As we have showed several times in our blog, Amoris Laetitia’s new sacramental discipline is all about mitigating circumstances. In fact, the exhortation’s Chapter VIII has a full segment named “Mitigating factors in Pastoral Discernment,” immediately preceding the one where footnote 351 is inserted. In other words, the sacramental discipline laid out in footnote 351 is done in the context of a discernment that is contextualized by the doctrine of mitigating factors.

This means, if we want to understand this document better, we need to become acquainted with the doctrine of mitigating circumstances. This doctrine is inextricably linked to the nature of sin, namely the distinction between mortal and venial sin.

Mitigating factors and mortal sin

The Catechism of the Catholic Church 1857 affirms that, for a sin to be a mortal sin, three conditions must necessarily be present. In other words, if just one of these conditions is absent, then the sin is not mortal. These conditions are: 1) grave matter; 2) full knowledge; 3) full consent.

Grave matter refers to the gravity of the sin. Among sins with grave matter, the Catechism explicitly lists the sin of adultery. A person who divorces, remarries and then proceeds to have intercourse with his/her new partner commits, according to Catholic doctrine, the sin of adultery, for this contradicts Jesus Christ’s commandment: “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another is guilty of adultery, and the man who marries a woman divorced by her husband commits adultery” (Lk 16:18).

In short, divorced and remarried people who do not abide by total continence commit a sin with grave matter. That much is undisputed.

However, just because we established that this situation is a sin with grave matter, we have not proven that it is a mortal sin. Two other conditions must necessarily be met, and we cannot know if those conditions are fulfilled if we do not consider the particular situation of the individual sinner. For we can only know if someone acts with full knowledge and full consent if we know the sinner and its situation.

Papal critics usually conflate sin with grave matter with mortal sin. “Divorced and remarried people are in mortal sin”, they cry, without any other qualifier or nuance. This is a common confusion, but it goes against established doctrine, since the Catechism itself explicitly says that when one disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent, then the sin is venial, not mortal.

We know this is what Pope Francis is getting at in Amoris Laetitia, since he states, right at the beginning of his “Mitigating factors in Pastoral Discernment” segment:

The Church possesses a solid body of reflection concerning mitigating factors and situations. Hence it can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.

Being in a state of mortal sin carries with it some damning consequences, including precluding the sinner from partaking of the Eucharist, for those who take communion in mortal sin eat and drink judgment against themselves (1 Cor 11:29). Since the papal critic confuses mortal sin with sin with grave matter, then it is unsurprising that he would think that any divorced and remarried person living more uxorio should be barred from communion. Yet, as I explained before, this is based in a misconception, not in the actual doctrine of the Church. Grave matter is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for mortal sin.

The only stipulation that the Church has infallibly established as excluding the sinner from communion is a state of mortal sin. As the Council of Trent says:

If it is unbecoming for any one to approach to any of the sacred functions, unless he approach in a spirit of piety; assuredly, the more the holiness and divinity of this heavenly sacrament are understood by a Christian, the more diligently ought he to give heed that he approach not to receive it but with great reverence and holiness, especially as we read in the Apostle those words full of terror; He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself. Wherefore, he who would communicate, ought to recall to mind the precept of the Apostle; Let a man prove himself. Now ecclesiastical usage declares that necessary proof to be, that no one, conscious to himself of mortal sin, how contrite soever he may seem to himself, ought to approach to the sacred Eucharist without previous sacramental confession. This the holy Synod hath decreed is to be invariably observed by all Christians

Any other requirements that the Church may establish are based on her prudential judgment. This means they are to be respected, but also that they may be overturned without any implication on its infallibility. For centuries, the Church has imposed excommunications on certain groups and actions, and later lifted them up, according to its discernment of the particular context surrounding them.

In other words, the Successor of Peter may indeed have limited Eucharistic access to the divorced and remarried living more uxorio in the past, but this does not preclude the current pope from lifting up those limitations as he sees fit, provided the people involved are not in a state of mortal sin. For a divorced and civilly remarried person living more uxorio to be in mortal sin, three conditions must be fulfilled. Grave matter is, of course, present by definition. Nevertheless, two more conditions are needed to bar the person from the Eucharist: full knowledge and full consent. Even if these do not interfere with the objective morality of the sin, (the sin remains grave and immoral, regardless of circumstances,) they certainly may change the subjective culpability of the individual sinner. Some circumstances may diminish subjective culpability in such a way, that the sinner is not in a mortal sin and is, therefore, not precluded from the Eucharist if the Church so allows. Circumstances diminishing subjective culpability is what we call: “mitigating circumstances.”

The objections

When confronted with how Amoris bases itself in the sound and orthodox doctrine of mitigating circumstances, the papal critic will usually answer something like this: “yes, ignorance may diminish subjective culpability; but in that case, the priest must inform the sinner of his sin, thereby dispelling his ignorance; from that point on, this ceases to apply.”

This seems like an argument, but it is actually two arguments. In a fell swoop, the papal critic has:

  1. Postulated that ignorance ceases to be a mitigating circumstance simply by informing the sinner that he is sinning;
  2. Very subtly swept “full consent” under the rug; Full consent is out of cogitation: only full knowledge is being considered from there on.

I wish now to explain why both of these arguments are wrong, by delving more deeply into the doctrine of mitigating circumstances.

Full knowledge

If “full knowledge” is a necessary condition for a sin with grave matter to be a mortal sin, then ignorance can act as a mitigating factor. Sin remains objectively a sin, but ignorance diminished the culpability of the sinner, so that he may not be in mortal sin. On this point, the Catechism teaches:

 Mortal sin requires full knowledge (…) It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law (…) Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense

Please note, unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a sin with grave matter (like adultery.) This is doctrine, inscribed in the Catechism since St. John Paul II’s pontificate. It is not an innovation from Pope Francis.

Granted, the Catechism also states, “no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man.” However, this cannot be interpreted as meaning that ignorance cannot ever exist. Otherwise, the Catechism would be self-contradictory. Rather, it means that the principles of the moral law are written in the conscience of every man, so every man has the potential to understand them. No one is unable to understand that a particular sin is wrong, but they can be ignorant of the sinful nature of a particular act at a specific time.

In that case – it might be argued – if we are dealing with unintentional ignorance and no one is unable to understand the principles of the moral law, then all we have to do is inform the sinner.

As appealing as this might be, it is not so. It is a simplistic way of looking at reality. A person cannot be formally informed that he is sinning and from that point on, be liable and fully culpable if he does not accept our explanation. Many papal critics seem to think this is an accurate description of reality, but the Church herself has acknowledged that humanity is more complex than this.

Sin darkens the intellect. This means that a sinner might have difficulty in understanding why a particular act is sinful. This may be compounded by cultural and educational factors, and by that particular sinner’s lifestory. We must note that this does not mean that the sinner is unable to understand the truth, for this would contradict the Catechism. Still, even if it is not impossible for the sinner to overcome his ignorance, he may have difficulty doing so. This is why Amoris Laetitia says: “More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great diffi­culty in understanding “its inherent values”

This is also part of the magisterium and, therefore, part of the doctrine of mitigating factors. This is why the Church has always understood the potential dilemma of informing a sinner not prepared to receive the full truth. In this case, the sinner will start formally to sin, even if the person guiding him knew he could not bear the full weight of doctrine at the time. Since our objective should be the salvation of souls and not their damnation, the Catholic is urged to exercise discernment about the best timing and way to lay the truth on the sinner.

Again, this is not a modern, watered-down pastoral approach coming from a lukewarm “Church of Nice”, as some critics affirm. It is actually quite traditional. It dates back to Apostolic times, to St. Paul:

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal. As unto little ones in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not meat; for you were not able as yet. But neither indeed are you now able; for you are yet carnal.” (1 Cor 3:1-2)

In fact, it dates to Jesus Himself, for He said to His disciples: “I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now” (Jo 16:12). They could only bear those teachings when the Holy Spirit descended upon them.

In his foundational book about pastoral care of the souls, Pope St. Gregory the Great instructed his priests 1,500 years ago to proceed like this:

But some things, even though openly known, ought to be seasonably tolerated; that is, when circumstances afford no suitable opportunity for openly correcting them. For sores by being unseasonably cut are the worse enflamed and, if medicaments suit not the time, it is undoubtedly evident that they lose their medicinal function. But, while a fitting time for the correction of subordinates is being sought, the patience of the prelate is exercised under the very weight of their offenses

St. Alphonse Liguori, no moral laxist to be sure, also instructed confessors in this regard. He called this the “principle of good-faith”:

If [the sinner] is inculpably ignorant of some other matter (of which he can be ignorant) – even something of the divine law, the confessor should prudently decide whether the instruction will be profitable for the penitent. If it will not be profitable, he should not make the correction, but rather leave him in good faith. The reason is: the danger of formal sin is a much more serious thing than material sin. God punishes formal sin, for that alone is what offends Him.

This principle of “good faith” is echoed already in post-conciliar times, in a Vademecum published under Pope St. John Paul II:

The principle according to which it is preferable to let penitents remain in good faith in cases of error due to subjectively invincible ignorance, is certainly to be considered always valid, even in matters of conjugal chastity. And this applies whenever it is foreseen that the penitent, although oriented towards living within the bounds of a life of faith, would not be prepared to change his own conduct, but rather would begin formally to sin.

This, of course, does not mean that the sinner should be deprived of the sound doctrine that will help him turn away from his sinful life. The idea is not to keep the sinner in a state of ignorance forever in order to protect him from formal sin. Quite the contrary, what is intended is that eventually, and as soon as possible, he will be instructed on the teachings of the Church. Nevertheless, sometimes, a process of conscience formation must be undertaken before that can happen. Far from being a way to water down truth, this is a way to protect truth from being trampled by being presented in a context and timing where it will not produce its effect.

Most importantly, this shows that there is a difference between evangelizing and “notifying.” By thinking that a mere exposition of the Church’s doctrine is sufficient to dispel ignorance, irrespectively of pastoral sensitivities, and without any discernment towards the characteristics of the sinner before us (or any consideration on whether he will be saved or condemned by our actions,) the papal critic is not acting in a Catholic or even traditional way. The rediscovery of the proper way to evangelize is, in fact, a major overtone of Francis’ pontificate. People concerned with the growing secularization of our society should do well in heeding His Holiness’ counsels.

Full consent

Even if the papal critic seems to focus solely on the ignorance of the sinner, the truth is that this is mostly a red herring. Amoris does not talk too much about ignorance: it is Francis detractors who usually do talk about ignorance. For years, many of them have decried the watering down of doctrine by the clergy as the sole factor for the current Church crisis.

Therefore, it is hardly surprising they would think that the only mitigating circumstance is ignorance, and that ignorance can easily be overcome by strong doctrinal statements.

By doing this, the papal critic is interpreting Amoris Laetitia through the prism of his own concerns and biases. This is, however, not consistent with how the apostolic exhortation tackles the issue. Even if Francis grounds his sacramental discipline on the doctrine of mitigating circumstances, the truth is that he does not delve too much on the “full knowledge” side of the equation, but rather on “full consent”. In fact, the only part of Amoris where Francis mentions impaired knowledge and ignorance is one sole sentence, which I quoted above. While Francis dedicates half a sentence to “full knowledge”, he develops the concept of “full consent” throughout almost two paragraphs!

So, when the papal critic says that mitigating circumstances do not apply because all that is needed to overcome ignorance is to instruct the sinner, he is doing a sleight of hand where he disregards the most important foundation for the new sacramental discipline: consent.

The detractor does this because he does not think full consent is impaired in most situations. Most of the time, he is influenced by a libertarian outlook, where the only way to coerce someone is through physical violence. However, libertarianism is a post-Enlightenment philosophy, and we wish to focus our attention into what Catholicism actually teaches. If we look at doctrine, we notice that orthodoxy takes a much broader approach to the question of impaired consent than the reductionist view limited to the libertarian non-aggression principle. After all, sin not only darkens the intellect, it also weakens the will.

Returning to the Catechism’s section on Mortal Sin, and reading what it has to say about full consent, we can see that “the promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders.” Also on the Catechism’s section on Freedom, we can read that imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified, not only by ignorance, but also by “inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors.”

Please note, what was said above refers to “responsibility for an action.” There is no qualifier for what that action might be. Any action is encompassed in this reasoning, including intrinsically evil acts like adultery. However, sins of the flesh, being driven by passions and concupiscence, are particularly prone to this. In fact, there is precedent in the Catechism for evaluating mitigating circumstances impairing full consent for another intrinsically evil act of a sexual nature: masturbation.

Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action (…) To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability

— Catechism, 2352

In other words, the same paragraph of the Catechism acknowledges that masturbation is intrinsically evil, but also that mitigating circumstances (even immaturity, habit or anxiety) may impair full consent in order to lessen the moral culpability of the same act. These are not contradictory statements.

Is this important to interpret Amoris Laetitia? We cannot pretend otherwise, for the above sections of the Catechism are, in fact, explicitly quoted in the Amoris section about mitigating factors in pastoral discernment (AL 302). This pastoral discernment on mitigating factors is precisely where the pontiff’s sacramental discipline bases itself. In other words, these parts of the Catechism are key to interpreting Francis’ manifest mind and will on this issue.

Pope Francis is not producing some new doctrine, he is simply extending a preexisting doctrine to another set of sins, previously excluded from this pastoral logic by the Church’s prudential judgment. It is in the Church’s power to do this, as it does not contradict any definitively defined doctrine.


At the end of this article, I think we can draw the following conclusions:

  • A mortal sin requires three conditions: grave matter, full knowledge and full consent;
  • A sin with grave matter, but without full knowledge and full consent is not mortal sin, but venial sin;
  • Mortal sins preclude the sinner from the Eucharist, whereas venial sins do not;
  • Subjective culpability can be diminished if full knowledge and full consent are impaired;
  • Diminished subjective culpability in no way interferes with the objectively evil nature of the sin;
  • An intrinsically evil sin can have diminished culpability and still remain intrinsically evil (One thing is to say that a sin is not justified in any circumstance and another thing is to say that there are circumstances where the sinner is not fully culpable);
  • This doctrine is not new, the only novelty comes from extending it to the divorced and remarried;
  • Ignorance is not overcome by simply restating doctrine to the sinner;
  • Consent can be limited by many factors, not just coercion;
  • Amoris Laetitia deals mostly with full consent, not full knowledge.
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Pedro Gabriel, MD, is a Catholic layman and physician, born and residing in Portugal. He is a medical oncologist, currently employed in a Portuguese public hospital. A published writer of Catholic novels with a Tolkienite flavor, he is also a parish reader and a former catechist. He seeks to better understand the relationship of God and Man by putting the lens on the frailty of the human condition, be it physical and spiritual. He also wishes to provide a fresh perspective of current Church and World affairs from the point of view of a small western European country, highly secularized but also highly Catholic by tradition.

The doctrine of mitigating circumstances

59 Responses

  1. David says:

    This whole piece is a straw man although perhaps the author is unaware that the prohibition against receiving the sacraments is due to the objective situation of the parties. The error that subjective culpability/mitigating circumstances can be invoked was explicitly rejected by JPII and BXVI, e.g., declarations of 1995 and 2001 cited below. Even if someone is not in mortal sin, what prevents them is their objective situation. This standard of the objective situation was also explicitly declared to be a matter of divine law, which thus cannot change or undergo development, and any exceptions to it were declared “impossible.” BXVI reiterated an absolute prohibition, i.e., no possible exceptions, on the divorced and remarried receiving the sacraments several times, including up to about 9 months before his resignation. So, it is not “critics” of A.L. who have a problem with this, but the entire previous magisterium of the Church (see;; (statement made 9 months before resignation.)

    We can also note that even the argentine guidelines do not invoke these “mitigating circumstances” as being the reasons/circumstances in which people are able to receive the sacraments, or at least they go well beyond that. So if the guidelines don’t, how can anyone else? (For example, they invoke the false claim that some people can’t but commit adultery.) In this regard we note that canon 915 of the code of canon law is still in force, and is based upon divine law, which again means unchangeable, and the above citations remind us that no one, not even a pope, can change or contradict it: “The prohibition found in the cited canon, by its nature, is derived from divine law and transcends the domain of positive ecclesiastical laws: the latter cannot introduce legislative changes which would oppose the doctrine of the Church;” “no ecclesiastical authority may dispense the minister of Holy Communion from this obligation [of canon 915] in any case, nor may he emanate directives that contradict it.”

    So, the only other conclusion is that previous popes were wrong. But if so, then Francis could easily be wrong. So, why/how is Francis right and prior popes wrong? This is one reason Francis refuses to provide a direct answer to the question/the dubia, as he knows it would involve him in a direct contradiction to his predecessors. One notes here the statement in the piece that Francis has a “new sacramental discipline”. Is this an admission of a novelty? Was no previous pope ever inspired to consider this “angle.” Yes they were, and they rejected it. Furthermore, some of the obsessive defenders of Francis who are mentioned on this site try to claim that Francis is not allowing sacraments for people who still commit adultery, precisely because they recognize the contradiction it would involve, e.g., Dawn Eden, Robert Fastiggi, Fr. Johnathan Schneider. So, are those folks “anti-Francis?” Are they mistaken in recognizing that Francis would be contradicting his predecessors? And if there is obvious disagreement and different interpretations, then there is confusion, doubt, and ambiguity, something which the folks on this site like to deny.

    The author may not have known about the above statements, but other contributors on this site have, yet they pretend they don’t exist and repeat the mistaken argument made here. And when called on it, they resort to bald appeals to an absolute papal will- because Francis is the latest pope and he said so, case closed. No. If one cannot overcome the fact that this appeal was directly rejected by previous popes, and the prohibition against the sacraments is of an absolute, unchangeable nature, then repeating this “argument” as valid must lead to conclusions of intellectual dishonesty.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Actually the alleged contradiction of Amoris’ sacramental discipline with the previous one is the focus of my next article

      The piece is not a strawman because what you are saying is the focus of another article. Here I simply wanted to establish that Amoris’ sacramental discipline is rooted in orthodox doctrine, something that papal critics do not admit

      • David says:

        The fact still remains, and would not be a matter directly of canon law to be addressed either- that previous popes, acting in official magisterial declarations (more below on that), rejected the argument which is invoked here about “mitigating circumstances” permitting adulterers to receive the sacraments. The fact that the notion of subjective culpability exists does not then mean it can be invoked in any circumstance, especially when it has been clearly taught that it cannot be in this one. One wonders if you even read the documents cited- the whole point is that a subjective standard for evaluating such situations is explicitly ruled out, no matter what it is, e.g., people thinking in conscience their previous marriage is invalid, people who were unjustly abandoned by their spouse. In fact, you can notice that just about everything Francis invokes was previously addressed and rejected, e.g., use of “discernment” with a priest to guide the person to a place whereby they could receive the sacraments (see #3 of 1994 letter.)

        There is an attempt to get around the fact by claiming that the documents were “only” from the CDF and PCLT so they are not authoritative, although one statement is directly from BXVI. For one, this is factually wrong, and again one wonders if you even read them. The 1994 letter, for instance, indicates that the statement is a papal one: “During an audience granted to the Cardinal Prefect, the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II gave his approval to this letter, drawn up in the ordinary session of this Congregation, and ordered its publication.” This is where the lack of training of authors on this site shows up. When such a thing is stated it means a document becomes a papal one, being approved in what is called forma specifica. So, this is not “just” a document of the CDF but one of JPII. Further, you also look at citations within the documents- when they cite papal documents/statements as their foundation you then must address those too. Also, JPII and BXVI made future references to the 1994 & 2000 declarations, so they took it as authoritative. Further, the documents cited are only some that could be & the same contents were upheld by JPII and BXVI on other occasions. Of course, this includes familiaris consortio, whose teaching and discipline is explicitly stated to be “binding,” and “cannot be modified because of different situations.” So we have the same problem- a pope directly going against what his predecessors, and indeed the entire previous magisterium, had taught. This would apply no matter how you slice it- if you say Francis is now saying that the objective situation is no longer the standard. Again, prior popes considered whether the subjective aspect/mitigating circumstances could be used as the standard and they said no, and not only no, but that it just wasn’t possible because of the nature of the situation. It is also a matter of doctrine, not just of sacramental discipline, something that has also been clearly enunciated by prior popes. It’s a shell game and convenient attempt to sidestep the whole matter by trying to shift the standard.

        As you are not a canonist you probably shouldn’t venture to entangle yourself in that as you have already made other mistakes here that indicate you are in way over your head, e.g., “It is not Magisterial teaching that the application of Canon Law 915 has nothing to do with subjective guilt.” Among many things, you miss that the code of canon law and each canon is a magisterial act- it was JPII who approved and promulgated it. Or you say canon law “ceases to be Magisterial when people use it to oppose the Pope’s manifest mind and will.” No. Care to provide any authoritative references for this as an accepted standard for interpretation and application of the law? And you also don’t seem to grasp what being magisterial entails. And never mind the contradiction- you said it was not magisterial to begin with, then say it ceased to be magisterial. You also still don’t seem to understand what it means that something is based on divine law. You seem to think that because a Vatican Dicastery says it’s of divine law, then that doesn’t count. But they are merely stating a fact. And again, this is only one reference to this fact, so you can’t use the latter claim as a refutation. In this vein you also have to realize that any given law, as in this case, may be a divine one, which the Church has also restated in a body of positive, ecclesiastical law. But, because it is divine, it can’t be changed by anyone. That is, restating it in something like the code of canon law doesn’t then mean it becomes “just” an ecclesiastical law subject to change or an opposing interpretation by a pope. There are many canons of this kind. This is one reason why Francis has not tried to change it- indeed it is very bizarre and telling that he has not tried to do so, especially if it’s claimed to be giving “ammunition” to critics. Again, probably because he would involve himself in a contradiction by doing so, so he says and does nothing, just as with the dubia.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        You say I have not read the documents. That is an interesting judgment on your part, especially coming from someone who categorically denied that the Buenos Aires criteria had anything to do with mitigating circumstances, which is contradicted from a plain reading of the text, as I quoted above.

        But I have read the documents indeed. That’s why I know, for example, contrary to your gratuitous assertion that we’re dealing with doctrine and not sacramental discipline, that Familiaris Consortio specifically says that it is reaffirming a ***practice***

        And of course I know that the previous practice did indeed reject the mitigating circumstances as a basis for sacramental discipline. Again, this is what I’m going to address in my next article.

        You ask me to provide authoritative documents to sustain my claim that a document cannot be magisterial if it goes against the Pope’s manifest mind and will. I could’ve phrased that a little better, and it is telling that you would make a mountain out of that molehill to score points, when the meaning of what I said was obvious to anyone with good faith reading my comment. But the point is that you should’ve recognized the authoritative document in which I based myself. I actually quoted the Catechism 100 verbatim. The Magisterium is the Pope and the bishops in communion with him. Using a magisterial document to attack the Pope is, therefore, a perversion of the Magisterium.

        Does this mean that the document was not magisterial? Not at all. Because, unlike your gratuitous assertion, I do grasp what being magisterial entails. Magisterial does not mean (necessarily) definitive. The Ordinary Magisterium of a Pope is not infallible, and therefore, not definitive, but it remains magisterial. That was my point when I said that when you use a magisterial document from a previous pontificate to attack the current Magisterium of the current Pope, then it “ceases to be magisterial,” in the sense that you are interpreting it in a way counter to the living Magisterium, which is the living Pope.

        It is also because I know what Magisterium means, that I know that the only authorities that can make infallible (and therefore, definitive) statements are the Pope and an Ecumenical Council (Extraordinary Magisterium.)

        Not the CDF.

        (On a side note, infallible pronouncements can also come from Universal Ordinary Magisterium, i.e. all the bishops in the world at the same time, but then again, the one who says if the conditions for the Universal Ordinary Magisterium are met is the Pope, so we’re back to square one on that)

        So we have this situation… the CDF says that a certain discipline is divinely revealed and definitive. The CDF even gets a papal stamp of approval. But then the next Pope comes along and promulgates a discipline that contradicts the previous one. Either Pope or CDF must yield. Which one should do it? Obviously, the Pope is the one who is wrong, right? Wrong! How is that logical?The CDF is the one who yields, because it’s authority is trumped by the Pope’s.

        (and also, you are mistaken in saying that one of those CDF letters was signed by Pope Benedict XVI; Benedict XVI only exists from April 19th, 2005 onward. Before that we had Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the CDF, an authority to respect, but by no means protected with infallibily or the means to invoke infallibility)

        Of course, the CDF documents is not devoid of magisterial weight, especially since its publication was overseen and approved by the Pope. Just like the Buenos Aires criteria are magisterial on that regard, even if many papal critics deny that the Pope can grant magisterial weight to non-papal documents through those means. Thank you for making our point to those who deny this can be done.

        But the thing is, even if the CDF doc is magisterial, it cannot be definitive, for the reasons I expounded above. It will help us glimpse at Pope St. John Paul II’s manifest mind and will as to how his sacramental discipline should be applied, but it cannot be used to attack a sacramental discipline from his sucessor.

        Also, I find it amusing that you would mention a “lack of training” from the authors of this blog, in order to put us down. But here’s the thing… either you have formal training yourself or you don’t. If you don’t, then you have no leg to stand on and should, out of consistency, refrain from making comments that go over your head. If you *do* have formal training, then your situation is even more grave, for you are in direct contradiction with Donum Veritatis (which was promulgated by Ratzinger as prefect of the CDF, so you can’t just shrug it off or you’re being incoherent with what you said earlier). Donum Veritatis says that you should not make use of social media to propagate your ideas against the Magisterium as if you were right and the Magisterium was wrong.

        So, if you have formal training, then maybe it’s time for you to start doing your job. The Vicar of Christ’s authority is being attacked, and you are not only *not* defending him, you are providing ammunition to his adversaries. So yeah, start doing what you are supposed to, instead of finding expedients and excuses to undermine those who are actually faithful to the Vicar of Christ. Or otherwise, your “formal training” amounts to nothing but a clanging cymbal.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      One other note: it is simply untrue that the Buenos Aires criteria do not take into account mitigating circumstances. I mean, it’s patently false.

      Here is an unbroken quote from the BA criteria:

      “However, a path of discernment is also possible. If it comes to recognize that, in a specific case, there are limitations that mitigate responsibility and guilt (cf. 301-302 ), particularly when a person considers that he would fall into a further fault damaging the children of the new union, Amoris laetitia opens the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (cf. notes 336 and 351 ).”

      • Mary Angelica says:

        Hello Pedro,

        I look forward to your next article. David is right about canon law prohibiting communion with respect to obstinate manifest grave sin, which isn’t the same as moral sin. I also recall Pope Francis saying a while back that AL doesn’t contradict canon law, but I have difficulty seeing how it doesn’t.

        I’m surprised that you think the typical accusation from the critics regarding mortal sin in divorce and remarriage to be chiefly about ignorance or lack thereof. Most critiques among those I have talked with involve how there could be a lack of full consent. The presence of moral weakness, passions, etc. Mitigating sins like masturbation seem to be understood by the Church as something like addictions. I’m not sure how easy that is to translate to continued sexual activity between the remarried couple at the level of masturbation and without the possibility of confession.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        As I said to carn above, my next article is not about Canon Law. Regarding your experience in debates, it certainly doesn’t match mine. But of course, different people will meet different arguments along the way

      • David says:

        My, my, you’re very defensive, which is revealing. You only confirm you’re either in way over your head or are willfully dishonest, e.g., the CDF doc is a papal document, part of the magisterium of JPII. Can you explain what approval in forma specifica is? My guess is that you have never even heard of it until now. It’s almost silly to think that this was only the opinion of the CDF, maybe JPII wasn’t of like mind. So, you then set up a straw man of CDF vs. Pope. Again, it is also not only the document but the teaching referenced within it, e.g., it repeats the magisterium of JPII. Further, yet again, the cdf doc is hardly the only one, but there are other statements “directly” from JPII or BXVI in which the teaching & practice is not deviated from in the least, an absolute prohibition is upheld, e.g., sacramentum caritatis of BXVI or jpii’s address to the pontifical council for family of 24 January 1997, are a couple off the top of my head. So you have the same problem: Francis directly contradicting his predecessors, not “just” the cdf or anyone else.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        If you think that I have ever argued that JP2 was not of like-mind with the CDF document, or that the CDF is not a part of JP2 Magisterium, then you have not really understood anything I said. And yes, again, i know that Amoris Laetitia’s ***sacramental discipline*** is not the same as the one of JP2 or B16’s time. You’re the one setting up strawmen, not me

        Again, a teaching can be Magisterial and not be definitive. A definitive teaching is either a part of the Extraordinary Magisterium or the Ordinary Universal Magisterium. The CDF has the authority to do neither, even with a papal stamp. And most certainly it has not authority to do it against the Magisterium of a future Pope

    • jong says:

      Are you not wrong in interpreting the mind of St JP2 and Pope Benedict XVI?
      Both of these Popes are preaching the Divine Mercy of God.
      Can you box the Mercy of God by insisting on the limits of the language of orthodoxy?
      The Divine Mercy is infinite and it transcends orthodoxy.
      The Dubia Cardinals and all dissenters are looking at the lense of orthodoxy but they forgot that we have a compassionate God who is Rich in Mercy as St.JP2 encyclical teaches Dives Misercordiae.Plus Pope Benedict XVI said ” The heart of the gospel is Divine Mercy”.
      This is the dividing line between Vatican II Teaching and those who embraces Pre-Vatican II, why?
      The Holy Spirit inspires the Church to embraced the Fatima Decade Prayer & Messages and the Divine Mercy Devotion, all souls no matter what their situation is can seek & implore the Infinite Mercy of God thereby transcending the language of orthodoxy into the language of mercy & compassion which sadly the dissenters failed to see the Holy Spirit inspiration.You can liken the attitude of the Dissenters to Pharisees when Jesus preach the gospel of love and mercy, they were all scandalize.
      Stephen Walford had an open letter to the Dubia Cardinals answering the five arguments, i hope you make time to read that as Walford answered it in an orthodox way.
      Lastly, this for me is the most important thing why Pope Francis was inspired by the Holy Spirit about Amoris Laetetia, why?
      St.JP2 see a lot of wolves operating inside Vatican II particularly Churches in America, thats why he described the future of the Church facing the Final Confrontation.
      Pope Benedict XVI knew this wolves (Cardinals & Bishops in sheep clothing infected by Clericalism) thats why Pope BXVI ask for prayers that he may not flee from the wolves.
      The problem is this wolves is not yet fully known and still inside the Vatican operating their plan to destroy the Church.
      Pope Benedict XVI fight these wolves but his physical strength cannot sustain it, and so he seek the Wisdom of God how to defeat the wolves. What is the Wisdom of God in these times where Satan the Great Accuser is unchained with the support of infected prelates & clergy? The Wisdom of God is to expand the Petrine Ministry, we are now blessed to have Pope Emeritus BXVI fighting the wolves thru a life of prayer & sacrifice still attached to the Chair of Peter and Pope Francis fighting the pack of wild dogs the church critics & enemies. (Matthew18:20)
      Amoris Laetetia is a subtle but powerful WEAPON, that Pope Francis was inspired to use to know & expose who are the wolves and the disobedient Cardinals, Bishops and priest plus who are the theologians and the Council of Media establish by satan. Amoris Laetetia had exposed all the church critics & enemies. This is where Pope Francis excelled, he is a Master in the Art of Spiritual War. Unless you know and expose the enemies you will not win the war.
      Remember how St.JP2 described the enemies of the Vatican II Church in the Final Confrontation, how?
      The enemies will preach the anti-gospel, and what is the anti-gospel?
      These people will go against the heart of the gospel which is Divine Mercy.
      St.JP2 established the Divine Mercy devotion and Pope Benedict XVI continue to preach it and now Pope Francis magnify this teaching not just thru words but thru deeds making the Church a field hospital and telling the Shepherd that they must smell like the sheep teaching them to wear the cloak of mercy & compasion on all lost & wounded souls like those precious souls or couples in irregular union.
      One simple question, what did Cardinal Burke et al, said about Amoris Laetetia? they called it “False Mercy”
      What can we discern about this? we are seeing two factions, Vatican II is preaching the Divine Mercy and the Dubia Cardinals and Dissenters preaching the “False Mercy”.
      St.JP2 was very precise the church enemies will preach the “anti-gospel” by deceiving their followers calling it “false mercy”.
      I personally believe that the Council of Media that Pope BXVI name as the one responsible in sowing the “smoke of satan or Dubia” to undermine Vatican II is using now a lot of Rad Trads channel and the well known church critics & enemies who does not have goodwill but only want to scandalize the Church.
      Pope Francis and Pope Emeitus BXVI is winning the “spiritual war” as since Day1 of Pope Francis up to now all the ouster plot of the Council of Media failed miserably.
      Interestingly Pope Francis liken the Council of Media tactics of spreading Fake News to snake tactics back in the Garden of Eden.

    • carn says:

      It is intersting to note that the as the texts you link teach how Canon 915 is to be understood and applied and as Pope Francis as far as i know never ever said a single word about Canon 915,

      that the teaching of the documents you cited still fully applies to Canon 915 and anyone deliberately acting in any way that is not compatible with the cited teaching is a dissenter.

      But you should cite the important parts, from first document:

      “The phrase “and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin” is clear and must be understood in a manner that does not distort its sense so as to render the norm inapplicable. The three required conditions are:

      a) grave sin, understood objectively, being that the minister of Communion would not be able to judge from subjective imputability;

      b) obstinate persistence, which means the existence of an objective situation of sin that endures in time and which the will of the individual member of the faithful does not bring to an end, no other requirements (attitude of defiance, prior warning, etc.) being necessary to establish the fundamental gravity of the situation in the Church.

      c) the manifest character of the situation of grave habitual sin.”


      It is magisterial teaching that for the application of Canon 915 “mitigating circumstances” are irrelevant.

      As Pope Francis has not said anything about Canon 915 all his words in AL do not change that.

      But let’s see how Pedro Gabriel will try to deal with that in the next article.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        My next article is not about Canon Law, but about how the previous sacramental discipline had to do with objective evil and this one has to do with subjective guilt

        Regarding Canon Law, it’s simple. The Pope is the authoritative interpreter of Canon Law, and the Pope’s authority trumps that of the CDF. It is not Magisterial teaching that the application of Canon Law 915 has nothing to do with subjective guilt, because Magisterium is the Pope and the bishops in communion with him. It might have been Magisterial for accurately interpreting the previous sacramental discipline, but it ceases to be Magisterial when people use it to oppose the Pope’s manifest mind and will. The Pope has been very clear on what he intends in Amoris’ sacramental discipline. Therefore, Canon 915 should be interpreted accordingly

      • carn says:

        “It might have been Magisterial for accurately interpreting the previous sacramental discipline, but it ceases to be Magisterial when people use it to oppose the Pope’s manifest mind and will.”

        The act of using it against a Pope cannot change that it is Magisterial. It changes when the Pope’s manifest mind and will indicate such a change.

        But indpendent of the timeline when the cited documents changed from magisterial teaching to former magisterial teaching, it is a close one:

        “4. Bearing in mind the nature of the above-cited norm (cfr. n. 1), no ecclesiastical authority may dispense the minister of Holy Communion from this obligation in any case, nor may he emanate directives that contradict it.”

        AL and/or making the BA guidelines official is the act of a ecclestial authority of dispensing the ministers of Holy Communion from the obligation outlined in the first cited document.

        As the document taught magisterally that no “ecclesiastical authority” may dispense this obligation, the only thing saving this from being a direct contradiction by Pope Francis of previous magisterial teaching seems to be that the first cited document is just from the “Pontifical Council for legislative texts” “in agreement with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline” but not in explicite agreement with the then Pope.

        So its just Pontifical Council for legislative texts + CDF + congregation for worship vs. Pope, which the latter wins.

        If the first paragraph had ended with:

        “the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments” and with the Pope “declares the following:”

        the situation would be different, as then the Pope had declared that even a Pope cannot dispense from the obligation.

        Close one.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        Yes, the CDF has no authority to say that the Pope can or cannot do something.

      • jong says:

        The bottomline of Canon915 is this, the Dissenters interpret it according to orthodoxy and Pope Francis interpret it according to the heart of the gospel which is the Divine Mercy of God.
        Now, Pope Francis was inspired by the Holy Spirit to help those couples who are seeking the Church to help them. Can the Divine Mercy of God transends the orthodox interpretation of Canon915 in favor of the wounded soul seeking the mercy of God? Pope Francis words are very clear the gospel does not condemn souls who are seeking help from the Church, and the Holy Eucharist is not a prize for the righteous but a medicine to heal those who earnestly seek God’s mercy.
        The problem with the Dissenters is they are too rigid, they forgot that Pope Francis is magnifying the teaching inspired by the Holy Spirit in Vatican II Council harmonizing the Fatima and Divine Mercy revelation.
        To forget this two major apparition in these Age of Darkness is to forget what the Holy Spirit had inspired to the Church in these end times. “The Divine Mercy is Infinite but the Time of Mercy is Not.”(Pope Francis)
        The 2000 year Tradition is very very clear the Church united to the Pope is guided by the Holy Spirit it cannot err,. So a simple question would be, who are inspiring the Dissenters to express a contradictory view to Amoris Laetetia which is already an approved Magisterial Teaching?
        I dont think the Dubia Cardinals and Dissenting Bishops was inspired by the Holy Spirut to oppose Amoris Laetetia. The Holy Spirit is not the author of Dubia & Division.
        So @carn, who inspires the dissenters to oppose & express continuously contradictory view on AL?
        Remember Canon752 is higher than Canon915 when a teaching is already an approved Magisterial teaching..
        Can you answer this simple question?

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        There is no opposition between Francis and orthodoxy. The purpose of this site is precisely to show that Francis is orthodox. Orthodoxy is not bad, in fact, mercy properly understood is part of orthodoxy

      • carn says:


        I think you misunderstand a bit of what my post here were about. They were about what the official interpretation of Canon 915 by the Church is and if and when and by what the official interpretation has changed.

        All laws need interpretation, cause no law can cover all practical details. For some aspects sometimes a definite interpretation is needed, cause e.g. if under the same set of laws one cause of action would definitely 100% be murder with one local court and definitely 100% not be murder with the neighbouring local court, serious problems would arise.

        Accordingly, all bodies of law have some formal or informal method to arrive at a definite interpretation. For example in the US secular law this is quite obvious, when the courts of one state decide some matter differently than the courts of another state and the matter is important, it will go to the supreme court, who will decide definitely. One will have a ruling with a date and with a text in which the matter itself, the relevant laws, the intrepretations of the lower courts will be discussed and the text will include some sentences which nobody will have a glimmer of doubt are describing the now definite interpretation of the relevant laws (insofar a definite interpretation is necessary to settle the case).

        Canon law is a body of law. It must have definite interpretations as well for those parts for which competing interpretations exist.

        And the first text linked by David:

        is such a definite interpretation. We know therefore that at latest from June 24, 2000 onward Canon Law 915 was to be interpreted as described in that text. At least until potentially Pope Francis established a different definite interpretation.

        My issue would be now, when and by what has he done this, if at all?

        And as i described usually such a definitive interpretation would name the laws in question and would put whatever new definite interpretation into words. Just like in the linked text, in which explicitely Canon 915 is discussed and some words are spent to explain how it is to be interpreted/not to be interpreted.

        But such a text by Pope Francis does not exist, cause as far as i am aware he has never ever mentioned Canon 915.

        So we are only left with the argument that Pope Francis indirectly changed the interpretation of Canon 915, without ever mentioning Canon 915 itself. While that might be possible, it makes answering the question when Pope Francis did that and what the new definitive interpretation is at least not straightforward.

        And this is not an irrelevant matter. Cause Canon Law at times must be applied by courts; and these courts then must use the definite interpretation; which gets difficult if one has problems to name the date the interpretation became official or to put the interpretation into words.

        E.g. a divorced and remarried couple in eastern part of Germany goes AL and can receive communion at least in their parish; they regularly are across the border in Poland in some parish there; the priest there gets to know about their situation; he denies them communion due to Canon 915; they complain (due to an infringement of their rights as catholics in good standing to receive sacraments), the case goes to the bishop (or bishops, as both the one in Poland and in Germany would be responsible).

        And now its not a matter of lacking mercy, not a matter of disregarding the gospel, not a matter of hardened stance, not a matter of dissent and all the other things you might think of, when the polish bishop considers whether to discipline that priest.

        But it is a matter of interpretation of Canon 915. If the June 24 2000 official interpretation would be still valid, it would be an INJUSTICE to discipline the priest. Accordginly, the polish bishop would need to determine whether that interpretation is still valid or not.

        For that he would have to determine, if, when and how Pope Francis might have enacted a new interpretation of Canon 915 without ever mentioning 915. The bishop should nail this down to a specific statement and date (or several statements and dates which cumulatively are a new interpretation) before he decides to discipline the priest.

        I hope this highlights that this is not a matter of mercy vs non-mercy; both sides, the couple as the priest deserve mercy in that situation; and that requires first to establish whether the priest acted according to the law he was bound to follow or not, which depends upon the above issues of when and how Pope Francis might have issues the new interpretation; after establishing this the bishop would have to apply the law as far as mercy allows and requires.

        Difficult thing. But he cannot skip establishing if and when the official interpretation was changed (especially as the June 24 2000 document is still on Vatican website without any note that it is outdated; things would really get muddy if the priest would argue that he found that interpretation on VA website and found no other later publication dealing with 915 and therefore presumed that it is still the official interpretation).

        If you think what i wrote is all wrong, nuts, against the gospel or lacking mercy, i would probably have to conclude that you want to do away with canon law in genereal; cause if you have canon law, one must deal with the above issues; if dealing with these issues is against gospel, one cannot have canon law.

        About your questions:

        “who inspires the dissenters to oppose & express continuously contradictory view on AL?”

        I lack mindreading powers, so i do not know the answer. I think one inspiration might be logic combined with knowledge about how laws are applied; cause i suspect many “dissenters” would nod along with what i wrote above and would wonder, why such obvious things actually have to be explained.

        “Can you answer this simple question?”

        Not realy, cause i lack mindreading powers. My above answer is only a guess ond does not exclude other inspirations.

        “Can the Divine Mercy of God transends the orthodox interpretation of Canon915 in favor of the wounded soul seeking the mercy of God?”

        Surely it can. But i think it would be a lot more straighforward if the Holy Spirit would inspire Pope Francis to write or order some subordinate to officially write some text comprising “How canon 915 is to be interpreted in light of Amoris Laetitias:” and then sign it. If some older interpretation of canon 915 is to be discarded and if making this official just requires some text about one page in length with a Papal signature beneath, it seems it would be a bit more smooth to just do that.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        “Difficult thing. But he cannot skip establishing if and when the official interpretation was changed (especially as the June 24 2000 document is still on Vatican website without any note that it is outdated; things would really get muddy if the priest would argue that he found that interpretation on VA website and found no other later publication dealing with 915 and therefore presumed that it is still the official interpretation).”

        Except that he would see in the Vatican website a letter from the Pope saying that there is “no other interpretation” to his apostolic exhortation than the Buenos Aires criteria, which clearly states that Eucharist can be given on account of mitigating circumstances

        Whether it deals directly with Canon 915 or not, he can clearly see that the CDF doc is outdated

      • Marie says:


        I find your example of US law, and all bodies of law that have some formal or informal method to arrive at a definite interpretation interesting. Of course they draw conclusions, but they show exactly why, when applied to our faith, it is vital, in the end, to have one, and only one supreme authority in these matters. Obviously that would not work well in a democracy, but it works wonders for a living Church that must be free from error in faith and morals. Laws are rarely definitive in reality, and often time brings new applications. Regular US Supreme court rulings of 5-4 show their vulnerability. The interpretation varies, it is only that the majority opinion rules. They are constantly challenged. Even the interpretation of the interpretation is challenged. Thankfully, In the case of the Church, it is ultimately the Pope who decides.

        Clearly that is a hard pill to swallow for those confident in their position and interpretation , particularly those so well versed, yet it is fundamental; follow the Vicar of Christ = following the will of Christ.

        Regardless, I’m still trying to figure out where you see conflict in Canon 915. Are you suggesting that the person who, in their unique and very difficult circumstance, who has received absolution and has been given permission to receive communion is obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin? And how do you come to that conclusion? If I understand it’s meaning, and it’s quite possible I don’t, but I see that to mean basically someone flaunting their sin, or ‘flipping the bird’ at everyone, completely aware that their actions are contrary to faith and contrary to the practice of receiving Holy Communion. How can that be the case for anyone, who genuinely seeks reconciliation, and through their efforts, and because of their very unique circumstance, it has been determined that they indeed may receive communion? It has already been determined that in their particular situation they are not committing adultery at the level of a mortal sin. Again, I think the whole meaning of this is not understood. The dubia reveals this lack of understanding.

        Pedro clearly spells this out, step by step how this is possible. The Vicar of Christ has said so, therefore it is Christ’s will that this be recognized as the case for some divorced and remarried Catholics whose unique circumstances have revealed they are not in mortal sin. What those exact circumstances are is a very personal, and is determined on an individual basis, much like the grounds for annulment.
        I’m not sure where your scenario of going to a different parish comes from. Should the same apply to those who have received an annulment?

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        Marie, the problem is that in previous pontificates, the CDF has said that the correct interpretation of “manifest grave sin” in Canon 915 should be based on their objective state, not on whether their sin is manifest to others

        But the CDF has no authority over the Pope. And that’s the thing

      • jong says:

        I will allow Cardinal Walter Kasper to explain to you the errors embraced by the Dissenters as they ignore the two important keys how Amoris Laetetia overcomes Canon915. Pope Francis had implore all the Bishops & Clergy to provide “Pastoral Accompaniment” and in order to make a prudential judgement on the complex cases which couples in irregular union are situated into the Bishops & Clergy must seek the gift of discernment. Why? because no one has the faculties to see the heart or conscience of men unless one received the gift of the discernment coming from the Holy Spirit. That’s why Pope Francis implore all the prelates & clergy to seek conversion, why? Sis.Anne Shields beautifully said it, “only a converted heart can see the Face of God, the Mercy of God”. Is the Dubia Cardinals and all Dissenters followed already Pope Francis reminders for them to seek conversion? I don’t think so, if they did they will be like the Apostles in the Upper Room enlighten and had received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Without the gifts of the Holy Spirit we cannot fathom the manifest “mind & will” of Pope Francis who are living a pious life. Amoris Laetetia languages are written in supernatural form, what do I mean? The Divine Mercy of God transcends orthodoxy, and for us to grasp the Holy Spirit inspiration to Pope Francis one must live a pious life by seeking conversion as Jesus said “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God”. The problem with the Dubia Cardinals arguments is they cannot see that the Infinite Mercy of God is not bound to orthodoxy as Pope Francis is acting with an urgent mission in these end times making the Church a field hospital as he reminded all of us “The Divine Mercy is Infinite but the Time of Mercy is Not”. This is where the opposition comes to play, the Dubia Cardinals hold on primarily to the Divine Justice while Pope Francis was inspired by the Holy Spirit to implore the Mercy of God to all the lost and wounded souls. What is the clear difference? Pope Francis is docile to the Voice of the Holy Spirit, can we say the same to the Dubia Cardinals and all the Dissenters? Definitely Not!…why? Because there is only One Holy Spirit and She cannot inspire the Dubia et al to oppose Her inspiration to Pope Francis which is anchored on the heart of the gospel.
        That’s why I simply asked you a direct question, who are inspiring the Dubia Cardinals and Dissenters to continuously expressed contradictory view to an approved Magisterial Teaching as they are violating already Canon752. Also, Lumen Gentium25 if applied to Dubia Cardinals and Dissenters they are the one receiving the Holy Communion unworthily. (Read LG25 it will shock you!)
        Lastly please see this link where Cardinal Kasper pointed out the error of the Dubia arguments as they hold on to ““one-sided moral objectivism”, please see this link;
        Also, Fr.John Hollowell a good priest had explain clearly and beautifully back in 2016 why the Bishops & Priest have a difficulty in understanding Amoris Laetetia, one simple reason they embraced “laziness” as Amoris Laetetia will demand time & sacrifices for their Pastoral Accompaniment and most especially they also must undergoes conversion along the way to become docile to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

      • Marie says:

        Thank you Pedro for clarifying. Wouldn’t AL change that though? Clearly AL indicates a different interpretation of canon 915, even though canon 915 would still stand, no? What does it matter what a previous interpretation of 915 was if the present Pope, through AL has determined it should be viewed another way? Sorry, I’m missing something…..

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        That’s what I have been arguing, even if the CDF document affirms that its interpretation is definitive. Still, the CDF has no authority to say that against a Pope, so…

      • jong says:

        Dear Perdro & Marie
        I think this is perhaps the main reason why Pope Francis replaced Cardinal Muller the former Prefect of CDF.
        Please type in the Cardinal Muller interview with Raymond Arroyo, he revealed their differences in how they view this teaching in relation to AL. Your conversation comes into my mind that interview. So, Canon915 is perhaps the turning point why Pope Francis and Cardinal Muller the former CDF Prefect becomes the issue. In that EWTN interview Cardinal Muller admitted his opposing opinion with Pope Francis.
        This is where the Vicar of Christ is Supreme as the Holy Spirit inspiration must prevailed and the Supreme Pontiff authority must be upheld by the Church hierarchy and must be embraced by all faithful catholic who are guided by the unity in Christ thru His Vicar.

      • carn says:


        “Regardless, I’m still trying to figure out where you see conflict in Canon 915.”

        What i discussed here, is the issue of the official interpretation of Canon 915.

        This one:
        was at least an official interpretation.

        To determine that it is no longer the official interpretation, one would have to point out to some Church statement/document with equal or more weight and show that this Church statement/document offers a new interpretation of Canon 915.

        That is not straighforward easy in this case, as Pope Francis never said ever anything about Canon 915. Hence, for example i do not think one could name AL as the document offering a new interpretation, cause it is not definite regarding admission to communion, since it just says that it might be possible in some cases in a footnote. One could try to argue that making BA guidelines official resolves that.

        But it is still rather unusual, cause i just googled
        interpretation canon 915

        and guess what the first hit was?

        Yes, the text with the potentially outdated and no longer valid interpretation on the official VA website.

        And my example is just an example what the problems can be, when it is rather blurry when and how and with what that potentially outdated interpretation went out of date.

        Cause in principle every single priest is bound to follow canon law. So every single priest is required when someone apporaches communion, who might have some manifest grave sin problem and the priest is aware about this, to FOLLOW what the official interpretation of Canon 915 tells him to do. No opt out for the priest. If what the priest thinks is the official interpretation indicates the priest must decline communion, he MUST do so.

        So the question what the official interpretation is, is relevant. And what the official interpretation is, is not helped by the Vatican still having on its official website a potentially outdated interpretation.

        @Pedro Gabriel

        I do not see anything about AL when searching VA website for Canon 915:

        Remember, the issue is whether to punish the priest for his potential wrongdoing. We must consider mitigating circumstances for him as well. And i think the official authority being to incompetent to put a “out of date” tag on an outdated document, that was outdated by documents not explicitely discussing the same matter, could be a mitigating circumstance for the priest.

        Its rather simple:

        You want to change a law?

        Then just do it.

        Most other options are often problematic.

      • carn says:


        “because no one has the faculties to see the heart or conscience of men unless one received the gift of the discernment coming from the Holy Spirit.”

        “Is the Dubia Cardinals and all Dissenters followed already Pope Francis reminders for them to seek conversion? I don’t think so,”

        “The problem with the Dubia Cardinals arguments is they cannot see”

        “This is where the opposition comes to play, the Dubia Cardinals hold on primarily to the Divine Justice”

        “Pope Francis is docile to the Voice of the Holy Spirit, can we say the same to the Dubia Cardinals and all the Dissenters? Definitely Not!”

        “That’s why I simply asked you a direct question, who are inspiring the Dubia Cardinals and Dissenters”

        Contradiction and/or hypocrisy. Unless you can argue that you have received from the Holy Spirit the gift ofdiscernment, you should not make such statements about the hearts and souls of the “Dubia Cardinals and Dissenters”, cause you just stated in your own words that you cannot know with the gift of discernemnt from the holy Spirit.

        “That’s why I simply asked you a direct question, who are inspiring the Dubia Cardinals and Dissenters”

        That’s why that question is wrong based on your own words. You ask me in one post to “see the heart or conscience of” “Dubia Cardinals and Dissenters” and in the next admit that i lack the faculties to do so. What nonsense is this to ask me to do something which you are claiming that i am unable to do?

        (Unless of course you would suggest that i received the “gift of discernment” from the Holy Spirit; but in that case, i think i would discern a few things you would not agree with)

        “to oppose Her inspiration”



        “Lastly please see this link where Cardinal Kasper pointed out the error of the Dubia arguments as they hold on to ““one-sided moral objectivism”, please see this link;

        Thank you for that one. I once read the german original, but did not find it again.

        Now i found it:–zum-verstaendnis-von-amoris-laetitia.html

        “Solche verantwortliche Anwendung eines Gesetzes geschieht auch im weltlichen Rechtsbereich. Dort wird bei jeder Tötung eines Menschen zwischen Mord und Todschlag unterschieden, und auch beim Mord werden Umstände und Motive (etwa Heimtücke) beim Strafmaß sorgfältig abgewogen. Das muss umso mehr in der Kirche gelten. Denn sie schaut bei ihrer nicht nur rechtlichen, sondern auch sittlichen Beurteilung des Maßes an subjektiver Schuld nicht nur auf die äußere Tat, sondern auch das innere Gewissen eines Menschen.”

        I remember reading this and a similar statement of Kardinal Kasper, this so great theologican according to Pope Francis. Cause there he says that what Pope Francis does in respect to communion is akin to what criminal courts do; in another statement (which i still do not find again) Kardinal Kasper even made explicite what is only implicite here, that he is talking about how guilt is handled in German criminal courts and penal law.

        There is a slight problem with that: my knowledge and competence in that respect is superior to that of Cardinal Kasper.

        And that allows me to say that Cardinal Kasper makes a complete blunder by conflating the issue of sentencing past crimes and how guilt is assessed and applies this to future issues, namely if a repetition of the crime/sin after sentencing/confession can be assessed preemptively the same way as the past crime/sin was assessed.

        I already posted in a post below, how ridiculous this is.

        This incompetence, not to notice that German criminal law does all those complicated and nuanced assessment of guilt (the heads of US lawyers would probably be spinning, if they would have to understand all the details) ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS only for past issues, cause it would be completely idiotic to do it preemptively for future issues – and then argue that AL, which requires that preemptively at the end of confession any planned or regularly occuring intimacy of the divorced and remarried in the near future is already deemed to be mitigated, is just something similar. Kardinal Kasper either does not get what is done in German law or he does not care that it does not fit.

        “Also, Fr.John Hollowell”

        Isn’t he a dissenter by now according to your understanding?

        Besides in that homily he seems to argue against the people who do not care about Canon 915 and not so much against dubia et al (though you could say the time where he does so, cause maybe i missed it)

  2. jong says:

    Dear Pedro,
    Please see this link where Fr.John Hollowell in 2016 where he still very much in Full Communion with Pope Francis viewed Amoris Laetetia as orthodox.
    Father John Hollowell
    Published on Apr 24, 2016

    In this video, Fr.Hollowell expressed it clearly the good thing about Amoris Laetetia, but sadly nowadays he no longer upheld this same view. One time, when he guested with Dr.Marshall TnT Gossiping Show, I politely reminded Fr.Hollowell of his video explaining Amoris Laetetia but unfortunately he no longer upheld the statement contained in his homily. Recently, I think he and Dr.Marshall had set a trip to Holy Land, this troubles me about Fr.Hollowell association with the groups known to promotes the evil attitude of “recognize and resist”.

    In this video, Fr.Hollowell view is in line with the Holy Spirit inspirations to Pope Francis imploring all the Bishops & Clergy not to rely on “full knowledge” as your article intelligently implied, but Fr.Hollowell agreed on your reasoning on the “full consent” as mitigating factors as he explain that a priest must not be lazy when a couple in an irregular union is seeking the help of the Priest,and Fr.Hollowell reminded that a Priest must sacrifice their time & inconveniences to offer a Pastoral Accompaniment and Discernment to know fully well the couples situation and help them form their conscience and educate for them to understand with clarity the teaching of the Church. Amoris Laetetia requires sacrifices and time of the Priest, that’s why Pope Francis implore all of them to seek conversion, why? Discernment is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and it is the Key to know the state of the soul or the heart of those seeking the help of the Church. Pope Francis is reminding all the priest & bishops that they must be docile to the Voice of the Holy Spirit and for them to become docile and receive the gift of discernment they must prepare their hearts too, thru conversion, just like in the Upper Room.

    Hope the video of Fr.John Hollowell a good priest will enlighten the dissenters that his thoughts & reflections was once in harmony with Pope Francis, and what happening today is for me is not good, why?
    When a priest & bishop thoughts & reflections is oppose to the Pope, there are only two spiritual realities. Who inspires them? Holy Spirit or the spirit of error & lies. Because it cannot be possible that the Holy Spirit inspires Pope Francis on Amoris Laetetia and the other bishop & priest will also claimed that they are inspired by the same Holy Spirit in opposition..Now, to all the dissenters please reflect on who inspired Cardinal Burke et,al to oppose the approves Magisterial Teaching of Pope Francis, remember Amoris Laetetia was already approved by the Church Magisterium and the 2000 years Tradition is very very clear. “The Church united to the Pope is guided by the Holy Spirit and cannot err.”

  3. Manuel Dauvin says:

    David.’d have a point about the straw man if you and many AL detractors hadn’t first adopted your own from the beginning.
    It doesn’t take a careful reading to realize that paragraph 305(the context for note 351) does not create a general permission for the cohabitating remarried to approach communion. This is, I feel, the disingenuous reading that has caused the “confusion”. In the paragraph it mentions circumstances in which the performance of the canonical requirements to separate leads to a greater evil. ..such as the rights of the child to grow up with its parents. The obligation for continence has not been lifted. (Thus any interpretation which assumes that Francis opening wide the doors to fill acceptance of objective sin is a straw man).
    Also the inference that failing to answer the Dubia is avoidance of a papal conflict with predecessors fails in logic. There are many reasons I can find for the pope not responding. If they can’t read the document in good faith then neither would they read the response in good faith.
    When a couple inan irregular situation has children and wishes to attempt to bring the family into closer proximity to the faith. ..the church would be beyond stupid(in terms of her mission) to categorically apply your reading of the situation. We are talking about children being brought to the church as well as couples having to encounter there weakness in confession every time they wanted to receive the Lord.

  4. John says:

    Gracias Pedro Gabriel! And fitting name you have, too, for this “announcing” this article in defence of the “Rock”.

    On a different (yet albeit related?) topic: have you ever written on (or considered or saw the comparison / analogy) the “oncology of sin”? As an oncologist, I for one, would love to hear your assessment on the comparison of sin and cancer. For example, I’ve heard the wonderful priests of “NFP Outreach” ministry preach that “contraception is the biggest CANCER in the Church today!” because it is a silent but deadly disease that is eating away at marriages and vocations and has been spreading the disease of dissent ever since HV was published, etc.

    I’ve also heard it said by an Egyptian doctor that we all have cancer cells but they don’t grow and do bad stuff unless our immune systems gets down. If that’s correct (and I’m no doctor! Just a pilot…) then there’s also an analogy with original sin and concupiacience perhaps? But that Egyptian group also claimed that chemo doesn’t really help, but just makes money, so not sure if any truth to it or just off on a tangent?

    Anyways, thanks for a great article! St. Luke would be proud! 👍🏻💪🏽🙏

  5. carn says:

    The article seems to gloss over the aspect that usually mitigating circumstances are considered mostly when considering the past; but it is unusual that they preemptively apply to the future, which seems to be necessary if there is no intent to avoid committing adultery or other sins at the end of confession.

    To make this clear by a somewhat caricature examples:

    Judge: “Not guilty, cause the accused had at the time he fired the gun at the barrel for target practicing no knowledge that the victim was inside the barrel. So while the accused did kill the victim, he had not intent to kill him and therefore is not guilty of homicide.”

    Accused: “Thank you; just to state it clearly that means that i am free to continue to fire at barrels for target practice without first checking whether someone is inside; cause then even if someone were inside the barrel i will not know it and i willnot be guilty of murder; people just have to learn not to hide inside the barrels in my garden; can i have now my gun back?”

    Number 2:

    Judge: “Not guilty, cause the evidence shows that the accused was due to the psychological issues of […] unable to control himself for a few minutes, when provoked by the victim; although the accused beat the victim to death he is therefore not guilty of homicide.”

    Accused: “Thank you; just to state it clearly that means that when as planned i meet C next week and C provokes me again as he did last time – that time i only didn’t beat him to death cause i was restrained by a friend who will not be present in the next planned meeting with C – i can beat him to death without being guilty of murder. Oh, i nearly forgot, i need to sent C a message that i was found not guilty and therefore our meeting can go on as planned.”

    While you probably think that this examples are absurd and it would be absurd to presume that cops/courts do not in any way react to these bizarre statements of the accused, what the accused do is just projecting the mitigating circumstances which were present during the potentially crimes they were accused of into the future and upon future events . And this projecting mitigating circumstances into the future makes this statements so absurd.

    While that doesn’t mean that projecting mitigating circumstances is always absurd, it means that it needs to be considered.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      While I do agree that the examples you cite are absurd, I also agree with your statement “that doesn’t mean that projecting mitigating circumstances is always absurd”

      • carn says:

        There was some part of my last sentence missing:

        …, it means that it needs to be considered very, very carefully before one resorts to this as reason why a confession was valid although the penitent had already plans to commit grave matter again.

        Personally and regarding matters of secular law, i would expect any secular authority who attempted to make any rule change based on some future projection of mitigating circumstances to only have fulfilled its duties regarding carefulness if such a very, very careful consideration had taken place and would be visible by a detailed written explicite discussion of the issue of future mitigating circumstances by either the secular authority itself or by somebody explitely tasked by the secular authority to consider the matter, wherein this written texts should include some acknowledgement that one deals with the rather tricky issue of future projection of mitigating circumstances and some remarks explicitely discussing how this tricky issue could be resolved in that case.

        If any secular authority would do anything less, they would have acted in my view without due care and failed their duties. And would probably earn the scorn and/or laughter of many courts and lawyers who have to understand, interpret and apply the law in question.

        Just to make sure you understand what i mean with very, very carefully.

        Of course what would be applicable for secular law and acts of secular law givers might not be applicable to ecclestial counterparts. And the Holy See is judged by no one.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        I have nothing to disagree with your last comment.

      • jong says:

        Ok I will follow your method of argument point by point to be more charitable;

        But, first I would like to remind you that for us to know the mind & will of God and to fully understand His inspiration we must have the “gift of wisdom” which all the Popes are bestowed upon by the virtue of their Divine Appointment as Chief Shepherd of Christ Flock. That’s why they are Dogmatically acknowledge as the Supreme Legislator, Interpreter and Guarantor of Faith that none of us possessed even all the bright Cardinals & Bishops and expert Theologians & biblical scholars combined. Why, it is simply so, because that is God’s Holy Decree.
        All the Cardinals, Bishop, Priest, theologians, biblical scholars even you and me can be deceive by Satan to fall into errors & heresy but not the Pope. If you embraced the Dissenters opinion that a Pope can err on Church Laws & Doctrines then you are going against the Dogma of the Church and what is the ground for opposing the Dogma of the Church as Canon Law states? automatic excommunication.
        Plus we will make Jesus a liar in Luke22:32 if we embraced the lies & deceptions concocted by satan human cohorts that Pope Francis erred in teaching the Church doctrines of faith & morals.
        Important Note : if you have time, read the numerous articles of this site at it deals directly the issues between Pope Francis vs. schismatic Cardinals and Dissenters. see this link;

        1. The 2000 years Tradition is the Church united to the Pope is guided by the Holy Spirit it cannot err.
        Amoris Laetetia is already an approved authentic Magisterial Teaching and the CDF approves it therefore anyone as per Canon212, CCC891 and Canon752 and Lumen Gentium25 must submit to it.
        So, my simple question to you is, if the Holy Spirit already upheld the teaching of Amoris Laetetia who then inspires the Dubia Cardinals and Dissenters to oppose and resist it? Only two opposing spirit exist in this world, the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of lies & error. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know who inspires the Dubia Cardinals to oppose an approved authentic Magisterial Teaching.
        For more clarity as you hold on to CDF doctrines penned by the previous CDF Prefect and quite odd because it was Cardinal Ratzinger, this where the Dogma of the Supreme Authority shines best. Cardinal Ratzinger is a pious Bishop but as a Bishop he does not enjoy the “fullness of the gift of wisdom” bestowed on all the Popes because he is not the Chief Shepherd, so Cardinal Ratzinger is not wrong in that doctrines but rather by God Holy Decree the inspiration on what direction the Church must take was always given to the Pope by virtue of His Office as the Supreme Pontiff. It would be odd if the Holy Spirit inspires a Cardinal or Bishop instead of the Pope on the full understanding of God’s Will for His Church.don’t you agree?
        To make a solid point, as you hold onto previous doctrines particularly Canon915 which was issued by CDF therefore it is an official Church Doctrines, but as Pedro Gabriel had answered you, can the Pope acting and ordained as the Supreme Legislator, Interpreter and Guarantor of Faith can say to the CDF Prefect and to the College of Bishops that He was inspired by the Holy Spirit to look into the lost & wounded souls and upheld the heart of the gospel teachings which is Divine Mercy. Meaning the Pope was inspired by the Holy Spirit to implore the Infinite Mercy of God instead of employing the orthodox interpretation of Canon915. Previous Popes and CDF Prefect is correct in understanding the orthodoxy of Canon915, the only difference is, the Holy Spirit during the time of Pope Francis was inspired to wear the cloak of “compassion and mercy” by making the Church a Field Hospital. Amoris Laetetia is not opposing nor contradicting Canon915 because the word “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin” can be overcome by Pastoral Accompaniment & Discernment.
        If you happen to know Cardinal Muller the former Prefect of CDF that was relieved in 2017 by Pope Francis, we can see based on all his actions and words now that he opposes Amoris Laetetia and possibly hold onto Canon915 and CDF doctrines of June 2000. A Prefect must submit to the Wisdom of the Supreme Pontiff because that is the way Jesus founded the One, Holy Apostolic, Catholic Church. What is the fate of those who resist the Pope according to St.Paul? “damnation”, read Romans13:1-2

        To understand what Pope Francis means by Pastoral Accompaniment and Discernment you have to know him and more so love the Vicar of Christ, because it is only thru loving Pope Francis that we get to understand the heart of his messages and his teachings.
        Please see, read, and ponder who Pope Francis is, his personality, spirituality and who he is as a person as Pope Francis asked by Fr.Spadaro who is Jorge Bergolio? …you may be surprised how Pope Francis answered this simple but important question. Pope Francis answered directly “I am a sinner”.
        for the full text of the interview see this link;

        2. “Her?”. the Catholic Church is both a Mother and a Teacher and the Bride of Jesus Christ, so the word “Her” is rightly so. Plus the mystery word of the Holy Spirit in Hebrew is “feminine”, But this is a long discussion.

        3. If I used the Gift of Prudence whom will I choose the Wisdom inspired to Cardinal Kasper who is in Full Communion with Pope Francis or to the Dubia Cardinals, Dissenting Bishops and Theologians who are clearly committing formal heresy & schism by violating the simple evangelical guidelines of Donum Veritatis and Canon752?

        In closing, all of us must upheld the heart of the Gospel which is the Divine Mercy of God, why? When God looks at the divorced and civilly remarried or even complex irregular union, God sees a lost and wounded souls likes the Prodigal Son. Will a loving & merciful Father use Canon915 to a wounded souls returning to him seeking healing & mercy? This is where Pope Francis receives the full inspiration of the gospel of salvation. God will not apply Divine Justice as long as we are living in this world, but as Jesus revealed in the Divine Mercy “the greater the sins are, the greater the sinners have the right to His Divine Mercy”, in other words Pope Francis understand fully the “mind & will” of God how to treat the ‘divorced & civilly remarried” by wearing the cloak of compassion & mercy.
        I repeat Canon915 is not wrong, but the word “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin” is overcome by the “mercy & compassion” of God clearly written in the Gospel of Christ, and the way God inspires Pope Francis to overcome it is thru “Pastoral Accompaniment and Discernment” meaning healing the wounds first before you teach the lost souls of all the Church Doctrines. Loves heals all and love conquers all, and in the end we will not be judge according to the perfection of our faith but according the love & mercy we shown to others especially the lost & wounded souls in the case of divorced of civilly remarried. God bless you and your loveones. My Jesus mercy. S&IHMMP4us.Amen

      • carn says:


        “But, first I would like to remind you that for us to know the mind & will of God and to fully understand His inspiration we must have the “gift of wisdom” which all the Popes are bestowed upon by the virtue of their Divine Appointment as Chief Shepherd of Christ Flock.”

        I am not sure where you get that the Pope is guranteed to have the gife of wisdom. He is guaranteed not to teach heresy. In all other ways he can be as human as the rest of us. And err as the rest of us. He can even fall into heresy, just not teach it.

        A Pope could personally believe in any heresy, but teaching them he cannot.

        “So, my simple question to you is, if the Holy Spirit already upheld the teaching of Amoris Laetetia who then inspires the Dubia Cardinals and Dissenters to oppose and resist it?”

        The simple answer: AL is an inconsistent mess that does not teach anything. So the Pope effectively used his infallibility to declare:

        blabla; mumble; mumble; A and non-A

        Accordingly, as there is no defined teaching contained therein one cannot oppose the non-existing teaching; but one can oppose the Pope offering documents being an inconsistent mess, cause that causes strive, confusion and makes schism more likely.

        (that is a very simplified and exaggerated explanation to make the issue clear, how what you call opposition can be perfectly legitimate)

        “can the Pope acting and ordained as the Supreme Legislator”

        The Pope can. But the Pope made sure one has a hard time to know for certain that he actually did. It is one page, about 500-1000 words and a signature to declare a new interpretation of Canon 915. But there isn’t time for that, cause instead we are to guess what the new interpretation is.

        “If you happen to know Cardinal Muller the former Prefect of CDF that was relieved in 2017 by Pope Francis, we can see based on all his actions and words now that he opposes Amoris Laetetia”

        Mueller is trained on lawyer-type thinking; Pope Francis has problems to get along with layer-type thinking people, cause they might for example bother him with such nuances that if he wants to change the interpretation of Canon 915, he should better do so by saying some words including the term “Canon 915”.

        I know quite well that there are people who are easy to annoy with lawyer-type thinking and mistake it for cold-heartedness or such; and my bet is that Pope Francis is among these.

        Accordingly, Mueller was fired cause Pope Francis could not get along with him.

        “2. “Her?”.”

        I thought you were talking about the Holy Spirit. “her” is usually used by people for the Holy Spirit who want to scrap lots of Church teaching. But there are exceptions, so never mind.

        “3. If I used the Gift of Prudence whom will I choose the Wisdom inspired to Cardinal Kasper who is in Full Communion with Pope Francis or to the Dubia Cardinals, Dissenting Bishops and Theologians who are clearly committing formal heresy & schism by violating the simple evangelical guidelines of Donum Veritatis and Canon752?”

        When Cardinal Kasper talks:

        a) nonsense about German criminal law; and
        b) we do the same [nonsense] now in the Church

        prudence tells me, that something is wrong.

        “Will a loving & merciful Father use Canon915 to a wounded souls returning to him seeking healing & mercy?”

        A loving and merciful Father would upon realizing the Canon 915 lacks sometimes in respect to mercy hire a competent layer-type thinking person – e.g. Cardinal Mueller, Cardinal Burke – talk with that person for how ever many hours it takes till the person understand where the mercy-deficit is and then order that person to supply him with a solution how to change the law/the interpretation of the law without accidentally doing damage somewhere else; and the loving and merciful Father would then listen if the lawyer-type is skeptical about certain solutions and proposes some alterations or alternative approaches.

        Cause a loving and merciful Father knows that law serves a purpose and should be put into good use instead of just not caring about the law.

        Law is not evil. But needs care in handling or you’ll get a mess.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        There’s also the problem that people still hang on to “we have to guess what the new interpretation is” when the new interpretation has been made perfectly clear, by they don’t accept it

        Also, I have decided on previous threads that I should not let conversations hanging on forever. Both carn and jong can make their final statements and then I will close this particular debate between the two

      • Marie says:

        Carn- I must say I’m taken back by your responses to Jong’s questions. More importantly however, I find it humorous that you impose your ideas onto the Pope, what he should or should not be doing, because you simply don’t want to accept AL. You know many of us understand it clearly, and embrace it fully but you cannot accept that it is you that is lacking in this case. What is humorous is that you give yourself a total free pass for not understanding the pope (It must be him that is unclear, surely not me), but you offer no such charity to those in irregular unions seeking clarity in their efforts to come back to the Church.

      • jong says:

        Thanks Pedro,
        This is my final statement.
        Good thing you mentioned what type of sprituality does Cardinal Burke & Mueller have and I guess all the Dissenters followed a lawyer-minded thinking as they embraced more on the technicalities of the law like the Pharisees who failed to see the Face of God, the Mercy of God, thereby closing the door to new inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Only a converted heart that is pure can see the Face of God. “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God.” Have you seen the face of God in the wounds of the souls of those couple in irregular situations? Remember our Lord Jesus Christ is a “wounded” saviour. Gaze At the Foot of the Cros like what Pope Francis is doing, seeing the wounds makes our heart embraced the cloak of mercy & compassion like Jesus & Mama Mary.
        This is where the main differences between Pope Francis wisdom and the Dubia Cardinals.
        The heart of Pope Francis is constantly gazing At the Foot of the Cross as evident when he said “The Church is both a Teacher and a Mother who always looks at the loving and merciful Mother who always implore to seek the Mercy of God.”
        Dont forget the mission of the Church is salvation of souls thats why “the primacy of mercy over justice” must be upheld at all times for Her to conform Her mission to the heart of the Gospel which is Divine Mercy.
        Let me enlighten you about the “anointing” of God and traced it to King Solomon, what did King Solomon seek as his “anonting” to govern his people? King Solomon must acknowledge two things first, he is a “servant of God” and “a son of thy handmaid” to obtain wisdom as gift or anointing. Who facilitates the “anointing” of the Apostles in the Upper Room to received the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit including wisdom in varying degrees according to their assigned mission? Who is King Solomon referring to as “handmaid”? its both a mystery and a prophecy.
        Angel Gabriel was in awe & struck because of this revelation as Mama Mary commanded him, “BEHOLD, I am the Handmaid of the Lord”.
        This is some of the hidden wisdom of God which is only given to a humble & obedient souls,
        and all the Popes by virtue of their Supreme Authority was given more clarity to govern rightly & truthfully and even the deepest secrets of God can be fathom by the Gift of Wisdom if a Pope’s heart is liken to a Mother’s heart who does not condemn a wayward child.
        I thank God that he gave us Pope Francis whose heart resembles the heart of a Mother and not of a lawyer.
        Remember, Jesus rebuked the lawyer minded Pharisees and called them brood of vipers, why?
        When we embraced a lawyer minded thinking we are not acting as Shepherd or Pastor but we resembles Satan acting in adversarial role as persecutor to judge our failings. This is not the God presented in the Prodigal Son. Our God is not a lawyer but a loving and merciful Father.
        Now, I leave with this words to ponder is a lawyer minded Pastor can resembles the Sacred Heart of Jesus who does not condemn but gave up to the last drop to save all souls even the atheist much more to the souls who are seeking the help of the Church to find healing?
        Remember the Holy Eucharist is not a prize for the righteous but a medicine for wounded souls seeking healing and begging for the Mercy of God.
        Will a loving & merciful Father use Canon915 for all the wounded souls seeking healing and begging for His merciful graces?
        Read the gospel and ponder why God sent Jesus and dont forget to gaze At the Foot of the Cross because all the demons flee when they saw the Infinite Mercy of God and the Power of the Crucified and Wounded Christ. (John3:17)

      • carn says:

        Ok, so some final statement, i’ll try to keep it short:


        “followed a lawyer-minded thinking as they embraced more on the technicalities of the law like the Pharisees who failed to see the Face of God, the Mercy of God,”

        I think that is the central issue in all this. It seems for you and many others “layer-minded thinking”/”lawyer-type thinking” is nearly or completely identical to the thinking of the “Pharisees”.

        Accordingly, whenever a “layer-type thinking” argument would be raised, it would be a “phariseeic” argument, so it would be cold, heartless and lacking mercy and you would have to reject it.

        The small problem: It is wrong to see “layer-type thinking” as identical to the thinking of the pharisees. Yes, there are phariseeic laywers.

        But there are also non-phariseeic layers. But there arguments about the law will sound nearly identical to the phariseeic layers, cause the main difference between the two is, how they handle the result of the legal argument.

        A phariseeic laywer will apply the result. Period.

        A non-phariseeic laywer will take a step back look at the result at in a sense think: “Ok, looks like the legally correct result; but i know that the legally correct result can sometimes be a completely inhuman monstrosity; so is the result i found such a result?”; and depending on the answer the non-phariseeic laywer would modify the result (though his first attempt would be to see if a legally acceptable modification of his legal reasoning could already sufficiently alter the result; that is preferable to outright ignorind the consequences of the law).

        So when a non-phariseeic lawyer approaches a problem, he would sound nearly like a phariseeic lawyer; which usually is no problem, cause time will tell them apart.

        Only, if attempts at legal reasoning are direcly met with accusations of “pharisee”, this of course will not be possible, cause there would be no dialogue.

        And the people always talking about looking at the complexeties of individual situation would not only have without considering the details put the stamp “pharisee” on both phariseeic and non-phariseeic laywers indiscrimnately, they would have deprived themselves of the expertise lawyers have with the question “We want this result: … How must we formulate the laws to achieve that result?”, which likely makes achieving the desired result more unlikely.

        You pour out the baby with the bathwater while patting yourself on the back for being so careful about details.

        I wish i could make you see, that lawyer-type thinking is not in all cases identical to phariseeic thinking. But there is no good way to do here.

        Lets try it this way: You know that there are heartbreaking situations some women face when finding out they are pregnant; there are social workers/counselers and similar who hear tons of such stories; they look daily right into complex situations and wounded hearts; and obviously when you have daily the complexities of such situations before you, those well intended pro-lifers who suggest as approach to the complex situations you see daily “Ban abortion as the murder it is, cause [lawyer-type arguments]”, you will not be fond of lawyers wading into your field and trying to make laws for this, cause it will always look like bringing down phariseeic laws indiscrimnately upon complex situations.

        For the laws i suggested some of these same people who literally consider pro-lifers as enemies thanked me with a voice verging on tears, cause what i proposed would have been helpful according to their experience.

        Only, i arrived at the proposals by nothing but lawyer-type thinking on stereoids; every single step of the way pondering at first only laws and their implications, drawing conclusions and only then stepping back and consider, whether that made any sense at all; what i did on the way would probably be indistinguishable for you from cold, heartless phariseeic thinking; but the end result is looking so well to the actual people seeing the complexities of life that they get emotional.

        Law and mercy are no contradiction. Careful applied lawyer-type thinking will – if used in the correct dosis – result in mercy written into law. If you condemn lawyer-type thinking as such, you will never get that and will thereby kick one leg away mercy is standing upon.

        To the rest i do not reply, cause i think this conflating of lawyer-type thinking with phariseeic thinking, which i think borders on seeing no difference between them, is part of the heart of the discussion.

        (Fun fact: Guess why i had problems putting my proposals into actual law? Yes, due to some people more or less rejecting lawyer-type thinking and/or thinking themselves phariseeic like; but that i already feared, which is the reason why i tried to stick with very careful legal reasoning – cause now i have to chance to shred their lawyer-type rejections to pieces, cause they made more legal mistakes than i did)


        What many people are not good at is: They want legal result X; how is the law/interpretation of law to be formulated and how should the whole legal procedure for enacting that change be pursued, that in the end we legally get X and not Y?

        It is not unusual that politicians make new laws declaring what wonderful effects the laws will have – and when the law is published in its binding and enacted form the legal experts say a collective “Oh my God, somebody should get fired for this” and then years of legal analysis and court decisions are spent on making any sense of the law and try to at least bring it close to having the effect the politicians intended. That even includes sometimes the situation to construe a complicated legal argument to interpret the law completely opposite to its verbatim meaning.

        You might say that this is no problem, cause in the end courts and lawyers will make something acceptable out of the deficient laws. But this i think is faulty due to two reasons: 1. It takes years and it often includes people to injustly (based on the original intent of the law) loose court proceedings, lots of money or even their freedom (in case of bad criminal laws), 2. it includes trusting lawyers.

        And it can often be avoided by setting some laywer-type people to the task of making the law such, that it results in X; and give them some time to work it out (which is usually the problem in politics; it runs on 24 hour news cycles; so a “wait 5 months, then we can tell you how the law might look like” is not desirable).

        So in secular law there is a lot of this bad laws/badly enacted laws (cause how and by what means you enact a law has legal consequences to how it is applied, so effects the result) going on and it is a real problem.

        And based on my knowledge about these problems it is my opinion:

        If the Pope wanted the result of altering who can approach communion by altering rules/laws/interpretations thereof, how he used the legal instruments at hand to achieve that result was just as bad as what i sometimes observe in politics.

        And as evidence i can point out, that as far as i am aware there are numerous dioceses in which effectively the new option desired by the Pope is not put into practice and it is not due to normal time needed for implementing the new, as it is correlated with the personal opinion of the local Bishop; that is the result if you leave to much legal wiggle room for your underlings/courts/whatever, cause then surely some underlings/courts/whatever will happily continue to act as if nothing changed.

        With the right approach – and that includes a healthy dosis of lawyer-type thinking – that could have been reduced or even avoided. Cause of course it is also part of that thinking to answer the question: “How to ensure that the courts do not have any room to just act as if nothing has changed? And that the courts really, really understand that they should not try it?”

        And one thing that would surely help is: Mark the outdated official interpretation as outdated and publish a new official interpretation directly adressing 915; if you do not do that, you leave wide paths open for the above problems.

        And as i have some knowledge about the problem of differences between intent of law/interpretation changes and actual effect of law/interpretation i think there is no problem to have the opinion, that for the process of changing law/interpretation to achieve his desired the result the Pope does not deserve a good grade, as this is about the content of the teaching but about how the teaching was promulgated.

        You probably think that there would have been anyway resistance; maybe; but the resistance of lawer-type thinking people could and would have been less severe.

  6. Lazarus says:

    There are two articles I read when I was a radtrad. They are long but they delightfully refuted my understanding of tradition, the magisterial, the pope and the Church. The refute radical traditionalism and conservative dissent from the get-go:

  7. Mark Hausam says:

    Great article, Pedro! I would add only one thing: Not only can lack of consent or knowledge diminish culpability, turning mortal into venial sin, but sometimes, if there is no relevant consent or knowledge, it can eliminate culpability altogether, so that there is not even venial sin. The objectively grave matter remains, of course.

  8. Manuel Dauvin says:

    We must face a sad reality…we are note in an Era where we have a pope and an anti pope. There is a battle between Pope Previous and Pope Strawmancis.
    Naturally all who invoke Pope Previous are infallible in their condemnation of Pope Strawmancis.
    The whole debate here is whether I’m comfortable with the sincerity of a penitent when before receiving absolution must state a purpose of amendment without first abandoning his kids.
    The havoc in the life of the family seeking the sacraments is nothing to the havoc caused in my faith as I imagine this couple frolicking in bed as soon as they return from their sacrilegious communion.

  9. Marie says:

    Excellent article and summation Pedro, thank you! Mitigating factors are unique to all of us in every circumstance. Sometimes others can see these factors play out, but most often they cannot. They involve very private and intimate details that no one is aware of, and will never know. They involve thought processes that are unique to the individual as well. That is why asking that the dubia be answered is completely beside the point, and lack an understanding of the principles of mercy. There is no specific answer. Two people, in a similar circumstance may not have the same result. These are deeply personal, deeply spiritual circumstances that require individual attention to the exact circumstance. It is not carte blanche if someone is found to be in X circumstance.

    I think the parable of the Prodigal Son is an important backdrop to our understanding, both in terms of God’s welcoming of us when we aim to fix our errors, and the response he expects from us concerning how we treat others who seek reconciliation.

    • jong says:

      I agree, the Prodigal Son is a good example why Canon915 is not the full manifest mind & will of God, more so God’s mind & will is infinite and even the Pope is only a recipient of what God will inspire or reveal in an appropriate time to help & guide the Church n Her mission towards the salvation of souls. The time of Pope Francis is the explicit “Time of Mercy” as Pope Francis was inspired to declare the “Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy from Dec.8,2015 ending in Nov.20,2016) and all his teachings are deeply rooted in magnifying the Divine Mercy of God which is the heart of the gospel.
      The Prodigal Son is an accurate depiction why Canon915 is not the manifest mind & will of God, as the gospel depicted a Loving & Merciful Father who are waiting outside and looking afar waiting eagerly to see his wayward son comeback to his senses that He has a Loving & Merciful Father who will not use Canon915 as a measuring stick to exercise a Just Judgement as the prodigal son is more than willing to receive a just punishment, but instead the gospel narrates how the Father apply first Pastoral Accompaniment by pouring out the excesses of His merciful graces to heal the wounds of the prodigal son and until such time he recovered well. We can see that prodigal son after recovery becomes humble & obedient to God’s will, this the heart of Amoris Laetetia, it allows first the merciful & healing graces of God to help the lost & wounded souls seeking repentance. Who wants to immediately apply Canon915 objectively and no excuses? the elder brother which can be liken to all the Dissenters like the Pharisees who can only see the surface but failed miserably to know the mind & heart of Christ. My Jesus mercy.

      • jong says:

        Correction, I mean Canon915 is not the manifest mind & will of God according to Dissenters interpretation of how God will act when a couple in irregular union will geniunely seek healing and imploring the Mercy of God as narrated in the Prodigal Son.

  10. Manuel Dauvin says:

    We must face a sad reality…we are now in an Era where we have a pope and an anti pope. There is a battle between Pope Previous and Pope Strawmancis.
    Naturally all who invoke Pope Previous are infallible in their condemnation of Pope Strawmancis.
    The interpretive key for statements by pope previous: what do I think the previous pope meant to say?
    The interpretive key for statements by Pope Strawmancis: what will the next liberal say he means?

    • jong says:

      There is no battle of Pope from the previous Pope as the Holy Spirit is guiding all the canonically elected Pope into unity.
      The only battle is between obedience vs. disobedience and pride vs. humility to the teaching of the Church united to the Pope.
      The dissenters openly choose to contradict Amoris Laetetia which is already an approved Magisterial Teaching thereby they are the one guilty of receiving the Holy Communion unworthily, please read Lumen Gentium25.
      About the “anti-pope”, I will give one possible scenario how it will come to fruition. Supposing the Rad Trads gave up all hope that among their ranks of Cardinals they cannot get elected to a conclave. Snce the time of JohnXXIII they had tried but failed to elect a Cardinal to become a Pope favoring Rad Trads., they even tried to kill Pope Paul VI hoping the next elected Pope will be among their ranks, and even got desperate by assasination St.JP2 to force another conclave election but still failed miserably.
      The anti-pope means it will be appointed not canonically elected like Caiaphas the High Priest. The New Caiaphas will be appointed and he will bring death sentence to the Church the Mystical Body of Christ.
      In short, if the Rad Trads in the height of Ab.Vigano fame “appointed” him as their Pope as most of them chanted he is worthy to become the next pope then he will become the “anti-pope”, why?
      The True Church elect Pope thru conclave of Cardinals, and appointing a pope is not canonical.
      Will the Rad Trads in order to unite all the Traditionalist appoint their own Pope in the future to forcefully take over the Chair of Peter in desperation? Will never know because there is a prophecy in the book of Thessalonian and some Marian apparition.
      One thing is sure the Chair of Peter is the perfect place to crush the proud head of the anti-pope who will be indwelt by satan to become the anti-christ. Genesis3:15

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        The battle between both Popes that Manuel is mentioning is a
        Rhetorical device he is employing. He is actually saying that the battle between Popes is something that only exists in the critics heads. Which is true

      • jong says:

        Dear Pedto,
        I agree its in the critics head, but we must not forget that the Rad Trads ultimate dream as Michael Matt is very vocal on that is the take over of the Chair of Peter.
        I will not be surprise if the Rad Trads will appoint their own Pope as a desperate move to force the ouster of Pope Francis from Rome.
        I believe that the ultimate dream of Satan is to sit at the Chair of Peter to be worship by men, as the Eucharistic Prayers is offer to God mentioning the Name of the Pope in all masses all over the world.Imagine the name of the “anti-pope” being pronounce in the Eucharistic Prayers, this is the ulitimate goal of the Rad Trads, thats why for 50 years they had tried to elect a Cardinal in their own ranks but failed. Sorry for them the papacy is a Divine Appointment. The only possible scenario for an “anti-pope” to exist is by appoinment like Caiaphas. Among their ranks Ab.Vigano’s name is a strong candidate followed by Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider.
        We are at war now, and the Rad Trads are aiming for the fall of the Vicar of Christ, this is their goal and their ultimate goal is to take over the Chair of Peter.
        All this arguments & continuous opposition is geared only on one ultimate purpose, the ouster of Pope Francis.

  11. Manuel Dauvin says:

    I should perhaps have simply said the battle was between the pope francis and pope Strawmancis. Pope francis is the legitimate interpreter of the boundaries within which we understand previous popes. Which means that any inferences that place the current pontiff in conflict with the infallible statements previous pontiffs is the creation of a strawman pontiff. The fact that there is, in the eyes of the dissenters, so little subtlety in the “blatant errors” of pope francis reveals the existence of the quintessentially defeatable straw man.
    Would not an anti Christ be more subtle? Did not Christ say the antichrist could deceive even the elect if that were possible?
    What is not so cleverly hidden beneath the surface of apparent zeal for doctrine is a obfuscation of the divine right to judge the interior disposition of sinners…ei.their purpose of amendment in approaching the confessional. This is perhaps why the atomic bomb of “who am I to judge? ” hit the traditionalist wing so hard.
    So sick have many become of the victory of liberal wreckovators that many wrongly interpret, not the content of papal statements but rather, the possible meanings that could be derived by these liberals. As soon as something can be interpreted in a foggy or vague way they demand that the pope repeat himself using their approved formulas. This is why I believe the Dubia was disingenuous under its apparent “quest for clarity”.
    How long can amicable dialogue be maintained with people who require you to restate everything in their words?

    • Pete Vickery says:

      “Pope Francis and Pope Strawmancis” is a good way of putting it. I wish it wasn’t this way but unfortunately it’s the way things are.

  12. Mike says:

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to this article.

  13. Jamesthe1st says:

    Let us think about the implications of the diminished culpability interpretations of Amoris Laetitia. The interpretation asks us to hold that people in these adulterous relationships are either ignorant of what they are doing, or that they are unable to make the consent needed for a free moral choice. Now it is frequently stated that many of these relationships involve children and a family life, and that placing demands on the couple to live chastely would harm this family life. But taking what was said above about ignorance or inability to consent, are these people really responsible enough to raise children? If one is unable to take responsibility for their choice to live a marital relationship with someone they are not married to and cannot own the said consequences of this action, how can we expect them to be free enough to take care of their children?

    Also there is a nonsensical element in who can receive communion worthily if this interpretation is correct. Take a couple who have discerned with their pastor that they are not culpable for their adulterous relationship and so they receive Holy Communion because they cannot consent. At some point in their moral development, they will become able to consent to their relationship, and so will be culpable of the sin of adultery and thus cannot receive communion anymore. Now shouldn’t moral growth be leading one closer to God, and thus being able to have the closest union with Him through the reception of the Holy Eucharist? Also, who is to say one couple can receive communion and another cannot? Without the old objective norm that no one who is living in an adulterous relationship can receive communion, it becomes the arbitrary decision of the discerning priest. In the situation described, one starts in this close relationship with God, only to move further away as they become more able to follow the law of God. This of course is similar to the Jansenist mindset, that as one becomes more aware of God’s law, they view themselves as less worthy to receive communion.
    There are two ways out of this. One is to say that no one is ever really precluded from receiving communion. The other is to hold to the perennial judgement of the Church, that objectively sinful situations render one unable to receive communion until they remedy the situation.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      “But taking what was said above about ignorance or inability to consent, are these people really responsible enough to raise children?”

      I certainly disagree that a person raised in the present culture, educated in an environment where divorce is seen as acceptable and natural, and that have their will weakened for having experienced concupiscence, have for some reason not enough responsibly to rest children

      But I notice that your rhetoric mimics the secularist Malthusians very much on this regard. If you want to concede that point to them, you are free to do so. But be advised that Humanae Vitae will suffer first before you can get Amoris Laeititia with that argument

      On my end, I try not to judge another person’s responsibility to bear children
      “Now shouldn’t moral growth be leading one closer to God, and thus being able to have the closest union with Him through the reception of the Holy Eucharist?”

      I think, if you read Amoris Laetitia, that this is actually one of main points, yes
      “Without the old objective norm that no one who is living in an adulterous relationship can receive communion, it becomes the arbitrary decision of the discerning priest.”

      What you call arbitrary, we call discernment. It’s a part of having a realistic view of the faith, rooted in actual realities.

      Everyone knows that, if a priest withdraws absolution from someone, the Church grants to that someone the ability to go to another priest who can grant absolution. So? Are we going to say that a priest has no discretion on who to give absolution based on this natural variability that is intrinsical to the human nature and to reality itself?
      “There are two ways out of this. One is to say that no one is ever really precluded from receiving communion. The other is to hold to the perennial judgement of the Church, that objectively sinful situations render one unable to receive communion until they remedy the situation.”

      I really don’t know what you mean by “perennial judgment of the Church” unless by “perennial judgment of the Church” you mean a mentality that has like 5 years or so

      Before Pope Francis’ election, one could peruse any orthodox Catholic forum and see apologists and theologians advising people struggling with sexual sins (eg. Masturbation, pornography) to not give in to the scrupulosity of just focusing on the objectively sinful situation and to make a conscience exam to check if they had freely consented to their sin

      I mean, my article is based on quotes of a Catechism promulgated in the 1980s!

      It is only after the publication of Amoris Laetitia that everyone seems to have conveniently forgotten these basic principles of moral theology and found out how complicated it is to apply them

      • Jamesthe1st says:

        I wasn’t arguing whenever people are actually responsible enough to raise children. The point is rhetorical to highlight inconsistencies in your reasoning that lead to absurd conclusions. I was saying that if a couple is responsible enough to raise children, then they are responsible enough to accept that an adulterous relationship is wrong. And so the possibility of one of these couples actually not being culpable due to ignorance or lack of consent is very low. A moral understanding that holds that mature adults can easily not be responsible for the major life decision of who they are going to live with makes me question what it even means to be a mature adult moral agent for those who think Amoris Laetitia can let people unrepentant of adultery receive communion.

        As for perennial teaching, the Church has never ruled that people who are in an adulterous situation and refuse to change their life can be considered not culpable. Your argument needs to actually prove that people in an adulterous situation can actually not be culpable, and what those cases are. The argument in the article merely states the Church teaching on what can mitigate guilt of sin, and that Amoris Laetitia tries to apply this to adultery. A good argument needs to prove that this actually can be done. Going back to my point about maturity, if adults are responsible enough to do adult things like raise children, hold a job, join the military etc, I don’t see how we can say that they are unable to consent to their chosen relationship. The argument doesn’t respect human freedom.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        What you have said contains two non-sequiturs: first, that a person entangled in a complex situation is immature; and second, that a person who was educated in a cultural context where divorce is acceptable, and who acts on it, is necessarily immature enough to raise children

        So, for instance, a woman who, before converting, divorced an abusive husband and who rebuilt her life with a man, in a years-old union with children, where she selflessly loves and cares and provides for her mate and children… is necessarily immature enough to raise her children.

        In the Catechism, “immaturity” is just one of the mitigating circumstances. This means that the other mitigating circumstances may be present without immaturity

        If you think this is erroneous as far as considering people responsible and free moral agents, you will have to take that up with the Church, since the Catechism mentions these mitigating circumstances on its section on Man’s Freedom
        Regarding me proving that divorced and remarried people can be considered non culpable, I find it astonishing that you would simply say this: “The argument in the article merely states the Church teaching on what can mitigate guilt of sin, and that Amoris Laetitia tries to apply this to adultery.“

        This should be enough to prove my case. But since you need it spelled out, here it goes:

        In the Catechism 1735, it says that imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or nullified by mitigating circumstances

        For *an action*. It doesn’t specify which. Every action is intended here.

        The Catechism 1862 says that one commits a venial sin when one disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent

        Again, every sin with grave matter is encompassed here

        If you think that divorced and remarried couples living more uxório are somehow an exception to these universal principles, you are the one who needs to provide evidence from the Church’s teaching

  14. Marie says:

    Jamesthe1st- “If one is unable to take responsibility for their choice to live a marital relationship with someone they are not married to and cannot own the said consequences of this action, how can we expect them to be free enough to take care of their children?” This is precisely the problem, you are judge and jury with no fact as to individual circumstance whatsoever. I’m guessing the same applies to our immigrant neighbours, members of minorities and everyone else who dares not live a perfect life or manage to overcome trying circumstances. Which Pope supports that?? How about none. Please show mercy, and not to hell with them.

  1. September 18, 2019

    […] So, does Amoris contradict these two doctrinal statements? The answer is no. Amoris does not say that the previous sacramental discipline was not based in Sacred Scripture. The fact that it instituted a new sacramental discipline does not mean that the previous one was not based in Sacred Scripture, just like it does not mean that the new discipline is not based in the deposit of the faith (as the doctrine of mitigating circumstances is.) […]

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