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Pope Praises Controversial Maltese Bishops Guidelines

During the 2014 and 2015 synods on marriage and the family, the issue that rose to greatest prominence and concern was the so-called “Kasper Proposal” — a pastoral allowance suggested by Cardinal Walter Kasper of Germany that would create provisions to give the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion to Catholics who are divorced and living in a new, adulterous union. This proposal later solidified into a papal pastoral directive in the form of the eighth chapter of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (AL)Still, between unclear language and the most controversial portions being buried in footnotes, many viewed these statements as troubling, but insufficiently explicit to provide a definitive indicator that Pope Francis favored the possible heterodox interpretation that appeared implicit in the text. As His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Burke said in a recent interview:

The Holy Father says himself – in the document – that he’s not presenting the Magisterium – it’s a kind of reflection – and the language is often times imprecise, and there aren’t a lot of citations of the tradition regarding the teaching regarding Holy Matrimony and on the Holy Eucharist, and so I say the document is acceptable if the key to interpreting it is what the Church has always taught and practiced, and this is where the debate comes in, because there are other people who are saying – including Cardinals – “No, this represents a completely new approach.”

But we have seen not insubstantial evidence that Pope Francis himself favors the “completely new approach” interpretation of his exhortation. One of the earliest of these examples can be found in Francis’ November 2015 interview with Eugenio Scalfari, before AL was even published. In that interview, Francis is reported to have said:

The diverse opinion of the bishops is part of this modernity of the Church and of the diverse societies in which she operated, but the goal is the same, and for that which regards the admission of the divorced to the Sacraments, [it] confirms that this principle has been accepted by the Synod. This is bottom line result, the de facto appraisals are entrusted to the confessors, but at the end of faster or slower paths, all the divorced who ask will be admitted.” [emphasis added]

At the time, the credibility of the report was called into question, because of the notorious unreliability of the journalistic methods of Scalfari, who reports on his interviews from memory rather than by means of recordings or notes. (We addressed these concerns — and the apparent intentionality of Francis using Scalfari’s dubious reputation as a smokescreen for floating his more radical ideas — here.)

But after AL was published, even stronger evidence was made public. Most notable was Francis’ letter praising the bishops of the Buenos Aires region for their guidelines on the document, which stated that in certain circumstances involving second, non-sacramental sexual unions, “Amoris Laetitia opens the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist”. In Francis’ own words, “The [Buenos Aires bishops’] document is very good and completely explains the meaning of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. There are no other interpretations.”

Shortly thereafter, the Cardinal Vicar of Rome — the pope’s administrator of his personal diocese — issued guidelines allowing Communion for the “remarried”. Then the Maltese bishops came out with their own guidelines, which were so surprisingly permissive that they invoked, in the minds of some theologians, an anathema from the Council of Trent. The Maltese bishops nevertheless had their guidelines published — without criticism or comment — in L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican Newspaper, signalling an implicit papal endorsement. Two months later, Cardinal Marx, head of the German Bishops’ Conference and close adviser to the pope, stated publicly that Francis was “joyful” about the German bishops’ own guidelines to the same effect.

Now, Francis is issuing praise yet again for AL guidelines that are to his liking, this time returning to his implicit endorsement of the Maltese bishops’ document and making it explicit:

On behalf of Pope Francis, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri has reportedly sent a letter to Malta’s bishops to thank them for their guidelines on applying the controversial Chapter 8 of the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love).

The Maltese website Newsbookreported April 5 that the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops sent the letter of gratitude to co-signatories of the guidelines, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta and Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo, but did not give any further details.

The bishops’ document, published Jan. 13 and entitled Criteria for the Application of Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia, drew strong criticism from some theologians, canon lawyers, and some Vatican officials who argued that it appeared to assert the primacy of conscience over the objective moral truth.

The bishops stated in the guidelines that some remarried divorcees can receive Holy Communion after a period of discernment, with an informed and enlightened conscience, and if they are “at peace with God.”

Critics said the criteria clearly contradicted previous papal teaching, the Catechism, canon law, and Vatican instruction, stressing that Church teaching clearly forbids allowing Holy Communion for remarried divorcees engaging in sexual relations without an annulment.

If there was any remaining doubt that Pope Francis supports the worst interpretation of the eighth chapter of Amoris Laetitia, it should now finally be put to rest.

59 thoughts on “Pope Praises Controversial Maltese Bishops Guidelines”

  1. I do understand how the Church nits picks things apart, but for all intended purposes, rational and able bodied persons alike; we can say that this pope is in heresy. I appreciate that PF has not decreed a change to dogma or has not formally stated a change, but one would have to be purposefully blind or complicit with what this man seeks to do, not to state the obvious.

    We must face the truth, and pray that Cardinal Burke and others who support him, respond to the Holy Spirit.
    The Church is under the gravest attack, and we must keep our wits about us.
    But, that does not mean, we go silent, hide neath the covers, and excuse our cowardice as “waiting for the right time.” Please lead us Lord!

    • Hi cs. You are one of my favorites here. That should read “intents and purposes”, not “intensive purposes”. Just want to keep the jargon kosher. Thanks.

  2. It’s often easy for people to know the Church went through great crises in the past. But it’s very difficult for people to accept they are living in a present crisis. History will recognize this period as it is, but for today, only the brave can stand to look the devastation straight in the eye, rather than pretend everything is okay.

  3. “If there was any remaining doubt that Pope Francis supports the worst interpretation of the eighth chapter of Amoris Laetitia, it should now finally be put to rest”

    But it won’t be…

  4. Of course he is praising the Maltese Bishops: their heretical contribution was an obvious set-up from the beginning. He praises all sorts of nonsensical leftist lunacy, loves cassock lifters and trannies, virtually worships Gaia. There cannot be any doubt after the Argies, the Krauts and now the Maltese have been supported: he is a notorious and pertinacious heretic.

    If Burke et al stay silent now then they and their dubia were a complete waste of everyone’s time.

    The only things Bergoglio speaks against are Catholicism, Catholics and married people for staying faithful to their marriage vows.

    Party workers and the Politburo are sick of the man. If I might revert to my native Georgian for a moment – I just wish he’d shut his fat gob.

    • Ah! “native Georgian”. So, Josyp Visyaronovich; hence the monicker “The Great Stalin”. It should have been obvious, but I’m getting increasingly slow-brained in my old age.

      • Oh dear, looks like I shall have to explain again. I am an Englishman, lived & worked in Russia for many years, leaving in 2009. I speak Russian, know its history and literature very well, follow its politics. TGS was created as a comic figure after I left, mostly to take the mick out of all things Russian on various blogs. I am rather attached to him so haven’t ditched the character even though he comments more or less only on Catholic matters nowadays.

    • Dear ‘Whoever you are’,

      What’s the idea behind the name you have? Do you think that ‘The Great Stalin’ is in keeping with Our Lord’s teaching? Surely, to have the name and photograph of a mass murderer on 1P5 everytime you make a comment (many of which are worth pondering) simply gives credence to those who think Mr Skojec’s blogg is full of ranting lunatics. Why anyone would want to have Stalin’s name and picture as their signature is a puzzle to me, but maybe it is simply to shock, get people’s attention, or provoke a distraction to the serious questions being discussed. As a Catholic, or simply as someone of good will who is seeking the truth in order to live by it, I don’t think wearing the name of a former seminarian who lost his way and killed millions of innocent men, women, and children, is going to help in the work of saving souls in order to give God the glory He justly deserves as Goodness Itself. There are many glorious Saints whose image you could use, and their powerful intercession would be guaranteed to you. Maybe an image of ‘The Great Mother of God’, or Georgia’s oldest icon from Tsilkani, would be more fitting.

      Thank you, and God bless you.

      Yours faithfully,

      Robert F. Cassidy

  5. The die is cast. The abomination is being established by the enemies of God. Soon Francis will loose this on earth, and then when this is loosed in heaven. the final battle in heaven will begin against the demons which have been loosed in Heaven by Francis. The Cup of God’s Wrath overflows. And then Jesus will return. The Parousia – Cliff notes Version.

  6. Jorge is a Heretic! Yet we still can’t remove him, pathetic! You guys need to check out:
    Mr. Jorge’s errors and heresies are all documented there. Every filth that came from Jorge’s mouth is cross-referenced by the Teaching of the Magisterium, Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Canon Law, Councils, Saints, the Catechism of Trent, ect., ect.

    Jorge is the MOTHER LODE of all heresies!

    • He has declared it himself, but in that peculiar way he and all secular materialists do their deed — duplicitously. Here exhibited is nuclear mendacity and mournfully he is not alone — by a long shot.

  7. The five stages of grief: (1) denial, (2) anger, (3) bargaining, (4) depression and (5) acceptance.

    1: No, the Pope did not approve of adultery, fornication and promiscuous sex. He misspoke. You mis-heard.
    2: The Pope can’t do that! The Magisterium! The Hierarchy! Someone, do something!
    3: Perhaps he doesn’t mean what he says. He’s hard to understand. Or, perhaps he’s not the Pope.
    4: What difference does it make!? The Church has caved. No one is left to guide us. I quit!
    5: I respect his Office. I fear for his soul. I pray for his conversion. I will not listen to another word he says.

    It has been a long road to #5.

  8. Of course this not in any way surprising.
    What was baffling was the Chilean bishops emerging from their ad limina saying that Pope Bergoglio had denied the accuracy of a heterodox interpretation of Amoris Laetitia.
    How did they manage to leave with that idea? Did he lie to them? Did all of them hear him incorrectly?

  9. Right now, I’ll stick to what the Chilean Bishops said they heard from Francis about the subject during their last ‘ad limina’ visit. Baldisseri deserves no credit whatsoever. I wouldn’t be surprised if that preposterous letter was another German-like manoeuver to drag Francis back to the wrong track.

  10. Cardinal Burke tells us that Francis says that AL is not Magisterial but only a ‘reflection’. When in all your life have you ever heard a Pope , when putting out a document, remind the flock that it is merely a reflection, . This is so sly and cunning. It’s not that important you see…I am only writing words…..and what I really want is the practice to change in order to slowly but surely allow all to receive and so I minimize this. After all I have much to do in a very short time……so can we move on to my next pet project now, please.

  11. The Pope’s words condemn his as material heretic. Accordingly, everything he says concerning the Catholic faith should be questioned. Pope Francis sows confusion, discord and animosity. Such is the work of the devil.


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