etc are all fine.
            Ironically many people today are being told that obesity is a “life choice”.
            “Embrace your curves”.
            People who point out that it`s not are “Fat shaming”.
            This is the world gone mad.
            A new strategy is neeed.

          • No one, including even non-Catholics, is well served by the Catholic Church abandoning its age-old teachings. I’m reminded of the reactions to the outrageous comments from Pope Francis about contraception on February 18. Among the reactions to his comments that contraception might be OK if people are afraid of the Zika virus (and the birth defects it may cause) was this comment by Jill Stanek:

            “As a Protestant pro-lifer, I am devastated. I count on the Catholic Church to be the firewall on the contraception issue. The Pope is opening a Pandora’s Box. He is contradicting foundational Catholic doctrine, doctrine which is also a cornerstone of the pro-life movement, even if people don’t realize it. This shakes my confidence in the solidity of Catholic doctrine. I can’t believe this is happening. This constitutes a crisis for the Catholic Church.”

            A firewall. A foundation. A cornerstone — “even if people don’t realize it.”

            I can relate to what Jill says. Even before I was a Catholic, even when I believed that, because of “overpopulation,” contraception was a “necessity” in Third World countries, I was always secretly grateful that the Catholic Church was out there somewhere, holding the line. I think the same thing applies to the indissolubility of marriage. Even if all the other Christian denominations (even the Eastern Orthodox, I’m sad to say!) have caved on this issue — just as they’ve all caved on the contraception issue — all of humanity, both Catholic and non-Catholic, is served by the Catholic Church holding true to God’s Truth.

          • I really appreciate your comments here, John, and most of all, I appreciate where they are coming from, in terms of your heart. But I can’t help thinking: If people are thoroughly convinced that 2+2=5, and their lives are a complete wreck as a result of that belief, isn’t the first and most important thing we can do for them to explain to them that 2+2=4?

          • Thanks for your kind words. The thing is I agree we should never stop preaching the truth, that 2+2=4. However we are dealing with people who for the last 3 generations were thought that 2+2= whatever you want it to.
            So what do we do? How do we rectify the situation?

          • I wander of “how much you get pay” to defend Jorge here (and God only knows where else) of this -his- attempt of destruction of Jesus’ Church.

            Why don’t you just go away John(??), your satirical picture shows much of what you stand for.

            Jesus’ Church is clearly under attack -from within- and the help of people like you. You questions aren’t such, they are just there to create more confusion.

          • How dare you Carlos, accuse me of being paid to defend Pope Francis (have some respect and address him properly)!!!

            Shame on you. I have watched as the very people who were entrusted to protect the faith I grew up in, destroy it, and lead so many astray. I am simply here trying to understand how to salvage the situation.

            You would do well to remember Christ`s words in Matthew;

            “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”

          • Yes, I was wrong and I’m sorry. When I read someone putting too many explanations/justification to excuse wrongs, I act that way.

            In your comments you omit to recognize that we all know right from wrong and we must owned what we choose to do.

            The psychology of the 60’s created that notion that “it’s not our fault if we can blame someone else”. I don’t believe that, I do believe, though, that excuses would never help anyone come out of the hole, we must climb out ourselves.

          • That’s not the kind of commentary we welcome here. I need to add something to the rules about imputing motives to others.

            I want this to be a place where people can come to discuss exactly what John is asking. For precisely the reasons he brings up — none of us were well formed in our faith if we grew up in the post-conciliar Church.

            So let’s work together and build each other up, shall we? I’m pretty good troll hunter, and I get rid of them fairly quickly. John isn’t one.

          • I’m sorry about that, my frustration has taken the best of me a lot lately. I’ve no idea of the meaning of “troll” but it sound offensive nevertheless and I don’t think I want to be consider as such.

            I wish I could learn to fight the clear spread of confusion by those who -while trying to defend the indefensible, promotes it the more.

    • You never bring souls closer to God by allowing sin, especially mortal sin. In fact confirming them in their sin means that you participate in the sin. Those clergy (or laity involved) will have a deep pit in hell unless they repent. I forget which saint said that hell is paved with the skulls of bishops. The liberal Protestant denominations have been doing this for years and they continue to loose members. What is known by faith is proven by experience. God never allowed exceptions for the 6th Commandment.

      • It`s not so much allowing sin, but acknowledging sinners where they are.
        As I already said, many young people grew up with parents and teachers telling them that pre marital sex , contraception, co- habitation etc is fine and normal. Their moral compass is so disorientated that simply preaching Church doctrine, will not rectify the situation. We need solutions. A way back. Is it possible that AL is attempting that?
        What do you propose that can be done explain these things to the average 20 year old, who has 3 step siblings from both their parents 2nd and 3rd marriage?!
        These children and grandchildren of the sexual revolution are so far gone, that something “radical” is needed.

        • Catholic novelists such as Georges Bernanos and Flannery O’Connor are known for works that express a “tragic sense of life.” One of the things I see when I see a crucifix — Christ tortured to death on a cross — is the reality of tragedy. Christianity — unlike, for example, Buddhism — is not oriented toward numbing or escape from life’s sufferings, but rather toward EMBRACING them. Because Jesus embraced human suffering, experienced the ultimate depths of it Himself, He redeemed it, He gives it meaning. This empowers us to face tragedy, to face evil and its effects, with honesty — since Jesus IS Love and Truth.

          In our fallen human state, we tend to think of Mercy and Truth as being opposed. But they are one and the same! It is only our limited, sin-warped vision that perceives them as different. This side of heaven, it’s all paradox.

          I know several young people who are the result of in-vitro fertilization, an evil practice that totally violates natural law and that the Church condemns. Does that make these young people any less precious, any less human, any less worthy of my love and support? Of course not. But that does not make IVF any less evil. The fact that God can bring good even out of evil situations does not make evil itself any less evil.

          It is the same with children of second (or third, or fourth) marriages. For that matter, what about children of rape? I know a lovely woman who was conceived in rape. Does the fact that the world is a richer place because she is in it make rape any less evil? She would be the last person in the world to say so!

        • Your words do allow for approval of sin. So let’s check that.
          You say that we meet people where they are. Does that mean that it is acceptable to let them continue in adultery – leave them where they are – because of circumstances? Yes or no?
          How possible is it really to not know about marriage and adultery? I suppose it is possible to win the powerball lottery. Even if the people did win the powerball lottery of adultery, does that mean that because of PAST ignorance they are allowed to remain living in sin? Yes or no?

          • Was God, when he allowed Moses permit divorce, approving of sin?

            Yes or No?

            Actually I don`t mean Yes or No. I just wanted to make the point of how condescending, patronising and arrogant you sound by demanding a Yes/No answer. If you ask a question, have the courtesy to allow the person to answer in the manner they see fit.

            So; Was God, when he allowed Moses permit divorce, approving of sin?

          • Spoken like a modernist who hates simple yes and no answers because you cannot hide behind ambiguity, and then accusing one of “condescending, patronising and arrogant”. I did expect you to duck and you did. I forget which modernist bishop during the Sin-od process who said exactly what you just said about re-allowing divorce like Moses did. Let’s use God’s direct answers:

            “But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil.” (Matthew 5:37). Jesus likes yes and no and ambiguity is from the devil. Since Jesus likes yes and no, therefore is He “condescending, patronising and arrogant”?

            They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity [invalid marriage], and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman, commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:7-9)

            Jesus – God – eliminated divorce. Before the age of Grace, before there was a sacrament, God allowed it. But in the New Testament times He does NOT allow it. Period. Punto. And God did the reverse for punishment because of mercy. In the Old Testament it was the death penalty for adultery and He does not allow that now.

            So I answered your question, now I asked you first so answer mine.

          • Haha. You`re so predictable. I was waiting on the modernist accusation. I guess you would have demanded a Yes/No answer from Christ when the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery and asked him;
            “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?……….Yes or No?”….. The Gospel according to Eyes Opened.
            You are over simplifying a complex problem. If a man left his wife and children for another woman. That is a very clear cut case of adultery. He should not persist in his sin. He should return to his wife and children.
            But what Pope Francis in AL is talking about is cases where people have been so poorly brought up in the Faith, are the children and grandchildren of the “Sexual Revolution” and were actually raised thinking and believing that per-marital sex, co-habitation, contraception etc are fine. The Catholic Church for its part facilitated the abuse of the Sacraments of Baptism and Marriage by allowing parents and godparents to make Baptismal Promises they know they have no intention of keeping. And by turning a blind eye to couples who are clearly unsuitable or unprepared for marriage, allowing to cohabitate, fornicate etc all the way up to their wedding day.
            My point is, this is not a clear cut case of a person consciously living an immoral life. Because of the lack of formation, many people are not even aware that they are leaving immoral lives.
            So your question is creating a false dichotomy of Yes/No, either/or.
            This is not a situation of absolutes. Sadly the waters are muddied.
            I agree with you that Christ came and eliminated divorce and established his Church for the Sacraments to pour out his grace on the world. Unfortunately I believe we are living in times which mirror Christ`s time on earth. We are living in desperate times. If we are to believe the Divine Mercy message, God is giving humanity its “final hope”. Accept his mercy or receive his justice.
            Check out my reply to Steve the Mod of this site for a fuller explanation of what I am saying.
            God bless you.

          • Yes, you were perfectly predictable too, and speak as a true modernist son of modernist Francis. You say that we need 50 shades of grey in this case and I say it’s black and white, which is our fundamental disagreement, Catholic versus Modernist. It is simple – the 6th Commandment does not allow for exceptions. Period. Punto. Cardinal Muller in Spain just said that even the pope cannot modify the 6th Commandment. It’s a no-brainer. Sins against it, such as adultery, fornication, sodomy unions, can NEVER be approved under any circumstances. But then modernists don’t really accept intrinsic evil either. Turning a blind eye to mortal sin by making excuses where none are acceptable is simply approving of said mortal sins. What did Jesus tell the adulterous woman? Go and SIN NO MORE. He didn’t say, to use paraphrased Francis-speak from AL texts: “go discern with your pastor if you can stay in that relationship”, “it’s just too hard to keep the marriage idea so not a probleml”, “you didn’t really understand, so go ahead and continue”, “well, you can just gradually get out of the relationship when you feel like it”, “if you think you would sin by leaving then by all means stay in the relationship”, “your conscience was certain that you were doing right so go ahead and remain in the relationship.” Jesus clearly said no more sin, being black & white. No excuses, no mitigating factors, no complex situations. What you and Francis promote are the concepts in what has been categorized in various ways as subjectivism, relativism, situation ethics, or fundamental option. All just flavors of the modernist heresy applied to the moral life to approve of mortal sin. Although AL asserts to reject gradualism of the law, such an utter falsehood is proven by it’s acceptance of the idea that you can remain in sin if you are worried that you would commit new sins. When does God ever say to commit sin to avoid sin? In conclusion I will simply remind you that you participate in anyone’s adultery whenever you promote it, make excuses for it, or actually counsel someone in that situation to remain in adultery. You will be judged by God for that, whether you like it or not. You cannot say that you didn’t know it.

          • Eyes, let’s please make distinctions between someone who is mistaken about the faith, and one who is malicious in their opposition to it.

            I believe John is sincere, if misguided. He’s here looking for answers, not telling us that he has them.

            Yes, he is resistant to the positions we hold, but coming to a different conclusion is a process.

            There are ways to talk to people we disagree with without going on the attack. I fall into this too, but I’m asking that you, and everyone involved in our discussions here, at least make the attempt to lead people to the truth rather than to browbeat them with it.

            They may not ever see it. You may have to shake the dust from your sandals. But again, John isn’t attacking what we believe, he’s questioning its sufficiency. It’s a distinction with a difference.

          • I disagree with your assessment. John refuses to acknowledge that it is never acceptable to *remain* in the mortal sin of adultery. He repeats the whole idea of AL in a summary way – mortal sin is OK under certain circumstances. Even if the person won the powerball ignorance award on adultery on a second (or third or fourth or …) union, even that does not give them permission to remain in it. No amount of discernment can change that. The solution is either get a decree of nullity on the first union and then get validly married to the second partner or live as brother and sister. That’s it. Circumstances make no difference for remaining in adultery. Most people on earth don’t want to hear that, even Catholics.

          • Woah there!!! I am not “promoting” anything. I am simply trying to discuss this issue, explore the counter argument and provide some balance. Even Steve the Moderator here, recognised that, when other commenters were jumping down my throat. Please reread my original comment to see where I`m coming from.

            But your analysis here is indicative of your inability to tell the difference between mercy and justice, engaging with someone vs agreeing with them. You think all adultery is the same. The debate here is not whether adultery is still immoral. The debate is how to bring Christ into everyone`s lives, sinners, adulterers and not compromise what should not be compromised.

            Christ dealt with 2 different types of adulterous women in the Gospels, and dealt with them in different ways, which you conveniently forget.

            As we know the stoning incident seemed to be a straight forward case of being “caught in the act”. Christ forgives her and tells her to “Go and sin no more”

            The second woman, is the woman at the well. Now look at how Christ dealt with her. He approached her asking for a drink and talked to her. He then offers her “the water of….eternal life”
            He then tells her to bring her husband. She admits that he is not her husband. Christ of course knew this, but it was his way of highlighting her sin.
            The fact that Christ offered her the “water of eternal life” and then highlighted her sin, could be an argument against people in second and third marriages being barred from receiving the Eucharist.
            But Christ doesn`t say this to her.
            It could also be argued that the Eucharist is what is needed to help people change from their sinful ways. Christ never said to the woman “When you stop living in sin, then you can come have the water of eternal life”
            He didn`t say to the woman, like he did the other adulterer, “Go and sin no more”
            He brought to her an awareness of what God commands and what God offers.

            People are worried about the Eucharist being desecrated if AL is implemented. But when Christ died, was his body not desecrated by sinners for this exact reason?…For sinners. Because of sinners.

            Was Christ`s death not accomplished precisely because we could not save ourselves?

            You talk about Christ carrying the cross, but did he not carry the cross for us?

            According to Catholic theology, no matter how virtuous a life one may lead; if Christ did not die for us, it would all be in vain.

            What the Church needs to do to get back to the way it should be, will take a number of generations. The road we have gone down over the last 100 years will have to be walked back up, step by step.

            Then when this is done and people are back on point, they can be held to account and to the highest standard. As Christ said in Luke 12:48;

            “But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked”

          • As I said, even if the unlikely scenario of someone completely ignorant of Jesus’ teaching got into an adulterous second union, they are NOT allowed to stay there. The chances of that are miniscule, as marriage is not like stealing pencils from the office. No amount of discernment can approve of staying in mortal sin. Everyone I know who got “remarried” knew what the Church said and therefore went elsewhere in defiance. You cannot use ignorance to remain in mortal sin. Notice the word *remain*. That some priests would refuse to teach that is certain. Ignorance is not bliss. In fact, we are obliged to know the truth, so much of what is passed off as ignorance is willful and therefore culpable. Bottom line: a priest is *obligated* to teach the truth about adulterous unions to said couples and the solution for the adulterer, who can no longer claim invincible ignorance, must separate or live as brother and sister. Black and white. Simple.

          • And not a single point addressed! Just you, parroting on the same generalisations, one sized fits all pastoral care.
            God love you.

          • You are parroting the relativism and approval of sin under situational ethics, where mortal sin is excused by circumstances – the personal conscience as god “pastoral” method. In other words, idolatry of self. There is no point to debate any longer. Only prayer and chastisements will awaken you. Both are coming, the former immediately and the latter very soon.

          • I have not even expressed my beliefs at all. From my very first comment I was simply asking questions and debating. Even Steve the Mod came to my defence against people jumping down my throat.
            Your problem is that you do not know or understand what it is actually like for young people today.
            They`re moral compass is swirling around like a cooling fan. And this is mainly thanks to the failure of their parents, grandparents and the clergy.
            I understand your frustration with the dilution of the faith over the years, but your anger is directed at the wrong person.

          • Actually you have expressed your beliefs very well even though you deny that. You refuse to acknowledge that adulterers cannot remain in sin, hence by omission and silence you approve of said sin, and even more by avoiding simple direct questions, just like modernists do. I suppose you consider that the dialogue method. There are sins of omission whether you know it or not and whether you like it or not, and that includes the responsibility to know the faith. You say that what the Church has always taught – separation or brother and sister continence – is the rigid old black and white way. You are only fooling yourself. And approval of such sins by yourself and encouraging others to do the same makes you an accomplice of said sins whether you know it or not and whether you like it or not. As the Bible says, there will be times when those with itching ears will depart from the faith. Itching ears means they like those who tell them what they want to hear. You like to make excuses for mortal sins because of circumstances. God doesn’t allow such excuses. Thou shalt not applies always and everywhere to anything that is intrinsically evil, as is adultery. This is even more true for such a major life event as marriage. Period. Punto. You cannot claim ignorance but only rejection of the Truth.

          • There you go again; misrepresenting what I actually said. Shame on you!
            I never once said adulterers can or should remain in sin. I never once said I agree with Pope Francis and all he says in AL.
            I have simply tried to understand what he might be doing and have ASKED questions!
            You on the other hand have jumped to conclusions, misrepresented my words and falsely accused me.
            Shame on you!

            You would do well to remember the words of Mt 12:36;

            “So I tell you this, that for every unfounded word people utter they will answer on Judgement Day, since it is by your words you will be justified, and by your words condemned.”
            God bless you and see you on Judgement Day.

          • You are incapable of reason, which is what happens to the intellect darkened by the practice of or approval of mortal sin. Good bye.

    • Where the soul of the person who dies while waiting/hoping to change would be if the person dies?

      Your defense of Jorge Mario Bergoglio is as faulty as his logic.

      Is like telling a person who is going to jump from a tall building to go ahead and do it for in mid air -somehow- a super hero would appear and prevent his death.

      Please, don’t help with the promotion of error, for the eternal damnation of souls is at risk.

      • You say “Where the soul of the person who dies while waiting/hoping to change would be if the person dies?”
        Sorry, what?!
        That makes no sense. Can you clarify?
        Also, have some respect, if not for the man, for the office. His name is Pope Francis.
        I never said I agreed with everything he says in AL.
        I simply asked some questions. I meant them genuinely.
        As I said already, I share some of your concerns with AL, but could it be that Pope Francis is doing something “radical” like Christ did?
        I am asking questions.

        • 1- I intended to ask you “where the soul……”, sorry is my lack of education’s fault.

          2- I do have respect for the “Chair of Peter” and I don’t believe that God, in the Third Person was part of the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope. God Allowed Pope Francis to sit there for -as the saying goes- we get the pope we deserve and I’m sure Our Father in Heaven “is” going to bring some good out of this evil.

          3- The main “radical” thing Jesus did was to tell us to change our lives, to “sin no more” and is very difficult to read someone saying that Jorge M. Bergoglio, pope Francis, is trying to be like Our Lord and Savior when His Mercy was based on Love contrary to “Pope Francis” whose mercy is there kind of “for the taking”.

    • Very well said John. Clear, articulate, to the point and spot on truth. God bless you. No doubt you are a faithful servant of the Holy Spirit.

  4. See paragraphs 41 – 44 here

    There is no – NO – wiggle room for modernists to worm their way in here and so endless blather is developed to befog the truth and the truth is that the modernists and new theologians are in stark rupture with the Faith once delivered and radically opposed to Catholic Tradition because faux mercy and do you know who will step into this breach?


    A MAJORITY of Bishops at The Synod- but not 65% – were in favor of the faux mercy and so the Universal Church will have to devolve into a hybrid Catholic- Congregationalism where a Bishop in one state will allow Holy Communion to be dispensed to Adulterers (with sodomites trailing behind – pun intended) while in an adjacent state, dispensing Communion to Adulterers will be refused and so it is entirely predictable that the orthodox Bishop will eventually cave in owing to political pressure while all the while Franciscus refuses to rule but repeats Mercy endlessly

    YEA us!!!

    • 40. In like manner, all ought to understand clearly that, if there be any union of a man and a woman among the faithful of Christ which is not a sacrament, such union has not the force and nature of a proper marriage; that, although contracted in accordance with the laws of the State, it cannot be more than a rite or custom introduced by the civil law. Further, the civil law can deal with and decide those matters alone which in the civil order spring from marriage, and which cannot possibly exist, as is evident, unless there be a true and lawful cause of them, that is to say, the nuptial bond. It is of the greatest consequence to husband and wife that all these things should be known and well understood by them, in order that they may conform to the laws of the State, if there be no objection on the part of the Church; for the Church wishes the effects of marriage to be guarded in all possible ways, and that no harm may come to the children.

      41. In the great confusion of opinions, however, which day by day is spreading more and more widely, it should further be known that no power can dissolve the bond of Christian marriage whenever this has been ratified and consummated; and that, of a consequence, those husbands and wives are guilty of a manifest crime who plan, for whatever reason, to be united in a second marriage before the first one has been ended by death. When, indeed, matters have come to such a pitch that it seems impossible for them to live together any longer, then the Church allows them to live apart, and strives at the same time to soften the evils of this separation by such remedies and helps as are suited to their condition; yet she never ceases to endeavor to bring about a reconciliation, and never despairs of doing so. But these are extreme cases; and they would seldom exist if men and women entered into the married state with proper dispositions, not influenced by passion, but entertaining right ideas of the duties of marriage and of its noble purpose; **neither would they anticipate their marriage by a series of sins drawing down upon them the wrath of God.**

  5. Of course it supports adultery. The excuse of I have to remain in mortal sin (adultery) because there would be more sin if I separate is amazing in itself. When does God allow sin as a means to a good end? Never. That attacks the whole foundation of moral theology = heresy.
    The idea of development of doctrine is what the modernists like Schonborn say. What is real development of doctrine? Deeper understanding which NEVER contradicts past teachings as to meaning in any way, i.e. same definition, same sense, same meanings. So now this ‘development’ allows sin to avoid sin.
    Similarly the deceptive quote in footnote 329 from Gaudium et Spes 51 is all about VALID marriages where lack of sexual intimacy can be a problem. AL promotes rules for valid marriages (GS #51) as applied to adulterous unions, so another deception consistent with the omission of the relevant section of Familiaris Consortio 84.
    And intimacy by doing taxes together … what tongue in cheek!!!
    AL is a masterpiece of modernism.

  6. And some people are still claiming AL is ambiguous! Here is more on AL298 and its footnote:

    The twisting of FC84, claiming it says the opposite of what it really says, is utterly diabolical. Yes, FC84 acknowledges the sad reality of broken families, and notes that “discernment of situations” is necessary. But then it goes on, within the same paragraph, to reinforce the impossibility of Eucharistic Communion for those who continue in second “marriages” unless, for the sake of the children produced by the second bond, and after repentance and sacramental Confession, they practice perfect continence (which, by the way, is already a very generous provision). So +Francis is using this paragraph to support his position that situations differ, even though elsewhere in the very same paragraph his broader proposal is utterly destroyed, by coming to the OPPOSITE conclusion of where he is going with this.

  7. Here is what one astute commenter on another blog said after reading footnote 329…which is referenced in Mr. Skojec’s post above:

    “329? If an adulterer is not given an ok to commit adultery, it might force them to commit adultery????”…….

  8. All I can say is: This too shall pass.
    In a month we’ll all be praising Francis for AL, saying the DV devotions, lauding MV for being so brave for coming out of the closet and we’ll all subscribe to CMTV.
    Nothing to see here folks. Mercy mercy!

  9. “Familiaris Consortio (FC), Pope John Paul II’s own post-synodal apostolic exhortation on marriage and family, also deviated from this prior teaching by admitting the exception of those who live in such unions while living in perfect continence — the complete abstaining from any conjugal relations. (You’ll note that CC argues that it is by separation that the “evil of incontinence is restrained”, but FC posits that these couples can, in fact, live together chastely.) FC also upheld the prohibition on allowing those in such unions to receive Confession or Communion without repentance and a change of life. From FC 84:”

    Steve, I hope in the above paragraph that you are not insinuating that the exception of the divorced/not validly married living in perfect continence for a serious reason such as rearing children, is a new invention of Pope John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio. I was taught this in grade school in the 1950’s during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. Without looking up the document FC, the explanation of JP II on counseling the divorced person in illicit unions went like this…1. make every effort to reconcile the valid marriage from which the divorcee separated. 2. If this is not possible because the other person is uncooperative because of re-marriage, etc. , the divorcee must live a single continent lifestyle or, 3. in some necessary cases the divorcee can be permitted to remain with the (adulterous) partner but live a brother-sister type of relationship of perfect continence.

    • I wouldn’t go so far as to call it an invention, but in it I see a progression away from the previously recommended practice of separation, as cited, which leads even further now to what we have in AL.

      Once such a suggestion is placed in a papal document, it moves towards being the norm more than the exception, and also a precedent for future papal documents.

      It’s my belief that living in continence over the long term (in close quarters) with a person with whom one has been sexually intimate poses a fairly obvious occasion of sin, as well as the possibility of continued scandal.

      If you want to make the case that I’m misreading the difference between CC and FC, I’d be open to hearing that.

      • I do think you are misleading the difference because the exception predated Pope Saint JPII’s FC by many decades if not centuries. Pope JP II is being precise in restating the exception of living together in certain cases of necessity as brother and sister, a fact that had already been taught to the faithful in Catechism lessons even at the grade school level. I do not have the information as to when and where this exception first appeared in any other prior Papal document but I suspect that it had, and it was nothing not commonly known by persons with the standard Catholic grade school and High School education prior to Vatican II, and certainly was know to priests. John Paul II generally wrote in such a manner that the general public could clearly and precisely understand the documents, often repeating essential ideas in various ways.
        There are situations known as “necessary” occasions of sin which can be permitted. Not all people, or not at all times in the marriage, do partners necessarily have the same degree of affinity for each other sexually…this is often the cause of the divorce in the first place. Second marriages have an even higher divorce rate…so staying together for the sake of the children is not a strange concept in valid marriage or in adulterous relationships…the degree of occasions of sin can vary and for this the guidance of the spiritual director/confesser would be pertinent.

  10. The presumption here is that “having sex” with the second partner is going to somehow, mystically cement the new union. That’s a joke. Kind of like a cheating spouse telling the offended party that the adultery was committed to keep the spice in their marriage. Gotta watch out for those potential sins – like boredom.

    What happens to a spouse who is incapacitated and physically unable to have sex?

    Do they suddenly get left? Is the marriage somehow dissolved because – well – that intimacy is lacking and it’s just too hard to stay? Or is a surrogate brought in – for the good of the children?

    This whole encyclical smacks of the juvenile written for those who have no desire to grow up or face reality. Guess we are experiencing our “Catholic” safe spaces.

  11. Missing from most of these discussions (and to the point of spiritual bullying, AL itself – ‘Give ME your desperation/self-imposed exile/lunch money and I’ll give you the Eucharist!’ ), is the complete omission of supernatural faith. Does GOD not promise He will give us the strength to carry our burdens? Is anything not possible with Him?? But no, there is this pervasive “Oh you poor little Christian! This cross is too heavy for you! Here, just hand over your immortal soul and everything will be all right.”
    “All sins come from lack of faith” – St. Teresa of Avila

  12. Personally, I cannot help but feel that this Amoris Laetitia document of Francis was purposely written this way to destroy what is left of our holy mother church, the Roman Catholic church and I do believe the final okay was given by Francis. I also feel that the Vatican is slowly pushing holy mother church into a “One World Religion” with this false Ecumenism.

  13. One more question; Is this the church of Jesus Christ or the church of Francis? To me it seems like Francis has said, move over God, I’m in charge!

  14. I have a question and please forgive me if it has already been answered.

    What is the reality of mortal sin in these “irregular relationships”?

    What I mean is this, if we have been taught through our education system, through our personal experience of divorce and remarriage in our childhood, through the lack of any teaching from the Church in catechism classes or the pulpit, and through the permissive rambling of the pope, that “irregular relationships” are acceptable THEN can there truly be the full knowledge required for a sin to be mortal? Even if one has recognized that their situation is sinful, but they have then been told that mercy will compensate for all from the pope, the bishops, and the priests THEN are the couples living in adultery really committing a mortal sin? Will they avoid the fires of hell, de facto, becuase they believe, in good faith, despite what their conscience may tell them, that it is better to love in adultery than to leave and seek an unattainable ideal? Or are their souls truly endanger of eternal death? Did the pope just do an end run around the the eternal penalty for adultery because there is now plausible deniability of full knowledge?

    Thank you!

    • Interesting question. Full knowledge, I do believe, is part of the requirement for mortal sin, but?? It seems that they are ‘dumbing down’ or at least trying to dumb down the laity.

      • I keep being reminded of Dostoevsky’s “Legend of the Grand Inquisitor” — the deliberate dumbing down; the making everyone dependent on the pronouncements of the Head Honcho, who doesn’t want the dumb sheep to worry their pretty little heads about serious stuff; the Head Honcho who thinks he knows better than God does how to manage the dumb sheep….

        But, then again, Dostoevsky, who demonized the papacy in his story, was a fervent Russian Orthodox — and the Orthodox DO allow contraception and divorce now, plus they were sold out to the Communists during the Soviet era (and apparently their current patriarch is sold out to Putin).

    • Almost certainly, the culpability of many people will be reduced. The sin will fall far more heavily on those who led them astray.

      Remember, God is just. He knows what we know and how well we acted upon it. The conditions for mortal sin exist for a reason.

      That said, we do well to also remember that none of us deserve heaven. Ignorance is a terrible replacement for sanctifying grace.

      Ultimately, only God knows the answer to your question. We must trust in his judgment and goodness, and work for the salvation of souls.

      • Just to clarify: I am most definitely not trying to condemn adulters to hell. Goodness, my own father has been married 3 times and has had more live in girl friends than I can count. It’s a lovely modern family. Sigh.

        I am the crazy traddy Catholic that no one understands. What I was wondering is if, in his twisted ways, Pope Francis was actually doing adulters a favor and giving them cover so that they could not be fully accountable.

        It is an interesting thought. However, you are right, God’s justice is perfect (and fearsome for all of us) and I need to trust and pray a lot for my family.

        • What I was wondering is if, in his twisted ways, Pope Francis was actually doing adulters a favor and giving them cover so that they could not be fully accountable.

          Hey-o! That would make him the Grand Inquisitor from Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov! The Inquisitor in the poem tells Christ that humanity cannot handle the freedom he has granted them, and that most will be damned as a result. So (in Dostoevsky’s telling) the hierarchy of the Catholic Church conspires to keep man in the dark so that he cannot be judged culpable of the sin he commits. They alone assume the burden of damnation in order to save humanity.

          John Zmirak retold the story of the Grand Inquisitor in a graphic novel of the same name. It’s worth a read. In it, an African priest has been elected to the papacy, but before his coronation is sequestered in a mental hospital by an elderly cardinal playing the role of the Grand Inquisitor, who attempts to win the priest over to the cardinal’s heresy. I read it during the reign of Benedict, but something tells me I might find it even more topical today.

        • It would then be that Pope Francis would be “doing an evil to bring about a good,” thus sinful. For a pope to do such, is to feed the sheep to the wolves in order to save them.

  15. Of course, the Tyrannosaurus Rex in this room is that NO CATHOLIC DOCUMENT should have in it ANY SHRED of ambiguity! What is this pope missing?

    • …he’s not missing anything, but rather continuing a “tradition” established at VII wherein ambiguity was introduced as an appeasement tactic. Remove the Oath Against Modernism, dub that which should be doctrinal as pastoral, and, well, it’s all up to interpretation now.

      This Pope is just making a more flamboyant display.

  16. I am *very* grateful to our Holy Father Pope Francis for teaching so beautifully on marriage and the family in Amoris Laetitia. It’s inspiring to see how he teaches in absolute continuity with his predecessors.

    • Thank you! I am *very* grateful for myself, too!

      And for how I teach in absolute continuity with my predecessors. Regardless of who those predecessors might be.

      Are you a priest? You have the look. Do you mind if I call you a brother bishop from now on?

      Scratch that, you don’t need to be a priest. I’ll call you a brother bishop from now on. I can do this because it’s my church!

    • Here is one of many contradictions – this particular one by omission and misleading by quoting earlier portions yet “forgetting” this:

      FC84: However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

    • Jim Russell is a Modernist troll. And worse yet, a permanent deacon.

      I’ve blocked him from everywhere else he’s posting this diabolical lie. I’ll give you all a chance to have your say before I do the same here.

      • “…a permanent deacon.”

        And that is how manufactured invincible ignorance makes its advance. One can only pass on what one knows, after all.

      • Steve, my brother bishop-in-training,

        Please reconsider your blocking of brother bishop Jim.

        After all, what is needed here is dialogue.

        And more dialogue!

          • You do realize that “Soon” means “actually soon”, and “soon, soon” means “unlikely” right?

            So if you mean “unlikely”, that’s fantastic! I will express-mail your miter.

            Soon, soon.

            Just kidding.


          • Jesus said that He was coming soon, 2000 years ago ;-), so in God’s Time soon. BTW, did you notice how in AL that coming soon was the excuse used to say that consecrated virginity is not a higher vocation than marriage? AL 159.

          • Deacon Russell, in fairness to you — and in compliance with my own comment box policy of not imputing motives to others — I have removed the comments in which I accused you of being a liar (and your responses to them.)

            I apologize to you (and to all) for the injustice of those comments. I expect more from others, and myself.

            The fact is that I do not know the motivations for what you are doing; I only know that the things you are saying about the exhortation are manifestly untrue. Why you choose to spread these untruths is between you and God. I very much wish that you would stop, however, for the good of souls and Our Holy Mother Church.

          • Apology most certainly accepted–that’s a very prudent and charitable response, which I appreciate.

          • Thank you for accepting it. This is an issue I’m passionate about, which I make no apology for. I believe your conduct is wrong; still that’s no excuse for me engaging in my own misconduct.

          • Noooo. If we want open and honest dialogue we must allow people to write. Otherwise this site becomes a site for people patting each other’s backs.
            Deacon Jim has written many good articles before and he is polite.
            There is absolutely nothing “banable” about what he writes.

          • I make it a point to cull those who prove themselves incapable of having a real discussion. All they do is bog things down for those who have something worthwhile to say.

      • I think that’s a bit tough myself, SS.

        But I do think he has blinders on and is totally fixated on some legalistic interpretation of AL that isn’t grounded in reality.

        If he sees Marx or Kasper or Cupich or someone else authorize Holy Communion for adulterers, I’m still not sure he’ll believe it’s because of AL.

          • At least he’s justifying his opinion — which I agree with you, is wrong — in lengthy pieces over at CRISIS and other sites. Trolls usually just put up 1-liners to get a rise or reaction out of their opponents.

            It’s going to get interesting now, Steve. I was wondering where Muller was the last few weeks so now that the “A” team is back in play (the CDF), things get interesting.

            One would hope !

    • The absolute continuity of a road that leads from point A, Truth, to someplace else?

      Is that to avoid going to Jerusalem and subsequent crucifixion, Jim?

      St. Peter suggested that at one time, too, but Our Lord was quite firm in his response. Gratitude wasn’t part of it.

    • Good for you, Jim. Good for you.

      Hey, I’m still waiting for your response to what I posted at Crisis over the weekend. You know, the one where I cite specific passages in AL that are problematic, just like you asked me to. When you feel like putting on your big boy pants and trying to actually justify your insistence that “everything is AWESOME!”, you’ll know where to find me.

      • Deacon Jim makes good points….but it doesn’t matter. If Marx and Kapser and Cupich are intent on violating Church law, does anybody think Francis will stop them ?

    • Deacon Russell:

      You are employed full time by the Catholic Church’s bureaucracy are you not? You are what Pope Benedict called a “professional Catholic”. Do you think perhaps your credibility is just a bit challenged on this matter? Perhaps you should allow someone else to defend AL?

      God bless

      Richard W Comerford

    • Will you feel the same way when Marx and Kasper start trading Holy Communion for checking off “CATHOLIC” on the German tax thingy to increase their share of the government booty, and use AL as their justification ?

  17. Who says the first spouse wants the departing spouse back?
    After leaving the first spouse, the departing spouse is kind of stuck isn’t he/she?

    • That’s a point that you make….I knew a couple, both now deceased, where the wife left the husband for his best friend. The husband did not marry again, but after a period of depression, returned to the area in which he grew up,…after his children were grown and threw himself in service of the Church. Since it was a rural area, there were many small churches where he performed janitorial duties and yard work. They were kept so beautifully! Our Lady always had flowers in front of her in these Churches. When he died, the priests in the area all came for his funeral Mass.

      When the wife, many years later asked to return – when the husband was in his late seventies..early eighties, the husband had already set up his lifestyle, …and though I think he forgave her because he was truly a practicing Catholic, …he continued his solitary lifestyle.

      So, here’s my question. Is an abandoned spouse obliged to take the spouse who left him/her back?

      • I bet there are some who would say he has an obligation or some such.
        I would say no obligation…what the abandoned spouse would do actually I do not know.
        I do believe that in this case, it would probably be very disruptive to his life if he did take her back.
        No telling what pundits in the church would say…Interesting isn’t it?
        Speaking in human terms, it’s up to him….
        What do you think?

  18. The long term ramifications go beyond marriage, and impact 2 areas:

    1)The Priesthood, for the Catholic Family and the Priesthood are intimately related

    2)The Mass itself. If Adulterers are allowed to take Communion (as outlined in AL), then the doors are wide open for other unrepentant Sinners to do the same. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the Eucharist itself as taught by the Catechism come into question.

    AL Effectively changes the RCC.

  19. The Church is Universal not American, it is both doctrinal and pastoral. Litmus Test analysis of document meant to address real pastoral concerns of a universal is not confine to an American legal mentality. Christ ask pastor his people to truth not to use it as an accusation.

  20. Comments for this thread were unintentionally closed when we re-published the article last week. They have been re-opened.

  21. “When the Church itself through her Supreme Pontiff creates an official document that makes excuses for obstinacy in sin, we are in very dangerous territory indeed.”

    The gates of hell have not prevailed against the Church – they have only prevailed against a so-called Pope who is actively working for Satan by excusing and encouraging sin. Excusing the sin of adultery and even suggesting adultery is compulsory “for the sake of the children”, but also encouraging the sin of sacrilege against the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist. He may still be the Pope on paper, but in reality he is AN antichrist.


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