Referring to the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried, Francis states:
What is possible is simply a renewed encouragement to undertake a responsible personal and pastoral discernment of particular cases, one which would recognize that, since “the degree of responsibility is not equal in all cases”, the consequences or effects of a rule need not necessarily always be the same. (300)
Then, in a footnote, yes a footnote, the Vicar of Christ on Earth states that those who are living in a state of adultery may receive Holy Communion:
This is also the case with regard to sacramental discipline, since discernment can recognize that in a particular situation no grave fault exists. In such cases, what is found in another document applies: cf. Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 44 and 47: AAS 105 (2013), 1038-1040. (Footnote 336)
What is worse, it turns out that Francis had already decided this issue back in 2013 in Evangelii Gaudium which this footnote cites to. The citation from Evangelii Gaudium (pargraphs 44 and 47) state:
44. …the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches quite clearly: “Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors”. Consequently, without detracting from the evangelical ideal, they need to accompany with mercy and patience the eventual stages of personal growth as these progressively occur… 47. …The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.
Paragraph 47 of Evangelii Gaudium cites to yet another footnote 51 which reads:
Cf. Saint Ambrose, De Sacramentis, IV, 6, 28: PL 16, 464: “I must receive it always, so that it may always forgive my sins. If I sin continually, I must always have a remedy”; ID., op. cit., IV, 5, 24: PL 16, 463: “Those who ate manna died; those who eat this body will obtain the forgiveness of their sins”; Saint Cyril of Alexandria, In Joh. Evang., IV, 2: PG 73, 584-585: “I examined myself and I found myself unworthy. To those who speak thus I say: when will you be worthy? When at last you present yourself before Christ? And if your sins prevent you from drawing nigh, and you never cease to fall – for, as the Psalm says, ‘what man knows his faults?’ – will you remain without partaking of the sanctification that gives life for eternity?”
This clear quote by quote exposition above is necessary to ground oneself before reading the following reactions of various bishops. For, as you read these bishops’ reactions you may have to convince yourself that you are sane and that it is the sanity of the bishops that is in question. The Register states:
Archbishop Kurtz said he was “saddened” by some media coverage that sought to reduce the exhortation to a sound bite that heralded seismic changes in Church discipline. “We are Americans. When we receive a document, we want it to be implemented immediately. Pope Francis has said, ‘Please read it slowly and carefully,’” said Archbishop Kurtz.
First, the media coverage surrounding the exhortation was not heralding seismic changes in Church “discipline.” Instead it was heralding seismic changes in Church doctrine. Thus, Archbishop Kurtz doesn’t even acknowledge the true claim he should have been “saddened” by. Why would Archbishop Kurtz be saddened by media reports of a potential change to Church discipline? Especially since every day he celebrates the Novus Ordo Missae which in itself is a “seismic change in Church discipline.”
Kurtz is apparently of the position that Amoris Laetitia offers no change in even Church discipline, much less doctrine. He then astonishingly implies that American Catholics are to blame for this interpretation because they have not read the document “slowly” and “carefully.” Archbishop Kurtz is actually correct on this point. If American Catholics read the document “slowly” and “carefully” they will soon see that it allows not just a change in Church discipline, but a change in the Church’s perennial teachings on mortal sin, sacrilegious Communion, marriage and penance!
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco told the Register that the Holy Father’s “reflection on the spirituality of marriage and family life reinforced the teaching of the Church and the insights of his predecessors.” The Pope, he added, is building on the key themes of his pontificate, inviting the universal Church to take part in a “culture of encounter and accompaniment” that welcomes those who have drifted to the margins of the parish and “supports them if they need to regularize their situation.”
Archbishop Cordileone apparently needs to take Archbishop Kurtz’ advice and read the document. How any sane person can read Amoris Laetitia and state that it “reinforced the teaching of the Church and the insights of his predecessors” is beyond logic. In the exhortation Francis completely contradicts his predecessor John Paul II, who clearly forbade reception of Holy Communion to those living in a state of adultery. But worse than that, he contradicts every pope who came before him on this issue. Thus, the exhortation does the exact opposite of what Cordileone says it does. The document allows reception of Holy Communion to those living in adultery and supports them in “regularizing” their adultery by telling them they are not fully culpable for it and are thus, not in a state of mortal sin. If you are living in adultery and are told by your priest that you are not in mortal sin and can receive Communion, what possible motivation is there to separate from your phony “spouse” and return to your spouse before God? Thus Francis would have the Church accompany such persons to Hell.
“The Pope focuses on two related themes: the call of the family in the Church and the modern world and the mission of the family in the Church and the modern world,” noted Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston in an April 8 statement. “The weaving together of the themes allows the Holy Father to celebrate the sacrament of marriage and analyze what is at stake in the call to marriage; the weaving also permits him to urge and encourage couples and their families to witness to the gift of love in the world, the love that has its origin in God the Father and in his Son, Jesus Christ.”
Cardinal DiNardo, per usual, opted to give a vague statement filled with generalities that are absolutely void of any substance. He speaks about “weaving” to the point you’d think he is giving a sewing lesson rather than offering insight to a papal document. He probably figures it is better to do this than to admit the pope just flipped Catholic morality on its head and gave a back door justification for divorce in an official document. Instead, DiNardo chooses to live in a dream world where the pope just gave a great exhortation on marriage and the largest abortuary in the Northern Hemisphere does not exist in his diocese, since he refuses to join in protests against it.
Pope Francis “is lifting up for the whole world [the Church’s teaching that] marriage, fidelity, children and the sanctity of life are all real,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington told the Register. “You can live a beautiful and happy life in a marriage in which people are faithful, loving, caring and fruitful and, at the same time, totally human. Marriage is God’s gift to us, and it is worth all the challenges couples face.”
A politician like DiNardo, Cardinal Wuerl has nothing substantive to add either. Their modus operandi is to avoid any public conflict and protect their careers at all costs. Thus Wuerl refuses to deny Nancy Pelosi Holy Communion and expelled Fr. Marcel Guarnizo from his Archdiocese for daring to refuse Holy Communion to a Buddhist lesbian. Perhaps Wuerl believes that one can also live a beautiful and happy life in a Buddhist lesbian relationship, “in which people are faithful, loving, caring and fruitful and, at the same time, totally human.” One thing is for certain, when it comes to giving sacrilegious Communion, Francis has much to learn from Cardinal Wuerl.
The Los Angeles archbishop [Jose Gomez] deplored the “frenzy of reaction in the media, much of it confusing.” The Pope, he said, “has no intention of changing Church doctrine or teaching. Instead, he wants to change our hearts so that we can better know and live what he calls ‘the primordial divine plan’ for our lives and our society.”
So is Archbishop Gomez saying the Pope had no intention of changing Church doctrine or teaching, but did anyway? Because anyone who can read and comprehend English can see that Francis clearly allows reception of Holy Communion as an option to those living in adultery. Thus, I assume Gomez believes that to Francis, “the primordial divine plan” for our lives and society is to dump our spouses, shack up with other people, and still receive the sacraments because our parish priest “discerned” that we are not mortally culpable for our continuing state of adultery.
Also, speaking of confusing frenzies, has anyone heard of the yearly sacrilegious Religious Education Congress (REC) that “conservative” Opus Dei Archbishop Gomez hosts in his diocese? What about the constant stream of heretical REC speakers, including one who attacked Catholic teaching on homosexuality last year? Not to mention a REC talk this year entitled, "Transgender in the Church: One Bread, One Body." But the coup de grace is always the final Mass that Archbishop Gomez himself presides over. Every year it is filled with the worst of what we've come to expect from the Novus Ordo. This year, however, the Archbishop decided to add a little extra. Archbishop Gomez picked ten couples representing Los Angeles Catholics to present the Offeratory gifts at his Mass. One couple was a homosexual couple who brought their adopted son with them to the altar. It seems Archbishop Gomez is already far beyond his confreres in recognizing that Francis' "integration" of those in "irregular situations" in Amoris Laetitia includes everyone living in mortal sin, even in the sin of active homosexuality.
“The Pope urges the Church not to step away from proposing the full ideal of marriage,” Archbishop Cupich told reporters. “At the same time, he makes clear that doctrines are at the service of the pastoral mission.”
When asked to outline “specific situations [in which] he would allow a divorced-and-remarried person to receive Communion,” Archbishop Cupich replied, “I would like our pastors to have discussion with all of those folks who are in these kinds of situations. … I know in my experience as a pastor, if you’ve seen a marriage, then you’ve seen one marriage. There is no instance that can be replicated.”
In a reference to concerns that a relaxation of Church discipline would undermine Jesus’ foundational teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, the Chicago archbishop said that pastoral accompaniment “is not a slippery slope, but a path forward for people who find themselves stuck.”
Thus, Slippery Cupich refuses to deny that he would allow a divorced and “remarried” person to receive Communion, while throwing out politispeak to camouflage his answer. Note that Archbishop Cupich echoes Francis in turning the indissolubility of marriage into some sort of pie in the sky “ideal” which cannot be lived out in the real world. To Catholics it is not an ideal, but an unchangeable sacrament that Christ Himself instituted. Also, Cupich never explains how confirming people in their sin and then compounding it by telling them they can receive sacrilegious Communion can be a “path forward for people who find themselves stuck.” The only path forward for these people is to get “unstuck” by repenting and removing themselves from the state of adultery at which point Holy Communion will assist them in continuing to live according to their marriage vows. But the one path of redemption for these people is cruelly blocked off by Cupich who insists, instead, on accompanying these people into further sin.
Of course, in Cupich’s defense, he doesn’t have much time to fight for the indissolubility of marriage. In the devastated Archdiocese of Chicago, there are more important things to attend to such as increasing the number of girl altar boys.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia also addressed the exhortation’s challenging and sometimes “ambiguous” language dealing with pastoral outreach to Catholics in “irregular marital situations” in an April 14 column in his archdiocesan newspaper. To avoid confusion, he said the document should be read in conjunction with Pope St. John Paul II’s body of teaching on the family. He also emphasized the importance of welcoming Catholics who feel alienated from the Church.
Then he offered words of caution. “It would be a mistake to misread the compassionate spirit of Amoris Laetitia as a license to ignore Christian truth on matters of substance — matters that include the Catholic teaching on marriage and the discipline of the Church in the administration of the sacraments.”
Whereas Cupich at least recognized that the exhortation allows for unrepentant adulterers to receive Holy Communion, our “conservative” bishops still seem to be in abject denial. Archbishop Chaput apparently lives in alternate reality, along with our friends Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider. In this new conservative escapist reality, Francis didn’t just allow for sacrilegious Communion, upend Catholic teaching on mortal sin, introduce situational ethics into an official Church document, and destroy the underpinnings of three sacraments (marriage, penance, Eucharist). No. To them, Francis’ explicit contradiction of Church doctrine and the moral law is simply imagined to be “ambiguous” or a “misread.”
To the contrary, any reading of Amoris Laetitia that does not clearly recognize that Francis attempts to change Catholic doctrine is the misread. There is no ambiguity. It seems these conservative bishops have been so conditioned to use the “ambiguity” and “interpretation” defenses for so long in the post-concilliar Church that these responses are now automatic regardless of whether they apply to patently heretical documents from the pope. For “interpretation” is only necessary when the text says is not clear. In Amoris Laetitia, the text is clear.
Thus, the only men who seem to pass for defenders of Tradition in the hierarchy these days are touting a non-credible line of defense. In fact, it is not a defense at all. It is instead a denial of reality. In their attempt to side-step disciplinary action or condemnation from Francis they must believe that they can “play dumb” by acting as if it is not clear what the document authorizes, and then stating that surely it cannot mean that doctrine has changed, so it must not have. This act is fooling nobody (except the wilfully blind Neo-Caths). Every true Catholic with sense knows that Francis fully intended to change the doctrine on Communion for those living in adultery. He only told us how many times that he was sympathetic to this idea? He even phoned a woman living in adultery and told her himself that she could receive Communion, for goodness sake!
If there is to be any Catholic resistance or defence against this monstrous exhortation, it needs to begin with ceasing the ridiculous denial that it does not do what it clearly says it does. Instead, our supposed “defenders of Tradition” embarrassingly act as if it is not happening. Their positon is like Thomas More feigning that Henry VIII’s position was ambiguous, assuming that surely it could not be against the Pope’s position, and therefore assuming it could be read in an orthodox manner. What is worse is that our modern day bishops are not being threatened with their very life and held in the Tower of London. No. The worst that could happen to them if they spoke out for Jesus Christ would be ecclesiastical punishment. This is all that God is asking of our bishops, yet it is sadly a bridge too far for them. Instead of prevaricating, they could be a bold example to the faithful of Catholic resistance to an evil exhortation. Instead they play dumb. But not for long. Since they did not resist when they should have, the price from here on out will get steeper. Not satisfied with gutting Catholic teaching on divorce and remarriage Francis will move on. Cardinal Turkson has already stated that Francis may come out with an encyclical “changing” just war theory. In addition, Hans Kung has just stated that Francis is willing to engage him in an open discussion on papal infallibility! Every moment these bishops do not mount an effective resistance makes the eventual resistance they will have to mount that much more difficult and costly.
To end the article, the editors of the National Catholic Register pen the following delusional statement:
After an inspiring and, at times, controversial synodal process, the U.S. bishops finally have a document in hand to help pastors guide the faithful and reach alienated Catholics. The secular media’s efforts to frame the exhortation as a seismic event — a rupture in the continuity of the Church’s distinctive witness to the full truth of married love — mark the importance and gravity of this moment.
Thus we pray that the Christian vision of marriage that pervades this document will spark a revolution that begins with the conversion of the heart.
The prayer should rather read, “Thus we pray that the anti-Christian vision of marriage that infects this document will spark a revolution against it that begins with the conversion to the Catholic Faith of all time.” I pray this prayer for Bishop Schneider, Cardinal Burke, and all of our bishops. For the time is growing near where there will no longer be any choice but resistance or apostasy.