A Missionary of Mercy’s Amoris laetitia: Interview questions for Pope Francis

prodigal son albrecht durer

To set the tone (because people tell me I’m tone deaf!):

Most all the Missionaries of Mercy with the Holy Father in the Sala Regia:

Now then, just think, what if a Missionary of Mercy specifically as one of Pope Francis’ Missionaries of Mercy were to have an opportunity to have a sit down interview with the Holy Father, and this on behalf of all Missionaries of Mercy and the whole Church in this world, what would you most want to ask him?

Think about it. Pray about it. Make it super-concise. Don’t answer the question for him. Pepper it with all that cries out for further explanation. Be utterly respectful. Type it out in the comments box of this post.

Then share this post if you can. There is, perhaps, a chance…

Note to the Pontifical Family: Just because there may be a few questions in the comments box or other questions coming in by way of email, that doesn’t mean that I will use them or use them as is, you know, that is, if I do have this opportunity on behalf of the Church. I have many respectful questions of my own, far reaching, which will give the Holy Father leeway to answer whatever what he wants. I think that’s important.



Filed under Amoris laetitia, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

25 responses to “A Missionary of Mercy’s Amoris laetitia: Interview questions for Pope Francis

  1. elizdelphi

    I am confused by an example Cardinal Schonborn gave of a couple in an adulterous second marriage raising 8 children as Catholics, whom he says “rigorists” would want to require to refrain from their adulterous sexual union. Doesn’t the universal call to holiness imply that we can have confidence in God that He will supply the actual grace to everyone who sincerely seeks Him, to be able to refuse to consent to what is objectively gravely sinful?

  2. Jane Dunne-Brady

    I don’t understand how a couple who have been in an “irregular situation” in their marriage, can repair this and come back to God in full communion with the Church by transforming into a “brother-sister relationship” in their marriage. I know that Mary and Joseph had a “brother-sister”relationship in their marriage and that their marriage was a true marriage, and sacred to God; still, it seems to me that if two people can no longer give themselves totally to each other in body, mind, spirit and emotions in God (as the Church defines marriage), then it is no longer really a marriage(unless physically they are unable to).
    Thank you for the opportunity to ask this.

  3. Nancy B

    Father, thank you for offering this opportunity to pose questions. I have been sitting around all day thinking about what to ask and quite frankly I don’t even know where to start except to ask “Can we go back to working at forming our consciousness that conform to the One Holy Catholic & Apostolic Church?

  4. Cathy

    Just recently, my sister’s friend was offered an “internal forum” solution to her divorce and remarriage by a priest who was not her pastor. When she questioned her pastor on this, he responded that this was absolutely not acceptable. When she questioned the priest friend, he became irritable that the solution he proposed was not embraced by the priest, and that said priest should understand due to the fact that he, himself, taught him in regards to the “internal forum” solution. This was a recent event.
    As I assume that many have already opted for such a solution, how, ultimately are they reconciled to Christ and the Church, when they are told that their situation is not publicly reconciled within the Church? How does a pastor walk with a soul in such a situation when another offers an easy out? What impact does this have on the fraternal charity among priests when bad counsel is given to a soul within their care? What happens when souls counsel others to just talk to Fr. So-and-so regarding their situation and he will take care of it?

  5. elizdelphi

    Jane, it is couples who had previously married in the Church in a valid marriage and later got civilly divorced and civilly “remarried” somebody else in a relationship that is really adulterous (calling it “irregular” is a more neutral term for these situations) who are asked to live “as brother and sister” in order to receive Communion. They are asked to stop committing adultery before they can receive the Sacraments.

    Marriage is indissoluble and for life according to the words of Jesus in the Bible and the teaching of the Catholic Church. Jesus says the two (man and woman) become one flesh, and if a man divorces his wife and marries another he commits adultery. This is why someone cannot get married again to a different person if their original marriage broke down. They need to live chastely and should still pray for their spouse. The husband and wife whose marriage breaks down irreparably still need to be faithful to one another, they may not commit adultery.

    “Internal forum solution” seems like it could mean different things, since “internal forum” refers to conversations with a priest in private, for instance in the confessional or spiritual direction. The couple making an agreement with their priest to “live as brother and sister” is one form of internal forum solution. The problem is when there are “internal forum solutions” that are basically the priest condoning grave sin.

  6. elizdelphi

    Canon 1387 of the Code of Canon Law says “A priest who in the act, on the occasion, or under the pretext of confession solicits a penitent to sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue is to be punished, according to the gravity of the delict, by suspension, prohibitions, and privations; in graver cases he is to be dismissed from the clerical state.” Does this not suggest that a priest advising people in an adulterous “second marriage” to commit adultery without being bothered in conscience, may be committing a canonical crime? Shouldn’t the Pope be willing to say consistently and clearly that such advice is very wrong?


  7. Father George David Byers

    FROM A READER who is having trouble with the comment system:

    “For the abandoned spouse and children ( through no fault of their own): how are they able to continue to receive graces from the sacrament of the true marriage which started their nuclear Catholic family? Do the graces just stop with the civil divorce?”

  8. Holiness: You are planning to go to Sweden for an observance of the quinquicentennial of Fr. Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses, marking the beginning of the Protestant movement. How should Roman Catholics view this anniversary?

  9. Would a marriage between a Catholic and previously married Protestant performed by a minister (not a priest) in a Protestant church (but not the denomination of the Protestant partner in the marriage) be considered sacramentally valid?
    Then if the Protestant member of the marriage later demanded a divorce, would the Catholic member of the marriage by considered to be living in adultery of they remarried? Could this marriage be annulled? The Protestant member of the above marriage returned to their original partner. Would this be considered adulterous too?

  10. Cathy

    Holy Father, be merciful to the Body of Christ crucified at this moment with the members of His Body distended to such a degree that never is their pain like His! This is from one of the prayers of St. Bridget of Sweden, this is not being done by the Jews, this is us! We are being beat up for defending basic moral principles – marriages don’t die, individuals die! Clarity is charity, it is not judgment! I judge when I refuse to speak clearly the truth all worried how my brother may accept it, or what he might do to me for speaking it clearly. Was St. John the Baptist just with Herod, or simply a fool! Did he love justice in accordance to mercy when he begged incessantly for Herod to repent! Who benefits from misguided mercy or deference to worldly power – the foxes or the donkeys? Who are we if we attempt to cut off our own Head?

  11. Stephen.Round.

    Would intercommunion with some Lutheran churches be a possibility?Congratulations on your brilliant Amoris Latetia

  12. elizdelphi

    Stephen.Round, Catholics believe that the Eucharist only becomes present when consecrated by a validly ordained priest. Martin Luther, out of egalitarian motives did away with sacramental ordination of priests (which had been handed on from the Apostles by laying on of hands by an Apostle or one of their successors, ie a Bishop); Lutherans don’t believe in it, and typically don’t believe in transubstantiation of the Eucharist (that what the bread and wine actually ARE changes at the consecration, so that bread and wine are present no longer but the Lord is present, body blood soul and divinity… that is the Catholic belief). Catholics follow the teaching of Saint Paul that anyone who eats and drinks (of the Eucharist) without discerning the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. So, Catholics cannot receive Lutheran communion since the body of the Lord is not present, and Lutherans who don’t believe in the Real Presence cannot receive Catholic Communion. It is not simply a matter of permission but of substantially different beliefs. Lutherans who do come to believe that Catholics have the real and substantial Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist should of course become Catholic and obey His command to “eat my flesh and drink my blood” without which “you have no life in you”. A group of Lutherans who all had this belief should petition the Pope for a Lutheran Ordinariate like the Anglican Ordinariate that has been formed to let converts continue many of their cherished Anglican traditions, but in full Communion with the Church Jesus founded and with all the benefit of the Sacraments.

  13. Stephen.Round.

    I was directing the question via Fr. byers to the Pope.

  14. pattiday

    Some of the subjects that the Pope Francis addresses during his daily homilies are confusing, even strange. As an example, the Holy Father recently said that he felt bad for a repentant Judas, who when he tried to return the blood money to the Jewish temple, was not received with compassion by the priests, nor forgiven by them. How strange would this have been since it was the priests that sought Judas’ complicity in turning Jesus over to his persecutors in the first place, and they held no faculties to grant absolution to Judas if they were to feel compassion. Why did the Holy Father not use this as an opportunity to teach how even this most egregious of sins could have been forgiven had Judas lived to see Jesus rise from the dead and sought mercy from Him? Instead, Judas lost his faith and took his own life. Jesus, himself, said that it was better if Judas had not been born than to do what he did, but the Holy Father, in my opinion, sowed doubt about whether Judas really had free will, or was merely a sad pawn in Christ’s passion and death.

  15. elizdelphi

    Some things don’t need the Pope to weigh in because they have a simple answer that is common knowledge.

  16. Stephen.Round.

    elizdelphi-respectfully.I refer you to my last comment.

  17. Nan

    Stephen Round, what Elizadelphi said. “Intercommunion” is a fallacy. Receiving Communion is a sign that we believe and profess all the Church teaches, including that Communion is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. It typically means that we go to confession regularly and are absolved of our sins. Communion is a sign of unity. When you don’t believe the same as the Church believes, why would you make an outward sign that you do? Why would you want Catholics to make an outward sign that they don’t believe Church teaching, which is what receiving Lutheran communion amounts to.

    The truth is that Lutherans don’t have valid Holy Orders and Lutheran ministers neither believe that Communion is the Real Presence of Christ nor have the ability to make it so.

  18. Father George David Byers

    Stephen Round is correct that this post with these comments is about gathering some questions for the Holy Father, not other readers. The Holy Father has much to say on all this and I think he should be given some space for additional comments given that there has been much reaction already for him to consider, much division for him to consider, much of everything. The point of an interview is not to impress our point of view but to draw out the point of view of the one being interviewed. I didn’t want to do a general purge of comments, but I may have to. The usual comment rules of Father Z also apply here: go after the topic of the post! ;-)

  19. Nan

    joisygoil, that’s a big old muddle but here the important fact is that the protestant is still married. Because the ordinary ministers of marriage are the couple marrying, with priest or deacon as witness, the Catholic Church recognizes marriage as sacramental – the only means by which to determine that it isn’t, is an annulment proceeding so the protestants marriage remains in effect.

    Here, the Catholic does not have a sacramental marriage as the protestant was not free to marry. The denomination of the minister is irrelevant to the validity of the proceedings; the minister is a witness only.

    There isn’t anything to be annulled as the Catholic didn’t make a valid marriage; however, there’s an administrative proceeding called Lack of Form which recognizes that an invalid marriage had taken place and brings the Catholic back into the Church’s good graces.

    If the Catholic has been married a second time, there are also ways to bless that marriage and have the Church recognize it which is best discussed with the parish priest, or priest of a prospective parish.

    The Church holds the protestants first marriage to be valid so returning to the original partner wouldn’t be adulterous.

    I hope that helps you to better understand the Catholics circumstances. It’s all about applying facts to rules.

  20. elizdelphi

    Holy Father, I used to get a lot out of some of the teaching documents and advisories from the CDF. I have a really high regard for Cardinal Muller, yet I’ve been disappointed that it seems like there have been no documents of those sorts released by the CDF since you’ve been Pope. Did you forbid them and if so why?

    Also, we were expecting news from the CDF and from you on whether there will be a continued wait and see approach with the Medjugorje phenomenon with the current disciplinary measures in place, or if it has been possible to determine it “constat de non supernauralitate.” Is a statement on the status of Medjugorje still forthcoming?

    Also, what would you say to religious critical of what they call “the institutional church” who leave (or talk about leaving) religious life, leave the Church, and form “non canonical forms of religious life” apart from the unity of the Catholic Church?

  21. elizdelphi

    Your Holiness, as it your intention for people, such as Fr Spadaro of Civilta Cattolica (sp?), to interpret Amoris Laetitia footnote 351 as meaning that couples divorced from a valid marriage and civilly remarried and willingly, knowingly persevering in an objectively adulterous sexual relationship could receive Holy Communion?

    How should an abandoned spouse from a valid Catholic marriage feel if their abandoning spouse is in a new union with someone else which is praised by their priest (perhaps citing Amoris Laetitiae) as having many positive characteristics that the priest thinks legitimate the continuation of the adultery?

    If, in Amoris Laetitiae, it has been your intention for priests to have latitude to give guidance that may contradict one another (and sometimes contradict canon law) on whether a validly married, civilly divorced and civilly remarried Catholic who persists in continuing adulterous sexual activity may receive Holy Communion, isn’t it human nature that people will seek out a priest who will let them do whatever they want? Some people in such situations even now are simply informing the priests who accompany them that “Pope Francis says we can receive Communion” and will no longer listen to anything to the contrary.

    Holy Father, what are your thoughts on proposals to give priests the option to use the traditional form of the offertory in the Novus Ordo Mass?

    Is defense of innocent human life from conception to natural death a social justice issue, and is it necessary for all people to embrace as part of a consistent ethic of social justice?

    How can a priest discern whether his reluctance to “adominish the sinner” is because of the sin of human respect or because of a merciful patience that prudently waits until the person is more open to conversion–or even if it is out of a fear of committing the newly defined sin of “throwing doctrines like stones” at the person?

    Do the faculties to absolve penitents etc work for the Orthodox like the “Year of Mercy” faculties granted to the SSPX? Ie, is the will of the successor of Saint Peter involved in supplying the Orthodox with faculties?

    Under what circumstances would you say is it okay for a priest to have a dog, and if so what kind?

  22. Father George David Byers


  23. I realize that these posts are primarily to supply potential questions for Pope Francis.

    However, I will note in reference Elizabeth’s question: “Under what circumstances would you say is it okay for a priest to have a dog, and if so what kind?” that, according to a rumor that I am just now starting here, this question will be answered in a motu proprio to be issued in the fall with the title of “Gadium Canium.”

    Thank you.

  24. sanfelipe007


  25. Nan

    Holy Father, with the perception that you have changed Church teaching on marriage and all who are divorced and remarried but whose marital bond with the first spouse is presumed intact, is marriage still a sacrament?

    Is the Eucharist limited to Catholics in good standing or is it now open to all who love Jesus, like the Presbyterians?

    Why try to live a righteous life and confess my sins regularly in the hope of going to Heaven in the end if unrepentant sinners can worthily receive the Sacraments?

    Does Apostolic Succession mean anything anymore?

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