Amoris Laetitia

Poverty Is Not What You Think It Is

Poverty fell off a cliff after the Second World War. It fell like a stone, including for American blacks. The economy was booming and everyone benefited. The poverty rate dropped from 35 percent in 1950 to less than 20 percent when President Lyndon Johnson, nonetheless, announced his War on Poverty. By the time the War [...]

Amoris Laetitia and the Four Last Things

Hell—St. Teresa of Avila told her nuns to mentally visit the inferno during life so they would not be imprisoned in it after death. St. John Vianney sighed because the saints, who were so pure, cultivated holy fear while “we, who so often offend the good God—we have no fears.” At last month’s Rome Life [...]

Is a “Winnipeg Statement” Lurking in Amoris Laetitia?

Hey, Amoris Laetitia, the 1968 Canadian bishops phoned and they want their strategic ambiguity back. That line may not mean much to anyone who isn’t familiar with the Canadian Conference of Bishops’ statement in response to the birth control encyclical Humanae Vitae. Dubbed the “Winnipeg Statement” for the last 49 years, it represents in the [...]

Debate Continues Over Amoris Laetitia

The ambiguities of Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, continue to provoke a lively debate even as we pass its one-year anniversary. Allies of the pope marked the event by rallying to his support as they beseeched the faithful to contemplate this maligned papal document. On the other side of the ledger, orthodox theologians continue [...]

Antonio Spadaro, S.J.: “Bertrand Russell is the Pope!”

Of course, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J. did not say what appears in the title of this piece, but he may as well have. Back in January, Fr. Spadaro, a close confidant of Pope Francis and the so-called “mouthpiece” of the pope, tweeted: “Theology is not #Mathematics. 2+2 in #Theology can make 5. Because it has [...]

Does History Repeat With Amoris Laetitia Confusion?

The Holy Father actually said to the College of Cardinals: “In a matter of such importance it seems right that Catholics desire to follow one single law propounded authoritatively by the Church. So it seems advisable to recommend that for the present no one should arrogate to himself the right to take a stand differing [...]

Is the Catholic Church in De Facto Schism?

Why is there confusion in the Catholic Church over Amoris Laetitia, and what consequences does it have for Church unity? I argue here that the confusion is ultimately over two de fide dogmas of Christian faith and that one consequence of the confusion is de facto schism within the Catholic Church. When de fide (“of the faith”) is used in Catholic [...]

When the Church Thrives, Cultures Thrive

The current controversy over Pope Francis's apostolic letter on marriage highlights several realities in the Church and the world that are not always so clear. As is widely known, Amoris Laetitia, published last year, seems to leave open the possibility that couples who are divorced and remarried civilly be admitted to the sacraments in the absence of a declaration [...]

Mixed Signals from the German Amoris Laetitia Guidelines

The latest news from Germany does not engender confidence that the Catholic bishops have had any success in resolving the myriad problems that have plagued the Church over the past several decades.  In an interview in the February issue of the Catholic Italian monthly Il Timone, Cardinal Müller said, “one cannot say there are circumstances in [...]

Girl Boy Scouts … and 71 Other “Gender” Options

The Boy Scouts of America has announced a major policy reversal, a rather dramatic shift in the foundational policy of the organization. It is now accepting girls as Boy Scouts. Yes, girl boy scouts. That is to say, the Boy Scouts of America is accepting “transgender boys”—girls who are biologically female but are declaring themselves “boys,” or, [...]

What History May Tell Us About Amoris Laetitia

Today cardinals and bishops are intensely divided over whether or not invalidly married Catholics living in adultery can receive Holy Communion. Fifty years ago, this kind of question would have boggled the minds of Catholics everywhere, because the answer would be both obvious and simple: “No!” The question has arisen today because a recent and [...]

Amoris Laetitia and the Post-Modern Papacy of Pope Francis

It has been nine long months since the publication of Amoris Laetita, but there is still no end in sight to the confusion and turmoil it has unleashed within almost every corner of the Catholic Church. Bishops have now turned to the excruciating task of implementation as they try to elicit the pastoral implications of [...]

How Not to Minister to the Divorced and Remarried

On January 6, the traditional date for the celebration of the Epiphany, a celebration that includes the miracle at the wedding at Cana, Crux posted an article by Fr. Paul Keller presenting “A case study in communion for the divorced/remarried.” The case study gave a hypothetical example that Fr. Keller thought would justify admitting a [...]

Pray That Pope Francis Re-Affirms Church Teaching on Marriage

Following the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, in some particular churches there were published norms for its application and interpretations whereby the divorced who have attempted civil marriage with a new partner, notwithstanding the sacramental bond by which they are joined to their legitimate spouse, are admitted to the sacraments of Penance and the [...]

Can the Orthodox Way End the Divorce and Remarriage Debate?

On his flight back to Rome from World Youth Day in Brazil (2013), Pope Francis speaking about the season of mercy and the Church as a mother dispensing mercy, praised the pastoral practice of the Orthodox Churches on marriage and divorce, the pastoral care for the divorced and remarried Orthodox faithful and the possibility of [...]

Our “Learning Agenda” From the Anti-Life Gnostics

After Hillary Clinton defended partial-birth abortion at a presidential debate, a poet promised that late-term abortion could unleash a mother’s “compassion.” Her sheeny New York Times essay about aborting a wiggling son whose name meant “heart” is heartbreaking. He’d need a heart transplant one day if he survived delivery; he’d face “horribly painful obstacles” and [...]

The Tradition Speaks With One Voice on Divorce & Remarriage

The vocation of the Church historian and historical theologian is similar to that of the Catholic philosopher: to serve as a handmaid to theology, the queen of the sciences. Church history is distinct from secular academic history in that—as a subset of theology—it has the ability to incorporate the insights of revelation. In Church history [...]

Beware the “Spirit” of Amoris Laetitia

Catholic teaching holds that the Church is truly the Body of Christ, and that the Holy Spirit is the soul of the body, animating it and directing its actions. The Spirit of God, promised by Christ as the Advocate and Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:16-17), who descended upon the Apostles at Pentecost and [...]

The “Concern”

A relative recently wrote an e-mail to me in which he made the following off-handed comment: “What do you think of the pope’s recent course change on abortion?” Now, unless I missed something, on this subject the pope has not changed anything. He has, no doubt, indicated that he wanted to downplay its relative importance [...]

The Prophetic Voice of Four Cardinals

“We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.” ∼ St. Paul Out of “deep pastoral concern,” four cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, His Eminence Joachim Meisner, Archbishop emeritus of Cologne (Germany), His Eminence Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop emeritus of Bologna (Italy), His Eminence Raymond Leo Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order [...]

Does Amoris Laetitia Resolve Genuine Moral Dilemmas?

The interpretation of Amoris Laetitia by Cardinals Schönborn and Kasper is now well known. Communion for those in a second union represents a change in practice, not in doctrine. What Francis is doing is simply inviting the Church to insert her settled doctrine on mitigated culpability into her reflections on how the divorced and remarried [...]

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