Author: Brian Killian

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Pope Francis’ “Dangerous” View of Conscience

George Weigel complains that “voices have been heard urging a view of conscience that is curious, even dangerous.” What view of conscience could that be? Weigel describes it like this: Under certain circumstances, conscience may permit or even require that a person choose acts that the Church has consistently taught are intrinsically wrong—such as using artificial means of contraception, or receiving Holy Communion while living the married life in a union that’s not been blessed...

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The Church is not simply Anti-Abortion

  Being against something is ambiguous, it lacks context. We don’t really know what a person is for just by knowing what he is against. On the other hand, tell me what you are for and I can tell a lot about what you’re against. Being “anti” something is also ambivalent. If I don’t know why a person is against something then I have no way to tell if their being against that thing is...

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But not a Christian

“Some Catholics consider it [migrants] a secondary issue compared to the ‘grave’ bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian…” ~ Pope Francis Deal Hudson doesn’t think Pope Francis should equate caring for immigrants with abortion. He takes issue with Pope Francis’s words in Gaudete et Exsultate that: “Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate. Equally...

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Practical Pelagianism: 5 signs of the heresy in action

Pope Francis has warned of the resurgence of a Pelagian mentality ever since his election. But the new spirit of Pelagianism so decried by Pope Francis is not a formal Pelagianism. It doesn’t show itself in the denial of defined dogmas, or the rejection of councils and canons. It reveals itself, unintentionally, by its assumptions and practice, it’s a practical Pelagianism. The “New Pelagians” will not argue with Augustine on the necessity and priority of...

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Misunderstanding Veritatis Splendor: A reply to E. Christian Brugger

Veritatis Splendor has always been the favorite encyclical of those who are unhappy with the theological direction of Pope Francis.  It is their source of authority for their condemnations of Amoris Laetitia especially. In one recent example, E. Christian Brugger pits Pope John Paul’s Veritatis Splendor against Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia in an article published and hosted by National Catholic Register called ‘Amoris Laetitia’ vs. ‘Veritatis Splendor’: You Say You Want a Revolution?. The subtitle is:...

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Responsible parenthood as a corporal work of mercy

A few years ago Pope Francis made headlines by saying that Catholics did not have to ‘be like rabbits’. “That example I mentioned shortly before about that woman who was expecting her eighth child and already had seven who were born with caesareans. That is a an irresponsibility That woman might say ‘no, I trust in God.’ But, look, God gives you means to be responsible. Some think that — excuse the language — that...

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Three Popes, Two Conclaves, One Church

For a long time, Pope John Paull II was the only pope I knew. He was the pope of my childhood, and I was married with four kids by the time he died. But his death, the funeral, and the conclave, they all unleashed a torrent of grace over the Church. It was a spiritually dark time for me and the whole series of events was a time for personal renewal and a new beginning....

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The Mustard Seed and a New Pastoral Paradigm

In a previous post I mentioned that the law of gradualism was not like Jack’s Magic Beanstalk that springs up to the sky over night, but more like the mustard seed that is the smallest of all seeds but eventually becomes a tree in whose branches the birds make their nests. I want to elaborate on that and show how this requires looking at human beings and their moral efforts from a different perspective, one...

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Reality is Greater than Ideas

Pharisees: “That man cannot be from God: he does not keep the Sabbath.” Blind Man: “Ever since the world began it is unheard of for anyone to open the eyes of someone born blind; if this man were not from God, he wouldn’t have been able to do anything.” These two reactions represent two fundamentally different ways of dealing with reality, especially when it is unexpected. The first begins from an empty, narrow, and legalistic...

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With Man All Things Are Possible

Some Catholics wield Trent like a baseball bat. In their hands, Canon XVIII is a blunt instrument to beat the weak over the head with. Early in his pontificate Pope Francis criticized these Catholics for being what he called “self-absorbed Promethean Neo-Pelagians”. The mentality of the neo-Pelagians is an attitude that values strength and sufficiency, and likewise despises weakness and dependency. “With man all things are possible” is really the opposite of what Scripture says,...

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Thomas Aquinas: Ghostwriter of Amoris Laetitia

  Pope Francis has stated multiple times that Amoris Laetitia is rooted in the moral theology of Thomas Aquinas. The citations to Aquinas in Chapter eight have been commented on by others, but quotations from the works of Aquinas are not the only way in which Amoris Laetitia (AL) draws on the Angelic Doctor. More fundamental is the Thomistic foundation that is not directly alluded to in AL but which nevertheless grounds much of the...