Amoris Laetitia

Five Lessons from the Christmas Market Attack

On December 11, a Muslim named Cherif Chekatt opened fire at the famed Christmas Market in Strasbourg, killing three and wounding thirteen. There are several important lessons to be learned from the incident. Here are five of them: I. The attack was aimed at Christians. It was no coincidence that the terrorist chose to target [...]

Are Moral Absolutes Unfair to Individuals in Difficult Cases?

Adultery is sinful, marriage is indissoluble, and divorce is forbidden. Let us assume that we accept the validity of these precepts in principle—but is it possible to apply them in practice, without committing a serious injustice to individuals in difficult cases? Every statement only covers a limited part or aspect of reality, and in this [...]

Why Divinize the Pope?

Last month, I discussed the tendency among prominent supporters of Pope Francis to speak as if he had very special and even divine qualities. Where does it come from? Some possibilities seem obvious. Any argument looks good if it favors the desired outcome, meaning that people who are convinced the pope’s new initiatives are right [...]

Tear Down this Papal Wall of Silence

In the dark of an August night in 1961, the Russians threw up a barrier between East and West Berlin which came to be known as the Berlin Wall. On June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan stood at a podium in Berlin and delivered his famous speech, in which he said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this [...]

Defending Marriage at the Youth Synod

When Cardinal Carlo Caffarra was given the responsibility of starting Pope John Paul II’s Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, he wrote a letter to Sister Lucia de Santos of Fatima asking for prayers. Many Catholics by now are familiar with Sister Lucia’s response to Cardinal Caffarra’s letter in the form of this apocalyptic [...]

Seven Lessons from the McCarrick Case

Following the long overdue revelations about the contemptible sexual misconduct of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, many authors have rightly expressed their indignation toward him and his episcopal enablers. In this article, I will try not to spend much time on ground already well trod, but will rather highlight some of the lessons from the McCarrick [...]

How Amoris Laetitia Can Jeopardize the Seal of Confession

Though I have written several articles about Pope Francis’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL), I am repeatedly struck anew, as time goes on, by its inexorably destructive implications. Despite AL’s generally good summary of Catholic teaching on marriage and the family, its moral subjectivism ultimately undermines not only the truths affirmed in the document, [...]

German Bishops Employ Lutheran Subjectivism for Marriage Agenda

The German bishops’ conference is hardly alone in exploiting, for “pastoral” reasons, the implications of Amoris Laetitia’s (AL) betrayal of objective moral truth. At the same time, the larger context of its recent decisions to admit select Lutherans, and select divorced and “remarried” Catholics, to Holy Communion seems to point also to a source of [...]

Amoris Laetitia in Light of Theology of the Body

Pontificates are hard things to peg. When they begin, we can never be sure how they are going to turn out. In 1978, a Polish cardinal who had been an active participant at the Second Vatican Council was elected the 263rd Successor of Saint Peter. He was following an Italian (Albino Luciani) who had died just [...]

Paradigm Shifts in the Catholic Church?

As one who is in the process of leaving the Southern Baptist church for Roman Catholicism, I say without hesitation and full of love and concern that the Church I fell in love with, the Church in which I found, finally, the full embodiment and expression of truth, goodness, and beauty, is becoming harder to [...]

Hünermann’s “Way Forward” is a Dead End

The aged German theologian, Peter Hünermann, is no stranger to ecclesial conflict. His name has arisen once again, now in regard to the recent Vatican media scandal, where Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò publicized a fragment of a personal and confidential letter by Benedict XVI to Pope Francis in such a way as to falsely suggest [...]

An Open Appeal to the Catholic Bishops of the World

After serving five years as a Catholic campus minister in the 1980s, I decided to begin graduate studies in moral theology. This was in the heyday of proportionalism when its founding fathers still held some of the world’s most influential chairs of Catholic moral theology: Richard McCormick at the University of Notre Dame, Josef Fuchs [...]

Will Cupich “Accompany” Reluctantly Divorced Spouses?

Cardinal Cupich has been holding seminars on implementing Amoris Laetitia. These “New Momentum Conferences” will “provide formative pastoral programs.” I wonder whether these seminars will include anything for reluctantly divorced persons. No one else seems to be doing anything for abandoned spouses. Perhaps Cardinal Cupich and his friends will step up to the plate. The [...]

Holding Moral Theory Accountable

The death earlier this year of Germain Grisez, the eminent Catholic moral theologian, made me think of the last time I saw something bearing his name in the media. To the best of my recollection, it was an Open Letter addressed to Pope Francis that he and the distinguished legal theorist John Finnis wrote on [...]

Invite Children of Divorce to Cupich’s Amoris Laetitia Seminars

I see where Cardinal Cupich is planning a series of seminars on Amoris Laetitia. According to a letter obtained by the Catholic News Agency, the “New Momentum Conferences on Amoris Laetitia,” will “provide formative pastoral programs.” As someone who has listened to many victims of the Sexual Revolution, I am eager to learn about the “pastoral [...]

Cardinal Cupich Misreads Vatican II on Conscience

Just a few short weeks after the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, spoke about Amoris Laetitia as a paradigm shift for the Church, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has reiterated the same portentous message. In a lengthy address given to the Von Hügel Institute of St. Edmund’s College on February 9, Cupich describes Pope [...]

Cardinal Cupich’s Modernist View of the Family

The accusation of modernism gets thrown around a lot, especially in traditional circles. As a descriptor of heresy, modernism is a vague term. Modernism can refer to a movement of art and architecture, as well as to the general spirit of modern thought as a rejection of the past. These are genuine usages of the [...]

The Clarity of Cardinal Cupich

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago is all for clarity. It has been a consistent theme, as when in September of 2017 he issued a decree banning guns in all parishes, schools and other facilities across the archdiocese “so there would be absolute clarity on our position.” His official statement put “clarity” in italics. When he [...]

How Amoris Laetitia Reduces Moral Culpability for Sin

In June 2016, the distinguished Austrian philosopher and friend of Pope John Paul II, Joseph Seifert, published a highly critical yet charitable essay on Amoris Laetitia (AL) that led to his dismissal from a teaching post at the seminary of the Archdiocese of Granada, Spain. In his essay, Seifert argued that the view of conscience expressed [...]

Sense and Nonsense: The Latest Defense of Amoris Laetitia

A brave theology professor at my diocesan seminary, Rev. Gerald J. Bednar, has taken upon himself to defend the ambiguity that exists in Amoris Laetitia against the Dubia famously presented by “dissenters” (i.e. the four cardinals). He wrote an article that appeared in Emmanuel Magazine published by the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. A shortened [...]

The Morality of Amoris Laetitia Is Not Thomistic

In a formal address delivered during his recent visit to Colombia, Pope Francis implored his brother Jesuits to defend his embattled exhortation on marriage, which remains haunted by its obscurities and fervent vagueness. In his short discourse, the pope also enlisted Thomas Aquinas in this enterprise by insisting upon the Thomistic properties of Amoris Laetitia. He [...]

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