[i] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith > Letter to Bishops of the Catholic Church Concerning the Reception of Holy Communion by the Divorced and Remarried Members of the Faithful, 5. | Joseph Card. Ratzinger, Prefect, + Alberto Bovone Titular Archbishop of Caesarea in Numidia, Secretary | 14 September 1994, Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. 5. The doctrine and discipline of the Church in this matter, are amply presented in the post-conciliar period in the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio. […]
[ii] CCC 2035 The supreme degree of participation in the authority of Christ is ensured by the charism of infallibility. This infallibility extends as far as does the deposit of divine Revelation; it also extends to all those elements of doctrine, including morals, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, or observed. [Cf. LG 25; CDF, declaration, Mysterium Ecclesiae 3.]
[iii] e) Divorced Persons Who Have Remarried
84. Daily experience unfortunately shows that people who have obtained a divorce usually intend to enter into a new union, obviously not with a Catholic religious ceremony. Since this 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. The Synod Fathers studied it expressly. The Church, which was set up to lead to salvation all people and especially the baptized, cannot abandon to their own devices those who have been previously bound by sacramental marriage and who have attempted a second marriage. The Church will therefore make untiring efforts to put at their disposal her means of salvation.
Pastors must know that, for the sake of truth, they are obliged to exercise careful discernment of situations. There is in fact a difference between those who have sincerely tried to save their first marriage and have been unjustly abandoned, and those who through their own grave fault have destroyed a canonically valid marriage. Finally, there are those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children’s upbringing, and who are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid.
Together with the Synod, I earnestly call upon pastors and the whole community of the faithful to help the divorced, and with solicitous care to make sure that they do not consider themselves as separated from the Church, for as baptized persons they can, and indeed must, share in her life. 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. Let the Church pray for them, encourage them and show herself a merciful mother, and thus sustain them in faith and hope.
Similarly, the respect due to the sacrament of Matrimony, to the couples themselves and their families, and also to the community of the faithful, forbids any pastor, for whatever reason or pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry. Such ceremonies would give the impression of the celebration of a new sacramentally valid marriage, and would thus lead people into error concerning the indissolubility of a validly contracted marriage.
By acting in this way, the Church professes her own fidelity to Christ and to His truth. At the same time she shows motherly concern for these children of hers, especially those who, through no fault of their own, have been abandoned by their legitimate partner.
With firm confidence she believes that those who have rejected the Lord’s command and are still living in this state will be able to obtain from God the grace of conversion and salvation, provided that they have persevered in prayer, penance and charity. – Familiaris Consortio (November 22, 1981) of the great and saintly Supreme Pontiff Pope St. John Paul II (Sans references. My emphasis)
Exclusive Interview: Cardinal Burke Explains Plea to Pope for Clarity, November 14, 2016 | Catholic Action for Faith and Family
Pro Domine et Ecclesia
et Pontifice contra #AmorisLaetitia; Petitions: To the Pope; To all Catholic Cardinals; To all Catholic Bishops
Four objections, four responses, and one conclusion by Robert Sarah in Overrated Synod. Before All Else in the Church There Is a Crisis of Faith | WWW.CHIESA by Sandro Magister – This is what African cardinal Robert Sarah maintains in his book “God or Nothing” and in the discussion that has followed. An exclusive preview of his remarks in the next issue of “L’Homme Nouveau”
Libellus of Condemned Errors regarding ‘Amoris Laetitia’ | Veri Catholici
– Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts | II. CONCERNING THE ADMISSION TO HOLY COMMUNION OF FAITHFUL WHO ARE DIVORCED AND REMARRIED
– #AmorisLaetitia: Finally the Vatican Enters the Modern World into the Digital Age with a New Genre of Papal Documents
– Amoris Laetitia: A Call for Clarification to Avoid Confusion by BISHOP ATHANASIUS SCHNEIDER, APRIL 27, 2016 | Crisis Magazine
If we analyze certain statements of AL with intellectual honesty within their proper context, we find ourselves faced with difficulties when trying to interpret them in accordance with the traditional doctrine of the Church. This is due to the absence of the concrete and explicit affirmation of the doctrine and constant practice of the Church, founded on the Word of God and reiterated by Pope John Paul II, who said,
However the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage. Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who … are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that … they take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples (Familiaris Consortio, 84).
– Full text: Interview with Robert Spaemann on Amoris Laetitia | CNA
Professor Spaemann, you have accompanied the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI with your philosophy. Many believers are now asking, whether and how Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia should be read in continuity with the teachings of the Church and these previous Popes. How do you see this?
For the most part, it is possible, although the direction allows for consequences which cannot be made compatible with the teaching of the Church. Article 305 together with footnote 351 – in which it is stated that believers can be allowed to the sacraments “in an objective situation of sin” “because of mitigating factors” – directly contradicts article 84 of Pope John Paul II’s exhortation Familiaris consortio.
What then is Pope John Paul II’s exhortation about?
John Paul II explains human sexuality as a “real symbol for the giving of the whole person,” and namely, “without every temporal or other limitation.” He thus formulates very clearly in article 84 that remarried divorcés must refrain from sex if they want to go to communion. A change in the practice of the administration of the sacraments would therefore be no “further development of Familiaris consortio,” as Cardinal Kasper said, but rather a breach in her essential anthropological and theological teaching on marriage and human sexuality. The Church has no authority, without prior conversion, to approve disordered sexual relationships through the administration of the sacraments, thereby anticipating God’s mercy – regardless of how these situations are to be judged on a human and moral level. The door here – as with the ordination of women to the priesthood – is closed.
And Top Catholic Philosopher: Amoris Laetitia Will “Split the Church”, by Maike Hickson, April 28, 2016 | 1P5
Vs. Spaemann: “Anche nella Chiesa c’è un limite di sopportabilità”
– Amoris Laetitia’s Approach to same-sex unions already rejected by Synod Fathers, April 14, 2016 | Voice of the Family
– Because of Its Grave Errors Amoris Laetitia Should Be Rejected Written by Luiz Sérgio Solimeo | Created: 03 May 2016
– The German Option of the Argentine Pope
And a few days later, during the flight from Lesbos to Rome, Francis once again proposed Schönborn as the main exegete of the post-synodal exhortation, he being a “great theologian [who] knows well the doctrine of the faith,” as the pope described him. To the question of whether for the divorced or remarried there now is or is not the possibility, formerly precluded, of receiving communion, the pope responded with a peremptory and for once unmistakable: “Yes. Period.” But he recommended that none other than Schönborn be consulted for a more detailed reply.
And cf. also Pope Francis’ Plane Comments on Divorce & Remarriage | 1P5 and Full Text of Pope Francis’ in-flight interview from Lesbos to Rome – Catholic News Agency (CNA) vs. IN-FLIGHT PRESS CONFERENCE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FROM LESVOS TO ROME, Papal Flight, Saturday, 16 April 2016
– Presentation of the post-Synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia: the logic of pastoral mercy, 08.04.2016
“Naturally this poses the question: what does the Pope say in relation to access to the sacraments for people who live in ‘irregular’ situations?”, continued the cardinal. “Pope Francis reiterates the need to discern carefully the situation in keeping with St. John Paul II’s Familiaris consortio. ‘Discernment must help to find possible ways of responding to God and growing in the midst of limits. By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and of growth, and discourage paths of sanctification which give glory to God’. … In the sense of this ‘via caritatis’, the Pope affirms, in a humble and simple manner, in a note that the help of the sacraments may also be given in ‘certain cases’. But for this purpose he does not offer us case studies or recipes, but instead simply reminds us of two of his famous phrases: ‘I want to remind priests that the confessional should not be a torture chamber but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy’ and the Eucharist ‘is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak'”.
And Müller Out, Schönborn In. The Pope Has Changed Doctrine Teachers by Sandro Magister
– #AmorisLaetitia Explained. Card. Schönborn on Communion for the Divorced & Civilly Remarried
– Cardinal Caffarra on Marriage, Family, Amoris Laetitia, & Confusion in the Church | 1P5
What others are saying and doing
– RORATE CÆLI: Antonio Socci: There has been a coup in the Church
– RORATE CÆLI: De Mattei – The Post-Synod Exhortation, Amoris laetitia: First reflections on a catastrophic document
– Key doctrinal errors and ambiguities of Amoris Laetitia – Voice of the Family
– The Current Crisis in the Context of Church History, Prof. Roberto de Mattei, Rome Life Forum– 6th May 2016 – – Voice of the Family
– Amoris Laetitia and Lets Pretend | The American Catholic, Thursday, April 14, A.D. 2016 | By Donald R. McClarey
– World Over – 2016-04-14 – Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on the Family with Raymond Arroyo
– Five Serious Problems with Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia, April 22, 2016, by Dr. E. Christian Brugger | CWR
– “Amoris laetitia”, conscience, and discernment, May 31, 2016, by Fr. George Woodall | CWR
– Amoris Lætitia read in light of Saint Pius X’s Pascendi | The Denzinger-Bergoglio
– #ALConf — International Conference to condemn ‘Amoris Laetitia’: June 25th
– “Amoris Laetitia” Has a Ghostwriter. His Name Is Víctor Manuel Fernández by Sandro Magister
– Francis confirms: The Denzinger-Bergoglio was right
– Some Concerns about Amoris Laetitia by Dr. Anna Silvas
– Does Amoris Laetitia Retreat from Absolute Moral Norms? by RICHARD A. SPINELLO, MAY 10, 2016 | Crisis Magazine
– Alice in “Amoris Laetitia” Land by Sandro Magister
– Amoris Laetitia: A Deceptive Joy by Fr. Regis Scanlon, OFMCap
– Sulla Amoris laetitia di Papa Francesco: gioie, domande, tristezze, 08 giugno 2016, di Josef Seifert
– Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Publishes a Critique of Amoris Laetitia by Maike Hickson | The Wanderer
Father Gerstle continues:
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.
– Catholic Scholars Appeal to Pope Francis to Repudiate ‘Errors’ in Amoris Laetitia by Edward Pentin 07/11/2016
– Top adviser to Pope JPII warns of a cabal undermining Church with backing from within by John-Henry Westen | LifeSite
– Plea to the Pope | LifeSiteNews
– Amoris Laetitia: A CWR Symposium, April 09, 2016, CWR Staff
– Abp Gänswein: Pope’s way of talking can lead to bizarre interpretations; “Francis Effect” appears not to have transpired; Uncertainties have certainly increased
“Important magisterial tenets cannot be changed by half sentences or somewhat ambiguous footnotes,” the German archbishop said, alluding to the controversy over the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. He further warned, “Statements that can be interpreted in different ways are a risky thing.”