Break Your Silence: Speak About Amoris Laetitia!


It has been 600 days since I last composed a blog post, but this is so important I am breaking my hiatus.

Almost exactly 1600 years ago, in the midst of the Pelagian heresy which threatened to engulf the Church, St. Augustine wrote that when Rome has spoken, the case is closed (paraphrased: “Roma locuta est, causa finita est”).

Today, precisely because the pope has not spoken, the Church is facing a crisis, and the case remains open.

I refer of course to the confusion surrounding how to interpret Chapter 8 of Pope Francis’ encyclical Amoris Laetitia (AL) concerning Communion for the divorce-and-remarried.

This confusion escalated with the release of the directive of two bishops in Malta which says in plain English (emphasis mine):

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 bishop of San Diego and bishops in Argentina have taken a similar stance, but never in quite-so-plain terms.

Meanwhile, numerous other bishops, including Archbishop Chaput and Archbishop Sample, following the teachings of Saint John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio and Veritatis Splendor, and Cardinal Ratzinger’s CDF in 1994, disagree that AL allows for Communion for the divorce-and-remarried, as Carl Olson writes.

There are now dozens of bishops across the world telling their priests contradictory things about what the Church holds when it comes to Communion for the divorce-and-remarried.

There are now thousands of priests around the globe who are telling the Catholic faithful contradictory things about this same disputed question.

There are now millions of Catholics worldwide who are living in a parish where there is a contradiction between what the pope has written recently about marriage and what is preached by the pastor.

As Cardinal Caffarra poignantly said, “only a blind man could deny there’s great confusion, uncertainty and insecurity in the Church.”

The fact that there is deep and widespread disagreement about what the teaching is represents a real and present crisis, because the truth matters, and only the truth will set us free.

Thus the Roman Pontiff has a responsibility to articulate the Catholic faith in a knowable way.

And as Cardinal Caffarra also pointed out, how can we be obedient if we don’t know what the teaching is?

That’s why we have to keep asking the pope to clarify what he means, and in the meantime share our own opinion about AL in whatever mediums are available to us.

Conversely, this is why Fr Antonio Spadaro and Austen Ivereigh are so wrong when they call for the debate over AL to end. It is impossible for this debate to end before the pope more clearly defines what he means.

I don’t understand why the “latitudinarians” (as I call the “reformers” who want to see the Church’s teaching interpreted with wide and inconsistent latitude) don’t want the pope to clarify his teaching. If they are so confident he shares the exact same beliefs as them, why hide this light under a bushel, or, in this case, a footnote?

Instead, the latitudinarians are focused on shouting down those who continue to ask questions.

That leads to my next point: I am dismayed that so many of the JPII-generation and Pope Benedict-loving Catholics remain silent on the sidelines. The debate over AL is, if not the most important, at the very least, the most contentious theological dispute of the past half-century …and yet so many under-40 Catholics have seemingly nothing to say or share.

If the pope is waiting to find out who is more passionate about forming the Church’s future, silence speaks volumes, and what those volumes say is not reassuring.

That’s why I’m urging more young priests, religious and theologians to speak up about AL.

You were formed under the papacies of Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. You went to school for this. You serve as pastors, teachers and counselors. So, speak up!

My father, the canonist Ed Peters, wrote yesterday that the Maltese directive makes answering the dubia issued by the four cardinals even more urgent.

I would add that it makes our responsibility to speak up and ask the pope to clarify his teaching even more urgent as well, and to share our own opinion in the meantime.

So, I’m breaking my silence. Now it’s your turn.

(You can begin by sharing this post and adding your view in the comments below – I will read them.)

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author


Thomas Peters, 33, grew up in Southern California and attended college in Michigan. He has two graduate degrees in theology. He began his award-winning American Papist blog in 2006, which went on to become one of the most popular Catholic blogs in America. He was one of a handful of Americans invited to the Vatican’s first-ever Bloggers’ Meeting in Rome. Peters has appeared in dozens of TV, radio and online media outlets over the years discussing the intersection of Catholicism and political activism, debating topics related to life, family and religious freedom, in addition to writing and speaking about the future of social media and online organizing. From 2010-2016 he served as an advisor to He and his wife Natalie live in Washington DC. You can follow him on Twitter @AmericanPapist.


  1. Is Pope Francis’ intent really to further relieve the angst of formal tribunal review if previous marriage and the potential damage from that process? I’ve no personal experience, but hear anecdotal evidence of either vengeful ex-spouses refusing to cooperate or others pressured into false statements so the nullifiction is recognized. Perhaps a more open approach is to recognize the responsibility of conscience to determine validity of the previous marriage and allow a blessed wedding. In that way the indissolubility of true marriage remains, the teaching on being in a state of grace for reception of The Eucharist remains, and only the who is responsible for determining a wedding validity changes. We would clearly see more divorced and remarried couples participating in the sacraments. How many would be self-delusional?

    • It all depends on what conscience means. When I was an atheist, my conscience told me that abortion was okay. When I was a young man and still Catholic, my conscience told me that marrying outside the Church was okay, then two years later that divorce was okay and I got divorced. Now my conscience tells me that my new marriage is binding on me even though it was outside the Church. So which conscience is in line with truth, which conscience is in line with what Jesus taught? No, I will go with Jesus and the traditions of the Church, not the conscience of sinful man that I am.

  2. Thomas, I suspect the silence is due to primarily to this:

    Generally, people are unsure how to keep potentially-persuasive arguments on-track and out of the jaws of the agents of discord.

    Specifically, Catholics who would like to question the Pope on AL do not wish to be perceived to be rowing the same boat as the faux-militant, ultraconservative Catholic elites whose blog-crazy borderline sedevacantism is also destructive to the faithful. People don’t want their concerns to be used as fuels for those fires.

    In other words, Catholics, like most others, are polarization-fatigued, and don’t know how to enter the fray to any good result.

    Additionally, you aptly raise the OTHER sixty four thousand dollar question:
    Why DON’T the supporters of the Maltese “cannot be precluded” interpretation want clarification?

    • My thought: Why should we worry about being unsure of keeping our words from ” the jaws of the agents of discord” or questioning the pope on AL because we “do not wish to be perceived to be rowing the same boat as the faux-militant, ultraconservative Catholic elites whose blog-crazy borderline sedevacantism is also destructive to the faithful?

      The Truth is the Truth! We are called to speak the Truth regardless!

      • I don’t disagree with you, John. I’m merely offering a possible explanation for engaged and alarmed Catholics’ failure to support the Cardinals’ request for clarification on AL.

  3. Thomas MCIntyre on

    Those of us who are against extending Communion to those divorced and remarried without benefit of an annulment are constantly being castigated and called “traitors” or “schismatic” for daring to question the Pope! It is clear that what is going on in Malta, Argentina and San Diego is what the Holy Father wants but he refuses to speak plainly, knowing the uproar that would follow if he did. Meanwhile those of us who eschew ultramontanism and, like Paul, say on this, the Pope can be wrong, are vilified. That’s why we are silent! We have been bullied into it!

    • I can speak of not having the “benefit” of an annulment… I am remarried to a woman who, after many years of torment, divorced her terrible husband. For the Catholic Church, the ONLY church, to base remarriage on a “successful” annulment is ludacris. We thought we were both in the state of grace.

      I was a widower raised in the faith. Gail was a divorced mother of four. Her ex would not agree to an annulment. He was extremely combative. We wanted to remain in the church and went to see my old friend Fr. Damas in St. Josephs. We laid the facts out to Damas. He cast us off by saying we needed that annulment. Annulments have a bad record in trying to nullify marriages, in this case where there are four offspring, by saying Gail’s marriage never existed. WOW! Damas was so brainwashed on annulment that we thought he would seek to excommunicate us.

      We left Damas with his trappings and went across the grass to another old friend Pastor Paul Benes who married us in the Dutch Reformed Church. There was no mention of annulments.

      • Please recall, an annulment is not a “Catholic divorce.” Well I can’t speak to this particular situation, I can point out this fact.

        Jesus Christ said, in Matthew chapter 19, ” say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman, commits adultery.” That isn’t negotiable. The words of our Lord are not negotiable. If Jesus said something this fact, it is fact. If you don’t agree with that, you don’t believe that Jesus is God, and therefore can’t consider yourself Catholic, or even Christian.

        If I am injured, regardless of my degree of culpability in the injury, I am still injured. If I am killed in an automobile accident, regardless of my degree of culpability, I am still dead.

        No one has been forced into a marriage, or at least I hope they haven’t in this day and age in the Western world. Therefore at some point they made the choice to go forward with the marriage. If the marriage fails, it must be investigated as if to that choice to enter the marriage was made properly and validly. If it is, no amount of complaining, can change the fact that the marriage took place.

        It’s not fair. Life’s not fair. Jesus did not promise us that life would be fair. The people of the west treat God as if he is a department store, and they get to demand what they want because they are “the customer.”

        I apologize for anyone who may be dealing with this unpleasantness. But that doesn’t change the fact, but at some point in time, you said “I do”. Now, you have to live with the consequences of that decision.

        It is childish, highly childish, to throw a temper tantrum because you don’t like the ramifications of your own decisions. Insulting the priest who told you that the marriage was valid until proven invalid, is childish.

        To run off to another church, because they will give you what you want, is proof of what Saint Augustine said: if you read the Gospel, and believe what you choose, and reject the rest, it is not the gospel you believe but yourself.

        • Thank you, Father. My mother has been arguing that my brother, who is married to a divorced woman, should be able to serve on ministries and receive communion in the Catholic Church. The priest told them they needed to live as brother and sister until the first marriage was annulled, so they joined the Lutherans. My brother made bad choices. They didn’t consider the consequences, and now they prefer not to deal with them. I don’t envy someone who has to go through the annulment process. It brings up painful memories. However, the person must decide if they believe Jesus or not and focus on how beautiful a marriage blessed in the Church will be. Through classes I took while my sister was getting her annulment, I don’t believe it matters if the spouse cooperates or not. The Church just has the obligation to contact them and get their input, as they are part of the marriage. I have also heard someone say that her husband got an annulment, but she didn’t. Since it is the marriage that is annulled, I don’t think this is possible!

          We need priests who speak the truth, no matter how difficult, and Catholics who speak out to support them.

      • I am glad that you are happy in your marriage. I am sorry that you had a difficult time with the ex. Your problem was not with Fr. Damas, but with the ex. Your problem was not with Fr. Dams, but with the laws of God. I wish that your wife did not have such a problem to resolve, before she could be remarried. This will sound harsh, but is earthly happiness more important than eternal happiness.

        • You do need the annulment to receive communion in the Catholic Church (unless the ex is no longer living). You do not need the ex’s cooperation to get an annulment. Given what you have shared, it is likely a decree of nullity would be granted.

          Your problem is that you believe that the Catholic Church has some sort of ulterior motive in its teachings to keep you and your wife miserable.

          If the Catholic Church truly exists to make people miserable, then to hell with it. Be a proud Dutch Reformed and not an angry ex-Catholic. But if this is not the case, then you might want to be sure that you have not made a serious mistake.

      • Yep. But, now you are outside of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Could have made sacrifices and lived as brother and sister (the Lord would have loved to see your holy desires), but you decided to have your cake and eat it too.

      • You do need the annulment to receive communion in the Catholic Church (unless the ex is no longer living). You do not need the ex’s cooperation to get an annulment. Given what you have shared, it is likely a decree of nullity would be granted.

        Your problem is that you believe that the Catholic Church has some sort of ulterior motive in its teachings to keep you and your wife miserable.

        If the Catholic Church truly exists to make people miserable, then to hell with it. Be a proud Dutch Reformed and not an angry ex-Catholic. But if this is not the case, then you might want to be sure that you have not made a serious mistake.

  4. Joseph Polizzotto on

    Thanks Thomas for inviting us to express the sensus fidelium!

    It is clear from historical events that the text of AL can be interepreted in a way that is contrary to the entire Catholic tradition on the morality of marriage. We must speak up and defend what Jesus, the apostles, and their successors have taught: “any man who divorces his wife and marries another has committed adultery.”

    We live in an age of superficiality and skepticism. The Catholic Church must speak with one voice so the world knows that we love the Father and abide in Jesus’s teachings. The grace that God gives us is enough to conquer all division and temptations to sin.

    Let the Church rejoice that in Christ we are a new creation. Christ has broken down the walls of division and set us free to love Him with our whole hearts. In the world we will have trouble but our Lord has conquered the world. We can trust in His victory to be ours also.


  5. Well said. We have a beautiful and thorough encyclical on marriage, Casti Connubii. In paragraph 10 Pius XI clearly states (quoting St. Augustine) (emphasis added at the end): Now when We come to explain, Venerable Brethren, what are the blessings that God has attached to true matrimony, and how great they are, there occur to Us the words of that illustrious Doctor of the Church whom We commemorated recently in Our Encyclical Ad salutem on the occasion of the fifteenth centenary of his death:[9] “These,” says St. Augustine, “are all the blessings of matrimony on account of which matrimony itself is a blessing; offspring, conjugal faith and the sacrament.”[10] And how under these three heads is contained a splendid summary of the whole doctrine of Christian marriage, the holy Doctor himself expressly declares when he said: “By conjugal faith it is provided that there should be no carnal intercourse outside the marriage bond with another man or woman; with regard to offspring, that children should be begotten of love, tenderly cared for and educated in a religious atmosphere;

    ****finally, in its sacramental aspect that the marriage bond should not be broken and that a husband or wife, if separated, should not be joined to another even for the sake of offspring. This we regard as the law of marriage by which the fruitfulness of nature is adorned and the evil of incontinence is restrained.”[11]****

  6. What if the Holy Father’s reply to the dubia would be exactly what the Argentine bishops and Bp. McElroy said? Or even what the Maltese bishops said?

    Wouldn’t that greatly deepen the crisis, with a sitting Pope directly contradicting centuries of Catholic teaching, reaffirmed by recent Popes? Would papal authority, and the teachings on marriage and the Eucharist, ever recover?

    Couldn’t the Pope’s refusal to respond be the Holy Spirit’s way of keeping the crisis from getting much worse?

  7. Thank you Thomas for you’re thoughts on this most serious of issues, I have been tweeting about this ever since the exhortation Amoris Laetitia was released last April, it is clear that the relevant footnotes are ambiguous, and allow potentially sacrilegious Holy Communion and confession without repentance or purpose of amendment, all of which equal very serious error (heresy) Pope Francis has refused to clarify the issues involved, which has led to the four Cardinals dubia requesting official clarification, since there seems to be no prospect of this the Cardinals have stated a correction of the relevant parts of AL will be issued in due course privately, and then presumably in public,which will be very necessary as if this is kept in private, more than likely Francis would ignore it. I think this correction at this stage can’t come soon enough, as we can see confusion and different guidelines being adopted in some places, thereby dividing Catholicism. Finally if Pope Francis is named in error or heresy as a result of the correction and he refuses to retract the errors he loses his office.

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  9. One of the reasons that the Holy Father has intimated, and many others have expressed, for the need for change is that many marriages were not entered into validly by a majority of couples. As one who helped prepare couples for marriage for about ten years, I would agree with this assessment. Most couples live together and contracept before marriage showing that they do not understand what marriage is. They do not cease contracepting when they marry, completely ignoring the vows that they take. They are either ignorant or obstinately refuse to accept Church teaching with regard to marriage. In either case they are not taking vows to do that which the Church says that marriage is. So on the surface it seems that some allowances should be granted these people for this very grave error that was there at the moment they attempted to receive the sacrament.

    However, after thinking about this for quite some time, it recently occurred to me that those to whom Christ was speaking when he spoke the words about committing adultery if they remarried after divorce were likewise in invalid marriages. Few of them entered marriage with the idea that it was permanent. That was obvious from the reaction that Christ’s words elicited. Did Christ therefore state that those who were already invalidly married because of their ignorance of the reality of what marriage is were exempt from his words and that only future generations would be bound by this teaching? No, he did not. One would have to assume that he would have the same expectations of those married today. The Church has often stated the truth about marriage in recent centuries so there is much less reason for people to be ignorant than in the time of Christ.

    All couples in second marriages have two options–applying for a declaration of nullity or living as brother and sister. If the Eucharist is important to these people, either option should seem as a small sacrifice.

  10. My husband and I are completely orthodox and utterly confused. We both love the Church, and have so many friends who do, because we love Christ. Because we trust Him…we have read and studied the writings of former
    Popes. We don’t understand what
    God is doing here, but we trust Him…

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  12. The reason more do not speak put is quite simply the intimidation brought to bear by the new authoritarian heterodox prelates who have successfully staged what can only really be seen in terms akin to a coup d’etat.
    What they want is not on particular communion for the remarried or whatever. What they want is an end to fixed doctrine. This emotice issue os, for them, merely a means to an end.

  13. The reason more do not speak put is quite simply the intimidation brought to bear by the new authoritarian heterodox prelates who have successfully staged what can only really be seen in terms akin to a coup d’etat.
    What they want is not in particular communion for the remarried or whatever. What they want is an end to fixed doctrine. This emotive issue is, for them, merely a means to an end.

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  15. Thomas, welcome back!! It’s exciting and refreshing to be reading your posts again. Please keep them coming. God bless!

  16. Ronald Sevenster on

    The Church is in the process of being taken over by modernists since a long time, actually from Vatican II on. Nowadays we are witnesses of an acceleration of this process by a thoroughly modernist Pope. What is happening with Amoris Laetitia is simply a consequence of what has been going for about seventy years. Catholicism is finished, the modernist have taken over. The only thing yet to come is the complete breakdown of the hierarchical infrastructure of the Church by internal factionalism, infightings, and clerical homosexualists and other criminals, and, finally, by physical external attacks from secularists and islamists. We are facing an interesting future.

    • Agree that the Church is being taken over. But, the gates of hell will never prevail. Now we see clearly the image that our Lord Jesus spoke of when He spoke of the “narrow gate.” For the gate of the world is wide. This “wide” gate is now entering into our Church, but those who stay faithful God will reward with eternal life.

  17. Many of us want to speak out but are very wary of taking a wrong step here, so we’re erring on the side of caution. We were formed under Pope JPII and Benedict XVI; they were faithful to Church teaching, and we’re used to that. For some of us, it’s taking a long time to “catch our snap” because suddenly there’s a papal document with text that would preclude it from a valid imprimatur (right? Am I misunderstanding?) Many of us want to speak out for the benefit of others–and feel it’s right to do so!–but how do we make sure we walk that line in a way that is totally pleasing to Christ? Guidelines welcome!!!

    • Live and proclaim the Truths of our faith and you will be blessed. We can’t worry about taking a wrong step as long as we live and proclaim the Truths given to us by Christ in our own daily lives. Christ will take care of the rest. Benedict and JPII were faithful to our Church teaching. So must we be faithful to our Church teachings. Simple as that. It is indeed “black and white.”

      • One thing that has led many of us to be too careful is not the issue of infallibility (of course error is fallible), but of general authority. However, the papacy never confers the authority to teach falsehood or to confuse the faithful. Because of this, challenging an erroneous teaching is not a challenge to papal authority, because he had to step *outside* that authority to proclaim the error as truth. Would you say this is a valid analysis?

    • Lori Ann, Magisterial teachings issued in such a form as to call upon the unconditional adherence of the faithful have infallible guidance by the Holy Spirit. Other authoritative teachings have indeed the presumption of such guidance (and therefore of a call on our adherence and submission of mind and will) – though this is a presumption which could be overcome by sufficient contrary evidence.

      The best guidelines concerning when and how a theologian may legitimately diverge from non-infallible Magisterial teaching come from ‘Donum Veritatis’ issued in 1990 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under St John Paul II and bearing the signature of Cardinal Ratzinger. (It is speaking specifically of theologians, but with all the more reason would any cautions and restrictions apply to the ordinary faithful.)

      Some of the relevant paragraphs:

      ‘The willingness to submit loyally to the teaching of the Magisterium on matters per se not irreformable must be the rule. It can happen, however, that a theologian may, according to the case, raise questions regarding the timeliness, the form, or even the contents of magisterial interventions…’ (24)

      ‘Even if the doctrine of the faith is not in question, the theologian will not present his own opinions or divergent hypotheses as though they were non-arguable conclusions. Respect for the truth as well as for the People of God requires this discretion (cf. Rom 14:1-15; 1 Cor 8; 10: 23-33 ). For the same reasons, the theologian will refrain from giving untimely public expression to them.’ (27)

      ‘The preceding considerations have a particular application to the case of the theologian who might have serious difficulties, for reasons which appear to him well-founded, in accepting a non-irreformable magisterial teaching.’

      ‘Such a disagreement could not be justified if it were based solely upon the fact that the validity of the given teaching is not evident or upon the opinion that the opposite position would be the more probable. Nor, furthermore, would the judgment of the subjective conscience of the theologian justify it because conscience does not constitute an autonomous and exclusive authority for deciding the truth of a doctrine.’ (28)

      ‘In any case there should never be a diminishment of that fundamental openness loyally to accept the teaching of the Magisterium as is fitting for every believer by reason of the obedience of faith. The theologian will strive then to understand this teaching in its contents, arguments, and purposes. This will mean an intense and patient reflection on his part and a readiness, if need be, to revise his own opinions and examine the objections which his colleagues might offer him.’ (29)

      ‘If, despite a loyal effort on the theologian’s part, the difficulties persist, the theologian has the duty to make known to the Magisterial authorities the problems raised by the teaching in itself, in the arguments proposed to justify it, or even in the manner in which it is presented. He should do this in an evangelical spirit and with a profound desire to resolve the difficulties. His objections could then contribute to real progress and provide a stimulus to the Magisterium to propose the teaching of the Church in greater depth and with a clearer presentation of the arguments.’

      ‘In cases like these, the theologian should avoid turning to the “mass media”, but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders service to the truth.’ (30)

      ‘It can also happen that at the conclusion of a serious study, undertaken with the desire to heed the Magisterium’s teaching without hesitation, the theologian’s difficulty remains because the arguments to the contrary seem more persuasive to him. Faced with a proposition to which he feels he cannot give his intellectual assent, the theologian nevertheless has the duty to remain open to a deeper examination of the question.’

      ‘For a loyal spirit, animated by love for the Church, such a situation can certainly prove a difficult trial. It can be a call to suffer for the truth, in silence and prayer, but with the certainty, that if the truth really is at stake, it will ultimately prevail.’ (31)

      • This is a great help and guide. Thank you. Do you know of a document that addresses cases in which the teaching is not necessarily given in union with the Magisterium and/or does not explicitly state doctrine?

        • I’m not aware of a Magisterial document that goes into more detail than ‘Donum Veritatis’ on the topic. There are so many possible cases and variations, I don’t think the Magisterium would even try to cover them all.

          Concerning teaching ‘not necessarily given in union with the Magisterium’, I think it is not that uncommon that to an untrained eye, Magisterial teachings over the centuries may appear to contradict each other here and there – such is the subtlety of various questions, the different uses of words in different contexts, the possibility of approaching matters from different (complementary, not contradictory) perspectives, etc.

          These complexities are one reason why non-theologians should be even more hesitant than theologians to withhold assent from non-infallible teaching, or to judge that one teaching is not ‘in union’ with another teaching. Our rule should be, where there is something puzzling or seemingly ambiguous, to give the teaching the benefit of the doubt, and take it as being actually in harmony – even where that harmony is not fully clear to us.

          In the case of ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (which of course is itself now part of the (non-infallible) Ordinary Magisterium): since (for one thing) there is a plausible interpretation of it (as various orthodox prelates have indicated) whereby it is in harmony with past teachings, we should avoid thinking or saying that any of its teachings are actually ‘wrong’, but rather, we should take on and promote the orthodox interpretation.

          That doesn’t mean we can’t hope for further clarification from the Magisterium of the teachings of Amoris Laetitia, especially in view of the reality of the widespread confusion actually surrounding it. And we can certainly work to counter any unorthodox interpretations we may meet with ourselves . That is where ‘speaking out’ is quite legitimate. I would avoid any direct criticism of the Holy Father (which would likely be counterproductive anyway, in terms of winning over ‘the middle ground’).

          A few Catholics in other blogs and comboxes seem to be edging towards a generalised opposition / mistrust / disrespect towards the Holy Father. We need to be very cautious, lest in our concern that the divorced and remarried not be led astray, we lose sight of the danger for our own souls of a snowballing disobedient (or even, in the end, schismatic) mentality. Once someone has slipped into the general habit of disdaining the ordinary Magisterium, a lot more doctrines will go out the window than just the ones perceived as being under threat from ‘Amoris Laetitia’.

          A final ‘guideline’ – needless to say, do everything with prayer, and you will act in a way ‘totally pleasing to Christ’.

  18. We are in the final battle.

    The message of our Lady of Akita has warned us also of this battle that is now waging in our Church: :”The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres (other priests); churches and altars will be sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.

    Bottom line: Stay with the Truths of the faith handed down to us!

  19. To whom should we speak? Pope Francis has given us bishops who do not object to his methods. The days of Pope Benedict are gone. We have no champion.

  20. Tom
    I couldn’t agree more. Those clergy who remain silent are letting us down, Those who have derided the four courageous (and respectful) church leaders who presented the dubia are even less admirable, and those who now support what is virtually open slaver on freedom of conscience – in open contradiction of Christ’s commandment on marriage – are undermining respect for church doctrine, and in a very real way are threatening to make it redundant. Disunity and confusion reign supreme at this sorry moment in Catholic Church history.

    We need courageous clergy who won’t run with the tide; who stand up for truth; who will do their best to bring an end to the doctrinal confusion – who will stand with the founder and protector leader of the Church – Christ.

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  23. Thanks for your call to action, Thomas. I’m 29 and I’ve spoke up about it. I agree with the application of AL that Archbishops Sample and Chaput have bought out, as well as Bishop Lopes and others. I go into more detail on my thoughts between the differing interpretations in this essay I wrote if you’d like to read it:

    I also had an interesting conversation with someone who believes that Archbishop Chaput (and by extension St. John Paul II) were not “pastoral” enough towards the divorced and civilly remarried:

  24. The notion that conscience (alone) can be a sure norm for guiding us to truth, is a very protestant notion. To expect our conscience (alone) to tell us the truth without the guidance of the magisterium is akin to Martin Luther acknowledging we can use the bible (alone) without guidance from the magisterium to discern the truth of the Logos.

  25. Right is right even if no one is doing it and wrong is wrong even if every one is doing it. I am a cradle to grave , womb to tomb Roman Catholic. I KNOW that each and every one of us will have to answer to God for what we do. We can only answer for our actions not the actions of others. Keep our eyes on CHRIST and CHRIST ALONE and do His will. When some make excuses to justify their actions because of the “mean old Catholic Church, those man made laws, those Catholic divorces for those who have money, etc” some are trying to justify the sin they are committing. ANYBODY can blame the Catholic Church for ANYTHING they don’t want to accept or follow. If something makes them uncomfortable or they have to wait patiently to be in full communion with the Church’s teachings they complain. Was Christ complaining on that cross, was Christ complaining when the whips hit Him, was Christ complaining when that crown of thorns was being pushed down onto His head. He kept silent and did the Father’s work. We should too. If someone is worth having regardless of the circumstances they are worth waiting for.

  26. It’s ALL about sex, nothing about divorce or remmairage. As a convert 7 years ago, I was surprised the Church was so lenient and “pastoral” in it’s approach of letting “remarried” people live in continence so as to be able to receive communion, how gracious of the Church. We need to constantly remember in all of this, that the only thing being debated here is whether people can have sex or not. It IS NOT about whether they can be divorced, remarried, etc. It is simply about peoples desire to be able to continue having sex while with the person. People that choose the lower appetites over the Eucharist, even when the Church has been incredibly generous enough to give a very wide latitude to them by allowing them to still live together chastely, are acting like greedy demons to demand the Eucharist when all they have to do is simply refrain from sex. IT IS SEX after all, not food. You do not need it for goodness sake!


    3. 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. For “cultures are in fact quite diverse and every general principle… needs to be inculturated, if it is to be respected and applied”.3

    Time exists in relationship to space; this moment in time is the same moment in time in every point of space in God’s Universe.

    One can know through both Faith and reason that paragraph#3 is consistent with those who believe that truth, like time, is relative and changes according to culture, tradition, and local needs.

  28. John P Flaherty on

    Your belief that Pope Francis somehow needs to clarify his comments is a contradiction of your own premise for writing this piece. Rome has spoken. The intent of the comment is quite clear and requires no explanation.

    It places the decision to receive Holy Communion in the hands of the Communicant, not their Bishop. It’s between the Communicant and God, not the Communicant, the Church (who likes to interpret God) and God.

    The scarier truth maybe more something like this: “If the decision is between God and the Communicant, what do we need Bishops for?”

    So perhaps the Bishop’s real question to the Pope should be, “What about our jobs?”

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