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The Church After Amoris Laetitia: An Interview With Josef Seifert

In light of Josef Seifert’s recent essay examining some of the dangerous logical consequences of Amoris Laetitia — an essay for which he was dismissed from his teaching position by the Archbishop of Granada — 1P5’s Dr. Maike Hickson reached out to the Austrian philosopher to ask him some additional questions about not just the post-synodal exhortation that has generated so much controversy, but the state of moral teaching and praxis in the Church in its wake.

Maike Hickson (MH): A year ago, in August of 2016 – after the publication of Amoris Laetitia – you published an essay in which you politely criticized this papal document and asked the pope to make corrections of some wrong or even sometimes “objectively heretical statements.” What is the reason why you now once more raise your voice with a new essay on this topic of Amoris Laetitia?

Josef Seifert (JS): After publishing my article, a large number of events happened: my good friend Rocco Buttiglione and my former student Rodrigo Guerra defended Amoris Laetitia (AL) fiercely against all my objections and I wrote many e-mails and an unpublished response to them. A group of theologians and philosophers charged Pope Francis twice for a large series of heresies and other errors they attributed to AL, and they went into detail to prove the grounds for their asking Pope Francis to retract these errors. I was asked to sign their letter but did not for a variety of reasons. The archbishop of Granada suspended me from teaching his seminarians because of my first article. The archbishop of Vaduz, Principality Liechtenstein, congratulated me on this article and thanked me for the tremendous service to the Church he saw in it. The four Cardinals expressed their (still unanswered) dubia. Thus, I had plenty of new reasons to think about AL and about my previous article that I had sent first as a personal (never answered or even recognized) letter to Pope Francis.

However, the immediate cause of my second article was my reading about a commission convened by Pope Francis, allegedly to revise Humanae Vitae (HV) and to adapt it to AL. Moreover, I wrote to Professor Buttiglione, a dear friend who took an extremely different view of AL from mine, that I feared that also HV and Evangelium Vitae would fall prey to the same line of thought expressed in AL. He increased my fear and sense of alarm over this, by answering that of course to Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae the same discernment and the same principles would have to be applied that are stated in AL about marriage matters. This shook me up profoundly. (I had written many articles to defend also philosophically Humanae Vitae and Veritatis Splendor, and the thought that all these true doctrines would be revoked, relativized, or undermined by simply applying the logic to the quoted remark of AL, troubled me deeply).

For all these reasons, I meditated anew the same questions and thought to have found a much bigger cause of concern than the ones I had expressed in my previous article.

Thus, I decided to write a new and incomparably shorter article that was restricted just to one single affirmation in AL that I had not sufficiently considered in my first article. This single statement shocked me deeply because it seemed to prove that the changes of moral teaching in AL potentially went much, much farther than anyone in the current debate (including the Pope and myself) had ever considered, all being fixated, so to speak, on the admission of unrepentant adulterers and homosexuals to the sacraments. I had, so to speak, a vision of an immense threat hidden in this text, for the entire moral teaching of the Church. Thus, it seemed to me my strict obligation, in order to serve the Pope and the Church well, to put forward the weighty question my new article poses, without answering it, but to put it in such a clear way that the Pope and any other reader could answer it correctly themselves. I felt obliged to write this, in order to avert a moral-theological destructive atomic bomb that could make the whole moral teaching of the Church crumble. Thus, I had the intention, by posing this question with the greatest possible clarity, to provide an aid to the Magisterium of Pope Francis to prevent such a damage.

Because the logical and potential consequences of this one affirmation that I saw in my inner vision were so terrible, and because I felt it at the same time improper to charge the Pope with a grave error (which was one of my reasons to abstain from giving my signature to the formal charge of heresies of the Pope two groups of theologians had asked me to sign), and because only the Pope himself, and possibly the College of Cardinals, or a Council,  could correct this statement, and avoid drawing in praxis its logical consequences, I formulated my article as one major question, and as a series of questions that follow from pure logic applied to the mentioned affirmation and question.

MH: Would you present here for our readers your main concern with Amoris Laetitia?

JS: My main concern is expounded in my second article. If our conscience can know (not only falsely opine) that God wants us to commit in a certain situation intrinsically bad, adulterous or homosexual acts, then pure logic must draw the consequences that the same applies to contraception (HV), to abortion, and to all other acts which the Church and the divine commandments excluded “absolutely”. This is exactly the position and these are exactly the consequences of the so-called “purely teleological ethics” which the Jesuit theologian Josef Fuchs and many others defended years ago, before and after Humanae Vitae, and which I investigated and sought to refute in a large quantity of articles and a big unpublished German book. Pope John Paul II condemned clearly and definitively this error of Fuchs and Co. and did so solemnly in Veritatis Splendor and in Evangelium Vitae, thus bringing clarity to the perennial moral teaching of the Gospels and of he Church. In the latter Encyclical, Pope John Paul II invokes the authority of St. Peter (EV 68) and declares (I believe, dogmatically) that from the first moment of conception, each child deserves the full respect of a person and hence abortion is always and intrinsically a gravely immoral act.

Thus, I felt a profound personal suffering. For my impression was that now the whole edifice of the absolute ethics (already taught before Christ by Socrates and Cicero) of the Old and New Testament and of the Church could start crumbling down by merely applying logic to this statement.

Before, in my first article, I also expressed many other concerns:

That the whole distinction by discernment between good and bad adulterers, where the former, even if unrepentant, could be admitted to the sacraments, whereas only the latter would have to be excluded, presents a wholly impossible task of discernment to a priest between good and bad grave sinners (as the Polish Bishops’ Conference very well stated);

The long text of AL proposes admitting couples to the sacraments, who objectively speaking live in grave sin, but does not mention with a single word the danger of blasphemy and sacrilege, against which the Apostle Paul warns us in the strongest terms, saying that we risk “eating and drinking the divine judgment upon us” if we receive Holy Communion in a state of grave sin.

AL declares that “no one (including no adulterer) will be condemned forever” which seems to deny hell and directly stands in conflict to the words of St. Paul that no unrepentant adulterer will go to heaven and thus all will be condemned forever if they do not convert.

That some Christians do not have the strength to fulfill the divine commandments (with the help of the sacraments and God’s grace), which was one of Luther’s main heresies condemned by the Council of Trent.

I still hold all of these and other concerns about AL, but I wanted a) to formulate in the second article just one point that seems to me the real “crux” of AL, and b) to put some logical questions to the Pope and other readers, of which I do not see how they could be answered in the negative. However, if they are answered affirmatively, this one assertion of AL would lead, by pure logic, to the destruction of the whole moral teaching of the Church and thus should be revoked, which I implore (conditionally) the Pope to do.

I thus conditionally pleaded with the Pope in all charity and love, if he, too, must answer the logical questions I pose with a resounding “Yes”, to revoke at least this one sentence of AL and not to make it the grounds of a moral-theological reform of the Church. For certainly, the Pope will not maintain an affirmation, if it gives rise, by his own affirmative answer to the question of my article, to the destruction of the rock of Catholic moral teaching, and of natural ethics as well (as taught by Socrates and Cicero).

MH: Do you yourself think that there is still any doubt left as to whether Pope Francis intends to allow some “remarried” divorcees access to the Sacraments? What are for you the strongest arguments for your position?

JS: No doubts about that! Also highly praised defenders of AL, such as Rocco Buttiglione, Cardinal Blasé Cupich and Cardinal Christoph Schönborn see this clearly and praise AL for it. Unlike me, and many others, however, they take this admission to the sacraments of unrepentant sinners to be a fruit of mercy and of a legitimate pastoral consideration of Pope Francis. Moreover, they believe that AL, admitting unrepentant adulterers, homosexuals and other couples in “irregular situations” to the sacraments, does not contradict Veritatis Splendor, nor Familaris Consortio 84 that excludes this by referring to the Gospel. Their reasoning runs like this: if these couples were able to understand that what they are doing is gravely wrong, and had the strength of free will Pope John Paul II assumes, they could not be admitted to the sacraments, as the holy Pope taught. But if these sinners do not fulfill these two necessary subjective conditions of a mortal sin (and Buttiglione, with the Pope, thinks that possibly most contemporary men and women lack one or both of these conditions of mortal sin), they should be admitted to the sacraments, as Pope Francis teaches in AL. Thus, according to this interpretation, both Popes are right and do not contradict themselves. From this you see that also these defenders of AL agree that AL in fact propose to admit unrepentant adulterers and other sinners, after due discernment, to the sacraments. (The Philippine bishops, in their first response to AL, issued an invitation to the sacraments addressed to all such couples, without discernment and immediately. In addition, Cardinal Schönborn and Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J. went as far as to say that AL eliminated any distinction between regular and irregular couples.)

Besides, the Pope’s own praise of the Buenos Aires Bishops, to the effect that their interpretation of AL, to admit unrepentant adulterers and other couples, after discernment, to the sacraments, was “the only correct reading of AL”, confirms this. The same applies to his praise of the far more liberal interpretation of AL by the bishops of Malta that is based on presuppositions of radical situation ethics. These and many other words and acts of Pope Francis prove that your question has to be responded to affirmatively, even though Cardinal Gerhard Müller or Mons. Livio Melina adopted the interpretation that AL had not changed the sacramental discipline.

Yet at the same time, the Pope accepted the position of the Polish Bishops’ Conference and of the Alberta Bishops’ Conference in Canada who continue following Familiaris Consortio and refuse any change of sacramental discipline. Pope Francis accepted the Polish bishops’ unanimous rejection of changing the rules FC had expounded, by claiming (as AL itself states) that the Magisterium must not have one single teaching on such matters and could tolerate cultural and national diversity of “moral traditions”. There is a widespread concern in the Church that this adds a historical and cultural relativism to the other problems of AL. For it certainly seems unacceptable that what in Poland constitutes a grave sin, and excludes the unrepentant sinner from Holy Communion and confession, has neither one of these effects, when the adulterer crosses the German Border and goes to Communion and confession in Germany, one mile west of the former Polish priest, who refuses to grant him absolution and admit him to Holy Communion.

MH: In your 2016 essay, you said that Amoris Laetitia could cause “an avalanche of very destructive consequences for the Church and for souls.” One year later, do you see such destructive consequences already now developing?

JS: If only one or some, let alone most, of the many couples in “irregular situations,” who now receive the sacraments commit a sacrilege and a serious sin, obviously destructive spiritual consequences of AL happen, and the words of Christ to a “vidente” (a seer) in Granada are true, according to which these “gravely erroneous teachings” (“falsísimas doctrinas”) lead many souls the way to hell.

Moreover, grave harm to souls is caused, if now some seminarians do not want to become priests, because they see themselves forced, against their conscience, to give the sacraments to remarried Catholics whose marriage has not been declared null by the Church. They are told the doors of the seminary stand wide open. If they do not want to accept this, they should leave. Thus many of the best future priests leave and will not do their wholesome work for souls. Priests are encouraged or even commanded by their bishops to act against their own conscience, some are threatened to be dismissed from their parishes, if they follow their conscience. Bishops oppress priests who abide by the tradition of the Church and by the teaching expressed in Familiaris Consortio by Pope John Paul II. Some priests, who live against the Church’s teachings feel encouraged to receive the sacraments and celebrate mass, professing a lack of free will to abstain from homosexual acts or sexual relations with women. A huge confusion reigns: many lose their faith in the Church that they experienced as the rock of truth, and now see it as a Babel of confusion, etc.

MH: In your new 2017 essay, you wonder whether Amoris Laetitia “affirm[s] clearly that these intrinsically disordered and objectively gravely sinful acts […] can be permitted, or can even objectively be commanded, by God” and you say that, if this is the case, we are facing a “moral theological atomic bomb.” Could you explain this expression?

JS: If this is truly so, what AL says in the text I analyze, that is, if God in some cases, or only one case, can want us, in our concrete situation, to commit an intrinsically wrong act, such as homosexual acts or adultery, there is no logically sound reason not to apply this to contraception, abortion, blood-revenge, lies, deceits, etc. For you can certainly not fail to apply the same principles that hold true for one kind of intrinsically bad acts, to any intrinsically wrong acts. You may also simply deny that this act, or any human act, is intrinsically disordered and bad.

However, the whole law and the prophets, the complete moral teaching of the Church, hinges on the recognition of many such acts that must not be committed ever and nowhere. Therefore, if one draws a purely logical consequence of this affirmation of AL, this statement draws an avalanche of consequences and is a spiritual atomic bomb that destroys the marvelous edifice of the Catholic Moral Teaching (and of natural ethics).

MH: In this context of the “intrinsically disordered and objectively gravely sinful acts,” you yourself explicitly mention not only the divorced and “remarried” couples, but also homosexual unions. Do you think that the term “irregular couples” as used by Amoris Laetitia is meant to be more inclusively applied also to homosexual couples?

JS: It clearly does, and many other statements of the Pope and of Bishops’ Conferences, such as the Philippine ones, make it clear.

MH: In the context of absolute moral laws that now seem to be undermined in this current discussion, you yourself bring up the topic of Humanae Vitae and a possible future re-examination of its teaching on contraception. Do you yourself have concrete information about this newly formed Vatican commission? Are some of its members for you already an indicator of the direction of the commission’s work?

JS: There have appeared a great number of articles and blogs, from reliable and well-informed sources, that have confirmed this notice. However, even without trusting these, pure logic tells us: If some unrepentant adulterers can be admitted to the sacraments and if their adultery can even “be what God wants them to do in the complexity of their situation”, how can you exclude, by the same reasoning, that some couples, who practice contraception, should just as well be admitted to the sacraments? Or that even God, in the complexity of their concrete situation, wills them to use contraception and sterilization, instead of temporary abstinence, because this abstinence can lead a husband or wife to commit worse sins?

MH: You have added to your new essay that you yourself had been “elected by Saint Pope John Paul II as an ordinary (life-long) member of the Pontifical Academy for Life (a charge that ended with the dismissal of all PAV members by Pope Francis in 2016, and the failure to be re-elected as member of a profoundly changed PAV in 2017.)” Could you explain to us these words? Does this mean that you have been removed from the PAV in spite of the fact that you had been designated (by John Paul II) as a lifetime member of PAV?

JS: According to the statutes of PAV, all ordinary members were life-long members. Pope Francis has first changed the constitution of PAV. Thus, now the maximal period of your term as an ordinary member in the PAV is five years. Secondly, Pope Francis has dismissed all current members of PAV and canceled the General Assembly Meeting in 2016 as scheduled before. Third, he has named some new and reinstated some old members of PAV, including some very fine ones. I happen to be among the dismissed and not reinstated ones.

MH: Do you have an idea why you have been removed from the PAV?

JS: As all PAV members have been removed, as mentioned, it is clear why I have been removed. Why I have not been reinstated, only the Pope could answer with certainty, but you might speculate, if you wish, about this. Perhaps: because of my 2016 article on AL? Possibly because I have criticized repeatedly and publicly two former Presidents of PAV (under Pope Benedict) and asked the pope to replace them (which he did in one case)? Because I have written for several PAV meetings and 2 Meetings of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (that invited me as an expert on the question), and for two 2 years in a commission about Brain Death (BD) definitions convoked by Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, lengthy criticisms of the “brain-death-definitions”? Perhaps because I have sent these criticisms to two previous Popes (John Paul II and Benedict XVI) in the (unfulfilled) hope that the Church would clearly reject BD definitions and BD criteria as invalid? Perhaps because I publicly criticized Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo’ s communication, sent to a Medical World Congress on Coma and Death in Cuba, that identifying “brain death” with human death was sort of “dogma of the Catholic Church” and adherence to it obligatory, and his false claim that the acceptance of this criterion was now “official Catholic Teaching”?  Perhaps also because I have, during this same International Medical Congress on Coma and Death, and two earlier ones, delivered keynote addresses that criticized identifying “brain death” with human death? Perhaps because I informed the audience of the last mentioned congress that, and why, Pope John Paul II had, after an address of his to transplantation surgeons in which he seemed to support this identification of “brain death” with human death, expressed most serious doubts regarding this identification of human death with “brain death”? Or because I told publicly that Pope John Paul II had personally convened a Symposium on this topic in the Pontifical Academy of Science, in which the large majority of medical doctors, philosophers, jurists, anesthetists, etc. rejected this identification? Perhaps because I revealed to those present that the promised (and already proofread) text of the acts of this symposium had been suppressed, seemingly by Mons. Sánchez Sorondo himself and that PAS convened another symposium, in which only a (very remarkable) minority rejected the identification of human death with “brain death”.

MH: You say that the new PAV, as it has been re-arranged since the end of 2016, is “profoundly changed.” Could you explain to us howso? What are the changes that you see happening in the new PAV?

JS: In the first place, I do not want to idolize the old PAV founded by Saint John Paul II. After the presidency of the saintly medical doctor Jerome Lejeune, for whom a process of beatification is underway (and who discovered the cause of Down Syndrome and fought fiercely for the life of each of the children affected by this syndrome, whom many doctors and parents murder when they now know their genetic infirmity), and who died of cancer some months after his nomination as president, we had two other presidents. The first of these was Professor Juan de Dios Vial, Rector of the Pontifical University of Chile, assisted by the, generally speaking, excellent Vice President Monsignor (now Cardinal) Elio Sgreccia, who became later an equally sound and competent President of PAV (even though some of the members, including myself, were critical of the way in which he conducted some issues, for example, the brain death debate). Even then in its golden times, the PAV had a number of disputes, for example over the question whether the so-called “brain death” is actually human death, and those who denied this, as Professors Allan Shewmon, Wolfgang Waldstein, Alejandro Serani, myself, etc. were increasingly marginalized. Then we had two Presidents of PAV who have made declarations contrary to ethical truth and Church Teaching. (The first, [Archbishop] Fisichella, defended the legitimacy and mercifulness of some abortions), the second one organized, for example, a Congress of PAV in which, of seven invited speakers on infertility treatment, six propagated methods directly opposed to Church Teaching. These and other events raised a well-deserved opposition from some members. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many, this blatantly contradicted the goals of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the Pro-Life Oath each member had to take, as well and above all, the Teaching of the Church. I wrote two open letters about the intolerable situation the “old PAV” was passing through at that time. Thus, I do not glorify the “Old PAV” nor deny that a sound reform of the “Old PAV” might have been most laudable.

However, the profound changes that occurred now seem to go much further and in the opposite direction. On the one hand, on the administrative level, Pope Francis has changed the constitution, as I mentioned, and thus eliminated the firm core of members unconditionally committed to life that Pope John Paul II chose, creating a flexible changing society that has lost its identity that at least some enduring and committed members had given the PAV. Most importantly, the new Statutes eliminated the Pro-Life Oath we had to take in the old PAV. Some openly anti-life members have been named. The new President and Bishop Mons. Vincenzo Paglia has ordered, before his election, Frescos in his Cathedral in Italy, which show him and many other people naked, engaged in homosexual and other sins, and drawn by a Jesus, who bears the features of a prominent local homosexual barber, in a large net to heaven, all the while they continue to commit the same sins in their net. The great painter Bosch had painted the same sins that were glorified in this fresco in his famous paintings of hell. Bishop Paglia also heads the John Paul II Institute where great pressure is now being exerted on Professors not to support the moral and disciplinary sacramental teachings of Familiaris Consortio but those of AL.

MH: Are you yourself concerned about some of the new members of the PAV, such as Professor Nigel Biggar, Father Maurizio Chiodi, Father Carlo Casalone, S.J., or Father Alain Thomasset, S.J., some of whom either actively defend abortion or the use of contraception? (Here a link:

JS: Of course, I am. We had some such members before, for example, an Austrian who promoted the “family of your dreams” (die Wunschfamilie) whose realization in his center included IVF (in-vitro fertilization), selection of fertilized eggs according to sex or health, eliminations of “deficient” or “undesired” children and hence early abortions. However, these members have been asked to resign. Now they seem to be directly nominated by the Vatican. This means a profound change of vision of the PAV from the original one.

MH: In light of the previous discussion about Amoris Laetitia – and the many faithful attempts to defending the traditional moral teaching of the Catholic Church – do you see parallels to the now possibly developing re-interpretation of Humanae Vitae and its outcome?

JS: I am convinced that pure logic dictates that, if Pope Francis does not revoke the teaching I analyze in my latest article, and if he does not answer the dubia of the Cardinals, to the clear effect that there are intrinsically evil acts, and that these acts are never justified in any situation, Humanae Vitae will be interpreted as an ideal that cannot be demanded from everybody; and that, after discernment, those who practice contraception (with or without abortive effects), can be admitted to the sacraments and that God himself, in some difficult situations, wants them to use contraception. This would follow from any denial of intrinsically evil acts. And such a denial is certainly suggested by the passage that I analyze in my last article. Thus, I hope ardently that the Pope, if he answers the question my article poses, in the affirmative, will retract this affirmation of AL and thereby prevent the overthrow of Humanae Vitae.

MH: Father John A. Hardon, S.J. (d. 30 Dec. 2000), the well-known U.S. American dogmatician, used to stress that most of the Church’s moral teaching actually was infallibly taught by the universal ordinary Magisterium, e.g., without being taught ex cathedra. Do you yourself consider the strict prohibition of the use of any form of contraception (many forms of which are abortifacients) as being part of the infallible teaching of the Church? Or would Pope Francis be permitted to allow exceptions with regard to this teachings?

JS: I see it certainly as part of the infallible teaching of the Church (though not expressed in a dogma). Moreover, I believe that its ethical truth can also be known by pure reason and I have written many papers in the defense of philosophical proofs and evidences of its truth.

MH: When taking your own 2017 essay, together with the upcoming discussion about Humanae Vitae, do you see a realistic danger that the undermining of absolute moral laws might lead to the Church’s official condoning of abortion and contraception?

JS: I think the tremendous gift of the infallibility of the Church forbade that Pope Paul VI, who was inclined to prefer the majority opinion (“pro contraception”) in the commission he had convened, did so, and thus he wrote Humanae Vitae in support of the TRUE opinion of the minority. Moreover, I think this same infallibility can never allow that the Catholic Church will follow the Anglican Lambeth Conference message that changed the prohibition of contraception in the Protestant churches, a prohibition formerly universally accepted by all Christian churches.

Nevertheless, I do not believe it to be impossible that an infallible teaching of the Church be denied FALLIBLY by a Council or even by a Pope, which happened some times in the History of the Church. For example, Pope John XXII taught a very serious heresy which he himself revoked on his deathbed in writing a Bull condemning his own teaching, and his successor condemned it as heresy. Pope Liberius signed a Semi-Arian declaration which was somewhat deviating from the central Christian dogma of the true divinity of Christ and St. Athanasius, who defended the truth fiercely, was several times excommunicated for defending the truth. A council burned the entire writings of another heretical Pope Honorius and he was excommunicated posthumously. Thus, sometimes, happily very rarely – and never when the Pope speaks infallibly, declaring a dogma – a pope can commit grave errors or even heresies. In my latest article, I do not criticize or “attack” the pope, nor charge him with heresy, but only ask some questions. One should never forget, however, that criticizing a non-infallible statement or opinion of the pope is in no way always wrong or damaging the Church. The first holy pope, Saint Peter, was publicly rebuked and criticized by Saint Paul in a council, and St. Thomas gave a wonderful defense of this. Christ himself, just after he had named St. Peter as the first pope, and the Rock, on which the Church was built, even called him “Satan” and said to him “Get away from me, Satan,” and charged him with wanting to impose his purely human thought on God’s thought that included the mystery of the passion and death of Jesus Christ.

MH: Cardinal Walter Brandmueller recently publicly discussed the aspect of a papal profession of faith, which has often been undertaken in times of crisis of the Church. Would you tell us your own thoughts on whether in our current situation, such a papal profession of faith would be helpful?

JS: I believe, if the Pope would publically recite the true and full Creed of the Catholic Church, it would be most helpful to bring clarity and truth into an apparently hopelessly confused and confusing situation, but of course, probably only a Council could demand this from a Pope, or he would have to recognize this himself as being most useful.

MH: The dubia cardinals repeatedly receive harsh criticism from other cardinals, such as Cardinal Rodrigez ( and Cardinal Schönborn ( Do you see such rebukes as being justified, or what would be your own personal response to these high-ranking reactions to the dubia?

JS: I think the four dubia Cardinals (three of whom I consider friends and one of whom is my close friend since 37 years) have acted according to their conscience, with great restraint and respect for the Pope, and with full justification. I think that the critique of them for their dubia is profoundly mistaken, and that, even worse, maligning these wonderful men of the Church is a great sin. In addition, I believe that they ought to be joined by the whole College of Cardinals. In my view, all other Cardinals, bishops, and all Catholics should support the four (now three living) Cardinals and ask the Pope, together with the dubia Cardinals, to give a final clear and unambiguous answer to these dubia, an answer that might restore clarity and truth, and dispel the immense confusion that reigns now and which nobody who has eyes to see and a mind to think, can deny. Not the dubia, but not answering them in the truth and with unambiguous clarity, sows distrust in the Pope and confusion.

This article has been updated.

147 thoughts on “The Church After Amoris Laetitia: An Interview With Josef Seifert”

  1. Does anyone know if this is a translation from German or if Professor Siefert speaks English. I would like to get in touch with him because I have two pressing questions regarding his essay and how his position would effect my family members? Maybe he could answer here Dr. Haikson. My mother-in-law is a sedevacantist from the 80’s and hasn’t been to mass in many years. Is she guilty of mortal sin for missing Sunday mass? Also, her son and my brother-in-law, is SSPX. They were “married” in an SSPX chapel. Are they guilty of “cohabiting” and therefore in mortal sin? Thanks in advance.

    • I don’t know if he’ll answer, but I do know that one of the big challenges for FSSP priests who minister to folks coming from the SSPX is the issue of their marriages. I reckon you could speak to any knowledgeable Catholic priest on that one, especially an FSSP priest as they seem to overall have a good understanding of the issues with the SSPX.

      One the former, that one seems pretty simple…

      • Thanks. I’m particularly interested in Professor Siefert’s reasoning though because he seems to deny that it is possible for my in-laws to be in a state of grace as they are technically “unrepentant adulterers”. All reasoning has failed with them in the past but maybe they would listen to Siefert.

        • If neither one of them were married before, then you would want to phrase your question to Professor Siefert to ask whether he thinks the couple is guilty of fornication.

          They wouldn’t be “unrepentant adulterers” unless one of them were previously married.

          • I thought the Church considered all those having sexual relations outside a valid marriage to be considered as adulterers. Thanks for the correction.

        • It might be worth looking into the SSPX claims of supplied jurisdiction. I haven’t fully decided myself, but there is a compelling argument to be made that their marriages are and have always been valid because of the emergency situation surrounding the church in these decades. There is also a compelling argument that their marriages are not and have never been valid too… hard to say really…

          • Thanks. In my crazy in-law family we have sedevacantists, sedevacantist home-aloners, SSPX, and Novus Ordo types. One of the couples married in an SSPX chapel, had 4 kids in 6 years and then the dad just couldn’t handle things and divorced my sister-in-law. He was able to get an automatic annulment on the basis of “lack of canonical form” and re-married in the Novus Ordo so I’m pretty sure the Hierarchy at least considers SSPX marriages to be invalid. Otherwise, they really did a disservice to my sister-in-law in granting the automatic annulment.

          • Well, that pretty much answers it. Canon law is pretty clear about it. The argument given by the SSPX is… well… as a seminarian (Novus Ordo unfortunately) friend of mine who specializes in canon law said “the SSPX doesn’t have very good canonists.” If they are currently divorced and separated with annulment then there is no adultery being committed.

            IF the SSPX argument for supplied jurisdiction actually IS sound and all those couples actually were married validly, well, all of this will have to be sorted out in eternity, but the couples like your family (with divorce, annulment, remarriage) I don’t see having any culpability for the canonical insanity. They heard from the Church they were not married, so they acted in good faith (presumably.) THAT mess actually is what gives me little faith in the supplied jurisdiction argument…

    • First ask your self whether the SSPX have valid priests. The easiest way to study your conscience is via reasoning. The Orthodox Churches marriages are considered to be valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church. So if the Catholic Church is going to say that Orthodox marriages are valid then they cannot say that SSPX marriages are invalid. If we think along the lines of the Catholic Church being the ‘true church’ then the SSPX are objectively closer than the Orthodox. Not only that, but if the SSPX were ‘re-admitted’ to the Catholic Church tomorrow, I can guarantee you 100% that the marriage would be considered to be ‘legal’ in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

      • It’s not so cut and dry as that. Marriage and confession are specially restricted by canon law by having proper faculties. Without faculty, then a priest does these invalidly not just illicitly. Marriages by Orthodox or Protestants are not invalid because their members are not bound by canon law. The SSPX and those they minister to ARE so bound, however, so there is serious doubt as regards the validity of these sacraments. The Pope personally granted faculty, now, to SSPX priests to administer penance, and, under certain conditions, marriage, but that is all very recent.

        • ” … then a priest does these ….”

          A priest doesn’t *do* anything in a marriage except witness the couple give the Sacrament to each other.

          • Except that the witness is for whatever reason required for validity. My sister was married to a baptist before a baptist preacher in an outdoor ceremony. Yes she made the vow till death do you part but nevertheless was granted an annulment about a year later strictly on the basis of “lack of canonical form”.

          • Marriage is a fraught subject – I mean very complicated. Probably the best thing is to wait until Fr. RP’s canonists report back and say nothing more as we might well lead others astray. I say this to Jafin too who is a little too forthcoming in his statements which are based on not a lot.

          • And the priest witnesses on behalf of the church. To do so, he requires faculty. If there is no priest, deacon, or designated lay person with faculty to do so, then according to canon law by virtue of the church’s power of binding and loosing the marriage is invalid.

          • A Catholic man and woman landing on a desert island who were both free to marry could exchange the proper vows and be validly married. They could do this so as not to fall into the sin of fornication.

            When they got back to civilisation, they would have to seek to have the marriage recognised by the Church. But they would already be married under supplied jurisdiction.

          • There’s actually a provision in canon law for such circumstances. So that wouldn’t actually be supplied jurisdiction.

        • It’s even less cut and dried than that!

          If a new rite of Orders was introduced which contradicts the received and approved traditional rite, and it had a strange and distinct resemblance to the Anglican rite, which is invalid, then the SSPX would be operating in an emergency situation, and supplied jurisdiction would provide whatever was ordinarily lacking.

          • Except that the new existing rite is more similar to the Eastern Churches. The new rite (as bad as it may be) is a valid rite which produces valid priests.

            Your sede flag is showing…

          • Fr RP says Amoris is a break with tradition and the Magisterium. Therefore it is non binding as it doesn’t come from the Church. Why shouldn’t I reject the new rite of Orders on the same grounds?

            The new rite suppresses the same things the Anglican rite does. The Anglican rite is invalid due to a defect of intention. What do we make of this? Have you read Apostolicae Curae?

          • That was a warning. You know we don’t allow advocating for sedevacantism here because we believe that belief system is extremely problematic and potentially damaging to souls. It’s been awhile since we talked about this, so consider yourself warned if you want to keep commenting.

          • Ok. With all humility.

            Is asking how the new rite of Orders squares 100% with traditional practice and teaching allowed, or does this necessarily entail the sv issue?

            As a comparison, is asking how Amoris Laetitia squares 100% with traditional practice and teaching any different?

          • They’re two separate things. One is a sacrament, one is papal teaching. The sacrament can be surrounded by a lot of bad or superfluous things and still be valid. The other doesn’t involve validity of a sacrament. It’s a matter of true or false.

            Does the new rite of orders follow tradition? Not really, certainly not western tradition. But it’s valid because it follows the Eastern heritage.

            Does AL follow tradition? No. But that’s really all the farther there is to go. So the two are not alike.

            As for discussing the validity of the new rite… we’ve already gone over that at length. You keep pulling up Apostilcae Curae like it’s the only papal document. There is far more and you don’t seem to be willing to bend at all. So, until you really are willing to consider you might be wrong, that discussion is off the table in these comment boxes. Also, it’s WAY off topic for most threads.

          • I am perfectly willing to say I am wrong. Hit me with the facts. I might have overlooked several crucial ones. That’s why I ask here and not at Novus Ordo Watch. I already know their reasons, but I’m trying to find good counter arguments here because it’s further back to a conservative position and not “hard right”.

            But no, you’re right in that I won’t bend without good reason. If I’m wrong, no problem. Mea maxima culpa. If I’m right, then you and many souls are being deprived of a due and necessary good. It’s not just about me, but you and the people reading, my dear fellow faithful.

            The AC Bull is pretty major: If the rite is defective, then the intention to do what the Church does is also defective. That’s papal teaching.

            There’s also the question of context. The univocal words necessary for the rite and the form must employ the same context in which they have always been understood within the larger Rite, e.g, Roman or Maronite or Byzantine.

          • Thanks very much for that. I’ve read these before, but there are still major problems that the Society don’t address. I’ve been looking at this from many angles for a good amount of time. I think you want to leave it there so let’s do that. Thanks again.

          • SSPX Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais still publicly maintains that the new rites of Ordination and Episcopal Consecration are gravely doubtful.

          • That is fine, but that is not the position we want promoted here on OnePeterFive. That also is not a substantial rebuttal of any of the points. Look at the documents presented. Don’t use an appeal to authority as your argument. If you want to discuss this, then let’s discuss it. If you don’t want to, then either keep the sedevacantist and related ideas to yourself, or don’t post here.

          • May I make an observation here about this and not be banned? I’m in all seriousness: In the old Vatican I Church, certainly, this site would be condemned and put on the Index (of course it would hardly need to exist in the old days to begin with, or be something quite different) because it speaks of a reigning Pontiff in – shall we say – unflattering terms. Indeed, Fr RP wrote that the errors of AL are “Legion”, the allusion to the devils would not be missed by the censors of yesteryear, but even to assert that a papal document had errors would have resulted in his banishment (were we in Ireland about 1880) to the Gaeltacht in the West, doomed to preach in English to monoglot Irish speakers!

            I mean this: Vat I Catholics had it drilled into them that one NEVER, EVER questioned a priest, let alone a bishop, let alone a pope. That idea was simply inconceivable (yes, Indigo, in the original sense of the word!). And that is precisely why the radicals, the Progressives, the Modernists, were able to bring about the Vat2 Revolution in the first place! They counted on that iron law of Church “Omerta”. And like some who’ve been banned here, vanished to lonely oblivion, the post Vat2 result was half of the Catholics in the U.S. (and probably more so in the other countries) just left the Church. I say being “banned” because they couldn’t accept the obvious falling away from Right Doctrine, so they “voted with their feet” as Comrade Lenin said. What else could they do. They couldn’t protest. “Act out” or do anything but simply take it or leave.

            Ok, so today we have a pope who teaches heresy. Fine. Sure, it is the first time in Church history (other popes with questionable teachings or acts never questioned the basic moral dogmas). And this article above says he’s planning to extend his heresy into other areas! In the old Vat 1 system, there was no Canon 212, and we would be bound to keep our mouths shut and our fingers off the keyboard. But here is this excellent site (it IS excellent and I don’t want to be banned from it) but just about every day its excellent contributors contribute more and more excellent evidence that PF is a heretic, and leading the Church toward disaster (well, he’s not the only one: I think the sex scandal was the worst thing to happen to the Church since the combo of the Thirty Years War and then the “Bourbon Church”, which choked the spiritual life out of the people the Bourbons called “les dévots” (if I have that right in the plural). And remember, the Bourbons – by their awful policies – brought on the French Revolution and all that followed.

            This pope too, can say, “Après moi, le déluge”.

            So how do you-all “square that circle”? By that I mean, anyone reading this site regularly would quickly become convinced – were he a dévot, of course – that the conclusion you refuse to to tolerate is yet preached here daily? You write you don’t want to be “potentially damaging to souls”, but the old Church, the Vat I Church, would say you are – and so, ironically, would Pope Francis. (“You rigorists, you!” 🙂

            Again, I don’t want to be banned. From my personal perspective, we’re on the wrong tract. We’re using Holy Water against King Tiger tanks! The Church is dominated by a political party, a “faction” as James Madison would say. This faction is using politics to wreck the institutional Church and the defenders of the Institutional Church are “quoting Star Fleet regulation and Vulcan philosophy”, as Spock’s mother told him in Journey to Babel. Les
            dévots are not using the tools to counteract that sort of attack.

            This I wrote because I give a hoot about you-all here. I’m not saying Steve should close the site down. Aquinas would tell him to do so, most certainly and instead pray earnestly for God’s help. But then St. Catherine of Sienna and certainly St. Columbanus (I’m a fan of his) would not do so: but then, they weren’t Vat 1 Catholics, you know.



      • As Jafin stated, it is not as easy as that.

        My parish priest is Byzantine Catholic. He cannot validly witness marriages of Roman Rite Catholics unless they receive a dispensation from their bishops.

        The difference between us and the Orthodox is that the Orthodox are not bound by canon law. We are, however.

  2. “I believe, if the Pope would publically recite the true and full Creed of the Catholic Church, it would be most helpful to bring clarity and truth into an apparently hopelessly confused and confusing situation, but of course, probably only a Council could demand this from a Pope, or he would have to recognize this himself as being most useful.”

    The fact that this Pope needs to make a public profession of the Catholic faith is reason enough for us to be skeptical about his trustworthiness in making it.

    “…he would have to recognize this himself as being most useful”

    Indeed, the question is obviously “being most useful for what purpose?” Deceiving the gullible?

    • Indeed, it would solve nothing because he has proven himself to be utterly untrustworthy on so many occasions. Even if he said the words, the meaning he would assign to them mentally would be utterly unknowable. Words have lost any defined meaning when this Pope uses them – you only have to hear him twist Scripture to any of his favourite hobby-horses to know that respect for the meaning of words is non-existent in him.

  3. This looks like a typo:

    “One should never forget, however, that criticizing a NON-FALLIBLE statement or opinion of the pope is in no way always wrong or damaging the Church.”

    I think NON-INFALLIBLE was intended.

  4. May the Good Lord bless Josef Seifert and may He confound his enemies. May the well meaning but seriously erroneous members of the Hierarchy who profess that AL doesn’t change anything open their eyes and see and may they also open their mouths and protest this violence done against Holy Mother Church and the blasphemies uttered against God in defense of AL.

    May God reward you Professor Seifert: “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    • Fr. RP, I’m not sure if I’ll get an answer from Professor Siefert so maybe you can help as this has been weighing on my conscience. My in-laws were “married” in an SSPX chapel. My understanding is that this not considered a valid marriage. Are they to be considered “living in sin” and should they at the least refrain from receiving the Eucharist in such a state?

      • Willard,

        I am not a Canon Lawyer, and unfortunately this is in that realm. And things are far more confusing (due to PF) that ever with the SSPX:

        I don’t see this explicitly touching previous marriages at SSPX chapels. I would caution them against receiving Holy Communion until it is stated by the Holy See that they are indeed Validly Married. If they are members of the SSPX, they are going with the theory of supplied jurisdiction…I would not want to rest my eternal salvation on a provisional theory.

        I’m sorry that things are so amuck but they are. And for the record, I am no expert in these matters. If they were before me I would consult with good canon lawyers and then take their advice on how to council them.

          • I find Father RPs answer strange. He knows very well that in the Sacrament of Marriage, the bride and groom give the Sacrament to each other. Therefore how can it be invalid?

          • I’m not sure if this is a policy that can be changed, but at least since the Council of Trent, Catholics are required to have their marriage witnessed by priests with faculties. Since SSPX priests don’t have faculties, the marriage is considered invalid and subject to automatic annulment.

          • Not licit maybe; but I do not see how the Sacrament itself can be invalid for the reason I have stated.

            However, I am even less of an expert than Fr. RP so I await his report from his Canon lawyer friends with interest.

          • Yes, it is policy that can be changed since it is based on Ecclesial Law and Jurisdiction and not Divine Law. That doesn’t mean it should be changed, but it can be. Personally, I think the synod could have done great good if it focused on updating Canon Law and Marriage. But it didn’t. It focused on heresy instead.

          • In the case of an emergency, the Sacrament is valid. If the man in the vestments is a manifest heretic, a non-Catholic, and doubtfully ordained in a strange new rite, then that is reason enough for the SSPX marriages to be considered sacramentally valid and licit.

            Those newChurch thugs have some gall, don’t they? They don’t have the Faith. But they use their illicit and usurped power, dress it up as actual Divine authority, and use it to frighten the Catholic faithful into submission. At least they try anyway. They use a code of supposed canon law (which permits the Sacraments being given to heretics and schismatics in #844: 3&4) to beat people with a stick. Pharisees.

          • In the West the bride and groom confer the Sacrament, but only in the presence of a duly deputized witness who has faculties granted by the Church (in the East one must be married before a Priest for it to be valid, and yes I realize that a theological conundrum appears here. And there may be Canon laws that have howevers attached that I am unaware of because I am not a Canon Lawyer.)

            They do not validly confer a sacrament by themselves without the Church’s official witness. It isn’t only illicit but invalid based upon the matrimonial Law of the Church, of which she has the right and duty to administer.

            The Church has decreed that all Catholic marriages (unless otherwise stated) are invalid if they are illicit according to Canon Law. Hence lack of form annulments etc. So all Catholics are bound to observe Canon Law (Eastern or Western) via Marriage for the their marriage to be considered Valid by the Church.

            And again, I am not a Canon Lawyer, so if someone else has further info, then please do dispense with said info.

          • Thanks very much for this Reverend Father. Your Canonist friends’ views of SSPX marriages contracted prior to the recent accommodation will be of great interest. I am not myself affected as my fiancee and I will be married by the SSPX post-accommodation.

          • Your friends at the local Society chapel are validly married, 41. Catholics don’t need the approval of damned heretics.

          • What are you referring to in “post-accomodation”?

            Has some change occurred to SSPX marriages?

            I’m curious if I have missed something.

          • Bergoglio has supplied SSPX priests with faculties to conduct marriages. Therefore this question of the validity of SSPX marriages is, going forward, not at issue.

          • When did he do that?

            I am aware of the extension of authority to absolve sins in the confessional, but have never seen or heard of a general “faculty” to witness marriages.

            I’d need to see this to believe it.

          • I believe I am correct is saying that the curious conundrum is that if the SSPX declared full schism from the Church their marriages would be valid under natural law as are the marriages of Methodists and pagans.

            It is precisely because the SSPX has NOT been deemed to be legally in schism by the CC that their marriages are not valid.

            The SSPX can affirm supplied jurisdiction and the state of emergency as the supports for their validity but unless THEY are THE CHURCH these are, as Fr RP says, merely their own defenses for their actions. That is, their own “opinions” not yet tested nor proved by the Church.

            Thus, in affirming these defenses, they in effect approach schism very closely! Here we are {almost} full circle!

            I just spoke to an FSSP priest last nite about this in practical terms. Our FSSP priests deal with this not infrequently and while it comes as a shock to SSPX folks who move in to the FSSP parish {and many do, or go back and forth} most eventually get it and have their marriages validated {or whatever the term is}.

          • SANATION The canonical pricess by which an invalid marriage is validated retroactively, back to the time when the contract was first made.

          • Because the canonical requirements must be fulfilled. The Council of Trent in a famous decree called Tametsi made the requirement that the marriage for it to be valid has to be carried out in what is called “canonical form”. This was due to the problems created before the time of the Council with secret marriages. Dr. Ed Peters, a prominent canonist, holds that this erquierment should be eliminated, as this case no longer stands. Personally, I don’t agree with him. The Orthodox Church consideres the priestly blessing an essential aspect of the Sacrament, and the Catholic Church has never had any problem with that.

        • The same Holy See that promulgated Amoris? If one can decide for oneself when the Holy See has authority and when it doesn’t, then the SSPX marriages are all valid. Who’s going to say otherwise with any authority?

          • The Magisterium in continuity with the Sacred Scripture and Tradition which has been received i.e. the Deposit of the Faith determines what a Sacrament is and isn’t, one cannot decided for themselves. And these have been determined.

            No one has authority to contradict the settled Doctrines and Dogmas of the Church which are based upon Natural Law, Divine Law and Sacred Tradition, including practices intrinsically relate to them. That is Church teaching from time immemorial. However, it is entirely within the purview of the Holy See to determine the validity of one of Her Sacraments based upon the above.

            You appear to be stuck in a sedevacantist conundrum here.

          • I think you do, but haven’t thought it through yet. In practice, but not in theory perhaps. How can one keep the Faith any other way these days?

          • What did Catholics do when the Popes were the Tenth Century Johns or the under the Borgias? When there four men all claiming to be Pope with saints supporting different ones? They kept the faith and prayed. They offered reparation.

          • That’s right. They kept the Faith.

            That’s what we have to do. The difference now is that the Faith that Catholics must hold fast to is not the same religion being promoted by the supposed authorities and apparent hierarchy.

            They have imposed new doctrines, new liturgy, new canon law and new rites for Sacraments which, apart from the Sacraments of Baptism, Matrimony and Penance, are essentially opposed to the Faith and practice of the Catholic Church.

            St Paul commanded that we “hold fast to tradition”. To obey this Divine Law, we must refuse and reject all of the novelties mentioned above. We have no right from God to adopt them or defend them.

          • No new doctrine.

            The liturgy has changed before and will change again. Many of these aspects we love in the TLM are not Roman but Gallicanisms. St. Gregory the Great used no incense for example, would have done no elevations, nor would he have blessed anyone at the end of Mass and would have not recited a Last Gospel. Things he would have done like the Sancta and Fermentum (additional Commixtios) have ceased.

            Canon Law has similarly been revised several time. Surely the Code of 1917 was a good development but it’s hardly that the Church was in inky darkness before that. Or before Gratian. Similarly, it wasn’t the end all and be all.

            I certainly recognize the merit of tradition and don’t find any of the new Rites to be superior developments, even if I don’t have the hubris to presume like you do that they’re displeasing to God and indeed identify most of the same elements, including the essential elements in matter, form, and intention even if I regret the lack of others (such as the Exorcism in baptism). You’re right that we (meaning, you and I) don’t have the right… yet none deny the authority of the Holy Father to add or remove prayers or rearrange them in the various Rites as long as he keeps the essential form. If he displeases God, have no doubt he’ll answer for it. That should be enough for you.

          • And there we have the “conservative Catholic” stance neatly summed up.

            You have a nice time going along with the Revolution, as the “conservatives” always have. We will, on the contrary, refuse to bend the knee to innovations and the “anti-Gospel” of the Whore of Babylon Masonic Church of Vatican II, which I believe the visible (Anti-) Church now clearly is.

          • You go ahead with the presumption that can judge the See of Peter. The arrogance that you’re Catholic when nearly noone else is.

          • If I stay with Tradition then I am a Catholic. That’s what Scripture, the Fathers and the Councils say. So no arrogance, just gratitude.

          • You apparentently assume thaa you are a believing Catholic but your declaration that “the Church of Vatican II” is “the whore of Babylon” certainly doesn’t give me any motive to believe that you are. You dare to declare that an Ecumenical Council properly convoked converted the Churh into the “whore of Babylon”. What you state sounds like what one reads in Protestant webisites and hear on their radio boradcasts.Hubris is from Satan. You need to repent and refrain from such thoughts and propagating them.

          • We already know that the Fatima events were and are part of the Apocalypse – Sister Lucia was told this by Our Lady. Other mystics have pointed to this time.

            The post-Vatican II Anti-Church, not *the Catholic Church* (which is now almost wholly obscured) is the Whore of Babylon.

            Wake up.

          • Is the new rite of Orders of 1968 in continuity with sacred tradition and the Magisterium, specifically Apostolicae Cure?

          • Onus of proof would be on you to prove it’s not. Fr. Cekada’s arguments are interesting, but are not… infallible.

          • No, the onus of proof is upon the innovators to prove that they are.

            I didn’t introduce novelties that are plainly opposed to the traditional Faith and practice of the Church. I didn’t ask to have a new religion which is essentially opposed to Catholicism introduced. They need to prove to me why I must abandon Tradition and adopt novelty, and why St Paul’s command to “hold fast to tradition is now obsolete.

            They started a war against Christ and His Holy Church, not me, and I will resist it with all my strength.

          • Not a new religion. Think of Lot. God allowed everything he had to be taken from him. When he failed to blaspheme, he got it all back and more. Similarly, the greatest treasure of the Church was taken from us, arguably through no fault of our own… yet it was preserved and remains. The Mass is being restored to us slowly as some fall away to apostasy or bemoan that Mother Church is seemingly not indefectible… recall that St. Paul repented of calling the High Priest a “whitewashed wall” and said “I knew not, brethren, that he is the high priest. For it is written: Thou shalt not speak evil of the prince of thy people.”

          • I think you mean Job……

            Lot, in fact, lived among sodomites and had everything taken from him for it. Think about that in the context of the effeminate-permeated Church today…

            As for the rest of your post here, there is much good in it.

          • Father, is there an opposite of a sedevacantist conundrum? I mean, we have a pope, one validly elected (according to oh so many) and yet he teaches heresy, and apparently, per the article here, will EXPAND his heresy from adultery to artificial contraception and so on.

            On top of that, there is apparently NO way to stop him, as in no one willing to do so and the means to do so aren’t all that clear, as they haven’t been needed to be used for literally ages.



          • Using Amoris Laetitia, as Pope Francis has taught us to use, why can’t a man and woman, after discussion and careful discernment, decide that God wants them to be married in a SSPX chapel? Even though it is against Canon Law? As per the article above, anything is now possible!

          • Marriage is a sacrament and a public act in the Church. So, a couple off their own bat cannot decide to ride rough shod over the canonical requirements for the celebration of a sacrament. It would seem that what you state would be a logical conclusion of what PF states in AL, but this would would be chaos for the Church, which is what were are seeing more frequently now.

          • Yes. Francis specifically refuses to publicly proclaim heresy. It’s hidden in footnotes, he won’t answer the dubia, etc. Privately held heretical opinion is one thing… it’s enough that he’ll answer for souls lost when he himself comes before the throne of judgement. Pray he repents and embraces orthodoxy. Offer reparation! Don’t fall into the lie that the only answer is schism.

          • Schism is never the answer.

            If it’s only ” privately held heresy” then how come you know about it? It’s publulic heresy, which automatically severs one from the Church, whether they be high or low.

            If people want to leave the Church by severing the visible bond of Faith via public heresy, then all I can do is refuse to approve, defend or participate in it. They leave the Church, not me.

          • Indeed, the resistance of the Pope to the approaches of the Dubia Cardinals and the now-vast spread of variable and novel doctrines espoused by this Pope sort of lay before us the word “pertinacious”, except if one believes pertinacity only exists if challenged.

            So I say, just to eliminate all doubt, and I think in concert with the Apostle Paul: Resist him to the face in public, now that he has certainly been confronted in private, and see what he says.

          • These are the best and worst of times to be alive.

            Each of us is given the opportunity to test our faith and be confronted with a situation that theologically should not be possible.

            We are forced to decide on things that previous generations took for granted and could never have imagined. The comfort zone has evaporated.

            Thanks be to God for putting us here at this critical moment in history.

          • “The only answer” isn’t schism.


            But it might be the driving out of those who pollute the Temple.

            I try to imagine a scenario that involves the Church of today and doesn’t reflect the Lord’s knotted whip and I just can’t think of one…

        • A friend who lived many years in Brasil showed me the wedding pictures of an SSPX couple she knows who were married in 2 wedding ceremonies on the same day, SSPX and NO , so they would feel confident that their marriage was valid. I had read recently that Pope Francis had made some arrangement for SSPX to have permission to arrange with the local NO bishop to have a NO priest officiate at the SSPX marriages. Do you know anything about this?

      • They believe they are validly married. Thus, they are not committing any sin. No properly educated Catholic priest would ever say that they are committing sins.

        • Not really. They know that the Church teaches they are not validly married. They also know either one of them could get an automatic annulment which brings jokes and laughter at times. They simply believe that they don’t have to follow the rules because they believe that marrying in the Novus Ordo would be a danger to their faith.

          • And is it? What does the mass, and its disastrous effects tell you? The SSPX marriages are perfectly valid under supplied jurisdiction. The Novus is a danger to Faith.

          • No. Supplied jurisdiction is a spurious and incorrect view that presumes the Hell has prevailed against the Church except a tiny tiny remnant. Heretics or not, the Diocesan Ordinaries have jurisdiction and canon law supplies the means to remove them. SSPX has always claimed their bishops do NOT have ordinary authority, which is why Fr. Schmidberger became Superior General over the bishops (and was part of the 1988 Deal Abp. Lefebvre signed before repudiating it).

            It is interesting that one doesn’t have to try very hard to see the SSPX bishops with the symbols of jurisdiction… Bishop Fellay with crosier, etc – I am curious if anyone could answer, do the SSPX bishops only celebrate at the faldstool?

          • Public heretics cannot hold any office in the Church by Divine law. You’ve skipped over that little detail – without which you have an invisible church on your hands – to get to your argument. I think you ought to back up up a bit and look at the visible nature of the Church before you proceed to the next point.

          • Divine Law is expressed through Canon Law. Neither individual clerics nor laymen are qualified to interpret Divine Law. Canon Law has the mechanism for formal accusations of heresy, which can only be judged by a higher competent authority. For regular bishops, the Metropolitan aka Archbishop… for cardinals, the Pope alone has the right. Catholic apologetics have held for a thousand year no body, even an Ecumenical Council has the authority to judge the Pope himself.

          • There are too many issues on the table here. I think we should both make our best way to Heaven and hopefully look back on today and rejoice that we made it in the end. God bless you.

          • Canon 188:4 from the 1917 code begs to differ. But this is all going in too long, and Jafin the moderator is getting annoyed.

          • “Supplied jurisdiction is a spurious and incorrect view that presumes the Hell has prevailed against the Church except a tiny tiny remnant.”

            “And will the Son of Man find faith on earth?”

    • We don’t know if they’re well meaning or not. God alone judges the hearts of men, whether good or bad.

      We have to stay out of it, and only assess the externals. In this case, the externals since the council land the Novus are utterly diabolical. We will only be judged for our thoughts and actions in regards to what we are capable and bound to judge.

      • I said the well meaning as in the well meaning, this is not subjective but based upon the knowledge of God. I did not name anyone, I left it to God’s determination of who is and who is not.

  5. Let’s get to the heart of the matter: the faithful believe that this life is very short and that we face eternity after we die. As such, we are concerned about the souls of ALL of our brothers and sisters. Several people leading the faithful believe there is life on earth and then it’s over. As such, they are concerned about the comfort and happiness of the people on earth. Except they fail to realize that the people they seek to affirm and support don’t care what the Church says and in fact don’t want their support except to the extent that they can use it to mock traditionalists (see faithful Catholics).

  6. What a blessed man Mr. Seifert is. He is experiencing Christ’s rejection, derision and betrayal for speaking the truth in charity. It is demonic that there is such a willingness to overlook the sins of adulterers under the guise that they don’t fulfill all the requirements to commit a mortal sin. All a priest has to do is to teach and inform them so that they understand the state of their sinful situation and then ALL requirements have been met. End of story. This desire to bend over backwards ‘pastorally’ for those in ‘irregular’ situations and exalting their understanding of conscience as having primacy over an informed conscience in unity with the church’s teaching does not seem to apply to our own priests whose consciences are so deeply troubled by this sly and deceptive implementation. This is a grave grave grave matter.

  7. I think Prof. Seifert is being very restrained when he limits the effects of this “spiritual atomic bomb” to the destruction of “the marvelous edifice of the Catholic Moral Teaching (and of natural ethics).”

    Lets get real about this. If the affirmation in AL 303 is held to be true, and God really does will people to commit gravely sinful acts rather than giving them the grace to live chastely, then this does not just destroy Catholic Moral Teaching, but as it makes of God a liar, then it destroys the credibility and truth claims of the Catholic Church completely. If AL 303 is held to be true then either there is no God or the Catholic Church is most definitely not His Church and the infallible purveyor of His Law.

    If AL 303 is held to be true then there is no rational basis for believing in anything that the Catholic Church has ever taught.

    • But, then again, if AL 303 is not true then my rosary praying sedevacantist mother-in-law is going to Hell for missing Sunday mass because in her conscience she believes there are no true priests with faculties.

      And, if AL 303 is not true then my non-contracepting in-laws are going to Hell because they purposely chose to get married in an SSPX chapel rendering their “marriage” invalid and leaving them in a state of concubinage and objective mortal sin.

      • Only God will be the judge of where they end up – only He has the ability to know the culpability they have for their sins.

        There is such a thing as invincible ignorance and there are plenty of good reasons for believing that the Church is in a state of emergency and that supplied jurisdiction exists for the SSPX.

        I would have thought that the case for a “state of emergency” is probably greater now than it ever has been. For any one of us our current bishop-in-good-standing today could turn out to be a heretic tomorrow.

      • God alone is the judge in the realm of the eternal. He will determine their culpability due to their faithfulness and the great confusion that has existed in the Church for the past 60 plus years. However, if they are culpable then they are, just as you and I are if we are and remain unrepentant. Invincible ignorance is indeed real, and so is mitigated culpability based on the seriously grievous culpability of others, however it is always best not to bet one’s soul on such things. Yet, God remains the perfect Judge and will judge all justice and mercy.

        AL 303 is not true: Period. Yet, your sedevacantist mother-in-law and your non-contracepting in-laws salvation are not dependent on it being true. Their salvation is dependent on their culpability for their actions and the culpability of those who have lead them astray. God does indeed favor those who have been lead astray and grants them many graces to come to Him. I know this from much reading and from personal experience. I was an atheist who was lead astray by my upbringing and great suffering growing up and God continued to call me to Himself even though I had merited Hell by my own actions.

        God is Love and Mercy and Justice and all of these are one in His Infinite Being. Pray and do not despair for God will hear your prayers.

        • Again thank you Father. Would it be possible to briefly describe the errors of AL and how they WOULDN’T apply to either my mass abstaining mom-in-law OR my cohabitating in-laws invalidly married in the SSPX. If I could wrap my mind around this I would be less troubled.

          • In short: No. One cannot briefly describe the errors of AL for they are legion, which has been amply demonstrated by the 45 theologians letter on the matter:

            What appears to apply to your situation is the role of personal conscience and objective truth/authority. Personal conscience cannot subjectively determine right morality or reason contra Natural Law or Ecclesiastical Law based on Divine Law.

            A person suffering from Same Sex Attraction cannot determine contrary to Natural Law or Ecclesiastical Law based on Divine Law or Divine Law itself that because they ‘feel or think’ this attraction is good therefore it is good and they are free to act according to what they have determined to be good. Even if others agree with them or encourage them to do so (though this may subtract from their personal culpability in said act, but it also may not if they are able to reason properly despite the influence of others) In short: Everyman is not an island unto himself.

            Your in-laws do not have the authority from God to determine the Good via themselves, this is the temptation from the Garden. God has placed His mark in Nature and Has sent His Christ Who has established His Church to proclaim the Eternal Truth.

            When members of the Hierarchy (or anyone) turn from the Lord God’s eternal Truth we correct them based on the Eternal Truth known by right reason according to the Natural Law and Divine Law as handed on faithfully by the successors of the Apostles which is the Sacred Tradition/Deposit of the Faith. We do not correct them based on our own subjective reasoning from mere experience or how we feel about any given thing based on the ethos of the day or the immediate cultural milieu in which we find ourselves.

            The successor of Peter and the successors of the other Apostles are bound by the Truth they have received and are not free to contradict it or alter it substantially in anyway. Doctrine develops according to a greater understanding of the Eternal Truth, but it cannot contradict itself otherwise it is not development of doctrine at all, rather it is the violation of it. 2+2 is 4, Not 5. No matter how much we think five would be better than four.

            The Truth is that there have always been those amongst us who have distorted the Truth or even denied it, yet today it is perhaps greater than ever before. It is true that we can deny the Truth, yet it is not True that we can do so without suffering whatever consequences come from such denial. If I wish to walk in front of a speeding car then I must, logically, accept the consequences of my action no matter how much I have determined that I am immune to such consequences based on any number of my subjective reasoning’s for concluding that I may step in front of the speeding car with impunity.

            I hope this helps. May God have mercy on us poor sinners. Amen.

          • I think where you go astray is in thinking that your relatives are in danger of damnation. And in thinking that AL has anything to do with their situation.

  8. The issue of SSPX marriages has been one of the few remaining things left to critise them about. I have seen each one of the reasons for stearing clear of them been knocked over as the years have rolled on. A crucial factor to understand how Rome treats the issue to look at the example of Campos in Brazil. They were in exactly the same situation as the SSPX and as soon as they were regularized all the marriages were accepted. No remarriage required. How can that be if they were not truly married. The situation with the local tribunals is a joke. I have never heard of a case of them refusing an annulment. Im sure they exist but it seems like a rubber stamping exercise that has no credibility. Now of course Francis lowered the bar even further hence the need to remove Cardinal Burke who was a stumbling block.

    • My understanding of the situation in Campos Brasil ( Brasilian spelling) is that their diocesan Bishop refused to instate the, then new, Novus Ordo Mass and this was tolerated for quite some time until a new Bishop was appointed, at that time the resistance group did not go along with the NO, although most of the priests and lay people in the diocese did. It was only after 1988 that any bishops were excommunicated …for participating in the SSPX Bishops ordinations, and the SSPX priests had their faculties suspended. So the Campos TLM priests became more of a resistance group within a legitimate Brasilian diocese but allies of SSXP, and as far as I know they did not have their faculties suspended.

  9. The big question for Catholics is now solely this:-

    1. Given that in EG, AL and his plans for the localisation of the Church through the granting to Bishops’ Conferences of Magisterial authority, Bergoglio has overturned the Divine Law on a number of fronts – the Ten Sacraments, the Divine structure of the Church – it is clear that Catholics can no longer accept his authority or that of the Cardinals and Bishops who remain ‘in communion’ with him. Scripture tells us to reject him; the Councils tell us to reject him. Are we to remain in communion with one who has incurred several of the anathemas of the Council of Trent?

    2. How then does one pilot one’s soul to Heaven through the scylla of sedevacantism on one side and the charibdis of schism on the other?

    • The following is not an endorsement of the sede thesis:

      Sedes aren’t schismatic. If they are right, then they are simply not in communion with a false pope. If they are wrong, they are simply mistaken about the identity of the actual pope.

      It’s not an identical comparison, but St Vincent Ferrer was mistaken about the pope, and backed an antipope. He’s a saint.

      If the sedes believed Francis or Paul VI to be the pope, they would submit to them.

      They, like all Catholics of good will, are working their way through the crisis as best as they can. At least everyone here recognises there is a dangerous crisis, and they all want to remain Catholic and keep the Faith.

      It is a very confusing and unprecedented situation. No one seems to have all the answers.

      The best way I can see to get through this is to “hold fast to tradition” as St Paul commanded. Thus includes all the traditional rites of the Sacraments. This is why I go to the SSPX. They have an unbroken lineage of Orders.

      • I too Mike refuse to condemn sedevacantists as do so many Traditionalists. All too often, the materials gathered online by sedevacantists and the general depth of much of their reasoning puts the rest of us to shame.

        They are wrong even so I think. Nevertheless, they are Catholics. Some sites positively seethe at them (Catholic Truth for instance) but I will not. As you say, they are trying like the rest of us to make sense of what human reasoning cannot make sense of.

    • Indeed, a very appropriate picture.

      The answer is, I believe, a virtually miraculous conclave that results in a warrior Pope who is not afraid TO DRIVE OUT THE HERETICS.

      And let’s not think it can’t happen! We had ole Rod Borgia and half a century later Pope Pius V!!!!

  10. I think truth is being attacked at its deepest level.I stand with the 4 cardinals ( now 3) in waiting. God bless all those that stand with the truth ,for the truth, in clarity of heart.I pray for unity in the church and that this confusion wil be blown away by the breath of the HOLY SPIRIT.

  11. Does anyone know the name of the ‘seer in Granada’ that Professor Seifert refers to regarding a prophecy about “gravely erroneous teachings”?

    • I don’t know the name of the “seer of Granada” (yet would like to know it also), but there have been some interesting men and women who appear to have seen something from heaven. For instance, St. Neilus, who was the Prefect of Jerusalem, had an impressing vision in 390 AD (!) about the end of the 20th century (!). Or, John of Jerusalem (1043-1120 AD) who got a revelation about the millenium after the millenium in which he lived. Or, a 90-year-old Norwegian woman, who was Christian (non-Catholic though) and had a vision in 1968 of four waves which would roll one after the other across the face of the earth (only one thing mentioned here: incredibly many people from “poor” countries will stream into Europe, she predicted, something which happens today and noone had believed in 1968). You can look these prophecies up on the internet, they can easily be found. Last but not least there is the Bible which also clearly forecasts things which will happen in the end times and which we already see happening.

  12. >> I think the tremendous gift of the infallibility of the Church forbade that Pope Paul VI, who was inclined to prefer the majority opinion (“pro contraception”) in the commission he had convened, did so, and thus he wrote Humanae Vitae in support of the TRUE opinion of the minority – Josef Seifert

    So in other words, Pope Paul VI by nature was a left-wing liberal who easily flowed with the crowd, but because of the Grace of State that rested with him, he was preserved and prompted to do something he ordinarily would not have done, i.e. to issue Humanae Vitae.

    This comes off as misinformed. Pope Paul was a pure and orthodox bishop even before Vatican II, and it was from the purest recesses of his heart—assisted by that Petrine grace—that he issued Humanae Vitae against the opposition of many. He made a ‘few’ slight mistakes, granted, but he was not a liberal who flowed with the world, nor did he author any of the changes at Vatican II.

    Think back. In 1970, Paul VI was regarded as an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy who failed to keep up with the times, and he was constantly badgered by dissatisfied liberals, while it was the conservatives who loved him. But because of Masonically influenced media propaganda, this view has changed.

    • Utter nonsense.

      HV is itself not in line with Tradition, because in it Paul VI inverted the aims of marriage.

      Secondly, you state that “He made a ‘few’ slight mistakes”. This is so farcical and Alice in Wonderland-like that it needs no further comment. To do so would require pages and pages.

      • My head is spinning, too.

        Having said that, PVI did in later years make some striking and rather shocking and surprising {for him} admissions and criticisms of the direction of the Church post-V2…..

        … know, the direction HE LED THE CHURCH TO GO!

        He is an enigma, for sure.

  13. Can a sacrament be imparted when one is persistently in mortal sin, that is, by violating the vow of poverty, obedience, chastity, and even more by maintaining homosexual relationships?

    • Religious priests may well take a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. A diocesan priest does not take a vow of poverty.

      As far as any priest is concerned, the answer is “yes”. Look up “ex opere operato Christi”.

      And as for the layman: to receive the fruits of the Sacraments requires that a person be properly disposed. This means that while the Sacraments always confer Grace, but the efficacy of Grace via the Sacraments is not automatic. There must be, at least in the case of an adult, an openness to use the sufficient Grace which is available in a Sacrament. When the recipient is properly disposed, “the Sacraments are instrumental causes of Grace.”

      • A layman can not participate in the communion if he is in mortal sin, but a priest can celebrate the Eucharist and as part of it cumulating. Is not this a contradiction? The law of the funnel.

  14. The most terrible thing for me in this is that young priests are compelled by their bishops to act against their consciousness which has been coined by classical catholic doctrine.

  15. Once again, we have see the problem of AL’s “morality by geography” — divorcees living in adultery are adulterers in Pomerania, Poland but “accompanied good Christians in Pomerania, Germany; Prof Seifert’s Catholic philosophy is orthodox in Liechtenstein but not in southeast Spain.


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