Pope Francis Feels He Can Second-Guess Jesus with Exhortation?

The long awaited apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia  hit Friday and as many have begun to observe, it would be better called the “Joy of Sex” than the “Joy of Love.”  Many people have plowed through the tome in its entirety and it is as bad as expected. The headlines that proclaim the likes of, “Pope Francis Softens Communion Ban for Divorcees” convey the scandal the exhortation is creating.

Mortal sins, such as adultery, appear to be condoned in the exhortation. In places, the document deceptively cuts and pastes excerpts from other magisterial documents in such a way that the original context is grossly distorted–for example, Amoris Laeritia selectively omits the passage from St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio that explains how and why divorced, remarried Catholics cannot receive the Eucharist.

However, the church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon sacred scripture, of not admitting to eucharistic communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the church which is signified and effected by the eucharist. Besides this there is another special pastoral reason: If these people were admitted to the eucharist the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Pope Francis instead suggests he knows better what Jesus would do with respect to people committing mortal sin, rather than acknowledging and defending what Jesus actually said and did.  He says, “I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion. But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a Church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness, a Mother who, while clearly expressing her objective teaching, ‘always does what good she can, even if in the process, her shoes get soiled by the mud of the street.”  In other words, Pope Francis thinks Jesus would not care about the salvation of souls that comes from turning away from sin and for which Our Lord died on the cross. Instead, somehow Jesus would tell sinners to just keep on committing mortal sin as long as you feel good?  The proposal coming from the Chair of Peter is scandalous and must be resisted and opposed. That any priests or bishops, including Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop Chaput and others would tell Catholics they should read this piece of garbage just furthers the scandal.

Here are a few links to articles you should read, along with excerpts.

The Shameful Document (Creative Minority Report)

In those key paragraphs (298-302) he posits that it is impossible to know anyone’s culpability for the obvious sin in which they participate, so any kind of rule is casuistry. His calls for pastoral discernment are a clear call for the internal forum solution, even though he never quite comes out and says it.  But people are already getting the message.

In another shameful section, the Pope attempts to side-step the clear teaching that by an unworthy reception of the Eucharist, one eats and drinks judgment upon one’s self.

This redefinition of “discernment of the body” is a scandalous inversion of the true meaning of the admonition. No, the Pope does come right out and deny Church teaching in this area, he skirts it and tries to distort it. It is shameful.

In my view as a whole, this document will make nobody’s life any better. It will lead nobody out of sin. At its worst and in its particulars, it will serve only to confirm people in their sin and lead priests, prelates, and others into sacrilege. Nobody will be saved by this Jesuitical word-puke, unworthy of a successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ, and many souls may be lost because of it. This document is a shameful act and a grave evil.

A pastor leads his flock out of danger, this leads them to the wolves den. If you love as Jesus commanded us, you will hate this document.

Pope Francis opens door to Communion for ‘remarried’ Catholics in landmark exhortation (Lifesite News)

Pope Francis Departs from Church Teaching in New Exhortation (1 Peter 5)

…one finds the law of gradualism with regard to sinful relationships, the claim that there are “seeds” of goodness in such relationships that are objectively contrary to God’s laws, and a general tone of not speaking of sin at all with regard to those ways of living that put the soul of the persistent sinner gravely at risk of not attaining to eternal salvation.

The pope is sending a deeply troubling message: those who are living in the objective state of adultery (since they are still sacramentally and validly married to their real spouse, not the person they are living with) and have children from this second “marriage” are essentially bound to stay in this relationship, living as husband and wife (which they are not) and continuing to engage in acts proper only to spouses, and thus, adulterous in nature. Otherwise, the pope reasons, their new relationship – and the welfare of the children involved – could be put at risk! In this, Pope Francis undermines Catholic moral teaching at its core, and puts supposed practical concerns over the higher concern of the salvation of souls.

This question of access to the sacraments for the divorced and remarried is taken up again in paragraph 305:

Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.

At the end of that sentence, footnote 351 clarifies: “In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments,” and then refers to both Confession and the Eucharist. He writes: “I would also point out that the Eucharist ‘is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.’”

 These statements call to mind the substance of the so-called Kasper proposal. The language of the Eucharist as “not a prize” is something both Kasper and Francis have used in public statements on this topic since the Synod process began in 2014. There is no specific prescription on whether the divorced and “remarried” can have access to the sacraments in this, but one sees the opening of a door.

The second grave scandal comes in paragraph 301. In the context of the question of “discernment” for those “irregular” relationships, Pope Francis does away with the claim that those who do not live according to God’s law are living in the state of mortal sin! He says:

Hence it is [sic] can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” [to include homosexual relationships?]  situations are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values” [?], or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin.

Among other mitigating factors in this regard, the pope mentions “affective immaturity” and “force of acquired habit” and “conditions of anxiety,” as well as other “psychological or social factors” that would alleviate a person’s culpability.

This statement of the pope seems to do away with any moral foundation on the question of marriage and divorce. It breaks apart the very basis of moral law, and opens the door to a lax and relativistic approach to the sanctity of marriage.

Taken together, we see that the pope is claiming that “remarried” couples who have children should continue to live as “husband” and “wife” and should not live “as brother and sister” and that all “irregular” relationships which are not in accordance with God’s laws do not, in his estimation, necessarily mean that persons in such situations are living in a state of sin. Thereby, the pope also indirectly opens the door to the admittance of all these persons to the sacraments, and, at the same time, undermines not just one, butthree sacraments: the Sacrament of Marriage, the Sacrament of Penance, and the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Catholics cannot accept elements of Pope’s exhortation that threaten faith and family (Lifesite News)

Admission of the “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion

Amoris Laetitia, over the course of Chapter VIII (paragraphs 291-312), proposes a number of approaches that prepare the way for “divorced and remarried” Catholics to receive Holy Communion without true repentance and amendment of life. These paragraphs include:

  1. confused expositions of Catholic teaching on the nature and effects of mortal sin, on the imputability of sin, and on the nature of conscience;
  2. the use of ideological language in place of the Church’s traditional terminology;
  3. and the use of selective and misleading quotations from previous Church documents.

A particularly troubling example of misquotation of previous teaching is found in paragraph 298 which quotes the statement of Pope John Paul II, made in Familiaris Consortio, that there exist situations “where, for serious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate.” However in Amoris Laetitia the second half of Pope John Paul II’s sentence, which states that such couples “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples” (Familiaris Consortio, No. 84),  is omitted.

Furthermore, in the footnote to this misleading quotation, we read:

In such situations, many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living ‘as brothers and sisters’ which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, ‘it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers’ (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 51).

The document makes reference to this erroneous view but does not explain why it is a false approach, which is namely that:

  1. All sexual acts outside of a valid marriage are intrinsically evil and it is never justifiable to commit an intrinsically evil act, even in order to achieve a good end.
  2. “Faithfulness is endangered” by acts of sexual intimacy outside of marriage but faithfulness is lived when two individuals in an invalid union refrain from sexual intimacy in fidelity to their original union, which remains valid.
  3. The quotation implies that children will suffer because their parents, with the help of divine grace, live chastely. On the contrary, such parents are giving their children an example of fidelity, chastity and trust in the power of God’s grace.

The document cites Gaudium et Spes but the passage is quoted out of context and does not support the argument made. The context makes clear that Gaudium et Spes is speaking of married Catholics, in the context of procreation, not those cohabiting in an invalid union. The full sentence is as follows:

But where the intimacy of married life is broken off, its faithfulness can sometimes be imperilled and its quality of fruitfulness ruined, for then the upbringing of the children and the courage to accept new ones are both endangered (Gaudium et Spes, No. 51).

It is therefore difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Apostolic Exhortation is at least raising the possibility that adulterous sexual acts might in some cases be justifiable and has misquoted Gaudium et Spes as if to provide grounds for this.

The Apostolic Exhortation and the Abolishment of the Sin of Presumption

There is no other way to say this: Despite its protestations to the contrary Amoris Laetitia represents an attempt to achieve a revolution in Catholicism at the expense of the prior teaching of the Church on the indissolubility of marriage and reception of the Eucharist.
In order to achieve its aim of deconstructing the sacraments of Matrimony and the Eucharist, the tome paints the picture of sacramental marital love as a torture chamber of abuse, domination, sexism, exploitation and endless financial and emotional travails.

The sacrament of Matrimony, it is claimed, subjects its participants to the need to mutually beg constant forgiveness and afford each other mercy on an on-going basis.

Drawing upon such diverse and meaningful sources as “Eastern masters,” Erich Fromm, Martin Luther King, Babette’s Feast, and numerous and plethora of Pope Francis’s own prior statements, and, on occasion even selective quotes from the Bible, the author demands that the Church accept and not comment negatively about divorce and adultery.  This, he asserts, will minimize the frequency of those phenomena.

Moreover, despite the horrific nature of sacramental marriage which he depicts, the author nonetheless purports to make a case for encouraging those in irregular unions to become sacramentally married.  The question as to why someone “living in sin” would seek to enter into such an horrific institution is not readily answered, especially since, it would seem, the institution is no longer to be considered de facto indissoluble, even if it is, currently, theoretically de jure indissoluble. Indeed, at one point marriage is actually called a contract in the document.

Further, the so-called concept of gradualness facilitates adulterers (who are in grave sin) receiving Communion.  This is to be accomplished, depending on the facts of the situation.  But one thing is asserted strongly:  No one is to be kept away from Communion forever.

Although only the rapprochement of those in “irregular relationships” is considered, there would appear to be no rational basis for refusing to extend the logic involved to all of those in grave sin.  The reception of Communion by all grave sinners, of whatever kind, is left to the conscience of the sinner and their pastor.  This is one undoubted time bomb of a slippery slope contained in Amoris Laetitia; another is the justification for a married priesthood; and, who knows, perhaps even a gay and married priesthood.  The floodgates have opened, and who are we to judge?

Finally, no one in the congregation has a right to be scandalized by this, it would seem. Scandal and banning from Communion are perhaps only to apply to those who engage in social injustice, something for which Pope Francis unsurprisingly expresses deep disdain.

In summary, the exhortation is BAD.  Really BAD. it must be resisted and opposed. We will share some ideas on how you can do that in a subsequent post.



33 Responses to Pope Francis Feels He Can Second-Guess Jesus with Exhortation?

  1. D Paul says:

    Extremely good posting. I would add that there were statements in the exhortation about “conscience” having precedence over rules. This would be “situation ethics”. Objective sin is turned into subjective good.

  2. ediegrey says:

    I agree with this column of this latest disaster of Francis. However, I am very disgusted with your dismissal and criticism of Donald Trump. He is the only candidate not bought and paid for – he really will make America great again. He is fighting the world for us, too bad you are part of that world against him. If you and your ilk are conservative, I guess I am no conservative. Seems to me you are just a bunch of self righteous hypocrites – what is wrong with getting our jobs back and stopping illegal immigrants from taking jobs the most vulnerable Americans need – and he will keep us safe. America first, Donald Trump for president! He’ll bring back “Merry Christmas!” too.

    • Michael says:

      ediegrey … completely agree with all of your comments, except, the self righteous hypocrites. I do not attribute any malfeasance to the BCI blogwriters. I assume, they just need a little more time to realize their errors.

      TRUMP 2016!

      That being said, it is understandable why good Catholic, conservatives could be leery of Trump. Trump has flip flopped on his pro-life position, has been very supportive of liberal democrats his whole life, and is a businessman (who appears will say whatever you want to hear to get him what he wants). But, I really like what he says and I hope he is telling the truth, has had a serious change of heart on being pro-life, and will turn this titanic of a country around. If he is a liar we’re screwed. I don’t think he is though because of how everyone, China, Mexico, the Republican National Party hate him. He is to be feared if he is telling the truth because he is about to make America Great Again, which is going to end several longstanding, ongoing corruption parties.

      Trump 2016!

  3. marysong says:

    Thanks Boston Catholic Inside !! Your writing is heroic and wise. Being an elderly ‘fundamentalist’, I have failed to see any ‘joy’ in the writings of the Pope. As Our Lady of Fatima said to the children: “Many souls go to hell for sins of the flesh” Sin and hell are dogmas. So is the Sixth Commandment. These three elements of our faith are so lightly dismissed by our Pope. Indeed, he is leading souls to hell. I’ll still pray for him, but, not for ‘the Pope’s intentions’ anymore. I am thoroughly crushed by this document!!

  4. marysong says:

    The undermining of three Sacraments, Penance, Holy Eucharist, Matrimony (onepeter five) opens the door for a charge of heresy.
    But, what do I know? I don’t know!! Isn’t he denying their effectiveness, essentially? He gets around it well. An avalanche of verbiage

    • Ferde Rombola says:

      If one really wants to cause confusion, be sure to avoid using 30 words when 30,000 will suffice,

  5. Ferde Rombola says:

    Congratulations, BCI, on your prescient analysis of this latest heresy from King Francis. He is a deceitful, evil man. He has been put in place by the progeny of the modernists of Vatican II to finish the job of destroying the Catholic Church. There is much lamenting in the Catholic world about this disaster. What remains is what we’ll do about it. More important, what will Our Lord do about it? Pray fervently!

  6. As I have said before. I wish the Swiss Guards could put Francis under house arrest at the Vatican. He does not mean to do this but he is losing many souls to the devil I am afraid.

  7. marysong says:

    Reblogged this on marysong.

  8. So who should we listen to our Holy Father or an anonymous coward who refuses to give their name ? think about it.

    • Ferde Rombola says:

      I’ve thought about it, Jeremy, and I’d much rather listen to a faithful Catholic than the stooges for the Chancery.

      If you really want to talk to a coward, ask the Cardinal why he doesn’t come on this site and defend himself from the very real and verified accusations against him, and why he doesn’t resolve the many abuses occurring in his domain which are reported here. Don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer.

    • Jeremy, Focus on the facts. What aspect of the clearly documented deception do you believe is not a deception? What aspect of undermining the 7th Commandment – Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery — and the definition of mortal sin we have had since the time of Christ do you somehow think is not a problem?


    • D Paul says:

      @Jeremy Thomas: This site has always had agents of disinformation from the archdiocese. In order to come to a valid opinion, it is important to have analysts who are not afraid to express their opinion. If you know where the reservoir is on the BC campus, maybe we could meet and have a little conversation. Not everyone “turns the other cheek”.

    • Michael says:

      Our Holy Father seems less credible than the anonymous “coward.” Jeremy, what’s your home address, or are you an anonymous coward too?

    • Michael says:

      Your name links to … doubleudoubleudoubleudotnonedotcom Are you an anonymous hypocrite?

      Spokeo has 23 different Jeremy Thomas’ in Massachusetts. So which one are you?

  9. A new version of “cuius regio, eius religio”? – A Latin phrase which literally means “whose region, his religion”, meaning that the religion of the ruler of a region was to dictate the religion of that region. At the Peace of Augsburg of 1555, which ended a period of armed conflict between Roman Catholic and Protestant forces within the Holy Roman Empire, the rulers of the German-speaking states and Charles V, the Emperor, agreed to accept this principle – Wikipedia. Thus, the bishop(s) of a region or a diocese determine whether or not adulterers and other public sinners may receive Holy Communion – for example, in countries such as Germany the bishops would say “Yes,” while in Poland they would say “No”; or in dioceses such as Chicago where Abp. Cupich has no problems with couples in adulterous or sodomite unions receiving Holy Communion as long as they do such in “good conscience.”

  10. A Catholic says:

    Along with this news and the fact that many Catholics are upset with the pontiff washing the feet of non-believers is putting this man in a very bad light. We must pray for him because he along with the bad priests can possibly do a lot of harm to the church and cause our Mass to go underground.

    Let’s hope the Holy Spirit comes into his soul and enlightens him.

    By the way, I met a fellow who is familiar with Boston Catholic Insider. I told him that this is where I first learned about John Connors and the Mary Horrigan Connors Women’s Health Center. The head CEO is a former Director of PP, and there is a woman doctor who trains abortionists world wide. Needless to say he didn’t believe all that he’s learned from BCI. I walked away from him because I do trust your information. I hope I didn’t say too much.

  11. “it must be resisted and opposed. We will share some ideas on how you can do that in a subsequent post.” ….

    There are many who are wondering how to resist, including myself. I hope you will post your ideas soon.

  12. TLM says:

    Right geneticallycatholic! What avenue do faithful lay Catholics take to ‘resist’? Write our Bishops? Talk to our Priests? What??

    • Chris Whittle says:

      There is no way possible now for a New England Catholic to complain to their bishop (with the possible exception to Bishop Tobin in RI) about a priest giving Holy Communion to those in mortal sin. The few suggestions I would suggest are:

      1. Stop attending the New Mass and start going to the TLM instead (including SSPX). Donate your offertory to these locations rather than your typical neighborhood parish.

      2. If a priest starts preaching sympathies toward this document or starts liturgical abuses at a TLM, stop going to that one.

      3. If you are invited to a “Catholic” wedding and you know that the couple cohabitates, etc. do not go (even if it’s a family member).

      4. If you request a Requiem Mass for your funeral and you know that there are likely going to be relatives/friends who are…then request in your will that the priest NOT distribute Holy Communion at your Requiem. It is not necessary that the faithful receive communion to have a valid Mass.

  13. Terri says:

    Wouldnt bother to write Cardinal Omalley…he’s thrilled with the ex cremation…sorry exhortation….needs to be read carefully and will produce great fruit a according to one of Francis hand picked. Sorry to inform the Cardinal we have enough fruits in the church! Our Lady of Fatima, Ora Pro Nobis!

  14. Bill says:

    “The only key to the correct interpretation of Amoris Laetitia is the constant teaching of the Church and her discipline that safeguards and fosters this teaching.”


  15. John Doe says:

    Apprently the concepts of mercy, compassion and love are foreign to BCI and those who adamantly follow this blog. You, not Pope Francis, are trying to be God – judging, castigating and condemning. It is no wonder why so many have left the Church if these are the ones who stay. We were created in love for love – not judging, castigating and condemning.

  16. Jim Regan says:

    I agree with John Doe while finding Chris Whittle lacking in the true Christian Catholic gifts of love and acceptance. I also can’t understand how or why some BCI correspondents harbor deep anger at all that is being attempted to bring those who left the Church back so they too may enjoy the promises of Christ. We were borned in Christ to love ,serve, honor and obey. I feel there are those who support the hidden BCI contributors who are more damaging than helpful.Go in Peace.

  17. Mr. D says:

    It’s unfortunate that John Doe and Jim Regan seem to misunderstand what’s being said here. Nobody is judging, castigating, and condemning anyone. What is being condemned is sin, and Francis’ seeming wink and nod towards it. Surely you’ve heard the saying, “love the sinner but hate the sin.” Do you realize that admonishing the sinner is one of the spiritual works of mercy recommended by the Church? John and Jim (and unfortunately a lot of others also) seem not to understand or are unwilling to accept the truth. It’s too bad, because souls are at stake. No one, not even a Pope, has the authority to overturn the clear teaching of our Lord on this or any other subject. That he would apparently attempt to do so is nothing short of disastrous. No doubt there are many who are pleased by it, especially the enemies of the Christ and His Church, and those who wish to continue in their sin.

    • John Doe says:

      I don’t think Jim Regan or I misunderstand anything. The title of this blog entry captures the essence of BCI agenda – no room for the Spirit and keep everything status quo

  18. Alice Slattery says:

    Anyone who doubts the seriousness of not being aware of the need to recognize a sinful choice of behavior when it occurs should take a look at the agenda being promoted presently in the organization called “Adam’s Gift” which is run by a former Methodist minister, Jimmy Creech, in North Carolina. Creech was barred from his ministry because of his preaching which essentially denies that there is any behavior that is a sin. He is promoting the idea that Adam’s choice to act according to his own desires was a good act-“But the serpent said to the woman..”You certainly will not die! No,God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.”(Genesis,ch.3). Followers of ADAM’S GIFT believes that anyone who trusts God’s will for their well-being and tries to convince someone who has chosen to act out in acts of concupiscence such as masturbation, pornography, sodomy, and the like, that they are leading a life away from God’s will by these sinful acts, has no right to try to persuade the person to stop sinning since the sinning person is just acting according to his/her own choice, just as Adam did.
    In essence, this false belief supporting “Adam’s Gift” is saying that those of us who inherited the inclination of sin from Adam really didn’t need redemption by Jesus through His suffering and death on the cross since Adam’s choice to do his own will was a good act.

  19. Capt Crunch says:

    Very clever attack John Doe and Jim Regan.

    I agree you that you do not misunderstand anything.

    You see, the Catholic Church teaches what the Catholic Church has always taught. You use misguided metaphors about mercy and the Holy Spirit to attack the people who defend what the Catholic Church has always taught in order to change the Catholic Church into what you think it should be.

    There are plenty of Churches that are trying to turn Christianity into what they think it should be, over 40,000 of them. Perhaps you should join one of those churches and let the Catholic Church be the Catholic Church.

    Who are you to judge?

    • John Doe says:

      Read my post, Jim Regan’s post and every other post a few times. Not sure I am the one making any judgments.

      • Capt Crunch says:

        I did read the comments, are these your examples of showing love and not judging?

        “You, not Pope Francis, are trying to be God – judging, castigating and condemning.”

        “I agree with John Doe while finding Chris Whittle lacking in the true Christian Catholic gifts of love and acceptance. I also can’t understand how or why some BCI correspondents harbor deep anger at all that is being attempted to bring those who left the Church back so they too may enjoy the promises of Christ. ”

        Perhaps instead of trashing BCI and commenters at BCI, if you are Catholic ,you should actually study what Catholicism teaches.

        I challenge you and Jim Regan not to come here and post your misguided non-Catholic comments but back up your opinions with references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  20. Joe says:

    The document is further proof that the Vatican is in control of modernists, hirelings, not true shepherds. An alternative in the area can be found just north of Boston in Salem, NH at http://www.olmc-mission.org The old Mass, traditional faith, valid priests, etc.
    Francis is only showing his true colors by documents like this, as well as those that support it.
    God bless you.


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