WRONG: Maltese, Germans, Argentinians and now Braga. “Patently and gravely wrong.” Ed Peters explains the situation.

My old pastor and mentor, Msgr. Schuler, used to say: When you’re right, you can’t be wrong.

The flip side is: When you’re wrong, you can’t be right.

There are a lot of people out there who are just plain wrong about certain aspects of Amoris laetitia and the consequences of the objective lack of clarity.

There are a growing number of people out there who are coming to the conclusion that, yes, there are objectively unclear aspects of Amoris.  They are just plain right.

Canonist Ed Peters examines the plans of the Archdiocese of Braga.

Sometimes one side is simply right and the other side is simply wrong

That’s the situation here.

It doesn’t matter what reasons might be offered by the storied Archdiocese of Braga for its plan to authorize the administering of holy Communion to basic divorced-and-remarried Catholics. If that is, as reported in the Catholic Herald, their plan, they are wrong. Patently and gravely wrong. Just like the Maltese. Just like the Germans. And just like a few others if only in terms of the wiggle room they allow themselves in these cases, as do, say, the Argentinians.

Of course, one more post here won’t convince the Lusitanians of this point, so I shan’t bother to make all the arguments that I (among many others) have already offered on this matter. We are right about this point and they are wrong about this point and that’s that. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

I suppose, though, I could reiterate for others what “the point” is in its tedious but crucial substantial specifics[Libs should put down their kale and cayenne vegan purge wraps and cans of $5 flavored water and read closely, even aloud from here on. It’ll help.]

Per Canon 915 (papally issued law, resting on divine law foundations, and, till the current crisis, uncontested by pastoral and canonical tradition in this regard), ministers of holy Communion may not offer that Sacrament (similar problems arise in regard to offering absolution in Confession, but one crisis at a time) to Catholics (who are generally the only ones eligible for holy Communion in the first place, per c. 844) who, having entered a marriage that enjoys the presumption of validity (c. 1060), thencivilly divorce (or are divorced, in other words, regardless of whose ‘fault’ the divorce is), and, failing to obtain (because they never applied for or were refused) an ecclesiastical declaration of nullity (or a variant on the uncommon dissolutions of marriage as discussed chiefly here and here), purport to enter a new marriage (civilly or by some other mechanism, even one that looks religious, but which, as long as the first spouse is alive, of course, isn’t a “marriage”, but we call it that for convenience, and yes this applies also to single Catholics who purport to enter marriages with divorced persons as described above), but decline to live as brother-and-sister (as befits all people who are not married and which is necessary for them even to approach for holy Communion in accord with Canon 916)and, even if they do live continently (may God bless them), are nevertheless known (always if ‘actually’, and usually even if ‘legally’) to be divorced and remarried outside the Church and so(notwithstanding their arguable eligibility for the Sacrament in conscience) give objective scandal to the faith community (even if no one is surprised by divorce and remarriage these days, and they thereby occasion, moreover, the giving of scandal by ecclesiastical ministers who are thus tempted to disregard their certain obligations under Canon 915).

I think that’s everything.

Broken down Barney-style so that even a monthly writer for the Fishwrap can understand it.

Fr. Z kudos to Dr. Peters.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Canon Law, Fr. Z KUDOS, One Man & One Woman, The Drill and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Peter Stuart says:

    That’s great and true, except now the Pope says truth isn’t true when it hurts people’s feelings.

  2. majuscule says:

    Our Lady of Fatima pray for us and for Portugal (especially Braga).

    Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto pray for us and for Portugal (especially Braga).

    In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved.

  3. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Father: is this what a mounting Church schism looks like?

  4. JabbaPapa says:

    The original text of the Pastoral Note from the Diocese of Braga, “Construir a Casa sobre a Rocha“, is HERE :


    I’ll try and dig through it to see if some claims about it have been exaggerated either partially or greatly, as has BTW been the case in most (but certainly NOT all) incidents of this sort — but my ability to read Portuguese is diminished compared to some other Romance languages.

  5. JabbaPapa says:

    But hmmmm, even a quick look through the first 12-15 pages or so of “Construir a Casa sobre a Rocha” shows that it is presenting a vision of marriage that is as sentimentalist as it is implicitly worldly, going so far as to describe it as a “stage in life” (which could implicitly be interpreted as supporting the idea that this is some sort of “phase” with a beginning and an end), whereas the Sacramental nature of Holy Matrimony is barely mentioned at all — but copious amounts of prose about love and feelings and psychological well-being that seems more inspired by 1960s & 1970s pop songs than by solid Catholic doctrine.

    Nevertheless, on page 18 one finds :

    10 g) clarificar a doutrina da Igreja sobre o sacramento: as propriedades e os fins próprios do matrimónio, nomeadamente o que significa o vínculo de unidade indissolúvel, bem como as condições sine qua non para a validade do sacramento, i. e., liberdade, fidelidade e fecundidade.

    So that they have explained that there is a necessity in marriage preparation for the future spouses to accept that “the indissoluble link” of Matrimony is an absolute condition for its Sacramental Validity. The section on the accompaniment of those engaged to be married is, now that I’ve read the whole thing, actually the only decent part of the text.

    Concerning the Amoris Laetitia Chapter VIII hot potato :

    A provision on page 26 seems rather dangerous to me :

    19. A primeira ajuda a oferecer aos fiéis divorciados a viver em nova união é pôr à sua disposição, na nossa diocese, um serviço de informação e aconselhamento em ordem a averiguar a existência ou não de algum fundamento para introduzir a causa de declaração de nulidade do matrimónio no tribunal eclesiástico. Para isso, a nível da Arquidiocese, foi criado um gabinete que estará disponível para acompanhar quem deseje através de diversos serviços que o compõem. Aos párocos solicita-se que o deem a conhecer aos fiéis e que apresentem este caminho como ajuda primordial no acompanhamento destes casais.

    So, they are systematically providing counsel to the divorced-remarried and divorced otherwise living in situations of permanent adultery to try and get a first marriage annulled as their first response to these cases ???!!!!??!!?

    There is not a single condemnation of adultery in the text BTW — the word doesn’t even appear once, and as for “infidelity” it is only ever mentioned in parenthesis (!) as part of a list of “family situations” (!!).

    And 20 onwards (pp. 26 etc) is very clearly suggesting that “those who cannot obtain an annulment”, i.e. those among the divorced-remarried and those living on other forms of adulterous unions (i.e. objective adulterers who are validly married elsewhere — the text allows for zero reinterpretations/misinterpretations by anyone of exactly who is being discussed) might after a period of “discernment” be permitted to take Holy Communion.

    §27 onwards takes us back into pop song territory and sundry verbiage about Mercy and not being judgmental and so on and so forth, the “personal way” some “internal dynamism” (whatever that means) and a whole ream of stuff that frankly sounds purely New Age and westernised pseudo-Buddhist.

    §25. on page 29 of course mentions “the personal relationship with Jesus”.

    §26 c. on page 30 is particularly inept — “attempts at reconciliation” (in the context of “pastoral accompaniment” for those in adulterous unions) are mentioned here, but it is not only despairingly pessimistic in tone but it is also shockingly brief, and structurally it places more emphasis on impossibility of reconciliation than anything else.

    d. on the same page completely twists around the Argentine Bishops’ strong caveat that access to the Sacraments would be “particularly scandalous” in cases of open adultery and other such blatantly grave reasons into a FAR weaker provision against mistreatment or worldly injustices against one’s actual spouse and/or one’s offspring from the “previous marriage”.

    And 30 on pp 33-34 is frankly scandalous : Neste sentido, o tempo é um factor essencial. Um mínimo de cinco anos de duração da nova união (ainda que com o uso da flexibilidade pastoral própria de quem conhece e acompanha cada caso), parece ser uma boa referência temporal para aferir da estabilidade conjugal necessária para iniciar o caminho de discernimento que possa eventualmente conduzir ao acesso aos sacramentos..

    So in other words, if you spend five whole years in an objective situation of mortal sin, this somehow “lessens” your culpability instead of constituting an aggravating circumstance ???!!

    Adultery and abandoning your spouse is now just five years in the penalty box, not putting your soul and that of your “new partner” into a situation of real risk of eternal damnation ???

    Utterly and totally scandalous !!!

    §31 “personal conscience” gets a shout-in of course (BTW I can see from the quote of Amoris Laetitia in that same paragraph that the Portuguese translation of the Exhortation is stunningly bad, and creates even more ambiguity that some say was put there in the first place — I mean, seriously, the words : “A partir do reconhecimento do peso dos condicionamentos concretos podemos acrescentar que a consciência das pessoas deve ser mais incorporada na práxis da Igreja em algumas situações que não realizam objetivamente a nossa concepção de matrimónio” AL 303 appear to be almost completely devoid of any solid meaning whatsoever, except perhaps for “let’s redefine marriage however people want us to”)

    In §32 it cherry-picks the phrase “unconditional mercy” out of context from AL 297 to “justify” all of this.

    §33 implicitly repeats (contextually) the extremely frequent mistake of (mis-)interpreting the phrase “irregular situations” from the footnote-zone of the Exhortation as referring principally to those in states of permanent adultery and the mortal sin that it creates. NO not everyone in an “irregular situation” is engaged in Adultery — so too in an “irregular situation” are the single mothers, the unmarried couples, the hook-up culture people, and a whole variety of other situations and persons.

    This is the worst document of its kind I’ve read so far. And a first glance at the Annex (from p. 39 on) suggests it might be worse than the main body of the text.

    Actually, instead of calling this thing “Construir a Casa sobre a Rocha“, it would probably have been more honest to give it the title “How to justify giving the Sacraments to adulterers”, as this seems to be the main purpose of this awful text.

    §2 of the Annex states that the “main requisite” for adulterers (doesn’t call them that of course) is “internal freedom” — i.e. more New Age ideological psycho-babble. The paragraph VERY dangerously suggests that “the Will of God” is to be found in some sort of meditative detachment from one’s situation. Of Adultery.

    It’s almost unbearably ghastly to force myself to read this Annex.

    §5. pp.41-43 is all about the sentimental liberal claptrap of how God speaks to us all personally and how this “internal voice” should trump all other considerations, goes on about “spiritual motions” (whatever they’re supposed to be), “well-being”, and basically the whole gamut of happy-clappy rainbow unicorn pseudo-mystical nonsense that has so infected the USA. We’re also supposed to “free ourselves from our selfishness” — which is outright fake westernised pseudo-Buddhist New Age ideology again.

    Oh BTW — this annex is supposed to be about “practical considerations” !!!!! (mainly for the priests that is in their “discernment”)

    I’m just surprised that there’s no suggestion that adulterers should be advised to practice liturgical dancing as a meditative “spiritual motion” …

    More absolutely overt pseudo-Buddhist New Age stuff on p. 47 : Liberdade não é fazer o que apetece. Liberdade é, em última instância, libertar-me dos meus desejos egoístas, de mim mesmo e do meu ego. — obvious reference to the so-called “liberation theology” too, of course …

    The list of Bible readings proposed and how to interpret the texts is extremely tendentious.

    The second “phase” of these “practical dispositions” (after I suppose the process of New Age indoctrination has finished) seems basically to be a brainwashing technique whereby the Adulterer is to be conditioned into feeling happy about the abandoned spouse and whereby any feelings of guilt are to be gotten rid of.

    Then “phase three” or the “assessment of the present situation” (it’s a state of objective and permanent Adultery and mortal sin, but never mind that, eh ?) is all about those pesky “spiritual motions” again, and seems to include some fairly intensive reading of Amoris Laetitia. hmmmmm, maybe they’re thinking of adding it as an appendix to the Bible ? He’s anyway expecting his priests (and the Adulterers being “discerned”) to pray using AL as the basis for their prayers …

    Anyway, after all that, take a big sheet of paper, write down the pros and the cons of giving the Eucharist to an Adulterer and then decide “in your own personal conscience” whether to do so or not.

    Powerful stuff.

  6. Benedict Joseph says:

    How it this surprising? The only thing that is not surprising is that this fraudulence has not taken deeper and wider root. Only a few years more…
    For myself, I find this particular locale deeply sorrowful. The Shrine of Our Lady of Sameiro on the hill outside of Braga is such a beautiful place of prayer. Stunning really.
    Portugal will always maintain the faith…
    We pray it will indeed be so, even with minimal episcopal support.

  7. JabbaPapa says:

    Some background reading on Portuguese “progressivism” HERE : https://www.cairn.info/load_pdf.php?ID_ARTICLE=HP_030_0060

  8. Gus Barbarigo says:

    How does this announcement from the Portuguese archdiocese of Braga comport with the famous quote of Our Lady at Fatima, “In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc.”??

    Was the “etc.” (that is, what has not ben released to the public) a conditional comment, that the Pope had until 1960 for a proper consecration of Russia to the Blessed Mother, for the dogma to be preserved?

  9. Pingback: MONDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  10. Semper Gumby says:

    Dr. Peters and Fr. Z wrote:

    “We are right about this point and they are wrong about this point and that’s that. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]”


  11. Imrahil says:

    How does this announcement from the Portuguese archdiocese of Braga comport with the famous quote of Our Lady at Fatima, “In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc.”?

    After all, this is not about dogma.

    For not to be misunderstood: I do not mean “dogma as opposed to pastoral practice”, which is nonsense, but “dogma as opposed to sententia certa and so forth”.

Comments are closed.