4 Confraternities of Catholic Clergy: Statement on Amoris Laetitia

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy of these USA, of Australia, of Ireland, and of England – four Confraternities – issued a joint statement about Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia.

Statement of the Confraternities of Catholic Clergy

As members of the International Confraternities of Catholic Clergy we believe there would be great value in an authoritative interpretation of the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia in line with the constant teaching and practice of the Church. This statement comes in light of continuing widespread divergence of understanding and growing divisions in practice. A clarification is clearly needed to correct the misuse of the Apostolic Exhortation to undermine sacred Tradition. We therefore thank the four eminent Cardinals who have recently submitted their dubia to the Holy See, requesting such clarification. The Confraternities recognise that this action has been taken out of love for the Church and concern for the salvation of souls. As the Cardinals themselves have made clear, this step has been taken with deep respect for our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and should not in any way be used to foster divisions in the Church. The grave danger to the unity of the Church due to increasing moral relativism must be honestly faced and clearly remedied.

As pastors of souls, we are well aware of the many challenges facing the men and women of today. We strive to help our people, often living in complex situations, to hear the call of Christ and his Gospel. This task is made easier when the Church expounds her teaching boldly and clearly. It is also essential that the Church’s discipline must always follow her dogmatic teaching. In particular, since at the present time there is much confusion, it is necessary to make clear that Holy Communion cannot be given to someone choosing to live in a sexual relationship with a person other than their validly espoused husband or wife. Those who find themselves in this situation are of course deserving of pastoral support and must be helped to play as full a part in the life of the Church as their circumstances allow. In connection with this, it is important to state that conscience is not a law unto itself replacing the holy law of God with private judgment, but rather an echo of the voice of the Creator. The dignity of conscience must be assisted to overcome all ignorance and protected from becoming ‘practically sightless as a result of habitual sin’ (Gaudium et Spes, 16)

Requesting such a clarification, which reiterates the perennial teaching of the Church, is an act of filial love by faithful sons of the Church who turn to our Supreme Shepherd seeking his paternal guidance. It is our desire that this elucidation will enable us and other Catholic priests and deacons to carry out our ministry in ways that are faithful and effective. We hope that this request for clarification may be an occasion for the Holy Father to feed and tend the flock entrusted to him by the Lord and to support us, the clergy, in doing the same.

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  1. Dr. Edward Peters says:


  2. Mary Jane says:

    Awesome. This is very encouraging.

  3. Jean-Luc says:

    How many priests do those “Confraternities” represent?

  4. hwriggles4 says:

    This did not receive a lot of pressure coverage, but Bishop Stephen Lopes from the Ordinariate for the Chair of St. Peter issued a pastoral letter titled “A Pledged Troth ” which upholds the Sanctity and Permanence of Marriage (i.e. no communion for divorced and remarried). Excerpts of this letter can be found through Life Site News, the National Catholic Register, and in the Letters and Statements section of the Ordinariate website.

    Kudos to Bishop Lopes!

  5. stuartal79 says:

    This has to be very significant!

  6. PapalCount says:

    Can we soon expect a papal commission to investigate these confraternities followed by the appointment of a personal representative of the Holy Father to oversee the same?

  7. stuart reiss says:

    @Jean-Luc….they represent all the rigid priests in the whole world…

  8. DJAR says:

    Yet another document/statement that the pope and his minions will ignore. How many does that make now?

  9. Great news. This, coupled with Cardinal Muller’s statement, is like a glimmer of light after months of wandering in a dark wood.

  10. JARay says:

    I need to renew my subscription as a lay member of the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. I am very happy that these Confraternities exist. They represent the best in Catholic Clergy.

  11. Pingback: 4 Confraternities of Catholic Clergy: Statement on Amoris Laetitia  | Deaconjohn1987's Blog

  12. Thomistica says:

    All well and good, but probably otiose.
    Always possible that the Pope will change his tune, but it seems unlikely barring a miracle.
    Time is running out for a public fraternal correction.
    Lest when the next time we hear “Habemus Papam” from St. Peter’s, we will not see a Kasperite being presented to the world.
    Or maybe even a fraternal correction, and whatever events it precipitates, will not obviate that possibility.

  13. AveMariaGratiaPlena says:


  14. stephen c says:

    For the record, I think this is a great day for the future of the Church. Having been privileged to know many Jesuit clergy, I have always had confidence that our Holy Father would never take one step too many towards clear uncharitable error; Jesuits might not like certainty, at least while they are in this world, but there is no way that the Lord who so blessed Ignatius would let the first Jesuit Pope’s love for uncertainty (which I believe he sees in his often rather kindly heart as a prerequisite to love for unprivileged others – people like me, for the record – who have to live in an unprivileged uncertain world) finish in rejection of the merciful truth of the Gospel’s deeply loving teachings on marriage (and sin). Thank you, Cardinal Burke, thank you Cardinal Muller, and thank you, Pope Francis, for replying to the dubbia with public silence rather than with unconsidered public anger. And to all the brave priests of our day, Thank you to you as well.

  15. stuartal79 says:

    Thomistica, I do not think there is a time limit for a public fraternal correction.

  16. Austin says:

    Bishop Lopes off the American Ordinariate cogently pointed out that his people had come from the Anglican Communion, in which relaxation of moral and marital standards had been tried to disastrous effect. Most of us came to Rome believing that it was an eternal bulwark of truth in the face our corrosive relativism. But we are prepared to engage in the same battle of we have to now that we are part of the one fold.

  17. Austin says:

    Bishop Lopes of the American Ordinariate cogently pointed out that his people had come from the Anglican Communion, in which relaxation of moral and marital standards had been tried to disastrous effect. Most of us came to Rome believing that it was an eternal bulwark of truth in the face our corrosive relativism. But we are prepared to engage in the same battle if we have to now that we are part of the one fold.

  18. WYMiriam says:

    Whoever actually wrote this document deserves the literary Nobel Peace Prize, particularly if it helps to jolt certain persons in the Vatican City State into certain actions.

    God bless the author(s) and God bless those confraternities!! Our Lady of the Clergy, pray for us!

  19. Scott Smith says:

    In the event its of interest, please see my Apologia for the orthodoxy of Amoris Laetitia. https://reducedculpability.blog/2017/01/19/amoris-laetitia-an-apologia-for-its-orthodoxy/

  20. Dan says:

    The wording in this document vs statements put out by certain other Bishops demonstrates a clear understanding of the ultimate goal of our Catholic faith which is the salvation of souls.
    Pastors of souls uphold the faith of the church and guide people along that narrow path. Pastors of people care primarily for earthy comforts, making people comfortable here but at what cost?

  21. pmullane says:

    I think priests could be key to turning the tide in this whole debacle. Bishops seem to ‘go with the flow’ and offer little resistance in matters like this for a myriad of reasons, the laity are split and, unfortunately, the influential (moneyed and powerful) laypeople and professional Catholics (especially in the charity, medical and educational sectors) weigh heavily on the social liberal side. But a bishop who is looking at losing 1/5th or 1/3rd of his pastors in these days of a priestly crisis will have his mind focussed. ‘Father, this we can not do’ will make a difference.

  22. BenjaminiPeregrinus says:

    I had to check and double check that this wasn’t from Eye of the Tiber. Sad that churchmen have conditioned me to expect the opposite, but thank God.

  23. TimG says:

    This is fantastic news. Here’s a link to Edward Pentin’s blog (I love the title; “Thousands of priests worldwide”. I am afraid Cdl Wuerl cannot now say it is just a very small number questioning AL.)


  24. Andreas says:

    …and yet, in the midst of a ray of light comes the news today that ” The German bishops have published their own guidelines on Amoris laetitia allowing, in certain cases, for divorced-and-remarried Catholics to receive Communion….The decision by the German bishops’ conference comes on the heels of a similar announcement made by the bishops of Malta…..While the German bishops emphasized that access to the sacraments is a question of each individual case, the new guidelines do allow the “possibility of receiving the sacraments in these situations.” (Ref. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/german-bishops-say-the-divorced-and-remarried-may-receive-communion-43199/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=email.)

  25. Thomistica says:

    pmullane makes a very good point:
    “I think priests could be key to turning the tide in this whole debacle.”
    I didn’t want to suggest devaluing the statement by these priests–the more the better.
    However, I’m skeptical that if the four Cardinals don’t issue a public statement soon, an opportunity will be lost. But, of course, the Cardinals need all the support they can get from priests and laity.
    This mess will get sorted out. How much more serious damage will occur before it does is another question.

  26. Sword40 says:

    We are here to pick up the Cross and carry it daily. We cannot escape that fact. Increase our prayers for the faithful clergy and our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

  27. fidelisjoff says:

    Encouraging. The power is in the hands of priests.

  28. TimG says:

    Father Z – perhaps the following link needs a separate article and discussion by you? Google Translate may not do it justice….

    “Carlos Maria Galli: “The organized opposition against the Pope is minimal, even if it makes a lot of noise””


  29. ChgoCatholic says:

    Amen. These holy men remind that the Truth shall set us free (even, or perhaps especially, when it is at first hardest to hear or accept).

  30. Semper Gumby says:

    “boldly and clearly” – God bless the Confraternities.

  31. stuartal79 says:

    The following German prelates are opposed to allowing civilly divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion : Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Cardinal Paul Cordes, Bishop Stefan Oster, Bishop Konrad Zdarsa, Bishop Gregor Hanke, Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer, Bishop Friedhelm Hofmann, Bishop Wolfgang Ipolt, Archbishop Ludwig Schick and Cardinal Joachim Meisner., and Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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