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Why I Signed the Filial Correction

By now most Catholics have heard of the “Filial Correction” issued by a group of 62 clergy and scholars and addressed to Pope Francis. In essence, the Filial Correction argues that by his words, deeds, and omissions, Pope Francis has allowed a number of heretical opinions regarding marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments to spread in the Church. I encourage you to read the Filial Correction in its entirety.

Since the Filial Correction’s release, other signatories have been added, and my name was added on October 5. I’d like to explain here why, after much prayer and consideration, I added my name to this Filial Correction.

Souls Are at Stake

A common narrative associated with the Filial Correction is that there are two sides of the battle: those who care about individuals facing real-world difficult situations; and those who only care about doctrine, with little thought of actual people. Those in the former group are “pastoral”; those in the latter group are “doctrinaire.” These labels give a clear indication of which group is supposedly more compassionate and caring. However, it is precisely because of real individuals in real-life situations that I decided to sign the Filial Correction.

For over twenty years I’ve been involved in evangelization efforts at the parish and diocesan levels. In that time I’ve talked to hundreds of Catholics about their “real-world” situations: from divorce and remarriage to homosexuality to fallen-away children to everything else you can imagine. As one might guess based on the current state of the Church, a large portion of the Catholics I’ve encountered have a faulty understanding of Catholicism and Church teaching. Some of their errors are slight and easily corrected; other times they represent heretical beliefs—in some cases the faulty belief system amounts to, in essence, an altogether different religion. However, it is only in recent years, specifically since the election of Pope Francis, that I have seen these Catholics emboldened in their errors and hardened in their heresies.

For years, when I was discussing a “controversial” topic with a Catholic, I would argue from Scripture, Tradition, and reason for the Catholic position. I would also bolster my argument with the writings of the current Holy Father, whether that was John Paul II or Benedict XVI. However, in recent years when I outlined the Catholic position I would quickly hear, “But Pope Francis says…” followed by an erroneous understanding of Church teaching. Never did I experience the previous two pontiffs used in such a manner. These were not just theoretical or hypothetical arguments either; they were real-world Catholics justifying real-world sins by virtue of the teachings of the current Vicar of Christ.

A few examples are in order. I know a Catholic woman who attends Mass regularly and whose son has been a practicing homosexual for many years. She supports his lifestyle, claiming that he was born that way and that he is unable to live chastely. I first met her when Pope Benedict XVI was reigning as pope. She was frustrated at the Church’s position on homosexuality (she knew it was against her own position), and she longed for the Church to change. I explained to her that would not happen, and was impossible in fact. Then Pope Francis was elected, and in less than a year she was crowing that the Church was, in fact, in the process of changing its position and “accepting her son.” No matter how much I tried to convince her that the Church did not—and would not—change its teaching in this regard, and that her son’s lifestyle was harmful to him, she went to sleep each night convinced that she had been vindicated by Pope Francis.

Another example. A woman I know had a sister who was divorced and remarried (without an annulment). Her sister was a Mass-going and Communion-receiving Catholic. This had gone on for a number of years, and my friend was uncomfortable with her sister’s practice, but didn’t say anything to her about it. Then this issue catapulted to the forefront of the Church due to Pope Francis. My friend followed the stories of the Synods and then Amoris Laetitiawith much interest, and she eventually concluded that her sister was doing nothing wrong, and in fact she could and should receive Communion even though she was living in what the Church had since the time of Christ considered an adulterous union.

So in the first example, a young man is living a dangerous and destructive lifestyle—one that harms him physically, emotionally, and spiritually—and his mother fully endorses that lifestyle, believing that she has the backing of the Vicar of Christ. In the second example, a couple engages in sexual union outside the bounds of matrimony, yet receives communion, thus fulfilling the words of St. Paul, “any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself” (1 Corinthians 11:29). Yet no one challenges or confronts them on the wayward path they are following.

Now contrast these stories with two others from my experience, both from before the time of Pope Francis. I have a friend who lived a promiscuous homosexual lifestyle for years. He was miserable, and he makes clear today that this lifestyle, no matter how much the media promotes it as natural and joyful, is destructive to the human person. About fifteen years ago he heard the message of the Church regarding homosexuality, came into contact with the apostolate Courage, and left his sinful lifestyle. He is now living chastely and is more happy and joyful than he’s ever been before. All because he was presented with the beautiful truths of the Faith regarding human sexuality.

I am also good friends with a Catholic woman who years ago married a Protestant in a Protestant ceremony (i.e., outside the Church). She attended Mass regularly, receiving Communion without any qualms. One day she heard a homily in which the priest lamented the number of Catholics who are in invalid marriages and who receive Communion. She realized that day that she was one of those Catholics. She met with the priest, who charitably but firmly told her that she needed to go to Confession and validate her marriage before she could receive Communion. She followed his advice and was reconciled to the Church. Her husband, inspired partly by the Church’s strong stance on the sanctity of marriage, eventually converted to Catholicism. Because this priest clearly articulated the Church’s teaching on marriage, a family that was at one time outside the Church is now a practicing Catholic family.

These are the people I think about when I hear calls for a softening of the Church’s teachings on human sexuality and marriage. Yes, I believe it is important for the Church to defend strongly its doctrine, but, contrary to popular belief, this defense is not at the expense of people, but instead for their happiness and salvation.

Squaring the Circle

Initially, many argued that there were orthodox interpretations of Amoris Laetitia and the many statements and actions of Pope Francis related to the issues surrounding divorce and remarriage. Initially I too thought that was possible. I argued at first that the media was misinterpreting his words. Then I believed he was a poor communicator. But over time I realized that the evidence is simply too overwhelming (and the Filial Correction documents much of that evidence). I no longer had a good response to “But Pope Francis says…”

Sadly, in many quarters there is no longer even an attempt to square the circle; instead, the heretical interpretations of Amoris Laetitia have become accepted and promoted as orthodox. Catholic leaders are embracing the core practice at hand—communion for those who are divorced and remarried without an annulment—because they are accepting the heretical presuppositions behind it.

For example, Cardinal Ouillet, prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, explicitly called for those who are in such irregular unions to be able to receive communion. On a lower level, well-known Catholic apologist Tim Staples also promoted the idea that adultery shouldn’t preclude someone from receiving communion, arguing that sexual relations between two people not married to each other is not always a mortal sin. Note in both cases, these are not “liberal” Catholics who have previously advocated for heretical positions; they have been up to now rock-solid orthodox Catholics. Yet they believe that Pope Francis (and Amoris Laetitia) calls for a practice that is clearly contrary to Church doctrine dating to the time of Christ himself.

Can a Catholic “Correct” the Pope?

I realize that even those who agree with the content of the Filial Correction might be uncomfortable with the idea of “correcting” the pope. After all, isn’t he the Vicar of Christ? Doesn’t canon law state that “the First See is judged by no one” (Can. 1404)? I’m not going to argue this point here, as others have ably done so.

However, I do want to make one point in this regard. Often when people defend Pope Francis, they fall into the error of believing everything a pope teaches is infallible and thus cannot be disputed. Even when they acknowledge that the Church does not teach that every utterance of the pope is infallible, they still act as if they are. For example, in a recent La Stampa article, the author notes:

This false accusation railed against Pope Francis, claiming that he is teaching or prompting heresy in part of his Ordinary Magisterium is in effect a denial of the one of the essential truths behind the teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, who is granted Divine assistance which prevents him from erring in matters of faith and morals, even when teaching non-infallibly.

Note what is being said: the pope is prevented from teaching error, even when teaching non-infallibly. Yet that is a logical contradiction: if he is prevented from teaching error, he is by definition teaching infallibly; if he is teaching non-infallibly, it is by definition possible for him to err. Either he cannot teach non-infallibly (which contracts Catholic belief), or he can err. Such illogical thought has unfortunately become all-too-common in the Church today.

Devotion to the Papacy

Ultimately, I signed the Filial Correction because of my deep love and devotion to the papacy, and because of my desire for the salvation of souls. I also signed it with deep sadness and grief. My saintly father-in-law, who mercifully passed away before the pontificate of Francis, taught his children a simple rule: follow the pope. He knew, as Catholics should instinctively know, that one will be spiritually safe if he remains united to the pope. But this union is not one of blind, unthinking obedience; it is part of a devotion to the Church, her Lord, and the totality of her Tradition. As St. Paul demonstrated in the first days of the Church, love and devotion to the papacy does not preclude filial correction, because souls are at stake. It is my hope and prayer that this Filial Correction will be a step towards a papacy which gives a full-throated, robust defense of Catholicism to a world that desperately needs it.

Originally published at 

239 thoughts on “Why I Signed the Filial Correction”

  1. Amen! I would sign too but I am just a nobody, with a well-formed conscience apparently. I share your experience as the call to repentance and conversion are nearly nonexistent.

    I did sign the layperson support of the correction tho!

  2. The Filial Correctors’ position seems to boil down to the view that the Eucharist should be denied to anyone who is in a relationship other than heterosexual marriage. Where is the authority for this in anything Jesus said? Pope Francis is reaching out to precisely the people to whom Jesus reached, and is being criticized by the Pharisees of today, as Jesus was in His time.

    • “Where is the authority for this in anything Jesus said?”

      Read the Gospels and it will become all too apparent to you. If you want to show your ignorance by voicing your opinion without reading the Gospels then you are free to do so, but please don’t expect anybody to take you seriously.

      • I’ve read them, thanks. And I will take your condescending blather a little more seriously if you point me to the chapter and verse that supports your narrowminded, Pharaisical viewpoint.

        • Which Pharisee said this:

          Luke 16,17 “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. 18 *Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, commmitteth adultery.”?

          • And which Pharisee said this?:

            Matt 7,6 “Give not that which is holy to dogs: neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turning upon you, tear you.”

          • What are you saying I haven’t read? Can you point me to where Jesus said the Eucharist should be denied to anyone who acknowledges Him as Lord and Savior? Help me out here.

          • 1 Corinthians 11:27
            “Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. “

          • Not Jesus, but Paul. But even so, who judges who is worthy? That is the whole point. Should not the Lord’s table be open to any sinner who professes him Lord? Who among us is not a sinner?

          • Yes, it’s Paul but we also believe Paul to be authoritative.
            Jesus founded a Church. His Church judges. It’s that simple.

          • And Francis is advocating less judging and more embracing, in the way of Jesus. But never mind–judge to your heart’s content.

          • No, I am for opening Communion, you are for limiting it to people who meet your criteria. Who are you to exclude anyone from the Lord’s table?

            And besides, namecalling belittles you. It’s unChristian actually. Maybe you need to go to Confession.

          • Lol, I correctly characterized you and your propaganda.

            Communion is open. It is open to Catholics in a state of Grace. If you choose to reject that then you are obstinate and selfish. You want to sin, say it is not a sin, and demand His Church affirm it.


          • It’s not a table, which implies a meal. It is an altar upon which The sacrifice of Christ on Calvary is re-enacted, and in which bread and wine are consecrated into His body and blood. The Church operates by 3 methods: scripture, tradition, and magisterial teaching authority. This comprehensive approach to teaching and saving souls gives the Church a solid base in which to determine doctrine. It is not anyone persons criteria as you put it. It is the teaching of the Church for the last two millennia based on this triad. If you are living adulterously, or in a sodomitic relationship, you are in a state of mortal sin. You must go to confession, repent sincerely, and go and sin no more in order to receive Communion. The law frees you.

          • Then don’t insinuate that others are Pharisees. That’s name-calling by implication.

            As for being ‘proud’ about anything, pride is very unChristian. In fact it is the chief of the seven deadly sins, and the sin for which the bad angels were banished to Hell.

            Jesus, on the other hand, invites you to be like Him, meek and humble of heart. That means humbly admitting your own sins and telling them in Confession.

            The Centurion is the example from the Gospels as to how we should approach ‘the Lord’s table’. He did not make any demands. Far from clamouring not to be excluded, he said: Lord, I am not worthy.

          • Jesus did not found a “Church of Nice”. He was very forthcoming in his teachings, and when necessary, he was angry and confrontational. “Woe to you scribes and pharisees…”, and the expulsion from the temple of the money changers and those who sold animals for sacrifice.

          • Less judging and more embracing is not the way of Jesus. You have created a false gospel for yourself from bits and shreds of Scripture. Hit the books and learn it right; you are very far from the kingdom.

          • Just plain foolish. This is not about who is nearer or not. It is about the truth. What you are saying and what the Pope is saying simply is not the truth if you are going to base it on Christ.

          • But Francis is the most judgmental and condemning Pope ever to the point that someone has come up with the Francis book of insults.

          • Exactly.

            Even the Prophet Joel prophesied the Lord would pour his Spirit over others—not necessarily documented in Sacred Scripture—who would themselves speak for Him [Joel 2:28-29].

            Furthermore, St. Paul makes clear that believers should be motivated to gain Spiritual Gifts and tell others of them for their “edification, encouragement, and consolation [I Corinthians 14: 1,3,5].” And not to make them comfortable in their sin.

            After all, Jesus did not come to make us “comfy”; He came to make us Holy.

          • Who among us is not a sinner? That’s an easy one : he who has confessed his sin and been absolved of it. On one of my first catechism classes as a child I learned that after absolution one became “as white as snow”, which is a metaphor for “sinless”.

          • “…….who professes him Lord…..”

            How could one profess Him Lord, and truly mean this, while receiving Him at Mass, through the Sacrifice of the Mass?

          • Except that the Lord constituted the Church and it is the Church who makes the rules as to who will and will not be admitted or not. The Pope is going against the Church probably because he thinks that this is HIS own Church so he will do whatever he pleases.

          • It is open to those who repent and intend to amend. It’s quite clear that it is closed to those who do not repent or repent without intent of amendment. As for who judges who is worthy, we have an entire book that tells us that and clear direction to judge sin and encourage amendment when we see it. To conflate that idea with judging souls is juvenile at best but more likely evil.

            As Francis said “communion is not a prize”. To help him complete the sentence–as any faithful Catholic should: nor it a participation trophy.

          • “For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Gal. 1:11-12)

            ” There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Eph. 4:4-6)

          • Not Jesus but Paul? What distinction are you trying to draw? All of Holy Scripture is the inspired Word of God. The words that the Evangelists quote from the earthly Jesus are no more the Word of God than the Letters of St. Paul. It’s all God.

          • The young man asked Jesus what I must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus immediately said keep my commandments.

            Sex outside of marriage breaks the law. Period.

            Your request is facile and reveals a huge defect in understanding the most basic aspect of faith.

          • The Pharisees actually *allowed* divorce. Our Lord said that unless your justice exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Yes, that goes for me too.)

          • Jesus said that He did not come to change one single item of the Law. In the sermon of the mountain, He explained that no only should you not commit adultery, but also you should not look lustfully at another. Since He clearly stated that He did not come to change the Law, you know not to have sex with a person of the same sex, either, for it is an abomination and a sin crying to heaven to vengeance. Jesus also said that if you love Him, you will keep His commandments. He is One with the Father and the Holy Spirit. God’s commandments are His own. The Bible should be venerated and obeyed as the Word of God. and not deformed and manipulated to serve an agenda via cherry picking as if from a cherry tree.

            I know this all from memory. Do you know to claim that I don’t remember correctly?

          • There’s no point answering your question because it is based on an erroneous, Protestant concept of the function of Scripture in the Church.

            In short: Scripture is not a catechism or encyclopedia.

            It is radically Protestant to claim that the Church cannot teach A because Jesus is not reported as teaching A.

        • Do you realize what a thoroughly protestant assumption it is, that Holy Scripture is a sort of owner’s manual for Christians, where everything can be looked up and resolved? Our Lord founded a hierarchical Church, entrusted with magisterial powers and duties. The prohibition of Holy Communion for those not in the state of grace is the only reasonable discipline consistent with our knowledge that the act of reception is existential: a declaration of religious embrace of a common faith, and membership in a body whose head is Christ. To receive while lacking faith and/or sanctifying grace is to commit a lie in both mind and body. It is pretending to belong while living a life that says “I don’t belong to you, and don’t want to.”

          • “Our Lord founded a hierarchical Church”? Gosh, I had the idea from Matthew 18:20 that His Church could be found where any two or more were gathered in His Name.

            But you must know better.

        • Dear Wilgus,

          Good morning to you, from your reading of the Gospels can you describe what sort of person Jesus is in from your understanding?

        • All who repent are undoubtedly welcome. Those who do not repent damn themselves and that include those who think or are told that they do not need to repent.

          Truth is a troubling thing: it’s concrete and doesn’t change according to one’s wishes.

    • “…[A] relationship other than heterosexual marriage.” I assume this is code for what plain English calls sodomy. Someone once said the first casualty of war is language. It would also seem to be the first casualty of corruption.

        • But….I notice you don’t deny it. It is your curious wording that would lead anyone to that conclusion. After all, what other “relationship” would preclude anyone from taking Communion? Having a regular bowling partner? Get off your histrionic high horse, pal.

          • Are you serious? All kinds of relationships are considered “irregular” including heterosexual marriages that don’t fit the Pharisaical template. Read Pearl of York’s question above and the laughably rules-based response of Deacon Augustine about what Pearl must do to be granted Communion. We’ve become rules-obsessed to the point of absurdity. And don’t call me Pal. You don’t nearly qualify.

          • Look, Willy, YOU’RE the one who used “heterosexual marriage” first, not I. And I think you knew exactly why you chose that phrase. I think I know too. But, I thought you said you were leaving, pal, a few moments ago. Door stuck?

          • You waste time because you will not accept simple truth:
            Matthew 19
            3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
            4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,
            5 “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’
            6 “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

            Your turn: where in the Bible did Christ ever tell somebody that it was okay to keep sinning?

          • Rebels never want to leave………they just want to provoke and justify their sorry excuses for not wanting to give up their sin.

          • That “Pharisaical template” started with God Almighty, Who said in Genesis 1 & 2:

            [27] And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. [28] And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth. [29] And God said: Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind, to be your meat: [30] And to all beasts of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to all that move upon the earth, and wherein there is life, that they may have to feed upon. And it was so done.

            [26] “Let us make man to our image”: This image of God in man, is not in the body, but in the soul; which is a spiritual substance, endued with understanding and free will. God speaketh here in the plural number, to insinuate the plurality of persons in the Deity.

            [28] “Increase and multiply”: This is not a precept, as some Protestant controvertists would have it, but a blessing, rendering them fruitful; for God had said the same words to the fishes, and birds, (ver. 22) who were incapable of receiving a precept.


            [18] And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself. [19] And the Lord God having formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: for whatsoever Adam called any living creature the same is its name. [20] And Adam called all the beasts by their names, and all the fowls of the air, and all the cattle of the field: but for Adam there was not found a helper like himself.

            [21] Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it. [22] And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam. [23] And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. [24] Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh.

          • P.S. Btw, which do you think is more in accord with the majesty of God and the dignity of mankind: that God created man in His Own Image with a rational intellect and free will OR that man evolved from something lower and is not responsible for his actions since they are influenced by his heredity and/or social and economic factors (which is what Communism and almost all the other “isms” believe)?

            Think about it.

          • P.P.S. Don’t insult Deacon Augustine. He participates in the Priesthood of Christ even though he is a deacon. The diaconate is the first major Order, then priest and Bishop. When you insult him., you insult Christ.

    • From all of the comments below in response to my observation, I have to conclude there is not room on this site for a different point of view. So I will close and bid all farewell with this quote:

      “At a time when the moral authority of the papacy has achieved
      global recognition, the gnawing away at the witness of Francis by those
      held hostage to an ahistorical ecclesiology, a desiccated governance
      system, and a pastoral leadership defined more by law than mercy, the
      signatories, and those they represent, need to be held to account.”

      Amen. I’ll see everyone at the Lord’s Table.

    • The difference being Jesus reached those people and called them to repent and change. The Pope is quite happy that they continuing sinning even saying that sometimes, the best thing that Jesus can ask of them is to continue to sin. That is the devil’s take, not the Lord’s.

    • Wilgus,

      Two passages in particular support the perennial teaching of the Church in this matter:

      Mark 10:2-12: And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.” But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.’ So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

      And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

      So we see that sexual relations by a divorced person are adultery, but the words of Christ himself. Regarding the reception of the Eucharist by someone in this situation, St. Paul wrote,

      1 Corinthians 11: 27-29: Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

      Of course, Catholics are not “Bible-Alone” fundamentalists who must support every teaching by a Biblical chapter and verse (for example, the Church would oppose dropping a nuclear bomb on an occupied city even though Jesus never mentioned it), but in this case, the teaching is quite clear from the Scriptures.

    • The goal of reaching out is not only to bring comfort to people in this life, but to bring them to the Church for the sake of salvation of their souls. The pope and his supporters in the Church hierarchy never talk about the need for repentance and confession. It isn’t just a “view” that those in anything other than a heterosexual marriage that is open to conception should not receive the Eucharist. It is established Church doctrine.

  3. Please help me undersrand. Why can’t a Catholic woman married to a Protestant in a Protestant ceremony (first marriage for both) who lives according to Catholic morality (i.e.: no contraception, raising children Catholic) not receive communion if she is free of mortal sin? The Church recognizes her marriage as valid, though not sacramental. Yes, sacramental is preferred, but she is not in mortal sin.

    • She can receive Holy Communion if she obtained the necessary dispensation from “defect of form” which allowed her to be married in a Protestant ceremony in the first place. If she did not have dispensation to marry in such a ceremony, her situation is very easily regularized by having her marriage convalidated in the Catholic Church. If she was coming to me for advice, I would want to know why she did not have a Catholic marriage in the first place, however?

      If the Church does recognize her marriage as valid already, and the Protestant she married is baptized, then it would be a sacramental marriage. If she is not validly or licitly married, and her “husband” is baptized, then it would become a sacramental marriage upon convalidation.

    • Just to be clear, as Deacon mentioned, a Catholic married outside the Catholic Church without a dispensation is not in a valid marriage and cannot receive Communion until the marriage is validated by the Church. Until the marriage is validated they are actually living in mortal sin. I was in this very situation myself. With all the talk about divorced and remarried people I actually think this needs to be discussed as much as well, as it is becoming increasingly common.

      God bless you 😉

      • What do you make of the following?: A Catholic is married by a priest at a nuptial Mass (main altar) to someone who is not baptized? The Catholic receives the Eucharist at that Mass and both parties have agreed that children will be raised Catholic. What is the status of that marriage in regards to sacramentality, validity and licitness?

        • I just looked this up and it does appear that a Catholic marrying an unbaptized person in the manner you have described would have had to have permission from the bishop.

          I should also mention that I am definitely not an expert and if there is a concern about the validity of a marriage I wholeheartedly ask you to seek advice from someone more qualified than silly me.

          May God bless you!!!

    • Sorry I wasn’t clear: when she got married, she was not a practicing Catholic and was married outside the Church without a dispensation. As a baptized Catholic, that means her marriage was invalid; as Deacon Augustine correctly notes, such a situation can be regularized, which it later was.

  4. The examples of the Cardinal and the Catholic Answers guy reveal how corrupt we have become. We seem to worship the Pope. We do not use faith and reason. We simply alter our conclusions to match Francis’ regardless of logic or faithfulness to Christ. It ought to take away our breath.

    • Yes, it is really quite disgusting. Papolatry is every bit as sinful as forging a golden image of Apis and worshipping it.

          • It’s named after the character Rex Mottram in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. In the book, Mottram intends to convert to Catholicism not out of a realization that Catholicism is the True Faith, but simply out of convenience in order to marry his Catholic fiancé. The priest instructing him reveals the following exchange between them to a third party:

            “Yesterday I asked him whether Our Lord had more than one nature. He said: ‘Just as many as you say, Father.’ Then again I asked him: ‘Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said ‘It’s going to rain’, would that be bound to happen?’ ‘Oh, yes, Father.’ ‘But supposing it didn’t?’ He thought a moment and said, “I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.’”

            In other words, Mottramism essentially describes someone who, in practice, accepts whatever a Church authority—especially a pope—happens to say or do as an unquestionable dogma of the Faith. In contemporary parlance, it refers to an extreme form of ultramontanism that implies the pope is a divine oracle who speaks for Christ at all times, even if what he says contradicts received Church teaching or applies to something (e.g., global warming) beyond his realm of authority.

          • You hit the mark with this explanation of our present dilemma coming from Rome or on a plane flying from or to someplace. Extemporaneous Pope speech is the brew of faux journalists.

    • One word in defense of Tim Staples–and I guess I shouldn’t say “defense” because he should defend the faith but perhaps a word of empathy–consider were the CA apostolate is located and whose the bishop. They are undoubtedly in a diocese in which heresy and heterodoxy from the left are fine but standing up for tradition could lead to unfortunate consequences.

      • They were always soft Right though. 12 ways why the Pope did not say what you heard. 8 ways why you misheard the Pope. On and on and on…

      • Empathy would be warranted if he defended Truth and got fired for it. What he has taught and promoted is appalling coming from an apologist. I can no longer refer people to CA website because they totally tanked on this whole concept of culpability. St Thomas Aquinas states clearly elsewhere in his writings that there are sins which can NEVER be committed for any good whatsoever and fornication and adultery are on that list. AL cherry picks and twists St Thomas to deceive souls. If Tim Staples is right, then Jesus Christ and the Church He founded had it wrong for 2000 years and we are apparently just figuring this out now. Makes you wonder what else the Church got wrong……not!

        Anyway, bless you. Sorry for the long post.

          • Here is an awesome article discussing this:

            And the specific clip, if you are short on time:

            Situation ethics contradicts Aquinas’s firm affirmation that there are some moral norms that always hold for everyone: these are the precepts of the Decalogue (ST I-II, q. 100, a. 8), and similar universal negative precepts, for they condemn acts that are “evil in themselves and cannot become good” (ST II-II, q. 33, a.2). He specifically says that “one may not commit adultery for any good” (De Malo, q. 15, a.1, ad 5). In the same vein, Aquinas holds that some acts “have deformity inseparably attached to them, such as fornication, adultery, and others of this sort, which can in no way be done in a morally good way” (Quodlibet 9, q. 7, a. 2). The reason for these exceptionless norms is that human nature does not change, nor does the Gospel and the Church’s mandate to transmit it unsullied through the centuries. Certain positive norms need to be adapted to the times, such as one’s relation to the environment. In such cases, Magisterial teaching adapts to changing conditions—but always without contradicting reason and the truths already articulated by the Church.

            God bless!

          • Yes, this was an enlightening read. Situational ethics is afoot and laying groundwork for heresy within the instructions coming from the Shepard’s mouth. I look for more diocesan Shepard’s to step out and invite dialogue on “what did Jesus teach…”

        • I still believe CA is helpful (disclaimer: they published my last book, so of course I think that!). They are not perfect, but no organization is. I also don’t think Mr. Staples is saying that “good” is committed when someone commits adultery or fornication. He is simply saying it is not always a mortal sin.

          His argument is based on the fact that committing a grave matter is not always a mortal sin. This is true. For example, if a young girl is pressured/coerced by her parents to get an abortion, she has committed a grave matter, but it is not necessarily a mortal sin for her (it would still at least be venial), as she might not have given full consent of her will.

          However, Mr. Staples’s argument falls apart when applying it to divorced/remarried couples, due to the continued nature of the sin. If, for the sake of argument, their sexual relationship is not a mortal sin for them (let’s say they were unaware that their divorce was not recognized by the Church), it still does not follow that they should be told they can receive communion. Instead they should be informed of the gravity of their situation and told they need to either dissolve their relationship or live as brother/sister. If they do not, then I can’t see how it would not now be a mortal sin for them to continue their sexual relations.

          There is no situation, therefore, in which a couple that continues to commit the grave matter of sex outside a valid marriage bond should be advised to receive communion.

          • Yes, and that is clear Catholic teaching and theology. They keep tossing out the fact that one’s subjective culpability may be diminished in a particular case as if that is a warrant to continue sinning objectively.

            What he is doing is upending the truth to make an objective wrong acceptable practice based solely on one’s perceived innocence.

          • Very good!! Is there any chance you can convince CA to remove that hogwash of an article by Mr Staples?

            Thank you for this reply 🙂

          • Eric Sammons, the 6th Commandment states uniquivocally, “THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, and to argie other wise is being a typical cafeteria (small) catholic. Now please try and justify Staples words and that of the 6th Commandment……Thou Shall NOT!

          • It is correct to say that grave matter is not always a mortal sin and the example you give is an appropriate demonstration of the fact.

            But where Staples and others have gone wrong with respect to the D&R is that they have swallowed the false premise on which AL and the debate surrounding it has been built i.e. that the D&R are excluded from Holy Communion primarily becuase of their personal state of mortal sin.

            The state of mortal sin or lack of it in the case of the D&R is a sideshow which has been put forward in AL to distract from the main reason why they are treated differently from other adulterers in Canon Law. Namely, as people who are “public permanent adulterers” (CCC 2384) they are living permanently in a state which is objectively sinful, irrespective of the personal guilt imputed to them , and as such they are a counter-witness to the Gospel. Consequently the Church denies them Holy Communion on the basis that they are “obstinately persevering in MANIFEST grave sin” as defined in Canon 915. The consequence of admitting them to Holy Communion would amount to the personal sin of scandal on their behalf, and the institutional sin of scandal on behalf of the ministers who communicated them. Canon 915 is derived ffrom Divine Law in order to protect the people of God from the sin of scandal. Because the sin of scandal is greater when it is committed by the ministers of the Church, this law is as much about protecting the faithful from evil clergy as it is about protecting them from the counter-witness of those who choose to live in states which are incompatible with the Gospel. This is why even those D&R who live as brother and sister must only receive Holy Communion in places where they are not known, because their objective state of life is still a potential cause of scandal to the faithful, even though they are not in a personal state of mortal sin.

            None of this is even touched upon in Amoris laetitia, let alone adequately addressed by it. It has simply been ignored with the result that everybody is clucking around discussing the D&R in terms of their personal state of sin or lack of it. I hope to God that Cardinal Burke does address this issue with a formal correction – as a senior Canon Lawyer he is the best placed man to do it at this hour.

            This was the only area that I felt was sorely lacking in the Filial Correction, but I signed it anyway for many of the reasons you highlight above.

            Thank you for signing and giving your “testimony” as to the reasons why you did so. It is always important to do what is right – whatever the cost.

          • Well said. The constant recourse to possible diminished personal culpability empasizes only part of the truth.

            It is like a magician who only directs you to look in one direction as he pulls a prank in another direction as you do not notice what he does.

          • I did indeed, Margaret. My signature is listed on 2nd October (although submitted somewhat earlier). You now have a 1 in 35 chance of working out who I really am. 😉

          • The Church must also be about protecting the flock, so as to not give false witness.
            This specific issue was always a ” front burner” issue for me as well.

            I also greatly appreciate the statement that those who are D and R living as brother and sister, must also not give scandal, bear false witness to the teachings of the Church regarding the reception of Communion.
            I know this was approved by JP ll, but I never quite understood what good comes from pretending to be married, when one is not. For how can you pretend something so sacred, that is a lie?

          • This is exactly right and it’s the key flaw of the whole “discernment” approach. The more the “irregular” couple discern about their situation, the more culpable they become for continuing the ongoing sin. Somehow Francis and his ilk have twisted this obvious logic into the suggestion that the couple can discern away their own culpability — even for sins they’re planning to commit in the future.

            Oh, and don’t even get me started on the idea that God wants them to sin because it’s the best that can be expected of them (and, of course, everyone knows that the children suffer when their parents aren’t having ongoing adulterous sexual relations. Think of the children!).

          • This notion of “discernment” is a load of crap! Commitment to a sacred promise is FOREVER. Discernment can be a legitimate approach to examining one’s conscience, one’s logical view of one’s life choices, but to not know the moral laws for behavior is not invincible ignorance. Adulterous living has been known and taught for centuries. No amount of rationalization can make it anything other than “grave sin.”

          • Very well stated. Why is this so confusing to Catholics? Perhaps, the continuation of Catholic moral education took a side trip to Lutheranism on the way to the Church?

        • As a human being who may be concerned about keeping food on his table, I can empathize. Given that our purpose is to serve God and help souls get to Heaven, I don’t feel sympathy. He is making a bad decision. If, IF, that decision is partly predicated on losing his livelihood then I can empathize with the difficulty in that decision, even if I would like to believe it would be easy for me.

          • I respectfully have to add that he begins his article with “I decided to jump into the fray” which would imply that he wasn’t asked to weigh in but freely chose to do so, like I am doing on this thread. Just sayin’.

          • Naturally. I wasn’t being defensive. Rather I was explaining that I don’t feel sorry for Mr. Staples and that he’s wrong. Yet, I can at least think of the difficulty of being subject to Bishop McElroy, especially in a high profile group such as Catholic Answers. Given what we’ve seen with the Knights of Malta, we know it isn’t beyond this band of heterodox clerics to interfere with lay apostolates.

          • Who said anyone about right or wrong? When did I say he (Staples) is right? Good grief this is getting old: is empathy really that hard for people to understand now?

          • Worrying about putting food on the table for your family had caused much corruption in the Church and in society. I don’t think men or women should be committing sins of omission to keep their jobs.

        • One may NEVER offend God without reaping the reward of punishment. One’s culpability may be mitigated, but sin remains sin and is NOT PERMISSABLE. Ask St. Maria Gorretti

        • Yes, they did. And I doubt that did so gleefully. It’s a lot easier when it isn’t your neck on the line. We all pray for perseverance, that we would pass the test if we faced it. But we also pray that we will not: yes, Christ instructs to pray that we will not face the test. There are plenty of holy men and women who shrunk in the face of adversity. Are they not as worthy of forgivness, if sought, as those who lived lives of abject sin only to convert late or later in life?

          Again, I am not defending Tim Staples. But as a man with four mouths to feed, yes, I can empathize with how difficult it must be to do what one should. Sitting here, I think I would because I do not value THIS life: for myself and my family, I am focused on the next life. But wouldn’t we all rather die comfortably in a warm bed in a warm home with sustenance then cold and hungry in a gutter? To those who say no the next question is why you are on a device which enables you to access the Internet when you should be renouncing all of your possessions and creature comforts and embracing poverty!

      • Are we to let go of true, authentic perennial Catholic Dogma because they may or do lead to “unfirtunate consequences”? Tell that to the hordes of martyrs. We are BOUND by out baptismal and confirmation vows to defend the Faith at ALL COSTS, even – if necessary – with our lives. What could be a more “unfortunate consequence” than the loss of our immortal soul because we’ve accomdated evil or accepted heresy?

        • Wow was this comment misunderstood. Well, here goes again: it’s easy to say these things from the comfort of a keyboard. Pray that you don’t face the test, Mike. It may be harder than you think–Christ certainly thought so as he instructed to pray not to face it.

          I don’t agree with Mr. Staples and I believe that I would not betray the faith, especially if I knew it as well as he (Staples) and pronounced if for a living. Yet, I doubt you, Imor anybody else without a second thought would be willing to lose our jobs, homes and sing hymns while walking with our wives and children to the soup kitchen and homeless shelter, no less the guillitone. It’s very romantic and brave to sit in a warm home with wireless internet and hi-tech devices and say we would face it bravely, it’s quite another to do it.

          • “Yet, I doubt you, I nor anybody else without a second thought would be willing to lose our jobs, homes and sing hymns while walking with our wives and children to the soup kitchen and homeless shelter, no less the guillitone.”…

            You don’t know me well enough to make that statement. I have already given everything for the faith except my life including more than you mention, sych as my health. And, yes, I am willing to give my life as well. I wouldn’t look forward to it, especially if it involves torture. It is also true that most are not willing to go even as far as what you mention, but that IS what we promised to do when wr accepted the faith and became spiritual adults at our confirmation. Too many, even traditional Catholics overlook the fact that we are soldiers for Christ abd may be called upon to maje the ultimate sacrifice abd join the army if millions of Catholics who have willingly paid that cost over the centuries including Thomas More, Naxmillian Kolbe and Edith Stein.

          • Again, Mike, I’m failing, I guess, to make myself clear: It’s not an easy thing to do and for people to glibly say that Staples should have just done it–which I agree with and believe to be TRUE–is easier said than done. Most of us won’t face that. Sorry to hear that you’ve given up your health for the faith. Would you ever be willing to elaborate on that (e.g. did you catch a disease while doing missionary work?). I’m thankful for your witness either way.

  5. Thank you for signing Mr. Sammons. As the mother of 10 and grandmother of 16 you are helping to preserve the Faith for the future. May Our Lord and Lady reward you!!

  6. There is a silver lining of sorts in all this mess: it validates handsomely John Henry Newman’s reservations about the declaration of papal infallibility issued by Vatican I. Ever prescient, he feared it would eventually be misunderstood by the faithful and abused by the hierarchy, precisely what we witness today. For me, it is especially depressing to see a man as bright as Cardinal Marc Ouellet fall for this nonsense. Coming from Canada, he had ample opportunity to see how such “thinking” and practice have gutted the Anglican Church of all but the carapace of Christian truth.

  7. I’m still shocked Tim Staples still doesn’t see the contention between AL and Church doctrine. I love Tim and owe him much gratitude…but this is not a matter of prudential judgement

        • You’re dense if you think Church Militant is guilty of papolatry. They’ve made it quite clear why they do not go after Pope Francis, and their rationale is quite prudent. You’ve obviously never engaged in real ecumenism. I’ve talked to numerous Protestants, and sometimes they ask me what I think of Pope Francis: what the hell am I supposed to say? If I’m as critical as you want me to be, I’d confirm the Protestant in his belief that the pope is the anti-Christ.

          • Church Militants policy is papolatry in action. They rail against every modernist prelate but turn a blind eye to Francis. Tell the Protestants that Francis is a rotten pope, and promotes heresy. Francis is not the antichrist.

          • Church Militant should have spoken out against Pope Francis from the beginning. Not waited until the homosexual abuse was uncovered.

  8. I understand where you are coming from Mr. Sammons. My brother and I are part of St. Paul street evangelization and we encounter the same thing. It certainly has affected the confidence I had in the Holy Father having my back.

  9. I can add one more story to the two mentioned in the article. I heard it from a priest. Almost two years ago an old man was dying in one of the hospices in Poland. He shacked up with a woman his entire adult life. The priest encouraged the old man to confess his sin. But he refused to do it telling that Pope Francis allowed people to live this way. The old man died unrepentant a couple of days later. The priest asked us a question? Who is responsible for the loss of this soul?

        • Why? If the man sincerely believed that what he did was not wrong, then his soul certainly was not lost because of that, because that would not therefore be a mortal sin and loss of grace, according to correct Catholic moral teaching.

          • Depends on why he thought he was correct. Bad habits. Not taking the time to learn. A seared conscience from unrepentant mortal sin. Just a few common reasons that do not justify a subjective conscience.

          • And frankly it is none of your business and neither is it mine. It was between him and the priest and God, and if he didn’t want to confess, the priest should have been praying and fasting for him, not arguing with him.

          • No, just annoyed at someone using some obscure, unsubstantiated, and very personal story as “evidence” that a soul went to Hell and Pope Francis is responsible. Therefore freaking out about Pope Francis’s supposedly ruinous papacy is justified….because we aren’t actually gossiping, complaining, or lacking trust in God’s providential care for His church; we are saving SOULS!!

          • The priest was not arguing with him. Not at all. He almost beg him to repent. And this talk about fasting and praying. How do you know he didn’t do it. And for crying out loud he lived in Poland not in Bangladesh or any other country where Christianity is sparse. So he knew very well that what he did was against the sixth commandment. We rather are taking here about the conscious rejection not invincible ignorance. And again, I don’t know if the soul of the old man was lost. Only God knows it. But as someone put it in one of the previous posts; “it is *highly* probable”. I personally think that he was “robbed’ of the last chance to repent.

  10. Congratulations Eric for signing the Filial Correction. The Catholic Church’s credibility has suffered a mortal blow with Pope Francis. His entire papacy must be condemned and abrogated.

  11. Really saddened to see Tim Staples jump off this cliff.

    It underlines just how disastrous the present situation really is.

  12. OK, here’s a thought.

    If “the First See is judged by no one” and if the Pope is protected from error, even when he’s not teaching infallibly, yet Francis is clearly and demonstrably spreading heresy, perhaps this is telling us that Francis is actually not the Pope.

    Not saying that I agree with this line of thinking but it is something to consider in this discussion. At the moment, everyone is wringing their hands with guilt and twisting themselves into pretzels finding a way to justify correcting the Pope (as in the above article). OK….some of these arguments are quite plausible…….but an even simpler argument is that he just aint the true Pope. Period. Occam’s razor……..the simplest interpretation of a set of data is usually the correct one.

    The bottom line is that we’re in terra incognita here……this is bizarro world. I don’t think anyone is really sure what is going on.

    • ‘if the Pope is protected from error, ‘even when he’s not teaching infallibly’……..he’s not when not teaching ex cathedra. His ‘personal’ opinions or as I call them ‘ramblings’ are not protected from error. He can say just about any ridiculous thing he wants to if he’s not declaring ‘from the chair’, and he’s still not considered a ‘Formal Heretic’ only a ‘Material Heretic’ which does not deny him the Papacy. At least that’s the way I understand it.

    • Actually, the simplest interpretation (and clear Catholic teaching) is that the pope is not in every instance protected from teaching error. There is no guilt or twisting into pretzels to accept that simple and straightforward premise. If one believes otherwise, however, then you have a complicated mess of lots of invalid popes throughout history.

      Pope Francis is the legitimate pope. To believe otherwise is to live in a fantasy-land.

      • I agree with your interpretation, but not your assertion that to believe otherwise is to live in fantasyland.
        Given Benedict’s resignation and the craziness associated with this papacy, I can easily see a well grounded person having the opinion that Francis may not be a valid Pope. But even one with such an opinion should admit they can’t know with certainty- and behave consistent with that uncertainty.

        • “Fantasy-land” might not the best descriptor. “Completely ignorant of history” would be more accurate. 🙂

          The election of Pope Francis was tame by historical standards. We have in our history (valid) popes who were elected via lies, bribes, and physical threats. While there might have been some untoward behavior of some Cardinals in electing Francis, it was far less scandalous and questionable than a number of universally-accepted papal elections in the past.

      • On the contrary.

        If “the pope is not in every instance protected from teaching error”, then the “complicated mess” will be that every unwelcome and unpopular papal decision for the past 20 centuries is now open to second guessing.

        Vatican I says this (among other things):

        “Since the Roman Pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole Church, we likewise teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that in all cases which fall under ecclesiastical jurisdiction recourse may be had to his judgment. The sentence of the Apostolic See (than which there is no higher authority) is not subject to revision by anyone, nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon. And so they stray from the genuine path of truth who maintain that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman pontiffs to an ecumenical council as if this were an authority superior to the Roman Pontiff.”

        I see nothing in the Vatican I documents which says anything about the pope “not being in every instance protected from teaching error”.

        I’m also not following the logic of your assertion that to doubt the validity of Francis’ election is to cast doubt on the election of “lots” of popes throughout history. Why?

        • Many popes in the past have been elected via highly questionable means. Further, popes in the past have believed and taught error (not authoritatively, of course). If Francis is supposedly not a valid pope because of these things, then we need to go back and rewrite the list of legitimate popes.

          • No, the circumstances surrounding Francis’ election are unique. They are not a re-run of previous papal elections and therefore they have no bearing on the legitimacy of previous popes.

            1) A reigning pope throws in the towel. How often has this happened previously? We now have two living popes….or do we? One is supposedly an “emeritus”…..or is he? What exactly is he? And he resigned because he was too tired? Really?

            2) The existence of organized resistance to the previous pope and an active campaign to replace him.

            3) The emergence of homosexual networks working to undermine the pope.

            This is not “fantasy-land”. These are issues which need to be addressed. They don’t prove that Francis isn’t the Pope. They simply raise doubts and questions which can’t be dismissed by pseudo-dogmatic pronouncements such as “of course Francis is the pope”.

            One thing of which there is almost a complete absence right now, is “certainty”.

          • I suggest that you read the documents of Vatican I and see if you can find anything which supports your statement that “the Pope is not protected in every instance from teaching error”.

          • Pope Honorius and pope John XXII are both easy examples here. Honorius for, at the very least, allowing Monothelitism to flourish (if not promoting it himself) and John XXII for his errors regarding the beatific vision, which led to his fight with the King of France and the theological faculty at Paris.

            Popes are not infallible in all things and may certainly be in error when not teaching infallibly; not all magisterial teaching is itself infallible or guaranteed to be free from error. People who read this notion into Vatican I are reading it incorrectly.

          • I don’t think I’m “reading it incorrectly”. That’s what the cogniscenti say to us about our reading of Amoris laetitia. The general wisdom of today amongst those who claim to know, seems to be that Vatican I went too far on the subject of papal infallibility. But it says what it says and if it’s correct then it seems to me we have a problem. One possible….and I stress….possible solution, is that Francis is not truly pope.

            All I’m saying is that we need to keep this possibility open as we grope our way around in this increasing darkness.

          • My contention is that Vatican I, in its romanticized language about the papacy, created an opportunity for misreading what the charism of papal infallibility really entails. This has created the papal positivists both on the left and in the “conservative” camp as well as the sedevacantists.

            All of them posit that “a pope cannot err”.

            The positivists say, “ergo, we have to do whatever he says, even if it appears to be a contradiction.” (ie., Stephen Walford.)

            The sedes say, “ergo, he must not be the pope, because what he said is a contradiction.” (ie., Novus Ordo Watch, etc.)

            Either way, I believe they are reading into the statements of Vatican I something that is not truly there. Popes can err in their personal magisterium when they are not teaching infallibly. It has happened before. It is happening now.

        • This is from Vatican I, Pastor Aeternus, Session 4, chapter 4, section 6:

          For the holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter
          not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine,
          but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.

          You quoted an earlier portion of Vatican I.

  13. from Tim Staples link;
    “…(citing CCC 1735)…..(citing CCC 2352). ….. a negative judgment about an objective situation does not imply a judgment about the imputability or culpability of the person. This is indisputable Catholic teaching, folks.”
    WOW – so, Staples uses the argument of adolescent habitual/anxious/hormonal masturbation as Rome’s defense for adultery in a 2nd marriage.

    Who wants to engage that argument ? I’m embarrassed enough to just post it — ughh

    • Here is what Ratzinger said about a related topic, but same basic context:

      “Here, the Church’s wise moral tradition is necessary since it
      warns against generalizations in judging individual cases. In fact,
      circumstances may exist, or may have existed in the past, which would reduce or
      remove the culpability of the individual in a given instance; or other
      circumstances may increase it. What is at all costs to be avoided is the
      unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behaviour of homosexual
      persons is always and totally compulsive and therefore inculpable. What is
      essential is that the fundamental liberty which characterizes the human person
      and gives him his dignity be recognized as belonging to the homosexual person as
      well. As in every conversion from evil, the abandonment of homosexual activity
      will require a profound collaboration of the individual with God’s liberating

      So it is demeaning to claim those in perpetual adultery cannot stop with God’s grace. The possible lack of subjective culpability is not the metric to use. The point is some actions are always evil. If people engage in them you ask them to stop and seek confession. You do not encourage them to continue acting immorally because they think they are free from guilt.

  14. I honestly can’t think of anything tackier than publishing your supposed ‘filial’ correction all over the place. When I want to tell my dad I think he did something wrong, I don’t take out an ad in the local Gazette. Wonder how you’d take it if your kids did that. It doesn’t seem very filial to me.

        • There are also important facts to consider. The filial correction is a highly extraordinary step that comes after many others. The correction didn’t ever need to be made. All Francis needs to do is respond. speak, clarify. But he won’t, seemingly because he stands by the heretical positions he apparently espouses or promotes. The arrogant silence is deafening. Your father continues to threaten and abuse your mother and your siblings despite many requests to stop. If an ad in the paper is what is needed, then so be it.

    • “Tacky”

      I do not recall the use of this profound theological term in Denzinger, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Baltimore Catechism, the Catechism of the Council of Trent, the writings of the Fathers or the councils!

      Where have I been?

      • Yeah, why don’t you get off your high horse. Or you don’t know that term either……? It is a colloquial reference to spiritual pride.

        • Oh!!!!


          Tackiness = “Spiritual Pride”.

          How in the world did I miss THAT in St Thomas?

          Now here on this hardscrabble ranch in the mountains, I do have horses, but none over 15/2 hands high, so I really don’t have a “High Horse” off of which to get.

          You on the other hand need to read the Bible and start studying the doctrines of the faith, because you are utterly lost.

          • Umm….no, I meant “high horse” is a reference to pride.—- I apologize. I keep forgetting that learning theology means we have ascended to the high echelons of humanity where we no longer need to dabble in the common parlances of the lower class. How silly of me to think you would still remember lowbrow words like ‘jerk’ and ‘high horse’, with your mind so full of erudition. Mea culpa.

          • ” How silly of me to think you would still remember lowbrow words like ‘jerk’ and ‘high horse’, with your mind so full of erudition. Mea culpa.”

            That’s right. Take your modernist morality and junk doctrine and get lost.

            I reckon you can grasp that, can’t you?

          • If you read the Bible, did you never hear that Jesus was rejected by those learned in the law? Be careful of taking pride in your knowledge.

          • No, I meant that “high horse” is a reference to spiritual pride…or intellectual pride, such as sometimes is seen in those who parade their knowledge of religious topics to impress other human beings. But you are right; I will go read my Bible now and not waste my time on blogs.

    • It follows the biblical method mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew, as well as canon law. What is the basis for your opinion?

      • Can you please tell me where in the Gospel of Matthew it mentions publishing your criticisms of the leaders of the Church in public forums? The basis for my opinion is threefold: it is uncharitable by nature, as Eric would realize if one of his children ever decided to take their family disagreements and publish them in the public eye, inviting strangers to join in on his judgements that Eric is a bad father. It is a scandal to the rest of the world to watch Catholics squabbling and complaining about the Pope. It is unscriptural.

        • Who cares what the rest of the world thinks?
          That excuse is so old now….I mean olde………..

          The world is using Francis, that’s all. They would throw him out in a flash, if he were orthodox, by some minor miracle. They do not respect him! In fact, this pope has caused such harm to the papacy.

        • Are you thinking of Matthew 18:

          [15] But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.

          [16] And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. [17] And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican.

        • If Mr Sammons is abusing his kids than his kids should make that public. Francis is abusing the children of God.

    • The point is that we must encourage others to admit that Pope Francis is wrong so that Pope Francis can correct his false teachings. Everyone is morally obligated to do this. Even you.

  15. “These are the people I think about when I hear calls for a softening of the Church’s teachings on human sexuality and marriage.”

    Unfortunately, the Church’s teachings on human sexuality have already been watered down by the treatment of the vice of homosexualism in the 1992 edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2357-2359)

    Instead of reaffirming what the Council of Trent taught — that sodomy is a sin that cries out to Heaven for vengeance — the moral evil of sodomy is alluded to briefly in the CCC passage as something Scripture describes as “grave depravity”, but then the CCC qualifies such acts as “intrinsically disodered”, which renders the relationship to sin less clear.

    As well, the passage moves homosexualism completely out of the realm of moral culpability for grave sin, and into the realm of that scientific materialism of the soul — modern psychology — by stating of the homosexual impulse that “its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained”.

    We know that every impulse toward sin, which comes to us ultimately from diabolical suggestion, is an evil impulse. Just as the act is evil, the impulse that inclines us toward that evil act is also evil. Yet the CCC passage on homosexualism leaves the impression that such evil impulses are not necessarily evil at all, but are merely “disordered” or “unexplained” in their origin. Is this the inspired voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us? Or is it a political formulation based on demographic considerations: “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible.” (CCC 2358)

    The number of people who experience all manner of evil tendencies and temptations is also not negligible — in fact, it’s all of us — but the number of people involved is irrelevant; the number does not make an evil tendency any less evil. Consider also this statement in CCC 2358:

    “This inclination (homosexualism), which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial.” On what basis is this statement made, which purports to speak for most homosexual practitioners and those so inclined? And is a new group of humans being defined here — one whose characteristics are not based on race and sex, but on an evil sexual inclination?

    Just as I pray that the Filial Correction will bear fruit in alerting Catholics to the grave heresies being foment by many in the hierarchy of the Church under the present pontificate, I also pray the misguided softening and apparent pandering to the amoral lexicon of modern psychology in the above section of the 1992 Catechism will be reviewed and repaired in a way that resounds with the voice of the Holy Spirit, not the spirit of the times.

    • “Yet the CCC passage on homosexualism leaves the impression that such evil impulses are not necessarily evil at all, but are merely “disordered” or “unexplained” in their origin. Is this the inspired voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us?” – NO. THAT can never come from the TRUE SPIRIT!
      You should keep in mind all other vicious tricks which are used, not only in the CCC, for the translating of it (to how many world languages?!?).
      Why I’am saying this, see my comment, reaction to RodH here, from not so long ago, which goes about the CCC 2358. in EN, but in Croatian version it is even worse. Pay attention on the begining of that sentence, where the CCC (!) is trying to teach the flock this “They do not choose…” , – I mean, really!?!

  16. It all saddens my heart. We are sheep with few true shepherds. Is God no longer offended by our sins because He is seemingly only ‘mercy’ now? Is there any reason to belong to the present mode of Catholicism that this pope promotes where almost anything goes? His mouthpiece priest is saying basically that there is no longer any objective truth and that, my friends, is a lie from the pit of hell.

  17. In my opinion, the worst of all worlds is the decision many seem to take today {the “Müller Doctrine”} that all is fine and nothing is heretical or encouraging of heresy in AL {or in any of the many writings of Pope Francis which contain significant problems}. No sane person can listen to read or observe this Pope and believe he is dedicated to the defense of consistent teaching of the Catholic faith. To affirm that is simply to deny manifest truth, to live in a pretend dream world.

    To assert that everything this Pope does is orthodox and “just fine” is to to affirm the existence of a “Church” that is utterly no different than the Anglicans or the Lutherans. They, too, have doctrines and teachings that supposedly don’t contradict their own teaching. And for them it is true, since their teaching CHANGES. Thus, nothing is ever truly heretical because “heresy” only means that which is opposed to what is taught this very moment. Over time, this “heresy” can indeed become orthodoxy, and does. Morality is in flux. Doctrine is in flux. “Heresy” means nothing.

    Just as increasingly it means less and less in the Catholic Church.

    The slippery slope is there for all to see. How else can you have a leader “bishop” of a “church” who is 1} female 2} lesbian 3} condones contraceptives and abortion 4} denies the Virgin Birth, etc. {Eva Brunne}

    Some might say “this can’t happen in the Catholic Church”.

    Sorry, but it IS happening in the Catholic Church. We now have bishops and cardinals that are affirming teaching sponsored by this pope that is directly opposed to the clear words and teaching of past Popes. To deny this is to simply play with words.

    The problem is not “one bad Pope”. The problem is the ever-more solidifying establishment of a culture that reflects the sects I mention above. It is now pervasive in the Church. As Bishop Schneider and others have said;
    schism exists within the Church.

    So we don’t need to merely correct a Pope. We need a sweeping purification of the Church based on adherence to doctrinal and moral precepts that are solidly in line with past teaching. That means numerous excommunications, laicizations, likely interdicts. People need to be fired from support positions and agencies and likely apostolates and orders need to be disbanded. Yes, it is that bad.

    There is no such thing as a meaningful word “heresy” unless there is discipline to enforce adherence to orthodoxy. Otherwise, anything goes, and that is what we are seeing in Jorge Bergoglio Pope Francis.

    And that, my friends, is Anglicanism and Lutheranism, NOT Catholicism.

    • It is even much worse than that. Because that’s what now happens to the Catholic Church, which IS the only true Church of Christ.
      When all that evil things started to happen and was unstoppable growing into bigger and bigger evil to those other so-called-churches-which-are-not-!, – it was nothing else to expect than falling deeper and deeper into the devils hands and his imaginary world of deception.
      But this is MUCH WORSE, because this is happening to the only true Catholic Church.

      • You are right of course, and it only highlights this reality in that we see so little forceful response to the errors of the day.

        The thing that strikes me is that bishops COULD now confront those directly who affirm heterodox teaching without directly resisting the Pope, if they so chose. So if in truth the bishops didn’t want to resist the false teaching out of “love for the Pope” they could.

        In reality, it appears almost all of them are in some agreement with the “New direction” of the Church.

        If they aren’t we would see news piece after news piece covering fights between the “Marx Bros” and “Kasper the Unfriendly Ghost” and the orthodox bishops.

        But alas…we don’t.

        That says to me we are led by many frauds and cowards.

        • Yes! And I like the way you’re saying this. And you’re doing it repeatedly, which is good of course, and very needed. That’s a mark of your Faith, which should (suppose to) be even more a mark of the (faithful) bishops.
          Speaking about this what you here wrote, and maybe particularly this sentence: “The thing that strikes me is that bishops COULD now confront those directly who affirm heterodox teaching without directly resisting the Pope, if they so chose.”…
          I believe, you’d like to read my comment on the previous 1P5 article, here:

    • Seeing how touchie-feelie the Vatican is getting with the Lutherans over the 500th anniversary and Pope Francis is saying what a true reformer Luther was…….who is to say that the “married” lesbian Bishoppess of Stockholm will never be a validly recognised “Catholic” bishop!

  18. Since this “anto-pope’ has been elected to the Papal Chair of st. Peter, I personally have ZERO hope, trust or belief in ANy of his utterances ! Amen ! So be it !

  19. I know the feeling. My sister-in-law considers herself to be a practicing Catholic. However, she is cohabitating with the father of her son, now 5, who was born out of wedlock. Her parents and sister (my wife) make their disapproval known, and routinely ask that they rectify their situation with the Church, but are constantly rebuffed and, more than once, my sister-in-law has cited Pope Francis in the defense of her lifestyle.

    It’s frustrating

    • You can’t “un-ring a bell” as the phrase goes.
      I fear that the damage is done and generations to come will have this Vatican’s words/omissions to fall back on to defend unCatholic lifestyles.
      -even if AL were tossed into the ash bin by 5PM this afternoon.

      One can only hope “the misled” qualify for some form of invincible ignorance at final judgment, but meanwhile they will lack a deeper relation with Our
      Divine Savior.

      • This is my concern, too.

        Truly, the only way to solve this dilemma appears to me to be the knotting of a whip and the driving out of all those who hate the Church and disparage Her teaching. This was Christ’s method in the Temple and He was willing to see the price paid by the Temple financially for the Temple. Corrupt gain is no true gain at all in eternal terms.

        Yet we see our leaders prostrating themselves before the secular authorities and the immorality of modern culture to gain standing.

        Excommunications, laicizations, interdicts all appears to be necessary to bring the Church back into a position of moral authority.

        But can any of you see that happening?

        One good Pope could do it.

        But is there one man willing to be that Pope?

    • The lack of discipline in the Catholic Church is one of the greatest impediments to evangelization in my opinion. A priest friend of mine says “We would see many more converts if non-Catholics had ANY respect for the Catholic Church. But they don’t”. Many non-Catholics don’t even give Catholic teaching a second glance because they just don’t take the Catholic Church seriously because the Church appears not to take itself seriously.

      I am a convert of 4 1/2 years. It is truly hard to explain to cradle Catholics just how little respect many non-Catholics have for the Catholic Church precisely because of the existence of a whole culture of supposed, self-described “Catholics” who are allowed to desecrate the Sacraments, the moral code and the doctrinal teachings with absolutely no repercussions.

      And now one of them is Pope.


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