A sad, sobering reaction to #AmorisLaetitia

At a blog called Dymphna’s Road (unusual name, but blogs often have unusual – and intriguing – names), I saw something that encapsulates what I fear is going to happen in the wake of the Post-Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia.


Mama, what does pastoral mean?

It means, Child, that when your father and his new “wife” go to church the priest has to pretend that I’m dead.

There it is.  Even if this is fictional, it’s enough to break your heart because it stabs directly into what we now face …. pastorally.

Again, Amoris laetitia does not change Catholic doctrine… not if you read it carefully.  It does not say what the fictional conversation above says.  BUT … there are those who will a) not read it carefully and who will b) read it carefully and then lie about what is says in order to do whatever the hell they want and call it “pastoral”.

Let libs deny that.  Just go ahead and lie.

Couple the confusion that can be caused by lack of clarity and a dash of insinuation with the idiocy of the MSM and catholic sources on the liberal Left and we are going to see division and confusion grow and metastasize.

We really need our bishops and priests to step up now and preach sound teaching, TRUE Catholic doctrine, with great clarity and great charity.

Please, God, given them courage to stand in the storm.

As I wrote elsewhere about Amoris laetitia:

If the RIGHT, conservatives and traditionalists are now challenged to an even more compassionate approach to all who need pastoral care (I’m not saying thereby that they aren’t already compassionate – that’s just a canard), the LEFT, liberals, are now challenged by Pope Francis actually to embrace Catholic teaching and conform their pastoral approaches to it (and I am saying that they often don’t – and that’s just a fact). Among other things, Amoris laetitia is at least a call to liberals to fidelity to the Church’s teachings and to abandon dissent! On this point Amoris laetitia could cause some division in the catholic Left. Some are more honest than others, after all. Those pastors of souls who aren’t, who dissent from clear Catholic doctrine both in the pulpit and in pastoral practice after this Exhortation will probably wind up in the deep cinders of Hell. There. I said it.

The moderation queue is ON.

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  1. LarryW2LJ says:

    Clarity is everything and is so sorely needed when Tom, Dick, Harry and all of their brothers are running around with individual agendas.

    Jesus was crystal clear. The Gospels are clear. The writings of the Apostles and St. Paul are clear. It’s man who goes around mucking up the waters, because people can’t stand. or won’t accept the clarity.

  2. cmeier says:

    There’s a saying attributed to many that goes, “Don’t keep your mind so open that your brains fall out.”

    I suggest that a Christian equivalent is “Don’t be so pastoral that you forget three of the works of mercy are instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, and admonishing the sinner”.

    Yeah, I know it’s nowhere near as pithy but I have a headache.

  3. RobertK says:

    St Thomas More and Pope Clement VII were judgemental. And St. Thomas More suffered for it. They didn’t consider the circumstances of Henry VII needing an heir to the throne. Just kidding!

  4. Thomistica says:

    Certainly the Pope, or AL, cannot change doctrine. See Cardinal Burke’s statement about this on the Register, just out. On the other hand, a Pope can try to change doctrine. This is an important distinction.

    I read AL in its entirety and see no reason to believe that it is not representing heterodox views. Again, does AL change doctrine? No. But on the level of persons in the pews, and presumably even bishops and priests, it has created tremendous confusion, already. (Look at Cupich’s comments in the Chicago Trib about the exhortation, for starters.) Thus there is a a tremendous need to challenge those aspects of this document that are wayward.

    One can only hope that the good Cardinal Burke will go well beyond the comments in the Register and engage, in detail, the specifics of the Pope’s views. The Cardinal importantly points out that AL does not have magisterial authority. But now the remaining task is to challenge the Pope for proposing views not in line with the tradition. It is indeed charitable to suggest that the Pope did not intend his views to be anything other than a personal expression of his beliefs, but the rhetorical patterns of this papacy suggest that his designs and those of the persons around him are much more ambitious than this

    We certainly don’t need a reprise of all this confusion in papacies to come.

  5. chantgirl says:

    Abandoned spouses and their children are now the periphery, as well as those trying to live brother-sister relationships.

  6. Vince K says:

    I agree that bishops and priests need to step up and preach sound teaching. What, if anything, are we the laity supposed to do with regard to the P-SAE?

  7. LeeF says:

    Over at Crux, they present two views of the AE, one by Ed Peters, and the other by Fr. Edward Beck.

    Look at this quote from Fr. Beck near the end of his article:

    “That means those who cohabitate without the benefit of marriage are not to be perceived a priori as “living in sin”— nor is anyone else, for that matter. We do not have states of life that are deemed sinful, or beyond the reach of grace. Rather, we have individuals who must be encouraged, no matter what their state in life, to be continually transformed by the grace of inclusion and mercy.”

    Notice how he denies objective states of sin, which denies the need for repentance, people in those situations should be “encouraged” to be “transformed”. Presumably he means to accept their (sinful) condition and expect others to accept it as well.

    He is saying that deeming a state in life to be sinful implies it is beyond the reach of grace. Nothing to repent of in his deluded little universe.

  8. Phil_NL says:

    I have a feeling “pastoral” will soon be regarded as uncouth language.

    And not without cause, not only will liberals use it to support whatever their current hobbyhorse is (heck, nothing new there, except they’ll do it more vigorously), but it also paves over other distinctions that would otherwise have been useful.

    For example, it is one thing to have the situation described above, which will be downright painful if the bride and groom of the actual, but shattered, marriage still attend the same church (they were married in as well, most likely). It’s quite another to have a person who converts to the Faith, civilly already married, with one of the spouses on their second marriage. If the first marriage, even in a protestant denomination that sees no problem in serial divorce, is valid in the eyes of the church, problems are rife, regardless of the fact that neither party subscribed to the Catholic idea of permanency at the time, nor if the other side cooperates with a possible annulment, etc. etc.

    Now in terms of pastoral care, it seems like it would be pastorally sound to make some distinctions, right? The first case looks a whole lot more ugly, and at least one party a whole lot more culpable, than in the second, where you could argue that the rules are retrospectively applied and there are ‘victims’ all around (of their own poor choices or Church policy, that’s debatable*). In any case, it hardly seems like the verbal smacking the priest should be tempted to give in the first case is as pastorally sound in the second.

    But oh wait, because of pastoral concern we have to empathize with all, right? We need to be lenient regardless! Consequence is of course that not only the opportunity of correction in the first case is lost, but the support and actual pastoral concern needed in the second is downgraded, possibly diminished to the point of oblivion. That’s a loss too.

    * I hold it to be unwise to recognize “till death do us part, or the divorce lawyer, whoever comes first” marriages from other denominations, but know from earlier comments that is not an universally shared sentiment. So be it.

  9. Excellent find, and it is good to hear you say this, Father. We need people with credibility making realistic assessments to the threat, and not just saying, “no doctrines were harmed in the making of this apostolic exhortation.” Cardinal Burke’s response in the National Catholic Register is a good example of someone calmly, diplomatically, and effectively, shall the Bear say “diminishing” the effect of AL? Putting it in the proper perspective? But there is the other story. Once again, what people believe the Church teaches on something has been changed, even while actual teachings have not. (This is either careless or very clever.) Worse, it is a temptation, if not invitation, for national councils of bishops, regions or other unspecified bodies to see new and unwholesome opportunities.

  10. chantgirl says:

    Phil_NL – The protestant denominations who believe in sola scriptura have the Bible and Jesus’ words to guide them, both of which are pretty clear about divorce.

  11. Geoffrey says:

    If anyone needs me, I’ll be clinging to my copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

  12. kekeak2008 says:

    That post from Dymphna’s Road perfectly summarizes the trajectory that we’re headed towards. I need to pray more. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus…

  13. mtaylor says:

    “At a blog called Dymphna’s Road (unusual name, but blogs often have unusual – and intriguing – names)”

    Father – I believe St. Dymphna would be the perfect Saint to beg intersession from at this time. Mental Illness, family troubles, problems among the members of the Church……she’s got it all!

  14. IloveJesus says:

    Mama, what does pastoral mean?
    It means, Child, that when your father and his new “wife” go to church the priest has to pretend that I’m dead.”

    Unfortunately, this is not a FUTURE conversation, but a present one:

    My Dad had affairs and left my Mom after more than 40 years of marriage.

    He lives on a golf course and she lives in a mobile home…you do the math. (He told her she wouldn’t get a dime!)

    My Mom applied for an annulment but it was denied.

    After seeing him and his girlfriend (the one he met in an “anointed moment”, not the earlier one which was “sent by God”) frequently at daily Mass, his pastor told them that since they are clearly in love he would marry them.

    So the pastor performed a “Catholic wedding” for them at morning mass–without an annulment.

    My Dad has been a leader in the Church for many, many years and has photos of himself kissing Pope JPII’s ring and standing with Cardinal Ratzinger which he loves to share.

    He leads a Catholic Men’s Bible Study, in his parish, gives retreats and brings communion to the sick.

    As the patriarch of our family with many grandchildren, he is bringing scandal to my kids as well as many others.

    I have written to him imploring him to please repent before it is too late. He is now 80 and has cancer. He responds that I am judging him.

    I don’t think this new development from Pope Francis will help very much.

    I too am clinging to my Catechism and wondering where the call to repentance is, since mercy cannot be given without it?

    136 There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit.137 Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.

    God bless our Dear Pope Francis, all our Bishops and Priests.

    Please friends, say a prayer for my Dad!

  15. IloveJesus says:

    Oh, and also a prayer for the priest that “married” them.

    Thank you

  16. Imrahil says:

    One other thing:

    I won’t deny the many heartbreaking stories in many of these so-called broken marriages.

    However, one of the practical consequences of the possibility of divorce and remarriage is simply – pardon the bluntness – that just that, by a sort of natural development and magnetism, elder gentlemen with a certain degree of wealth marry off young women. These young women cannot then, of course, marry some nice lad rather more their age to start that particularly beautiful thing which is not only a family but a “young family”. [Note that I am not against remarriage of widowers… but their number is limited.]

    When Christian Wulff, who divorced his two-years-his-junior wife whom he met when both studied the same subject, in order to marry a younger and I daresay prettier one (though with a certain naiveté of intellect, as witnessed by the book she would later write) – he had met her as governor when she was a public relations manager for a company – when Christian Wulff, I say, was president of Germany and the Pope visited, he found it, er, wise to complain, in public and all, about the Church’s treatment of divorced-and-remarried Catholics including his own person. And I was thinking – only thinking, of course – : “well, Mr President, there may be these heartbreaking cases that make the Church’s policy look, humanly speaking, harsh. But you are not one of them. You are precisely one of the cases that might, just might even today convince people that it makes sense.”

  17. Imrahil says:

    The problem, dear Phil_NL, which you allude to is: the Church can’t just decide to treat the marriages as invalid. She has to decide on the objective, though invisible, fact, whether they are invalid or not.

    Though I should assume that it is, or at least could be, possible to treat that in the annulment process (possibly Pope Francis’s fast-track annulment process). Maybe in this case, the statements of the parties about how they understood what they were doing, together perhaps with the non-Catholic celebrant’s or the registrar’s statement about how he understood what he was doing, could be accepted as (prima facie) evidence.

  18. Phil_NL says:


    Yet when it comes to celebrating/blessing/conducting second marriages and so on, many protestant denominations don’t see a problem at all. And even the Orthodox don’t really hold the line on this one.
    I think it’s safe to say that the Catholic understanding of marriage is not the same anymore as the understanding of most, perhaps nearly all, other denominations. And that has consequences, as you cannot expect people to abide by something they weren’t consenting to in the first place, as their understanding of the meaning of the words was radically different.

    Such are the fruits of making everything fuzzy. And now we’re about to do the same ourselves. Kyrie Eleison.

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  20. Phil_NL says:

    Dear Imrahil,

    The fact depends on the intent of people, which has to be assumed. Words can mean one thing to one person, and something else to another. I think it is a safe assumption nowadays that when two non-Catholics say ‘I do’ they have a lot less permanency in mind than is required for a valid marriage, even if Catholics would use the same words. Thereby creating different objective facts.

    As said, it would be good if we were spared those long-term consequences of ‘pastoral unclarity’, given this example of the mess others made of similar lack of rigor.

  21. chantgirl says:

    Phil_NL- Protestants and the Orthodox do so in clear violation of Jesus’ own words. In any case, these questions need to be settled in tribunals, not confessionals where priests will get one, biased side of any story.

    The real sad part of all of this, to me, is that Christians honestly seeking to find the Church which adhered most closely to Christ’s words could see that the Catholic church was the one holding the line on marriage. Now, that witness will be lost (no matter if Amoris is magisterial or not, the public won’t know or care) and it will make it much more difficult for seekers to find the Church. Regardless of whether Amoris is magisterial or not, its errors need to be corrected publically for the sake of souls and the sake of Truth.

  22. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear ILoveJesus,

    These are the sorts of stories that the Synod should have studied in order to try to figure out how they came about. How can you treat a disease if you can’t understand how it is transmitted and how it grows.

    I am discouraged that by after all of their study, no concrete ideas for correcting the evils assailing the family, today, were proposed by the Synod. Mercy is great, but it is akin to holding someone’s hand. What is needed is spiritual penicillin.

    The Chicken

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