Sort of good news from SCOTUS and from the CDF and Pope Francis.


Apparently, Card. Marx is “überrascht… surprised” by the letter from Rome. HERE

What’s next? Will they play the money card?

Did they play the money card yet?

I’d bet that would wear pretty thin pretty quickly with this Pope.

Meanwhile, Card. Woelki gave a strong fervorino about this issue for Corpus Christ at the Cologne cathedral.  HERE   and an English account HERE.

“There has been much discussion about the Eucharist in recent weeks. Some people said ‘What is this all about? This is nonsense!’, others even said ‘This is a Punch and Judy show!’. I say – this is about life and death… This is fundamental! And that is why we have to fight and look for the right way. Not just any way, but the Lord’s way.”


“Once again, we in Germany do not live on an ‘Island of the blessed’, we are not a national Church,” the cardinal said. “We are part of the great Universal Church and all of our German dioceses are members of the global whole, united under the head, the Holy Father.”

The congregation – quite rightly in this matter – applauded him.


Originally Published on: Jun 4, 2018 @ 10:59

Today we have some good news.

First, sort of good news.  SCOTUS ruled 7-2 that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated baker Jack Phillips’ civil rights under the 1st Amendment. The Colorado baker refused to make a wedding cake for a homosexual couple. However, But the court did not rule on the larger issue: can a business invoke religious objections and refuse service to homosexuals on the grounds that they are homosexuals?

Next, Pope Francis blocked the document that the wacky German bishops wanted to issue in favor of inter-communion. You might recall that a majority of German bishops proposed to admit to Communion the non-believing, non-Catholic spouses of Catholics. A few bishops objected.

On one side was the usual suspect Card. Marx and his crew, and on the other Card. Woelki and 7 seven other bishops.

At first, the Pope sent them back to Germany to work it out. That prompted Card Eijk of Utrecht to say that not not providing an answer to such a clear issue was inexplicable. HERE.

In any event, today, on the very day that Francis received a group of German Lutherans, a letter to the German bishops dated 25 May from the Prefect of the CDF, Card.-Elect Ladaria was released that nailed things down… with the explicit support of the Pope.

Sandro Magister has the text in Italian (from the German original) HERE. CNA has a story in English HERE.

In a nutshell, Ladaria says that the German document should not be issued. He gave three reasons:

First, Ladaria stressed that admission to Communion of Protestant spouses in inter-confessional marriages “is a topic that touches the faith of the Church and has relevance for the universal Church.”  [As Archbp. Chaput so ably pointed out the other day!]

Allowing non-Catholics to receive the Eucharist, even in certain limited conditions, would also have an impact on ecumenical relations with other Churches and ecclesial communities “which should not be underestimated.”

Finally, he said the question of Communion is a matter of Church law, and cited canon 844 of the Code of Canon Law, which deals with access to the Sacraments of the Catholic Church.

Specifically, canon 844 states that “Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone,” apart from a number of exceptions spelled out in the canon.

These exceptions include allowing non-Catholic Christians to receive the sacraments of Confession, the Eucharist, and the Anointing of the Sick by non-Catholic ministers in churches where these sacraments are valid “whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided.”  [One is forced to ask what those German bishops believe about the Eucharist.  What a horrifying thing to wonder about.]

Catholic ministers, the canon says, can also administer these sacraments licitly on members of Eastern Churches that are not in full communion with Rome, “if they seek such on their own accord and are properly disposed.”

The canon says this is also valid “for members of other Churches which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition in regard to the sacraments as these Eastern Churches.”

For non-Catholic Christians unable to approach a minister from their own confession, the canon says they are able to receive these sacraments only “if the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it.”

However, to receive the sacraments they must seek reception “on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.”

The canon concludes underlining that in the case of the exceptions, “the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops is not to issue general norms except after consultation at least with the local competent authority of the interested non-Catholic Church or community.”

In his letter to Cardinal Marx, Ladaria noted that while there are “open questions” in some sectors of the Church in regards to the interpretation of canon 844, “the competent dicasteries of the Holy See have already been charged with producing a timely clarification of these questions at the level of the universal Church.”

However, he said it would be left up to diocesan bishops to judge when there is a “grave impending need” regarding the reception of the sacraments.

So, SCOTUS didn’t definitively solve the problem and neither did the CDF and Pope Francis, since the Curia still has to deal with the larger question for the whole Church.

However, this shows that SCOTUS isn’t entirely insane and the Curia has not been completely stripped of authority, even though it seems that Francis wants to devolve authority to bishops conferences.

Each case point in a direction.

The first amendment still applies.

When bishops conferences do their own thing, chaos and confusion result.

We got an injection of common sense today.

Still, I am left a little melancholy.  We are in a sad situation when these two bits of sort of good news make this into a good Monday.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Our Catholic Identity, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Mike says:

    Re SCOTUS, the decision goes only one very shaky step in the right direction. I am haunted by the thought of the backlash that is sure to come from the angry Left when they begin targeted (and, perhaps, violent) harassment of businesses they deem insufficiently celebratory of their perverted ‘values’. And skeptical that the harassers will be brought up on racketeering charges as happens to peaceful pro-life advocates.

  2. jhayes says:

    The issue may be resolved in the case of the florist rather than the baker.

    The Supreme Court ruled narrowly Monday for a Colorado baker who wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. But the court is not deciding the big issue in the case, whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gay and lesbian people.

    The justices’ limited ruling turned on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips. The justices voted 7-2 that the
    commission violated Phillips’ rights under the First Amendment.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his majority opinion that the larger issue ‘‘must await further elaboration’’ in the courts. Appeals in similar cases are pending, including one at the Supreme Court from a florist who didn’t want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.


  3. richiedel says:

    The German bishops have been kowtowing to the lowest common denominator and playing the money card ad nauseam. Einstein, who defined insanity as trying the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result, was German, so perhaps the bishops are familiar with this definition. At any rate, you would think they might try something different to improve their numbers in Germany there by this point, right? A little orthodoxy, perhaps? Embracing Benedict XVI as his teaching as one of their own? Perhaps some reverently constructed churches and reverently celebrated liturgies?

  4. AA Cunningham says:

    Make no mistake, somewhere in Denver a group of homosexuals is planning the next attack on Jack Phillips and his business.

  5. frjim4321 says:

    The SCOTUS issue was mainly procedural, or at least case-specific. I’ll admit, it was more than merely procedural, but nevertheless, it really doesn’t set precedent. It certainly did nothing to suggest that a “business” could be “religious.” I’ll also admit that it was quite a margin, so the recent theft-of-seat was not an issue here. But again, the wide margin simply affirms the contention that this was mainly a procedural, non-substantive matter. Most importantly, the decision does nothing to solace business owners who might want to discriminate against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation.

  6. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Cardinal Eijk should still be unhappy: the Pope and the CDF still haven’t answered the question. They didn’t say yes, Protestant spouses may receive Holy Communion, but they didn’t say no, they can’t. It’s just like Amoris laetitia. So Cardinal Marx, once he recovers from his initial shock, will realize that the Pope has left the door open for the Marx solution: different rules for different dioceses. While the jabber continues, the Germans will keep doing what they are already doing until the practice is so entrenched as to be ineradicable.

  7. robtbrown says:


    You seem to minimize a procedural decision. Generally, SCOTUS said a state has the right to have laws banning discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, but the application of any such law cannot ignore the right to Free Exercise of Religion.

    Law professors can argue about whether this decision constitutes precedent. It seems to me an extension of the Hobby Lobby decision, which affirmed the Right to Free Exercise to the laity acting within secular environs.

  8. frjim4321 says:

    robtbrown – – –

    I acknowledged previously that it was not merely procedural.

    I didn’t read the decision, but what I heard was that it pretty much bypassed the First Amendment issue; had they addressed that matter the decision would have been more significant.

    The cases coming out are all rather interesting and complex; it will be interesting to see what the future holds, particularly if the larcenous imbalance on the Court can be corrected.

    – – – Frjim4321

    [I warmly suggest that ya’ll read the opinions. HERE]

  9. hwriggles4 says:

    This past weekend, I saw the film about Papa Francisco that is currently showing nationwide. One thing I liked is you hear his words, and not sound bites from the drive by media. While there are social justice concerns, Papa Francisco also brings up the importance of confession, and the problem with materialism. Papa Francisco also mentioned that materialism has even affected members of the clergy.

    I thought the film did a balanced approach, although I would have liked that the scene where Pope Francis addressed Congress on Religious Liberty, which was omitted from the film. I remember when Pope Francis discussed Religious Liberty, and several “Catholic Congress members” did a double take, like, “What? He’s talking about This? I thought he was about change?”

    Anyway, my opinion is the film is worth a look, and it was worth the matinee price.

  10. AA Cunningham says:

    “recent theft-of-seat” frjim4321

    “larcenous imbalance on the Court” frjim4321

    The fatuousness continues.

  11. Fr. Kelly says:

    You have twice insinuated that the present makeup of the Supreme Court is somehow illegitimate due to “the recent theft-of-seat” which has somehow given rise to “the larcenous imbalance” on the court which you would like to see “corrected”.

    Then you imply that this supposed criminal activity has created an “imbalance” that might “solace business owners who might want to discriminate against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation.”

    I was puzzled for a moment at what you might mean until you trotted out your rapidly aging hobby horse of homosexualist agenda. Such comments are not worthy of you or of any priest of God.

    Remember this:
    Evangelium Vitae n. 57 says:
    The direct intentional killing of an innocent unborn human child is always morally wrong
    Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.
    The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. “Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. Nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action”.

    Deliberate, voluntary procured abortion of a human pre-born baby is always and everywhere wrong.

    When you (or any priest) lobby for the homosexualist agenda, to the extent that your efforts, whether they be efforts of persuasion or otherwise, bring about acts which violate the 6th and ninth commandments which would not have happened without our intervention, we run the risk of cooperating in those sins.

  12. robtbrown says:

    FrJim4321 says,

    The SCOTUS issue was mainly procedural, or at least case-specific. I’ll admit, it was more than merely procedural . . .

    1. First, you said it was procedural, then that it was more than procedural. You seemed to have used the MO of certain NFL players a few years ago on the coin flip: From the same team one called heads, another tails, which they thought would guarantee winning the flip. It didn’t work

    2. Not bringing Garland’s nomination up for vote was done according to Senate procedures. It was nothing new. During the legislative process for Obamacare the Repubs submitted many amendments–Harry Reid did not let any be brought up for vote.

    3. From the SCOTUS decision. “Held: The Commission’s actions in this case violated the Free Exercise Clause.”

    The Free Exercise Clause is found in the First Amendment.

  13. robtbrown says:


    You seem to think that any business must be completely responsive to any customer.

    Some years ago I went into a small shoe repair shop in KC to have new heels put on a pair of cowboy boots. When the owner came to the desk, I immediately knew who he was. A few years before I had read an article on him in the KCStar. The numbers tattooed on his forearm indicated that he had been a prisoner at Auschwitz whose life had been saved because he could make boots for the guard.

    If a neo Nazi had come in wanting boots imbossed with Swastikas, do you think he should have been forced to accommodate him?

    Or: Let’s say the man had been a baker instead of a cobbler and a neo Nazi wanted a cake celebrating Hitler’s birthday. The base to be shaped like a Star of David with icing Swastikas on the side. Should the baker have been forced to accommodate him?

  14. Ben Kenobi says:

    One way or another these cases are going to get sorted out. There was the case against a parish in Oregon suing the parish for millions of dollars for refusing to host a reception. That’s pretty much predestined for SCOTUS, given that it’s the 9th Circus involved.

  15. Semper Gumby says:

    Thanks for the good news Fr. Z. True, this is more common sense than permanent victory, but…excellent.

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