Amoris laetitia 351: priests’ obligation? Missionary of Mercy wants to know.


Queritur: Are priests obliged to follow the recommendations of Amoris laetitia in any case in the Confessional, footnote 351?

  • The sacraments mentioned in the note cannot be baptism, confirmation, marriage, holy orders or, all things being equal, anointing. The plural is used, so the sacraments mentioned here are both Confession and Holy Communion, the one not meant to be a torture chamber, the other not meant to be a reward.

Answer: No, because no one knows what it means, and multiple attempts to get the Holy Father to give an answer about 351 have failed. The law of the Church hasn’t changed, and yet, the intent of the note is clear. And yet, the law forbids it. And yet… blah blah blah… It’s ambiguous. It being that it is ambiguous, what is it that priests would be obliged to follow? There is no answer to this from the Holy Father. So: IT MEANS NOTHING.


Filed under Amoris laetitia, Confession, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Synod on the Family, Year of Mercy

14 responses to “Amoris laetitia 351: priests’ obligation? Missionary of Mercy wants to know.

  1. Monica Harris

    Thank you.

  2. pelerin

    All those pages meaning Nothing? Oh dear and it has caused so much confusion and upset. Incidentally the Bishop of Tarbes et Lourdes has managed to reduce it to four pages! Quite an achievement I think.

    re your last post. One of my sons is a Fireman in London and he has had to give talks to groups of young arsonists to try and make them understand the dangers resulting from their actions.

  3. Cathy

    Without said clarity, it appears that the confessional will become a torture chamber for priests, and Holy Communion, not being the reward of the perfect, will be used as a hammer, as it has been in the past, for laity who present situations in which their “irregular” situation must be both presented and ignored prior to Holy Communion in order that they may lodge complaints that the priest is demanding “perfection” prior to handing Jesus over to them. What do opportunists do in such a case? Mattew 26:16.

  4. Cathe D.

    Perhaps this was intended. Clarity may delay the actual works that are being aimed for. What do you do when nothing is clear…you have to rely on God to guide you. Nothing in life is straight forward anymore and perhaps the old rules need compassion applied to them to make them more pliable and less harsh in order to be more effective and merciful. So long as the rules aren’t broken intentionally the end result is what’s important…the salvation of souls. Didn’t the Bible say be as wise as serpents?

    • Father George David Byers

      The question is, what does relying on God mean? Does conscience purposely unformed by Scripture, Tradition (divinely infused faith) and the Magisterium of the Church count for nothing as Luther thought? The rules of God are not harsh, but open us up to life. The adulterous woman thought so. The prodigal son thought so. Basically, even if there was a change in law, we would still have to preach the Gospel, so the bit about the rules not being broken intentionally… what does that mean? The problem is that our Holy Father is busy with straw men. I refuse to accept that the goodness and kindness of Jesus is torture, or to casuistically make the Eucharist a prize, which is what, ironically AL does. We simply must pray much, exhort much, encourage much.

  5. SognPlaci

    You may be right, or wrong, who knows?

  6. Cathe D.

    Father George, I agree that Jesus is goodness and kindness. God’s rules aren’t harsh but man’s interpretation and execution of them may be.
    The Eucharist is Jesus…our everything. I don’t believe He should be denied to people who “fall”. Jesus is our Healer and receiving Him in Holy Communion and being with Him in adoration will heal and sancitify us. Why would the Church want to implement a law of something contrary to the purposes of Jesus presence amongst us.
    “Relying on God”, is something we should all do, in all things we do. We ask Him to guide us and we should trust and go forward until He shows us where to turn. In other words, what SognPlaci said in the comments, “You may be right or you may be wrong”.
    When we follow directives with the Holy Father’s Name on it, we have no choice but to believe that our Pope is aware of what is written and agrees. We however should be discerning at all times when we are in doubt and pray for direction from God.
    “Not breaking the laws intentionally” addresses the lack of clarity and confusion in instruction.
    I agree wholeheartedly with you, Father George, that prayer and plenty of it is needed.

    • Father George David Byers

      @Carhe D. — Confession is for those who fall, but who also repent and have a firm purpose of amendment.

  7. meshugunah

    Am I wrong here? Is not admonishing the sinner among the Spiritual works of Mercy? Why would the Pope of mercy have a problem with this?
    Going back to my Rosary now…

  8. Daniel P Furey

    “……..being that it is ambiguous, what is it that priests would be obliged to follow? There is no answer to this from the Holy Father. So: IT MEANS NOTHING.”

    Actually, I’d say it means “ANYTHING GOES.”

  9. sanfelipe007

    Could the footnote be a “dog-whistle?” Meant for those who are guilty of the proscribed practices?

  10. sanfelipe007

    Jesus caused quite an uproar when He told people to eat His flesh and drink His blood. No doubt the Apostles were clamoring for an explanation even as many gave up and walked away. Is it too much to ask of the Holy Father to do as Jesus did? Is it too much to ask ourselves to do as the disciples did?

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