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Theological Censures Against Amoris Laetitia Revealed

romaThe apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia, issued by Pope Francis on March 19th 2016 and addressed to bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated persons, Christian married couples, and all the lay faithful, has caused grief and confusion to many Catholics on account of its apparent disagreement with a number of teachings of the Catholic Church on faith and morals. This situation poses a grave danger to souls.”

So begins the 13-page document sent by an international group of Catholic theologians, pastors, historians, and scholars “to every one of the Cardinals and Patriarchs, of whom there are 218 living at present.”

Though the document was intended to be viewed only by its ecclesiastical recipients and not the general public, it has now been published in full on the website of The Australian by Tess Livingstone, who is also the biographer of Cardinal George Pell. (There is no indication in the story as to the source of the leaked document, but the professional connection between Livingstone and a prominent member of the curia is worth noting in this regard.)

Dr. Joseph Shaw, one of the signatories and the group’s spokesman, previously revealed to Claire Chretien of LifeSiteNews the reasoning behind the originally-intended secrecy of the content of the appeal and its signatories, as well as the public revelation of the effort’s existence:

“The appeal and cover letter are directed to the cardinals for action in the first place, and we have taken the view that the Sacred College should be allowed to consider the substance of the document and the action to be taken in response to it before its contents are made public,” he said. “The censures are a detailed and technical theological document whose contents are not readily accessible to a non-specialist audience, and are easily misrepresented or misunderstood. Making the document public would impede the cardinals in their task by the media coverage and frequently uninformed debate and polemics it would raise.”

Shaw continued, “At the same time it is important that Catholics who are troubled by some of the statements in Amoris Laetitia be aware that steps are being taken to address the problems it raises; hence the announcement of the document’s existence.”

“By the same token we aren’t releasing the names of the signatories, though some have agreed to be named,” such as Shaw himself and Father Brian Harrison…

Since the time of Shaw’s statement, the National Catholic Reporter revealed the list of signatories without providing the accompanying theological text. It remains an open question whether this was intended to provoke retributive action against the authors of the text, who had signed under the condition of confidentiality and did not authorize the release.

It was previously my position to honor the process laid out by the authors and the confidentiality it entailed, but with the text of the theological critique and the cover letter to the dean of the College of Cardinals (including the list of signatories) now irretrievably made public, I have chosen to offer them here for review and comment.

(Download the full cover letter here. Download the full theological analysis with censures here. Both links are to PDF files.)

On the authority of Amoris Laetitia, the critique notes the conflict between the perceived and actual authority the exhortation possesses, and the subsequent change in behavior it is likely to elicit on the part of the faithful:

The official character of Amoris laetitia enables it to pose a grave danger to the faith and morals of Catholics. Although an apostolic exhortation pertains normally or principally to the purely pastoral governing power, nevertheless, on account of the inter-connection of the powers of teaching and of government, it also pertains indirectly to the magisterial power. It can also contain directly magisterial passages, which are then clearly indicated as being such. This was the case for previous apostolic exhortations such as Evangelii nuntiandi, Familiaris consortio, and Reconciliatio et paenitentia.

There is no obstacle as such to the Pope’s using an apostolic exhortation to teach infallibly on faith and morals, but no infallible teaching is contained in Amoris laetitia, since none of its statements satisfy the strict requirements for an infallible definition. It is thus a non-infallible exercise of the papal magisterium.

Some commentators have asserted that the document does not contain magisterial teaching as such, but only the personal reflections of the Pope on the subjects it addresses. This assertion if true would not remove the danger to faith and morals posed by the document. If the Supreme Pontiff expresses a personal opinion in a magisterial document, this expression of opinion implicitly presents the opinion in question as one that it is legitimate for Catholics to hold. As a result, many Catholics will come to believe that the opinion is indeed compatible with Catholic faith and morals. Some Catholics out of respect for a judgment expressed by the Supreme Pontiff will come to believe that the opinion is not only permissible but true. If the opinion in question is not in fact compatible with Catholic faith or morals, these Catholics will thus reject the faith and moral teaching of the Catholic Church as it applies to this opinion. If the opinion relates to questions of morals, the practical result for the actions of Catholics will be the same whether they come to hold that the opinion is legitimate or actually true. An opinion on moral questions that is in truth legitimate for the Supreme Pontiff to hold is one that it is legitimate for Catholics to follow. Belief in the legitimacy of a moral position will thus lead Catholics to believe that it is legitimate to act as if it is true. If there is a strong motivation to act in this way, as there is with the questions being addressed here for the faithful to whose situations these questions are pertinent, most Catholics will act accordingly. This is an important factor in an evaluation of Amoris laetitia, because that document addresses concrete moral questions.

Though some have questioned why the authors of the appeal have not made accusations of heresy toward Pope Francis if a “natural reading” of the exhortation can lead to a heretical understanding of Catholic teaching, the authors answer this objection in the section on “The dangers of Amoris laetitia.” They write:

The following analysis does not deny or question the personal faith of Pope Francis. It is not justifiable or legitimate to deny the faith of any author on the basis of a single text, and this is especially true in the case of the Supreme Pontiff. There are further reasons why the text of Amoris laetitia cannot be used as a sufficient reason for holding that the Pope has fallen into heresy. The document is extremely long, and it is probable that much of its original text was produced by an author or authors who are not Pope Francis, as is normal with papal documents. Those statements in it that on the face of them contradict the faith could be due to simple error on Pope Francis’s part, rather than to a voluntary rejection of the faith.

This is, it seems to me, a legitimate extension of the benefit of the doubt, even though we may (rightly) suspect that the contradictory statements are intentional. The fact is, we do not have certitude, and that is enough of a reason to make such a qualifying statement. But the authors do not shy away from a strong statement about the effect of the exhortation, intentional or not:

When it comes to the document itself, however, there is no doubt that it constitutes a grave danger to Catholic faith and morals. It contains many statements whose vagueness or ambiguity permit interpretations that are contrary to faith or morals, or that suggest a claim that is contrary to faith and morals without actually stating it. It also contains statements whose natural meaning would seem to be contrary to faith or morals.


The problem with Amoris laetitia is not that it has imposed legally binding rules that are intrinsically unjust or authoritatively taught binding teachings that are false. The document does not have the authority to promulgate unjust laws or to require assent to false teachings, because the Pope does not have the power to do these things. The problem with the document is that it can mislead Catholics into believing what is false and doing what is forbidden by divine law.

In expressing their intent, the authors make clear what they are attempting to establish with this document, and it is here that we begin to see the technical nature of their work as theologians, and why it is critical that their analysis be understood properly, to avoid misinterpretation:

For the sake of theological clarity and justice, this criticism of the harmful parts of Amoris laetitia will take the form of a theological censure of the individual passages that are deficient. These censures are to be understood in the sense traditionally held by the Church,2 and are applied to the passages prout iacent, as they lie. The propositions censured are so damaging that a complete listing of the censures that apply to them is not attempted. Most if not all of them fall under the censures of aequivoca, ambigua, obscura, praesumptuosa, anxia, dubia, captiosa, male sonans, piarum aurium offensiva, as well as the ones listed. The censures list i) the censures that bear upon the content of the statements censured, and ii) those that bear upon the damaging effects of the statements. The censures are not intended to be an exhaustive list of the errors that Amoris laetitia on a plausible reading contains; they seek to identify the worst threats to Catholic faith and morals in the document. The propositions censured are divided into those that are heretical and those that fall under a lesser censure.

This is, in other words, a serious and scholarly undertaking. As Dr. Shaw has commented, “The censures are a detailed and technical theological document whose contents are not readily accessible to a non-specialist audience, and are easily misrepresented or misunderstood.” We must be careful then, now that the contents have been made public, to defer to those specialists in theology (including the signatories themselves) in the proper interpretation of the appeal.

There is no reasonable way to summarize here the list of ostensibly heretical propositions in AL and their applicable theological censures without leaving out language vital to a proper understanding of the analysis. The propositions include statements contained in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation about the death penalty, sexual submission, the nature of consecrated virginity, the supposed inability of the faithful to meet the demands of the divine law, the implied denial of the reality eternal damnation, certain questions of culpability for grave sin (and the possibility of obtaining sanctifying grace while in such sin), the notion that one can sin by obeying the divine law, and more. A total of 19 propositions are analyzed, interpreted, and, given the context of an obvious reading that would be contrary to divine teaching, assigned appropriate theological censures.

It appears, therefore, that a request for “clarification” or “correction” is being made by the signatories in order to eliminate any language from Amoris Laetitia which could reasonably be construed to convey heretical understandings of Catholic teaching. The importance of this request cannot be understated; barring a complete retraction of the exhortation, responding positively to this request is, at a bare minimum, a solemn moral duty of the pope.  It is my own interpretation (not stated anywhere in the appeal) that for Pope Francis not to do so would be for him to tacitly acknowledge that he accepts — and quite likely intends — the propagation of these heretical understandings.

It is therefore my opinion that this document represents an incredibly important first step in any conceivable process to determine whether, as so many Catholics have already surmised, we have a pope who is a manifest and obdurate heretic. It must be acknowledged and addressed; failure to do so is to give consent to the very heresies it addresses.

Thank God for the brave men who undertook this painstaking initiative and took the risk of putting their names on it. Three of the signatories — Fr. Brian Harrison, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, and Dr. Michael Sirilla  — have contributed here at 1P5. (Full disclosure: Dr. Sirilla is not only a friend and podcast guest, but a member of the board of directors of OnePeterFive. I had previously agreed to keep any knowledge of the project gained through my relationship with signatories confidential. As noted above, the newsworthiness and public dimension of the now-published letter and critique has now made it possible for me to cover the contents here.) Please pray for the signatories. They anticipated a leak, were aware of the risk it would represent, and signed regardless. I’ve already gotten reports that some of the larger group of 45 signatories have, following the publication of their names, received negative reactions either from religious superiors or the general public. It is without doubt that they will not be the last.

Nevertheless, this is by far the most important and substantive act of faithful resistance that has yet been made during the present pontificate. We should all pray that it is an effort blessed by Our Lord, and that it accomplishes what it sets out to do, and that those who undertook this initiative be rewarded by God for their fidelity to His holy Church.

85 thoughts on “Theological Censures Against Amoris Laetitia Revealed”

    • Thank you. Those prayers are sorely needed and so much appreciated. You have no idea. Pray, pray, pray! Also for their families!

      • Ever since I heard their names were published without their permission, I began a rosary daily, dedicated solely for the signatories. In response to your comment, I have also added their families. I also thank God we have such brave Catholics, willing to stand up for the Faith.
        One thing about this pontificate, I am saying so many daily rosaries for various intentions (such as for orthodox Catholic bloggers, as they may be the only means of proclaiming the authentic Catholic Faith in the public square, given the way this pontificate is going,|) …that I have had to start strict schedules for praying the rosaries, to fit all the prayers in one day. …
        Our Lady did ask us to pray the rosary daily, …

        • It seems to me, on the one hand, that it was obvious that the names would be leaked and they had to know that when they signed, and, on the other hand, one must be willing to stand up and be counted when it comes to defending the truth of the Catholic faith. I have taught theology for many years in seminaries and hold a doctoral degree from a Pontifical University. If I had an opportunity of signing, I would have signed, and I am sure many more would have done the same.

        • Good idea…….I think I will pray one more just for the signatories. My one Rosary is already crowded with all of the intentions I have:)

  1. Thanks for putting this up Steve. This is critical work and it needs to be made known to as many as possible, so that it can’t be just brushed aside as if it doesn’t exist or never happened. The danger of Amoris Latitia and indeed innumerable other statements of Pope Francis cannot be underestimated they are a present and future danger to countless souls.

  2. A great wave of revulsion and then profound sadness washed over me as I read the document and am reminded of all the moral degradation contained in AL. The signatories are valiant individuals who I hope are comforted that they champion truth and will suffer for Christ.

    That they are being persecuted by superiors is heart wrenching. That so much corruption exists in the corridors of power is chilling. What surreal times we live in.

    St Joseph, hammer of heretics, pray for us
    St Thomas More, pray for us
    St Thomas Aquinas, pray for us
    St Paul, pray for us
    All English martyrs, pray for us
    St Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle

  3. My guess is that this letter will just be ignored. Most Cardinals and Bishops are either in bed with these errors (no pun intended) or simply craven. One thing that will absolutely NOT happen is a public correction to AL’s errors, as the signatories request.

    One thing I don’t get though: if the natural reading of a text is heretical, then isn’t the author heretical? Given that Mr. Bergoglio has been harping on many of these themes for years, can anyone plausibly argue that he’s not obstinate in his errors?

    • Yes but the loophole is that the author is Tucho “art of kissing” Fernandez and maybe just maybe (yeah right) Frankie didn’t read it carefully before he signed it.

      • I get what you’re saying but . . . if I sign a document then the words of that document become mine, regardless of who actually penned them. Isn’t AL issued in the pope’s name?

        And doesn’t this separation of a papal document from the pope himself set a dangerous precedent for the authority of papal teaching, since probably all such documents are ghost written to some extent.

        I think the letter drafters are bending too far backwards here to avoid calling Bergoglio out as a heretic. Based on the 11 heresies they’ve identified in AL, Bergoglio is a heretic.

        • Oh I don’t accept the loophole myself, just saying this is one escape hatch the defenders of Bergoglio resort to. I have no doubt Bergoglio means every word of Amorous Lustitia.

      • If Francis didn’t read what Tucho wrote, he is a very irresponsible person, as he signed what is in the document. I very much doubt that he failed to read it.

    • There is a precedent; Bl Pope Paul VI signed documents regarding Vatican II without reading them, according to Rev. Fr. Ralph Wiltgen S.V.D. (1921-2002) in “The Inside Story of Vatican II: A Firsthand Account of the Council’s Inner Workings” who was present throughout the Council and founded the independent, multilingual Council News Service to report on the events of V2. Ditto the Novus Ordo Missae, BTW. Pax Christi

      • I don’t agree that Blessed Paul VI signed Conciliar documents without reading them. In fact he had some corrections made to them. He was a very conscientious person and a very careful writer.

  4. We need more people like you Steve. Will church militant bother to post it? I think not. This Pope has given us so many scandals it is hard to keep up. Dear God please help us!

  5. Excellent piece, Steve. Thank you for staying on this. I for one am planning to send this to my bishop and ask him what position he will take on this important issue. The response (or lack thereof) will be telling….

  6. Meanwhile, the pope is busy countering this document from “an international group of Catholic theologians, pastors, historians, and scholars” by having Osservatore Romano publish an article by a Mexican “philosopher” ( “How long, O Lord, must we suffer the punishment of this pontificate?”

  7. Thank you for making this available. I hope that every Catholic who cares about fidelity to Our Lord reads these documents carefully and makes them known to their family and friends. They prove that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church of God even though Peter himself deserts the Faith.

    Our Lord raises up teachers of the truth even when his vicar teaches error. Let us pray for the Pope’s conversion.

  8. This is just the kind of resistance to Amoris Laetitia that we’ve been crying out for since its publication. It is such a blessing that these honourable Catholic men have banded together to untie the knots in AL & have the courage to append their signatures to it. This breaks the silence so stubbornly adhered to by our Cardinals & Bishops who should be standing up for the faith they were ordained to uphold, i.e. the One Holy Catholic & Apostolic one, handed down directly from St. Peter & the First Apostles, whom Jesus Christ chose to be His first Pope & Bishops. Their present successors are only interested in political achievements, e.g. climate change, economic injustice etc. which are the responsibilities of civil government, while ignoring the spiritual direction & necessities that all mankind crave for & which they are particularly equipped to provide. They should be collectively ashamed of themselves but we thank God that He has provided us with a academically strong & responsible laity to challenge the inherently unacceptable attempts by the author(s) of this (Binding?) Papal Exhortation to change Catholic Doctrine by the back door.

  9. To continue a train of thought I had below: if Mr Bergoglio is indeed teaching heresies, then there are only two conclusions that can be drawn:

    1. The Holy Spirit has abandoned His Church to the wolves, or

    2. Bergoglio is not a valid Pope.

    #1 is a defect of God, #2 is a defect of man (since the process of selecting a Pope is man-made). Since #1 is impossible, it must be #2.

    Is there a third option I’m missing?

    • As Jesus gave us His promise to remain with His Church until the end of time, it has to be your second conclusion. It is imperative that he is removed asap along with his Modernist supporters.

    • Pope Francis can teach in error if he is not speaking ex-cathedra.
      So far, he has not spoken in such a way.
      If he makes an ex-cathedra pronouncement that contradicts past settled dogma, then the idea of papal infallibility is false and everything since the 1869-1870 Vatican council may be in error, including VCII. Basically it takes us back to a councilor Church where the Pope is, in effect, no more authoritative regarding matters of dogma than any patriarch.

      • Actually if Francis “dogmatically” declares anything clearly against dogma, we will have absolute evidence that he is an anti-pope since the dogma of infallibility cannot be wrong. Example: women priests or ordained deacons.

        • Eyes, I watch for this every day. If he were to do so, there are only two explanations. 1) He was invalidly elected and there is some evidence for this, or 2) Papal infallibility is a false dogma. I don’t know which is worse but I suspect that #1 is worse because it will split the church. The modernist will be invincibly ignorant and the discord will be damaging. If it were #2, only dogma from 1870 onward is in some doubt and everything before the first 7 ecumenical councils would be accepted.

      • Wrong. The pope in his apostolic exhortation is teaching through the “Ordinary Magesterium.” Ex-Cathedra pronoucements made by popes remain only two at this point: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Immaculate Conception. The Church can also pronounce doctrine/dogma via a Church Council in union with the Holy Father.

        • Al, with all respect, to teach through the ordinary Magesterium would require the teaching to be in harmony with Holy tradition and in communion with the other bishops? I would say that the pronouncements of the Pope are in harmony with neither. The Holy Spirit provides no protection to him outside of ex-cathedra pronouncements.

          • I do not disagree with you. In fact, I agree with your point. However, the point I attempted to make is that popes may teach through the ordinary magisterium (including the various congregation offices headed up by the cardinal prefects) or through a Church Council in union with the Holy Father. Alternatively, the pope can also teach through the extraordinary magisterium via ex-cathedra pronouncements (provided, as you said above, the teaching does not depart from past defined dogma/doctrine). I apologize for not writing more accurately! I am getting a little rusty:-)

  10. I want to thank the signatories most sincerely for this effort, and yes, may God help them, support and protect them, as well as the righteous cause for which they labor.
    We feel we are seeing the end of our church or faith as we always understood it. These men are turning the church and the faith on it’s head, almost unimpeded. There are souls that will be lost due to AL, people will be harmed. Whoever signed this petition can at least know they defended Jesus Christ and His Church.

  11. I fear silence will be the answer. Really hope not. For me the silence always hurts more than the preceding dificult statements. Every time…

    i would not mind so many msitakes being made if they were quickly acknoledged and corrected afterwads.

  12. This is great but why not in time propose the same clarifications for the ambiguous, insinuations and at times outright heresy in the documents of Vatican II. The trajectory of AL of course comes precisely from VII.

    • I’d say at the least, Evangelii Gaudium and the ludicrous Laudato Si {Sister Mother Earth, anyone???} need the same critical treatment.

  13. I am baffled by the theologians’ critique of AL 156, “Every form of sexual submission must be clearly rejected.” The theologians construe this as denying that the husband “has any form of authority over his wife” or that the wife has a duty to obey the husband’s legitimate commands. But “sexual submission” clearly refers to a much narrower and implicitly abusive form of authority (or submission to authority).

    • You say it refers to an implicitly abusive form of authority. The problem is that AL156 is surely once again vague and ambiguous. What is meant by “sexual submission”? In the light of AL156 it could be interpreted as meaning that submission (by which is meant obedience) based on the sex of the person submitting is to be rejected e.g. that a wife should submit to the husband. Others might interpret it as being one spouse demanding sex from the other party. The teaching of Ephesians seems to me to emphasise that a wife should submit to the husband generally but at the same time the husband should respect the wife. AL156 seems to dismiss the biblical teaching as merely something from another culture and replace it with reciprocity making no distinction between the role of a husband and the role of a wife – thereby dismissing the biblical teaching. But really it is just an example of the vague waffle which can mean anything to anyone and one of those meanings can be the subject of the critique by these theologians.

        • Simply because a particular interpretation of it would be heretical:

          If understood not simply as denying that a wife owes servile obedience to her husband or that the husband has authority over his wife that is the same as parental authority, but as also denying that the husband has any form of authority over his wife, or as denying that the wife has any duty to obey the legitimate commands of her husband in virtue of his authority as husband:
          The whole point is that there is so much vagueness and ambiguity that different interpretations can be put on the text and some of those interpretations are heretical. There are those who are already making these heretical interpretations. I have always understood that if there is a harsh interpretation of a text and an easy one, one is entitled to follow the easy one. Thus if you have a text which is capable of being given an easy interpretation which in fact is heresy then that is a grave danger to souls who in good faith follow the easy but heretical interpretation.

      • The CC must be very explicit here as to what they mean by submission/obedience of wife to husband. In to-day’s world it is often the wife who is the wage earner as well as housewife & bearer of children. That was not the case in biblical times or even up to WWII.

        Is she to be submissive to an alcoholic/drug abuser husband who has threatened her & their children with knives or guns? Is she to be submissive to a husband who regularly beats her in front of their children? Is she to be submissive to a husband wanting anal sex or a threesome? Is she to be submissive to a husband who has abandoned her & their family but comes back occasionally for his conjugal rights?

        Unfortunately, such situations arise more frequently than admitted.

        Death of a Wife in Spain Brings Outcry on Domestic Violence This & other cases are still embedded in my memory, but there are loads of other such criminal cases that used to fill the courts here prior to the government being forced to implement the EU Civil Rights Act.

        I believe that the CC must confront the circumstances leading to the plight of so many women over decades & even centuries. I am confident that this is putting off many young women from Holy Matrimony because they see the possibility of being legally enslaved to such individuals without recourse.

        • The best way for the CC to address your concerns is to teach the truth about sin. That’s it. The attempts to reach out using modern language and concepts is bankrupt.

          Concrete example?

          No, a wife doesn’t have to “submit” to a husband who wants anal sex. Why? Well, that is simple; because it is a sin. And most of your concerns run like that. Couching relationships in unnecessarily complicated terms always plays into the hands of the liberal and modernist who in fact wants to alter the fundamental realities of the relationships themselves. Witness the malarkey of which AL is FULL.

          See, the best way to eradicate the teaching of the Church is to complicate it to the point of impossibility of taking action. Why bother to attack it head on!! No need!

          Want to destroy the God-ordained hierarchy of the home? Easy!! Redefine authority and submission into caricatures of their true definitions. And then endlessly debate the result, while people move on, leaving the truth behind.

          Nothing is more demonstrable of this than what Catholic culture has become; near total acceptance of contraception, majority acceptance of gay “marriage”, disbelief in transubstantiation, diminution of the place of fathers, affirmation of total “equality” of the sexes, etc, etc, etc.

          • The CC has ceased to acknowledge sin & certainly doesn’t want to speak of Hell or damnation any more. The cases I cited concerned couples who would have been brought up prior to VII so therefore catechised to confirmation standard, which doesn’t now happen.

            The instruction to wives to be submissive to your husbands & husbands to love your wives is too broad a command, given what has socially occurred since biblical times. They are not as a result of AL’s errors or change in pastoral approach. Neither had they to do with contraception, LGBT agenda, equality of the sexes, disbelief in transubstantiation, etc. They were the result of macho men believing that on marriage they got to own their wives & to demonstrate their ‘masculinity’ regularly let them know that. There are many such men, you don’t have to go looking for them, but they now are contained by civil law. What is worrying is that canon law is not explicit in defining what is actually meant by ‘submission’ & how much love a husband should show towards his wife & family, i..e. should he love them more than himself?

          • I don’t disagree with what you are saying in general, but the solution isn’t more vague debate and discussion, it is clear teaching, and the teaching you seek can actually be found in Denzinger. You’d be surprised just how DETAILED Church teaching is on specific acts between married partners, and the relationship between men and women in the marriage relationship. If you don’t have a copy of Denzinger, get one, and then don’t let any priest or…bishop off the hook!!

            The Church is an endless repository of truth. That doesn’t mean her administrators have justly or mercifully passed that truth on perfectly at all times under all circumstances {just as you say}, but in today’s world we have both problems with husbands’ and wives’ sinful living inside marriage. The answer is to first find what the Church has always infallibly taught.

        • Do you know that more than 40% of domestic violence is woman on man according to studies in the U.S and U.K.? The matter has nothing to do with domestic violence. Read the citations from St. Paul.

          • I speak of cases known to me in Spain. The papers used to be full of them prior to EU law being enforced. The world doesn’t evolve solely around the USA & UK.

      • OK, so the authorities cited require that wives submit to the sexual demands of their husbands, willy nilly (to use a technical term)?

    • Read the texts from Scripture which are in the note accompanying this point. This is doctrine which is expressed on Sacred Scripture and cannot be rejected because the present culture doen’t like it. Besides, it is true.

  14. I have engaged my Bishop about AL. So far he has towed the line that it reflects the prayerful concern of the Pope for pastoral matters, that it must be read in the context of past Church teaching, does not change Church teaching, that the issues involved in a person’s life regarding the Sacrament of Marriage need to be taken up with the local pastor and that nothing in the Pope’s writings is heretical.

    This is the narrative, if you remember, that C. Müller produced, essentially verbatim. To an extent it is reassuring {he didn’t come out saying polygamy and gay marriage are A OK! LOL} but so far, that narrative left alone dodges the clear problems with AL and essentially, in my opinion, is a bit demeaning. That narrative presents AL as a beneficial document that is not a threat to the understanding of the faith by Catholics. We know that is not true.

    In a sense, I cannot fault the Bishop at this juncture because I lack knowledge of what is going on behind the scenes, if anything. But it does clearly make the point that my Bishop is not at this point questioning any specific statements publicly. Possibly he is in private. I hope so, but the current culture of Catholic leadership does not bode well for large numbers to stand up and resist Peter to the face.

    We shall see.

  15. Steve: I have one question. I am not being critical, but I am questioning…

    Just how important is this document?

    I admit I do not know all the players, but they represent a TINY fraction of theologians/priests. Won’t Pope Francis AND the Cardinals merely look at this {if they even look at this at all} as the skittish opinion of a group of “extremists” and “fundamentalists”?

    At this point, I see this specific document, powerful as it may be {and it is}, having zero impact on this pontificate or, dare I say it, on the next or any other.

    Please tell me how I am wrong, and why {I hope I am}.

  16. Yes, Roman Catholicism needs to go back to the good old days of the entirely justified Spanish Inquisition. Put the false pope to the flames.

    • Actually, if you knew anything about the Inquisition, you would know that many common folk preferred the Inquisition courts over the royal courts. Were there problems? Yup.

      Give European academia some time, and watch the Inquisition get a thorough review just as has and is happening with the Crusades.

    • Commentary
      I found this statement odd, rather timid and not at all objective in its assessment of Pope Francis’ faith especially given Pope Francis’ utterances and what transpired before and leading up to Amoris Laetitia, including the shenanigans of the two Synods of Bishops:

      The following analysis does not deny or question the personal faith of Pope Francis. It is not justifiable or legitimate to deny the faith of any author on the basis of a single text, and this is especially true in the case of the Supreme Pontiff.

      nor their minimizing Pope Francis’ responsibility as regards those statements in [AL] that on the face of them contradict the faith. It is his exhortation, and it is abundantly clear that Pope Francis wanted a certain outcome using the cover of Bishops and for the exhortation to point in a direction that clearly is unfaithful and opposed to the LORD, his Church, and their perennial Teaching.

  17. (1) As an Eastern Catholic, I object completely to these people lumping in my Patriarch (viz., His Blessedness Svyatoslav) and all the other Patriarchs of the non-Latin Churches with the Cardinals of the Roman Church. Patriarchs are NOT Cardinals — though, some are — rather, they are heads of Churches sui juris within the Catholic Church. Hence, they exceed in authority and position any one and all of the Cardinals combined. It just shows again the abysmal ignorance as to the exact nature of the Church’s structure, even amongst those with terminal degrees.

    (2) I would like to know whether the signatories fall under Can. 1372 of the Code of Canon Law: “A person who makes recourse against an act of the Roman Pontiff to an ecumenical council or the college of bishops is to be punished with a censure.” All of the Cardinals are Bishops. Many, if not most, also hold their own dioceses; they are part of the College of Bishops. So, . . . aren’t the signatories violating can. 1372 by appealing against an act of the Pope (i. e., the issuance of a particular statement) to the College of Bishops or a portion thereof?

    (3) Cardinals are technically — as per the “legal fiction” which the Cardinalate has become — members of the clergy Church of Rome: cf. Code of Canon Law, cann. 349 ff. Hence, the designation: Cardinal-Bishop, Cardinal-Priest, Cardinal-Deacon (even if — YES — they are all ordained as Bishops today). Each one is even given a titulus to or diakonia in a particular Roman parish, although he is never supposed to visit it officially (!). So, the signatories are NOT even appealing to a group which in technical terms is the Pope’s equal, like another Bishop or Bishops. Sacramentally as per ordination, perhaps yes; technically, as per designation, no. The signatories are in fact appealing to men who are considered clergy of the Archdiocese of Rome and who are BENEATH the diocesan Ordinary, who — oh, by the way — just happens to be the Pope.

    • How do signatories violate ANY Canon by requesting clarification on the issues stated, and demonstrating by clear explanation interpretations that might be held by individuals as heretical, “IF understood as…..”?

      The easy way for the issue to be settled is with a simple pastoral act of mercy by the Pope, namely in guiding the sheep so they do not stray by misinterpreting his writing. Don’t you suppose that the Holy Father is eager to be the minister of mercy to a confused flock…..?

    • on (i) The major archbishop of the Ukranian church, since he does not have the official title of patriarch, would not be among those who were due to receive a copy of the letter.
      on (ii), no this is not a forbidden canonical recourse, since the signatories do not appeal to the cardinals as having authority greater than that of the pope, but as his advisers, asking them to do their proper task as advisers.
      on (iii) that is correct, which is why the cardinals are not appealed to as the pope’s superiors who can command him, but as his advisers, who can recommend him to pursue a certain course of action.

    • Your comment contains some inaccuracies. Yes, the Cardinals are techniically members of the Roman clergy and are a kind of council of the Pope, in relation to his mission with regarding the Universal Church, not the diocese of Rome. As regards the Patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches, they are bishops of the Catholic Church and as bishops, they like all the rest of Catholic bishops, have a mission with respect to the Universal Church and they exercise it especially in Ecumenical Councils where they represent their own Churches. Patriarchs have a wider authority than a bishop of an eparchy. So, I see no problem in sending the study to them also, as they form part of the Universal Church, having their own liturgical, spiritual and canonical traditions, but they teach the same doctrine as the rest of the Church. Patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churchs take part in ecuemnical councils as obviously they should.

      It is not true that the Cardinal has nothing to do with the Roman parish assigned to him. They can visit that church and help it in several ways. Cardinal Ratzinger was titural of one of the dioceses, which are close to Rome. He used to go there and confirm among other things.

  18. I read it this morning in a Spanish Catholic news portal. I realize from some of the comments that it is important for those who don’t have theological training try to learn what the various theological censures mean and imply and that they have been traditonaly used by Magisterial documents when it came to rejecting false teaching. Some of those who commented thought that the censure of the doctrine which rejects the superiority of virginity over marriage is incorrect, and others didn’t agree with the censure on the teaching of Pope Francis on capital punishment. However, they manifest their lack of knowledge of the universal Tradition of the Church, base don Sacred Scripture unanimity of the Fathers of the Church (which has always been a true sign of orthodoxy) the teaching of Councils, Popes and the Church’s greatest doctors such as St. Augustin and St. Thomas Aquinas, which make it impossible for a Pope to propose doctrine contradictory to these sources. Regarding capital punishment, Pope Francis has gone even further in a video, in which he states that it is contrary to human dignity, that it is vengeance and “inadmissible”. He seems to think that Catholic teaching can be based on sentiments which are common these days and not on the abover mentioned sources.

    • What you say: “it is important for those who don’t have theological training try to learn what the various theological censures mean and imply and that they have been traditonaly used by Magisterial documents when it came to rejecting false teaching.” … is also alluded to in Fr. Hunwicke`s post of today:
      I believe he was one of the signatories, and he has a three part post on the “Magical Magisterium“…which is unfortunately, is what our current pontiff may succeed in reducing the Magisterium to.
      Tell me, how does an up-to-know average catechized person go about learning what the various theological censures mean and imply? I am praying about sending the letter and the names of the signatories to my Archbishop and Auxillary bishop, asking them to tell me what their response is.

    • Fr Hunwicke just wrote a new post today, in which he says: “Intimidation and cruel pressures have, it appears, been applied to persuade some of the signatories to the Letter to rescind their signatures.”

      He also says: “I would like to make it very clear that I am not talking about myself or in any way describing or alluding to my own situation or any experience I have had”.

      Read the whole post here at:

      • Yes, I just read it, courtesy of Vox Cantoris. Unlike the good Fr. Hunwicke, however, I believe the Bishop of Rome fully capable of such behavior. But this is just to be expected, I think. We’ve known what we are dealing with for some time. Prayers for the 45 tonight!

  19. Thank you for your excellent work. Question: what’s next if the pope doesn’t answer any of these questions, just as he did with the Dubia? This is the MO of the Left. Obama was a master of this. If anything, the pope will denounce these people in the strongest possible terms, and make every effort to discredit their authority. If this happens, we will still have a pope in error at least, at the helm of the bark and guiding it onto the shoals with impunity, and ostensibly, although I suspect much darker motives here, all justified in the name of mercy. The mindless zombies, also on the left, will NEVER understand the errors, nor the need to change course, even when drowning as a consequence of following along over the cliff like lemmings, into the sea. So really, what happens next when there is no change, in whatever way it presents itself?


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