Pope Francis, for his part, on the occasion of his visit to the Dicastery for Divine Worship, expressly mentioned that the “ordinary” form of the celebration of the Mass is that expressed in the Missal promulgated by Paul VI, while the “extraordinary” form, which was permitted by Pope Benedict XVI for the purposes and in the ways explained in his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, must not take the place of the “ordinary” one.
Bishop Egan also said that ordinarily he would like Catholics to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation before their wedding day:
“I would like Catholics getting married in church to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, which completes our Christian initiation and is the foundation of our lives as disciples of Jesus. After all, marriage is a vocation to service like the priesthood, and so just as the priesthood and the promise of celibacy ‘for the sake of the Kingdom’ needs the help of the Holy Spirit and His gifts, so too does married life.”
Cardinal Caffarra (CC): In Amoris Laetitia  the Holy Father Francis writes: “I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion.” I infer from these words that His Holiness realizes that the teachings of the Exhortation could give rise to confusion in the Church. Personally, I wish – and that is how so many of my brothers in Christ (cardinals, bishops, and the lay faithful alike) also think – that the confusion should be removed, but not because I prefer a more rigorous pastoral care, but because, rather, I simply prefer a clearer and less ambiguous pastoral care. That said – with all due respect, affection, and devotion that I feel the need to nourish toward the Holy Father – I would tell him: “Your Holiness, please clarify these points. a) How much of what Your Holiness has said in footnote 351 of paragraph 305 is also applicable to the divorced and remarried couples who wish still anyway to continue to live as husband and wife; and thus how much of what was taught by Familiaris Consortio No. 84, byReconciliatio Poenitentia No. 34, by Sacramenttum unitatis No. 29, by the Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 1650, and by the common theological doctrine, is to be considered now to be abrogated? b) The constant teaching of the Church – as it has also been recently reiterated in Veritatis splendor, No. 79 – is that there are negative moral norms which allow of no exceptions, because they prohibit acts which are intrinsically dishonorable and dishonest – such as, for example, adultery. Is this traditional teaching still believed to be true, even after Amoris Laetitia?” This is what I would say to the Holy Father.
If the Holy Father, in his supreme judgment, would have the intention to intervene publicly in order to remove this confusion, he has at his disposition many different means to do so.
MH: Would you like to make a comment about Cardinal Christoph Schönborn’s recent remark that Amoris Laetitia is binding doctrine and that all the previous magisterial documents concerning marriage and the family have now to be read in the light of Amoris Laetitia?
CC: I reply with two simple observations. The first observation is: one should not only read the previous Magisterium on marriage in the light of Amoris laetitia (AL), but one should also read Amoris laetitia in the light of the previous Magisterium. The logic of the Living Tradition of the Church is bipolar: it has two directions, not one. The second part is more important. In his [recent] interview with Corriere della Sera, my dear friend Cardinal Schönborn does not take into account what has happened in the Church since the publication of Amoris Laetitia. Bishops and many theologians faithful to the Church and to the Magisterium argue that, especially on one specific – but very important – point, there is not a continuity, but, rather, an opposition between AL and the previous Magisterium. Moreover, these theologians and philosophers do not say this with a demeaning or revolting spirit toward the Holy Father himself. And the point is, as follows: AL says that, under some circumstances, sexual intercourse between the divorced and civilly remarried is morally legitimate. Even moreso, it says that, what the Second Vatican Council has said about spouses – with regard to sexual intimacy – also applies to them (see footnote 329). Therefore: when one says that a sexual relationship outside of marriage is legitimate, it is therefore a claim contrary to the Church’s doctrine on sexuality; and when one says that adultery is not an intrinsically dishonest act – and that therefore there might be circumstances which render it not to be dishonest – that, too, is a claim contrary to the Tradition and Doctrine of the Church. In such a situation like this, the Holy Father, in my opinion – and as I have already written – thus has to clarify the matter. For, when I say “S is P,” and then say “S is not P,” the second proposition is not a development of the first proposition, rather, but its negation. When someone says: the doctrine remains, but it is only about taking care of some few cases, I answer: the moral norm “Do not commit adultery” is an ABSOLUTELY NEGATIVE norm which does not allow of any exceptions. There are many ways to do good, but there is only one way not to do evil: not to do evil.
Indeed, I can say that when I was received in audience by the Holy Father last April, Pope Francis asked me to study the question of a reform of a reform and the way in which the two forms of the Roman rite could enrich each other. This will be a long and delicate work and I ask for your patience and prayers. But if we are to implement Sacrosanctum Concilium more faithfully, if we are to achieve what the Council desired, this is a serious question which must be carefully studied and acted on with the necessary clarity and prudence in prayer and total submission to God.
At this point I repeat what I have said elsewhere, that Pope Francis has asked me to continue the extraordinary liturgical work Pope Benedict began (see: Message to Sacra Liturgia USA 2015, New York City). Just because we have a new pope does not mean that his predecessor’s vision is now invalid. On the contrary, as we know, our Holy Father Pope Francis has the greatest respect for the liturgical vision and measures Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI implemented in utter fidelity to the intentions and aims of the Council Fathers.
The Church has up to now always had a clear attitude [Haltung] in this question [of the “remarried” divorcees], even if there has developed, already for quite a while now, a practice of receiving Holy Communion that is in opposition to the objective norms of the Church.”
Thus, says Gerstle, this current discussion is finally about receiving a “retrospective blessing” for a practice of disobedience about something that has heretofore been gravely forbidden by the Church. With regard to Amoris Laetitia, the German priest says: “In Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis now gives permission to the individual priests and pastors to examine each individual case with regard to the possibility of receiving the Sacraments (Penance and Holy Communion).” Thus, Pope Francis does not anymore, “in a general way, exclude those couples who live in an irregular situation (to include cohabiting couples) from the reception of the Sacraments.” Gerstle stresses that Pope Francis does not anymore demand from these couples the binding requirement to live in continence. He adds: “This is indeed a novelty and is thus being celebrated by the representatives of the liberal direction as being revolutionary and as constituting a landmark decision.” However, in Gerstle’s eyes, those who “feel bound to the valid teaching of the Church, and who fear the watering down of the indissolubility of marriage,” see a “justified reason for the great concern that now there will follow a complete breech of the levée.”
With this new approach, Gerstle says, “the Church’s teaching – according to which the validity of the Sacrament of Confession is dependent upon a penitent’s true contrition and his firm purpose to avoid the near occasion of sin if possible – would be taken off the hinges.” [emphasis added] This would mean “a serious breech with the elementary principles of the Church’s moral teaching, as it had last been confirmed to be the irreformable teaching of the Church by St. John Paul II himself in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor, as well as in his apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio.
PASTORAL LETTER FROM THE BISHOP […] read in all churches and chapels of the Diocese of Portsmouth on 10th July 2016, the Fifteenth Sunday of the Year.
Dear Families and Friends,
When Amoris Laetitia was published, there was a controversy about the care of the divorced and remarried. In fact, Pope Francis reaffirms Jesus’ teaching on chastity, marriage, sexuality and family life; he does not change Church discipline. But he does speak in a new compassionate way about those who have drifted from the practice of faith because they have found themselves in marital situations and patterns of behaviour at variance with the Gospel. He urges us to adopt a new attitude, not to be shrill or hard-line judgmental, but always to reach out with God’s mercy, to shew compassion, to include not exclude, to foster growth and discernment. In this, pastors have an important role of guidance and accompaniment. And let us not forget the sensitive work of our diocesan marriage tribunal, a real agency of Divine mercy. Indeed, please pray for all who generously assist its endeavours.
Upon reflection, it’s become pretty clear that Pope Francis’ document on marriage and the family, “Amoris Laetitia,” is marked by ambiguity, and that’s intentional on the Holy Father’s part I think.
That explains why, in just the last couple of days, we’ve had very different interpretations of the document from two prominent leaders of the Church – Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna. And from many other commentators as well.
The good news is, that because of this ambiguity, people can do just about whatever they want. The bad news is, that because of this ambiguity, people can do just about whatever they want.
Go figure! – Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, July 7 at 4:54pm
Bishop Dominique Rey, Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, France:
IT ISWITHGREATJOY that we have learnt today that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has asked you to commence a study of the reform of the liturgical reform that followed the Council, and to investigate the possibilities of mutual enrichment between the older and newer forms of the Roman rite, first spoken of by Pope Benedict XVI.
C’est avec une grande joie que nous avons appris aujourd’hui que le Saint-Père vous a demandé d’initier une étude de la «réforme» de la réforme liturgique qui suivit le Concile, et d’étudier les possibilités d’un enrichissement mutuel entre l’ancienne et la nouvelle forme du rit romain, ce que le pape Benoît XVI avait évoqué le premier.
YOUREMINENCE, your appeal that we “return as soon as possible to a common orientation” in our liturgical celebrations “Eastwards or at least towards the apse—to the Lord who comes,” is an invitation to a radical rediscovery of something that is at the very roots of Christian liturgy. It calls us to realise once again, in all our liturgical celebrations, that Christian liturgy is essentially oriented to Christ whose coming we await in joyful hope.
Eminence, votre appel à ce que nous «retournions dès que possible à une orientation commune» dans nos célébrations liturgiques «vers l’Orient ou au moins vers l’abside, là où vient le Seigneur», est une invitation à redécouvrir radicalement quelque chose qui est à la racine même de la liturgie chrétienne. Cela exige de nous de réaliser une fois encore, dans toutes nos célébrations, que la liturgie chrétienne est essentiellement orientée vers le Christ dont nous attendons la venue avec une espérance joyeuse.
YOUREMINENCE,I am only one bishop of one diocese in the south of France. But in response to your appeal I wish to announce now, that certainly on the last Sunday of Advent of this year in my celebration of the Holy Eucharist at my cathedral, and on other occasions as appropriate, I shall celebrate ad orientem—towards the Lord who comes. Before Advent I shall address a letter to my priests and people on this question to explain my action. I shall encourage them to follow my example. I shall ask them to receive my personal testimony, as the chief pastor of the diocese, in the spirit of one who wishes to call his people to rediscover the primacy of grace in their liturgical celebrations through this practice. I shall explain that this change will help us to recall the essential nature of Christian worship: that it must always be oriented to the Lord.
Monsieur le Cardinal, je suis seulement un évêque et ne représente qu’un diocèse du sud de la France. Mais afin de répondre à votre appel, je souhaite dire dès à présent que j’aurai l’occasion de célébrer la sainte messe ad orientem, vers le Seigneur qui vient, dans la cathédrale de Toulon lors du dernier dimanche de l’Avent, et chaque fois que l’occasion opportune se présentera. Avant l’Avent, j’adresserai un message à mes prêtres et aux fidèles à ce sujet pour expliquer ma décision. Je les encouragerai à suivre cet exemple. En tant que chef et pasteur de mon diocèse, je leur demanderai de recevoir mon témoignage personnel, dans l’idée de faire leur faire redécouvrir, par la pratique de la messe orientée, la primauté de la grâce au cours des célébrations. J’expliquerai que ce changement est utile pour se rappeler la nature essentiel du culte chrétien: tout doit être toujours tourné vers le Seigneur.
Father Lombardi concluded by saying that all of what he had said in his communique “was agreed upon during a recent audience granted by the Pope to the cardinal prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.”
Cardinal Sarah met the Pope in private audience on Saturday, soon after his return from London.
Even if, of course, it cannot be the aim of this short reflection to delineate in some fashion the ministry of the patriarch in its entirety, I would at least like to underline a point that is important for the characterization of this great man of the Church of God: his love for creation and his advocacy that it be dealt with in accordance with this love, in matters big and small. A shepherd of the flock of Jesus Christ is never oriented merely to the circle of his own faithful. The community of the Church is universal also in the sense that it includes all of reality. That becomes evident, for example, in the liturgy, which signifies not only the commemoration and realization of the saving deeds of Jesus Christ. It is on the way toward the redemption of all creation. In the liturgy’s orientation to the East, we see that Christians, together with the Lord, want to progress toward the salvation of creation in its entirety. Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, is at the same time also the “sun” that illumines the world. Faith is also always directed toward the totality of creation. Therefore, Patriarch Bartholomew fulfills an essential aspect of his priestly mission precisely with his commitment to creation. – Travel companions · A reflection of Benedict XVI · Oct. 12, 2016 | L’Osservatore Romano (My emphasis)