Lawler on Papal Off-the-cuff Remarks. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

Phil Lawler has some observations about what the Pope said the other day in his off-the-cuff remarks about marriage… and it seems also about priests.

From Catholic Culture:

The damage done (again) by the Pope’s statements on marriage

During an address to a diocesan congress in Rome yesterday, Pope Francis was quoted as saying:

  • that some priests are “animals,” [NB: This he, apparently, didn’t say.]
  • that pastors should not be “putting our noses into the moral life of other people,” and
  • that the “great majority” of Catholic marriages today are invalid.

All of these shocking statements were attributed to the Holy Father by reliable journalists: experienced reporters who take pains to get things right, and usually do. Below I’ll address the important question of whether or not the quotes were accurate. But first let’s assess the damage done by the statements as they were reported.

  • In the 1st quote the Pope appears intemperate and uncharitable. He may disagree with priests who refuse to baptize the children of unwed mothers, but name-calling is ugly, and certainly beneath the dignity of the Petrine office.
  • In the 2nd quote the Holy Father seems thoroughly illogical, and/or dismissive of the entire Catholic moral tradition. Confessors and spiritual directors always “put their noses” into the moral lives of their people; good pastors and preachers do, too, albeit somewhat less directly. If the Church does not wish to be involved in our moral lives, why have any moral teaching at all?
  • With the 3rd quote, the Pope throws into question the validity of millions of marriages, and insults the Christian married couples who are working to fulfill their vocations. More than that—as Edward Peters explains—he suggests that there has been some fundamental change in human nature, since by nature any rational person is capable of entering into a valid (if not necessarily sacramental) marriage.

Did the Pope really mean to suggest that in our age the breakdown in understanding of marriage has been so profound that we—or most of us, at least—are incapable of forming the same sort of marital bond that our ancestors have formed for countless centuries? That would be a stunning claim!

[…]

The Pope’s statement—if it was relayed accurately and meant seriously—would mean that our society is so thoroughly perverse that it has actually debased human nature. If that were the case, the Catholic Church could not reconcile herself to modern society; the faith would be in open conflict with the modern age. Yet in Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis delivered a very different sort of message, suggesting that pastors should learn to work patiently, gradually, and sympathetically with people who do not share the Catholic understanding of marriage.  [How does a priest do that if he is not to inquire into the moral lives of people?]

So the Pope’s remarks, if they were reported accurately, were seriously damaging. [Quaeritur…] But were the reports accurate?

  • With regard to the 1st quotation, the answer, fortunately, is No. The Pope’s remark, made in an ad-lib response to a question, was terribly disjointed and difficult to follow. But apparently he intended to say that some priests treat children (or possibly their unwed mothers) as “animals.” He did not aim that insult at the priests themselves.  [Ummm… if he said that some priests treat anyone like animals, that’s pretty bad.  Who are these priests?  Where are they?]

This demands that we develop a family pastoral ministry capable of welcoming, accompanying, discerning and integrating.

Now here’s the same passage, as it was originally reported by Ines San Martin of Crux:

The Gospel chooses another way: welcoming, accompanying, integrating, discerning, without putting our noses in the moral life of other people.

The questionable phrase, “without putting our noses…,” was wisely cut from the final version. Yet the Pope did use those words—or, allowing for misunderstandings and problems in translation—something reasonably close to them. [We have now the unofficial off-the-cuff remarks and the official off-the-cuff remarks.]

  • And what about that stunning 3rd quotation? In the official transcript the Pope is recorded as saying that “a part (sic) of our sacramental marriages are null.” But a check of the audio tape of the event confirms that in fact the Pontiff said “the great majority.”  [While it is true that even the majority of something is still a part of something, a majority is more specific than a part.]

So evidently the Pope’s words were changed, after the fact, to eliminate the most troublesome statements. Who made the changes? According to the Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, the transcript was edited by the Pope himself; “thus the published text was expressly approved by the Pope.”

So when the dust settled, and the official transcript appeared, the Pope’s statements were no longer shocking. Should we conclude, then, that everything is fine, and no harm was done? Absolutely not!

First, because those shocking statements were widely disseminated through the news media, to be heard or read by millions of people who will never see the official transcript.

Second, the Pope’s remarks were consistent in their tone—a tone that encouraged listeners to question the authority of Church teachings. At one point Pope Francis light-heartedly said: “Don’t go telling on me to Cardinal Müller.” His joking reference was to the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the guardian of Catholic theological orthodoxy. (Perhaps needless to say, that joke did not survive in the edited transcript.)

Third and most important, because this pattern keeps recurring: the astonishing statements, the headlines, the confusion, followed by the explanations and clarifications that never clear away the fallout. When will Pope Francis realize—when will other prelates make clear to him—how much damage he does with these impromptu remarks?

Some loyal reporters struggled doggedly to minimize the impact of the latest eruption. A Catholic News Service story said at the outset that the Pope’s argument about the number of invalid marriages was “a point he has raised before, and one also raised by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI.” Yes, but never before had either suggested that most marriages were invalid. America magazinesuggested that when he spoke of a “great majority” of marriages, the Pope didn’t really mean most marriages—an interpretation that puts a novel definition on the word “majority.” John Allen of Crux observed, reasonably enough, that the Pope has every right to amend his own remarks. True. But the problem was not the way they were edited. The problem lay with the Pope’s original remarks.  [YES!]

There are two problems, really: [1] that the Pope speaks so often without first considering what he is about to say, and that [2] when he makes these impulsive remarks, his first unguarded thoughts so rarely show the imprint of sound Catholic teaching.

On that last bit: This is why the Pope doesn’t change the Church’s law through off-hand remarks.  There is a proper way to promulgate law.  There are ways to tell when a Pope intends to teach in such a way that the faithful are bound to accept what he says.   Off-the-cuff remarks during Q&A is not one of them.   When a Pope gives an off-the-cuff answer in Q&A, our reaction to the answer depends not in the fact that the Pope said it, but rather on the quality of that answer.

“But Father! But Father!”, some of you libs will squawk, “This is a New Age blown in on the Fresh Breeze from the Open Window to the World’s Ways by Vatican II!   We don’t have rigid formality now!  No more of this talk of rules and proper ways to do things.  That’s all the dark bad past now.  You and your ilk are the sort that forced poor Fr. Lombardi to change the Pope’s perfectly acceptable and Super-Mega Official Teaching during his Q&A.  HA!  Your days are numbered.   Were going to find you and … and… then you’ll be sorry.  You are going to be in reeducation therapy for a long time because YOU HATE VATICAN II!”

As I have said before, when I… sorry, We are elected and take the name Pius XIII (or possibly Pius X II) We will vanish into the depths of the Apostolic Palace for periods so long that the press will start to run stories that We have actually died and that officials are hiding the fact.   Then We shall appear at Our balcony and read to the world (before releasing it in print) an Encyclical, two pages in length in dense Latin (the language of its composition) and, having thus taught the world, vanish again.  Come to think of it, We may send a Monsignor to read it.   And, by the way, Our second decree as Supreme Pontiff, that will be issued in the second minute of Our Pontificate, will forbid Cardinals from speaking to the press without first they submit their remarks for approval and then receive permission by papal rescript.  Pius, We, will not make off-the-cuff remarks in the presence of journalists.  They, instead, will be banned from the Vatican City State by a decree issued in the third minute of Our pontificate.  The only way that journalists will be allowed into the presence will be if they are accompanied by two well trained, very large, and heavily armed members of the Noble Guard, which will be reinstated via our fourth decree in the fourth minute of Our Pontificate.

No, Pius will not make off-the-cuff remarks.

And it is unlikely that there would ever even be a question about an airplane presser, since We won’t be going anywhere.

Except, perhaps, for a stroll in Our garden at Castel Gandolfo.

Please share!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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57 Responses to Lawler on Papal Off-the-cuff Remarks. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

  1. JeffLiss says:

    “If that were the case, the Catholic Church could not reconcile herself to modern society; the faith would be in open conflict with the modern age.”

    Yes. Yes! A thousand times Yes! Damn the torpedoes, Once more unto the breach, Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

    It’s not called the Church Militant because we’re afraid of “open conflict” with something as empty and transient as “the modern age.”

  2. kiwiinamerica says:

    OK, enough about whether the “majority” or just “some” marriages are invalid. There’s room for debate there and it’s a matter of opinion.

    Let’s talk about something else which he said which is far more troubling IMHO. I’m referring to his statement that those who are shacked up “have the grace of a real marriage” if they are faithful to each other. This is heresy, right? Slam dunk, no wiggle room. It’s completely contrary to Catholic moral teaching and is godless, humanist nonsense. “It’s OK to shack up……so long as you don’t cheat”. This, from a Pope.

    The real issue now is where do we go from here and how did we get to this point? There needs to be a discussion among the cardinals about this. It should be clear by now to anyone with any spiritual discernment that the Pope does not accept Catholic moral teaching in its entirety. We have a heretic sitting in the Chair of Peter. We need to start this discussion with an honest assessment of whether it is prudent for a Pope to throw in the towel, as the previous Pope did and speaking of things “invalid”, there needs to be an inquisition about what happened at the conclave which elected Francis including an investigation of the activities of Danneels, Lehman and their fellow travelers.

    It’s time for the pitch-forks to come out!

  3. kiwiinamerica says:

    OK, Father, you may (or may not) publish my previous post but [because of that interjection, I am deleting the rest of this. I NEVER permit discussion of my decisions to delete, edit, release, suppress comments. Period. Period.]

  4. HeatherPA says:

    It’s okay that we do not read anything Pope Francis says on or off the cuff, isn’t it, Father Z? We pray daily for his intentions in our family rosary time, as we are called to do. Is that acceptable? Because, as far as His Holiness is concerned, every time in the past that we have read what he has said, it causes near occasions of sin, if not venial sin, at the very least in our thoughts. It is extremely difficult.

  5. MrTipsNZ says:

    I am sensing more and more that Pope Francis carries significant doctrinal and hermeneutic scars derived from his pastoral activities in Argentina and greater South America (let’s face it, its a mess there). Thus, we need to pray more fervently for him and the Petrine Ministry.

    As for Pius XIII. The first act should be to dis-establish every single role and function in the Vatican (esp. curia) and let the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate perform the re-hiring and firing. Non-compliance results in immediate hosing down with the entire songlist of Marty Haugen……repeatedly.

  6. Charles E Flynn says:

    Whereupon, in the fourth minute of Our pontificate, We will transfer our wish list to Amazon.it.

  7. Maltese says:

    If we look at the history of the Papacy, one might say we’re somewhat lucky to have a Bergoglio Pope, and not a Borgia Pope. That said, some of my protestant family members who might have looked favorably upon the Catholic faith, and possible admittance to it, are now saying, “no way!” The sad truth is, that the more watered-down the Church becomes, the less relevant it becomes.

  8. chantgirl says:

    It’s starting to seem like we’ve spent the past three years talking about the Pope. Can we get back to talking about Jesus now?

  9. Tricia says:

    I’ve taken to praying for the conversion of the current pope (and we’re all in need of conversion, so that shouldn’t be controversial) and praying that the Lord prepare the next one to sort out all of the confusion.

  10. Mike says:

    It’s okay that we do not read anything Pope Francis says on or off the cuff, isn’t it, Father Z? . . .

    I empathize mightily with HeatherPA‘s concern. My concern (distinct from the danger of mere curiosity) is that I’ll get blindsided by some smirky anti-Catholic and not be prepared to react. A mere “Set the MSM aside and look at what the Holy Father really said” obviously doesn’t cut it any more, if it ever did during this pontificate.

    Not that I distrust the inspiration of the Holy Ghost on the spot, should a response to such jibes be needful. But, keeping situational awareness in mind, would it not be imprudent to have ignored these “off-the-cuff” (and not so off-the-cuff) pronouncements?

  11. Elizabeth D says:

    No frank commentary from Pope Zuhlsdorf, eh? Nor even translations from Latin?!

    At least Francis is still himself!

  12. Elizabeth D says:

    (by the way I am supposed to be following some discipline regarding the internet per my spiritual director and that includes only reading this blog on Saturdays. This is not easy).

  13. tskrobola says:

    I love you, Father Z, you are a blessing in difficult times. Your reference to your pontificate as Pius XIII reads precisely like our own family’s hoped for Pontificate….made laugh and cry simultaneously about the Church in a way I haven’t been able to do in a long, long time.

  14. CatholicMD says:

    And hopefully in the fifth minute His Holiness will suppress the Society of Jesus.

  15. MaryL says:

    I am inclined to agree with Pope Francis. Marriages are modelled off what people see on TV instead of the teachings of the Catholic Church.

  16. mo7 says:

    Pre-Cana anyone? What didn’t you understand?

  17. hilltop says:

    Pius X II! Most excellent. Truly.
    I second Catholic MD’s motion for your fifth decree. Total and complete suppression with all properties seized. Resisters can go live at Casa Santa Marta.
    As decree 6, hmmmm. How about a fresh condemnation of Modernism?
    Decree 7… You may rest.

  18. Deo Credo says:

    I agree with catholicMD….wasn’t there some promise in our future pontificate about suppressing the society of heretics?? I can’t call them by their chosen name, whatever they are they aren’t following Jesus

  19. Cantor says:

    Perhaps it is time for some aspiring young priest to start a new blog entitled:

    What Did The Pope Really [Mean To] Say

  20. Grumpy Beggar says:

    It would appear to be a rather perplexing proposal :

    How one could ever substantiate the statement that “the great majority of Catholic marriages today are invalid”, without first having “put their nose well into the moral lives” of those whose marriages are (ahem, purportedly) ‘invalid’ ?

    Wouldn’t there need to be some corroborating evidence or statistics somewhere . . . Or are we just running on speculation or flights of fancy ?

    I continue to pray for Pope Francis.

  21. Rob83 says:

    Cardinal Mueller has a pretty thankless job these days given his boss’s off-the-cuff remarks keep forcing the Press Office to play “What Didn’t the Pope [Officially] Say” in tandem with “What the Pope [Really] Said”. The problem is that almost nobody pays attention to the Press Office’s efforts compared with the viral attention the original comments get.

    The modern media age has created a new problem for popes. For most of papal history, if the pope said something loopy, it was confined to the small number of people who heard him, and while it might be known through Rome, it likely didn’t travel very far very fast beyond the city, if at all. Had Francis been around 200 years ago instead of now, he would probably have mostly been the subject of Roman gossip, but not creating worldwide headlines and headaches.

    On a positive note, Francis can serve as an excellent guide for future pontiffs on the subject of “Don’t Let This Happen to You” as regards mass and social media.

  22. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    “Pius X II”: is that pronounced ‘Pope “Pope Saint Pius the Tenth” the Second’? (If so, I am not confident of being able to put it in Latin…)

  23. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Meanwhile, having read more Shakespeare than Papal History, I don’t know if it would be Innovation or Revival, but mightn’t the Holy Father appoint a ‘Papally-Licenced Fool’ to appear with him on such occasions and bop him with an Environmentally-Sound Balloon-on-a-Stick, and immediately merrily contradict him with a, ‘Hola, Sublime Nuncle, not so fast, there!…’?

  24. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Elizabeth D,

    Of a discipline which “includes only reading this blog on Saturdays” – that’s a lot of reading to catch up with in one go, every Sancta Sabbata.

  25. gloriamary says:

    If I read or hear the words “discernment” or “pastoral” one more time I may lose what’s left of my sanity.

  26. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Dr. Peters, in his most recent post, favorably refers to “Jesuit Fr. George Joyce’s classic study of Christian Marriage (1933)”. Since he died in 1943, this is presumably out of copyright. Would it be a good idea for someone to add this to the four titles of his currently in the Internet Archive?

    Dr. Peters also says, “One stays single unless one goes through a ceremony called a wedding, at which point, one is (presumptively, at least) married. People who are married get to do certain things that people who are not married don’t get to do”. Historically people eligible for marriage who did certain things like becoming betrothed created a peculiar (legal) situation, as did people eligible for marriage who became one flesh with each other by coitus.

    Can anyone recommend good things to read (off- or online) about the current state of understands of, and canon law relating to, betrothals and affinity?

  27. Dave N. says:

    If the Pope meant that the majority of “marriages” (in the sense of being declared married by the State) that baptized Catholics have entered into are invalid, I’d say that state of affairs is easily the case.

  28. Gratias says:

    The people of Castel Gandolfo will be delighted to make the Papacy great again.

  29. Augustine says:

    Since you didn’t mention your actions in the first minute, might I suggest declaring Z to be a Roman numeral?

  30. Gratias says:

    All this Amoris Laetitia leads to the destruction of the family. Cultural Marxism is explained magnificently by Dr. Cornea from Roumania. If Fr. Z allows it, it will take 45 minutes but you will learn much.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2948&v=GCLiHDK-x38&ebc=ANyPxKp5JSZQw0U_IGnbRUse696pVdnXKLQhbumqjPKU9a5IjMg-ZMCdXS0nWRdFs4RxARA0Wx25fkayU0yCrqDJwGd2wfa0cw

  31. Imrahil says:

    Dear kiwiinamerica,

    I second to this that the idea “the unmarried having the graces of a real marriage” is much more problematic than the idea of most of marriages being null – even, indeed, more problematic than Communion-for-the-divorced-and-remarried*, in fact.

    [* At least as long as the official argumentation of its proposers is still held up: that they of course are not in a new marriage, really, only “get mitigating circumstances” for what would otherwise be a mortal sin. – I wonder, though, given that the same camp now seems to be argumenting for homosexuality, whether this official argumentation is a bit outdated.]

    That said, to make a heresy, it takes a decided, positive statement, not some pastoral even if in itself unorthodox exaggeration (as which I take the Holy Father’s words here**). Also, at least w.r.t. Popes, it takes a formal dogma, and that the (definite article, not only “some of the”) graces of a real marriage are only present in a real marriage may be are-you-kidding-me-obvious (pardon the expression), but is not, to my knowledge, dogma.

    [**The statement “Even though these civil ‘marriages’ are not, in fact, marriages, they may come to realize some of the aims of marriage, and why should we not suppose that God is helping with His grace even there” would be an orthodox statement.]

  32. Eugene says:

    I totally agree with Catholic MD’s wishes re: suppression of the Society of Heretics.
    Re: Pope Pius XII, Father how I wish and pray we get such a pope.

  33. DonL says:

    A marvelous reading from another pope, that references the abuse of ambiguity. This issue has surface before.

    BULL OF POPE PIUS VI
    AUCTOREM FIDEI

  34. oldconvert says:

    My Italian is not good enough to evaluate fully what the Holy Father is reported to have said, for myself; I have to rely on the judgements of experts. And when it comes down to vocabulary which has theological overtones I am even less qualified.

    I would just point out that (a) Italian is not the HF’s first language; (b) with any translation anywhere, one is hearing/reading, not what the original author said, but what the translator said he said. This is not to impute intentional dishonesty to the translators involved, but, individual words themselves carry connotations which are not identical in every language. And that’s before you get to consider tone of voice, facial expression, body language and all the rest of the context.

    Therefore I don’t think it is really fruitful to dissect the Pope’s pronouncements seeking thereby to discern his intentions. Let’s just see what he does.

  35. Augustine says:

    Since you didn’t mention your actions in the first minute, might I suggest declaring Z to be a Roman numeral, thus your pontifical name, Pius Z?

    [If John Paul II could declare J to be a letter of the Roman alphabet, I don’t see why We could not do something similar.]

  36. MariaKap says:

    And WE look forward to that blessed day!

  37. Semper Gumby says:

    Venerator Sti Lot: Perhaps “X II” could be pronounced “Magnus.”

  38. Traductora says:

    Is it possible to find the actual audio anywhere? I’ve been searching for it and have found only dead ends, so I assume the Vatican has removed it.

    I saw an initial transcript in Italian but apparently the part about priests either being “animals” themselves or calling their parishioners ” animals” was so confused it was hard to determine what he meant. So I’d like to hear it for myself, but I can’t find it.

  39. VARoman says:

    I have decided I am going to approach this pontificate as something to be endured. I will no longer read or give any attention to a single word the Holy Father says, outside of a magesterial setting. And even then, only through the lens of someone interpreting what he actually means.

    My wife and I were civilly married outside the Church. We have a daughter and have been together for 15 years. We currently live as brother and sister as we work towards sacramental marriage.

    I can’t tell you how insulting it is to be told that what we were doing may have been more “sacramental” than most sacramental marriages. I can tell you, our union has gotten so much stronger since we decided to work towards a valid marriage.

  40. pjsandstrom says:

    The question parsing for “most” versus ” some” or “many” reminds one of the discussions over “all” or “many” or “the many” or “the multitude” within the Narrative of the Institution/Consecration” in the Eucharistic Prayers. A really Orwellian situation!

  41. Elizabeth M says:

    At best I can hope that His Holiness in #2 meant it’s okay to put your nose in your parish’s business but not in the business of the Lutheran’s marriage down the street.

    Please remember to have the Papal Tiara professionally cleaned before appearing on the balcony.

  42. HeatherPA says:

    I think his his entire commentary that day is extremely baffling and troubling, to the point where one can legitimately wonder if the Holy Father is suffering the signs of dementia.

    He says that the great majority of sacramental marriages are null, but then states that people coinhabitating are enjoying the grace of a sacramental marriage (he says nothing about living as brother and sister when referring to people coinhabitating).

    I think the latter statement is even more alarming and insulting that the first, though both are cuckoo.

  43. The Astronomer says:

    If his Holiness did indeed say “The Gospel chooses another way: welcoming, accompanying, integrating, discerning, without putting our noses in the moral life of other people,”

    Then what is the Sacrament of Confession for?!?!?

  44. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Actually, Jesus was _always_ sticking His nose into the moral life of other people. Granted, He had omniscience built into Himself, but still… He had no hesitation telling individual people, “And the man you’re living with isn’t your husband,” or “You didn’t give me water to wash my feet,” or “Go sell everything that you own and give it to the poor.”

    The Gospel message is nosy as heck. “You are a sinner. Repent and live the Gospel.”

  45. albizzi says:

    The more I hear from our Holy Father, the more I am wondering if he was the right man to be chosen for the petrine office during the last conclave. In my opinion, the “mafia” members of the Saint Gallen group, about which Card. Danneels boasted to belong (though this was strictly forbidden by John Paul II’s UNIVERSI DOMINICI GREGIS instructions) succeeded far beyond their wishes in lobbying on behalf of Card. Bergoglio’s election to the papacy.

  46. jbosco88 says:

    These ‘off the cuff’ moments sadden me. Once a ‘new’ convert under Benedict XVI I would look frequently to what the Pope said for comfort and guidance. I hope Francis offers this comfort to others. It should not be necessary to look “behind” what is said – tone, body language etc – this Pope speaks with conviction.

    Maybe the Pope indicates more catechises on Marriage is needed, and we have some wonderful books to help with that – the Five Cardinals Book (TM) for instance.

  47. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Traductora,

    Dr. Peters, in his post “The missing middle term” (17 June) links a video on YouTube (entitled: Opening of the Pastoral Conference of the Diocese of Rome – 2016.06.16) which I have not tried to watch/hear (yet) but which was still there as of the moment I write (EST 6:29 p.m.).

  48. Daniel W says:

    One does not look to Pope Francis for technical clarity: If a marriage is sacramental, then it must be valid, so one can confidently say that 100% of sacramental marriages are valid.

    However, I think the pope’s St Francis like frank-ness is refreshing.

    If a priest preparing a couple for Catholic marriage finds that either or both exclude an essential property of marriage, then the marriage should not go ahead. Why not? Because it would not be valid.

    Now ask yourself, what percentage of Catholics you know think that marriage is indissoluble, or only between a man and woman? The point the pope makes about this affecting the will is that in most cases the fact that they think there can be a marriage between people of the same sex is not likely to affect their decision to marry, and so it would not invalidate their marriage. However, the statement of the apostles “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” (Matt 19), sums up the attitude of many of my Catholic acquaintances. Many cohabiting Catholic couples that I meet do not think that anything changes in their relationship if they have a Catholic wedding, except that their facebook page now includes a Church photo opp.

    Assuming this is along the lines of what he means, I agree with the pope that in a majority of cases these people would not have married if they thought the union they were entering was indissoluble.
    They would have done what others do: (continue) cohabiting.

    Ed Peters makes a great devil’s advocate (defender of the bond), but realistically the stats agree with the pope.
    “Of all the nations of the world in which such trials take place, only in Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Malawi, Uganda, and Vietnam do 50 percent or more of cases result in rulings against nullity. Most of the world’s nations with high numbers of annulments decide 93-97 percent of sentences in favor of nullity, with Canada (at 99.5 percent) and Australia (at 98 percent) having particularly high affirmative sentence rates and Germany (at 82 percent) and Poland (at 79.5 percent) relatively low ones.”

  49. tskrobola says:

    Serious question: does anyone really think that the Pope wasn’t sincere in his off the cuff remarks? I don’t think it was an “oopsie” either…I think he means to let out the “real” Francis this way and let the world “run with it” while orthodox Catholics desperately attempt to keep orthodoxy intact. We know that no single man may overrule the Magisterial Tradition of the Church, but so much of the world and even/especially many orthodox Catholics have become accustomed to a kind of cult of personality about the Papacy that functionally distorts the doctrine of Papal Infallibility to one of impeccability.

    As Fr Z has said this is a parenthesis….but oh my what a twisted parenthesis it is!

  50. boxerpaws63 says:

    pray that Pope Francis stops speaking to the press? one day Pope Benedict XVI and JPII are declared Doctors of the Church?
    many orthodox Catholics have become accustomed to a kind of cult of personality about the Papacy that functionally distorts the doctrine of Papal Infallibility to one of impeccability.

    As Fr Z has said this is a parenthesis…keep praying that Pope Francis stops talking to the press.

  51. Cornelius says:

    Even the unscripted remarks (they’re not ‘off the cuff’) of a Pope should be saturated in sound Catholic teaching. That Mr. Bergoglio’s are not (repeatedly) indicates the poverty of his formation and a certain twistedness in his spiritual life. It’s like watching a modern doctor who mixes in voodoo rituals with contemporary medical treatments. Who would go to such a doctor?

  52. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Now, it’s not necessarily true that Rota rates are suspicious. If the counseling given during the investigative process is really good, and if the couples learn something about canon law in the process, you would expect a lot of people with valid marriages to realize it, and stop trying to get the Church to give a ruling more to their liking. A lot of people give up for less meritorious reasons, too.

    That may not be what’s happening; but it could be.

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  54. IloveJesus says:

    @Suburbanbanshee

    That would be great, if only they didn’t require you to get divorced first. :/

  55. Imrahil says:

    I don’t think the requirement to get divorced first is a good idea. And after what I’ve heard it’s a USCCB idea not necessarily applicable elsewhere on the planet.

    But be that as it may, they can then do what is properly called a remarriage, the thing Erich Kästner so famously pleaded for.

  56. Gail F says:

    I cannot begin to say how demoralized I felt after reading that. I do think I know what Pope Francis maeans, and that he may even be right. But to say it like that — !!! It will encourage the WRONG people, and will not help the right ones. I think Pope Francis is impatient. He thinks, “I don’t have any sympathy for pussyfooting around — there’s a huge problem, let’s get to it!” But his remarks do not help this objective.

  57. Ben Kenobi says:

    “I can’t tell you how insulting it is to be told that what we were doing may have been more “sacramental” than most sacramental marriages. I can tell you, our union has gotten so much stronger since we decided to work towards a valid marriage.”

    You are not alone in your struggles to fix problems. *sigh* Francis’ comments are NOT helpful to anyone who’s trying to do the right thing.