Beaten down. Demoralized. Confused. Frustrated. Let us now get up off the ground.

I’ve had a tough few days.  How ’bout you?

Conversations with friends and priests suggest that the Devil is working really hard right now to demoralize the Team.

And there is Amoris laetitia with its Infamous Footnote 351 (et al.) and the fallout which is on going.   So many people are frustrated, confused, beaten down.

This morning for Mass I read again the prayer for the 2nd Sunday after Easter in the traditional Roman Rite, a very ancient prayer:

Deus, qui Filii tui humilitate iacentem mundum erexisti: fidelibus tuis sanctam concede laetitiam; ut, quos perpetuae mortis eripuisti casibus, gaudiis facias perfrui sempiternis.


O God, who raised up a fallen world by the abasement of Your Son, grant holy joy to Your faithful; so that You may cause those whom You snatched from the misfortunes of perpetual death, to enjoy delights unending.

The great L&S indicates that erigo, giving us erexisti, means “to raise up, set up, erect” and, analogously, “to arouse, excite” and “cheer up, encourage.” The verb iaceo (in the L&S find this under jaceo) has many meanings, such as “to lie” as in “lie sick or dead, fallen” and also “to be cast down, fixed on the ground” and “to be overcome, despised, idle, neglected, unemployed.” Humilitas is “lowness”. In Blaise/Dumas, humilitas has a more theological meaning in the “abasement” of the God Incarnate who took the form of a “slave” (cf. Philippians 2:7). Blaise/Dumas cites this Collect in the entry for humilitas.

Our Collect views us, views material creation, as an enervated body, wounded, weakened by sin, lying near death in the dust whence it came.

Beaten down.  Demoralized.  Confused.  Frustrated.

Because of the Fall, the whole cosmos was put under the bondage of the Enemy, the “prince of this world” (cf. John 10:31 and 14:30). This is why when we bless certain things, and baptize people, there was an exorcism first, to rip the object or person from the grip of the world’s “prince” and give it to the King. God is liberator. He rouses us up from being prone upon the ground. He grasps us, pulling us upward out of sin and death. He directs us again toward the joys possible in this world, first, and then definitively in the next.

We must get back to our feet: rise again.

Our Savior rose for this reason.

In many of our ancient Roman prayers we find a pattern of descent and ascent, of exit and return, exitus and reditus, proodos and epistrophe.

Before the Resurrection there is the Passion.

Before exaltation there is humiliation.

The descent, exit, Passion and humiliation bring an even more exalted joy which will embrace the entirety of man in both soul and body, the interior and the outward human person.

Are you frustrated and anxious?  Let us now get up off the ground.

Consider the beauty of a soul in the state of grace.

The baptized Christian is a Temple of the Holy Spirit, resplendent with Gifts and Fruits.   When deepened in the Sacrament of Confirmation we are made strong to stand up, first on our knees and then on our feet, though the world, the flesh and the Devil beat us down.  Nourished with the Eucharist and polished with the performance of works of mercy, we are soldiers arrayed in the armor of God’s light.  We can ask the Father many things in the Lord’s name and we can ask them with confidence.

Let not your heart be troubled. … Amen, amen, I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do: and greater than these shall he do. Because I go to the Father: and whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, that will I do: that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask me any thing in my name, that I will do. … Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled: nor let it be afraid.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Our Catholic Identity, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. brushmore says:

    What timing with this post and thank you for it! Beaten down, demoralized, confused, and frustrated pretty much sums it up for how things have been going for me too.

  2. Chiara says:

    Well said, Father. I once visited the Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec, [Beautiful! I’d love to visit it again. Hey, Canadians! Invite to me visit!] where I heard an excellent homily. At the time, about 15 years ago, we were going through the dreadful scandals that have so demoralized the clergy and laity, and have caused us to question our trust in priests, bishops and popes.

    The priest told us that he was so grateful to be living in the present times. We do not have to deal with nearly the troubles the Church had during the Reformation, or during the first couple centuries of the Church. We are not living in Civil War Spain or World War II, where so many priests and lay Catholics were humiliated, tortured, and murdered for the Faith. We are free to openly love and worship God, and to do so in any number of nearby parishes for most of us who do not live in rural or remote areas. We are free to defend our Faith in public. And we have an army, perhaps tired and beaten, of faithful, decent, moral priests and bishops to whom we in turn in trouble and who generously, nobly celebrate Mass, both Novus Ordo and Extraordinary Form, and bring us the Sacraments.

    We do not have to love our priests, bishops, or pope, although I must say I do. But we must respect them as our representatives of Jesus on earth.

    As a special, Spiritual Work of Mercy, may I ask you, Fr. Z, and your good readers to please say a heartfelt prayer for all our parish priests, bishops, and for Pope Francis. I believe that is far more useful and charitable than rage.

    Pax et Bonum – Susan, ofs

  3. bkerns07 says:

    Upon waking on Friday I read the last two chapters of Fr. Joseph Ratzinger’s *Faith and the Future*. Always heartening to read those chapters, especially in times when the Enemy is abroad.

  4. Royse87 says:

    Sometimes, as a Paratrooper, you feel completely out of energy when your smashed into the back of a C-130 Hercules flying in circles around Holland DZ with 54 other jumpers with 150lbs of equipment on; like you couldn’t move another inch if you had too. People have been bumping up against the equipment that is supposed to carry you to the ground safely and its about 100 degrees inside. Then the paratroop door opens and you hear the roar of the wind tunnel and “Stand By!” and somehow, you feel like you could lift a car off a baby.

    Our pastor Sacred Heart in Dunn,NC [Bless him!] gave his homily on the “come to Jesus” meeting St. Peter had with our Lord following the resurrection this past sunday. He reminded us just how broken the disciples were when, at last the Lord bid them come. And especially Peter, who must have been scared to death as to what the Lord my do or say to him. After the stifling, humiliating experience of watching our Lord die after denying him, and worrying himself to death (no doubt) over how our Lord would react to him face to face, Peter heard “Follow Me”. And we hear that too, especially in times like this. We gather what strength we have left, relying on God’s promised grace, and get the hell out of the aircraft. Airborne!

  5. arga says:

    Thank you Father for these beautiful words of encouragement.

  6. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    I don’t think the import of AL fn. 329 has quite sunk in yet.

    [It’s spectacular misuse of GS 51 sure has, at least with me and those who are paying attention. HERE]

  7. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Yes, well, I meant, among my fellow mortals, Pater.

    [“But Father! But Father!”, some gushy wide-eyed libs are squirting, “misuse, you say, of VATICAN II? By the only Pope who has ever smiled? You… YOU… YOU HATE VATICAN II.” No, I’m not the one who hates Vatican II.]

  8. Gail F says:

    This is a wonderful post, thank you.
    And thank you, commenter “Chiara,” for that great comment.
    It’s been much, much worse. Of course, it may not have been worse for any of US in particular, but we can still take heart in that.
    It seems to me that Pope Francis has hit on something important, though he may not always say it very well. Our world needs mercy. Many of us don’t even KNOW that we need mercy. That prayer (“O God, who raised up a fallen world by the abasement of Your Son, grant holy joy to Your faithful; so that You may cause those whom You snatched from the misfortunes of perpetual death, to enjoy delights unending.”) is almost from a different world for many of us. A fallen world? Perpetual death? These things don’t mean anything to many people, who (whatever their formal religion) are raised and live in a world where all that matters is here and now. I don’t know how to reach them so I will trust that God is working for the ultimate good and stop WORRYING about everything.
    As Mass on Sunday I felt a great deal of peace and kept thinking of the parable of the vineyard. I am not going to worry about what the other workers do. I know what my job is. So I’m just going to do it and stop WORRYING about what is, in the end, the business of the owner. Which is not to say I’m not going to stop paying attention or stop telling and teaching the truth. But I’m going to stop worrying.
    We’ll get through this.

  9. Gail F says:

    Clarification, in case it’s obscure: By “doing my job” I mean following the teachings of the Catholic Church, which I know very well. If other people need more time to learn and follow them, what’s that to me? (as the parable says). I don’t get to slack off.

  10. Ave Crux says:

    Father, thank you for these words. Thank you for openly acknowledging what we’re feeling in the face of reality. That in itself helps a great deal.

    I’m so tired of being told everything is fine and being cheerleaded into a comatose state of denial about what our lying eyes are telling us. If anything, it disarms us, rather than call us to BATTLE.

    Frankly I’m heartbroken. It’s like being on the battlefield and watching all your comrades in arms throwing down their weapons and leaping out of the trenches to join the enemy in a spirit of glee.

    For the first time I almost called you to send up an S.O.S. from us here on the battlefield.

    The world is trumpeting a “sexual revolution” in the Church and they will use this Exhortation to give primacy of conscience and situation ethics *pride of place* in the heart of the Church. And it’s nauseating to note it’s all about people wanting their sexuality more than God Himself.

    The document clearly admits God asks too much of sinners and that we must “integrate the weakness” of unrepentant sin into the very fabric of the Church’s structures and substance.

    Even her Sacraments will be defiled in the name of this Exhortation, interpreting it with all possible looseness and misreprsentation…This can’t be denied.

    Yes, we must fight; but who can help feeling the wounds? God has been affronted by the very Church He established to uphold His Commandments.

    Even Christ wept over the hard-heartedness of His people.

    I feel as though the Bride of Christ has been defiled, and the Church had surrendered to the human race’s addiction to sexuality.

    The Church has now relegated marital integrity to merely an often unrealizable “ideal”, not a Sacred Institution established by God which ought to be defended in all it’s sanctifying beauty and perfection – a collaboration with God in the bringing forth of immortal souls.

    Instead, it’s all about the primacy, preservation and importance of sexual intimacy, even in adulterous “families”.

    When will God intervene?

  11. Sandy says:

    May the Lord bless and strengthen you and all of us, Father. Yes, there seem to be so many trials. I just comforted one of our adult daughters who is being harrassed by the evil one, and that’s just one example in the family. The trials are to strengthen us, so something big is coming!

    Oh Chiara, I will never forget the childhood memory of visiting St. Anne de Beaupre, seeing all the crutches and other items hanging on the walls, left by people who had been healed.

    Thank you for encouraging us, Father!

  12. Joseph-Mary says:

    I am not beaten down and will continue on ..but…well, marriage is indissoluble (wink wink) expect when it is dissoluble. And that old thing about receiving Communion worthily–well that passage was removed from the Novus Ordo readings wasn’t it? After all, “All are welcome”. Mortal sin? Repentance? Well, those things in the minds of many are just ‘pre-conciliar’ and can be set aside.

  13. Grumpy Beggar says:

    If anyone ever needed an extra reason , or perhaps a timely reason to read this blog – they would find both in Fr Z’s post above.

    Fr Z. said :”Are you frustrated and anxious? Let us now get up off the ground.”

    Yeah, good idea Padre ; I was starting to get tired of the taste of dirt anyway.

    All 18 verses of St Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians are so fortuitously applicable to these exact circumstances , but sometimes I like to concentrate on verses 8 & 9 :

    We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed;


    @ Chiara : Please consider yourself cordially Invited . St. Anne actually invites everyone to visit, but I think you just got yourself inscribed on her personal invitation list by mentioning her shrine.

    Now is a great time for anyone wanting to make a pilgrimage to be refreshed. The Auberge (Inn) right across the street has just opened for the season and remains open till the end of October. It only costs half the price of the hotels & motels in the area, and there is a complete in-house chapel open 24/7 with the Blessed Sacrament on reserve. Although there are groups who visit, a pilgrim still finds plenty of breathing room in spring as compared to the month of July when it can appear a little more like droves visiting during the time of Ste. Anne’s feast.

    Something apparently moved Father John Hardon S.J, enough to include the Shrine of Ste Anne de Beaupre in his Modern Catholic Dictionary (under Beaupre, St. Anne de [though he spelled Louis Guimont’s name incorrectly]) . . . I wonder what it was ?

    Our Blessed Lord ascended into Heaven. Our Blessed Mother was assumed body and soul into Heaven . . . so . . . no relics of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But we have authenticated relics of the Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary . . . right there at St Anne de Beaupre = Cool !

    I live about 300 km away from the shrine – got to visit only for 1 day last year and it already seems like too long ago.

    God bless.

  14. Benedict Joseph says:

    You forgot betrayed. Confused? Not so much. We have been enduring this for quite some time, one way or another. But the next time I hear someone wondering why there is a vocation crisis its clearly on display. A faith crisis? Same locus.
    The clergy collapsed before the laity.
    But only some, not all, praise God.
    God reward you, good priests, who must endure this horror up close and personal.

  15. andia says:

    It’s been a rough few weeks – so much so that I cannot put it into words, thank you so much for this blog and for these words of encouragement.

  16. Jonathan82 says:

    I read somewhere:

    [Folks…. if you are frustrated, fast, give alms and pray.

    But don’t whine.

    There is always something you can do.

    Work to open hearts, always, and in the very hard cases, placing the matter in the hands of a mighty intercessor, St. Joseph, you can use the Bux Protocol. ]

    Is it time to consider the Bux Protocol regarding Pope Francis? Or is that still unutterable?

  17. R Morrison says:

    Our Lady of Fatima said, “in the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph.” Have we not heard that the last battle will be over the family? One hopes that our pope has the best of wills but simply does not appreciate Church teaching; but it seems the exhortation would be the same if he had bad will and perfect appreciation of Church teaching. After all, to have gone further would have been to make it clear to all (or many more) that the exhortation was approaching heresy. Not for us to judge, and it matters relatively little for us – we know what the Church teaches, we know that we have a tremendous battle. There is a real opportunity (to accept God’s grace) to see the battle, one that has raged for much longer than we appreciate. The battle has gone unnoticed by many; the outcome is happily certain; one hopes and prays that this confusion leads more people to choose the right side.

  18. Maineman1 says:

    Fr. Z,

    The Pope can speak with clarity on matters of secular importance, such as climate change and immigration. Why, then, does he constantly fail to speak with clarity on matters of Faith? He is not an uneducated man; he knows how to address issues in direct language. He (not so) cleverly enshrouds his true thoughts in verbal fluff and double entendre. But then again, this has been a classic post-Vatican II language tactic.

    Matthew 5:37 states “let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”

  19. Tamquam says:

    “Strength is perfected in weakness.” Great news! We got weakness! Whaddya want, egg in your beer?

  20. Nan says:

    I’ll add my thanks to Chiara for that comment, and a reminder to the priests reading this blog that anytime someone asks for prayers for priests, they’re praying for you, so please, in your difficult moments, think about that; every Mass with intercessory prayers for priests, those are prayers for you. When groups anywhere pray for priests, they’re praying for you. Individuals praying for priests pray for you. When candles are lit for priests, they’re lit for you. That’s in addition to the random people you don’t realize are praying for you in particular, sometimes because they know you, love you and want you to retain the strength and holiness to deal with whatever you need to deal with, other times because they’ve met you or heard of you and chose to pray for you or someone has identified you as a priest in need of prayers. Maybe you’ve asked for those prayers yourself.

    The vast expanse of His love means that the prayers for you, like His love, are infinite.

  21. Rob83 says:

    Think AL is a disaster? Worried that pastoral unicorns with rainbows and footnotes under foot are coming to trample on the truth? There is always the option to get out in front of these things by volunteering to be the one teaching the little ones the faith.

    My home parish is always desperately seeking volunteers, and being faithful to the Church’s teachings has neither caused complaints nor has it led them to ask me to leave. Our situation is probably pretty typical for suburban America – lots of kids don’t come to Mass much if at all, their parents have them there solely to get Confirmed and don’t really give them much of a faith background or go to Mass either. When the priests get them for the penance services for religious ed, we get complaints that many are barely familiar with things as simple as the Our Father and Hail Mary.

    It is highly likely the catechists are the main exposure these kids get to the faith, and while I sometimes fear what we say is being lost on them, I remember that I once had a catechist (around age 15-16) who actually had the audacity to tell his class that mortal sins existed and what they were, a point which, however imperfectly at the time, I took with me.

    If we don’t do the catechizing of children, particularly those who are literally only there to mark time until they get confirmed, someone else will, and those someones may just be fans of certain footnotes, fishy publications, or adventuresome German theology.

  22. VexillaRegis says:

    You put it very well, Fr.

    Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled: nor let it be afraid.

    Knut Nystedt’s Peace I leave with you for mixed choir SSATBB ,a very short beautiful piece.

  23. MichaeltDoyle says:

    Is there a problem with footnote 351? It even mentions going to confession before receiving, which implies anyone receiving would not have a mortal sin on them, since we’re to assume they have experienced a valid confession and are participating in the life of the Church. We are all sick with a fallen nature and apt to venial sin; these conditions still allow reception and graces that aid us.

    Is there the implication that a divorced and remarried person without an annulment can receive, because their state in life is objectively mortally sinful (adultery-divorce and remarried) which an individual person may not be fully culpable (the sin is venial on their soul) since they do not fully understand the gravity of their current state or mitigating factors that impaired the penitent’s free will?

    In such a circumstance what could a priest do? How is he to know such a state exists? What choice would he have but to inform the penitent of their objective condition and ask them to correct it (as difficult as that may be) before receiving. The laity would need to err on the side of caution even if they thought it was venial since they are informed the state was objectively mortal; hence, no reception until correction. Wow, deep, scary stuff.

  24. Pingback: Just Us? – The American Catholic

  25. Fr Tim Edgar says:

    Father, the Torture Equipment I have just purchased for the Confessional. Should I simply not install it, or install it and then remove it to comply better with AL?

    [Apparently the only need for the confessional now is to have a handy place where you can tell people to follow their own consciences.]

  26. Imrahil says:

    Well, in that case, dear Royse87,

    “happy landing”/”have luck with the down-going”.

    (Trying to translate Glück ab!.)

    [Indeed! The motto of the Spacehawks. As you might remember, I figure in a Sci-Fi series by author Chris Kennedy. I was killed… but I’m back and I still have great one-liners.]

  27. Lavrans says:

    I do not feel beaten down by this, and maybe that might seem odd to some. Perhaps I am just getting used to this type of thing, and by that I mean the media and blogs erupting at the latest thing the Holy Father has said or done. Perhaps it is because life at the parish is quite busy this time of year and there is too many other things to focus on. Perhaps because family life and work are demanding as well, as of late. And perhaps….just perhaps, this document was never really intended for a man such as myself. I am a Catholic, happily married father who practices natural family planning, teaches catechism, continually tries to learn and form my conscience, frequents Confession and the Eucharist, and participates in the liturgical life of my parish. I am not being prideful, but my conscience feels well-formed and I abide by the teachings of Christ through His Church. It is not always easy, but I’m also not what I used to be, which was in the battle, wounded on the front lines, do to the sinful life I lead. I was rescued, cleaned up, fixed up, strengthened, and placed back into the “civil life” of the Church. The “field hospital” is part of my past and I pray and hope, to keep it there. That doesn’t mean I won’t go out there to help others…I do. But I’m not the bloodied anymore and I thank God for that. This exhortation seems to be for those still bleeding, and for them, I hope it helps. For me, it would be akin to discussing field dressings and tourniquets when I really need preventative medicine, diet, and exercise. Perhaps that is the problem. The healthy are confused by the emergency room style of this document. It is not for them.

  28. Torpedo1 says:

    This post is what it means to be a spiritual father, what it means, at least in part I think, to be a priest. We love you Fr. Z. Thank you for all that you do and may God bless and keep you.

  29. Gabriel Syme says:

    Thank you for this encouragement Father.

    The content of the document itself was expected and indeed proclaimed and so, moreso than its content, what I find most disappointing is the general acquiescence of the worlds prelates.

    Cardinal Burke has limited himself to saying the document must be read through the lens of tradition. Cardinal Brandmuller said the same on the eve of the document. For all the good this will do, I sadly think they would have been as well to say nothing.

    One of my local Bishops has made some tweets of critical remarks made by others.

    Perhaps typically, the strongest response (which I have seen) has come from Bishop Fellay who said, among other things, that the law of God has no exceptions and that he feels the implications of the document have not been sufficiently weighed up.

    The Bishops acquiesced at Vatican II and look where that got us.

    The Bishops acquiesced regarding communion-in-the-hand and look where that got us.

    They seem to be choosing the same quiet acceptance here too and so I have no doubt what the fall out will be.

    The recent gospel contrasting Good Shepherds and Hirelings seems very appropriate here.

  30. Imrahil says:

    Thanks, Father…

    A red sun is rising! Get yourself done!
    Who knows if tomorrow we’ll still be shone upon!
    Start, now, the engines, turn them on full speed.
    Get to flight, fight the foe, for this is today’s deed.

    To the machines go, to the machines go,
    my dear comrade, there is no way back.
    Far out east the da-ark clouds are tow’ring,
    come along, come along for attack!*

    In motors’ thunder you hear but your thought.
    Everyone calls back his dear ones as he ought.
    Then come, my dear comrades! the signal to jump!
    We fly to the foe, and with burning we crump!

    Then we’ll be landing, then we’ll be landing,
    my dear comrade, there is no way back.
    Far out east the da-ark clouds are tow’ring,
    come along, come along for attack!*

    Small though the herd be, wild is our blood:
    We don’t fear the foe, also death we fear not:
    Just one thing we know, if
    our Mother Church’s in need,
    to fight, and to win, though to death we may bleed!

    And now your guns take, and now your guns take,
    my dear comrade, there is no way back.
    Far out east the da-ark clouds are tow’ring,
    come along, come along for attack!

    [* The original here has the rather more impressing, to my mind, “come along, do not hesitate, come along” – which btw is just one similar-sounding letter away from “come along, but do stop all this saying of ‘come along'”. In any case, that didn’t rhyme in English.]

  31. Ave Crux says:

    Lavrans, the beaten down feeling isn’t about us, it’s about the grief we feel to see that the enemies of God’s Church, Holy Mother Church, will use this to mislead souls who need to hear the truth – it’s about love for others, not ourselves.

    Do you grieve for those in the world who hunger even though you may be full? You ought to.

    And about that NFP education, is it clear – as even this document says – that preventing the gift of children from God (souls on whom He wishes to bestow an eternity of beatitude if only we will allow them to be brought into existence through Holy Matrimony) is only morally permissible in cases of grave necessity? It ought not to be considered routine Catholic birth control.

    God bless.

  32. JabbaPapa says:

    Well, I’ve finally finished reading the text — in French, because in a longer text it’s generally the best alternative for me personally to the Latin if it’s a lengthier piece, as the French translations are generally very good.

    The only thing that REALLY bothers me in the Exhortation is a passage on the sex education of children — the Pope draws from the perfectly trivial fact that some women are capable and willing to perform work tasks traditionally belonging to men, and that some men are capable and willing to perform work tasks traditionally belonging to women, to propose not only that this fact is somehow relevant to sex (it isn’t), but that it might be legitimate on the basis of such exceptional professional circumstances to teach some degree of “gender fluidity” to our children as a component of a Catholic sexual education strategy !!!

    Except that professional capabilities and choices belong to individuals ONLY, not to the sexes or “genders” !!!

    It’s gender theory through a back door — and meanwhile the reality of what should constitute Catholic teaching is the dogmata, “things which are to be taught”, not some wacky Küng/Kasper/Kennedy kkk heretic/gradualist/americanist version of the Faith whereby we might make it up as we go along for pure reasons of transient political convenience !!

    I’m FAR less troubled by the “footnote” business, though it would be uncharitable not to recognise some people’s understandable confusion.

    Read in context, the Pope includes that comment after having explicitly denounced doctrinal change in this matter, having generally attributed marital unfaithfulness to our individual and collective sinful state, explicitly established on the basis of pure, solid Aquinas that the Catholicity is our goal but often not our present reality, which is in material nature flawed by sin, and from there in a general discussion of our imperfections in general, certainly NOT limited to adultery only, reminds us that the Sacraments are the pathway towards salvation, and that they are given to us to save us from our sins. Including our mortal ones.

    Why he chose not to just say so in so direct a manner, I’ve no idea — nevertheless the meaning of that footnote, within a hermeneutic of continuity, and within the context of the Chapter, does not establish adultery as being anything other than a mortal sin, depriving those who are guilty of it of the Sacraments.

  33. interminomaris says:

    Father this reminds me of The Five Deaths of the Faith by Chesterton. Here is a paraphrase.

    Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a god who knew the way out of the grave. There are several occasions when Christendom was to all appearance hollowed out from within by doubt and indifference, so that only the old Christian shell stood as the pagan shell had stood so long. But the difference is that in every such case, the sons were fanatical for the faith where the fathers had been slack about it. At least five times, with the Arian and the Albigensian, with the Humanist sceptic, after Voltaire and after Darwin, the Faith has to all appearance gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases it was the dog that died.

    To have read the literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is to know that nearly everybody had come to take it for granted that religion was a thing that would continually broaden like a river, till it reached an infinite sea. Yet the revival of the French Catholics was a puzzle as well as a surprise; because it seemed to most people like a river turning backwards from the sea and trying to climb back into the mountains. While the whole world was divided about whether the stream was going slower or faster, it became conscious of something vague but vast that was going against the stream. A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it. A dead dog can be lifted on the leaping water with all the swiftness of a leaping hound; but only a live dog can swim backwards. The world is still puzzled by that movement; but most of all because it still moves.

    In so far as it is true that recent centuries have seen an attenuation of Christian doctrine, it is already clear that it is not going to end in the disappearance of the diminished creed; but rather in the return of those parts of it that had really disappeared. It is going to end as the Arian compromise ended, as the attempts at a compromise with Nominalism and even with Albigensianism ended. But the point to seize in the modern case is that what returns is not in that sense a simplified theology; not according to that view a purified theology; it is simply theology.

    There are people who say they wish Christianity to remain as a spirit. They mean, very literally, that they wish it to remain as a ghost. But it is not going to remain as a ghost. What follows this process of apparent death is not the lingering of the shade; it is the resurrection of the body. These people are quite prepared to shed pious and reverential tears over the Sepulchre of the Son of Man; what they are not prepared for is the Son of God walking once more upon the hills of morning. Again and again, before our time, men have grown content with a diluted doctrine. And again and again there has followed on that dilution, coming as out of the darkness in a crimson cataract, the strength of the red original wine.

    Long years and centuries ago the founders of our people drank, as they dreamed, of the blood of God. Long years and centuries have passed since the strength of that giant vintage has been anything but a legend of the age of giants. Centuries ago already is the dark time of the second fermentation, when the wine of Catholicism turned into the vinegar of Calvinism. Long since that bitter drink has been itself diluted; rinsed out and washed away by the waters of oblivion and the wave of the world. Day by day and year by year we have lowered our hopes and lessened our convictions; we have grown more and more used to seeing those vats and vineyards overwhelmed in the water-floods and the last savour and suggestion of that special element fading like a stain of purple upon a sea of grey. We have grown used to dilution, to dissolution, to a watering down and went on forever. But Thou hast kept the good wine until now.

    The faith has not only often died but it has often died of old age. It has not only been often killed but it has often died a natural death. It is obvious that it has survived the most savage and the most universal persecutions from the shock of the Diocletian fury to the shock of the French Revolution. But it has a more strange and even a more weird tenacity; it has survived not only war but peace. It has not only died often but degenerated often and decayed often; it has survived its own weakness and even its own surrender. `Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.’

    In the Dark Ages feudalism was so familiar a thing that no man could imagine himself without a lord: and religion was so woven into that network that no man would have believed they could be torn asunder. Feudalism was torn to rags and rotted away, and the words did not pass away. It was supposed to have been withered up at last in the dry light of the Age of Reason; it was supposed to have disappeared ultimately in the earthquake of the Age of Revolution. Science explained it away; and it was still there. History disinterred it in the past; and it appeared suddenly in the future. To-day it stands once more in our path; and even as we watch it, it grows.

    It would seem that sooner or later even its enemies will learn from their incessant and interminable disappointments not to look for anything so simple as its death. They may continue to war with it, but it will be as they war with nature; as they war with the landscape, as they war with the skies. `Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.’ They will watch for it to stumble; they will watch for it to err; they will no longer watch for it to end. Insensibly, even unconsciously, they will forget to watch for the mere extinction of what has so often been vainly extinguished; and will learn instinctively to look first for the coming of the comet or the freezing of the star.

  34. Gregorius says:

    I’m with Rob83, there’s plenty of work to do here on the ground, if anyone needs something good to do for Jesus.

  35. Ave Crux says:

    P.S. and a sincere congratulations on your conversion and recovery. Yes, virtue is is own reward; God’s yoke is easy and His burden light when we embrace the Commandments.

    The concern here is that this document suggests that not every sinner is capable of such a conversion (which makes God a liar, Who says “My grace is sufficient for thee” and gives us Commandments to obey) and that they should be left chronically ill in the Field Hospital rather than receive what can sometimes be painful remedies which none-the-less restore their health.

    We want for everyone the same joy of conversion which you have received, so they also maybe recover their spiritual health.

  36. rhhenry says:

    Well, count me among the confused. I confess that I have not yet had the energy to read the entire document (I promise, I will), but various commentaries put together have told me that AL is:

    a non-magisterial teaching document that infallibly teaches error, addressed to me as a married man but primarily intended for others, that can be safely ignored without being a “cafeteria Catholic,” whose footnotes are more important than the main text, and whose disruptive hermeneutic of continuity has subverted tradition while innovating nothing.

    I was born in the late 70s. My catechesis stunk. (Draw a sad face. Draw a happy face. That’s Confession. To this day I still do not know if the faces represent me or God.) When it comes to the Faith, I am essentially an auto-didact. I have no idea how to navigate conflicting statements from members of the hierarchy and other clergy (with respect to AL, or in general), especially since unity with the Pope and the hierarchy is a big part of what makes us Catholic and not every-man-for-himself Protestants.

    And yet, I feel strangely calm. Maybe like how a rural farmer may have felt when the United States switched from the Articles of Confederation to the current Constitution; big things are happening at levels way above me, but life on my homestead is pretty much unchanged.

  37. The Masked Chicken says:

    I have now read the document. Wow. Except for Augustine and Aquinas (and, of course, Ignatius), there are almost no citations from sources before 1900 A. D. and maybe one or two at most from before 1800 (the Bible does not count). This is not a document of rich continuity of the teachings of the Church, but a very modern guide to the modern thinking on marriage. Of course, Pope Francis could not quote the Church Fathers at great length – they would have been appalled at what passes for the modern state of interpersonal relationships. Fornication? The Church Fathers were not void of compassion, but give me a break. Not once, NOT ONCE, does Pope Francis quote the several times that St. Paul calls out fornication (as in living together without marriage) as one of the great moral evils. Indeed, Pope Francis says such people should be accompanied on their journey and that they have several positive attributes. Poverty? Hey, what does he think was going on in most marriages in the Middle Ages?

    This document reads as if the accumulated wisdom on marriage of many saints, blesses, and people of Faith of the last 2000 years – all of that heroic witness – just doesn’t exist – as if before Vatican II (with a few prefunctory nods to Casti Connubii on really minor topics) marriage just didn’t exist – or at least the, “modern,” concept.

    I will have to stop, now, but, really, I don’t really see the purpose of this document. There is little concrete in it that will provide sure guidance to people contemplating the current problems on marriage (but, oh, it does provide a lot for making up fantasies of solutions). This reads like those administrative documents at colleges meant to state goals and purposes, which, in the end, accomplish little. I think much more could be done and I am sorry that the courage to make the attempt is not evidenced in the document.

    The Chicken

  38. JabbaPapa says:

    rhhenry :

    a non-magisterial teaching document that infallibly teaches error

    It does nothing of the sort.

    And I’ve no idea whence your “infallibly” comes from.

    It is a magisterial document that teaches, pastorally, certain things that anyone might disagree with.

  39. rhhenry says:

    My point, dear JabbaPapa, is that there are so many wildly differing interpretations of this document that if you put them all together you get a self-contradictory and counterintuitive mess.

    Sigh. I will add your interpretation to the mix, still, alas, with no good way to evaluate which interpretation (if any) is correct.

  40. Pingback: Amoris Lætitia Aftermath. . . Beaten Down, Demoralized, Confused, Frustrated; Let Us Now Get Up Off the Ground – Big Pulpit

  41. Nan says:


    Trust in the Holy Spirit. As one of the uncatechized; my formal religious education consists of CCD through second grade, 2/3s of RCIA and my local Catechetical Institute, I can tell you that with God anything is possible. I learned the important things by the time I was 4; the priest speaks for God and the important part of Mass takes place when he’s at the altar.

    I turned out Catholic with far less catechesis than you described above.

  42. Anthony says:

    Sometimes I feel like I’ve been tied to the whipping post…

    — Allman Brothers

  43. Anthony says:

    We should take a lesson from the Weebles – who wobble but never fall down…

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