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The Maltese Falcons

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat recently published a widely circulated commentary on the recent fall-out from Amoris Laetitia entitled, “The End of Catholic Marriage”. In it, he argued persuasively that if Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marital love comes to be generally interpreted and applied as liberally as it has been in the Diocese of San Diego, California, it will in effect mean the death of this sacrament as the Gospel of Christ and the Catholic Church have always presented it: a sacred covenant whose indissoluble character means that remarriage after divorce constitutes adultery – a violation of the Sixth Commandment that excludes one from sacramental absolution and Eucharistic communion.

Almost as if to corroborate the accuracy of Douthat’s warning, the two bishops of a Mediterranean island nation have descended like birds of prey to inflict sudden death on Catholic marriage in their jurisdiction. Malta has been famous as a bastion of fervent and orthodox Catholicism almost since St. Paul evangelized it in the first century. No more. For in one fell swoop, Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna of Malta and Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo have avoided superficial flesh wounds and darted straight in for the jugular. They do admittedly try to disguise their death-blow with the standard bland rhetoric about the need for a sincere search for God’s will, serious prayerful discernment, “humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching”, etc. But their bottom line is that in Malta there will now be no objective and enforceable limits whatsoever on the right of (non-continent) divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive the Holy Eucharist. Priest confessors are being told they may no longer be deciders in such matters, only ‘accompaniers’; for access to the sacraments for all persons in these illicit unions will ultimately depend entirely on their own subjective decision of “conscience”.

How and when did this revolution occur? On January 13, the two aforesaid bishops made public an 8-page pastoral letter to Maltese priests entitled Criteria for the Application of Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. (It is dated January 8, 2017, Solemnity of the Epiphany.) Here you can read the full text.

I have no inside information as to whether Pope Francis had prior knowledge of this document, but in any case the Pontiff’s predictable failure to censure it will signify his assent to its content; indeed, that message has already been spread abroad by the instant publication of the Maltese letter in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Apart from noting two articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church about factors that can diminish personal culpability for objectively sinful acts, this letter contains no references to any pre-Francis magisterial teaching. So in Malta the year 2017 has started off looking like Orwell’s 1984, wherein inconvenient history simply vanishes down the memory hole. This is papal positivism with a vengeance: the very pontiff who constantly berates traditional Catholics for “seeing everything in black and white” is now being turned into a Superpope whose authority trumps that of all his predecessors if he chooses to call white what they called black.

Let’s take a look at the text of the document. Its general approach is clearly established right from article 1, wherein relationships that the Gospel and the Catholic Church call adultery and fornication are soothingly sociologized under the term “complex family situations”. Indissolubility is nowhere mentioned in this letter, and even an initial nod given to our Lord’s teaching on marriage reads like lukewarm lip-service. Before the two bishops turn to the manifold merciful mitigations of God’s law that really warm their hearts, they write, “As priests, we have the duty to enlighten consciences by proclaiming Christ and the full ideal of the Gospel” (art. 1). Ah, yes. Gospel teaching on lifelong marital fidelity is now just an ideal, no longer a grave obligation imposed on all spouses by Christ himself.

The same disingenuous airbrushing of Jesus’ demanding teaching is apparent when the Maltese bishops come to discuss continence on the part of invalidly remarried couples in cases where there are serious reasons for them not to separate. In article 9 we read (with emphasis added here):  “Throughout the discernment process, we should also examine the possibility of conjugal continence. Despite the fact that this ideal is not at all easy, there may be couples who, with the help of grace, practice this virtue without putting at risk other aspects of their life together.”

In this passage, note first of all the word “conjugal”: the bishops are whitewashing an adulterous relationship with an adjective that refers to true marriage. Next, continence is again described as a mere ideal, not a binding obligation. Indeed, the bishops depict this “ideal” as virtually unattainable by commenting coyly that there “may be” couples who actually observe it! In fact, their existence is far from hypothetical, as most experienced pastors are aware. Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke told me several days ago (January 14th) that, in speaking to the faithful who attend his Masses and lectures in various countries, he very frequently meets divorced and remarried couples who tell him they are practicing that demanding self-discipline – and finding peace and happiness in doing so. (His Eminence was in St. Louis visiting St. Mary of Victories Church, of which I am the rector, to celebrate Mass at the invitation of ‘Juventutem’, the international young adults’ organization that promotes the traditional Latin liturgy.) The Maltese bishops go on to imply that even those invalidly married couples who “may be” able to “practice this virtue” (i.e., continence) should do so only if this doesn’t “put at risk other aspects of their life together”. In plain language: Go ahead and practice vice instead of virtue – adultery instead of chastity – if that’s what it takes to safeguard “other aspects of [your] life”. The good end will justify the evil means.

Yes, it’s frightening to see Successors of the Apostles uttering such pernicious doctrine – especially by appealing to a papal document. But it gets worse. In the next sentence all pretence of seriously advocating a ‘brother-sister’ commitment for these couples is dropped. For the bishops continue thus: “On the other hand, there are complex situations where the choice of living ‘as brothers and sisters’ becomes humanly impossible and gives rise to greater harm (see AL, note 329)”. “Humanly impossible”, Your Excellencies? Have you forgotten that the Council of Trent has anathematized as heresy the view that, even with the help of sanctifying grace, compliance with God’s commands can sometimes be impossible? (Cf. canon 18 on justification, Dz 828 [DS/DH 1568].) And how could obeying a divine command ever “give rise to greater harm” than disobeying it?  Would it not be blasphemous to suggest that our loving Father could ever command us to do something that is to our real detriment, not our benefit?

It is all too easy to foresee the conclusion that will naturally be drawn from this paragraph (art. 9) by invalidly remarried Maltese Catholics: “Our official teachers of the faith are clearly telling us that sex between divorced and civilly remarried couples is not always gravely sinful; for they’re saying that the ‘brother-sister’ option is no longer a prerequisite for receiving the sacraments. And their rationale is that continence is not only humanly impossible for most couples but will in any case usually do more harm than good.  So why we should even attempt to live according this so-called ‘ideal’ when our bishops are saying that if we find it too burdensome we can go to Communion anyway?”

The coup de grâce for the perennial doctrine on marital fidelity and sacramental integrity comes in the succeeding paragraph of the letter. Article 10, in full, reads as follows:

“If, as a result of the process of discernment, undertaken with ‘humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching, in a sincere search for God’s will and a desire to make a more perfect response to it’ (AL 300), a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are [sic] at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (see AL, notes 336 and 351).”

Please note the inclusion of “separated” persons above. Our two Maltese falcons (unleashed, it must be remembered, by the chief Falconer in Rome) have not only pried open the sacramental doors for those in bigamous unions that enjoy civil recognition. Their sharply logical beaks have simultaneously ripped out and discarded the need for divorce – so often a stressful, time-consuming and expensive process. Thus, Catholics in Malta who are cohabiting with one partner while still legally and sacramentally married to another will henceforth have access to the sacraments on the same basis as the divorced and remarried. Note also the ominous word “cannot” in art. 10. The island nation’s priest confessors are being told they not only may, but must, grant absolution (and thus, access to Communion) to unrepentant adulterers provided only  that the latter insist they have “manage[d], with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that [they] are at peace with God”. What, then, of the priest whose own “informed and enlightened conscience” tells him he may not comply with this revolutionary diktat? Once again Orwell’s scenario springs to mind: in Malta, it seems, all Catholic consciences may (perhaps) be equal, but some are now clearly “more equal than others”.

As if all this were not bad enough, more is in store a little further down the road. In article 3 of the letter, the bishops say that before treating their main topic (those who are “separated or divorced” from a true spouse), they “would like to address the situation of those who cohabit or who have only married civilly”. That is, Catholics who have never been validly married. While this paragraph rightly recommends a pastoral approach that would encourage these couples to move toward true marriage, it is silent about whether or not they can ever approach the sacraments in their present condition. However, the bishops hasten to emphasize, in accordance with AL #294, that among such couples “the degree of moral responsibility is not the same for all cases”, i.e., that they are not necessarily in mortal sin. So it is not hard to see what conclusion about sacramental reception will be drawn from art. 3 by many unwed sexual partners whose “informed and enlightened consciences” also tell them they’re “at peace with God”. Indeed, they will be able to tell themselves that, if anything, they should have a greater right to receive Communion than the divorced and remarried. For as simple fornicators in God’s sight, they cannot be accused of the graver sin of adultery, which violates the cardinal virtue of justice as well as that of temperance.

An explicit authorization for these folks too to approach the sacraments is probably just round the corner; and, since logical conclusions have a way of stubbornly following from their premises in practice as well as on paper, a similar permission for same-sex couples who find themselves “at peace with God” will surely not lag far behind. Not to mention corresponding concessions to polygamists all over Africa, as the orthodox Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban has recently warned us.

All in all, 2017 seems to be shaping up pretty well for Protestants as they celebrate (with more than a little encouragement from our Catholic leaders) the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  For if little Malta turns out to be a canary in the coal mine – an indicator of impending death for indissoluble marriage on a wider international scale – then our separated brethren will surely rejoice that we Catholics are finally seeing the light that Luther received five centuries earlier when he boldly relativized the Gospel’s stern teaching on this matter. Whether that ‘light’ really comes from Christ, who sent His Blessed Mother to appear at Fatima 100 years ago, is of course another matter. Among other things, she warned us then that “sins of the flesh” are those which most frequently send souls to Hell.

84 thoughts on “The Maltese Falcons”

  1. Time for the Catholic version of impeaching the pope to begin. On what grounds you might ask, self excommunication for starters, undermining of the Sacraments and the fomenting of anti-Catholicism and in fact the ultimate act of betrayal of our Faith the pursuit of Catholi-Schism. Time to start the process, before Martin Luther’s next birthday rolls around and we are all forced to wear silly hats. Time to blow out the candles on this papacy, before the damage to the Church becomes inescapable.

    • It’s long past time for that to begin. I knew there was something wrong with Pope Francis the very first time I saw him. I’m not that unique either. The problem is we have so many bishops and cardinals who are all talk and no action. They will not denounce him. They will not resist him. They will not accept that if a schism happens that he, not they will be responsible for it.

      God will deal with Pope Francis eventually. We should pray that he does it soon, and that he gives us a new pope that we need rather than deserve.

      Pray and sacrifice

      • Hi Michael – I hope you are right. God seems to appreciate fasting along with prayer and sacrifice, time to use every weapon in the arsenal.

      • Hi Margaret – Thank you for the reference. I almost never follow links provided for me by others but I am glad I made an exception in this case. Very informative article spelling out a process that has already begun regarding Francis, who appears to be the very definition of an incorrigible heretic. It will be a true battle, Francis has pre positioned his supporters in key roles, which will make the reality of Schism all the more likely. Sadly, this appears to be all but inevitable. Apparently when Jesus returns, there won’t be any doubt as to whom His faithful followers are, and whom those who have chosen the path away from salvation will be. It could be no other way since at His coming the chance for conversion will have passed. We must choose – The Word or the world, there is no longer a middle way. Thanks again, Margaret, I am glad I trusted you and followed that link, it is a very rare occurrence.

  2. Father, your final paragraph says it all. What we are seeing now is nothing more than the inevitable result of the rampant ecumenism and “finding common ground” that has overwhelmed the Church in the post-Conciliar era. For decades now, we have had bishops and pastors fail miserably to remind their flocks of the prohibition—never formally revoked as far as I know—against worshiping with Protestants (and, by extension, non-Christians) set forth, in line with the teaching of his predecessors, by Pope Pius XI in Mortalium animos, all because “Vatican II changed all that” (even though it actually didn’t).

    Now, we are simply reaping the fruits of such a failure. Our worship has been Protestantized, our sanctuaries stripped of Catholic art, our tabernacles hidden, our communion rails and high altars thrown out, the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary de-emphasized in favor of Cranmer’s “meal”, and now we are supposed to be surprised that so many Catholics, including our bishops and cardinals, are in essence Protestants in all but name?

    The Lutherans, the Episcopalians, the Presbyterians, the Methodists, et cetera (what is left of them, at least) must be laughing uproariously now. Why in the world would any Protestant or non-Christian even think of converting to the Faith in such an environment? Forget the talk about the “scandal” we on this forum and other conservative/traditionalists are accused of fomenting due to our frank discussion of the nightmare facing our beloved Church. What about the scandal being caused from the Chair of St. Peter?

    Yesterday, those of us who follow the traditional calendar (in spirit, if not in body due to lack of physical access to the Mass of the Ages [thank Our Lord and Our Lady for the FSSP online apostolate!]) heard as the Gospel for the Second Sunday after Epiphany the miracle at Cana. I, for one, do not believe that the events of the past month and the occasion of that Gospel reading are a mere coincidence. May all our holy priests—however few they may be—remain steadfast and refuse to give in to this assault on the permanence of sacramental matrimony.

  3. To be a priest in Malta now means to choose between fidelity to Our Lord or obedience to their Bishop. Fidelity to Our Lord requires the outright refusal to publish or promote their Bishop’s ‘Pastoral’ letter, and in fact to resist it and clearly speak out against it for the souls that have been entrusted to them are in grave danger. Fidelity to their Bishop means to brand one’s own conscience and comply with the promotion of evil within their parishes. It means to preach and teach heresy (it can be impossible to not engage in sexual acts, adulterous or fornication, without endangering a greater good) it means to willfully commit the Mortal Sin of Sacrilege against the Blessed Sacrament and to promote Grave Scandal and it means to commit the Mortal Sin of Sacrilege against the Sacrament of Confession and give a non-absolving ‘Absolution’ to manifestly unrepentant sinners, which is a direct harm to their souls. This is utterly Damnable.

    I wonder how many will be faithful to Our Lord? We must pray for their souls to be strengthened and we must protest this grave injustice being foisted upon them by their own Bishops who have taken their cue from Pope Francis’ own disgraceful Amoris Laetitia.

    Notice that the Maltese Bishop’s letter is titled: Criteria for the Application of Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. because that is all AL was ever about, it was never about anything but Chapter 8 which undermines Objective Truth through moral relativism based upon the supremacy of the subjective conscience (which is primarily informed by the subject’s desire, feelings and will.) It did this by constantly referring to Christian Marriage as an ‘ideal’ that is really, really, really, hard to live out (and impossible for many, therefore Chapter 8!) rather than the Norm of Marriage.

    Maybe Cardinal Napier should unblock some people from twitter now? ..

    • “because that is all AL was ever about, it was never about anything but Chapter 8 which undermines Objective Truth through moral relativism based upon the supremacy of the subjective conscience (which is primarily informed by the subject’s desire, feelings and will) ”

      Brilliant summation, and you’re absolutely correct – this essentially undermines not only the existence of sin, but the existence of truth (since sin is, at its heart, a deviation from or rejection of truth at any level where it can be found – in natural law discernible by reason, revealed truth made known to believers, and the truth embodied in the law of the Church).

      • Because it’s not our job to stop him. Leave that to the faithful bishops and Cardinals.

        If it’s them you’re referring to, then, well, “we” can. But the Church notoriously moves very slow. Be patient, pray, instruct the ignorant and admonish the sinner when you are able. Trust in Our Lord’s promises… Never give up, keep fighting, stand firm. It is Jesus Christ who is in charge. It is Jesus who is victorious… through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pray the rosary. Pray, pray, pray the rosary. It’s our most effective weapon.

          • If I heard coming from the pulpit some of the things coming from Rome, I’d be on my feet crying “Heresy!”

            Fortunately, I haven’t heard this personally. I know quite a few good priests.

        • a good witness too would be imitating Saint Michael, as in the Book of Jude….who would not directly rebuke satan, but says, “may the Lord rebuke you”….may the Lord rebuke satan where ever he is found prowling and acting about in all of this….

    • “Criteria for the Application of Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. because that is all AL was ever about, it was never about anything but Chapter 8 which undermines Objective Truth through moral relativism based upon the supremacy of the subjective conscience (which is primarily informed by the subject’s desire, feelings and will.) It did this by constantly referring to Christian Marriage as an ‘ideal’ ”

      Yes indeed. And AL starts preparing the ground for this as soon as it refers to marriage as an “ideal” – in Chapter 2 – the point at which I threw it in the trash. It says a few worthy things before that massive BUT crops up, but as soon as the BUT appears (and it subsequently appears 22 times not counting all the other idiomatic expressions of “ideal”) you know that “everything before the BUT is bull***t.”

    • The most powerful means to oppose this is the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar. You, Fr. Harrison and other faithful priests can offer the Holy Sacrifice for your brother priests, as well as correctly forming the souls of the faithful by solid orthodox teaching in the pulpit and by adult catechesis.

      May the Most Holy Mother of God keep the four Cardinals, Bishop Schneider, Fr. Harrison, you and all our faithful clergy under Her Holy Omophorion!

    • Superb analysis, Father Harrison. I am reminded of this poem by an Irishman:

      The Second Coming – W. B. Yeats

      “Turning and turning in the widening gyre
      The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
      Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
      mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
      The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
      The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
      The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity.

      Surely some revelation is at hand;
      Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
      The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
      When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
      Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
      A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
      A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
      Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
      Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
      The darkness drops again; but now I know
      That twenty centuries of stony sleep
      Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
      And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
      Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

    • This is the threat as no one wants Priests to be placed in an impossible situation as you’ve described it. We dont want to lose anyone. I dont understand the finer points of “getting faculties from a Bishop” but I hope there is the possibility for some Maltese Priests to apply for faculties in another country and obtain release from a Maltese Bishop. I think there is a danger that Bishops’ Conference can vote and a majority can agree a course of action whilst a handful of faithful Bishops dont wish to be party to the announcement. Please God there will remain Dioceses of refuge for such good Prelates. We pray for them all.

    • Indeed, Father, Ch. VIII was all that was important. All the other material that hedges it is just a dressing to make vice look like virtue. And in 2018, the Pope is launching the next assault on the youth. Also, the Pope is going to allow Priests in Brazil to be married, apparently. Not sure whether that is true or not, but wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it is. He is just attacking one Sacrament after another, whilst trashing the Gospel, and destroying virtue. we have come to a sad point in the Church’s History. Now, we have to ask the question: Are we going to follow Christ, or the sad excuse of a Hierarchy that currently occupies the Church’s venerable Offices?

  4. Three key areas: 1. The Maltese bishops have invited Catholics to commit gravely evil acts. For the laity in these situations, it’s an open invitation to do just that. It would be more accurate to say that it turns the implicit instruction of AL into an explicit invitation. 2.Worse, for the clergy involved, it will be a command – a command to knowingly desecrate at least three sacraments, which will be enforced with an iron fist. It doesn’t simply abrogate Canon 915, it inverts it. The penitent adjudicates the matter and then demands the sacraments be administered. 3. That the document was published in L’Osservatore Romano was most certainly by design; an open endorsement from the Holy See. More here:

  5. Fr. Harrison thank you for your comments. As a Maltese Catholic living in Malta, a sinner trying by the grace of Christ to remain faithful to His teaching, I feel deeply saddened and humiliated by this disastrous and heterdox document issued by our Bishops. Unfortunately, they reflect a certain ultramontanist and papolatrous streak that has always characterised the faith and practice of Catholicism in Malta. What strikes you in the document is the obsessive reference to AL and the almost slavish reproduction of most of the its casuistic rhetoric without any trace of original and cogent thinking or doctrinal justification.
    Fr Harrison I have personally reiterated, in shorter form, your eminently lucid and accurate comments by a blog post in the the major English newspaper in Malta. Allow me to quote from it:
    ” (this comment) in its blatant sincerity mirrors exactly the direful consequences of this pastoral disaster of our Bishops and Bergoglio. In thinking to recapture lost sheep by relaxing traditional norms, as the Anglican Churches have done,
    they will end up like them with ever empty pews, not to mention the obvious danger to the eternal salvation of souls which they will have to answer for. The Bishops’ document, in reducing everything to a peaceful conscience will create pastoral and moral havoc – what about those priests whose peaceful conscience tells them that your instructions go against Christ’s teaching? What about those bishops in Poland, Costa Rica, Philadelfia who have in conscience decided to withhold Holy Communion without exception in such cases to be faithful to Christ’s express teaching? Who are we to believe and follow? What about those who are living in a sexually active homosexual relationship and who feel in their peacful conscience that they are doing nothing wrong and rightfully claim Holy Communion, will you refuse them? You Bishops are rapidly losing your credibility with your doctrinal confusion and pastoral contradictions…”
    This is indeed a sad and alarming time for the true Catholic faith not just in Malta but in the whole world. God help us.

    • Congratulations on writing a letter! I visited Malta in 2013 – in fact, I was booking my flight when the news about BXVI flashed across the screen – and when I went there, I found that the people were very devout – but the bishop, not so much, judging by attending Mass in the Cathedral. That is, he really didn’t support the fight against a lot of bad civil laws, the liturgy was seriously lacking, and the homily was so VII it was meaningless (as I recall, it had to do with “immigrants,” even then).

      Abp Scicluna was appointed in 2015 and he had a great background – he had been Defender of the Bond at one point in Malta – and also had been a pupil of Ratzinger, who I believe was his dissertation adviser, as well as doing all the great work in preparing a case against Maciel. What in the heck happened to him between then and now?

        • Ooops, sorry – that was who I meant but I guess I was so blown away by the whole situation that all these names were just piling up! It really is hard to imagine that Cdl Scicluna could ever have been considered orthodox, but he was actually perceived as theologically well-grounded and solid and “Burke-approved,” so to speak. However, I think it’s no accident that somehow Bergoglio/Fernandez/and the gang got the Maltese bishops to do this. I think they chose them specifically because of Scicluna’s connection with Burke.

  6. These mutineers aren’t just making shipwreck of the faith, they’re handing out millstones and actively throwing souls overboard.

    Meanwhile, the Captain is cheering them on, while ordering anyone shouting “repel boarders” to be placed in irons.

  7. I hope Pope Benedict and the college of Cardinals(More than the thirty AB who have spoken up already) the majority at least need to REPUDIATE Francis, Amoris Latita and Discernment Apostasy right away. Other wise expect the rump church former RC dying church in Europe and the west etc. to disintegrate like liberal former mainline Dying Protestant sects, Anglicans, Evangelical Lutherans Calvinists and Presbyterians etc. have done already.

      • A few more years of Francis and RC faith will collapse as the Anglican and Lutheran have done already……. I contacted Francis already and urged him to retire or resign before he destroys what little is left of the Rump church church former RC faith in the Western world.

  8. Luther, Calvin, Mohammad, Arius, Henry VIII: These rebels, born after the life and death of Jesus Christ and knowing full well the life and mission of Jesus, nevertheless traitorously rebelled against Him. Pope Francis and his acolytes among the bishops and Cardinals has found himself a fellow traveler with this motley crew. There is only one Satanic group that has continuously cheered the downfall of Christ’s church through the centuries, and has conspired with fools like the Freemasons to infiltrate and misrepresent belief in Christ in order to destroy His Church. Jesus referred to them as the “Synogogue of Satan”. The Maltese need to ask “Cui Bono”. Catholics loyal to Christ need to infiltrate the infiltrators and build an underground Church in order to get our fearless leader out of the Vatican.

  9. Dr. Ed Peters has called attention to the crime of SOLICITATION, which a priest commits any time he advises or urges, in Confession, a person to commit a sin against the Sixth Commandment. The bishops in Malta have COMMANDED their priests to commit the crime of solicitation.

  10. I started reading this and had to give up after a few paragraphs – I just cannot bear to read any more just now. I think we need another ’round’ of praying the Rosary as was done before the elections in the USA. We MUST, of course, trust in God and His promise to prevail, but we need also to ‘hunker down’ as faithful Catholics and try to keep calm. Prayer will help us do that. Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think we would come to this. As Bishop Schneider has said in the last few days, God has permitted this and we must not let Him down. We need to respond to Him as he needs us to.

    • You think he doesn’t know??? You think he wasn’t an architect of this ambiguity for the sake of false peace in the Church???

      • I don’t know if PB can really do anything at this point. The few times I’ve seen him on TV, he didn’t look good – almost as if he was on a lot of prescription medication.

  11. Ethicist says ghostwriter’s role in ‘Amoris’ is troubling. Michael [email protected]
    The content may well demand that AL be either rescinded or re-written by someone who knows how to write a Papal Exhortation. It also might bring a halt to the directions of the Bishops of Malta to their priests re admitting persistent sinners to Holy Communion.

  12. I am afraid the Blind man should include Pope Francis, Muller and the liberal globalists clowns he Francis has surrounded himself with… ….. Time for Pope Benedict and Majority of Cardinals red hat’s to speak up and act . Otherwise in a few years this will be the Rump church rather than a Roman or Catholic one.

  13. I had the privilege of being a student at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy from February 1981 to June 1987. I studied Sacred Theology and Canon Law. During that time I came to know three wonderful, faithful, Dominican Priests who were Professors there. Two of them- Fr. John Zerapha and Fr. Joseph Agius taught Theology, while the third one – Fr. Marc Said taught Canon Law and while I was there was the Dean of the Canon Law faculty. I simply cannot imagine any of these three fine priests ever agreeing with or going along with the current nonsense of the Maltese Bishops allowing priests to decide to give Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics without a declaration of nullity – annulment.

  14. It has been reported that, as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis instructed his priests to go into the slums – the “villas miserias” – to give Holy Communion to any and all who wished to receive it. He did so in the full knowledge that, by reason of their material poverty, large numbers of co-habiting couples were not even married.

  15. Thank you, Fr Harrison, for helping us understand the gravity of the situation and the madness now posing as the “New Morality” of the Church. The following quote from St Ignatius of Antioch in his letter to the Ephesians from today’s Office of Readings (Novus Ordo) could not be more timely to your article:
    “Make no mistake, my brothers: those who corrupt families will not inherit the Kingdom of God. If those who do these things in accordance with the flesh have died, how much worse will it be if one corrupts through evil doctrine the faith of God for which Jesus Christ was crucified. Such a person, because he is defiled, will depart into the unquenchable fire, as will anyone who listens to him.”

    • Btw, here’s today’s Gospel reading on the Byzantine Catholic calendar (Mark 9: 42 – 10: 1):

      [42] And if thy hand scandalize thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life, maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into unquenchable fire: [43] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. [44] And if thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off. It is better for thee to enter lame into life everlasting, than having two feet, to be cast into the hell of unquenchable fire: [45] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished.

      [46] And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out. It is better for thee with one eye to enter into the kingdom of God, than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire: [47] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. [48] For every one shall be salted with fire: and every victim shall be salted with salt. [49] Salt is good. But if the salt became unsavoury; wherewith will you season it? Have salt in you, and have peace among you.

      [1] And rising up from thence, he cometh into the coasts of Judea beyond the Jordan: and the multitudes flock to him again. And as he was accustomed, he taught them again.

      I used the Douay version.

    • Indeed that does appear to be the case, for St Ignatius goes on:
      “For the Lord received anointing on His head in order that He might breathe incorruptibility on the Church. Do not be anointed with the evil odor of the teachings of the Prince of this World, that he may not lead you captive away from the life that is set before you. But why is it that we are not all wise when we have received the knowledge of God, which is Jesus Christ? Why do we perish in our stupidity, not knowing the gift the Lord has truly sent us? …My service (says St Ignatius) is given over to the humble service of the Cross which is a stumbling block to unbelievers, but to us salvation and eternal life.”
      So, regardless of the sophistry of Amoris Laetitia, as St Ignatius illustrates, there is not one soul amongst us who can have it both ways – it’s either sacrifice and the Cross, or self-indulgence and the road to perdition.

  16. How can separated and divorced people who move on to adulterous relationships have informed or enlightened consciences? As soon as they gave in and moved in with someone else they moved out of the Light in enLIGHTened. The Maltese are showing us that what they now promote with such enthusiasm from AL was already in their hearts but now they have the fiat from Francis or should I say Francis and Fernandez.

  17. Another example of the devil entering the Church with the encouragement of Pope Francis and many Bishops. Let us ask Our Lady of Fatima for divine intervention.

    “Yet you, O LORD, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not leave us.” —Jeremiah 14:9

  18. Wow that is well written. It seems appropriate that the picture of the bird at the top is a Vulture / Buzzard and not a Majestic Falcon. I get to see these birds eating carrion all the time here in Chile. Inside the Church and out in the pasture as well. Thanks Jim

  19. This is so powerful; thank you so much.

    This stuff with AL and now the Maltese statement has another danger attached to it that I have not seen written about. If those living in adulterous situations do not have sufficient grace to live in a chaste marriage, what about those who have a spouse who – due to health problems (or any other reason for that matter) – is no longer able to have conjugal relations?

    Are we now able to legitimately abandon that spouse? Have a series of affairs? And still present ourselves for communion?

    Methinks not, of course, but then I find all of this beyond the pale. Christ’s teachings may not always be easy, but they aren’t confusing or unclear.

  20. We’ve moved so far from our roots on this issue it’s amazing.

    Last week’s gospel reading of the wedding feast at Cana had a beautiful commentary by Fr. Leonard Goffine who said, in the late 19th century, that marriage is binding until the death of either partner, except in very extreme cases in which the pope or a bishop could grant a divorce. Even in that case, the couple could not remarry.

    No one knows the meaning of the word ‘sacrifice’ anymore. No one wants to pick up their crosses and follow Christ. How fickle, selfish, shortsighted and petty.

  21. If we’re in the realm of hardboiled detective fiction references, this latest protocol from Malta would make a Catholic bishop want to kick a hole in a stained-glass window. I guess it’s just one more stage in the Long Goodbye to Divine Truth.

  22. This is all part of the freemasonic usurpation of the Church. The “craft” is alive and well behind Vatican City walls where human conscience reigns supreme and God is just a “figurehead” for rigid neo-pelagianists. God help us!

  23. Amores Laetitia recommends that the truths of the Gospel ought to be subordinated to the judgement of conscience, or temporarily suspended by the judgement of conscience, or completely abandoned in favour of the judgement of conscience (paragraph 303). For 2,000 years the Church has taught that, on the contrary, conscience ought to be informed by the light of truth, conscience ought to judge according to the standards of the Gospel, and conscience ought to be educated by the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

  24. What a wolf in sheep clothing that Jorge is .Although we are all Sinner’s Jorge should really take heed of our Lord’s word . To teach these ltitle ones evil it would be better if a millstone be put around your neck and that you be cast into the deepest part of the ocean -unquote.

  25. Apparently this is happening in Columbia as well. I just read on another site that a Priest on Columbia has been suspended for remaining faithful to our Lord and Church teaching on marriage and the Eucharist.The clergy need to be in our prayers everyday. May our Lord give them strength and courage and may our Lady protect them.


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