Category: Amoris Laetitia

Did Amoris Laetitia open the door to contraception coverage at Notre Dame?

In February of this year, Fr. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President of the University of Notre Dame, wrote a letter explaining that after years of fighting in court, and even after being granted an exemption by the federal government under the Trump administration, Notre Dame would allow for their health insurance programs to directly cover “simple” and non-abortifacient contraceptives. In this statement, Fr. Jenkins referred to the “conscientious” decisions of Notre Dame’s employees and students...

Who should “Joe Catholic” listen to?

It’s fairly evident that the debate over Amoris Laetitia has mostly stayed within the domain of a very small subset of Catholics: those who follow Vatican affairs closely, those who consume EWTN and other Catholic media, and those who enjoy reading papal encyclicals and theological writing. The typical practicing Catholic, thankfully, is quite unaware of the civil war that’s raging in academia, within the walls of the Vatican, and (perhaps most intensely) on social media....

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:...

Pope Francis, pro-life champion (part 2)

Note: This is part 2 of a 3-part series; Click here for part 1 and here for part 3 In part 1, I have talked about how conventional pro-life media, namely LifeSiteNews (LSN) have unfairly attacked the Pope through guilt by association, when His Holiness has demonstrated commitment to the pro-life cause. But on this article I would wish to focus on the Pope’s contributions to the pro-life movement through his teaching office as the Vicar of...

2+2=5?

“The difficulty of explaining ‘why I am a Catholic’ is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.” — G.K. Chesterton; Why I am a Catholic As I wrote in a previous post, many Catholics who dissent from Amoris Laetitia because they say they are “thinking with their own heads” are usually thinking identically. They all seem to use the same arguments and the same slogans to get...

We cannot make ourselves holy

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recently released a document “On Certain Aspects of Christian Salvation.” This document is concerned with what it calls neo-Pelagianism and neo-Gnosticism. Concerning the former it says: “A new form of Pelagianism is spreading in our days, one in which the individual, understood to be radically autonomous, presumes to save oneself, without recognizing that, at the deepest level of being, he or she derives from God and from...

Trust on a Cliff

In 1972, I spent 40 days in a hermitage a mile from Christ in the Desert Monastery, in Abiquiu, NM. (“Hermitage”? Please translate into standard modern English.) That is, I went camping with a friend for a couple of weeks, then alone for a few weeks more. I had no agenda for the summer, just an idea that felt like an invitation. Jesus says we should call his Father, the creator of the universe, Our...

The JP2 atomic bomb

“There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. (…) [The Church] of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in...

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...

The train’s leaving the station: Cardinal Wuerl’s new guidelines

“The Church seeks to find different ways of demonstrating not simply a desire to accompany people where they are, but also to show we are walking with them in the concrete situations of their lives toward the truth, and so we can hear them and they can begin to hear us. In Amoris Laetitia, the Church is asked to proclaim the saving love of Jesus with joy. It invites us to be particularly aware of...

Father Weinandy and Divine Obedience

[D]ivine obedience never prevents us from obedience to the Holy Father. Nay, the more perfect the one, the more perfect is the other. And we ought always to be subject to his commands and obedient unto death. However indiscreet obedience to him might seem, and however it should deprive us of mental peace and consolation, we ought to obey…. – St. Catherine of Siena Father Thomas Weinandy is the former executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat on...

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,...

The Role of Primacy in the Amoris Debate

Nearly two years later, there are few signs of a resolution to the ongoing intra-Church dispute over Pope Francis’ 2016 Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Even prior to its release, going back to the preparations for the 2014-2015 Synods on the Family, segments of the Church and hierarchy have been locked in disagreement over the authority of the pope to change sacramental discipline for the divorced and civilly remarried. The conflict continues to focus on...

The Patriarchate of Lisbon’s faithfulness to Amoris Laetitia

In Feb 6th 2018, the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon D. Manuel Clemente has issued guidelines regarding the reception of Amoris Laetitia on his diocese. My good friend Filipe d’Avillez has provided us with an accurate english translation, which you can read at the bottom of this post. The original one (in portuguese), can be consulted here. By allowing the possibility of admission to the sacraments of certain cases of divorced and remarried couples with mitigating...

Communion for the Divorced and Remarried: a Defense of Amoris Laetitia

This article is a systemic summery of the most controversial section in Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. In doing so it addresses all of the major questions and objections that people have regarding the pope’s teaching on divorced and civilly remarried Catholics receiving Holy Communion. My desire is that this article will bring needed clarity to a nuanced and controversial topic. Please read and share it with others, it is going to be permanently linked on our...