Tag Archives: Amoris laetitia

(3) Missionaries of Mercy: “New Phase” from the Holy See (Amoris laetitia internal/external forum guidelines?)

Missionaries of Mercy reconfirmation

In the letter from Archbishop Rino Fisichella over at New Evangelization (Prot. N. NE/532/2017/P) confirming some Missionaries of Mercy for continued service we read about the Missionaries of Mercy receiving this excellent monitum (emphasis is in the letter itself):

“I would like to remind you that the Ministry of the Missionary of Mercy is limited exclusively to the internal forum. Thus a Missionary is not competent to enter into questions or measures which are the competence of the external forum.

This is a stand alone paragraph in the letter. There is no other context or references given. I have to wonder if this implies a partial answer to the dubia of some Cardinals presented to Pope Francis regarding the interpretation of various difficult passages and notes in Amoris laetitia.

If anyone had the idea that any notes of anything such as in Chapter 8 of Amoris laetitia indicate that it is possible in the internal forum (Confession) to permit a notorious and unrepentant grave sinner go to Holy Communion – whether that impression about anything in Chapter 8 is correct or incorrect – they should note that such is now no longer the case, if it ever was.

Of anyone, a Missionary of Mercy is encouraged, it seems, to permit that which the Church has never permitted, but not only is this not the case, but here we see that the Missionary of Mercy (and therefore all priests) are forbidden to extend the effect of the internal forum to the external forum, providing infamous “internal forum solutions” (condemned many dozens of times by the CDF upon inquiries over the past decades).

Also see:

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Amoris laetitia officially published in Latin in Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS) – Still a dialogue, not any kind of teaching

From paragraph 4:

Quapropter aequum iudicavimus Adhortationem apostolicam post-synodalem conscribere,quae sententias colligeret duarum proximarum de familia Synodorum, aliis additis considerationibus quae cogitationes, dialogum vel pastoralem actionem dirigere, et eadem opera animum erigere, concitare familiasque iuvare earum in muneribus ac difficultatibus possint.

Since it is all as ambiguous as ever and I have absolutely no idea what it means in the least, I will continue to adhere to Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the authentic interventions of the Magisterium of the Church throughout the centuries, such as we find in the Sacred Council of Trent. Period.

And that’s all the thought I’ll give to this. As it is, I’m late for my “day-off” and much, much more important things than unhelpful confusion. To those who are upset with mere vacuousness, listen up:

  • We know the absolutely clear teaching of Jesus, who is God.
  • We know the absolutely clear teaching of Sacred Scripture, both old and new Testaments.
  • We know the absolutely clear teaching of Sacred Tradition spoken to us by the Holy Spirit and to which we listen as if it were given to us by hand (quasi per manus as the Council of Trent put it in its first dogmatic decree of April 8, 1546).
  • We know the absolutely clear teaching of the authentic interventions of the Magisterium of the Church, including, for instance, Pius XI, Pius XII, Paul VI, John Paul II, and the great Councils throughout the history of the Church.

At the judgment, we won’t be able to blame anyone’s “dialogue” for our moral failure if we go ahead and use “dialogue” as an excuse to reject Jesus, Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium. Period.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Requesting Martyrdom edition)

flores papist

Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”

That’s today’s Gospel. Jesus is commanding us to ask for the grace of martyrdom, laying down one’s life for one’s friends, the greatest love, how He loved us. That’s the logic of that passage. Inescapable. Totally. This is what we are to ask of our Heavenly Father. I’m guessing that that request would make our dear Mother Mary most happy.

The flowers I put up for this post are in front of the statue of the Immaculate Conception at the rectory. They are yellow and white, the colors of the Holy See, a tad bit Papist of me. Yes. This really makes people angry. It makes Islamists upset. It makes ultra-traditional-ism-ists upset. It makes the filthy liberals upset.

It is most Catholic to support not only the idea of the office of Peter (which support, cut off from Peter himself as so many do, is a heresy for the reason that the Church is founded on Peter and not on a mere idea of an office), but it is also most Catholic to support Peter himself, his very person, which filthy liberals, ultra-traditional-ism-ists, Islamists, etc., are loathe to do. I take a lot of heat for supporting the very person of Pope Francis. And that’s just fine with me.

Just because one is supporting Peter himself doesn’t mean that one is supporting everything that Peter says. That would be absurd. Peter himself wouldn’t stand for it. I couldn’t care less if Peter bets on a certain horse for the Kentucky Derby. I’ll bet on my own horse, or actually not bet at all. But I will pay attention when the Bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ speaks not just for himself but as the head of the Catholic Church, and not just to some group or another or as part of some dialogue (such as is the case with Amoris laetitia), but when he is speaking to the universal Church, to everyone, and as a teacher, not a mere participant in ongoing dialogue, and also, conjoined to this, when he speaks on a matter of faith or morals as found in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (or in the natural law for that matter), especially when this is deciding a controverted point.

But not only. I will also pray and stand in solidarity with Peter to the point where I feel that it is true that he who insults Peter insults me. Indeed, he who insults Peter insults Jesus who established Peter as the Rock upon which the Church is built. He who insults Jesus insults me. Why? Because Jesus did the same for the likes of horrible, sinful me. Thank you, Jesus.

But Father George! You don’t understand! Pope Francis blah blah blah blah blah. Yes, I’m aware of that and about a million other things you haven’t even thought about. I know. And so I ask: “So? Does that mean I shouldn’t pray for him? That I shouldn’t be a good son of the Church? Does it mean I can’t do my best to be the best priest I can be, teaching the best I can, praying the best I can, encouraging the best I can? I stand with Peter. I’m Catholic. I’m a priest.

 

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Many sacraments at once: doing it right in the age of Amoris laetitia

wedding

John was already baptized, so we brought him through the ceremony to bring him officially into the Church prepared by Reconciliation. He was then Confirmed, was Wedded, and received his first Holy Communion. I couldn’t but snap the picture above at the reception as it speaks of the colors of the flag of the Holy See. We went through the process with the Tribunal of the diocese of Charlotte and, in fact, a previous “marriage” of his bride-to-be was declared null from the beginning, leaving them free to marry. In preparing John for the big day there was no hiding truth or making excuses for the cross. Instead, the boast is in Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Both Bride and Groom cried about through the whole day, for joy. It was one of the best days of my own priesthood, very much feeling to be the father of the parish family.

If I might say this: To date, on the one hand, I have not met anyone who is interested in doing things the way our Lord commanded to also be interested in Amoris laetitia‘s ambiguity and rejection of the cross and of conversion. If one loves our Lord, one wants to keep His commandments. Period. It’s a matter of love, and love makes it possible.

On the other hand, I get the impression from anyone who is interested in rejecting the commandments that Amoris laetitia has only made them terribly bitter with the Church. What they really wanted was a steadfast hand up but let themselves be thrown down at the first opportunity by which it seemed they could sin and please God at the same time, finding out that that just isn’t the case; they feel terribly betrayed by those who should have helped them and instead gave them Amoris laetitia, and thus they let those dark emotions entrench them all the more into being alienated to the peripheries which they were mistakenly led to believe was ‘accompaniment.’

People are thirsting for the truth, that is, the Living Truth, Jesus, divine Son of the Immaculate Conception who loves us so very much.

Also, just to say, we’re getting ready to set a time when John will be able to give me some pointers about how to shoot my Glock the right way. :-)

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Questions for + Charles Scicluna

scicluna

Your Grace: Why did the Malta Times take down their article about you? Were they wrong? Did they misrepresent you? Really? Since you invite dialogue, as a Missionary of Mercy I will put some questions before you for the sake of, you know, promoting justice, for the good of the Church, pro bono ecclesiae. So…

  • Your Grace: You say that the teaching of the Church — let’s just call it by the name of the encyclical Humanae vitae — is only for married couples which you say can be constituted only of one man and one woman, but that you don’t judge other couples, though you insist that extramarital sex is sinful but at the same time insist that adulterous couples can receive Holy Communion if they are at peace with themselves regardless of their flagrant rejection of Jesus’ teaching, of Sacred Scripture, of Sacred Tradition, of the constant interventions of the Magisterium of the Church: does this mean that you are making a sacrament of sinful behavior?
  • Your Grace: Lest anyone think that is a sarcastic question, let’s provide an analogous question regarding your longstanding promotion of the civil celebrations of homosexual love in civilly recognized homosexual unions, as long as there is no sexy hanky panky going on, though all love including homosexual love, you say, is given by God and is good and holy: are you saying with your recent statements about peaceful consciences for adulterous couples that homosexual acts are also a kind of sacrament, objectively sinful as they may be, as long as the homosexuals involved are at peace with themselves regardless of their flagrant rejection of Saint Paul’s teaching, of Sacred Scripture, of Sacred Tradition, of the constant interventions of the Magisterium of the Church?
  • Your Grace: You seem to be throwing a tantrum that the Malta Times got it wrong, but would you say that — you know, in being honest here — that they had a good instinct about your utter hypocrisy regarding sexual morality, so that anything whatsoever is just fine, including contraception also in marriage as long as those involved are at peace with their consciences?
  • Your Grace: Do you put condom dispensers in your Catholic parochial school bathrooms for those who judge their consciences to be at peace? Or do you put those dispensers out, say, in the lunchroom along with free copies of the Qur’an which you let be taught in your parochial schools?
  • Your Grace: Jesus warned those who teach people to break the commandments, so are you going to spit on Jesus while you continue to teach people to break the commandments?
  • Your Grace: You slit the throats of those seminarians who wish to follow the teaching of Jesus and Paul, that is, those seminarians who do not reject Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition and the constant interventions of the Magisterium of the Church: so do you think that Jesus, who is calling them to His priesthood, is happy with your violence against them?
  • Your Grace: Your close friend (Monsignor) Edward Arsenault, at the epicenter in so many ways of the abuse crisis, just got out of prison and is in home confinement, where he just received the news that he has been dismissed from the clerical state (laicized): is what you are doing with your not so ambiguous and inconsistent but really very clear statements related somehow to demands of his, you know, because he could spill the beans about how things have actually gone in these USA, over in Europe, and at the Holy See?

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Filed under Abuse, Amoris laetitia, Canon 915, Eucharist, Holy See, homosexuality, Marriage, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Pope Francis’ Fundamental Theology

World Youth Day 2016 Pope Francis and Jesus

Have you heard the hearsay that it was heard from Pope Francis himself that Pope Francis thinks that there cannot possibly be anything any more utterly boring than Fundamental Theology? If he truly said something along those lines, it’s not that that’s a lie, though I would say that it is disingenuous, which is how Pope Francis once described himself.

On the one hand, he might well think that studying Fundamental Theology is utterly boring. On the other hand, he might well think that steering the course of Fundamental Theology is entirely enthralling, an adrenaline rush even. So, that leaves us with two questions: (1) What exactly is Fundamental Theology; (2) Is it legitimate to steer the course of any theology apart from the expected sources of theology, to wit: Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the infallible Magisterial interventions of the Church (this apart from the added help of the Fathers when they agree)?

(1) What exactly is Fundamental Theology?

Good question. It seems to me that Fundamental Theology is an illegitimate however popular tract of theology effectively created by the progressivist liberal minded almost sarcastic manualist Father Adolphe-Alfred Tanquerey (1854-1932), a Sulpician “Thomist” [not in my opinion] and Canon Lawyer [who combines a bit too nonchalantly morality and law perhaps that there might be an opening for a loophole for anything…]. People think he’s ultra conservative and therefore “right” because he wrote in Latin and before Vatican Council II. A very famous canon lawyer once insisted that that is in fact the case about everything written in Latin before the Council…

Because his not simply distilled but actually reductionist manuals with their wild innovations were easily used as a kind of collection of cheat-sheets for exams in the seminary, he was treated as a kind of god who was always right and could not possibly ever be critiqued (an attitude betraying a weak mind that is afraid of thinking, at attitude utterly un-Thomistic). I’m hoping Tanquerey is not among the ossified manualists held up by some. That would simply be wrong. He’s not ossified (how very un-Thomistic!), but rather slimey, goopy, yucky. Although Tanquerey taught in these USA, surely laying the foundations for making Saint Mary’s in Baltimore the horror that it later became, he also influenced seminaries right around the world, including that of Jesuit scholastic efforts. Even Jesuits like progressivist liberal cheat-sheets.

The Common Doctor, that is, Saint Thomas Aquinas (a Dominican mind you), not Tanquerey the Sulpician, did in fact brilliantly contrast divinely given faith as opposed to our assent to the faith, that is, by way of Theology. In this clarity, Sacred Tradition is manifest for what it is, the univocal supernatural revelation of the articles of faith to the soul by the Holy Spirit such that in consequence the content of the faith to which we assent by way of the conscience seems to be handed on almost as if by hand, but it is not, as this is indeed the work of the Holy Spirit. That conscience is free to decide is a total misunderstanding of how the conscience operates.

At any rate, for Tanquerey, merely exterior and historically occasioned manifestations of this Sacred Tradition (which is a distinction which must be kept [see the Council of Trent’s reference to quasi per manus]), such as with doctrinal Conciliar decrees, are seized upon by Tanquerey and then equated with the much more fundamental, if you will, work of the Holy Spirit, so that the mere listing of Magisterial interventions throughout the centuries is somehow equated with Sacred Tradition (which is absurd) and then rejected altogether by the lockstep consequence brought to bear by the likes of Father Bernard Lonergan, S.J. (a Jesuit of course), who trumpeted the psychological and otherwise historically conditioned circumstances in which the now presumed merely human handing on of the faith occur, making it seem quite impossible that divine revelation is not over time morphed by political correctness and the general weakness of mankind. Lonergan is another of the gods of the liberals, whereby no truth is possible as no truth is personal (an irony of relativism if there ever was one). By the way, Lonergan had a kind of think-tank, shrine even, at the Casa Santa Maria, where I once lived (the post-grad priest residence in Rome of the USCCB. It was under lock and key, kind of like a tabernacle, you know, because there is no absolute truth other than the absolute truth of Lonergan that there is no absolute truth.

(2) Is it legitimate to steer the course of any theology apart from the expected sources of theology, Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the infallible Magisterial interventions of the Church?

I’m opining that Pope Francis loves his attempt to steer the course of Fundamental Theology, so that the historically conditioned circumstances even within sinful “structures (in that view)” can manifest God’s love regardless of whatever is said in Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the infallible Magisterial interventions of the Church.

I’m guessing that this manipulation of Fundamental Theology by Pope Francis by way of exercises in the field hospital that is Church is not seen by him as adding something to the sources of theology in that what he trying to pay attention to is the love of God that would be crucified for us, that would enter the hospital, as it were, for us. The last thing I would want to say is that Pope Francis is insincere, however much he calls himself disingenuous.

Yet, it must be said that this appreciation of Jesus in those who have suffered the malfeasance of recalcitrant catechists (clerical or religious or lay) so that they suffer from having no formation in the faith, is an appreciation of Jesus which is off the mark, forcing that imaginary Jesus (the “Jesus of Faith” utterly cut off from the “Historical Jesus”) upon patients in the field hospital instead of Him who is right now both the Historical Jesus and the Jesus of Faith, right now the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Rejecting free will and grace makes for a Fundamental Theology which, however adrenaline pumping, is simply an expression of that which is, for all intents, constructions and purposes, none other than Pharisaical casuistry that is Promethean, Neo-Pelagian, and, inasmuch as this depends on oneself as an overriding source, also self-absorbed and self-referential and that which ensures that instead of sharing the joy which is the Person of the Lord who IS Truth, one instead keeps others cast into the darkest of existential peripheries, picking them up from their stretcher at the Triage center of the field hospital and throwing them right back into the violence and smoke and fire and darkness of the peripheries. I say this in all peacefulness and charity as a son to a father. Is that permitted?

In the end, after the adrenaline has worn off, and the faith is no more, what’s left except perhaps some illegitimate sexual experiences for example, you know, the kind spoken about in Amoris laetitia, the kind pushed in Malta and Germany and…

Error is what is boring especially after popularity wears off. And sex out of place also becomes boring, which is why it leads, as Saint Paul says in Romans 1, to violence and yet more violence.

I could well be wrong. On the one hand, Pope Francis lets Amoris laetitia slide along with truly anti-Catholic guidance by Charles Scicluna and others. On the other hand, he holds their conclusions to be wrong in other circumstances with other people. What does Pope Francis really think? I don’t know. He promised on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Synods of Bishops to make a kind of ex-Cathedra conclusion about the controversies. He certainly has not done this to date. Why not? Good question. Here’s what I wrote about that, what I think is all we can know, and that’s not much:

An important article: Correcting Pope Francis’ Correctors

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Tender snowflakes melting down want to validly, forcibly depose Pope Francis precisely as Bishop of Rome

dung snow

It ain’t gonna happen. It can’t happen. That’s not how it works. Anyone who thinks the contrary, anathema sit, as that’s straight out and out heresy. Traditional-ism-ists, that is, as personifiers of ideology, can be heretics like any others. I remember a certain seminary back in the day citing Hans Küng of all people to justify their irregular situation in the Church. Sometimes opposites attract, right?

If a Pope can be deposed for what he himself says is a non-Magisterial contribution to a dialogue, a contribution held by some to be outrageous (whether it is or not being beside the point), that means that any Pope for any reason can also be deposed by people who make up the rules as they go along (what they call constitutionalism: note the “-ism). Thus, in that view, a Pope such as Pius V or Pius X could also be deposed for personally being saints and for speaking clearly and rightly to the whole Church.

Also, in that case, and this is the point, such is the Protestant mis-exegesis of Matthew 16. The Rebels say that Jesus founded the papacy on Peter’s faith, not on his person. The Catholic doctrine is that Jesus founded the papacy on Peter.

I suggest to the tender snowflakes that they stop cowering before their own hurt emotions, grow up, and do something helpful to bring about a good situation for the salvation of souls. But this bit about deposing the Pope because their feelings are hurt is not helpful. It just reveals something under the snow.

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+Scicluna spikes seminarians’ terror

scicluna

The Archbishop of Malta told his seminarians to leave the seminary if they disagree with his own wild interpretation of chapter 8 of Amoris laetitia, which Pope Francis describes instead as a mere contribution to dialogue that has nothing to do with any magisterial intervention. To viciously smash down Jesus’ vocations based on a diverse contribution to dialogue is… well… let’s just say I wouldn’t want that on me going to the judgment before Jesus who called those young men to be His priests. All this while the priests of Malta are being bullied without mercy. Here.

To those seminarians in Malta I say: Just be faithful. Always in everything. This is about respect for Jesus. You are called to be faithful to Him before you are called to be priests by Him. If Jesus wants you to be a priest, He will make it happen. But you be faithful. Those kicking Jesus in the face think they have power because they are not yet killed by the holy angels of the Most High while they continue to kick Jesus in the face. But don’t agree with them. They have no power. Jesus took on the worst onslaught of hell when all His apostles ran away from Calvary. Stay with Jesus. Don’t compromise, ever. The Love Who is Living Truth is the Way. Don’t be afraid. No terror allowed! Rejoice and be glad. Read the beatitudes… to each other… support each other…

To +Charles: This is your moment, friend. That’s all you get. Happy?

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Accompaniment: “When I am lifted up on the cross I will draw all to myself”

A priest-friend sent this in from a twitter account. So, we have an analogy: This is the image of the fall of a venial sin in which we are nevertheless still assenting to being dragged to heaven by our Lord (via Calvary and the Cross). A mortal sin would be to jump off altogether in contempt.

Saint Thomas Aquinas speaks of repentance from a mortal sin, whether one can, as it were, jump back on where one left off in the spiritual life. He answers that, yes, this is possible, depending on one’s contrition, one’s purpose of amendment, the grace of God’s charity to which one assents in order that this contrition is brought to fruition with the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity. It does, in grace, also depend on our generosity in following the grace being given. What would prohibit this assent would be presumption, lack of contrition, lack of firm purpose of amendment. But, all things being equal, as it were, yes, one can come back into God’s good friendship, whether a bit diminished, whether pretty much the same, whether far advanced. But NO presumption, with contrition and purpose of amendment being necessary.

Tangled webs can be woven. But tangled webs can be broken. Sometimes things are difficult.

Confession brings things back in good order. Sometimes we need the help of others, of the Church, of Jesus. Find a good confessor.

 

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Coccopalmerio shark-baiter

I guess Cocco wrote a book. Sigh. He didn’t even show up for the presentation of his personal opinion. It means less than nothing. No one cares.

Should he be taught some lessons in ecclesiastical Juris Prudence especially with canons dealing with natural law, not to mention that which is in Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the great interventions of the Sacred Magisterium of the Church. Yes.

Is the best way to go about this to throw this out as shark-bait? No. That helps no one but hurts very many gravely. We can note it, be aware of it, for after all we have to live and deal with situations which may well be nuanced by what he says even as a personal opinion. But shark-baiting isn’t necessary.

Here’s the deal: Jesus has risen from the dead. I, for one, am happy with that, because, you know, I’m the one who threw Jesus to the sharks with my sin, and He forgave me. What about you? There is no reason to lose the peace of Christ. You can agonize. Jesus sweat blood. But don’t lose your peace.

Might I write something about irony regarding a personal experience concerning all these matters and the Cardinal heading up the Pontifical Council for the Authentic Interpretation of Legislative Texts, an experience so ironic it could just about stop your heart? Yes, I could, and I just might. Yes, I think I will.

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Amoris laetitia and suspensions and excommunications… No, no, no…

PROMETHEUS

A bishop cannot legitimately legislate anything against the universal law of the Church, particularly that law which is based on Divine Law. A bishop cannot legitimately posit administrative acts imposing penal sanctions on a priest based on illegitimate law. For instance, Amoris laetitia cannot legitimately be used as a foundation upon which legislation and penal sanctions are based for the reason that statements in Amoris laetitia are merely posited as a continuation of dialogue. That’s what the Supreme Legislator said in Amoris laetitia 3-4. That’s the mind of the legislator. Any illegitimate legislation or illegitimate penal sanctions, whether inescapably implied by Malta’s document (paragraph 10) published in l’Osservatore Romano, or (apparently) explicitly accomplished in Colombia, or anywhere else in the world, are, in fact illegitimate and have no bearing in truth on anyone’s status.

Thus, on the one hand, if a priest would like to continue accompaniment of a certain divorced and civilly “remarried” couple by not providing sacraments which he judges that couple are not able to fruitfully receive, he has done nothing wrong, as such a judgement is his to make, but if bishops put pressure on him nevertheless to provide those sacraments, somehow inserting themselves impossibly into the internal forum, they have done a grave disservice to the couple, to the priest and to the Church, and it is such bishops who should be disciplined and, in my opinion, very severely, as what they are doing, inter alia, is in direct contradiction to the directives of pastoral care by priests given by Pope Francis himself; such bishops are openly and obstinately insulting the Supreme Pontiff.

If, on the other hand, this is all according to the mind and non-public directives of Pope Francis, and this is actually a persecution of faithful priests in the Church, then I, as a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis, ask that I also be held to be excommunicate along with any other sanctions he can think of, so that I might be in solidarity with those who may at one time or another be unjustly trampled into the ground. Fine with me. None of that is legitimate even on the part of the Holy Father, for such legislation and imposition of penal sanctions, however much real pain they may bring in this world, have no legitimate entry into the judgment of a soul of a priest who goes before the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception with the “crime” on his soul of being a faithful son of the Church. I couldn’t care less about doing the will of Pope Francis or any bishop on this earth if it contradicts the will of God himself. It is not they, but rather Christ Jesus, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Wonder Counselor, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will – do not be mistaken – come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, the very fire of God’s love, the fire of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Now, having said that, we don’t know anything whatsoever about what Pope Francis thinks about illegitimate legislation and illegitimate penal sanctions, do we? No, we don’t. I’m guessing that we will see something about all that in the not too distant future.

Meanwhile, I restate my filial obedience to the Holy Father, as I must assume until otherwise indicated that he has not legislated or imposed penal sanctions for illegitimate reasons, or, for that matter, that he has even provided benign neglect to the persecution of the priests of our One High Priest, Jesus Christ, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.

P.S. I’m guessing that as the real persecution ensues among renegade rebels, wrought by those who posit that which is ultra vires, beyond their powers to do so, that there will be no suspensions or excommunications, but rather simply removal from any assignment and then, eventually, seeing that the faithful priest is useless to the Church precisely and only for the reason that he is faithful, he will be dismissed from the clerical state, laicized, he being a mere liability and a waste of space in this world, kind of like, you know, Jesus. Meanwhile, he will be discredited as having committed all sorts of crimes, such as not being pastoral, being divisory, not being easy to work with, not having a team spirit, etc.

Great! The beatitudes come into play. We will have plenty of priests rejoicing and being glad that their reward is great in heaven. And that’s very cool indeed. Wonderful. I can’t wait for my turn. May it please Mary’s Divine Son that I may be counted worthy to suffer for his sake and the sake of those he is saving unto eternal life. Amen.

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+CJ Scicluna’s Amoris laetitia expects sinful obedience. But priests are free to “disobey.” How? Don’t be a dog.

laudie-dog

Laudie-dog, listening intently, eager to follow orders

Obedience is not a descriptor for a reaction to a cold authoritarian command that negates one’s very existence as a person with free will, but rather, instead, obedience, from the Latin OB-AUDIRE (referring to intense listening) is all about an eager following of commands given in love and received in love. Our Heavenly Father speaks himself in one divine Word, who is already, then, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, who is always listening intently to the Father with love. Our Heavenly Father speaks Jesus into us, as it were, with that Word reverberating within our hearts and souls, now a symphony. Obedience isn’t a bad thing!

If a command is given that negates the very existence of a person as someone with free will who is meant to follow our Lord, so that one is expected to reject conscience and reject our Lord, that is not a command given in love and it doesn’t need to be followed. As Aquinas says, law is not law if it contradicts God’s law. “Disobedience” in such a case is actually true obedience.

Any priest in Malta who obeys the sinful direct command of the bishops of Malta to provide the Most Blessed Sacrament to notorious sinners flaunting their sin but protesting that they are at peace with God commits a number of grave sins that put them in eternal peril of losing eternal life.

Saying that they are coerced into doing so is no excuse. Will they be removed from ministry? Most likely. Will their names be blackened, their personnel files filled with notes about being divisory, unfit for ministry, etc.? Most likely. Will they eventually be dismissed from the clerical state as useless? Yes, even that can happen a number of years later, you know, when no one is looking. The priests know this. They do feel the pressure. But that is no excuse to sin. Instead, they are to rejoice and be glad that they are treated like the prophets before them, indeed, just like John the Baptist, just like Jesus.

The judgment will come much sooner than later. We will all stand before those wounds of Jesus and he will ask where our wounds are. What will we have to say for ourselves if we simply compromise so as to do what? Keep our “jobs”?

Priests are not dogs. Dogs are treated better than priests in some places.

For all the background documentation for what is in this post, see:

The idea for +CJ Scicluna’s version of Amoris laetitia is this: even if you are a notorious in your sin, known by all as an adulterer, not only flaunting your sin but murdering anyone who disagrees, but you feel yourself to be at peace with God, hey!, just go up and get that white wafer Communion thingy with television cameras uplinking to the world:

henry-viii

P.S.

  • Question: Am I fomenting disobedience among the priests of Malta?
  • Answer: No, I am encouraging true obedience to Jesus and to the Church.

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+CJ Scicluna’s Amoris laetitia: priests are the body-politic’s cancer to be excised

scicluna

The reason why I say that Archbishop’s opinion of priests is that they are cancer of the body-politic that needs to be excised is found in the previous post on this blog of ariseletusbegoing, namely: +CJ Scicluna’s Amoris laetitia usurps papal authority, rejecting dialogue, discernment, accompaniment.

When people have cancer, their hair falls out because of the treatment they must endure. Often enough, friends and classmates shave their heads to show their solidarity with those who have cancer. Very nice, that.

cancer-shaved-head

I’m wondering if there is a way to be in solidarity with priests who are thrown out of ministry into the darkest of existential peripheries precisely because of the priestly love they have for their sheep in Christ Jesus our Lord. If there is a priest thrown out of ministry because he sees that this or that sheep is fully capable and otherwise willing to rejoice in the love of our Lord and so the priest wants them to continue to accompany a certain sheep but is then for that reason smacked down by Archbishop Scicluna or any other like minded (arch-)bishop right around the world, is there a way to be in solidarity with those good priests, some of whom will feel lost and bewildered in their having been so terribly betrayed.

There should be a registry of such faithful priests. We should keep track of them as they enter the darkest of existential peripheries where the mercy of the Church in the eyes of some cannot or at least should not reach.

Even more than this, and quite specifically, I’m wondering if it is possible for priests who are in good standing and in active ministry to self-report their love for Christ Jesus and their desire to share the greatest love of their lives, Christ Jesus, who is at the same time the greatest truth in their lives. In self-reporting, can they also be thrown out with the other priests, you know, suspended or even dismissed at a later date from the clerical state? After all, it can be said that they are rebellious and the cause of division and perhaps even the cause of uncomfortable feelings. Self-reporting to be removed from active ministry would be like shaving one’s head to be in solidarity with those who have cancer. “I should be thrown out as well since I believe just like they do.”

God loved the world so much that he sent his only Son to be in solidarity with us, himself being thrown into the darkest of existential peripheries, spit on, mocked, ridiculed, rejected, called all sorts of names… As the Master so the disciple… right?

I wonder if there is a way. I wonder. As a Missionary of Mercy, I feel obliged be in solidarity with Jesus and his priests as he and they are once again betrayed by one of their own.

JESUS JUDAS

I remember Archbishop Fulton Sheen telling a story of a Jewish girl when, during the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp climbed up a veritable mountain of corpses and sat down to die, even while other survivors were leaving the camp. She was asked what she was doing. Her response was: “How can I live while all my people are dying?”

auschwitz

So, this Missionary of Mercy has done some logistical investigations… ;-)

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+CJ Scicluna’s Amoris laetitia usurps papal authority, rejecting dialogue, discernment, accompaniment

scicluna

The Archbishop of Malta, C.J. Scicluna has high praise for dialogue, discernment and accompaniment in a document directed to priests which he published in the Vatican newspaper, l’Osservatore Romano (Criteria for the Application of Chapter VIII of Amoris laetitia), but he rejected all of this, including papal authority, by adding this:

10. 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 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).

The words “cannot be precluded” are directed at the priests, telling them that they have no real voice in dialogue, discernment and accompaniment, undercutting their priestly ministry and, quite frankly, threatening them with what would have to be removal from active ministry if they wish instead – knowing well the smell of their sheep – to prolong  the process of dialogue, discernment and accompaniment for the good of those very sheep.

The Times of Malta reports that “Archbishop Charles Scicluna refuted the criticism, insisting Bishop Mario Grech and himself had decided not to engage with individual bloggers on the matter.” “Decided not to engage” is also not a dialogue. The “criticism” refers to Ed Peters, a canon lawyer whose blog entries on this topic can be found HERE and HERE. Ed Peters has a serious analysis. I’m amazed that +CJ Scicluna, a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, dismisses Ed Peters so readily, since Peters is a Referendary of the Apostolic Signatura, the Holy See’s top tribunal.

Archbishop Scicluna then turns his attention to those he might think are a more vulnerable class of people, the priests: “I am saddened by the reaction from certain quarters and invite priests who may have concerns to come forward and discuss them directly with us because we want to be a service to our people.” I’m sure the priests want to be of service to their people as well. But here’s the problem. If any priests go to him with their concerns they are merely self-reporting that which is absolutely intolerable, reporting that they are precluding or envision precluding that which Archbishop Scicluna says cannot ever be precluded. If they open up a dialogue with him they will simply have their heads cut off. That’s another example of what he really thinks about dialogue, discernment and accompaniment. Moreover…

The threat to impose sanctions that is inescapably implied in the absolutist phrase “cannot be precluded” goes so far beyond Pope Francis’ direction in this matter that Archbishop Scicluna is de facto usurping the authority of Pope Francis to guide the Barque of Peter. And that I find disgusting.

The direction Pope Francis gave to us Missionaries of Mercy began by all of us singing together the Salve Regina with Pope Francis. I’m sure he remembers the exuberance:

Pope Francis brought all of us Missionaries of Mercy together and brought us through, with incisive distinctions, refined moral and sacramental theology, using anecdotes some of which were terribly sad and some of which were hilarious. He did his best to form us priests into being good confessors, those who would dialogue with, discern with and accompany penitents on their journey to know the will of Christ Jesus in all of their unrepeatable circumstances.

But Archbishop CJ Scicluna rejects that effort of Pope Francis. Sad, that. Sad for him. Sad for the penitents. Sad for the priests who are treated as his robots, not as Jesus’ fathers of their parish families. And this is also the point: CJ Scicluna rejects the unrepeatable circumstances of people, ideologically putting them all in one group.

Much more could be said about anthropology, psychology, grace, sacramental theology, ecclesiology, etc., with some saying I say too much and others too little. What I’m writing about in this post is just this one aspect of what is happening:

the ministry of priests is unimportant in the Church because + Scicluna said so.

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Fearful Roman Curia discerning the way of the Holy Spirit in the Beatitudes

JESUS I AM

You have heard that it was said that those working in whatever capacity in the Holy See (the “Vatican”) are scared. I say that if they are ever afraid, whether priests or bishops or religious, they shouldn’t be. Fear is a sign of the lack of truth, a lack of discernment of the truth, a lack of the Holy Spirit who would instead lead us to the truth. To be established in him who is truth is not to fear. Being one with him who fearlessly says “I AM” cannot at the same time tolerate fear.

“But what should we do? Give us clear direction!”

So, I guess you missed it the first time around. Here it is: “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

“But you don’t get it, Father George, that’s considered Pharisaical, Pelagian, Promethian self-absorbed idol worship.”

“Really? Are you making that application? Even if that were true on whoever’s part, so what? Since when did we lose sight of the Beatitudes? Since when are we to mope about, have nervous sweats, panic attacks and ulcers instead of rejoicing and being glad that great is our reward in the Kingdom of the heavens because we love Jesus and want to share the greatest love of our lives, namely, Jesus? Is not Jesus the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Wonder Counselor, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will be the one to come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, the very fire of God’s love, the fire of the Holy Spirit? Yes, that would be him. He’s the One who said: “I AM.” So what are you afraid of? Amen.

P.S. I mean, really, what are these protestations of fear about? Is this a way of making an excuse? “Oh! I’m so fearful that my fear acted as a coercion forcing me to do something I otherwise would never do! It’s all the fault of fear! I’m soooo afraid.”

To which I say, grow up, love Jesus, and be a good son of his good mom. Also, and I don’t say this lightly, have some respect for your guardian angel who sees God in the face.

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Amoris laetitia 351 Unrepentant, active prostitutes, absolution,Communion?

Update: There is some pretty heavy interest in high places right now over some of the more controversial posts I’ve put up about the past couple of Synods. If I had to write an apologia about this, I would just say that my opinions are on behalf of those who suffer much in this world, who are marginalized and kept suffering it seems to me on purpose. That unnecessary suffering really just needs to stop, and stop now.

peep show

It seems that paragraph 49 refers to prostitution to avoid poverty. Communion for active prostitutes has been part of pastoral praxis by some for decades and a continuous side debate for some of the liberation theology / arm-chair moral theology crowd. So:

49. Here I would also like to mention the situation of families living in dire poverty and great limitations. The problems faced by poor households are often all the more trying.36 For example, if a single mother has to raise a child by herself and needs to leave the child alone at home while she goes to work, the child can grow up exposed to all kind of risks and obstacles to personal growth. In such difficult situations of need, the Church must be particularly concerned to offer understanding, comfort and acceptance, rather than imposing straightaway a set of rules that only lead people to feel judged and abandoned by the very Mother called to show them God’s mercy. Rather than offering the healing power of grace and the light of the Gospel message, some would “indoctrinate” that message, turning it into “dead stones to be hurled at others”.37

36 Cf. Relatio Finalis 2015, 15.
37 Concluding Address of the Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (24 October 2015): L’Osservatore Romano, 26-27 October 2015, p. 13.

I mean, what does that mean in light of footnote 351 other than to provide, say, Communion for active prostitutes? The solution, it seems to me, isn’t to argue for decades about Prostitutes going to Communion, but rather to open safe houses which can immediately set about finding jobs and shelter and education.

Who throws dead stones of doctrine at anyone? Is the reference to priests like me?

Does this throwing stones reference (coming not long after paragraph 27 in which the adulterous woman of the Gospel of John is mentioned) mean that Jesus was a fool damned by our Heavenly Father for telling the adulterous woman to “sin no more,” Himself stoning this woman into marginalization from the faith by His damnable indoctrinated doctrine-stone of “sin no more”? That’s not what the document says about Jesus, instead reporting in paragraph 27 that, “alone with Jesus, she meets not condemnation but the admonition to lead a more worthy life (cf. Jn 8:1-11).” In other words, the Gospel lies that Jesus told her to “sin no more,” which would inescapably imply that she knew she had in fact sinned (both objectively and subjectively), and that the condemnation is only avoided by taking in the forgiveness with repentance and a firm purpose of amendment. All that, for the document, is simply a heap of indoctrinated stones to throw. So, instead, the document insists that Jesus said that she is to live a more worthy life, inescapably implying that her life was already worthy, but just needed to be, you know, more worthy.

And that leads us back to paragraph 49, where the worthiness of adultery by prostitution, while not as worthy as a life which doesn’t include prostitution, is nevertheless so worthy that it is to be rewarded by such casuistry with, say, Holy Communion.

Look: Just open a safe house. I’ve worked in such places, offered confessions and Holy Mass in such places, given Holy Communion to prostitutes galore in such places. I’ve even ended up in a wheelchair and crutches because of such places. Really, I’ve been there, done that. Just get them the help they need. Don’t just say have a nice day with Holy Communion at a street Mass in the red-light district and not provide for them. Do provide for them both physically and spiritually.

Just call me the dumpster priest. But don’t try to make me take up a program that will keep prostitutes in prostitution. To hell with that.

And, by the way, you know all those people steeped in Tradition, that is, those Legion of Mary people? You have to know that I’m one of them, and you have to know that they started out by evangelizing at brothels.

Or is this really about thinking that prostitutes can’t repent? A prostitute once told me that a clergy guy (Episcopalian I think) would walk into her room for quick sex, first taking his clergy collar off, then unzipping himself, as if the collar in the back pocket would make what he was doing out front somehow moral. When she asked him about his visits to herself later (after she was converted from prostitution), he said that he didn’t think that people like her could possibly ever convert. Is that the message that we have here?

I would like to ask someone, but it seems that speaking with parrhesia isn’t to be met with answers of parrhesia. But if I’m wrong on that, I sure would appreciate an answer.

And, oh, by the way, this paragraph 49 cannot refer to something like thievery either for the mom or the boy, can it? We have better theology of private property than that.

I mean, I just can’t believe that this paragraph was written or published. Prostitutes are always in grave danger of disease, damage, dismemberment, and death by physical force or despair along. Get them out of the situation immediately. Don’t argue about their subjective guilt. If you want a lack of mercy and hurling stones, THAT kind of sophistry that keeps them in their prostitution is example number one.

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Correcting Pope Francis’ Correctors (3) Is Pope Francis pimping “The Whore” or is he waiting for attractive writing?

whore-of-babylon-martin-luther

The Whore of Babylon printed in Martin Luther’s expression of rebellion.

You’ll remember Correcting Pope Francis’ Correctors (1) and then (2) which had a link to Amoris laetitia 351 gradualism casuistry. A comment about the big picture needs to be made amidst all the flurry of questions and dubia and, for some, accusations and bitterness…

Here’s the deal: Pope Francis does know what an infallible statement is. He does know what the Scriptures have for us. He does know Canon Law. People can spout those things off to him until they are blue in the face and that will not change the fact that he already knows those things. People think he rejects all of that. Maybe so. I don’t know that for a fact. I don’t think for a second that he’s pimping “The Whore of Babylon” on purpose. What I do know is that he has called for dialogue in the opening paragraphs of Amoris laetitia, especially paragraphs 3-4. Dialogue is what it is, messy, full of ambiguity and whatever rubbish people bring to it. That’s what it is. But it prepares for something else.

It’s true: We have heard from those who do reject the clear teaching of Christ, from those who seem to mock the Holy Scriptures’ inspiration by the Holy Spirit, from those who seem to be holding themselves up to be God himself. They have been eloquent in their own way merely because of their obnoxious flurry of bullying. They have artistically represented what error manifests. Some, of course, have been most sincere.

But it’s also true that from the traditional side of things, that is, from those who would at least like to think that they are with Sacred Tradition, with Sacred Scripture, with the Sacred Magisterium of the Church, we have heard precious little. The objection is that we have the example of Tradition, that we have those brief sayings in Scripture, that we have Familiaris Consortio and that we even have the absolutely clear dubia. “That’s enough!” they say. And that’s all good and is way more than sufficient for the believer, but it’s not enough for others, for those who don’t know how to believe because there is no one to walk them through it all. Pope Francis does not believe that those other things are enough. Neither do I. People unfamiliar with Tradition, unfamiliar with Scripture, unfamiliar with Familiaris Consortio and the dubia are in need of preaching and catechesis. Saint Paul mentions this:

“How then can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15).

Is Pope Francis waiting a really long time? Yes. For a reason and, I think, a good reason. He hasn’t heard from the beautiful side of things and desires to hear this. Pope Francis has been begging non-stop for that which is written in a beautiful way, an inviting way, an attractive way, a positive way, a comprehensive way. Where is it? Perhaps Pope Benedict’s Deus Caritas Est? Not even that. And yes, I know, there are surely tens of thousands of tracts and pamphlets and books and films and what-not flooding the market. But we need something that profoundly reflects the beauty of Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterial interventions precisely in the face of the challenges we find with Amoris laetitia. Let me repeat that: Precisely in the face of those challenges. Was the book sent to all the participants of the Synod enough? No, it was not. It was good. It was technical. But we need beautiful answers to the agonizing difficulties. And if beautiful means the glorious but tortured wounds of Christ in the midst of his wedding with his Immaculate Bride the Church, then it’s about those wounds we must write in a way comprehensible not just to some Cardinals, some canon lawyers, some exegetes, some moral theologians, but also to everyone. Let’s get to work.

I, for one, after finishing commentary on the “Dog-Woman” (see: 2018 Bishops Synod: young people and vocational discernment: no rigidity), intend to start in on the description of marriage in the first chapters of Genesis. Some might think that the younger John Paul II’s work on the Theology of the Body is enough and that I should shut up, but even the older John Paul II himself admitted that he did not give enough consideration and balance to ToB because of almost entirely ignoring the effects of original sin. I’ll not insult the great saint by ignoring his protestations. I’ll take a hint and try to fill in the lack, and that, by the way, will make it all the more beautiful as it will put us face to face with those glorious wounds of Christ Jesus. But I have little talent for writing and, at any rate, am very much unknown. So, we all need to get to work. So, let’s get to work!

george-david-byers-john-paul-ii

Just before Christmas Day, 1985

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Correcting Pope Francis’ Correctors (II)

PROMETHEUS

It seems that those at Santa Marta in the Holy See are having some late night discussions about my original post on:

Correcting Pope Francis’ Correctors

It seems that it was directed that that a link to said post be sent up North to the “Bergoglio of Italy,” +Mattheo Maria Zuppi by name, and another, +Angelo Scola by name. It seems the latter then took a gander at another post. If there were any ambiguity about where I myself stand on Amoris laetitia, this other post will make it crystal clear about what I think about the power of the grace of the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception:

Amoris laetitia 351 gradualism casuistry

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Correcting Pope Francis’ Correctors

pope-francis-cardinal-burke

Respect and joy in the Lord

I love and respect both Pope Francis and Cardinal Burke.

You have heard that it was said by the latter:

“My position is that ‘Amoris laetitia’ is not magisterial because it contains serious ambiguities that confuse people and can lead them into error and grave sin. A document with these defects cannot be part of the Church’s perennial teaching. Because that is the case, the Church needs absolute clarity regarding what Pope Francis is teaching and encouraging.”

This Missionary of Mercy says in response:

  • Amoris laetitia cannot yet be spoken about as if it were a document already published by the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, for it is not.
  • Amoris laetitia, even if published as is, is not an Apostolic Constitution or even an Encyclical, but simply an Apostolic Exhortation, whose author, mind you, goes way, WAY out of his way in articles 3-4 of Amoris laetitia to assert that Amoris laetitia is simply a conglomerate of opinions for the sake of encouraging more dialogue on the matters at hand. Pope Francis completely disowns this having anything whatsoever to do with any kind of Magisterial intervention of the Church whatsoever, whether ordinary or extraordinary. If it’s published as is in the Acta, well, that just doesn’t make any difference, to wit:

“Since ‘time is greater than space’, I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it. This will always be the case as the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth (cf. Jn 16:13), until he leads us fully into the mystery of Christ and enables us to see all things as he does. Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs. […] The various interventions of the Synod Fathers, to which I paid close heed, made up, as it were, a multifaceted gem reflecting many legitimate concerns and honest questions. For this reason, I thought it appropriate to prepare a post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation to gather the contributions of the two recent Synods on the family, while adding other considerations as an aid to reflection, dialogue and pastoral practice, and as a help and encouragement to families in their daily commitments and challenges.

  • To say that Amoris laetitia would be part of at least the ordinary Magisterium of the Church (see “perennial teaching”) if anyone might like to agree with its contents but that it cannot be part of at least the ordinary Magisterium of the Church (see “perennial teaching”) if anyone might like to disagree with its contents seems to me to be saying that the Pope has no authority to teach on matters of faith and morals to the universal Church as the Successor of Peter. That, of course, would be quite wrong. Amoris laetitia is not part of any teaching of the Church whatsoever not because of anyone’s opinion, however well founded, but because Pope Francis himself denies that it is part of any teaching of the Church whatsoever, insisting as he does on dialogue, etc.

A question might be asked as to whether Pope Francis has a good understanding of Papal Infallibility. Let’s analyze his extensive statements on the matter, and then compare that with what Scripture has for us. This is from Pope Francis’ speech on October 17, 2015, the 50th anniversary of the Institution of the Synods of Bishops:

On the eve of last year’s Synod I stated: “For the Synod Fathers we ask the Holy Spirit first of all for the gift of listening: to listen to God, so that with him we may hear the cry of his people; to listen to his people until we are in harmony with the will to which God calls us”.(14) The Synod process culminates in listening to the Bishop of Rome, who is called to speak [chiamato a pronunciarsi=called to pronounce (a word used for ex-cathedra statements)] as “pastor and teacher of all Christians”,(15) not on the basis of his personal convictions but as the supreme witness to the fides totius Ecclesiae, “the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church”.(16)

The fact that the Synod always acts cum Petro et sub Petro — indeed, not only cum Petro, but also sub Petro — is not a limitation of freedom, but a guarantee of unity. For the Pope is, by will of the Lord, “the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful”.(17) Closely related to this is the concept of “hierarchica communio” as employed by the Second Vatican Council: the Bishops are linked to the Bishop of Rome by the bond of episcopal communion (cum Petro) while, at the same time, hierarchically subject to him as head of the college (sub Petro).(18)

14) FRANCIS, Address at the Prayer Vigil for the Synod on the Family, 4 October 2014.

15) FIRST VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus (18 July 1870), ch. IV: Denz. 3074. Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 749, § 1.

16) FRANCIS, Address to the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, 18 October 2014.

17) SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 23. cf. FIRST VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Prologue: Denz. 3051.

18) Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 22; Decree Christus Dominus (28 October 1965), 4.

Impressive. This makes us wait for an infallible pronouncement by:

  • The Bishop of Rome precisely as the Successor of Peter
  • pronouncing on a matter or many matters of faith and/or morals
  • especially deciding a matter or many matters of controversy
  • directing the instruction to the entirety of Christ’s faithful.

Just to say the obvious: This has not happened to date (this being written on December 9, 2016), and, just to repeat, Amoris laetitia has been excluded from any consideration of it as any kind of teaching of the Magisterium of the Church by the indications of Pope Francis himself.

Meanwhile, I do believe I understand what Pope Francis is doing in not answering various theologians and Cardinals, to wit, he is trying to emphasize Matthew 18:18 (the voice of some of the laity and some of the Synod members) more than Matthew 16:19 (the lone voice of Peter, the Rock), at least for the moment. He is interested in the richness of dialogue, but we see from that October 17, 2015 speech cited above, he is also interested in what can be provided by infallible Peter. Let’s analyze these passages and see some surprising take aways:

Let’s review Matthew 16:19 in utterly pedantic translation

“Whatever you may bind at any given time (second person singular subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular indicative future middle) already have been made to be perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in the heavens.”

What do the verbs mean in this context?

  • Second person singular subjunctive aorist active – The second person singular refers to Peter alone. The subjunctive here is not so much a kind of conditional or wishfulness, but rather depicts the state of actually choosing an option; from the perspective of the actor, there is freedom to the choice: “Whatever you may bind at any give time.” The aorist time frame, whatever delusion your introductory Greek grammars insist on providing to you, is literally “without borders”, that which can happen in the past, present or even future (as is the case here: see below), though usually something which itself happens in a defined time frame, such as the choice to bind. Active simply refers to something actually being accomplished.
  • Third person singular indicative future middle – The third person singular refers to any given object of the action, its state of being. It will simply be what it is (indicative) at that time (future). The middle voice is here used to indicate the status quo to which the actor is also subject, that is, retroactively to his decision to bind something, the truth of that which is described by the following verb, which this singular indicative future middle (“will”) helps to describe.
  • Nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive: The nominative neuter singular refers to the object which is being bound (passive), that is, in an ongoing fashion (participle) in a perfect manner (perfect); mind you, in Greek, “perfect” never refers to a perfectly accomplished action at one point in time, but rather to an action which is perfectly ongoing in a perfect manner since its inception: it always was and will be this way, perfectly, with no change: “already have been made to be perfectly standing in that way.” This “perfect” action structures the capacity of the actor, Peter, to act subjunctively, preempting all choices of Peter except for the one which is consonant which the truth which has always been this way in the heavens. Whatever he may choose to bind at any given time will already have been the case, is the case, and will always continue to be the case in the heavens. Peter cannot choose anything which is not already perfectly established in the heavens. What is in heaven is not an affirmation of what Peter might pronounce; what is in heaven simply is what it is, absolute truth, so to speak. If Peter is wrong about what he intends to pronounce upon, he simply will not be able to pronounce upon it.

Indeed, the part of this equation that people always forget about when trying to figure out the tenses, is that there is a part of this equation which is utterly expendable: Peter. If he is going to get it wrong, he will either die or be incapacitated, but he will not be able to work against what is in heaven already. Being the Successor of Peter isn’t so much an honor as it is a service that may involve laying down his life, for, after all, what do we know? The Orthodox or any others should never be envious of infallibility.

The bit about loosing is exactly the same, verbatim:

“Whatever you may loose at any given time (second person singular subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular indicative future middle) already have been made to be perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in the heavens.”

Let’s review Matthew 18:18 in utterly pedantic translation

“Whatever ye may bind at any given time (second person plural subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular indicative future middle) already have been made to be things perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in heaven.”

And then:

“Whatever ye may loose at any given time (second person plural subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular indicative future middle) already have been made to be things perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in heaven.”

There are some differences besides the plural heavens and singular heaven. Matthew 18:18 is addressed also to the laity about any number of things that may be under dispute. But the verbs and their meanings are exactly the same. But the context removes any infallibility from this other crowd. Let’s see how:

Firstly, in Matthew 16:19, where Peter alone among the Apostles is addressed, only Peter is given the keys of the Kingdom of the Heavens. There is no reference at all to such keys for anyone else in Matthew 18:18. That they have the same access to the understanding of the faith as does Peter is contingent for them in agreeing with Peter, for, as we see in context, the process of a dispute will bring them right back to the Church, that is, as differentiated from Christ’s faithful in general so as to refer to Peter in particular. They are not infallible, he is.

What if Peter is wrong? He can’t be wrong. That’s the point. But say that it could happen, that wouldn’t mean that we ignore him, correct him, unseat him, burn him at the stake, say that he’s not a nice guy or something like that; that would mean that there is no such thing as the Church at all. It can’t happen. Period. Is “dialogue” among the faithful expected by our Lord? Yes. He explicitly speaks of it. But then there is a process to follow. But there is a richness to be expected among so many. That richness is not to be ignored, calling the faith provided to the faithful useless, thus insulting the Holy Spirit.

Pope Francis knows this. He respects it. After Matthew 18:18 we go to Matthew 16:19. We are still in the Matthew 18:18 phase.

Might Pope Francis choose to go to Matthew 16:19, to pronounce in an infallible way on the matter? Sure. That is yet to be seen. He surely has set up a scenario in which it seems he truly wants to pronounce an infallible statement. He surely has prefaced this with a great deal of dialogue. To the degree that he is insisting on dialogue, that is the degree he may be incisive in pronouncing an infallible statement.

Have some perhaps jumped the gun? Perhaps. Can it be said that all involved may well be filled with Apostolic charity, that is, both the four Cardinals and the Holy Father? Yes. Are they merely asking him to move from Matthew 18:18 to Matthew 16:19? Perhaps. Again, I don’t like the statement of one of the Cardinals who said: “My position is that ‘Amoris laetitia’ is not magisterial because it contains serious ambiguities…” His opinion is not why Amoris laetitia is not magisterial. It is not magisterial because Pope Francis said it is not magisterial. Otherwise, how many popes do we have? So…

We pray. That is to be expected and desired by all involved, right? Yes. We pray.

Does my having written this article mean that I don’t have my own concerns which happen to be well stated in the five dubia? No, it doesn’t mean that. Does the present non-answer of Pope Francis mean that he doesn’t agree with the intent of the five dubia? No, it doesn’t mean that. What it all means is that we haven’t yet moved from Matthew 18:18 to Matthew 16:19. That’s all. Might I say to Pope Francis that I sure do hope for the good of the Church that our Lord’s desire that our present dialogue with Matthew 18:18 will move to Matthew 16:19? Sure. But the timing is the judgment call of Vicar of Christ, not mine or anyone else for that matter. Again, might we ask him politely to move to Matthew 16:19? Sure, and I think everyone has been polite, although, again, that bit of one of the Cardinals about why he thinks Amoris laetitia is not magisterial is, I think, out of place. And in view of that, I must defend the fact of the papacy itself. Might that make me lose many friends. I suppose. That saddens me. But I am also filled with fortitude. Hier stehe ich and all that. Amen.

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Filed under Amoris laetitia, Canon 915, Confession, Eucharist, Holy See, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Synod on the Family, Year of Mercy

Pope Francis

Start at the beginning for context. Make sure to pay close attention after 1:14:00 but get the whole question just before that. Changes are made to any transcript with or without the approval of the Holy Father. All I know is that the video is up, still unchanged with no note on the video (super easy to do).
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Filed under Amoris laetitia, Pope Francis