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A Short Summary of the 22 April Lay Conference on Amoris Laetitia

Yesterday, 22 April, there took place the important lay conference in Rome which was organized by the Italian publications La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana and Il Timone and which was dedicated to a public critique of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Already today, there have been several articles about this event published, among them by Dr. Sandro Magister, America Magazine, and La Stampa. Mr. Andrew Guernsey already posted Professor Claudio Pierantoni’s own speech in English translation, as well as a film on youtube of Professor Douglas Farrow’s presentation.

Professor Claudio Pierantoni, who was one of the six speakers at this Rome conference, kindly accepted our invitation to send to OnePeterFive a more thorough and detailed report about the event in a few days which we will post as soon as it is available. So that our readers receive already now a little impression of the event, we herewith present a translation of an article which was published today by La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana itself. The translation has been kindly provided by Mr. Andrew Guernsey.


Lay People, Free and in Love With the Church: as “Hobbits” Call for Truth on the Sacraments, not Revolts

Lorenzo Bertocchi

23/04/2017 “We’re not here for an ideological battle,” said the director Riccardo Cascioli, “but because we feel that we are called to a responsibility.” With this statement the conference yesterday was closed: “Seeking Clarity: One year after Amoris laetitia,” held in a Columbus Hotel room around the corner from St. Peter’s Square organized and promoted by La Nuova BQ and Il Timone.

A conference convened by lay people, with lay speakers from around the world. Many journalists were present, we only remember some big names of Italian vaticanistas like Sandro Magister, Luigi Accattoli, Giuseppe Rusconi and Aldo Maria Valli. Among the foreigner ones were Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register. There were around 200 people who followed the proceedings of the busy day.

The most important emphasis of the event at the hotel Columbus is precisely the role of the laity, as Valli rightly noted in his article before the conference and published on his blog.

“All too seldom,” he wrote, “are Catholic lay people seen gathered on their own, without the guidance of a cardinal, a bishop, a monsignor or at least a simple priest, to discuss issues that concern first of all the fundamental contents of faith. It is even rarer to see lay people who decide to come out in the open to appeal to the pastors with an admonishment that sounds like so: “Excuse us, but look at what, according to us, you all have produced, that is, something which does not work, and which can become dangerous not only and not so much in an abstract sense, but precisely for the salvation of souls.”

The speaker, Anna Silvas , an Australian university professor, in her intervention brought up the great saga of Tolkien to remember that the laity are like the hobbits of Middle Earth. “Not powerful, but with a fundamental role in the battle for the triumph of good.” The very director Cascioli recalled in his introduction what are the issues of concern that sparked the organization of the conference. “In the dispute over Amoris Laetitia the meaning of three sacraments is implicated: marriage, penance and especially the Eucharist. We have bishops’ conferences, individual bishops, priests, who on the most sensitive issues also give even opposing interpretations and directives. We have such absurdity that, just as an example, the directives to the faithful on access to the Sacraments change not only from country to country but also from diocese to diocese and parish to parish.” Hence the request for clarification that builds on the five dubia that four cardinals have handed over to the Pope so that he may untie the knots on fundamental issues that concern the Catholic moral doctrine and the pastoral practice that follows it.

These prominent speakers, Cascioli said , “come from different cultures, from different ecclesial experiences, they also express different sensibilities and also the way to address the current situation is not identical. But in common we all have the perception of the seriousness of the crisis of the Church and the desire to carry out our personal responsibility fully in order to contribute to the good of the Church itself, in order to call the pastors to their duty.”

The proceedings opened with the intervention of Jürgen Liminski , director of the Institute for Demography, Welfare and Family (Germany), who stressed the social value of the indissolubility of marriage. “A long-lasting marriage,” he said, “guarantees a climate of trust in the bonds of affection and trust is the cement of society. For this reason, stable and non-liquid relationships are a cultural capital useful to society and also to the economy.”

The very articulate speech of Douglas Farrow, professor of Christian philosophy in Montreal. He recalled a certain “Gnostic risk that there is in dividing a judgmental God from a merciful God. And the challenge for the Church today is to raise his eyes to a God who does not need to mitigate justice to give mercy. “ If tradition “cannot contradict itself, paragraph 303 of Amoris laetitia raises the question of how conscience is understood compared to what paragraph No. 56 of the encyclical of St. John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, teaches.”

The speech of the Parisian philosopher Thibaud Collin noted that the issue of the relationship between natural law and conscience, between the objective order and subjective responsibility, is at the heart of the five dubia that the Cardinals have addressed to the pontiff. “The law of God,” Collin said, “cannot become one element among others, to be weighted on the basis of situations.” Collin’s speech, very profound, will be published in full in Italian in the coming days, along with those of all the other speakers. The Frenchman has also confronted the question of the possible development that Amoris laetitia would bring about in the continuity of Familiaris Consortio and Veritatis Splendor, noting a number of inconsistencies far from being resolved.

Dr. Silvas had also alluded to a certain spirit of modernity that seems to be pursued by many pastors, like through ‘getting easy approvals », it seems, she said that “one Hegelian spirit is hovering around, the deep spirit of modernity.” She ended her speech by saying that as long as the dubia the four cardinal will not find an answer, “it will be difficult to avoid the confusion of interpretations, because the text of Amoris laetitia, objectively, leaves obvious openings.” Among other things, she recalled the strange case of footnote 329 to the text of Amoris laetitia, which “recalls Gaudium et Spes in a passage that concerns spouses, but applies it to couples who are not spouses. Why?”

Professor Claudio Pierantoni, Chile, specified that, in a sense, the dubia are new, because “they ask something on which the magisterium had already clearly expressed itself several times.” In Amoris laetitia, according Pierantoni, “the indissolubility of marriage is affirmed, then there are innovations in practices that contradict it.”

The contribution of Jean Paul Messina, a Cameroonian professor, focused mainly on the issue of polygamy which, in Africa, is a true and proper risk to the Gospel of the family and Christian marriage.

“This conference,” Cascioli reiterated, “is not an act of rebellion against the Pope, nor does it intend to put an ultimatum nor does it have schismatic intentions. Criticism of certain passages – especially contained in chapter eight  of Amoris laetitia, as well as of certain interpretations by bishops’ conferences such as the German and Maltese ones, and of individual cardinals, bishops, religious, are simply a testimony of clarity.”

This article has been updated.

56 thoughts on “A Short Summary of the 22 April Lay Conference on Amoris Laetitia”

  1. The prelates who stubbornly are repeating that there is no confusion in the Church due to AL are in total denial of evidence, in complete inconsitency. These men are not worthy of the rank they were raised for the soul’s guidance to salvation.
    And those who don’t dare to speak clearly out of fear of being sacked are cowards: An ex-cathedra statement by Card. Müller recalling the millenial discipline of the RCC regarding the communion for divorced remarried people is utterly needed at the risk of him being disavowed and fired, which would have the merit to plainly expose the Pope’s heresy.
    This meeting of laypeople in Rome, near the Vatican, the Pope cannot ignore it and he has no way threatening the attendants to silence them, Let’s hope that many other catholic faithfuls throughout the world will proceed raising their voices against the papacy’s errors.

    • An ex cathedra statement from a Cardinal? That would really be something new. Only a Pope can issue ex cathedra statements. The reason why pro-Francis prelates are repeating that there is no confusion is that in their eyes the current confusion is simply no confusion. For they seek the breakdown of all traditional rules of sexual morality. What traditionalists call confusion these modernists call “discernment”. And in the long run they expect to create a situation in which every priest will have to give the sacraments to anyone who asks for them. The complete destruction of sacramental discipline, including of Holy Matrimony, is their goal. They intend to create a new gnostic religion of radical sexual freedom.

      It is this apocalyptical horror of “Queering Catholicism” which today is already going on in some places, that the modernists are trying to impose on the entire Church. The following link, if permitted, shows what Catholicism will look like if this disastruous development isn’t stopped:

      • I sincerely doubt we will hear anything from this Pope speaking ex cathedra! He hasn’t had the courage to even answer the dubia and has instead thrown insults of Pharisee!

  2. What gentle language is used for what is a theological calamity.. I hope the documents were presented with more urgency and vigor.

    • Yes, it would really help us emotionally if there was fire in the belly instead of sober discussion and analysis. But maybe this group was not the one to do that. We also seem to be waiting for Burke to start shouting and waving his fists. Not going to happen. There are people, there is a time, there is a place – but these sober conferences of scholars is not them, or then, or there.

      • It’s not a question of whether he gets it or doesn’t get it. He doesn’t care. He knows what he’s doing, he’s read all the criticism leveled at him and he just doesn’t care. He’s on a mission to destroy the Catholic Church and he will not be deterred. The only thing to be done with him is for the proper authority to identify him as an heretic (there’s plenty of evidence), and inform all the world, since a pope cannot be an heretic, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is no longer the Pope, he no longer has the authority of a pope and no one, especially not the Curia, is required to obey him except maybe the clergy of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

        Enough is enough with this guy! He is a bully who has had his way with the Church for too long and if he is allowed to continue, there will be nothing left of her. Which is what he wants. If the rest of the Catholic hierarchy want the same thing, then the rest of us need to figure out where we can go for Mass when Christ’s Church is a thing of the past.

  3. The following presentation by Sandro Magister reporting the paper by Pierantoni nicely rips into the heresies at the heart of this pontificate:

    To quote from the article:

    “Even more thoroughly in this atmosphere, finally, it is explained how the pope cannot answer “yes” or “no” to the “dubia.” If in fact “realities are more important than ideas,” then man does not even need to think with the principle of non-contradiction, he has no need of principles that say “this yes and this no” and must not even obey a transcendent natural law, which is not identified with reality itself. In short, man does not need a doctrine, because the historical reality suffices for itself. It is the “Weltgeist,” the Spirit of the World.”

    I think this summarizes very well what is really at stake: the very foundations of the Catholic faith. It is not enough for these enemies of Christ to destroy the Sacraments, but they challenge the very notion that we can know the Will of God through the teaching of Christ and his Apostles. Doctrine and dogma are rendered nugatory in the face of the historical reality of sin and the rejection of God’s Law.

    The only part of his conclusions with which I disagree is the idea that the Pope is a helpless victim in all this – as though some brutal Constantius were holding a pathetic Liberius captive against his will. There is more than enough evidence that Bergoglio has been complicit from the start in the machinations which have led to this diabolical farce. While a correction may be the necessary first step, far more than a correction is needed. In the absence of a full, public recantation and repentance for his blasphemous magisterium, deposition of the heretic will be the only solution to this crisis.

    • I agree with all of that.

      Which Bergoglian sycophant Cardinal or Archbishop will now step forward to tell these excellent lay people that they – take your pick – (a) are schismatics; (b) are ‘not in communion’ with the Pope; (c) deny Bergoglio’s ‘personal magisterium’; (d) have evil intentions; (e) are hidebound pharisees.

      I for one am very proud to shout from the rooftops that I am not in communion with heretics! I AM ‘in communion’ with Eternal Tradition, with the Scripture and Divine Revelation that this Eternal Tradition contains, and with nothing else – for I am a Catholic.

    • You speak of the sacraments. One of the speaker at this lay conference was Prof. Douglas Farrow and he had earlier written on First Things: Discernment of situation, March 2017

      The regionalism that we are currently witnessing in the West, under the rubric of “discernment of situations,” is the result of a failure to discern both the nature of the sacraments and the situation of the Church. The old gods, sex, mammon, and death, are reviving and reasserting themselves as the gods of autonomy. They are beginning to press their hands on the faithless and the faithful alike. They are groping even for the holy sacraments, that they might defile them. In this situation, do we really need more talk about the internal forum and “the sacred ground of the other”? (My emphasis)

    • I’ve been saying it for almost a year now, that this AL debacle, if followed to its logical conclusion, is that there is no sin, therefore no need for Christ to die on the cross, therefore Christianity is pointless.

    • I’m happy to see an ordained cleric has finally gone public with the only solution to the Bergoglio problem. Perhaps others will follow him.

      Excellent, Deacon Augustine!!

  4. Instead all this abstract talk about theology why can’t they just say we have a wicked faithless pope trying to destroy the Church, how can we stop him?

    • Abstract talk? About the doctrine of the Faith?

      That’s like doctors discussing the nature of an illness but refusing to take into account either the skeleton, the nervous system or the blood vessels.

      • Good analogy.

        To add to what Peter said, though, the Doctor gives the overall diagnosis first, the clear summary of what is wrong, before descending into the technical details so important to understand and explain the problem; to convince the patient of all the impending difficult steps needed for a cure.

        “You have a grave heart abnormality. If left untreated you will die in months, not years. Etc.”

        “The Pope is advancing heresy. If left unchecked its poison will kill the Church and Her Sacraments. Etc.”

        As hard as it is to hear, and deliver, the words must be stated by the Doctor for the patient to have a chance to live: “You are dying”.

          • Yes, no doubt. And that is why all responsible parties are proceeding with such caution, I’m sure. Like a responsible Doctor, information and outside opinions are gathered and studied by the Hierarchy to verify the physical/spiritual emergency prior to commitment to a treatment plan.

            So all these talks and the Dubia are all very interesting and crucial. But at some point, the information is clear and a diagnosis must be made. No diagnosis is a diagnosis.

          • I agree. It will happen and they are doing so with caution and precision in order to be as clear as possible to those with doubts. At that point get ready for persecution as will inevitably happen. Lord help us stand for the Truth! Praise be to Jesus- alleluia !

          • There is enough ‘how and wherein’ to float an aircraft carrier. We need no additional evidence. We need Cardinals and bishops who love Christ enough to put their careers aside and begin a vigorous defense of the faith aimed at sending Jorge Bergoglio back where he came from. Anything short of that is support for the devil he is.

          • There is more than sufficient proof of his heresy. The problem is that none of the hierarchy want to lose their comfortable lifestyles.

          • Much has been discussed but you are the first to bring up that Bergolio could be the False Prophet especially shown through prophesy. If that is the case we must all be in serious prayer and alert others. There must be someone of authority to declare this though.

      • Francis’ deceptions are plain to see that even a child can see through them. Do we really need to debate that sometimes 2 + 2 = 5? It is self-evident that AL is a heretical document. Francis wants us to debate AL. He wants confusion. The only debate should what to do about a heretical pope bent on destroying the Church? Any other debates are a distraction from the essential issue.

        • Interestingly, there was a conference of theologians debating exactly that about, what, a month ago? And they came out of it and said “Well, we have no idea what to do!” They discussed it as a hypothetical and supposedly having nothing to do with the current situation. The problem is we have no idea.

          Robert Siscoe and John Salza have a good hypothesis on the idea and you can find a scholarly article over on the Remnant if you haven’t already seen it. But it’s all still in the hypotheticals. They reason it would need to be done by a general “imperfect” ecumenical council. Cardinal Burke in an interview a couple months ago indicated such a pope (which he hopes we won’t see for a very long time) would need to be dealt with by the college of Cardinals. Some argue it can’t be done, others argue that if a pope has fallen into heresy he has ipso facto lost the papacy already and thus we are currently in a sede vacante.

          In short, we’re paralyzed by lack of precedent. Still, you’re right, something needs to be done.

          Here’s my hypothetical premise: Call an imperfect council like Siscoe and Salza propose: an ecumenical council that is called to deal with only the problem of a heretic pope. First, figure out the EXACT nature of all of the heresies being proposed by the Bergoglian regime. Point out exactly how they are opposed to the deposit of faith as passed on by the Magisterium. Then, sit down all the bishops in the world with the top leading theologians and figure out exactly what can be done. Worst case scenario, the council goes on so long that Francis dies of old age and the cardinals can elect a new pope. Problem solved.

          • I agree with much of what you have said. But these type of meetings can be counterproductive if the act as if Pope Francis is not the source of all the division and heresy in the Church. Here is an exact quote from one of the scholars at the conference.

            “How can we fail to show proper love for, and deference to, the successor of Peter, through whom God has moved people on every continent to begin (or begin again) to pay heed to the Gospel of Christ, especially as it concerns the poor?”

            Why not do both? Try to nail down all his heresies precisely. And then discuss how to handle a treacherous pope.

          • Hard to do it you don’t know what call you’re supposed to make. That’s why I say above call a council and figure it out there… regardless of whether the Bergoglio likes it or not…

          • I find it absolutely INCREDIBLE that in over 2,000 years, the Church has no solution for a problem such as the one we have now. As if something like this would NEVER HAPPEN, so why put procedures in place. Amazing to me. It’s kind of like squabbling over putting up a stop light in a dangerous intersection after several people have been killed.

          • Never before have we had a heretic in the Seat of Peter running roughshod over all the Church believes! Liberius or Honorius come closest but they made compromises with heretics and cannot categorically be said to believe the heresies themselves. John XXII I suppose is another example but his heresy, that he recanted on his deathbed, was primarily speculative and did not affect the daily live of the faithful. The question simply hasn’t seriously come up so there’s been no real reason to develop a procedure. Why develop a procedure for something that may never be an issue when there are more pressing matters? And the Bishop of Rome is supposed to be the chief guardian of the deposit of faith, and the safeguard of unity. “Surely he couldn’t be a threat!” they must have thought.

            I understand why it hasn’t been an issue before… and I understand why it’s such a problem now. Though I’ve often proposed ideas about the possible deposition of a pope (formulated by others) and expressed my own desire that Francis be removed, I have some serious reservations as to whether it really should be done even if the church does have a means to deal with it. What happens to Peter as a sure sign of unity of the Church? And what does it practically look like if a Pope is dethroned, even if by his own actions? It looks like those who deposed him (some collection of bishops) have greater authority than he, whether individually or collectively, and that is the heresy of conciliarism. The actual heresy can be avoided but those looking on won’t see that. The papacy would essentially be destroyed, brought down to what the Eastern Schimatics have always believed, that the Pope is merely “first among equals.”

            We’re living in dangerous times. Pope Francis is a huge danger to the church and the whole world, on the throne or off. Part of me wonders… Francis is getting old. Perhaps we can keep up the resistance until he passes. I know he’ll keep stacking the conclave until he dies but… well, Lord have mercy on us.

          • To address your stoplight analogy, I think that fits now. But back then? It was more like a dangerous intersection that everyone always stopped at anyways and waited, and no one had been killed at ever. In fact, the vigilance has been so great that some people have been saved from calamities. Why spend the time and money to put up a light when the people are doing a better job than the light ever could?

      • To take that analogy. What they are doing is debating the effects of a tumor rather than discuss how to remove the tumor. Ultimately Francis is the cause. He is a wicked man that must be stopped.

        • Or rather, they are debating the nature of the cancer that has produced the tumour.

          Yes, Bergoglio has to be confronted, publicly if necessary, and it’s easy for us all (me too) to become impatient. I would say this:

          1. Firstly the ‘official’ condemnation has to come from clerics, not laymen;
          2. Fifty years of Vatican II emasculation has to be overcome, even by the four Cardinals and the (I hope many) others who stand with them;
          3. We have to remember that the last time a Pope was confronted for holding heretical opinions was in around 1320.

          It’s a giant step for men of Nu-Church to take. They need some time. I myself am sure that it will happen. There’s steel in Cardinal Burke, underneath the evident gentleness of the man.

        • Absolutely he must be stopped. But……..the laity cannot stop him. I may have missed it, but I didn’t read anywhere that this group of lay people called for the hierarchy to do something about it. We already know the harm that this document has already caused and WHY. What we desperately need now, is for the prelates that hold the power to DO SOMETHING. They have been sitting on their hands for WAY too long now. There is NO WAY IN HEAVEN OR ON EARTH, that this document can be read according to tradition. Nor, is there anything that makes this document AMBIGUOUS. The error (to put it nicely) is CRYSTAL CLEAR. What some are trying to do is to find ‘reasoning’ and ‘excuses’ so that we may be able to live with this atrocity of a document. They are totally ignoring the elephant in the living room. I think deep down they know this. There are some that are in complete DENIAL. I would have liked to have seen somewhere that this group called on the Bishops to MOVE on this. They’re the only ones holding the cards. But to look on the brighter side, at least now they know that we, the faithful laity, are behind them 100%. It’s only the laity who want to deny their sin that would object to a formal correction.

        • The tumor of Francis was allowed to grow via the carcinogenic VII hierarchy. The only hope is the SSPX will continue to resist any “agreements” with the heretics, to preserve Tradition, as it should be, and has always been.

    • There are millions of people who have no clue how bad a Pope Bergoglio is. Millions who think he’s a great Pope and a saint.

      It cannot be a waste of time to analyze precisely how he is bad, and how bad he is.

      He is, in fact, attacking not just the Faith, but the possibility of THOUGHT. Bergoglio is a stick in the hands of all the anti-Logos forces in the world, with which the Church is being flogged.

      • I agree it is great to talk about how bad he is but that is not what they are doing. They are debating AL like it was just well-intentioned mistake by a good but naive pope. Let’s debate how bad he is. I am all for it. And drop the pretenses that this pope has good intentions.

        • I have said this many times before………that A.L. is probably the most blatant heresy coming from this ‘Pope’, but by FAR it is not just this document. This document proves IN WRITING his heresy, but how many anti Catholic teachings and statements and ACTIONS prove this? Too many to count.

  5. Please please please read the Maria Divine Mercy messages. Jesus says Frances is not from him and that we must pray for Pope Benedict and for the salvation of souls at this time.

    • Please don’t. MDM messages have been proven to be a hoax, their creator was outed, the messages condemned by a number of bishops. I know they sound close to the mark, but our submission to the Church’s authority in this matter is extremely important to avoid being led astray.

  6. Anything associated with poisonous acceptance of VII breaks from Tradition. SSPX is fully Catholic, always has been ( they never broke with Tradition). The break from Tradition occurred with the modernist VII popes. Terrifying, to read “St. JPII” writings, with regard to Islam. Such views would have had a cleric sent off to a monastery for a life of prayer and hard labor. Thank goodness SSPX likely has decided to refrain from any deal with the disgraceful heretics occupying the Vatican. All the “best of the best” of the VII hierarchy can muster in defense of the flock, is the limp wristed “dubia.” Pathetic. Anyone of the FSSP who may have been “on the fence” about coming over to N.O. land, I’m sure now see clearly how badly they were lied to. Unfortunately, they are stuck in their predicament, going back would be nearly impossible.


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