Bishop Athanasius Schneider reaction to Synod: Door to communion for divorced & remarried officially kicked open

November 15, 2015

BCI has wanted to call attention of our readers to this outstanding piece by Bishop Athanasius Schneider on the mess created by the recent two Synod on the Family sessions.  It appeared on Rorate Caeli on November 2 and they are permitting others to reprint it.  It’s too good to edit down, so grab a nice cup of hot tea or your favorite beverage before you read it.

A back door to a Neo-Mosaic practice in the Final Report of the Synod

The XIV General Assembly of the Synod of the Bishops (October 4 – 25, 2015), which was dedicated to the theme of “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World”, issued a Final Report with some pastoral proposals submitted to the discernment of the Pope. The document itself is only of an advisory nature and does not possess a formal magisterial value.

Yet during the Synod, there appeared those real new disciples of Moses and the new Pharisees, who in the numbers 84-86 of the Final Report opened a back door or looming time bombs for the admittance of divorced and remarried to Holy Communion. At the same time those bishops who intrepidly defended “the Church’s own fidelity to Christ and to His truth” (Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio, 84) were in some media reports unjustly labeled as Pharisees.

The new disciples of Moses and the new Pharisees during the last two Assemblies of the Synod (2014 and 2015) masked their practical denial of the indissolubility of marriage and of a suspension of the Sixth Commandment on a case-by-case basis under the guise of the concept of mercy, using expressions such as: “way of discernment,” “accompaniment”, “orientations of the bishop,” “dialogue with the priest,” “forum internum,” “a more fuller integration into the life of the Church,” a possible suppression of imputability regarding the cohabitation in irregular unions (cf. Final Report, nn. 84-86).

This text section in the Final Report contains indeed a trace of a Neo-Mosaic practice of divorce, even though the redactors skillfully and, in a cunning manner, avoided any direct change of the doctrine of the Church. Therefore, all parties, both the promotors of the so-called “Kasper agenda” and their opponents, are apparently satisfied stating: “All is OK. The Synod did not change the doctrine.” Yet, such a perception is quite naive, because it ignores the back door and the pending time bombs in the abovementioned text section which becomes manifest by a careful examination of the text by its internal interpretive criteria.

Even when speaking of a “way of discernment” there is talk of “repentance” (Final Report, n. 85), there remains nevertheless a great deal of ambiguity. In fact, according to the reiterated affirmations of Cardinal Kasper and like-minded churchmen, such a repentance concerns the past sins against the spouse of the first valid marriage and the repentance of the divorced indeed may not refer to the acts of their marital cohabitation with the new civilly married partner.

The assurance of the text in the numbers 85 and 86 of the Final Report that such a discernment has to be made according to the teaching of the Church and in a correct judgement remains nevertheless ambiguous. Indeed, Cardinal Kasper and like-minded clerics emphatically and repeatedly assured that the admittance of the divorced and civilly remarried to Holy Communion will not touch the dogma of the indissolubility and of the sacramentality of marriage, and that a judgement in the conscience in that case has to be considered as being correct even when the divorced and remarried continue to cohabitate in a marital manner, and that they should not be required to live in complete continence as brother and sister.

In quoting the famous number 84 of the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio of Pope John Paul II in number 85 of the Final Report, the redactors censored the text, cutting out the following decisive formulation: “The way to the Eucharist can only be granted to those who take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples”.

This practice of the Church is based on Divine Revelation of the Word of God: Written and transmitted through Tradition. This practice of the Church is an expression of the uninterrupted Tradition since the Apostles and, thus, remains unchangeable for all times. Already Saint Augustine affirmed: “Who dismisses his adulterous wife and marries another woman, whereas his first wife still lives, remains perpetually in the state of adultery. Such a man does not any efficacious penance while he refuses to abandon the new wife. If he is a catechumen, he cannot be admitted to baptism, because his will remains rooted in the evil. If he is a (baptized) penitent, he cannot receive the (ecclesiastical) reconciliation as long as he does not break with his bad attitude” (De adulterinis coniugiis, 2, 16). In fact, the above intentional censorship of the teaching of Familaris Consortio in n. 85 of the Final Report, represents for any sane hermeneutics the very interpretive key for the understanding of the text section on divorced and remarried (numbers 84-86).

In our days exists a permanent and omnipresent ideological pressure on behalf of the mass media, which are compliant with the unique thought imposed by the anti-Christian world powers, with the aim to abolish the truth of the indissolubility of marriage – trivializing the sacred character of this Divine institution by spreading an anti-culture of divorce and concubinage. Already 50 years ago, the Second Vatican Council stated that the modern times are infected with the plague of divorce (cf. Gaudium et spes, 47). The same Council warns that Christian marriage as Christ’s sacrament should “never be profaned by adultery or divorce” (Gaudium et spes, 49).

The profanation of the “great sacrament” (Eph 5, 32) of  marriage by adultery and divorce has assumed massive proportions at an alarming rate not only in civil society but also among Catholics. When Catholics by means of divorce and adultery theoretically and as well as practically repudiate the will of God expressed in the Sixth Commandment, they put themselves in a spiritually serious danger of losing their eternal salvation.

The most merciful act on behalf of the Shepherds of the Church would be to draw attention to this danger by means of a clear – and at the same time loving – admonition about the necessarily full acceptance of the Sixth Commandment of God. They have to call things by their right name exhorting: “divorce is divorce,” “adultery is adultery” and “who commits consciously and freely grave sins against the Commandments of God – and in this case against the Sixth Commandment – and dies unrepentant will receive eternal condemnation being excluded forever from the kingdom of God.”

Such an admonition and exhortation is the very work of the Holy Spirit as Christ taught: “He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16: 8). Explaining the work of the Holy Spirit in “convincing sin,” Pope John Paul II said: “Every sin wherever and whenever committed has a reference to the Cross of Christ-and therefore indirectly also to the sin of those who ‘have not believed in him,’ and who condemned Jesus Christ to death on the Cross” (Encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem, 29). Those who conduct a married life with a partner who is not their legitimate spouse, as it is the case with divorced and civilly remarried, reject the will of God. To convince such persons concerning this sin is a work moved by the Holy Spirit and commanded by Jesus Christ and thus an eminently pastoral and merciful work.

The Final Report of the Synod unfortunately omits to convince the divorced and remarried concerning their concrete sin. On the contrary, under the pretext of mercy and a false pastorality, those Synod Fathers who supported the formulations in the numbers 84-86 of the Report tried to cover up the spiritually dangerous state of the divorced and remarried.

De facto, they say to them that their sin of adultery is not a sin, and is definitely not adultery or at least is not a grave sin and that there is no spiritual danger in their state of life. Such a behavior of these Shepherds is directly contrary to the work of the Holy Spirit and is therefore anti-pastoral and a work of the false prophets to whom one could apply the following words of the Holy Scripture: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Is 5:20) and: “Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen for you oracles that are false and misleading” (Lam 2: 14). To such bishops the Apostle Paul without any doubt would say today these words: “Such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Cor 11:13).

The text of the Final Report of the Synod not only omits to convince unambiguously divorced and civilly remarried persons concerning the adulterous and thus gravely sinful character of their life style. It justifies indirectly such a lifestyle by means of assigning this question ultimately to the area of the individual conscience and by means of an improper applying of the moral principle of imputability to the case of cohabitation of the divorced and remarried. In fact, the applying of the principle of imputability to a stable, permanent and public life in adultery is improper and deceptive.

The diminution of the subjective responsibility is given only in the case when the partners have the firm intention to live in complete continence and make sincere efforts therein. As long as the partners intentionally persist to continue a sinful life, there can be no suspension of imputability. The Final Report gives the impression to intimate that a public life style in adultery – as it is the case of civilly remarried – is not violating the indissoluble sacramental bond of a marriage or that it does not represents a mortal or grave sin and that this issue is furthermore a matter of private conscience. Hereby one can state a closer drift towards the Protestant principle of subjective judgement on matters of faith and discipline and intellectual closeness to the erroneous theory of “fundamental option,” a theory already condemned by the Magisterium (cf. Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 65-70).

The Shepherds of the Church should not in the slightest manner promote a culture of divorce amongst the faithful. Even the smallest hint of yielding to the practice or to the culture of divorce should be avoided. The Church as a whole should give a convincing and strong witness to the indissolubility of the marriage. Pope John Paul II said that divorce “is an evil that, like the others, is affecting more and more Catholics as well, the problem must be faced with resolution and without delay” (Familiaris Consortio, 84).

The Church has to help the divorced and remarried with love and patience to recognize their own sinfulness and to help them to convert with one’s whole heart to God and to the obedience to His holy will, which is expressed in the Sixth Commandment. As long as they continue giving a public anti-witness to the indissolubility of marriage and contributing to a culture of divorce, the divorced and remarried cannot exercise those liturgical, catechetical and institutional ministries in the Church, which demand by their own nature a public life in accordance with the Commandments of God.

It is obvious that public violators for instance of the Fifth and Seventh Commandments, such as owners of an abortion clinic or collaborators of a corruption network, not only cannot receive Holy Communion but, evidently, cannot be admitted to public liturgical and catechetical services. In an analogous manner, public violators of the Sixth Commandment, such as divorced and remarried, cannot be admitted to the office of lectors, godparents or catechists. Of course, one must distinguish the gravity of the evil caused by the life style of public promotors of abortion and corruption from the adulterous life of divorced people. One cannot put them on the same footing. The advocacy for the admission of divorced and remarried to the task of godparents and catechists aims ultimately not the true spiritual good of the children, but turns out to be an istrumentalization of a specific ideological agenda. This is a dishonesty and a mockery of the institution of godparents or catechists who by means of a public promise took on the task of educators of the faith.

In the case of godparents or catechists who are divorced and remarried, their life continuously contradicts their words, and so they have to face the admonition of the Holy Spirit through the mouth of the Apostle Saint James: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1: 22).   Unfortunately, the Final Report in n. 84 pleads for an admittance of the divorced and remarried to liturgical, pastoral and educational offices. Such a proposal represents an indirect support to the culture of divorce and a practical denial of an objectively sinful lifestyle. Pope John Paul II on the contrary indicated only the following possibilities of participating in the life of the Church, which for their part aim a true conversion: “They should be encouraged to listen to the word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts in favor of justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace” (Familiaris Consortio, 84).

There should remain a salutary area of exclusion (non-admittance to the Sacraments and to the public liturgical and catechetical offices) in order to remind the divorced their real serious and dangerous spiritual state and, at the same time, to promote in their souls the attitude of humility, obedience and of longing for the authentic conversion. Humility means courage for truth, and only to those who humbly subject themselves to God, will receive His graces.

The faithful, who have not yet the readiness and the will to stop with the adulterous life, should be spiritually helped. Their spiritual state is similar to a kind of “catechumenate” regarding the sacrament of Penance. They can receive the sacrament of Penance, which was called in the Tradition of the Church “the second baptism” or “the second penance,” only if they sincerely break with the habit of the adulterous cohabitation and avoid public scandal in an analogous manner as do the catechumens, the candidates to the Baptism. The Final Report omits to call the divorced and remarried to the humble recognition of their objective sinful state, because it omits to encourage them to accept with the spirit of faith the non-admittance to the Sacraments and to the public liturgical and catechetical offices. Without such a realistic and humble recognition of their own real spiritual state, there is no effective progress towards the authentic Christian conversion, which in the case of the divorced and remarried consists in a life of complete continence, ceasing to sin against the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage and to disobey publicly the Sixth Commandment of God.

The Shepherds of the Church and especially the public texts of the Magisterium have to speak in an utmost clear manner, since this is the essential characteristic of the task of the official teaching. Christ demanded from all His disciples to speak in an extremely clear manner: “Let what you say be ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil” (Math 5: 37). This is valid all the more when the Shepherds of the Church preach or when the Magisterium speaks in a document.

In the text section of the numbers 84-86 the Final Report represents, unfortunately, a serious departure from this Divine command. Indeed in the mentioned passages the text does not plead directly in favor for the legitimacy of the admittance of the divorce and remarried to Holy Communion, the text even avoids the expression “Holy Communion” or “Sacraments.” Instead, the text by means of obfuscating tactics, uses ambiguous expressions like “a more full participation in the life of the Church” and “discernment and integration.”

By such obfuscating tactics the Final Report in fact put time bombs and a back door for the admittance of the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion, causing by this a profanation of the two great sacraments of Marriage and Eucharist, and contributing at least indirectly to the culture of divorce – to the spreading of the “plague of divorce” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et spes, 47).

When reading carefully the ambiguous text of the text section “Discernment and integration” in the Final Report, one has the impression of a highly skillful, elaborated ambiguity. One is reminded of the following words of Saint Irenaeus in his “Adversus haereses”: “He who retains unchangeable in his heart the rule of the truth which he received by means of baptism, will doubtless recognize the names, the expressions, and the parables taken from the Scriptures, but will by no means acknowledge the blasphemous use which these men make of them. For, though he will acknowledge the gems, he will certainly not receive the fox instead of the likeness of the king.  But since what may prove a finishing-stroke to this exhibition is wanting, so that any one, on following out their farce to the end, may then at once append an argument which shall overthrow it, we have judged it well to point out, first of all, in what respects the very fathers of this fable differ among themselves, as if they were inspired by different spirits of error. For this very fact forms a proof from the outset that the truth proclaimed by the Church is immoveable, and that the theories of these men are but a tissue of falsehoods.” (I, 9, 4-5).

The Final Report seems to leave the solution of the question of the admittance of the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion to local Church authorities: “accompaniment of the priests” and “orientations of the bishop.” Such a matter is however connected essentially with the deposit of faith i.e. with the revealed word of God. The non-admittance of divorced who are living in a public state of adultery belongs to the unchangeable truth of the law of the Catholic faith and consequently also of the law of Catholic liturgical practice.

The Final Report seems to inaugurate a doctrinal and disciplinary cacophony in the Catholic Church, which contradicts the very essence of being Catholic. One has to be reminded of the words of Saint Irenaeus, about the authentic shape of the Catholic Church in all times and in all places: “The Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes the points of doctrine just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world (Italy). But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shines everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the truth. Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these (for no one is greater than the Master); nor, on the other hand, will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does one who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one, who can say but little diminish it.” (Adversus haereses, I, 10, 2).

The Final Report in the section on the divorced and remarried carefully avoids confessing the unchangeable principle of the entire Catholic tradition, that those who live in an invalid marital union can be admitted to Holy Communion only under the condition that their promise to live in complete continence and avoid public scandal. John Paul II and Benedict XVI confirmed strongly this Catholic principle. The deliberate avoidance of mentioning and reaffirming this principle in the text of the Final Report can be compared with the systematic avoidance of the expression “homoousios” on behalf of the opponents of the dogma of the Council of Nicea in the fourth century – the formal Arians and the so-called Semi-Arians – , who invented continuously other expressions in order not to confess directly the consubstantiality of the Son of God with God the Father.

Such a declination from an open Catholic confession on behalf of the majority of the episcopate in the fourth century caused a feverish ecclesiastical activity with continuous synodal meetings and a proliferation of new doctrinal formula with the common denominator of avoiding terminological clarity i.e. the expression “homoousios.” Likewise, in our days the two last Synods on Family avoided naming and confessing clearly the principle of the entire Catholic tradition, that those who live in an invalid marital union can be admitted to Holy Communion only under the condition that their promise to live in complete continence and avoid public scandal.

This fact is proven also by the immediate unequivocal reaction of the secular media and by the reaction of the main advocators of the new un-Catholic practice to admit divorced and remarried to Holy Communion while maintaining a life of public adultery. Cardinal Kasper, Cardinal Nichols and Archbishop Forte, for instance, publicly affirmed that, according to the Final Report, one can assume that a door in some way has been opened to Communion for the divorced and remarried. There exists as well a considerable number of bishops, priests and laity who rejoice because of the so-called “opened door” they found in the Final Report. Instead of guiding the faithful with a clear and an utmost unambiguous teaching, the Final Report caused a situation of obscuration, confusion, subjectivity (the judgement of the conscience of the divorced and forum internum) and an un-Catholic doctrinal and disciplinary particularism in a matter which is essentially connected to the deposit of faith transmitted by the Apostles.

Those who in our days strongly defend the sanctity of the sacraments of Marriage and Eucharist are labeled as Pharisees. Yet, since the logical principle of non-contradiction is valid and common sense still functions, the contrary is true.

The obfuscators of the Divine truth in the Final Report are more like Pharisees. For in order to reconcile a life in adultery with the reception of Holy Communion, they skillfully invented new letters, a new law of “discernment and integration,” introducing new human traditions against the crystalline commandment of God. To the advocators of the so-called “Kasper agenda” are addressed these words of the Incarnated Truth: “You made void the word of God by introducing your own tradition” (Mark 7: 13). Those who during 2,000 years spoke relentlessly and with an utmost clarity about the immutability of the Divine truth, often at the cost of their own life, would be labelled in our days as Pharisees as well; so Saint John the Baptist, Saint Paul, Saint Irenaeus, Saint Athanasius, Saint Basil, Saint Thomas More, Saint John Fisher, Saint Pius X, just to mention the most glowing examples.

The real result of the Synod in the perception of the faithful and of secular public opinion was that there has been practically only one focus on the question of the admittance of the divorced to Holy Communion. One can affirm that the Synod in a certain sense turned out to be in the eyes of public opinion a Synod of adultery, not the Synod of family. Indeed, all the beautiful affirmations of the Final Report on marriage and family are eclipsed by the ambiguous affirmations in the text section on the divorced and remarried, a topic which was already confirmed and decided by the Magisterium of the last Roman Pontiffs in faithful conformity with the bi-millennial teaching and practice of the Church. It is therefore a real shame that Catholic bishops, the successors of the Apostles, used synodal assemblies in order to make an attempt on the constant and unchangeable practice of the Church regarding the indissolubility of the marriage, i.e. the non-admittance of the divorced who live in an adulterous union to the Sacraments.

In his letter to Pope Damasus, Saint Basil drew a realistic picture of the doctrinal confusion caused by those churchmen who sought an empty compromise, and an adaptation to the spirit of the world in his time: “Traditions are set at nought; the devices of innovators are in vogue in the Churches; now men are rather contrivers of cunning systems than theologians; the wisdom of this world wins the highest prizes and has rejected the glory of the cross. The elders lament when they compare the present with the past. The younger are yet more to be compassionated, for they do not know of what they have been deprived” (Ep. 90, 2).

In a letter to Pope Damasus and to the Occidental Bishops, Saint Basil describes as follows the confused situation inside the Church: “The laws of the Church are in confusion.  The ambition of men, who have no fear of God, rushes into high posts, and exalted office is now publicly known as the prize of impiety.  The result is, that the worse a man blasphemes, the fitter the people think him to be a bishop.  Clerical dignity is a thing of the past. There is no precise knowledge of canons.  There is complete immunity in sinning; for when men have been placed in office by the favour of men, they are obliged to return the favour by continually showing indulgence to offenders. Just judgment is a thing of the past; and everyone walks according to his heart’s desire. Men in authority are afraid to speak, for those who have reached power by human interest are the slaves of those to whom they owe their advancement. And now the very vindication of orthodoxy is looked upon in some quarters as an opportunity for mutual attack; and men conceal their private ill-will and pretend that their hostility is all for the sake of the truth. All the while unbelievers laugh; men of weak faith are shaken; faith is uncertain; souls are drenched in ignorance, because adulterators of the word imitate the truth. The better ones of the laity shun the churches as schools of impiety and lift their hands in the deserts with sighs and tears to their Lord in heaven. The faith of the Fathers we have received; that faith we know is stamped with the marks of the Apostles; to that faith we assent, as well as to all that in the past was canonically and lawfully promulgated.” (Ep. 92, 2).

Each period of confusion during the history of the Church is at the same time a possibility to receive many graces of strength and courage and a chance to demonstrate one’s love for Christ the Incarnated Truth. To Him each baptized and each priest and bishop promised inviolable fidelity, everyone according to his own state: through the baptismal vows, through the priestly promises, through the solemn promise in the episcopal ordination. Indeed, every candidate to the episcopacy promised: “I will keep pure and integral the deposit of faith according the tradition which was always and everywhere preserved in the Church.” The ambiguity found in the section on divorced and remarried of the Final Reportcontradicts the abovementioned solemn episcopal vow. Notwithstanding this, everyone in the Church – from the simple faithful to the holders of the Magisterium – should say:

“Non possumus!” I will not accept an obfuscated speech nor a skilfully masked back door to a profanation of the Sacrament of Marriage and Eucharist. Likewise, I will not accept a mockery of the Sixth Commandment of God. I prefer to be ridiculed and persecuted rather than to accept ambiguous texts and insincere methods. I prefer the crystalline “image of Christ the Truth, rather than the image of the fox ornamented with gemstones” (Saint Irenaeus), for “I know whom I have believed”, “Scio, Cui credidi!” (2 Tim 1: 12).


Perspectives on the Synod on the Family

October 31, 2015

BCI was on a plane a few days ago when someone seated nearby brought up the Catholic Church. By and by, the discussion turned to what we thought about what is going on in the Catholic Church today with the “Synod on the Family.”   The short answer is that BCI is very concerned about the future of the Catholic Church right now and we believe all should be concerned and be praying for the Church.  So much excellent commentary is out there on this issue that BCI will highlight a few we think are worth reading or listening to by all:

Cardinal Burke: Synod’s final report ‘misleading,’ lacks ‘clarity’ on indissolubility of marriage (Lifesite News): 

He focuses on paragraphs 84-86 on divorce and remarriage, saying this section is of “immediate concern because of its lack of clarity in a fundamental matter of the faith: the indissolubility of the marriage bond which both reason and faith teach all men.” He also says the way the quotation from Familaris Consortio is used is “misleading.”  Read more

The Synod explained via new media (Rorate Caeli)
“The Synod of Sin has concluded. For some perspective to understand the traditional position — from a non-traditional medium — we bring you two helpful tools. First up, a sermon from a traditional mission priest, looking at the present-day Church through the lens of Fyodor Dostoevsky. Click here to listen to this eye-opening sermon.

Second, see below for a video from The Remnant, featuring Dr. John Rao. Give it a few minutes, then buckle up:

“The failed Synod: everyone defeated; and Catholic morality in particular” (by Roberto  de Mattei, at Rorate Caeli)

The day after the XIV Synod on the Family, everyone seems to have won. Pope Francis has won, since he was able to find a compromising text among the opposing positions; the progressives have won since the approved text admits the divorced and remarried to the Eucharist; the conservatives have won, since the document doesn’t contain an explicit reference to Communion for the divorced [and remarried] and rejects “homosexual marriage” and the gender theory.

The morality of inculturation, that of “case by case”, relativizes and dissolves the moral law, which by definition is absolute and universal. There are no good intentions, nor extenuating circumstances which can transform a good act into a bad one or vice versa. Catholic morality does not admit exceptions: it is absolute and universal or it isn’t a moral law. The newspapers then are not wrong when they presented the final Relatio with this title: “The absolute prohibition for Communion to the divorced and remarried falls”.

In the end we find ourselves faced with an ambiguous and contradictory document, which permits everyone to shout victory; even if nobody has won anything. All have been defeated, starting with Catholic morality which emerges profoundly humiliated by the Synod on the Family concluded on October 24th.

Yes, some commentators say that the language in the final document does not expressly contradict Catholic Church moral teachings. However, the door has been cracked ajar with a tremendous amount of wiggle room. As Roberto de Mattei wrote, “The Relatio, doesn’t affirm the right for the divorced and remarried to receive Communion (and thus the right to adultery), but it denies the Church, de facto, the right to publically define as adulterous, the condition of the divorced and remarried, leaving the responsibility for evaluation [of this] to the conscience of the pastors and the divorced and remarried themselves.”

The absurdity of this notion is made impeccably clear by Cardinal Arinze, who said, people in objectively sinful situations can’t receive Holy Communion “in good conscience….There is such a thing as objective evil and objective good. Christ said he who [divorces his wife] and marries another, Christ has one word for that action, ‘adultery.’ That’s not my word. It is Christ’s word himself, who is humble and meek in heart, who is eternal truth. So, he knows what he’s saying.”

That such matters are now up for grabs is cause for grave concern. BCI believes all should be fasting and praying for Holy Mother Church.

Boston Archdiocese Asking for Your Input Toward 2015 Synod

February 28, 2015

For readers wanting to give input toward the 2015 Synod on the Family, the Boston Archdiocese is asking for our input.

In view of the mountain of evidence that the synod is under the control of people at the highest levels of the Catholic Church who want to change Church practices around the indissolubility of marriage while pretending to not change doctrine, many readers may think they should just throw up their hands in frustration and not bother responding to the input survey. BCI suggests you still take the time to complete the survey and do either of two things with it: a) Give it to your local parish pastor, or b) Send it to Judicial Vicar Fr Mark O’Connell at

Below is a message from Catholic Citizenship about the opportunity to give your input. It points folks to the synod questionnaire, which you can download here.

 Archdiocese Inquires with Laity before 2015 Ordinary Synod

Dear friends,

Cardinal O’Malley has asked pastors to send a questionnaire to parishioners for the upcoming Synod on the Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and contemporary world this October.  Pope Francis will convene an Ordinary Synod with Cardinals and Bishops around the world to discuss how the Church can better articulate Catholic teaching about the family.

The questionnaire is composed of 15 sections and 46 questions which highlight the anthropological, social, cultural and ecclesiastical understanding of the family.  This document is designed to help facilitate discussion about the Church’s teaching and how it may be effectively taught.

It’s important that the church hear from individuals who support its traditional teachings, as those who wish to alter them will surely make their voices heard.

Furthermore, the Boston Archdiocese has developed a mini-site which contains short videos on the following topics: evangelizing the family, how to better reach young people, encouraging cohabitating couples to marry, ministering to divorced Catholics, and pastoral care for those with homosexual tendencies.

Please visit the website to download a copy of the questionnaire and view instruction material at:

Thank you.

Editorial comment from BCI.  We wanted a few of the videos by Fr. Mark O’Connell. We found them mostly disappointing. They talk about how to have a cordial “dialogue” with those committing grave mortal sin (e.g. cohabitating outside of marriage, self-identify as homosexuals), but he avoids mentioning the grave state of sin in which those people place themselves and the consequences of that for their own salvation.  When and where does that get mentioned?

Once again, BCI suggests you take the time to complete the survey and either give it to your local parish pastor or send it to Judicial Vicar Fr Mark O’Connell at

Final Relatio Synodi: Synod on the Family 2014?

October 18, 2014

BCI is not sure if this is the final document or not, but we share with you something posted at RORATE CÆLI that sure looks like it could be the final synod report in Italian.   IMPORTANT NOTE: Paragraphs 52, 53 and 55 are reportedly not part of the final text; they were rejected, having not reached 2/3 of the Fathers for required approval (123 votes). However, it appears that the Vatican is sharing the rejected paragraphs publicly, despite their being rejected.

BCI ran the Italian through Google translate, so the translation and formatting is crude.  We just share this for the benefit of readers.  A final version in English will no doubt be available soon.


Part I
Listening to: the context and challenges on the family
The socio-cultural context
The relevance of emotional life
The challenge for the pastoral
Part II
The gaze of Christ: The Gospel of the family
The look on Jesus and the divine pedagogy in the history of salvation
The family in God’s saving plan
The Family in the Documents of the Church
The indissolubility of marriage and the joy of living together
Truth and beauty of family and compassion toward families wounds and fragile
Part III
Comparison: pastoral perspectives
Proclaiming the Gospel of the family today, in various contexts
Driving the engaged in the process of preparation for marriage
Accompany the first few years of married life
Pastoral care of those who live in the civil marriage or cohabitation
Caring for families wounds (separated, divorced and not remarried, divorced and remarried, single-parent families)
The pastoral care of people with homosexual orientation
The transmission of life and the challenge of falling birth rates
The challenge of education and the family’s role in the evangelization
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1 The Synod of Bishops gathered around the Pope addressed his thoughts to all the families of the world with their joys, their hardships, their hopes. In particular feels the need to thank God for the generous fidelity with which so many Christian families respond to their vocation and mission. They do this with joy and faith even when the way the family poses in front of obstacles, misunderstandings and suffering. These families should be appreciation, gratitude and encouragement of the whole Church and of this Synod. In the prayer vigil celebrated in St. Peter’s Square Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014 in preparation for the Synod on the Family Papa Francesco evoked in a simple and concrete the centrality of family in everyone’s life, speaking thus: “It comes down now the evening on our assembly . It is the time when you willingly return home to find themselves at the same table, in the thickness of the affections, the good done and received, meetings that warm the heart and make it grow, good wine anticipates that in the days of man party without sunset. It is also the heaviest for those who now finds himself face to face with his own loneliness, bitter in the twilight of broken dreams and projects: how many people drag their days in the blind alley of resignation, abandonment, if not resentment; in how many houses has failed the wine of joy and, therefore, the flavor – the same wisdom – of life […] Of the one and the other tonight we make our voice with prayer, a prayer for all. ”
Lap 2 of the joys and trials of deep affections and relationships sometimes wounds, the family is really “school of humanity” (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 52), which is strongly felt the need. Despite the many signs of the crisis of the family institution in the various contexts of the “global village”, the desire of the family remains alive, especially among young people, and motivates the Church, expert in humanity and true to its mission, to proclaim ceaselessly and with deep conviction the “Gospel of the family” who has been entrusted with the revelation of God in Jesus Christ and constantly taught by the Fathers, the masters of spirituality and the Magisterium of the Church. The family has, for the Church and of particular importance at a time when all believers are invited to come out of oneself is necessary that the family rediscover how essential subject for evangelization. Our thoughts go to the missionary witness of so many families.
3 On the reality of the family, decisive and precious, the Bishop of Rome has called to reflect the Synod of Bishops in its Extraordinary General Assembly in October 2014, then to deepen the reflection Ordinary General Assembly which will be held in October 2015 as well as the full year that elapses between the two events Synod. “Yeah, the arrangement in unum around the Bishop of Rome is an event of grace, in which episcopal collegiality is manifested in a journey of spiritual and pastoral discernment” Thus Pope Francis has described the experience of the Synod, citing their duties in the dual listening signs of God and of human history and in the dual and unique loyalty that follows.
4 In the light of the same speech we have gathered the results of our reflections and our dialogues in the following three parts: listening, to look at the reality of the family today, in the complexity of its lights and its shadows; his gaze fixed on Christ to rethink with renewed freshness and enthusiasm as the revelation transmitted in the faith of the Church, tells us about the beauty, the role and dignity of the family; the comparison in the light of the Lord Jesus to discern the ways in which to renew the Church and society in their commitment to the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman.
Listening to: the context and challenges on the family
The socio-cultural context
5 Faithful to Christ’s teaching we look at the reality of the family today in all its complexity, in its lights and its shadows. Think of the parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, relatives near and far, and the bond between two families who weaves every wedding. The change in the anthropological-cultural influence today all aspects of life and requires an analytical approach and diverse. Should be emphasized first of all the positive aspects: the greatest freedom of expression and the better recognition of the rights of women and children, at least in some regions. But, on the other hand, we must also consider the growing danger posed by an exaggerated individualism that perverts the family ties and eventually consider every member of the family as an island, making prevail, in some cases, the idea of a subject that is built according to his wishes taken as an absolute. Added to this is also the crisis of faith that has affected many Catholics and that is often at the root of the crisis of marriage and the family.
6 One of the greatest poverty of contemporary culture is the loneliness, the result of the absence of God in people’s lives and the fragility of relationships. There is also a general feeling of impotence in the face of socio-economic reality that often ends up crushing families. So is the growing poverty and job insecurity that is sometimes experienced as a nightmare, or because of a too heavy tax that certainly does not encourage young people to the wedding. Families often feel abandoned by the neglect and lack of attention on the part of the institutions. The negative consequences from the point of view of social organization are obvious: the demographic crisis to educational difficulties, fatigue in welcoming the new life all’avvertire the presence of the elderly as a burden, to the spread of an emotional discomfort that sometimes comes violence. It is the responsibility of the state to create the conditions laid down by law and working to ensure the future of young people and help them realize their project to found a family.
7 There are cultural and religious contexts that pose particular challenges. In some societies still maintain the practice of polygamy, and in some contexts the traditional custom of “marriage by stages.” In other contexts remains the practice of arranged marriages. In countries where the presence of the Catholic Church is a minority are many mixed marriages and disparity of cult with all the difficulties that they entail with regard to the legal form, the baptism and education of children and mutual respect from the point of view of diversity of faith. In these marriages there may be a danger of relativism or indifference, but there may also be the opportunity to foster the spirit of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue in a harmonious co-existence of communities living in the same place. In many contexts, and not just Westerners, is spreading widely the practice of cohabitation before marriage or even cohabitation is not geared to take the form of an institutional constraint. Added to this is often a civil legislation that undermines marriage and the family. Because of secularization in many parts of the world the reference to God is greatly diminished and the faith is no longer socially shared.
8 There are many children who are born out of wedlock, especially in some countries, and many who then grow up with only one parent or in an extended family or reconstituted. The number of divorces is increasing and it is not unusual to choices dictated solely by economic factors. Children are often the subject of contention between parents and children are the real victims of family snags. Fathers are often absent not only for economic reasons where instead we feel the need that they assume more clearly the responsibility for the children and for the family. The dignity of women still needs to be defended and promoted. Today, in fact, in many contexts, being a woman is the subject of discrimination and also the gift of motherhood is often penalized rather than being presented as a value. Not to be forgotten even the increasing instances of violence of which women are the victims, unfortunately, sometimes even within families and the serious and widespread genital mutilation of women in some cultures. Sexual exploitation of children is also one of the most outrageous and perverse today’s society. Even companies crossed by violence due to war, terrorism or the presence of organized crime, they see familiar situations deterioratee especially in large cities and their suburbs grew the so-called phenomenon of street children. The migrations are also another sign of the times to deal with and understand all the load of an impact on family life.
The relevance of emotional life
9 In view of the social framework outlined is found in many parts of the world, in the individual a greater need to take care of his own person, to know inwardly, to live better in tune with their emotions and feelings, to seek emotional relationships of quality; such a just aspiration could open the desire to engage in building relationships of reciprocity and gift creative, empowering and supportive as those family members. The danger individualist and the risk of living in Key selfish are relevant. The challenge for the Church is to help couples in the maturation of the emotional dimension and emotional development through the promotion of dialogue, of virtue and trust in the merciful love of God. Required full commitment in Christian marriage can be a strong antidote to the temptation of selfish individualism.
10 In today’s world there is no shortage cultural trends that seem to impose a limitless affection that you want to explore all sides, even the more complex ones. In fact, the issue of emotional fragility is very timely: affectivity narcissistic, unstable and changeable that does not always help the parties to reach a greater maturity. Worried about a certain spread of pornography and marketing of the body, also favored by a distorted use of the Internet and must be denounced the situation of those people who are forced to practice prostitution. In this context, the couples are sometimes uncertain, hesitant and are struggling to find ways to grow. Many are those who tend to remain in the early stages of emotional and sexual life. The crisis of the pair destabilizes the family and can go through separation and divorce to have serious consequences on adults, children and society, weakening the individual and social ties. The population decline, due to anti-birth mentality and policies promoted by the world’s reproductive health, not only leads to a situation in which the alternation of generations is no longer assured, but is likely to lead over time to an economic impoverishment and a loss of hope for the future. The development of biotechnology has also had a strong impact on the birth rate.
The challenge for the pastoral
11 In this context, the Church feels the need to say a word of truth and hope. It should start from the belief that man comes from God and that, therefore, a reflection able to revive the big questions about the meaning of being human, may find fertile ground in the deepest longings of humanity. The large values ​​of marriage and the Christian family are looking through human existence even in a time marked by individualism and hedonism. It should welcome people with their concrete existence, learn to support research, encourage the desire for God and a desire to feel fully part of the Church even in those who have experienced bankruptcy or is in the most diverse situations. The Christian message has always within himself the reality and dynamics of mercy and truth, which converge in Christ.
The gaze of Christ: The Gospel of the family
The look on Jesus and the divine pedagogy in the history of salvation
12 In order to “check out our step on the ground of contemporary challenges, the decisive condition is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, pausing in contemplation and adoration of his face […]. In fact, every time we go back to the source of the Christian open new avenues and possibilities unimagined “(Pope Francis, Sermon of October 4, 2014). Jesus looked to the women and men who met with love and tenderness, accompanying their steps with truth, patience, and mercy, in announcing the demands of the Kingdom of God.
13 Given that the order of creation is determined by the orientation to Christ, we must distinguish without separating the different degrees by which God communicates to mankind the grace of the covenant. By reason of the divine pedagogy, according to the order of creation evolves into that of redemption through successive stages, we need to understand the newness of the Christian sacrament wedding in continuity with the natural marriage of origins. So here means the way of God’s saving act, both in Creation and in the Christian life. In creation because all things were made through Christ and in the sight of Him (cf. Col 1:16), Christians are “delighted to discover and ready to respect those seeds of the Word which lie hidden; let them look to the profound transformation that occurs in the midst of the peoples “(Ad Gentes, 11). In the Christian life: as in baptism the believer is inserted into the Church through the Domestic Church which is his family, he embarks on the “dynamic process, which advances gradually with the progressive integration of the gifts of God” (Familiaris Consortio, 11) by the ongoing conversion to the love that saves us from sin and gives fullness of life.
14 Jesus himself, referring to the drawing on the primal human pair, reaffirms the indissoluble union between a man and a woman, while saying that “for your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so “(Mt 19,8). The indissolubility of marriage (“What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” Mt 19,6), is not to be understood as “yoke” imposed on men, but as a “gift” made ​​to persons in the United marriage. In this way, Jesus shows how the divine condescension always accompany the human journey, heal and transform hardened hearts with his grace, orienting it towards its beginning, through the way of the cross. It is clear from the Gospels that Jesus’ example is paradigmatic for the church. In fact, Jesus took a family, started to signs in the wedding party at Cana, announced the message on the meaning of marriage as the fullness of the revelation that recovers the original plan of God (Mt 19,3). But at the same time put into practice what has been taught thus manifesting the true meaning of mercy. This appears clearly in the meetings with the Samaritan woman (Jn 4.1 to 30) and with the adulteress (Jn 8.1 to 11) in which Jesus, with an attitude of love toward sinful person, leads to repentance and conversion (“Go ‘and sin no more”), a condition for forgiveness.
The family in God’s saving plan
15 The words of eternal life that Jesus gave to his disciples included the teaching on marriage and the family. This teaching of Jesus allows us to distinguish three basic stages to God’s plan for marriage and the family. At first, there is the family of origin, when God the Creator instituted marriage between primordial Adam and Eve, as the solid foundation of the family. God has not only created human beings male and female (cf. Gen 1:27), but he also blessed because they were fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:28). For this reason, “a man shall leave his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife and the two shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). This union has been corrupted by sin and has become the historical form of marriage in the People of God, which Moses gave the opportunity to issue a certificate of divorce (cf. Dt 24, 1 ff.) This form was prevalent in the time of Jesus. His advent, and the reconciling of the world fell through the redemption effected by Christ, ended the era inaugurated by Moses.
16 Jesus, who has reconciled all things to himself, reported the marriage and the family to their original form (cf. Mc10,1-12). The family and marriage have been redeemed by Christ (cf. Eph 5.21 to 32), restored in the image of the Holy Trinity, the mystery from which flows all true love. The spousal covenant, inaugurated in creation and revealed in the history of salvation, receiving the full revelation of its meaning in Christ and in his Church. By Christ through the Church, marriage and the family receive the necessary grace to witness to the love of God and live the life of communion. The Gospel of the family through the history of the world since the creation of man in the image and likeness of God (see Genesis 1: 26-27) until the completion of the mystery of the Covenant in Christ at the end of time with the wedding of ‘lamb (cf. Ap19,9, John Paul II, Catechesis on Human Love).
The Family in the Documents of the Church
17 “Over the centuries, the Church did not miss his constant teaching on marriage and the family. One of the highest expressions of this Magisterium has been proposed by the Second Vatican Council, in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, which devotes an entire chapter to the promotion of the dignity of marriage and the family (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 47-52). It has defined marriage as a community of life and love (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 48), putting love at the center of the family, showing at the same time, the truth of this love in front of the various forms of reductionism in the contemporary culture. The “true love between husband and wife” (Gaudium et Spes, 49) implies the mutual self-giving, inclusion and integration of the gender dimension and affectivity, corresponding to the divine plan (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 48-49). In addition, Gaudium et Spes 48 emphasizes the rootedness in Christ of the spouses is Christ the Lord “is now encounters Christian spouses in the sacrament of marriage,” and with their remains. In the incarnation, He takes on human love, purifies it, brings it to fulfillment, and gives the bride and groom, with his Spirit, the ability to live it, pervading all their life of faith, hope and charity. In this way, the bride and groom are as consecrated and, through his grace, build up the Body of Christ and are a domestic Church (cf. Lumen Gentium, 11), so that the Church, in order to fully understand its mystery, look to the Christian family , which manifests itself in a genuine way “(Working Paper 4).
18 “In the wake of Vatican II, the papal Magisterium has deepened the doctrine on marriage and the family. In particular, Paul VI, Encyclical Humanae Vitae with, has highlighted the close connection between conjugal love and generation of life. Saint John Paul II has dedicated special attention to the family through his catechesis on human love, the Letter to Families (Gratissimam Sane) and especially with the Exhortation ApostolicaFamiliaris Consortio. In these documents, the Pontiff called the family “the way of the Church”; offered an overview of the vocation to love of man and woman; has proposed the fundamental guidelines for the pastoral care of the family and for the presence of the family in the society. In particular, treating the conjugal charity (cf. Familiaris Consortio, 13), described the way in which the spouses, in their mutual love, receive the gift of the Spirit of Christ and live their call to holiness “(Working Paper, 5 ).
19 “Benedict XVI, Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, he returned to the theme of the truth of the love between man and woman, who lights up fully only in the light of the love of Christ crucified (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 2) . He stresses such as: “Marriage based on exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa: God’s way of loving becomes the measure of human love” (Deus Caritas Est, 11) . Moreover, in the Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, highlighting the importance of love as a principle of life in society (cf. Caritas in Veritate, 44), the place where you learn the experience of the common good “(Working Paper 6) .
20 “Papa Francesco, in the Encyclical Fidei Lumen addressing the link between family and faith, writes:” The encounter with Christ, and let themselves be guided by his love widens the horizon of existence, gives hope solid that does not disappoint. faith is not a shelter for people without courage, but the expansion of life., it reveals a great call, the vocation to love, and ensures that this love is reliable, that is worth to surrender to it, because its foundation is in God’s faithfulness, stronger than all our weakness “(Lumen Fidei, 53)” (Working Paper 7).
The indissolubility of marriage and the joy of living together
21 The gift of mutual incorporation of sacramental marriage is rooted in the grace of baptism, which establishes the basic alliance of every person to Christ in the Church. In the mutual acceptance and with the grace of Christ the engaged promise total gift, loyalty and openness to life, they recognize as constituent elements of the wedding gifts that God gives them, taking seriously their mutual commitment, in his name and in front of the Church. Now, in faith, you can take the goods of marriage as the best sustainable commitments through the help of the grace of the sacrament. God consecrates the love of spouses and confirms its indissolubility, offering their help to live faithfully, integration and mutual openness to life. Therefore, the Church’s gaze turns to the spouses as the heart of the whole family that also turns his gaze to Jesus.
22 In the same perspective, making our teaching of the Apostle that the whole creation has been designed in Christ and for Him (cf. Col 1:16), the Second Vatican Council wished to express appreciation for the natural marriage and for the valid elements present in other religions (cf. Nostra Aetate, 2) and in cultures despite the limitations and shortcomings (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 55). The presence of the seeds of the Word in the cultures (cf. Ad Gentes, 11) could be applied, in some ways, even to marriage and the family of so many cultures and people of non-Christian. So there are valid elements in some forms outside of Christian marriage -However based on the relationship stable and true of a man and a woman – which in any case we are driven to it. With an eye to the human wisdom of peoples and cultures, the Church also recognizes the family as the basic cell of human society necessary and fruitful.
Truth and beauty of family and compassion toward families wounds and fragile
23 With deep joy and deep consolation, the Church looks to the families who remain faithful to the teachings of the Gospel, encouraging them and thanking them for the testimony they offer. Thanks to them, in fact, is made ​​credible the beauty of the indissoluble marriage and faithful forever. In the family, “you might call the domestic Church” (Lumen Gentium, 11), the first mature experience of ecclesial communion between people, which is reflected, for grace, the mystery of the Holy Trinity. “It is here that one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, forgiveness, generous, always renewed, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1657) . The Holy Family of Nazareth, it is a wonderful model, whose school we “understand why we have to keep a spiritual discipline, if we follow the doctrine of the Gospel and become disciples of Christ” (Paul VI, Address to Nazareth, 5 January 1964). The Gospel of the family, also feeds on the seeds that are still waiting to mature, and must take care of those trees that are dried and need not be neglected.
24 The Church, as a teacher safe and caring mother, while recognizing that for the baptized, there is another constraint that the sacramental wedding, and that any breach of it is against the will of God, is also aware of the fragility of many of its children who are struggling in the journey of faith. “Therefore, without diminishing the value of the evangelical, must accompany mercy and patience with the possible stages of growth of the people that are being built every day. […] One small step, in the midst of great human limitations, it may be more pleasing to the God of life outwardly correct anyone who spends her days without facing significant difficulties. All must reach the consolation and encouragement of the saving love of God, who works mysteriously in every person, beyond his faults and his falls “(Gaudium Evangelii, 44).
25 In order for a pastoral approach to people who have contracted a civil marriage, who are divorced and remarried, or who simply live together, the responsibility of the Church to reveal to them the divine pedagogy of grace in their lives and help them to reach the fullness of the plan God in them. Following the gaze of Christ, whose light illumines every man (cf. Jn 1,9; Gaudium et Spes, 22), the Church turns with love to those who participate in its life so incomplete, recognizing that the grace of God works also in their lives by giving them the courage to do good, to take care with love for one another and be at the service of the community in which they live and work.
26 The Church looks with apprehension at the distrust of many young people to the marital commitment, suffers from the haste with which many of the faithful decide to put an end to the obligation assumed, instaurandone another. These faithful who belong to the Church in need of pastoral attention merciful and encouraging adequate separation situations. Young people should be encouraged to not hesitate baptized before the wealth that their projects of love procures the sacrament of marriage, the strong support they receive from the grace of Christ and the opportunity to participate fully in the life of the Church.
27 In this sense, a new dimension of family ministry today is to pay attention to the reality of civil marriages between men and women, in traditional marriages and, in due differences, even at cohabitation. When the union reached a remarkable stability through a public bond, is characterized by deep affection, from liability in respect of offspring, from the ability to pass the tests, can be seen as an opportunity to accompany the development of the sacrament of marriage. Very often instead coexistence is established not in view of a possible future marriage, but without any intention to establish an institutional relationship.
28 Complies with the merciful gaze of Jesus, the Church must accompany with attention and care his children are most vulnerable, wounded and marked by love lost, restoring hope and confidence, as the beacon light of a port or a torch carried in among the people to enlighten those who have lost their route or are in the midst of the storm. Aware that the greatest mercy is to tell the truth in love, we go beyond compassion. The merciful love, as it attracts and unites, so transforms and elevates. Invite to conversion. So in the same way we mean the attitude of the Lord, who does not condemn the adulterous woman, but asks her to sin no more (cf. Jn 8.1 to 11).
Comparison: pastoral perspectives
Proclaiming the Gospel of the family today, in various contexts
29 The dialogue focused on synodal some instances the most urgent pastoral to be entrusted to the realization in the individual local Churches in communion “cum Petro et sub Petro”. The proclamation of the Gospel of the family is an urgent need for a new evangelization. The Church is called to implement it with the tenderness of the mother and teacher of clarity (cf. Eph 4:15), in fidelity to the kenosis of the merciful Christ. The truth is embodied in the human frailty not to condemn, but to save it (cf. Jn 3:16 -17).
30 Evangelizing is the responsibility of the whole people of God, each according to his ministry and charism. Without the joyful witness of married couples and families, house churches, the proclamation, even if correct, is likely to be misunderstood or submerged in the sea of ​​words that characterizes our society (cf. NMI, 50). The Synod Fathers have repeatedly stressed that Catholic families in virtue of the grace of the sacrament wedding themselves are called to be active subjects of family ministry.
31 The decisive factor will be to emphasize the primacy of grace, and therefore the possibility that the Spirit gives the sacrament. It is to experience that joy is the gospel of the family that “fills your heart and your whole life,” because in Christ we are “freed from sin, from sorrow, from inner emptiness, isolation” (Gaudium Evangelii 1). In the light of the parable of the sower (Mt 13,3), our task is to cooperate in planting the rest is the work of God. Nor should we forget that the Church that preaches about the family is a sign of contradiction.
32 To achieve this requires the whole Church a missionary conversion: you must not stop at an ad purely theoretical and uncoupled from the real problems of the people. It should never be forgotten that the crisis of faith led to a crisis of marriage and the family, and as a result, it is often interrupted the transmission of the same faith from parents to children. Faced with a strong faith for the imposition of some cultural perspectives that weaken the family and the marriage has no effect.
33 The conversion is also that of language because it it is actually significant. The announcement has to experience that the Gospel of the family is answer to the deepest longings of the human person and his dignity to the full realization of reciprocity, in communion and fruitfulness. It is not only to present legislation but to propose values​​, responding to the need for them that is found today even in the most secularized countries.
34 The Word of God is the source of life and spirituality for the family. The whole family ministry must be modeled within and train members of the domestic Church through the prayerful reading of Sacred Scripture and the Church. The Word of God is not only good news for the private lives of individuals, but also a criterion of judgment and a light to the discernment of the various challenges faced by spouses and families.
35 At the same time many Synod Fathers have insisted on a more positive approach to the wealth of different religious experiences, not concealing the difficulties. In these various religious and cultural diversity which characterizes nations should first appreciate the positive possibilities and evaluate them in the light of limitations and shortcomings.
36 The Christian marriage is a vocation that is welcomed with adequate preparation in a journey of faith, with a mature discernment, and should not be considered only as a cultural tradition or social or legal requirement. Therefore need to be conducted paths that accompany the person and the family so that the disclosure of the contents of faith to unite the experience of life offered by the entire ecclesial community.
37 It has been repeatedly drawn to the need for a radical renewal of pastoral practice in the light of the gospel of the family, overcoming the optical individualistic that still characterize it. For this he has often insisted on the renewal of the formation of priests, deacons, catechists and other pastoral workers, through greater involvement of the same families.
38 It has also underlined the need for Evangelization members reporting frankly cultural conditioning, social, political and economic, as the excessive space given to the logic of the market, preventing a true family life, resulting in discrimination, poverty, exclusion and violence. To this must be developed dialogue and cooperation with social structures, and should be encouraged and supported the laity who are committed, as Christians, in the cultural and socio-political.
Driving the engaged in the process of preparation for marriage
39 The complex social reality and the challenges that the family is facing today require a greater commitment of the entire Christian community in the preparation of engaged couples for marriage. You need to remember the importance of virtue. Among them, the condition of chastity is valuable for growth genuine interpersonal love. About this need, the Synod Fathers were unanimous in stressing the need for greater involvement of the entire community focusing on the testimony of the same families, as well as a grounding of marriage preparation in the way of Christian initiation, emphasizing the relationship of marriage with baptism and the other sacraments. It has also highlighted the need for specific programs for the preparation for the marriage to be genuine experience of participation in ecclesial life, and deepen the various aspects of family life.
Accompany the first few years of married life
The first 40 years of marriage are a vital and delicate period during which couples grow in awareness of the challenges and significance of marriage. Hence the need for a pastoral accompaniment to continue after the celebration of the sacrament (cf. Familiaris Consortio, Part III). It is of great importance in this pastoral presence of married couples with experience. The parish is regarded as the place where experienced couples can be made ​​available to the younger ones, with the possible competition of associations, ecclesial movements and new communities. It should encourage the couple to a fundamental attitude of welcoming the great gift of children. Please note the importance of family spirituality, prayer and participation in the Sunday Eucharist, encouraging couples to meet regularly to promote the growth of the spiritual life and solidarity in concrete demands of life. Liturgies, devotions and Eucharistic celebrations for families, especially on the anniversary of marriage, were cited as vital to promote evangelization through the family.
Pastoral care of those who live in the civil marriage or cohabitation
41 While it continues to announce and promote the Christian marriage, the Synod also encourages the pastoral discernment of the situations of many who no longer live this reality. It is important to enter into dialogue with these pastoral people in order to highlight the elements of their lives that can lead to a greater openness to the Gospel of marriage in its fullness. Pastors need to identify elements that can promote evangelization and the human and spiritual growth. A new awareness of the pastoral care today is to grasp the positive elements present in civil marriages and, in due differences in institutional households. It is necessary that the proposal of the Church, while stating clearly the Christian message, we will also indicate structural elements in those situations that do not match or even not more to it.
42 It was also noted that in many countries a “growing number of couples living together experimentally, no marriage nor canon nor civil” (Working Paper, 81). In some countries, this is especially the case in traditional marriage, agreed between families and often celebrated in several stages. In other countries, on the other hand is growing the number of those having lived together for a long time calling for the celebration of marriage in the church. The mere cohabitation is often chosen because of the general mentality is contrary to the institutions and firm commitments, but also to the expectation of existential security (labor and fixed salary). In other countries, finally, de facto unions are very numerous, not only to the rejection of the values ​​of family and marriage, but also for the fact that marriage is perceived as a luxury, and social conditions, so that the material poverty pushing to live facto unions.
43 All of these situations need to be addressed in a constructive manner, trying to turn them into opportunities of moving toward the fullness of marriage and the family in the light of the Gospel. This is to reflect and accompany them with patience and gentleness. For this purpose it is important to witness attractive authentic Christian families as agents of evangelization of the family.
Caring for families wounds (separated, divorced and not remarried, divorced and remarried, single-parent families)
44 When the bride and groom are experiencing problems in their relationships, must be able to count on the help and coaching of the Church. The ministry of charity and mercy tend to the recovery of people and relationships. Experience shows that with proper help and with the action of the grace of reconciliation a large percentage of marital crises are overcome in a satisfactory manner. Knowing how to forgive and be forgiven is a fundamental experience in family life. Forgiveness between spouses allows you to experience a love that is forever and never goes out (cf. 1 Cor 13,8). Sometimes it is difficult, however, for those who have received God’s forgiveness have the strength to offer genuine forgiveness to regenerate the person.
45 In the Synod resounded a clear need for pastoral options courageous. Strongly confirming the fidelity to the Gospel of the family and recognizing that separation and divorce are always an injury that causes deep suffering to spouses and children who live there, the Synod Fathers have warned of the urgency of new pastoral programs, which start from the effective reality of the fragility of family, knowing that they are often more “suffered” with suffering that choice freely. Those situations are different factors, both personal and cultural and socio-economic factors. We need a differentiated look like St. John Paul II suggested (cf. Familiaris Consortio, 84).
46 Every family should first be listened to with respect and love making companions on the journey as the Christ with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Apply in a particular way for these situations the words of Pope Francis: “The Church will begin its members – priests, religious and laity – to this” art of accompaniment, “because everyone always learn to take off his shoes in front of the sacred land of ‘another (cf. Ex 3,5). We have to give way to our healthy pace of proximity, with a look of respectful and compassionate but at the same time healthy, free and encourage them to mature in the Christian life “(Gaudium Evangelii, 169).
47 A particular discernment is essential to accompany pastorally separated, divorced, abandoned. It should be welcomed and appreciated especially the suffering of those who have suffered unjustly separation, divorce or abandonment, or have been forced by ill-treatment of a spouse to break the cohabitation. Forgiveness for the injustice is not easy, but it is a journey that grace makes possible. Hence the need for a ministry of reconciliation and mediation also through specialized counseling centers to be established in the diocese. Likewise, should always be emphasized that it is essential to bear in a fair and constructive consequences of separation or divorce on children, in any case, the innocent victims of the situation. They can not be an “object” to contend and go look for the best ways for them to overcome the trauma of family separation and grow in a manner as possible serene. In any case, the Church must always emphasize the injustice that comes very often from the divorce situation. Special attention should be given to the accompaniment of single-parent families, in a particular way to be helped women who have to carry alone the responsibility of the home and raising children.
48 A large number of the Fathers stressed the need to make it more affordable and agile, possibly totally free, the procedures for the recognition of cases of nullity. Among the proposals were indicated: the overcoming of the need for two conforming decisions; the possibility of determining an administratively under the responsibility of the diocesan bishop; a summary trial to be undertaken in cases of nullity notorious. Some fathers, however, are opposed to these proposals because they would not provide a reliable assessment. It must be emphasized that in all these cases is ascertaining the truth about the validity of the bond. According to other proposals, should then be given the opportunity to give importance to the role of the faith of those to be married to the validity of the sacrament of marriage between baptized by holding that all marriages are valid sacrament.
Approximately 49 of the Matrimonial streamlining the procedure, required by many, in addition to the preparation of sufficient operators, clerical and lay with dedication priority, demands to emphasize the responsibility of the diocesan bishop, who in his diocese could hire consultants who properly prepared free will advise the parties on the validity of their marriage. This function can be performed by a qualified person or office (cf. Dignitas Connubii, art. 113, 1).
50. divorced but not remarried, which are often witnesses of marital fidelity, should be encouraged to find in the Eucharist the food that sustains them in their state. The local community and the pastors must accompany these people with care, especially when there are children or serious their situation of poverty.
51. situations of divorced and remarried require careful discernment and accompaniment of great respect, avoiding any language and attitude that makes them feel discriminated against and promoting their participation in community life. Caring for them is not for the Christian community to a weakening of his faith and his testimony about the indissolubility of marriage, rather it expresses itself in this its charity care.
[52 Have you considered the possibility that the divorced and remarried have access to the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. A number of Synod Fathers have insisted in favor of the current rules in force of the fundamental relationship between participation in the Eucharist and communion with the Church and its teaching on marriage indissoluble. Others were not generalized to welcome the Eucharistic table, in some special situations and under strict conditions, especially when it comes to cases irreversible and related to moral obligations towards their children that would suffer unjust sufferings. Any access to the sacraments should be preceded by a penitential under the responsibility of the diocesan bishop. It is still the issue in-depth, bearing in mind the distinction between the objective situation of sin, and extenuating circumstances, given that “the imputability or responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified” by various “psychological or social factors” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1735). [NOTE: This paragraph did not reach the required 2/3 of the Fathers: 104 in favor, 74 against]]
[53 Some have argued that fathers are divorced and remarried or cohabiting may have recourse to the fruitful spiritual communion. Other fathers have wondered why then can not gain access to the sacraments. It then called for a deepening of the topic can bring out the peculiarities of the two forms and their connection with the theology of marriage. [This paragraph did not reach the required 2/3 of the Fathers: 112 in favor, 64 against]]
54 The issues related to mixed marriages are often returned in the interventions of the Synod Fathers. The diversity of matrimonial discipline of the Orthodox Churches in some contexts poses problems on which you need to think in the ecumenical field. Similarly for interfaith marriages will be a major contribution to the dialogue with other religions.
The pastoral care of people with homosexual orientation
[55 Some families live the experience of having their internal people with homosexual orientation. In this regard, we have questioned on pastoral care which is appropriate to deal with this situation by referring to what the Church teaches: “There is no foundation whatsoever to assimilate or to establish even remotely analogous, including same-sex unions and the plan of God for marriage and the family. “Nevertheless, men and women with homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect and sensitivity. “In their regard should be avoided every sign of unjust discrimination” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, 4). [NOTE: This paragraph did not reach the required 2/3 of the Fathers: 118 in favor, 62 against]]
56 It is totally unacceptable that the Pastors of the Church suffer the pressures in this matter and that international bodies to condition financial aid to poor countries, the introduction of laws that establish the “marriage” between persons of the same sex.
The transmission of life and the challenge of falling birth rates
57 It is not difficult to see the spread of a mentality that reduces the generation of life to a variable of planning individual or couple. The economic factors exert a burden sometimes decisive contributing to the sharp decline in the birth rate, which weakens the social fabric, compromises the relationship between the generations and makes it look more uncertain about the future. Openness to life is an intrinsic requirement of conjugal love. In this light, the Church supports families who welcome, educate and affectionately surround their children with disabilities.
58 Even in this context, one must begin by listening to people and giving the reason for the beauty and truth of unconditional openness to life as what human love needs to be lived in fullness. It is on this basis that we can stand adequate teaching about natural methods for responsible procreation. It helps to live in a harmonious and conscious communion between the spouses, in all its dimensions, along with the responsibility generative. It should be re-discovered the message of the encyclical Humanae Vitae of Pope Paul VI, which stresses the need to respect the dignity of the person in the moral evaluation of the methods of birth regulation. The adoption of children orphaned and abandoned, accepted as their own children, is a specific form of family apostolate (cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem, III, 11), repeatedly invoked and encouraged by the Magisterium (cf. Familiaris Consortio, III, II; Evangelium Vitae, IV, 93). The choice of foster care adoption and expresses a particular marital fertility experience, not just when it is marked by infertility. This choice is an eloquent sign of the family, an opportunity to witness to their faith and to restore dignity branch which has been private.
59. help you live the emotions, even in the marital bond as a journey of maturation, in ever deeper acceptance of others and in a donation ever fuller. It should be stressed in this context the need to offer training paths that feed into married life and the importance of the laity that provides an accompaniment made ​​of a living witness. It is a great help an example of a true and deep love made ​​of tenderness, respect, able to grow over time and in its concrete open to the generation of life is the experience of a mystery that transcends us.
The challenge of education and the family’s role in the evangelization
60 One of the key challenges facing families where they are today is definitely that of education, made more challenging and complex cultural reality of the present and of the great influence of the media. Must be taken into due account the needs and expectations of families to be in daily life, places of growth, practical and essential transmission of the virtues that give shape to existence. This indicates that parents can freely choose the kind of education to be given to children according to their beliefs.
61 The Church plays a valuable role in supporting families, starting with Christian initiation, through welcoming communities. It is asked today even more than yesterday, in complex situations such as in the ordinary ones, to support parents in their educational efforts, accompanying children and young people in their growth paths through customized capable of introducing the full meaning of life and elicit choices and responsibilities, lived in the light of the Gospel. Mary, in her tenderness, mercy, maternal sensitivity can feed the hunger of humanity and life, which is invoked by the families and by the Christian people. The pastoral care and a Marian devotion are a starting point should be to proclaim the Gospel of the family.

62 The ideas proposed, the result of the work of the synod held in great freedom and a way of listening to each other, intend to ask questions and give perspective to be gained and specified by the reflection of the local churches in the year that separates us by the Ordinary General of the Synod of Bishops scheduled for October 2015, dedicated to the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world. These are not easy decisions or perspectives. However, the way college of bishops and the involvement of the whole people of God under the action of the Holy Spirit, looking at the model of the Holy Family, will lead us to find ways of truth and mercy for all. It is the hope that from the beginning of our work Papa Francesco addressed to us by inviting us to the courage of faith and humble and honest acceptance of the truth in charity.



Take Action: Sign Petition to Pope, Synod Fathers to Defend the Faith

October 17, 2014

URGENT: Faithful Catholics concerned about the confusing and troubling messages coming out from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family are urged to sign a petition that will send an immediate message to Pope Francis and the Synod Fathers drafting the synod document in Rome. Below is the text of the petition. Click on the “Act Now” button to go directly to the petition page.


I am writing to respectfully ask for a clear statement from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family & the Holy Father that defends Catholic teaching around marriage & family and confirms the Catholic faith & practice regarding marriage. After reading the reports from the synod, I would ask that any statements or communications around the synod clearly address & articulate the following:

  1. No distinction between Catholic doctrine & Catholic discipline. It should be clear that Catholic discipline upholds doctrine, with no implications that Catholic moral practices have been or can be altered.
  2. Supporting and maintaining Jesus Christ’s teaching and Catholic doctrine that marriage is indissoluble; excluding proposals which undermine & contradict that teaching by making it easier to dissolve marriages.
  3. Commenting about sin, discipleship, taking up the cross, confession, conversion, and the path to salvation of souls by rejecting sin.
  4. Confirming the teaching of the Church that a chaste life is part of the good news of Jesus Christ.
  5. Affirming Church teaching that a homosexual inclination is disordered, and that homosexual acts are gravely contrary to chastity & the natural law. The synod should not suggest a homosexual inclination is to be embraced or praised.
  6. Avoiding distortion of the law of gradualness, and instead affirming the definition in ‘Familiaris Consortio’ that presupposes a definitive break from sin.
  7. Publishing summaries of each contributor’s paper & intervention, and making full texts available upon request.

St. Paul said, ‘Do not conform yourself to this world,’ and ‘neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers shall possess the kingdom of God.’ Catholic faithful need the synod to preserve the deposit of faith and maintain absolute fidelity to the received teachings of the Church. I would ask that you do everything possible to publicly defend & protect Catholic teaching around marriage & family life and avoid any comments in documents that suggest or imply Catholic moral teachings or practices have been altered or worked around.In Christ,

Click on this link or the Act Now button, just fill in your name on the form on the right side of the page, then click “Sign the Letter”, confirm your info is correct, and hit “Send emails” on the next page.

Please share this blog post with friends and family members, on Facebook, and to every faithful Catholic blogger and news source you can ASAP.  And please pray a Rosary tonight for the intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary that the authentic teachings of the church and doctrine are in no way undermined by the synod.



SinNod Spreads Scandal

October 15, 2014

Those running the moral disaster called the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in Rome have succeeded in publicly undermining key moral doctrines of the Catholic faith and scandalizing faithful Catholics around the world. Voices far more articulate than BCI’s have said it well in the last two days. If there are any BCI readers who still think what is going on with the synod is all just hunky-dory, we wanted to be sure you have not missed something.  There is so much wrong with the interim synod report that time does not permit us to go into all of the details. Look at these headlines alone from Pewsitter:

  • CDF’s Cardinal Muller: “An undignified and shameful report” … more
  • Cd. Muller, Burke push back in press: abrupt about-face on Church teaching is ‘not what we are saying at all.’ … more
  • Pro-Family Catholics reject Synod mid-way report, calling it ‘a betrayal’…more
  • The Counterfeit Synod…more
  • Abp. Gądecki: Synod document departs from the teaching of John Paul II and succumbs to anti-marriage ideology … more
  • Cardinal Burke: Synod’s mid-term report “lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium” … more
  • The English version of the Synod document is quite frankly a disgracemore
  • SSPX on Interim Report: Striking resemblance to scandalous Kasper statements… more
  • ‘Bugnini for Gayness’ Abp. Bruno Forte, making up and inserting his own material in Synod reports … more
  • Synod Day 8 – A Bizarre Document and Process … more
  • Polish Bishops: This document departs from the teaching of John Paul II, highlights the lack of a clear vision … more

The problems with the report and synod are almost too many to list:

  • Secrecy: Names of individuals presenting at the synod along with exactly what they presented are being kept secret. This is inconsistent with decades of precedent from past synods.
  • Distortion of views presented: What is released publicly each day is not reflective of what was actually said in the synod or the relative frequency various views were presented or agreed upon by more than one presenter.
  • Distortion of teaching on homosexuality: The passage in the interim report that talks about how we should “value” homosexual orientation (rather than just value the person) was written by one person and was not reflective of the anything discussed in the synod, yet it was released to the press and public before the Synod fathers saw it. The document challenges the Christian community to welcome homosexuals, “valuing their sexual orientation, ” yet it says nothing about sin and immorality of their acts, nor does it specify how or why we are supposed to value an orientation that is intrinsically disordered.”
  • Distortion of concept of gradualism: The concept of gradualism as communicated in the interim report is completely distorted. The correct definition presupposes a definitive break from sin and a gradual advance in holiness, not a gradual break from sin or having one think they might break from sin while still living in sin
  • Omission of commentary about sin and salvation: The document says nothing about sin, discipleship, taking up the cross, confession, conversion, the path to salvation of souls–indeed nothing about the purpose of the Catholic Church.
  • Distorted focus in document: The interim report has little to say about support for men and women in a sacramental marriage (one brief paragraph), and yet devotes three paragraphs to “Welcoming homosexuals”,  and ten paragraphs to “Caring for wounded families.

There is even more wrong, but time does not permit us to write a longer list. Breitbart News reports of an interview with Cardinal Burke:

 Cardinal Burke had said that the synod’s overemphasis on “settled issues” (such as Church teaching on homosexuality, holy communion for divorced and remarried persons, etc.) was robbing time from more important topics that the synod fathers should be addressing, especially regarding how to help young people prepare for a lasting marriage.

Monday’s document reveals that Burke was correct in his assessment of where attention was being focused. Burke had said that “far greater attention” should be given to “the ways in which the Church can assist the faithful to know and to live the truth about marriage.” This was especially necessary, he said, because of the “decades of vacuous or inadequate catechesis of children and youth,” which left young people “with a completely inadequate or even false understanding of the vocation to marriage.”

This video captures the situation well.

Every Catholic should be up at arms over the synod process and interim report made public to the world. We are working on a way for you to voice your opinion to the powers that be, but in the meantime, we suggest everyone pray a Rosary for Holy Mother Church and for the conversion of the Cardinals and other senior Vatican officials who are clearly on a path to abandon Catholic Church doctrine and teachings.

ps. Also, if you see any friends, priests or religious anything positive about the synod on Facebook or via email, share this blog post with them or share any of the links above and ask them how they could possibly be enthusiastic about the synod.

Cardinal O’Malley Says He Favors Recognition for Gay “Married” Couples

October 11, 2014

Amidst the backdrop of the circus of a Synod going on in the Vatican–where some of the highest ranking officials in the Catholic Church hierarchy are skating around Christ’s teachings on marriage and flagrantly ignoring the admonition of St. Paul to the Romans, “Do not conform yourselves to this age”–comments by Cardinal O’Malley to a staffer from New Ways Ministry about recognition for gay “married” couples after the recent Crux event in Boston merit a response and correction.

In this post, we mentioned how Cardinal O’Malley failed to articulate Catholic teachings in response to a question during the event about the firing of “gay Catholics” from Catholic institutions.  But it got worse after the event when the New Ways Ministry staffer asked Cardinal O’Malley a follow-up question. Here is how it was reported by the National Catholic Reporter and New Ways Ministry (an organization that pushes the GLBT agenda):

Boston’s Cardinal O’Malley: LGBT Church Worker Firings “Need to be Rectified”

In a one-to-one conversation following a public speaking engagement, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley said that the firing of church workers because of LGBT issues is a situation that “needs to be rectified,” becoming the first prelate to speak against this trend.

Earlier in the evening, the cardinal publicly spoke positively of the need to include and minister to the LGBT community…

At the end of the event, after the crowd had dissipated, I had the opportunity to thank Cardinal O’Malley one-on-one for his compassionate remarks earlier about the LGBT community.

As we spoke, the cardinal told me that we must first convince people we love them before talking about the Ten Commandments. I pointed out that it has been hard to convince LGBT Catholics and their allies of this love when so many church workers have had LGBT-related employ-ment disputes with Catholic schools and parishes. Responding to my comment, Cardinal O’Malley said this trend was a situation that “needs to be rectified.”

O’Malley also indicated that not all church positions require a Catholic marriage.  Most of the employment disputes involved same-sex couples legally marrying, announcing an intention to marry, or publicly acknowledging a long-term committed relationship.

Earlier, in a period when panelists answered audience questions, Cardinal O’Malley answered a question which I had submitted:

Given Pope Francis’ emphasis on mercy and welcome, can we expect improved pastoral care and inclusion for those who are LGBT, especially when almost 20 US church workers have been fired in 2014 for their sexual orientation, gender, or marital status?

The cardinal’s answer is below:

“I think the Holy Father’s notion of mercy and inclusion is going to make a big difference in the way that the church responds to and ministers to people of homosexual orientation…It is not necessarily that the church is going to change doctrine, but, as somebody said, the Holy Father hasn’t changed the lyrics, but he’s changed the melody. I think the context of love and mercy and community is the context in which all of the church’s teachings must be presented, including the more difficult ones.”

O’Malley himself was considered to be a papal candidate before Francis’ election, and one resigned Catholic priest listed Boston’s cardinal as the most gay-friendly of the candidates.

What struck me most last Thursday was the cardinal’s willing admission that terminating church workers due to their sexual orientation or marital status is indeed problematic..I hope Cardinal O’Malley will use his prominent position to help end situations where LGBT and ally church workers face discrimination and exclusion….Cardinal O’Malley is the first bishop to acknowledge that these employment actions are a problem.  Let’s hope and pray that he will not be the last.

First off, if you change the melody, you change the song, so that argument is simply bogus. And it is fine to approach people with love and then preach the truth, but the impact of what Cardinal O’Malley is proposing here is scandalous. If the person in a “gay marriage” working for the Catholic Church does not end their irregular, disordered relationship when presented with the truth, there is only one possible consequence of “rectifying” the situation of their termination–leaving a “gay married” employee in their position in the Catholic Church and thereby giving tacit and direct recognition of the legitimacy of that “gay marriage.”

In December of 2005, Pope Benedict XVI blasted “dismal theories” on gays, saying that granting legal recognition to unwed couples was a threat to traditional marriage, which required a higher level of commitment. But he saved his strongest words for those who suggest gay couples should be put on the same level as a husband and wife.

“This tacitly accredits those dismal theories that strip all relevance from the masculinity and femininity of the human being as though it were a purely biological issue….Theories “according to which man should be able to decide autonomously what he is and what he isn’t,” end up with mankind destroying its own identity.

Cardinal O’Malley, that’s you–proposing to “rectify” a problem with a solution that would recognize and legitimize gay couples by putting them on the same level as a husband and wife, rather than preaching the truth to the gay couple and getting them help to solve the problem of their gravely sinful and disordered relationship.

The 7 spiritual acts of mercy call for nothing less than preaching the truth:

  • To instruct the ignorant;
  • To counsel the doubtful;
  • To admonish sinners;
  • To bear wrongs patiently;
  • To forgive offences willingly;
  • To comfort the afflicted;
  • To pray for the living and the dead.

We are still waiting for you to preach the truth in-season and out-of-season as you said should be done back in 2005, when you said we must call people to embrace the cross of discipleship, live the commandments, and communicate “Because we love you, we cannot accept your behavior.

The ever-courageous Cardinal Burke made comments on a similar topic this week in response to a presentation at the Synod that talked about parents welcoming their and his homosexual partner for a family gathering with grandchildren:

“If homosexual relations are intrinsically disordered, which indeed they are — reason teaches us that and also our faith — then, what would it mean to grandchildren to have present at a family gathering a family member who is living [in] a disordered relationship with another person?” Burke added, “we don’t want our children” to get the “impression” that sexual relationships outside God’s plan are alright, “by seeming to condone gravely sinful acts..which are always and everywhere wrong, evil.”

Cardinal O’Malley, you have a black and white choice.  Love and compassion requires speaking the truth. Will you preach the truth in-season and out-of-season that people must embrace the cross of discipleship and live the commandments, and that sinful behavior is unacceptable, or will you propose a different melody and give the message to all in society that sexual relationships outside of God’s plan are just fine? We hope and pray it’s the former rather than the latter.

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