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Scholars Respond to Fastiggi, Rejecting Notion the Pope has Indirectly Answered the Dubia

This week has seen yet another attempt of loyal supporters of Pope Francis to calm down the concerned critics of the pope with regard to Amoris Laetitia and the papal silence with regard to the dubia of the four cardinals. The Italian newspaper of the papal friend, Andrea Tornielli, Vatican Insider (La Stampa), published on 28 November an article written by the U.S. theologian Dr. Robert Fastiggi who teaches at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit. Entitled “Recent Comments of Pope Francis Should Help to Quiet Papal Critics,” the article tries to convince papal critics that the pope already answered the dubia, though indirectly, but certainly in an orthodox way.

After a short introduction, we shall present the statements of three prominent loyal and orthodox Catholic scholars – Father Brian Harrison, O.S., Professor Paolo Pasqualucci, and Professor Claudio Pierantoni – who have sent to us, upon our request, their own reflections and responses to Fastiggi’s article, which has been prominently and internationally published.

It seems that the recently-published letter to Pope Francis, as written by Father Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., has had a strong impact on Catholic discourse, since Dr. Fastiggi mentions it both at the beginning and at the end of his new article. Fastiggi begins his arguments as follows:

Some critics of Pope Francis seem to think he cares little about doctrinal clarity, especially with regard to moral theology and conscience. Fr. Thomas Weinandy, OFMCap, for example—in his recently made public July 31, 2017 letter to the Holy Father—suggests that in Amoris laetitia Pope Francis offers guidance that “at times seems intentionally ambiguous.” The “explanatory note” on the fifth dubium of the four Cardinals sent to Pope Francis on September 19, 2016 expresses concern that Amoris laetita, 303 might imply a view of conscience “as a faculty for autonomously deciding about good and evil.”

Before we go further into the discussion of Dr. Fastiggi’s article, it might be worth mentioning in this context that the Father Weinandy letter – and the request that immediately followed that he resign from his position as a consultant to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) – had also stirred a discussion in Germany with much sympathy for Fr. Weinandy. The prominent national newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), published, on 7 November, an article about Father Weinandy’s letter and his description of the atmosphere of fear within the Catholic Church among those who disagree with Pope Francis’ path of reform. Describing Weinandy as a “man of the center,” an “internationally renowned theologian,” and a member of the International Theological Commission, FAZ’s journalist Christian Geyer said that the immediate request from the U.S. bishops that Weinandy resign from his position proves Weinandy’s point. Geyer wrote:

This incident is a symptom of that which Weinandy named in his letter: the fear of being dismissed, put aside, overshadows the willingness to express criticism freely, a criticism which in turn could at any moment by denounced as “badmouthing” of the papal agenda.

Thus, Father Weinandy’s polite critique of the strong confusion stemming from the papal document Amoris Laetitia, which drew international attention, could well have been a further invitation to Pope Francis to finally make an act of clarification. Now, in light of the international response to Father Weinandy’s prominent letter to Pope Francis and his call for a doctrinal clarification, it is even more understandable why Dr. Fastiggi felt compelled to write a defense of Pope Francis. As our scholars will show, indirect papal comments might not be a sufficient answer to the many calls for substantive clarification.

Let us first briefly (and incompletely) present some aspects of Dr. Fastiggi’s letter, while inviting our readers to read his full article. Fastiggi quotes several recent statements from the pope about Amoris Laetitia and about the question of the “remarried” and divorced couples, saying that in these papal comments, he sees an orthodox response to all the critics. Among these alleged papal signals is a 11 November video message from the pope to participants in the 3rd International Symposium on the Apostolic Exhortation. In reference to this communication, Fastiggi states:

Instead of describing conscience as an autonomous faculty for deciding good or evil, the Holy Father points to a proper conscience as an antidote for “a worship of the self, on whose altar everything is sacrificed.”

Thus, Fastiggi sees the fifth dubium answered. Fastiggi also quotes Pope Francis’ 25 November address to the Roman Rota, where the pope called for a shorter process for obtaining declarations of nullity, saying that then such couples also could again be admitted to the Holy Eucharist. Fastiggi comments:

It’s important to note that the Holy Father sees a declaration of nullity as a means to restore peace to the consciences of the divorced and remarried in order for them to have readmission to the Eucharist. This implies that those who are divorced and remarried are not admitted to the Eucharist. Some might object that Pope Francis does not actually say this, but it’s difficult to understand his statement in any other way. If admission to the Eucharist is allowed after a declaration of nullity, then it suggests that it is not possible before.

This statement is in Fastiggi’s eyes a response to the first of the five dubia. He also discusses possible objections, quoting Cardinal Müller’s own unfortunate recent statement:

Critics of Pope Francis will likely try to reassert their criticisms and point to the Holy Father’s alleged permission for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion via his letter endorsing the guidelines of a group of Argentine bishops. Cardinal Müller, however, told Edward Pentin in a Sept. 28, 2017 interview that “if you look at what the Argentine bishops wrote in their directive, you can interpret this in an orthodox way.”

With reference to some “remarried” and divorced orthodox Christians who, by Canon Law (canon 844§3), might be admitted, under certain conditions, to Holy Communion in the Catholic Church, Dr. Fastiggi also sees some ways of exceptions for the “remarried” and divorced couples who do not live in continence, while maintaining the general rule:

My only point is that such possible exceptions might exist, but they should not hinder the articulation of the general rule, which is that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics should not receive Holy Communion unless they are living in continence.

Dr. Fastiggi also points to the possibility that Pope Francis, with his footnote 351 in Amoris Laetitia about “certain cases” in which such couples could have access to the Holy Eucharist, merely thought of those couples who cannot prove, due to difficult circumstances in remote places in the world, the nullity of their marriage and thus should make use of the “forum internum” with a priest.

The final words of Dr. Fastiggi’s article are, as follows:

This is not to say he [Pope Francis] was consciously responding to these dubia. His intent was simply to teach the truth. If only the papal critics would pay more attention to the many and frequent teachings of the Holy Father that clearly articulate the truth, we would be better off. Fr. Weinandy is correct that “truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul.” Pope Francis, however, has been and continues to teach the truth. It’s sad, though, that his critics fail to notice this.

In the following, therefore, we shall present the eloquent responses of three Catholics scholars (one of them also a priest) who are all well known to our readers. Fr. Harrison, Professor Pasqualucci, and Professor Pierantoni are all among the 45 signatories of the Theological Censures Document sent last year to the College of Cardinals addressing Amoris Laetitia; Pasqualucci and Pierantoni have also both signed the Filial Correction concerning Amoris Laetitia and other papal words and actions. We are grateful to them for having been willing to make this act of charity for the sake of the fuller truth.

Father Brian Harrison, O.S.

Regarding Dr. Robert Fastiggi’s claim that Pope Francis upholds orthodox sacramental doctrine and discipline:

In a November 25 address to the Roman Rota, Pope Francis referred to his own recent legislation expediting marriage nullity processes, and exhorted the canonists in his audience “to be close to the solitude and suffering of the faithful who expect from ecclesial justice the competent and factual help to restore peace to their consciences and God’s will on readmission to the Eucharist.” According to Dr. Robert Fastiggi, the Holy Father’s words imply that readmission to the Eucharist for divorced and remarried Catholics not living in continence “can only come after the declaration of nullity” (emphasis added). Not so. The word “only” is logically unwarranted here, for Francis’ words are quite compatible with his holding that while some – perhaps most – such Catholics will need a declaration of nullity of their first marriage in order to be absolved and readmitted to the Eucharist, not all of them will need it.

In other words, the Pope’s observation fails to state or imply what the dubia cardinals and others troubled by Amoris Laetitia rightly wish to hear him teach, namely, that if and only if a declaration of nullity is granted may those in question eventually be readmitted to the Eucharist. Francis’ November 25 speech leaves open the possibility that some such persons may be absolved and readmitted to the Eucharistic by a different path – one of “dialogue,” “accompanying” and “discernment” – that requires neither a commitment to continence nor the Church’s recognition that the first marriage was invalid. That the Pope intends AL’s note 351 to open up this new path “in certain cases” is shown by (for instance) Vatican approval of the Maltese bishops’ allowance of it, his praise for a top-level AL expositor (Cardinal Schönborn) who says the Pope’s exhortation “obviously” allows for it, a Vatican cardinal’s 30-page booklet allowing it, and its approved implementation in the Holy Father’s own Diocese of Rome.

The Rev. Brian W. Harrison, O.S., M.A., S.T.D., a priest of the Society of the Oblates of Wisdom, is a retired Associate Professor of Theology of the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce, P.R. In 1997 he gained his doctorate in Systematic Theology, summa cum laude, from the Pontifical Athenæum of the Holy Cross in Rome. Since 2007 Fr. Harrison has been scholar-in-residence at the Oblates of Wisdom Study Center in St. Louis, Missouri, and is well-known as a speaker and writer. He is the author of three books and over 130 articles in Catholic books, magazines, and journals.

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Professor Paolo Pasqualucci

Did Pope Francis already answer the five dubia of the four cardinals, or some of them? No, he didn’t.

Why didn’t he? Here are some reasons.

1.) A preliminary but substantial point. The five dubia do not represent an accusation.  They are an official request of clarification by four cardinals, aiming to dissolve erroneous and heretical interpretations of what the Pope himself has written in a magisterial document (AL).  The Pope has the duty to answer in an official way, i.e. either with a document released motu proprio or through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stating authoritatively the authentic meaning (interpretatio authentica) of his own words; that is, an interpretation by the Lawmaker himself that eliminates any doubt as to the perfect orthodoxy of what he has written, contextually condemning any possible erroneous interpretation thereof.

Therefore, the Pope’s indirect declarations and hints related to the problems involved by AL, released in audio messages, addresses, interviews, etc., have no value as to the solution of those problems.

He has to answer ex cathedra, since the four cardinals have addressed their dubia ex cathedra too, i.e., in their capacity as high level members of the clergy directly assisting the pope in the government of the Church.

The lack of any official, magisterial answer on the part of the pope allows anyone to interpret the ambiguous parts of Amoris Laetitia the way he wants, so that confusion and anarchy continue to spread in the Holy Church.

Pope Francis can’t persist in maintaining an indirect approach — substantially a no-approach — policy on the dubia questions. In any case, independently from the dubia, the reigning, sinister confusion requires as such a magisterial pronouncement on his part, since he alone is the Vicar of Christ on earth and the Head of the visible Church.

2.) The thesis that Pope Francis does not describe “conscience as an autonomous faculty for deciding good or evil”, as the four cardinals (according to the author of the article) seem to think, overlooks the fact that the four cardinals in reality do not intimate that the Pope “describes” conscience that way; rather, that such a wrong notion of conscience may be deducted from certain ambiguous points of AL.

In addition, the papal quotation from Romano Guardini (supposedly demonstrating his orthodoxy) proposes a text that on one side is not conclusive, in the sense that it can very well suit a deistic notion of the conscience (à la Jean-Jacques Rousseau, to be clear); on the other side, it appears obscure in its final, dotted [abbreviated using multiple ellipses – Ed.] part.

3.) The quotation of art. 16 of Gaudium et Spes (GS) on the part of the pope introduces a very slippery text. This famous article deals with “the dignity of moral consciousness”. Initially, it moves along still in accordance with the right doctrine, based on Rom. 2:14-16, that notoriously confirms the existence of a moral law established by God in our conscience; a law which our conscience can (and must) comprehend and follow.  The heathens, teaches St. Paul, deprived of  Revelation, will be judged according to this law, i.e. according to how their conscience has behaved in relation to this law.

But in the second part of art. 16, it is said that “in fidelity to conscience, Christians are joined with the rest of men in the search for truth, and for the genuine solution to the numerous problems which arise in the life of individuals from social relationships.  Hence the more right conscience holds sway, the more persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and strive to be guided by the objective norms of morality”. (GS 16 §2)

Here the “objective norms of morality” do not result from the Revelation of Our Lord Jesus Christ or from the natural law embedded in our hearts, but from the “dialogue” with “the rest of men”, with the aim “of finding the truth”. Truth in ethics, therefore, does not result from what Our Lord, the Apostles, and the perennial Church have taught us, but from a common research with the rest of humanity, either heretical or adverse to Christianity! In this quest the guide is not the Gospel and the teaching of the Church but our individual conscience, that elaborates the truth together with all the rest of mankind while learning from them!  Here appears a notion of truth that is absolutely incompatible with the notion of a truth revealed by the true God as the only basis of our religious and moral principles.

So, to make an example, the truth about marriage how are we supposed “to find it”, since Vatican 2?  In a common research (or “dialogue”) with those who admit of divorce, repudiation, temporary marriage, poligamy, concubinate and so on? Indeed, that’s what many have done, relying on the judgement of their own conscience, and we have seen the nefarious results of this quest or research for the notion and practice of Catholic marriage.

4.) It is grand that a remark by Pope Francis to an audience of participants in the course promoted by the Roman Rota (on Nov. 25, 2017) apparently “implied that those who are divorced and remarried are not admitted to the Eucharist”. If that was the meaning of his remark — I mean, that the implicit meaning of the remark effectively coincided with the Pope’s opinion on the matter dealt with in the remark — the fact remains that the Pope has the duty to expose the right doctrine openly, clearly and, when necessary, in a magisterial statement, without compelling so frequently the faithful to dig out possible orthodox meanings from statements otherwise involved and ambiguous.

5.) In the end, the hermeneutic on Pope’s Francis ambiguous statements, via the quotation of Cardinal Müller’s interpretations and of certain non-conclusive doctrinal statements by Cardinal Ratzinger, plus the author’s own interpretation of the same problematic [statements] do not come to any real valid conclusion because they are always compelled, in the end, to make a hypothesis on what Pope Francis “perhaps” really meant.

Paolo Pasqualucci is a retired professor of philosophy of the law at the University of Perugia, Italy.

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Professor Claudio Pierantoni

What mainly strikes me about Dr. Fastiggi’s recent article is his naïveness: I can see his honesty and good faith in looking for orthodox statements by the pope. But to think that a few orthodox sentences that “could be taken” to express the correct doctrine in the disputed issues can quiet papal critics shows a thorough lack of understanding of Francis’ tactics. He has been shown on quite a number of occasions “quieting” his interlocutor with sentences that “can be taken” in an orthodox sense; but without excluding “exceptions” or “precisions” that come from the opposite point of view. That is, in fact, the typical tactic of the heretic: the heretic, by definition, is not someone that “attacks” Christian doctrine, but someone who interprets it in his own way: he is not someone that wants to be excluded from the Church, but someone who wants to stay firmly in his position. So, there is nothing surprising in the fact that he can say many things that can be, or at least sound orthodox. That’s the reason why the Church, when stating some doctrine, also formulates it in a negative way, in the form of an “anatema”, i.e., explicitly condemning the opposite error. That’s why four of the five presented dubia require a negative answer: because the exclusion of something is here the decisive thing: e.g. “divorced and remarried can in no case receive the Eucharist”; “some kind of acts may never be licitly performed”. If I express the same concept in a positive way, there’s always the possibility to later add an exception.

That is the main reason why we critics – and millions of Catholics – cannot be quieted by such statements as Dr. Fastiggi quotes, and need a clear answer to the dubia. In the absence of this, we must necessarily think, after more than one year and a series of occasions that have been given to the Pope in order that he clarify his position, that he doesn’t really maintain the doctrines to which the dubia make reference, and therefore he has fallen into heresy.

Claudio Pierantoni is Professor of Medieval Philosophy at the University of Chile, and a Former Professor of Church History and Patrology at the Faculty of Theology of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He is also a member of the International Association of Patristic Studies.

97 thoughts on “Scholars Respond to Fastiggi, Rejecting Notion the Pope has Indirectly Answered the Dubia”

  1. Pope Francis has no legitimate reason for not answering the Dubia, which have been presented to him by his faithful Cardinals for the good of the Church and to assist the one holding the Petrine Ministry carry out his unique and specific office. All they are asking for is that he clarify his teaching so that Catholics can better understand what he is teaching them so that they can follow it faithfully and clearly.

    To not want to clarify one’s own teaching is absurd! What teacher doesn’t want their students to know what they are teaching? What teacher wants to leave their teaching ambiguous so that it can be both yes and no to questions that require, by their very nature, a yes or no answer?

    His refusal to answer the Dubia (and the many other requests made) is the answer to the Dubia. And that answer does not conform to Catholic Doctrine.

    Pope Francis speaks with a forked tongue: this is not my opinion, but an observable fact that has been demonstrated over and over again.

    There is no justifiable excuse for not answering the humble and sincere requests for clarification on Doctrines and Practices that are essential to the Catholic Faith, especially when one has been elected to the Highest Teaching Office that was established by Our Blessed Lord to Confirm the Brethren in the Faith. To refuse to do so is gravely Evil.

    Professor Fastiggi ought to be deeply ashamed of himself. He is not serving the Pope, the Church or The Lord by glossing over such grave matter with such facile argumentation. If the Pope were sincerely desiring to Teach and Uphold the Faith he would have answered the dubia directly and immediately and granted many audiences to those who put them forth for the good of the Church. To ignore the fact that Pope Francis has done and continues to do the exact opposite is asinine at best.

    Woe to you blind guides comes readily to mind.

    • Everyone with good Catholic sense knows the answers are “No. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.” The Dubia route probably seemed the best option at the time to the four cardinals. It was certainly clever in that it gives no wriggle room. Although Cardinal Schönborn said that it could be a “Yes.” to all five and seemed to just get away with it.

      The one thing that bugs me a little was that the good Catholic dog on the street knows the answers, so what with all the please clarify this for us stuff. There was a whiff of false ignorance and false docility to the papal office about this. I would be happy to be corrected in this thinking…

      I would have preferred something more confrontational. The plus side is that the Dubia approach has resulted in it all being stretched out time wise. And it is said that word is getting out, slowly but surely. Arguably for the salvation of souls the pontiff’s ambiguity could be a bad thing however.

      • I’ve been sick of the “clarify” charade. The heresy from this Pope is clear unless you are blind and deaf. He can’t give Catholic answers because he doesn’t believe them. He’s just getting warmed up with his modernism and he has plenty of support, unfortunately.

        • I’m sick of the “this is orthodox” nonsense. We hear it from pretty much all the Catholic prelates who tell us everything Bergoglio spins out that sounds heretical “must be interpreted according to Church teaching”, whether it is about marriage/divorce or EENS or other religions, etc.

          Goes like this:

          1} statement is made that is clearly not in agreement with past teaching.
          2} statement is declared to be in agreement with past teaching.

          This is why as a convert I relatively quickly found myself in Traditionalist circles. Because the faith I was converted to is not found in statements of clear contradiction. Either the Church presents a coherent set of teachings, or She doesn’t. It seems to me so many today want to affirm the latter while maintaining the former.

        • What you haven’t taken into account, and what Garrett has mentioned is the vast number of souls who have used the Pope’s heresies to fall into mortal sin. It doesn’t matter to me what Bergogio thinks. If he wants to chance eternity in hell it’s his business. Dragging others with him is a serious matter and for that reason clarity FROM THE POPE is essential.

          • I don’t question the sincerity of those who keep demanding “clarity”. From his statements and actions, if he gives his true opinion can anyone doubt that those answers will formalize his heretical teaching? Where are we then? Maybe that formalization is the point. What is one to do then?

          • If he gives his opinion he is sure to put his foot in his mouth again. If he cites authentic Catholic doctrine, which is his duty as pope, he must renounce what he has written in AL. There is no formalize his heretical teaching. He must clarify the relevant parts of AL only because priests and laity are using them to justify mortal sin.

          • Since the Canon Law section which applies to this matter requires me to accept and obey the heresy, and thus become complicit with the mortal sin of adultery committed by thousands all over the world — people I don’t even know — I’m going to ignore it with the assurance the just Judge will not accuse me for rejecting a mortal sin. I can’t say the same for Bergoglio, but who am I to judge?

          • The basis principle of any rational discussion is the principle of non-contradiction. Truth cannot contradict itself, nor does it change. Jesus said, “I am the truth…..”. Bergolio has promulgated as truth teaching directly in conflict with the teaching of his predecessors of two thousand years. Both cannot be true. One is a lie. He has no authority, even as Pope, to contradict a dogma of the Church taught magisterially my his predecessors. He is the modernist par excellence, with the heirachy of the Church either in agreement, or unwilling to call him out.

    • In light of this powerful message from Fr. RP, there can be no doubt the Pope intends the heresies he has taught. There is no point to trying to convince him of his errors and heresies. He knows all about them and he doesn’t care. A logical conclusion is, the poor man does not believe in God.

      • Francis was privately directed this past August to decide IMMEDIATELY whose vicar he was, Our Lord’s or Satan’s. He has decided. Pray for his conversion.

    • DEAR Fr. RP, First I would like to thank God for FAITHFUL STALWARTS like you, defending God’s TRUTH. Praise and thanks be to God. I would like to ask you a question which has bothered me for a long time. I am , by the grace of God, a practicing faithful Traditional Catholic. If I believe a heresy and publicly state so, like for example, I don’t believe in HELL.{ Please note I DEFINITELY DO } Am I still a CATHOLIC? If one supposes I am a PRIEST who does not believe in HELL, can I remain a PRACTICING CATHOLIC Priest ? If a POPE is MANIFESTLY PERTINACIOUS HERETIC, can he STILL be PRESUMED to be A HERETIC VICAR of CHRIST, STILL endowed with JURISDICTION over the Church, MISLEADING the FAITHFUL into HELL? How can the CARDINALS and BISHOPS remain SILENTLY INACTIVE thereby becoming guilty of the same error ?

      • Yes, you are still a Catholic, but not in good standing, for you are a heretic and cannot present yourself for Holy Communion based on your rejection of Catholic Doctrine and Dogma. You would cease to be Catholic when and if you were excommunicated for your heresy, then you would be a schismatic or an apostate based upon the degree of your denial of Divinely Revealed Truth.

        As for the Pope etc…there needs to be a council called (even if imperfect in the sense that it is not called by the heretical Pope or attended by those who adhere to him and his heresy) and a decree of Heresy issued. The decree would contain a time of his loss of office, either from the beginning or from the time that his pertinacious heresy was seen to be definitely held by him.

        As for the Bishops and Cardinals: May God give them the light they need to see the Truth and Act in accord with Him Who Is The Truth Incarnate. Otherwise, may they be soon relieved from office by God Himself.

        • Excommunicants are still Catholic as excommunication is a medicinal penalty. Excommunication does not expel the person from the Catholic Church. While access to the sacraments is restricted, excommunicants still have ecclesiastical obligations that all Catholics have (e.g., Sunday Mass attendance).

          Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts
          Vatican City, 13 March 2006
          Prot. N. 10279/2006

          7. It remains clear, in any event, that the sacramental bond of belonging to the Body of Christ that is the Church, conferred by the baptismal character, is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by reason of any act or fact of defection.

          Julián Card. Herranz
          Bruno Bertagna

          This notification was approved by the Supreme Pontiff, Benedict XVI, who directed that it be transmitted to all Presidents of Episcopal Conferences.

  2. Quoting some text from Professor Paolo Pasqualucci in his response to Dr. Robert Fastiggi…..

    “He has to answer ex cathedra, since the four cardinals have addressed their dubia ex cathedra too, i.e., in their capacity as high level members of the clergy directly assisting the pope in the government of the Church.

    The lack of any official, magisterial answer on the part of the pope allows anyone to interpret the ambiguous parts of Amoris Laetitia the way he wants, so that confusion and anarchy continue to spread in the Holy Church.”

    Well, it is very clear that if indeed this is correct then there NEVER will be an answer to the Dubia…EVER!
    This Pope is a fraud, and that’s it.

  3. Boy is this getting old. Instead of writing inane defenses of Francis, why don’t his defenders just tell him he needs to answer five questions with one word answers. Honestly, we might believe he is heretical simply by virtue of the fact that Christ said let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. This man refuses to say yes or no. He has therefore already defied and denied Christ.


  4. Unfortunately, indirect answers are utterly irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what the Pope said in his address to the 3rd International Symposium, to the Roman Rota, or to any other particular group. As has been proven rather conclusively by now, he’s able to say completely different things when talking to different people — things he wants them in particular to hear.

    Steve’s recent article about The Dictator Pope contains this most pertinent quote from the book:

    The story is told that Perón, in his days of glory, once
    proposed to induct a nephew in the mysteries of politics. He first
    brought the young man with him when he received a deputation of
    communists; after hearing their views, he told them, “You’re quite
    right.” The next day he received a deputation of fascists and replied
    again to their arguments, “You’re quite right.” Then he asked his nephew
    what he thought and the young man said, “You’ve spoken with two groups
    with diametrically opposite opinions and you told them both that you
    agreed with them. This is completely unacceptable.” Perón replied,
    “You’re quite right too.” An anecdote like this is an illustration of
    why no-one can be expected to assess Pope Francis unless he understands
    the tradition of Argentinian politics, a phenomenon outside the rest of
    the world’s experience; the Church has been taken by surprise by Francis
    because it has not had the key to him: he is Juan Perón in
    ecclesiastical translation. Those who seek to interpret him otherwise
    are missing the only relevant criterion.

    But when forced to talk to the Church as a whole, i.e. a non-particular universal audience impossible to communicate with except by reference to their common denominator that is the Catholic Faith, he just seems unable to be unambiguous about the critical questions. This basic failure to adhere to Luke 22:32 alone makes him a bad Pope. We must pray for him!

  5. What becomes apparent in the Pontiff’s premises in AL and his later responses to critics is his substantiating the possible as a perpetual exception to the rule. It is best described by Prof Pierantoni as the Pontiff’s “tactic” of positing the rule positively, which per force allows for exception, whereas the rules against grave sin are always pronounced negatively so as to prohibit exceptions. Dr Fastiggi gives us example of advancing the argument of possibilities for exceptions [we note in AL the many shades of possible mitigating conditions that remove culpability] “My only point is that such possible exceptions might exist, but they should not hinder the articulation of the general rule” (Fastiggi). Here Fastiggi abrogates the longstanding prohibition belonging to the Common Law of England [the basis for Am jurisprudence] of Double Possibility. To say that what “might exist” is a possibility enhances that possible exception into perpetuity. This illogical premise is as Pierantoni suggests slipped by the Pontiff into his Exhortation and defense of it leaving the priest urged to discern possible exceptions with the inevitable conclusion that they must exist because they are possible. It is deceptive and leads as Cardinal Caffarra rightly said to error.

  6. How does one “indirectly answer” a simple yes/no question? More to the point, why would one attempt to answer in a circuitous, vague, allegorical or symbolic manner when all that is required is a monosyllabic response?

    If there are only two possible answers (yes or no) then any other answer is invalid.

  7. When a leader’s statements, like most politicians, have to be clarified and explained by underlings, you know there is a problem.

  8. NONE of this matters as long as Bergoglio’s new nullity laws remain intact.

    No one really discusses them who has directly criticized them for what they are? They will have a FAR worse impact on Catholic morality in the coming years than anything the unanswered dubia issue can muster.

    It is true that the Pope’s approach to the dubia and the issue of communion for public adulterers, that is, the reliance on the internal forum for skirting the laws of nullity allow for other expressions of grave evil to be ignored, accepted, and “made righteous” in the Church {homosexuality, “gay marriage”, etc} but overall, these sins are still small potatoes numerically compared to the common, pervasive and notorious “favorite sin” of moderns; “good ole fashioned” heterosexual adultery. The Pope’s new nullity laws, in allowing essentially anyone to secure an annulment, are a bulwark defending that monstrosity.

    Regardless of what happens to the dubia, we have “Catholic Divorce” right under our noses and nobody wants to talk about that.

    • It says everything is up for grabs. As the Church that can factually trace itself back to Christ’s apostles, it really calls into doubt EVERYTHING. The men have access to all the records, what they know has been passed on from generation to generation. Though I have full faith and believe in the Church and her teachings, the current behavior and denial of Christ’s own words does sow doubt in the faithful and give ammunition to skeptics.

  9. Even absent the clarifying statements of Harrison, Pierantoni, and Pasqualucci, Fastiggi’s essay is a very weak one, filled with suppositions, interpretations, and guesses. No one can take such claptrap as anything but special pleading.

  10. The basis for all the problems unfolding before us is: denial of the Cross. Every single answer of the papal apologists says that people will not conform to Church teaching because “it’s too hard.” Period. Denial that we must pick up our Cross and carry it behind our King and Lord, Jesus Christ is the root problem.

    The whole world is being arranged so that no one suffers. If you suffer a baby in your womb that is difficult for you to carry – get rid of it. If you are poor and hungry go out and riot and break into stores so that you can steal someone else’s food. If you are in a marriage that has become loveless and desperately unhappy obtain a declaration of nullity. If you are rich and there are starving people out there form a committee or a government program to feed them with food left over from your gluttony – why should you have to suffer by actually giving your money away to the destitute?

    All a denial of what is right before our eyes: we must suffer in this life, either from our own failures, or through God’s design. Soros and Francis to the rescue!! No suffering!

    God help those who buy into this meme.

          • “I’m going to tell you something private,” Pope Francis said to a crowd during his recent trip to Africa. “In my pocket, I always carry two things.”
            First, he pulled out a rosary. “To pray,” he said.
            Second, he pulled out “something that seems odd.” He raised a small square item. “This here, in this item, is the history of God’s failure.”
            “It’s the way of the cross. A small way of the cross.”
            He opened the square like a little book and pointed to the small images inside. “As Jesus suffered, and when they condemned him, to where when he was buried.”
            “With these two things,” he concluded, “I do the best I can. And thanks to these two things, I never lose hope.”

          • Ivan, what is wrong with this man???

            How he flips the Rosary in this video, without reverence, casting it aside……did you notice that as well?

            What an angry, angry, angry disturbed human being he is.
            Full of hate for himself and for the world.

  11. “…after more than one year and a series of occasions that have been given to the Pope in order that he clarify his position, that he doesn’t really maintain the doctrines to which the dubia make reference, and therefore he has fallen into heresy.”

    Claudio Pierantoni

    There is nothing else to say.

  12. I have a question which is almost on topic, prompted as it is by the image of the papal coat of arms with its motto “miserando atque eligendo”.

    Has anyone done a study of papal mottoes? Popes in the last century or so seem to have adopted them. What is their significance?

    It struck me because, whereas all the other papal mottoes of which I am aware are on devotional or spiritual themes, or on works of virtue, Francis’ motto, for all its pretence at humility, is about himself. Perhaps that makes it apt, but I don’t like it.

    Am I wrong?

    • Google Translate yields: pity and choosing. Is that idiomatic for: I pity whom I choose?

      In any case, it’s odd at best.

        • So, following Our Lord, Francis believes “he sees [understands] by having mercy and by choosing,” —a line taken from Bede.

          In an oblique way, it seems to echo Augustine, who said “we do not understand in order to believe; we believe in order to understand.”

          The irony is that Augustine was saying that Christ commands…and faithful Catholics don’t get to wait until we understand what He’s aiming for before we obey. We come to understand, on a much deeper level, precisely by obeying.

          Francis seems, then, to believe he’s imitating Christ by striking forward and acting—without apology or explanation—according to his own notion of things instead of the Church’s traditional notion of those same things. Such “humility” is actually an inverted form of pride.

          • No, I think it’s the other way round. You know how Francis wasn’t chosen by the Holy Ghost? He seems to claim otherwise.

          • If I take your meaning correctly, you’re saying that Francis isn’t even deluded that he’s being humble. He has arrogantly appropriated these words of Christ—per Bede—because he believes he’s another incarnation of Our Lord?

          • No. I mean (perhaps I am mistaken) that he is pointing out that he is chosen. He’s not comparing himself to Our Lord, but to St Matthew.

            Now, in a sense, that’s fair enough, and I note that he chose the motto as a bishop in Argentina, not as Pope in Rome. What bothered me, really, is that the motto is, or seems to be, about himself. Compare that with “cooperatores veritatis” or “totus tuus” or “humilitas”, etc. Has any other pope adopted a motto that refers to himself in such a way? I gather that the motto of Benedict XV was “in te Domine speravi, non confundar in aeternum”, but that hardly seems comparable.

            I might not have noticed, were it not for the fact that I had previously noticed Francis’ ostentatious ‘umility, with which the motto seems of a piece.

          • I think you are reading into something that is not there – it refers to his vocation, that God in his mercy chose him to be a priest. No cryptic message there.

  13. Fr. Weinandy is the St. Thomas More of our times. Hurray for the heroes of the faith that risk losing their positions for the sake of the truth. God bless this holy man!

  14. Pope Francis does not “work” in isolation as we know. He is the public face of known prelates etc.. who are essentially faithless (some faceless) wolves alive like a virus in the Church Body for decades.

    Whatever it is they ARE or WE propose to call them; communists, freemasons, liberals, doubters, infiltrators, apostates, satanists, worldlings,
    or simply ignorant and sightless, THEY are attempting to destroy the Institutional Church as an effective witness of the Gospel to the World.

    But they can never destroy THE CHURCH and this they know. We battle to give witness to the Truth employing all the tools at our disposal
    and continue on, continue on and play our part in this great drama that began long ago.

    We who would dare to claim fidelity to CHRIST renounce self, the devil, and the world. One day at a time, one day at a time.

  15. There is no reason, that has anything to do with authentic love, which intentionally does not address confusion, clearly. I learned this from my parents.

    The only rational conclusion is that confusion and the resulting massive disorder, is the specific intention of this man, Jorge Bergoglio, the current Pope.

    It is extremely and scandalously harmful of the clergy/hierarchy not to have addressed this a long time ago, even if it results/resulted in formal schism(s) and the effective destruction of the Catholic Church.

    There is no excuse. Period.

  16. Oh for the good old days. In the early months of the Francine pontificate I was reminded of the Wodehouse character, so clumsy he’s described as being “constitutionally incapable of crossing the great Gobi desert without knocking something over.”

    Francis seemed to be elbowing his way back and forth across our shared religious landscape, knocking things over and leaving everyone else to explain and/or clean up the mess.

    But, OK, he’s from Argentina, or, it’s the media’s fault. I’ll certainly never agree with his socialist anti-capitalist philosophy but, as Pope, I’m hopeful he’ll grow into his office.

    Little did I suspect—though I should have taken a hint from his admonition to the youth in Rio, in 2013, “What do I hope for from World Youth Day? I hope for a mess … ” —that it was his conscious and deliberately chosen pedagogy.

    • “Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly…” Joel 2:15

      Our generals, the bishops, could call for a fast among all branches of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church including the Byzantine Catholics, Anglican Ordinariate and all Traditional Roman Rite Catholics as well as the SSPX. The Rosary and special Novena Prayers might be ordered for all faithful and able Catholics. Priests could open church facilities for extra hours of Adoration during this limited time of intense prayer. Communication throughout the world is readily available to inform priests and laity of this biblically inspired plan of action.

      Set a date for concrete action by the bishops. Who knows whether God will intervene and peacefully resolve this dilemma or perhaps give wisdom and courage to our bishops to confront the papal issue?

      “Between the porch and the altar the priests the Lord’s ministers shall weep, and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare thy people: and give not thy inheritance to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them. Why should they say among the nations: Where is their God?” Joel 2:17

      Parce Domine!

      • Thank you. In my isolation—and this is and explanation, not an excuse—I tend to focus on the fact that this Pope’s face seems to be hardening into a perpetual and threatening scowl. It is increasingly difficult to keep in mind his office.

        • I understand your viewpoint. It becomes easy in our frustration to focus on the personal features of one who should authoritatively preside as our loving “Papa,” but performs as one who makes up the household rules as he goes, causing the little ones to “walk on eggshells.”

          Since we are powerless by worldly standards to promote any resolution to this situation, it seems that our bishops could promote a formal spiritual solution consisting of a time limited fast and novena for the purpose of eliciting Heaven’s solution to this dilemma. Something seems to be supporting this standoff as souls fall into Hell like snowflakes. There is precedent to the “sackcloth and ashes” solution in Holy Scripture and we have been told that some things do not come out except by prayer and fasting.

          • That’s a very good point. We can pray and fast, and should, but where IS the spiritual leadership in this time of trial?

            Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider have directed the faithful to pray and fast, but it seems to me the individual Bishops could provide leadership in that regard, and it would be neither an affront to the Pope or even a “courageous” move. But it would be a way to guide the people to a true examination of conscience.

          • This situation has serious implications for the life of Christians and for the entire world. Our bishops and cardinals are waiting for…what? Is there something so frightening that could explain this procrastination? Is it the fear of the loss of cathedrals, churches, properties and money? Could there be some sinister scandal or diabolical plot and accompanying blackmail ready to spring should the correction happen? Perhaps there are no such threats but only faithless fears and anxieties, apprehensions of schism or other imagined consequences.

            I do not question the importance of the correction nor the sincerity and reluctance of the bishops upon whom this heavy responsibility has fallen. They do have the backing of faithful Catholic laity however, who will fast and pray and sign documents promising to do so if asked. As you have pointed out, this would not be offensive nor would it require an act of great courage on the part of loyal cardinals and bishops. This is obviously a war of the spiritual realm but this battle requires some generals and captains to inspire the troops. We are in this together are we not?

            There must be a deadline on the task at hand, namely the “correction.” After an intense organized novena of say nine days, a solid date could be set on the calendar for the resolution/confrontation. We would leave the results in the hands of Our Lady, St. Michael and Our Dear Lord, to Whom the Church belongs.

  17. Amoris Laetitia really needs no clarification, since its key passages are quite unambiguous. As the pope has said more than once, ‘what I have said I have said.’ In this, I would have to agree with him.

    If he says that ‘gays and adulterers should be included in the active participation of the church,’ he means just that. If he says that the Church should “accompany” the lifestyle of those living in adultery, even to the point of granting them Communion, he means just that, i.e. we should bless and walk with them in their ways. If he says, “The communists are the true Christians,” he means just that, i.e. they are the good guys. Since he has emphasized many times that we should never try convert those of other convictions and aspirations, then he is saying that we should never try to correct protestants or “accompany” heretics, communists, fallen away Catholics, gays, or divorced/remarried people back to the confessional. His teaching is all about unconditional inclusion, which he has made very clear, which means it needs no clarification.

    It’s good that Cardinal Burke and the good cardinals are taking their time in presenting their dubia concerns, that way they will be fully justified when they proceed to the final step. But I hope they’re not actually hoping to get the clarification from Francis that they’re hoping for.

    • In my opinion, I think that the good Cardinals in question presented their dubia hoping that Pope Francis would recognize that what they were presenting to him was the Truth of Jesus Christ and he would repent and uphold that truth. However, I think that that hoped for change of heart and mind was relegated to the back burner when they decided to publish the dubia and further distanced when they later published Pope Francis refusal to grant them an audience.

      At those points it became more about giving the right amount of rope to Pope Francis…

      Only my opinion. And I am sure, that they, out of Love for Our Blessed Lord and His vicar and Bride, still pray for Pope Francis to repudiate what he has said and done, but I do not believe that that is their main focus anymore.

      • Personally, I think they harbored no such real hope. I pose this as an hypothesis:

        My own take is that they knew much about Bergoglio by the time they submitted the dubia, hoped against hope he’d act out of character and even if for merely worldly, political reasons would give them lip service which would take the heat off them to do anything more significant, the Church having played this nonsensical game now for many decades. Look how we have had “little bits” of heresy or heresy-like statements and actions from the previous several Popes, all the while getting the “official documents” to spin out in orthodox form, or orthodox enough so the Cardinals and Bishops really don’t have to do anything to ‘defend the faith”.

        But alas, he wouldn’t, like previous Popes before him, even play the game, and they were then placed in a position of actually DOING something about it, something that makes them oh, so very uncomfortable, something they have yet to do.

        I submit that Bergoglio is different from his last 3 or 4 predecessors not so much in essence, but only in degree. A substantial degree to be sure.

        If that isn’t true, we would have had Assisi and Koran-kissing, and Nostra Aetate, and the list goes on, with a notable highlight being the installation of Bergoglio as a bishop.

  18. I need to ask these moral theolgians a question. What so called hard case would claim it is licit to be married, have no decree of nullity, and then have sex with another?

    That they think their marriage is null without Church authority does not mean their new “union” is licit. They are committing adultery or fornicating because such a union was never legitimized by the Catholic form of marriage. There can be no such exceptional case where it is licit.

    • My wife’s case does.

      No annulment. Two rejected cases due to my truthful opposition and testimony of others, especially some Godparents.

      Since she started sleeping with her lover before our civil divorce, which I fruitlessly opposed, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, all the way up to Wojtyla, have turned their backs on my unceasing calls to work to heal our broken marriage.

      Since 1989!

      With the knowledge of two bishops, one Byzantine Rite, one Latin Rite, my wife and her lover, to the best of my knowledge, continue to receive Communion even though our children and grandchildren are aware of this scandal.

      My faithfulness is superfluous.

      This is why I no longer participate in the Sacraments and rarely go to mass. I prefer being before the Blessed Sacrament on the Altar at my Parish, here in New York.

      There is your answer, Tem.

      Please pray for all of us.

      All of our children NEED to see,
      sincere repentance, forgiveness and the healing of our long violated marriage.

      I will NEVER shut the door to its being healed and restored.

      It is the hierarchy of the Catholic Church which has blocked its healing and restoration, since 1989.

      That is what must be addressed, in order for healing to be possible.

      • Karl J, please return to Holy Mass and the Sacraments. Why should you deprive yourself of these gifts of God which are not optional? For example, our Lord said, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.” Jn 6:54.

        • Along this nightmarish walk, I am at the point where I will not accept a God who refuses to save a being He created, if that being even curses God with his dying breath, due to abuse, that is longstanding and serious, at the hands of those God has allowed to act on His behalf.

          God MUST forgive even unrepentant mortal sin, if those in charge acting in his name are primarily driving it. Perhaps some might see it as an “abuse” of invincible ignorance, but I do not see things that way.

          I hope to have the courage to reject God if He does not agree with me. In my mind, I would forgive someone that I loved and I created, if they were broken by my choices to leave them to be abused by someone I left in charge.

          If God disagrees, than, I believe, that I am better than God.

          That is the only thing that makes sense to me.
          Madness is all around us.

          I do comprehend that suffering is a necessary part of our walk. We are supposed to take up our Cross and follow Him. But, although He is human, too, He is God, as well.

          I am dust.

          I hope that my faithfulness to our vows and my willingness to hold the door open for reconciliation, is sufficient. I hope that my faithfulness draws our seven(five with me, two with my wife’s lover) children to try to take up their Crosses, as best they can.

          I am sorry, truly, if I hurt or scandalize anyone with my comments. The hierarchy need to understand what they are putting some of us through with their practices and their policies.

          • What you are subscribing to is no better than the excuses made by those who have wronged you.

            You think the sniveling and cowardly prelates and priests don’t have their own heartfelt justifications for doing what they do?

            If you do, you don’t get around much.

          • Dear Karl

            Read Romans I. You were both married, somehow, your Bride removed herself from the Church by submitting to the culture dominated by the occult and Satan. She preferred to die in her sin than remain aligned with Christ. When people abandon Christ, fornicate and sell their souls, Our Lord permits them to go astray, not as a punishment to YOU, the abandoned spouse, but for them to be allowed to exercise their free will not to be obedient to His Gospel if they so choose. Remember Karl, there is an extra presence in a Sacramental Marriage – a Catholic Marriage is between 3 people – you, your wife and Christ. Not only has your love abandoned YOU, she has also left Our Lord in deep mourning also. Can you look upon it that Jesus did not will her to be unfaithful – or to choose to build a new “life” for herself? He earnestly prefers that we accept His teachings lest we perish, sometimes we prefer to abandon Him when tested by the enemy of souls.

            Can you forgive her for preferring to do that which has hurt you ? Jesus prefers you to not punish Him. He held the Cross that she gave you with as much reluctance as YOU have felt.
            The Devil tempts, and soul succumb yet in earnestly prayed for may gain a clearer insight into how wicked their life choice has made them become. According to Romans 1 when we prefer to be tempted – the Lord’s justice demands that we be tempted more and more for having submitted to that first grievous offence initially. That does not mean that He prefers to hurt us. Many times, as it says in Acts, when our offences are so great the Lord instructs us to be thrown out of His Temple and not be admitted into His Family. For that not to have been done is a greater sin against HIM than you are perhaps aware at this moment in time. Our Lord won’t abandon His flock, tempted though they are to view Him as being guilty of infamy against His hitherto obedient sheep. There is a time approaching where sheep will face excommunication if they do not abandon the false shepherds who misgovern His Church and scandalise the faithful. I urge you to locate a Tridentine Mass, fast and pray regularly for the conversion of your wife – never seek to abandon Christ who will be doubly betrayed if you do – He has previously suffered betrayal from your wife when she left your marriage – must YOU remove YOUR marital commitment to Our Lord also? Satan then gains TWO souls from Our Lord in your mistaken anger – seeing Christ as having betrayed you without having realised that you have betrayed HIM also.

            She neglects to accept that she has erred. Continuing to receive our Lord in Holy Communion is an abomination of such magnitude that she serves Satan by receiving Her betrayed Spouse as though still married to Him. Must Christ be doubly abused? Go to Confession, say sorry to your bridegroom, the unspotted lamb. Remove your blinkers Karl stay faithful to the Son of God and do not permit Satan to inspire resentment of Christ in you when it is SATAN who triumphs when you view things that way. Remember Life is often very hard for those who gain Heaven as a just reward later. Unless we feel as miserable and betrayed and forsaken as Jesus – how can we hope to resemble Him and be turned into Him spiritually?

            See Our Lady of Sorrows – grieving at the unjust blasphemy of the murder of her son. Recall that her sufferings mirror your own in such a way that maybe she did not fully comprehend why it had to happen that her Son was hurt so badly, yet she accepted that the Father knew all along that from such enforced suffering and isolation spiritually He intended the salvation of billions of souls in the future.

            Our Lord prophecised through various mystics that during the 20th century up to the end of the world, the morals of the world would coincide with the Devils in such a way that only a few would be saved and retain their Faith. Of the Priests remember that once the Shepherd is struck – the Devil finds it far easier to gain souls from Christ among the scattered Sheep that result from their failing to uphold Christ’s True Teaching.

            We are in the end times Karl, remain faithful amongst your sufferings, merge your sufferings with the sorrow of Our Lord, submerge your sorrow in HIS, reclaim your inheritance, take up once again your position by His side. Ideally your spouse will repent and you will help her save her soul. Obviously Christ prefers that we offer up sufferings as innocent victims to save the soul of a sinner. Remember, that God punishes HER for her sin (Romans 1) She justly deserves to gain condemnation, yet YOUR suffering to save her soul will appease the wrath of the Most High so that she can gain the grace of full repentance of her crimes against those whom loved her. Offer up your enormous sufferings along with Christ to save her soul and make her repent of her error. Let your love grow and merge with the will of Christ, so that Christ can forgive you for blaming Him and ask Him repeatedly to forgive your wife to the degree that He will give her the graces she needs to repent and be saved. Offer up these colossal sorrows so that Christ can bear your burden with you as He helps the innocent. Plead for mercy for your wife. Don’t allow yourself to be conned into the same temptation that others are, that somehow the guilt of this lies with Our Lord. The unjust punishment which that gives Our Lord ends the chance of Salvation of every unrepentant sinner who confuses Him with Satan, the same Demon who stole the life of grace from your unrepentant wife. She hears NOT Christ’s protestations against her immorality against her husband and lack of chastity. She disobeys the Holy Ghost who convicts her so many times of unrepentant vanity, self-will and slovenly pride. So Karl, please Get back to Church. Nail your pride to the door of the Confessional, and remember that Christ was betrayed first, abandoned at the foot of the Cross with just TWO to alleviate His sufferings. You ALSO have two besides you during YOUR own trials. Our Lady and the Lord Jesus Christ. Know that and forgive your wife, although you do not view it this way, he has remained True to you – don’t prefer to abandon HIM as your wife has chosen to do.

      • Your case is a monstrosity, but unfortunately it isn’t the only case. I’ve heard of others similar.

        Come home.

        Don’t let the abominations of other’s steal the life from you.

        • I was being facetious, Tem. There is no excuse.
          Forgive me if I misled you.

          The road is repentance, forgiveness and healing. But, the Church must Canonically move things along, rather than incentivizing divorce, which it undeniably is doing and has been doing since the 1970’s, and perhaps earlier.

  19. Let’s face it–the idea that nullification of a marriage makes any difference in whether someone is eligible to receive the Eucharist is a manmade fiction. There is nothing in the New Testament that authorizes a divorced person to obtain nullification of the marriage and then remarry. Pope Francis is leading the Church to a more forthright, egalitarian and Christ-like perspective. Not everyone can afford to purchase a nullification of a prior marriage. If a divorced person has entered a new marriage to which they are faithful and committed, why should it matter whether the prior marriage was nullified? Whether a divorced person has gone through the nullification process has nothing to do with whether they should receive Communion.

    • “why should it matter whether the prior marriage was nullified?”

      Because what you call a “prior marriage” either isn’t a marriage at all, or it is a marriage in which case it cannot be dispensed with.

      One doesn’t experience a bad marriage and then decide to “get an annulment”. One’s marriage was either valid or invalid at the time of the ceremony.

      Or so the Church taught and enforced till about 40 years ago.

      In the meantime, Jesus words haven’t changed one bit. A “second” or subsequent marriage when the previous one is valid is adultery.

  20. Hey, if the Pope has ALREADY answered the dubia, indirectly/unofficially, what’s the big whoop about answering them officially? Honestly, isn’t Fastiggi smart enough to know that this is the simple and inevitable response to his thesis?

  21. I would like to thank Professors Pasqualucci, Pierantoni, and Fr. Harrison for their thoughtful comments on my article in La Stampa Vatican Insider. I don’t believe I claimed that the recent comments of Pope Francis are a complete response to the five dubia of the four Cardinals. I do believe, however, they touch on some of the concerns expressed by the four eminent prelates. My own thoughts on the possibility of Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics were articulated in an article published in response to Cardinal Kasper’s Feb. 20, 2014 address.

    With regard to the hypothetical possibility of admitting divorced and remarried Eastern Orthodox to Holy Communion, I have done further research on the matter. I now accept the position that by the Italian Bishops Conference in 2010 as expressed below:

    Conferenza Episcopale Italiana


    22. Il fedele orientale non cattolico divorziato e risposato non può essere ammesso alla
    comunione eucaristica nella Chiesa cattolica 39, nonostante nella sua Chiesa ciò sia permesso.
    Infatti, il requisito di essere “ben disposti”, per poter ricevere l’eucaristia, include una
    situazione matrimoniale oggettivamente regolare.

    22. The Eastern non-Catholic member of the faithful who is divorced and remarried cannot be admitted to Eucharistic communion in the Catholic Church 39, despite this being permitted in his Church. In fact, the requirement of being “properly disposed” for being able to receive the Eucharist includes a matrimonial situation that is objectively regular.

    39 Cfr Sacramentum caritatis, n. 29.

  22. Surely recent developments renders untenable Dr. Fastiggi’s contention that its the Popes intention that readmission to the Eucharist for divorced and remarried Catholics not living in continence can only come after a declaration of nullity – the elevation of the Popes letter endorsing the guidelines of the Argentine bishops to Magisterial teaching removes any doubt on this matter.


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