Some Catholic voices and media continue to push unfortunate falsehoods about Pope Francis and his apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. Here is a brief response to some of the more common ‘myths’ of Amoris Laetitia.

1. Pope Francis never answered the “Dubia”

Not directly, but he did make the Buenos Aires directives the official interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, so it reflects his intentions as to its meaning and purpose. Now the Buenos Aires directives #6 states the following:

“If it comes to be recognized that, in a specific case, there are limitations that mitigate responsibility and culpability (cf. 301–302), especially when a person believes they would incur a subsequent wrong by harming the children of the new union, Amoris Laetitia offers the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist (cf. footnotes 336 and 351).”

That certainly seems like an answer to the first question of the “Dubia” which asked if it is possible to:

“grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, 29.”

So when Burke asks: “Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 (305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?”

The Buenos Aires document says “YES” with the qualifications stated above.

2. Amoris Laetitia contradicts traditional teaching

No less than Joseph Ratzinger wrote an essay in 1972 outlining the historical precedent for a pastoral practice similar to the Buenos Aires directives. Although he later modified his conclusion as to the prudence of an Amoris Laetitia style approach to the problem of divorced/remarried couples at the present time, he never retracted the historical basis of his prior conclusion nor the principle that the Church can adopts such a practice as it sees fit. Ratzinger wrote:

“It can, of itself [the Church], only live and teach “according to the teaching of the Gospel and the Apostle”. But it cannot entirely exclude the limit cases, in which, to avoid still worse things it must remain beneath that which is strictly speaking to be done. Two such collective limit cases appear till that point in time (i.e., until Trent): the transitional stage from paganism to Christianity (Gregory II), and the Church unity, which requires a limitation of demands to the minimum. No one will assert that these are the only and the last cases in which we must ask in detail and with great care where concretely we can be flexible and where we cannot.[emphasis added]”

Therefore, it is the prerogative of the pope to implement a pastoral approach to the divorced/remarried like the one Pope Francis has adopted in Amoris Laetitia. Pope John Paul II chose not to.

3. Amoris Leitita is unclear and ambiguous

See #1. Since the Dubia was supposed to be for the sake of clarity, any clear answer to the Dubia refutes the idea that Amoris Laetitia is still unclear.

4. Amoris Laetitia contradicts Veritatis Splendor

While Amoris Laetitia and Veritatis Splendor emphasize opposite sides of the same coin, they both affirm the other side of it. Veritatis Splendor, for example, affirms the need to pay attention to the complexities of an individual’s life including any weaknesses that mitigate culpability. And Amoris Laetitia for its part affirms that “it is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality. Let us not fall into the sin of trying to replace the Creator.” I have written more about this here.

5. Amoris Laetitia “does away” with Familiaris Consortio

Familiaris Consortio does state a norm about the behavior of divorced/remarried couples in the form of an expectation of abstinence. However, the same Pope John Paul II also affirmed the law of gradualness, which would apply to those people being referred to in chapter eight of Amoris Laetitia. The Vatican has affirmed that this law of gradualism “is a general principle, applicable to every moral disorder, even if intrinsic.” Hence it is applicable to those couples unable as of yet to live the norm stated in Familiaris Consortio. The reasoning of the Buenos Aires directives also utilizes the same reasoning as Familiaris Consortio, extending it to those couples who feel compelled in conscience into material cooperation with continuing a sexual relationship with their spouse.

There are many more variations of the above. So when negative voices continue to push a narrative of rupture about Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, take with it a great dose of skepticism.

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23 Responses

  1. Avatar jong says:

    Amoris Laetetia and CCC2267 are the forefront of the battle between Pope Francis and dissenters. Akita prophecy unfolded before our very eyes, Cardinals vs. apostate cardinals and Bishops vs. apostate bishops. We are seeing the Great Apostasy of the Cardinals & Bishops opposing the Redemptive Mission of Christ which is salvation for all souls. What is the dividing line between this two opposing forces? The Mercy of God.
    The dissenters in disguised of uphelding the Justice of God called Pope Francis teachings “false mercy”.
    We are now battling our own catholic bros.& sis. and the clergy vs. clergy and prelates vs. prelates in these end times. Truly the words of St.John is now unfolding;
    Beware of Antichrists
    17The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God remains forever. 18Children, it is the last hour; and just as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. This is how we know that it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they did not belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But their departure made it clear that none of them belonged to us.…(1John2:1719)
    Is Cardinal Burke et.al the one being described that formerly belong to the Catholic Church but had chosen to depart or separate themselves from the Church?
    The “Antichrist” is opposing the Will of the Father when He sent Jesus to Redeem all sinners even the worst sinners. “No one is beyond redemption”.
    But, Cardinal Burke et,al preaches the “anti-gospel” and says NO! and closed the Door of Mercy to all the couple in irregular union who would want to seek the help of the Church for their healing & forgiveness.
    This is a subtle attack on the very heart of the gospel which Pope Benedict XVI said is “Divine Mercy”.
    We are now seeing the last hour, the sign of times, I think pretty soon we will see the Clans of Trads marching towards Rome to demand the ouster of Pope Francis thru desperate means to install their chosen pope that will become the Anti-Pope that will be indwelt by Satan to become the Anti-Christ.
    In this scenario the Eucharistic Prayers in all Masses throughout the world will be pronouncing the name of the Anti-pope and all Masses will be an offering to Satan himself. That’s why Sis.Lucia said the only weapon left for us is the Holy Rosary as the Holy Mass in no longer in the name of the Vicar of Christ but a name of the “anti-pope or anti-christ”. My Jesus mercy.

  2. Avatar Anne Lastman says:

    Hello Jong, i have followed the anti Pope Francis tribe since its inception. I have remembered the prophecy at Akita. I have marvelled at the urgency and speed in which the Holy Father has gone out into the marketplace to gather those labours nobody wanted to hire. I have watched as he has tried to get the house in order (Vatican) but I had never connected the breakaway group with Preparations for schism and anti pope.
    I must study your words they resonate with me strongly. Thank you.

    • Avatar jong says:

      Anne Lastman’
      Yes, it just occurs to me after a lot of pondering, especially I’m wondering why the Rad Trads had relentlessly destroyed the dignity of Cardinal McCarrick very quickly just to deceive a lot of people to believe Ab.Vigano testimony & accusation on Pope Francis and numerous Cardinals & Bishops loyal to him were true, but we know now it is only lies & fabricated story. After carefully studying James Grein accusations & watching his numerous interviews, I am not a lawyer, but the testimony of James Grein can easily be cross-examine and a good lawyer can decipher his now numerous video interviews against his sworn testimony and as far as I know it is between his words and Cardinal McCarrick words denying his over 40 years old accusations. I begun to think deeper after watching this one hour video and it makes me ponder, why? Because Cardinal McCarrick words in this speech last Oct.2013 was a vision of Pope Francis Church image that was fulfilled in two to five years was so precise that I don’t think the Holy Spirit is not guiding his words. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3iaBLqt8vg&t=7s
      If you watch the video it only means that Cardinal McCarrick was in the “state of grace” in Oct.2013 and was guided by the Spirit of Truth, also he might had confessed and repented whatever sins he had committed already.
      Back to the Apostate Cardinals and Bishops issues, it just dawn on me after seeing James2:13 and studying Hans Urs Von Balthasar writings and getting curious why Rad Trads had been attacking the dignity of Balthasar too esp. his famous book “Dare we hope that all men be saved”. It dawn on me that the breathe of the Holy Spirit in Vatican II is the Infinite Mercy of God and anyone who oppose the Holy Spirit is committing blasphemy.
      Cardinal Burke et,al is closing the Door of Mercy to LGBTQ, atheist, couples in irregular unions, etc. While Pope Francis is imploring all pastors to wear the cloak of “mercy & compassion” and making the Church a field hospital to heal all lost & wounded souls. We can see now two opposing forces, and the dividing line is the Mercy of God.
      Why Cardinal Burke et,al is committing the Great Apostasy? They perfectly fit the description of 1John2:17-19 and no less than the Dogma of “Outside the Church there is no salvation” applies to all dissenters who are members of the Church united to the Pope before but now openly and “intentionally chosen to separate their ways and now publicly resisting & opposing the Mother Church cannot be save. They voluntarily chosen to reject the Mother Church united to the Pope, therefore they are the one who is outside the Church. (1Corinthian1:10)
      The Dissenters is not only opposing Pope Francis teachings but the very heart of the Gospel which is Divine Mercy and worst they are directly contradicting the Will of God in His desire to offer His infinite mercy to save all mankind even the worst sinners.(1Timothy2:4)
      This is the perfect description of the Great Apostasy, it is so cunning as Cardinal Burke et.al is preaching Traditions and Doctrines rooted in the Justice of God but ignoring the Holy Spirit inspirations to the New Mission of the Church inspired in Vatican II Council.
      Truly Pope Francis with the help of Pope Emeritus BXVI powerful intercession not only expose all the wolves in sheep clothing but had removed all of them from their powerful post including the infected St.JP2 Institute. It’s no wonder Pope Francis will now have growing enemies, but no worries, our beloved Luminous Pope Francis said “Sanctity is stronger than scandal”. Exodus14:14 and John1:5

      • Avatar Christopher Lake says:

        Jong,

        It is Pope Francis who made the decision to strip Theodore McCarrick of the titles of both Cardinal and Father. I live in McCarrick’s diocese. He did very serious damage to peoples’ lives, here and elsewhere. I support Pope Francis. I do not support Theodore McCarrick or any other person in the Church who uses a position of authority to sexually abuse people. To be very blunt, the fact that you are still defending him makes me sick.

      • Avatar jong says:

        Christopher Lake
        Cardinal McCarrick if we discern his situation was also a victim of satan human cohorts trap. I don’t believe that all allegations thrown at him were true. I try to look at the bigger picture in line with the evil agenda of the Rad Trads to oust Pope Francis. Cardinal Pell and Cardinal McCarrick had a similar accusations both were accused of an over 40 to 50 years of sexually abuse misconduct. But the Rad Trads never destroy the dignity of Cardinal Pell like the way they did to Cardinal McCarick and Pope Francis did not remove his red hat even after conviction of court.
        I’m defending Cardinal McCarrick because of Jesus & Mary reminded us to “Never attack a priest”(Pieta Prayer booklet) and we must defend and pray for them if they fall into satan’s wiles & deception.But don’t be mistaken I attack Cardinal Burke et,al but only because we need to defend Pope Francis., that’s my duty as part of Marian Movement for Priest to defend the Church united to the Pope.
        I just happen to see the character of Cardinal McCarrick in different light after watching numerous videos of him and carefully discerning his speeches numerous times esp. the Oct.2013 video.
        I respect your views and more direct knowledge if you believed Cardinal M. was really guilty and must be condemned, but this scenario will be twisted by God Merciful intervention in His Time as I’m seeing Pope Francis will restore the dignity of Cardinal McCarrick just like what he did to the famous Liberation Theology Priest Ernesto Cardenal in his deathbed restoring the dignity of his priesthood.http://4christum.blogspot.com/2019/02/bergoglio-lifts-john-pauls-sanction-on.html
        And if this thing happen in the near future. Since all the Rad Trads already destroyed Cardinal McCarrick’s dignity to the extreme…this will spark hatred and will move all the Rads Trads to march in Rome to demand the ouster of Pope Francis forcefully.
        This is just my personal vision, I believe Pope Francis will restore Cardinal McCarick dignity before his death and this will trigger the climax of Church Crisis towards Church purification(CCC675) and this event will reduced the Vatican II Church into a small but a pious church compose of few bishops, priest, religious and laity loyal to Pope Francis. (John1:5)
        Thessalonian prophecy will now unfold after this…My Jesus mercy.

  3. Avatar M. says:

    Thank you Christopher.

  4. Avatar Fr Paul McDonald says:

    If anyone shall say that the commandments of God are impossible for the just to observe, let him be anathema. This is a dogma of the Church, defined at the Council of Trent, and demands an unconditional and absolute assent. So to say that a person or a couple “cannot” observe the Law of God is not allowed.

    • Brian Killian Brian Killian says:

      I didn’t say absolutely that some couples could not observe the law of God, but that they can’t observe the law “as of yet”. We know it’s possible for Michael Jordan to dunk a basketball. But it’s not possible for six-year-old Michael Jordan to dunk a basketball. We know it’s possible for the mustard seed to grow into a great tree in whose branches the birds of the air make their nests. But it’s not possible for the birds of the air to make their nests in the mustard tree sapling. While it is small and weak and vulnerable it can be trampled under one’s foot, even though it is the same tree that will one day host the birds of the air in its branches.

      If you read the whole text of Trent on the matter instead of just reading its canons and condemnations, you can see that it is presenting a gradualist method of justification, not a Pelagian one where possibility is equated with actuality. Have you forgotten your Aristotelianism? Possibility means process, it means gradual growth as potency is reduced to act. Remember the principle: “whatever is moved is moved by another”? Is that any less true in the matter of grace than it is in the order of causality and creation?

      Did you know that Trent said that the sinner should “do whatever he can and pray for what he cannot do”? That doesn’t sound to me like it’s saying that everyone can always perfectly observe the law and if they can’t it is entirely their own fault and they guilty of grave sin. Trent didn’t say or imply that everyone can at every time perfectly observe God’s law. It denied that it was impossible (in other words, it affirmed that it is possible). But you’re making the mistake of turning possibility into actuality – as if the individual is his or her own ‘unmoved mover’. That essentially what Pelagianism is.

      • Avatar Mary Angelica says:

        Hello Brian,

        While engaging with both y’all and the opponents, I’m a little confused on this bit: “I didn’t say absolutely that some couples could not observe the law of God, but that they can’t observe the law “as of yet”. Analogies are never perfect, so I try not to fall into the fallacy of false analogy, but I do try to build on previously used analogies to better understand the logic behind the one making them.

        You first analogy illustrates how the acquisition of virtue does not happen instantaneously, but is a result of continue practice. That’s fine, but in order to acquire it, you must constantly be at least intending to act according to it each time the occasion arises. So the kid, can’t dunk, or won’t always make the shot. However, if he wants to be able to make shots, he has to constantly practice attempting to do so. In other words, the intention or resolution has to be there, even when the virtue is not yet established.

        However, I am unclear on what this looks like, and whether or not you and others might be falling into a “gradualism of the law” rather than a “law of gradualness”. Consider two similar, but ultimately distinct scenarios. First, suppose, for example, that the kid says, ” I can’t shoot the ball in yet. Most of my shots are still air balls! But if I hit the board, will be closer to making a shot.” So the kid tries to aim for the board, because he knows that there is a better chance of getting the shot there. He recognizes that he still won’t make most of his shots, and may not be able to work on all of the necessary techniques at once, but while he isn’t fretting over the misses as much, he doesn’t stop trying to make the shot. He just now gives himself an additional framework to improve on. Now suppose that the kid instead says, “I can’t shoot the ball in yet, so I will try to miss in ways that are not as bad. Let me at least aim for the corner of the board. or chug it at the middle, so it bounces back to me, or something else other than actually making the shot. At least, I won’t be throwing air balls anymore, and then can work on bettering my aim.” Both kids want to eventually be able to consistently make a basket, but their immediate attitudes are now different. The second kid now intends to miss, just not in as bad a way.

        Now, I am not sure if the second scenario may not be pedagogically helpful for basketball. But at the very least, I know that moral virtue doesn’t work that way. There is a different between intending not to sin while recognizing ones own weakness and trusting in God when he falls, or even intending not to sin, but focusing ones efforts not to do so on only some of the necessary areas needed to confront the sin, and intending to sin again, but just in ways that are increasingly not as bad, in hopes that you will eventually not sin.

        Do you think that he second approach is being approved by the Pope in AL?

        The quote you give from Trent, in its context, seems to support at least the first case, but not the second:

        ” On keeping the Commandments, and on the necessity and possibility thereof.

        But no one, how much soever justified, ought to think himself exempt from the observance of the commandments; no one ought to make use of that rash saying, one prohibited by the Fathers under an anathema,-that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified. For God commands not impossibilities, but, by commanding, both admonishes thee to do what thou are able, and to pray for what thou art not able (to do), and aids thee that thou mayest be able; whose commandments are not heavy; whose yoke is sweet and whose but then light. For, whoso are the sons of God, love Christ; but they who love him, keep his commandments, as Himself testifies; which, assuredly, with the divine help, they can do. For, although, during this mortal life, men, how holy and just soever, at times fall into at least light and daily sins, which are also called venial, not therefore do they cease to be just. For that cry of the just, Forgive us our trespasses, is both humble and true. And for this cause, the just themselves ought to feel themselves the more obligated to walk in the way of justice, in that, being already freed from sins, but made servants of God, they are able, living soberly, justly, and godly, to proceed onwards through Jesus Christ, by whom they have had access unto this grace. ”

        The acquisition of virtue may be gradual. But the immediate intention to practice it fully must always be there. Even if you can’t muster the will every time, or even if the circumstances are mitigating, you are at least required to pray to God that he strengthen you *in these contexts*.

      • Brian Killian Brian Killian says:

        There is a great fear out there that people are getting a free pass to “choose” to be able to do bad things. That fear is not warranted. Weakness means that a person cannot properly, morally choose to do the bad things he or she is doing. So yeah, the person must do whatever they can with the power they have and pray for what they cannot do. Six year old Michael Jordan may try as hard as he can to dunk the basketball and get extremely frustrated that he can’t do it no matter how hard he tries. A wise mentor would tell him “you’ve got to chill out Michael, the ability will come in time but you have to let nature take its course. All you can do is take care of yourself and eat well and get enough rest and relaxation and be a normal kid. Yes, practice every day but stop worrying so much over things you can’t control.” Change and growth is mostly something God has to work in us and we can only do the best we can with what we have.

      • Avatar Mary Angelica says:

        This doesn’t directly answer my question. Here, my issue is not that people are being given “free” passes to choose bad things here, but rather, that the intent to do lesser bad things are being evaluated as temporary “good” actions when chosen to avoid worse things. My distinction between Michael version 1 and Michael version 2 is not unwarranted, because I have seen the conflation of these Michaels before. In fact, let me bring up an example posted in the comments of an earlier article on mitigating circumstances written in May of this year. A while back you made the following analogy to the kleptomaniac robot with newly acquired free will, who chooses to steal a paper clip rather than something much greater:

        “You watch as the robot eyes the life savings stuffed under the mattress, and the looks at a little paperclip sitting on a table. He looks again at the money under the mattress and then the paperclip and hesitates. You sit utterly still as the robot mulls over the first moral decision of its new life. Suddenly, the robot grabs the little paperclip sitting on a table and takes off. “Yes!” you shout, fist pumping the air. Can you imagine that? Can you see yourself doing that – cheering the robot for the actual choice it made in the first ever real decision of its life? What were you cheering for? Were you cheering because the robot stole a paperclip? Or is the truth more that you were cheering because the robot decided to use what little freedom it had to lessen the harm that its programming would have created? If you saw yourself fist pumping because of the robot’s choice, was it not because within the concrete circumstances of the robots life at this moment, it did the good it was capable of doing and avoided the evil that it was capable of avoiding? You had the intuition, did you not, that the choice made was good? That it was the right thing to do under the circumstances?”

        I read this a while back, but didn’t respond to it then. My intuition was not at all the same as yours that the choice was good or the right thing to do under the circumstances. Only that it wasn’t as bad, combined with an intuition that the robot is now wrestling with the programming to steal with his newly acquired conscience (which is good). However, your analysis seems to be different than mine, at least as you wrote it. Is this a type one robot who tried not to steal, but focused on not stealing big things, only to fail by stealing something small (which was still a fall upward), or was it a type 2 robot who reasoned that his action was actually the right one to do? These aren’t the same thing, are they?

    • Avatar Marie says:

      Fr McDonald- Can you please explain to me, someone already disillusioned by those claiming to be orthodox, how you justify your open dissent towards the Vicar of Christ? Did you not take vows of obedience to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church? If so, do you not see the hypocrisy of preaching about marital fidelity while you break your own vows? Where is your humility and integrity, which is required to stay faithful? Where is your love for the Church that you would do this?

  5. Avatar Manuel Dauvin says:

    Thank you christopher,
    Jong I appreciate that God loves mccarrick with an infinite love but he earned the disfavor of the faithful. This site is trying to defend pope francis who is receiving unearned disfavor. Your defense of the ex-cardinal gives any rad trad who reads the comments a “confirmation” of their suspicions that Francis followers are unwilling to face the dire situation that we face in the church. So I hope you will consider quietly appealing directly to God that he have mercy on mccarrick and not seek any for him from us just yet.

  6. Avatar James Matthew says:

    It would seem that the logic of the defense of Amoris Laetitia can be applied to other situations that would make most Catholics balk.

    What if a man born to a Catholic couple received the following sacraments early in life – Baptism, Penance, and Communion. But soon after his first Holy Communion his mother left his father, taking him with her and raised him in her new viewpoint of Agnosticism. He becomes a doctor and specializes in abortions, at this time he believes that there is nothing immoral in his profession. He civilly marries and has children. He than has an experience that makes him seek to return to the Catholic Church.

    Can he continue living as he has before? He has specialized solely in performing abortions for so long that he feels certain that he can’t do anything else, and everyone else is certain he will not make anything close to the money he did before if he can somehow find some kind of more menial work. Can he continue to perform abortions without it being a mortal sin if his wife threatens to leave him if he gives up his lucrative abortion practice and holds that their children will not only become psychologically damaged by the divorce but become impoverished and face homelessness if he gives up his profession? That she will inform the children that it is Catholicism and its version of Jesus that is the cause of the destruction of their family, social, and schooling life. That it is this faith and its Jesus that has led to the destruction of their present life and future prospects (such as College attendance).

    Is it not a mortal sin if he continues to do the same behavior and continue with the practice that ideally he would cease but does not due to being in a situation were to do so would result in the destruction of his marriage and endanger the health of his children? (This would also include what the Church would see as their spiritual health as they are taught to hate Catholicism and Jesus by their mother).

    Is the doctor’s continuing to perform abortions not a mortal sin due to the circumstances he faces? And if it is not a mortal sin, is he not then free to continue performing abortions and receive the Eucharist?

    This may strike one as a hyperbolic example, but both murder (as the Church defines abortion) and adultery are held to be mortal sins.
    While the world may hold that having sex with someone who isn’t your spouse is not anywhere near murder on any scale, that is not what the Church would hold – declaring both murder and adultery to be grave sins.

    If what would usually be considered adultery is rendered not mortal sin but an un-ideal/irregular situation due to such factors as initial imperfect knowledge and situational circumstances – can this not be applied to what would be usually considered murder by the Church?

    • Brian Killian Brian Killian says:

      Hello James.

      First, I don’t think it’s appropriate to frame these questions in some variation of “being free to” do something that is “objectively” bad. The people in question are not free to engage in “adultery”, they engage in “adultery” because they are not free. And Pope Francis is saying that he wants such people (under the right conditions) to have more access to the sacraments, not less. My short answer is that for those whose lack of freedom is external rather than internal (weakness) I tend to think of them falling under the moral category of material cooperation with evil.

      Now the rule for material cooperation is that the form that the cooperation takes cannot itself be something gravely immoral – it must of itself be morally good or at least neutral. Now murdering children is obviously unjust and cannot pass the test for material cooperation. But is it always unjust/unreasonable for a person to sleep with the mother/father of their children for the sake of the unity of their family? Therefore, I see the situation of some divorced/remarried as being more analogous to the spouses that the Church has explicitly allowed to cooperate in contracepted sexual relations with their partner when their partner refuses any other option. I think it’s closer to that than to a murderer that kills children.

      • Avatar James Matthew says:

        You mis-read me if you hold I was saying //”being free to” do something “objectively bad//. I used the word “free” only once and my meaning in the question were that appears was: isn’t he Free to receive the Eucharist even if he was still performing abortions due to the mitigating circumstances, mainly the threat of the dissolution of his family.

        Isn’t the question of freedom here around the issue of whether your spouse will leave you or not? So the threat/danger to your well-being isn’t physical, such as a gun to the back, but rather the psychological, social, and societal ramifications of the spouse leaving and the likelihood of the family living in different locations from one member of the parents? So this set of non-physical threats is held to impinge the freedom of the individual (rendering their action not utterly voluntary) thus making it not a grave mortal sin.

        Amoris Laetitia is not saying that one can do what would be called evil so that good may result – it is saying no evil occurs due to these series of dangers/threats that impinge freedom.

        If these dangers are not present even according to Amoris Laetitia than the act of sex with someone other than your spouse is still called adultery, a grave error and mortal sin.

        How is the exact same distinction not applicable in the case of the abortion doctor I laid out, the same series of threats are all present, easily imagined and not farcical.

        If these set of dangers impede the freedom in one case how is it not the same in the other? How is the logic of Amoris Laetitia not applicable to the case of the abortion doctor that I lay out?

        Concerning your talk of material cooperation with evil. The Church has held that willing sex with someone who isn’t your spouse is an intrinsic evil so it isn’t morally good or neutral according to the Church. It is never a good or neutral act. Amoris Laetitia is saying that because they are forced by the set of non-physical threats coming from their sex partner that they bear no guilt for engaging in the sex. Bearing no guilt they are free to receive the Eucharist.

        So again I point to my example of the abortion doctor and say as the same threats are present here, does this mean that he bears no guilt if he continues to perform abortions and is therefore free to receive the Eucharist?

      • Avatar Mary Angelica says:

        ” I tend to think of them falling under the moral category of material cooperation with evil.”

        “But is it always unjust/unreasonable for a person to sleep with the mother/father of their children for the sake of the unity of their family?”

        Recall that it’s not just material cooperation, but specifically “remote” material cooperation that can excuse someone for grave reasons. In the case you provide, this is at least immediate material cooperation, which is condemned, but more likely it is formal cooperation. Why? Because that parent is not their spouse, and they immediately intended the act. That in itself *is* adultery.

        Now if done under coercion (rather than mere emotional strain), that is a different story (and I wonder if Pope Francis is not actually considering such cases, as they are more common in the third and second world), and the issue is one of violence to the will. But even supposing a difference, material vs formal cooperation isn’t quite the category here that you want.

      • Avatar Marie says:

        Maybe my logic is off here James, but your example presupposes two conditions, whereas the other situation deals with only one, so there is no requirement to engage in other morally corrupt behavior unrelated to the situation itself.

  7. Avatar carn says:

    “1. Pope Francis never answered the “Dubia”

    The Buenos Aires document says “YES” with the qualifications stated above.”

    Nice try, but:

    1. “That certainly seems like an answer”; “seems” like an answer is none sense; either something is an answer or it isn’t; the BA document is an answer to a question by BA bishops; nothing more and nothing less; it isn’t an answer to dubium 1;

    at most you can try to argue from BA document what the answer to dubium 1 would be, if Pope Francis ever choose to answer it

    2. In any case dubia 2 to 5 would still not be answered.

    which consequently means:

    “3. Amoris Leitita is unclear and ambiguous

    See #1. Since the Dubia was supposed to be for the sake of clarity, any clear answer to the Dubia refutes the idea that Amoris Laetitia is still unclear.”

    is clearly false.

    If there is some ambiguity in AL regarding the issue of dubium 1 and/or regarding dubia 2 to 5, your claim that something which “seems” to be an answer to dubium 1 only, cannot resolve the ambiguity.

    For completeness: No need to link articles or make arguments, that some here might think that there is no ambiguity in AL and/or that the answers to dubia 2 to 5 are known/already given elsewhere. I am aware about these arguments, but they cannot cure the error of the above article, which tries to argue that any potential ambiguity in AL regarding dubia 1 to 5 is supposedly resolved by something which “seems” to be an answer to dubium 1 only.

    That is impossible.

    • Brian Killian Brian Killian says:

      Why is it more important to you that Pope Francis answers Burke directly than providing an answer – even if it’s indirect? BA answers at least the first dubium and Pope Francis has pointed to that document for answers about interpreting AL. An answer is an answer. What difference does it make that the answer is in the form of BA and not a reply to some dubious dubium?

      The first dubium is the only substantial one that directly relates to AL as a document. The rest of the questions are abstract and theoretical and general and rather silly. Like does anyone really doubt that a Catholic pope no longer believes in absolute norms or intrinsic evils? Let me paraphrase the rest of the dubia questions:

      “if the answer to #1 is YES, then how can that possibly be reconciled to the basics of Catholic moral theology? We have no idea and so you must be wrong about your answer”

      Except a YES answer to all the dubia questions is possible and the fact that Burke can’t figure out how is his problem, not the pope’s.

      • Avatar carn says:

        “Why is it more important to you that Pope Francis answers Burke directly than providing an answer – even if it’s indirect?”

        Its not about importance, its about whether your claim, that the answer to BA bishops is also an answer to dubium 1, is true or false. That depends of course upon what one considers an answer. But it is not about importance.

        “What difference does it make that the answer is in the form of BA and not a reply to some dubious dubium?”

        That with a direct answer there would be no doubt that it was meant as an answer to that question.

        “The rest of the questions are … rather silly.”

        Which would not change that they have not been answered. Even silly unanswered questions are unanswered questions.

        Besides, i would not consider them silly.

        “Like does anyone really doubt that a Catholic pope no longer believes in absolute norms or intrinsic evils?”

        About the Pope I am indifferent.

        But there are several German bishops about whom i am in doubt, whether they believe in absolute norms. And i am not in doubt that a considerable number of German theologians and large part of the organized laity in German church DO NOT believe in absolute norms.

        So if the criteria would be that the question are not silly, if at least one person is in doubt about several bishops and large parts of the Church within one nation, that is currently trying some “synodal path”, then the questions are not silly.

        ““if the answer to #1 is YES, then how can that possibly be reconciled to the basics of Catholic moral theology? We have no idea and so you must be wrong about your answer”

        Except a YES answer to all the dubia questions is possible and the fact that Burke can’t figure out how is his problem, not the pope’s.”

        The funny thing about teachers is that if they have dumb students who do not get it even after trying hard and long, that they then usually should explain in detail what the dumb students do not get.

  8. Avatar Communion says:

    Point 5 ” Hence it is applicable to those couples unable as of yet to live the norm stated in Familiaris Consortio.”

    Parts of the moral law are impossible for some people at some times, is that your view?

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