Based on solid arguments, the Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute has published in São Paulo, Brazil, a timely analysis of the Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, raising serious reservations about the document and asking for its revocation, as it represents a fundamental shift in the pastoral doctrine and practice of the Catholic Church toward “irregular couples” and particularly “divorced and remarried” ones.
While keeping to the Institute’s own sphere of action, which is the defense of the Christian temporal order, the statement also alerts to the fact that Amoris Laetitia favors a new anti-hierarchical family model that deprives the husband of his breadwinner role, dilutes the principle of authority, and reverses the order of the ends of marriage by giving priority to the couple’s mutual affection over the procreation and education of children, and thus opening the flank for the LGBT agenda.
IPCO recalls the teaching of Saint Peter, that we must “obey God, rather than men” (Acts 5:29) and the example of Saint Paul, who resisted the same Saint Peter “to his face” (Gal. 2:11) to justify its “legitimate and respectful resistance” to AL’s points conflicting with Church doctrine. The statement concludes by urging prelates and lay movements hitherto silent to publicly reaffirm the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the divine and irreformable nature of marriage.
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) fully shares the analysis and request of the IPCO document and deems it opportune to make it known in our country.
* * *
Amoris Laetitia Opens the Gates of the Church and Society for a Programmed Demolition of Marriage and the Family
An Appeal to Silent Prelates and Movements
Table of Contents
I — The Exhortation’s Newly Introduced “Case By Case” Discipline
Ending the Distinction Between Regular Marriages and Irregular Unions
“Signs of Love Which in Some Way Reflect God’s Own Love”
Moral Relativism on Behalf of a Subjective Assessment of the Circumstances
II — Family Without Hierarchy: The “Community” Model of Amoris Laetitia
The Family’s Current Context
The Family As Proposed by Pope Francis: an Autonomous Space Open to the World
The Evanescence of the Father as Head of the Family
Stark Contrast With the Previous Teachings of the Pontifical Magisterium
Parents Should Listen to Their Children to Induce Them “to Do Good Spontaneously”
Already Denounced by Pius XI, An Educational Model Which Denies Original Sin
Incomprehensible Omission on the Parents’ Primary Duty Regarding Sex Education
III — “Anthropological Change”? Or Revolt Against the Natural Order Created By God?
“Inculturated” Solutions Rather Than Doctrinal Beliefs: a Triumph of Sentimentality and Subjectivism
An Anthropological and Cultural Change, Under the Breath of the “Spirit”…
From an Ideal Family “Stereotype” to a Confused Mosaic of Different Realities
From Casti Connubii to Amoris Laetitia, a Paradigm Shift?
From an “Institutional” to a “Relational” Model of Marriage
A Radical Inversion in the Hierarchy of the Ends of Marriage…
…Which Is Part of the Process of “Privatizing” Marriage…
…and Leads to Same-Sex “Marriage”…or Even Further!
IV — Faced With This Impasse, Should Catholics Change Their Beliefs, Or Resist?
“Marriage Was Not Invented to Institutionalize Particular Forms of Love”
The Drama Faced by Millions of Catholics Wishing to Remain Faithful to Traditional Teaching: Should They Change Their Beliefs? Or Should They Resist?
People Are Beginning to Voice Their Discontent
Amoris Laetitia Opens the Gates of the Church and Society for a Programmed Demolition of Marriage and the Family
An Appeal to Silent Prelates and Movements
Published on April 8, the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (henceforth “AL”) was greeted with thunderous applause by the secular media and progressive sectors of the Catholic Church,1 and with amazement and apprehension in conservative Catholic circles, particularly among those prominent clergy and laity versed in moral doctrine.
The document caused a specially painful impression on those who had been attentively following the course of ecclesiastical events since the October 2014 Synod on the Family, and hoped the Holy Father would issue, at the subsequent Synod of 2015, an enlightening and firm clarification in line with Catholic doctrine and tradition. We refer to the nearly 900,000 faithful from around the world, including cardinals, archbishops and bishops, who sent Pope Francis a “Filial Appeal” respectfully asking him not to allow “a relativization of the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself” on the family. After the publication of Amoris Laetitia, this elite of the world’s Catholic population could not but experience the bitter taste of disappointment.
This disappointment is due to the fact that, although claiming not to intend to change the doctrine of the Catholic Church on the indissolubility of marriage, AL introduces indeed a huge change in its practice in dealing with so-called “irregular situations” and particularly divorced and civilly remarried couples, by allowing them to be heard in Confession without the resolution of regularizing their situation, and to receive Holy Communion anyway.
That authorization was not granted in general terms because it would require amending the Code of Canon Law, as canon 915 prohibits giving Communion to those “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin.” The Exhortation limits itself to encouraging pastors to “accompany” people who live in irregular marital unions and exercise “discernment” to understand their situation in order to fully integrate them into the Church’s life. Footnote 351 explains that said integration could go as far as receiving the Sacraments. In other words, according to the natural interpretation of Chapter VIII of the Exhortation, sacramental absolution and the Eucharist may be granted, provided it is on a “case by case” basis.2
It is therefore a substantial change, which Walter Cardinal Kasper, its leading advocate, welcomed as “a new chapter in the history of the Church in more than 1,700 years.”3
However, numerous clergy and laity faithful to the doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage, consider that such a change is not merely disciplinary but a serious break with the traditional teaching of the Church, and thus request that AL be repealed by the current Pope or his eventual successor.4 Others also believe that by failing to establish a general and clear rule and by reaching a merely implicit conclusion, the Exhortation is ambiguous, and thus they call for the issuing of an official interpretation to confirm the traditional discipline.5 In any case, all defenders of the indissolubility of marriage agree to point out that, even after AL’s publication no “pastoral discernment” could ever allow a priest to give sacramental absolution and Holy Communion to a person who lives objectively and permanently in the sin of adultery or concubinage.6
While the discussion grows more intense and objections mount, the fact is that the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation bolstered by the media hullabaloo that followed it, have produced incalculable harm to souls. To the eyes of the public, the Catholic Church now appears as having changed Her position on the indissolubility of marriage and actually renounced to defend it, while favoring immoral lifestyles widely practiced in today’s society.
While presenting the Exhortation in the Vatican Press Office, Cristoph Cardinal Schönborn (the document’s most qualified interpreter, according to Pope Francis7) said that the distinction that has always been made between regular and irregular unions came from an “artificial” focus: “There is often a tendency, perhaps unconscious, to discuss these realities of life on the basis of two separate tracks. On the one hand there are marriages and families that are ‘regular,’ that correspond to the rules, where everything is ‘fine’ and ‘in order,’ and then there are the ‘irregular’ situations that represent a problem.” And he concludes: “My great joy as a result of this document resides in the fact that it coherently overcomes that artificial, superficial, clear division between ‘regular’ and ‘irregular.’”8
From this point of view, it may be said that Amoris Laetitia fully realized the misplaced proposal by Luxembourg Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich. Addressing the secretariat of the Synod, that prelate claimed that people today no longer seek to “found a family but to find happiness in a love relationship,” and he consequently proposed a revolutionary “pastoral transition from a pastoral on families to one of love” that “accompanies people in their love project.”9
If the granting of sacramental absolution and Holy Communion to adulterers and concubines is extremely serious as it eventually entails sacrilege against three Sacraments established by Our Lord Jesus Christ (Penance, the Eucharist and Matrimony), the alleged “overcoming” of the distinction between licit and illicit unions will have a likewise devastating effect on Church teaching and practice and on social life as well, by overthrowing the last barriers still slowing down this slide to free love.10
This new pastoral approach is in blatant contrast with the traditional teaching of the Church. For example, in the 1930s, when the harmful effects of the degradation of morals which began after World War I could already be strongly felt in the West, Pope Pius XI raised his voice to defend “the dignity of chaste wedlock,” categorically rejecting “false principles of a new and utterly perverse morality” in which “divorce, adultery, all the basest vices either are extolled or at least are depicted in such colors as to appear to be free of all reproach and infamy.”11
Eight decades later, Pope Francis takes a very different, if not diametrically opposed position, by saying that “the choice of a civil marriage or, in many cases, of simple cohabitation, is often not motivated by prejudice or resistance to a sacramental union, but by cultural or contingent situations” which “…in some way reflect God’s own love.”12
Moreover, it adds, although Christian marriage “is fully realized in the union between a man and a woman who give themselves to each other in a free, faithful and exclusive love” other forms of unions do not radically contradict this ideal because they “realize it in at least a partial and analogous way.” Thus, “the Synod Fathers stated that the Church does not disregard the constructive elements in those situations which do not yet or no longer correspond to her teaching on marriage.”13
The same “assessment” applies to the “divorced who have entered a new union.” Curiously, in AL the word “adultery” is not used even once to describe these sinful situations; instead, it sustains they “should not be pigeonholed or fit into overly rigid classifications leaving no room for a suitable personal and pastoral discernment.”14
Benevolence toward such intermediate states between marriage and free love extends even to homosexual unions: “We need to acknowledge the great variety of family situations that can offer certain stability,” among which Pope Francis includes “de facto or same-sex unions.” However, AL does not at all reprove such unions but simply notes that they “may not simply be equated with marriage.”15 Could there be a “non simplistic” way of equating them with marriage?
Consistent with the above, in several passages of the Exhortation Pope Francis refers to situations of adultery and concubinage with the euphemism “irregular” situations, placing the adjective “irregular” in quotation marks and thus implying that this qualification would not be appropriate. And the text suggests that the consciences of those living in such sinful situations could be justified on the allegation that, given “the influence of such concrete factors” the conscience can recognize “what for now is the most generous response that can be given to God” and even that “it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal.”16
How can a sinful state of life be understood as “the most generous response that can be given to God”? Where will such rhetorical circumlocutions lead? Let us keep in mind that, with this reasoning, not only the sixth and ninth Commandments (“Thou shalt not commit adultery” [Deut. 5:18], which also prohibits impure thoughts and acts, and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife” [Deut. 5:21]) are emptied of their practical validity. It relativizes, in the name of a subjective assessment of the circumstances, the entire objective natural and divine order summarized in the Decalogue. AL no longer presents as “intrinsically evil” those acts defined as such by traditional morals and by the Encyclical Veritatis Splendor (Nos. 56 and 95), just as those moral absolutes for which one must be willing to give up his very own life not to offend God cease to exist.17
In view of the above, we directors, members and volunteers of the Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute reaffirm our adhesion to the immutable principles of Catholic Morals and Natural Law in the realm of marriage and family, relativized by the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Such principles were expounded by Pope Pius XI in his Encyclical Casti Connubii, the Church’s great magisterial document devoted exclusively to marriage.18 We reproduce in the Appendix some of its most relevant passages as an expression of our fidelity to the Catholic doctrine expounded in this encyclical.
Another aspect of AL whose gravity has not been sufficiently highlighted in the debate, is its egalitarian and anti-hierarchical bias regarding internal relations in the family.
Heirs to the vast and admirable intellectual heritage and successful initiatives of Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira in defense of tradition, family and property—the three pillars of Christian civilization—including memorable campaigns on behalf of the family, we deem it essential to focus our analysis on this leveling sociological aspect of the papal document inasmuch as it runs counter to the natural order and fosters disorder in the family and in society.19
It should be emphasized from the outset that Amoris Laetitia fits into the context of the broadest change in the family and in family relationships that has ever occurred in human history.
The traditional family has always been considered an institution founded on duty and derived from natural and sacramental law, whose main purpose is the perpetuation of the human race and the transmission of the values of culture and civilization. Family relationships were therefore built on an implicit or explicit statutory regulation favoring the principle of hierarchy among members and particularly among those who transmit life and education and those who receive them, instilling the notion that individual interests are subordinate to family interests.
Conversely, the modern family is considered the result of an elective “partnership” founded on a couple’s mutual love to face the present together and to create a communication space. Rules are no longer statutory but negotiated daily, based on absolute equality between spouses and between them and their children, with precedence given to “democratic” internal relations supposedly to favor the freedom, autonomy and initiative of all its members, especially the children. In education, this is expressed by highly elastic and permissive training methods based on a vacuous confidence and encouraging, in children especially, feelings of self-esteem, creativity without reference points, and critical and independent thinking.20
In the context of the doctrinal debate generated by the effects of this mutation, Pope Francis sides with the new, “relational” model in a restrained but indisputable way.
This is clear, first of all, in the unjustifiably negative light in which Amoris Laetitia presents the traditional family, exaggerating its alleged “sombre dimension” in which the loving relationship “turns into domination.”21 Derogatory phrases abound such as, “Surely it is legitimate and right to reject older forms of the traditional family marked by authoritarianism and even violence…”22 or, “History is burdened by the excesses of patriarchal cultures that considered women inferior…”23 and, “In some homes authoritarianism once reigned and, at times, even oppression.”24 Such situations are said to have led today’s society to liberate itself “from the father as master, from the father as the representative of a law imposed from without, from the father as the arbiter of his children’s happiness and an obstacle to the emancipation and autonomy of young people.”25
In contrast to the negative and distorted view it presents of the traditional family, AL provides an idyllic picture of the renewed family as “a communion of persons in the image of the union of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”26 And the text idealizes the family as containing “within it the two fundamental principles of human civilization on earth: the principle of communion and the principle of fruitfulness,” making it “the principal agent of an integral ecology” in the sense that all parts would fit into one another.27
In this new family reality, “[s]everal decades ago, the Spanish bishops noted that families have come to enjoy greater freedom ‘through an equitable distribution of duties, responsibilities and tasks.’”28 “This trust enables a relationship to be free. It means we do not have to control the other person… This freedom…fosters independence, an openness to the world around us and to new experiences.”29
On relationships between husband and wife, always guided by the principle of the husband’s authority, Pope Francis rejoices in seeing “old forms of discrimination disappear, and within families, a growing reciprocity” which he deems “the working of the Spirit for a clearer recognition of the dignity and rights of women,” although “certain forms of feminism have arisen which we must consider inadequate.”30 “I certainly value feminism, but one that does not demand uniformity or negate motherhood,” the Pontiff said.31 He added: “There are those who believe that many of today’s problems have arisen because of feminine emancipation. This argument, however, is not valid, ‘it is false, untrue, a form of male chauvinism.’”32 What a strange language in a pontifical text!
On behalf of this non-uniform feminism, AL seeks to strip the husband of his function as head of the family: “In the home, decisions cannot be made unilaterally, since each spouse shares responsibility for the family.” Thus, “[a]t each new stage of married life, there is a need to sit down and renegotiate agreements, so that there will be no winners and losers [sic!], but rather two winners.”33
All this leads the Apostolic Exhortation to “reinterpret” on an egalitarian key the epistle of Saint Paul to the Ephesians regarding the precept, “Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). For starters, Pope Francis writes, “Every form of sexual submission must be clearly rejected.” For him, when speaking of submission, Saint Paul “mirrors the cultural categories of the time, but our concern is not with its cultural matrix but with the revealed message that it conveys.” Rather, the phrase would mean “to be constantly mindful of others: ‘Be subject to one another’ (Eph 5:21). In marriage, this reciprocal ‘submission’ takes on a special meaning, and is seen as a freely chosen mutual belonging.”34
Now then, to reject in principle any form of submission of a wife to her husband (and not just abusive attitudes) essentially amounts to challenging the hierarchical structure of the family,35 firmly established by God, as Pope Pius XI recalls in his Encyclical Casti Connubii:
Domestic society being confirmed, therefore, by this bond of love, there should flourish in it that “order of love,” as St. Augustine calls it. This order includes both the primacy of the husband with regard to the wife and children, the ready subjection of the wife and her willing obedience, which the Apostle commends in these words: “Let women be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ is the head of the Church” (Eph 5:22-23).
This subjection, however, does not deny or take away the liberty which fully belongs to the woman…nor, in fine, does it imply that the wife should be put on a level with those persons who in law are called minors, to whom it is not customary to allow free exercise of their rights…. For if the man is the head, the woman is the heart, and as he occupies the chief place in ruling, so she may and ought to claim for herself the chief place in love.
Again, this subjection of wife to husband in its degree and manner may vary according to the different conditions of persons, place and time. In fact, if the husband neglect his duty, it falls to the wife to take his place in directing the family. But the structure of the family and its fundamental law, established and confirmed by God, must always and everywhere be maintained intact.36
It is noteworthy that the family model proposed by Pope Francis not only ignores but also openly opposes the teaching of all his predecessors on this matter—especially Leo XIII, Pius XI and Pius XII. Transposed to relations between parents and children, the essentially egalitarian “community” that AL introduces dilutes as much as possible the notion of parental authority and children’s obedience and discipline.
The text considers the family as “the primary setting for socialization, since it is where we first learn to relate to others, to listen and share, to be patient and show respect, to help one another and live as one.”37 Interestingly enough, the verb “to obey” is absent from this relationship, replaced by an egalitarian principle of “love”: “In family life, the logic of domination and competition about who is the most intelligent or powerful destroys love.”38 This opposition between authority and love is obviously misplaced, for “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15); “and they were astonished at his doctrine: for his speech was with power” (Luke 4:32).
According to AL, the father in the family is no longer the symbol of authority and law and the expression of a vigorous love that encourages others to take responsibility.39 “God sets the father in the family so that by the gifts of his masculinity he can be ‘close to his wife and…to his children as they grow…. When I say ‘present’, I do not mean ‘controlling’. Fathers who are too controlling overshadow their children, they don’t let them develop.’”40 This equivocal phrase does not distinguish legitimate parental control from its abuse: “controlling” and “too controlling” parents would “overshadow” and stymie their children. Such deficient writing is incomprehensible in a pontifical text.
AL also minimizes and even questions the parents’ duty of watching over their children by adding, “What is most important is the ability lovingly to help them grow in freedom, maturity, overall discipline and real autonomy.” By arbitrarily insisting on an alleged opposition between freedom and control, the text argues that neither parent should be “obsessed with always knowing where their children are and controlling all their movements.”41 And it pleads that “each child will surprise us with ideas and projects born of that freedom, which challenge us to rethink our own ideas. This is a good thing.”42 What happens when such projects are not so good? Should parents let their child sink in the mudflats of this world?
Parents will certainly agree with AL that, “Education includes encouraging the responsible use of freedom to face issues with good sense and intelligence.”43However, they will rightly also notice that education necessarily involves exercising authority, asserting principles, setting rules and applying prohibitions and sanctions when necessary.44
On the contrary, AL maintains that this training “should also take place inductively, so that children can learn for themselves the importance of certain values, principles and norms, rather than by imposing these as absolute and unquestionable truths.”45
Accordingly, Pope Francis’ pedagogical model appears unaware of the presence in children of the ravages of original sin and favors an educational system similar to revolutionary utopian Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “education according to nature” model: “Moral education,” AL states, “has to do with cultivating freedom through ideas, incentives, practical applications, stimuli, rewards, examples, models, symbols, reflections, encouragement, dialogue and a constant rethinking of our way of doing things; all these can help develop those stable interior principles that lead us spontaneously to do good.”46
Now then, a child is obviously unable to “cultivate freedom” without authority or to “spontaneously do good” outside the rules established by the same authority, and always under the loving but “watchful eye” the sagacious Saint John Bosco recommended to parents and educators in his famous “preventive method.” He designed this method, unsurpassed to this day, precisely to “put the young people in the position of being unable to commit faults.”47
Instead, the freedom and spontaneity fostered by AL’s educational model revive errors that Pope Pius XI clearly and forcefully denounced in his Encyclical Divini Illius Magistri (On Christian Education):
Every method of education founded, wholly or in part, on the denial or forgetfulness of original sin and of grace…is unsound. Such, generally speaking, are those modern systems bearing various names which appeal to a pretended self-government and unrestrained freedom on the part of the child, and which diminish or even suppress the teacher’s authority and action, attributing to the child an exclusive primacy of initiative, and an activity independent of any higher law, natural or divine, in the work of his education….
Such men are miserably deluded in their claim to emancipate, as they say, the child, while in reality they are making him the slave of his own blind pride and of his disorderly affections, which, as a logical consequence of this false system, come to be justified as legitimate demands of a so-called autonomous nature.
Pius XI pointed out that, rather than taking a complacent attitude parents should know how to use energy to form the character of their children, and above all to open their souls to the supernatural life:
Disorderly inclinations then must be corrected, good tendencies encouraged and regulated from tender childhood, and above all the mind must be enlightened and the will strengthened by supernatural truth and by the means of grace, without which it is impossible to control evil impulses, impossible to attain to the full and complete perfection of education intended by the Church, which Christ has endowed so richly with divine doctrine and with the Sacraments, the efficacious means of grace.48
Incomprehensible Omission on the Parents’ Primary Duty Regarding Sex Education
Finally, no less amazing is Pope Francis’ statement: “Nor is it good for parents to be domineering. When children are made to feel that only their parents can be trusted…,”49 precisely in the paragraph immediately preceding the section titled, “The need for sex education.” This alludes to a contribution by “educational institutions” but keeps a deafening silence about the mission of parents, as if they had no role to play in such a delicate matter.
In this regard, Pope Pius XI teaches:
Far too common is the error of those who with dangerous assurance and under an ugly term propagate a so-called sex-education, falsely imagining they can forearm youths against the dangers of sensuality by means purely natural…. Such persons grievously err in refusing to recognize the inborn weakness of human nature, and the law of which the Apostle speaks, fighting against the law of the mind (Rom. 7:23); and also in ignoring the experience of facts…. In this extremely delicate matter, if, all things considered, some private instruction is found necessary and opportune, from those who hold from God the commission to teach and who have the grace of state, every precaution must be taken. Such precautions are well known in traditional Christian education.50
Above all, on addressing this issue with a child one cannot fail to take into account that he, like all children of Adam is the bearer of bad tendencies resulting from original sin. Hence, when necessary, sex education should be done preferably by parents, and very tactfully.
The Exhortation not only dulls the clear moral distinction between regular marriages and so-called irregular unions but also dilutes hierarchy within the family between husband, wife and children, seemingly favoring individual autonomy. It thus lies on the antipodes of what the universal Magisterium of the Catholic Church has taught all the way to this day, and especially before the Second Vatican Council.
Pope Francis justifies this change based on two assumptions: 1) Society and the family are undergoing anthropological and cultural change; and 2) Without changing doctrine, it is necessary to adapt the Church’s pastoral praxis to the new realities.
By stating that “not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium” and that there are “various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it,” the Exhortation posits that “[e]ach country or region…can seek solutions better suited to its culture”51 regarding marriage and family.
What could a solution “better suited to the culture” be for problems strictly related to family morals? One of the architects of the new model, Cardinal Kasper points out the meaning of this inculturation: “Amoris Laetitia says … that the Church must inculturate. And cultures are different. In other words, what is considered wrong in Africa may be correct for us. The pope then leaves a leeway for various situations and future developments.” So as to leave no doubt about what that “leeway” might be in the thought of Pope Francis, Cardinal Kasper presents the example of a divorced and civilly remarried German woman, “very active” in a Rottemburg parish. The pastor allowed her to receive Communion at her daughter’s First Communion claiming that he “could not” (sic) tell the girl on that day: “‘You can take Communion, but not your mother.’” The Cardinal approved the sacrilegious Communion and later told the Pope about it. “Francis confirmed my position,” he explained.52
Sentimentality is thus hoisted in the Church as a determining factor to solve moral issues, over and above the Decalogue and the Law instituted by Jesus Christ! In addition, subjectivism serves as its foundation: AL maintains that the faithful “are capable of carrying out their own discernment in complex situations.”53 Now, just what differentiates this discernment in “complex situations” from Lutheran free examination? It is easy to gauge the degree of confusion that the propagation of such statements cause in the faithful at large.
Sentimentality also looms when the Exhortation pejoratively refers to traditional pastoral practice: “We have often been on the defensive, wasting pastoral energy on denouncing a decadent world without being proactive in proposing ways of finding true happiness.”54
But the only possible “way to happiness” on this earth is to obey the Divine Law: “Blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it” (Luke 11:28). In a different sense, AL maintains that its unique pastoral policy on happiness for “engaged and married couples” involves not only “helping them accept the Church’s teaching”55 or the “defence of a dry and lifeless doctrine”56 but that it takes “training lay leaders who can assist in the pastoral care of families, with the help of teachers and counsellors, family and community physicians, social workers, juvenile and family advocates, and drawing upon the contributions of psychology, sociology, marital therapy and counselling.”57
The justification for deploying this amazing army of specialists is that “Anthropological and cultural changes in our times influence all aspects of life and call for an analytic and diversified approach.”58 According to this approach, the humanities would help even to deepen Revelation itself. On this point, AL adopts the schemes of “liberation theology” by saying that it is healthy “to focus on concrete realities since ‘the call and the demands of the Spirit resound in the events of history,’ and through these ‘the Church can also be guided to a more profound understanding of the inexhaustible mystery of marriage and the family,’”59 “…as the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth.”60
It turns out that the “whole truth” about marriage and family is already set forever in the Old and New Testament, and in the Tradition of the Church. However, what AL says, in terms at once convoluted and cryptic, would indicate that this truth would gradually emerge from a sociological evolution in which the Holy Spirit would reveal to us an arcane matrimonial “mystery.” And the only thing certain about that mystery, for now, is that it appears to be anti-traditional: “neither today’s society nor that to which we are progressing allow an uncritical survival of older forms and models.”61
This AL sentence is perfectly ambiguous. Obviously, no one advocates an “uncritical” survival of older forms and models. But those forms and models authentically generated by the Church and by Christian civilization must remain, at least in their constitutive principles. A document heavily engaging papal responsibility such as this Apostolic Exhortation, would have to point out at least in principle which forms and models should survive, and which should not. Jesus Christ said, “The truth shall set you free” (John 8:32); we could paraphrase it by saying, “and ambiguity shall kill you.”
In its current phase, this anthropological evolution is supposedly moving from a pre-established marriage model to another in which the couple themselves “build” their relationship. In this construction, AL warns there are dangers of “an extreme individualism” (the idea that “one’s personality is shaped by his or her desires, which are considered absolute”62) but also of a “culture of the ephemeral” reflected in “the speed with which people move from one affective relationship to another,”63 in addition to “the influence of ideologies which devalue marriage and family.”64
In passing, and in an undeserved second place, AL mentions among the factors that contributed to the mutation of the family, one that previous Popes always pointed out as the main factor: “The weakening of faith and religious practice,” not mentioning it for its intrinsic importance but as a generator of “loneliness, arising from the absence of God in a person’s life.”65
Strangely enough, AL does not delve deeper into an analysis of the obvious moral and religious causes of the family crisis but states that, in the current sociological context “there is no sense in simply decrying present-day evils, as if this could change things,” and “nor is it helpful to try to impose rules by sheer authority.”66 Moreover, the document suggests that the Church would be partly responsible for the marriage crisis for having overly insisted on the institutional model of marriage, which “we have often presented in such a way that its unitive meaning, its call to grow in love and its ideal of mutual assistance are overshadowed by an almost exclusive insistence on the duty of procreation.”67
Hence, for AL, the great challenge for the Church is to accept this new anthropological and cultural reality and seek to enlighten it with the values of the Christian family: “The Synod’s reflections show us that there is no stereotype of the ideal family, but rather a challenging mosaic made up of many different realities, with all their joys, hopes and problems. The situations that concern us are challenges. We should not be trapped into wasting our energy in doleful laments, but rather seek new forms of missionary creativity.”68
“In every situation that presents itself, ‘the Church is conscious of the need to offer a word of truth and hope…The great values of marriage and the Christian family correspond to a yearning that is part and parcel of human existence.’”69
Now then, such a “word of truth and hope” could only come from a clear and categorical exposition of Catholic doctrine, the treasure chest of teachings from which the Church draws “new things and old” (Matt. 13:52). However, the Exhortation appears to understand it otherwise. It pains to say it, but on reading this whole reasoning one inevitably comes to the conclusion that in AL Pope Francis gives at least a half-seal of approval on the enormous watering-down marriage and the family has experienced over the last century, and against which Popes Pius XI and Pius XII sought to raise a containment barrier, turning the Catholic Church into the main and undisputed bastion of the marriage bond.
The sheer contrast of titles provides an eloquent testimony of this radical change of attitude: Rather than the defense of a “chaste wedlock” made by his predecessor Pius XI, Pope Francis exalts the “Joy of Love.”70 While Casti Connubii rightly stresses the divine origin of the institution of marriage, its irreformable and indissoluble character, and its primary purpose of ensuring procreation, AL insists on its historical evolution, the fluidity of its cultural conditionings, and the loving union said to serve as its foundation.
Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, director of La Civiltà Cattolica, who contributed to its writing stresses that “the Exhortation’s theme needs to be well defined” because “as its subtitle clearly certifies,” it is “about love in the family” and “not about the doctrine on marriage and the family,” and “this is a very important key to read the document.”71
In the real world, this insistence on love largely entails a change of doctrine inasmuch as it represents abandonment, at least in part, of the traditional and institutional model of marriage in favor of the contemporary contractual model. In this new model the marriage bond is reduced to a mere social and legal recognition of the mutual affection of the couple (which may or may not bear fruit with the birth or adoption of children, to the extent they are desired). This is what can be deduced from various AL passages:
“It is important that marriage be seen as a matter of love, that only those who freely choose and love one another may marry.”72 “When love is expressed before others in the marriage contract, with all its public commitments…”73 “[T]his public commitment of love…”74 “As a social institution, marriage protects and shapes a shared commitment to deeper growth in love.”75 “When their love finds expression in marriage…their union encounters in this institution the means to ensure that their love truly will endure and grow.”76
These last two quotes make it patently clear that in AL’s view, marriage is an “institution” not so much because of its purpose of ensuring the perpetuation of the species but because it ensures stability and growth in the couple’s mutual love. Formalizing it by a public commitment, giving “priority to mutual love” before society77 would supposedly save it from being turned into “a mere spontaneous association for mutual gratification, which would turn marriage into a purely private affair.”78
Although AL does not fail to recognize the obvious procreative function of marriage, it always casts it to second place after the spouses’ love and mutual support, which is placed as the primary purpose, and thus reverses the hierarchy of the ends of marriage:
Marriage is…a friendship marked by passion, but a passion always directed to an ever more stable and intense union. This is because “marriage was not instituted solely for the procreation of children” but also that mutual love “might be properly expressed, that it should grow and mature.”79
Marriage is firstly an “intimate partnership of life and love” (Gaudium et Spes, 48) which is a good for the spouses themselves (CCL, c. 1055 § 1), while sexuality is “ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman” (Catechism, 2360)… Nonetheless, the conjugal union is ordered to procreation “by its very nature” (Gaudium et Spes, 48).80
By thus reversing the hierarchy of the ends of marriage, AL frontally contradicts the clear teaching of the Church, masterfully recapitulated by Pius XII in his famous speech on the Apostolate of Midwives of October 29, 1951, in which the Pontiff says:
Now, the truth is that matrimony, as an institution of nature, in virtue of the Creator’s will, has not as a primary and intimate end the personal perfection of the married couple but the procreation and upbringing of a new life. The other ends, inasmuch as they are intended by nature, are not equally primary, much less superior to the primary end, but are essentially subordinated to it.81
It is well to recall that the moral and canonical doctrine of the Church distinguishes between finis operis (the natural end of the action) and finis operantis (the subjective motivation of the agent). If two diners meet at a restaurant to make a business deal, the intention of making a deal (finis operantis) does not change the nutritional nature of having a meal (finis operis). Likewise in marriage, the primary end of which is procreation, the subjective motivation of those who marry (love and mutual support) does not alter its reproductive nature. It is therefore entirely inappropriate in defining marriage, to put its raison d’être in the community of life rather than the primary purpose for which God instituted it: “Be fruitful and multiply.”
In addition to breaking with a Church teaching clearly based on the New Testament and defined by her Magisterium,82 this blatant reversal in the hierarchy of the ends of marriage caves in to a false principle that has driven the current process of demolition in marriage and the family from its inception, and has lead them to their present-day abyss. It is the “primacy of love” over the family institution, and the primacy of “individual logic” over “statutory logic.” Sociologist and Sorbonne professor François de Singly, considered one of the greatest French specialists in private life, describes and defends this twofold primacy. For Singly, this concept was born in parallel to the crisis in the medieval order. He describes it thus:
“The history of private life is long. One can make it go back to the twelfth century, with the birth of a very particular [feeling] called ‘love’, born of ‘courtly love’, which was built against marriage” and even as an “anti-marriage mutiny.”
But at that time, he adds, people deemed “sentimental and amorous logic relatively unstable and relatively opposed to a lasting institution” as is marriage. The “right to love” had to tread a route separate from marriage:83 “The ideology of ‘courtly love’ is established.” According to Singly, “love entered marriage from the seventeenth century. But in fact, in the West, marriages began to be held out of love in the twentieth century.”
This process, he says, led to the imposition of “what I call personal logic in contrast to statutory logic. What you see in the history of western private life is that our personal identity grows increasingly important.”
In this context, Singly says, current Pacs (“civil union” same-sex contract legislation implemented in France) in which “men and women, men with men, and women with women can choose each other on an exclusively personal basis, independently of their sexual orientation” would be “a step forward towards the primacy of personal identity in the ensemble of identities….Pacs is an escalation of institutional pluralism, which breaks out along with an expansion of our personal identity.”84
Note that by casting the procreative purpose of marriage to second place and by depicting it mainly as a “public commitment of love” that “expresses the firm option to belong to each another,” AL provides the LGBT lobby with arguments to claim that homosexuals and transsexuals are being discriminated against, for they too “love each other” and want to be a “community of life and love” as do heterosexuals. Howard Kainz, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Marquette University (USA) sharply observed, “More recently, this de-emphasis on procreation in favor of ‘the unitive significance’ [of marriage] has certainly facilitated the slide towards obviously non-procreative ‘marriage’ between homosexuals.”85
It is easy to foresee the damage AL could produce among the faithful as a whole, increasingly disoriented by the expansion of relativism. Suffice it to recall that even in Catholic Ireland—given the omission of the Episcopate—a majority of almost two thirds of the electorate recently approved a constitutional reform legalizing same-sex “marriage” precisely on behalf of “marriage equality” for all those who “love” each other, whatever their sexual orientation may be.
At the end of the horizon, on the path opened by AL, there loom prospects of religious, moral and social chaos unimaginable until recently. Not only homosexuals and transgenders can take advantage of this paradigm shift, but also polygamy promoters, on behalf of “multiple love” (why settle for a “selfish” vision of love limited to two individuals?) and those of incest (why couldn’t two siblings “love” each other?).
If procreation is no longer the primary end of marriage, how can Catholics oppose any sexual deviance that, under the term “love,” can be institutionalized in a spurious and caricatural “marriage”?
The way out of the impasse in which the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia places Catholics in general and particularly pro-family movements that advocate monogamous and indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, is to publicly and by all lawful means reiterate the traditional and immutable doctrine of the Church on this matter, countering the errors which oppose it.
Special emphasis should be given to the institutional character of marriage and its primary goal, the propagation of the human race, to which the other ends are subordinate. This is, for example, what Most Rev. Vincent Jordy, Bishop of Saint-Claude (France) has done in a strong speech during the debate on the socialist bill to introduce the spurious “mariage pour tous” (“marriage for all”) tailor-suited for homosexuals:
Etymologically, marriage comes from matrimonium, which in turn comes from mater, meaning “mother.” Thus, marriage is literally a man making a contract with a woman for her to become the mother of his children….Marriage was not invented to institutionalize particular forms of love but to ensure the social structure that rests on filiation. This is essential. It is the very basis of the stability of our societies.86
This is the doctrine that must be expounded, recalled and proclaimed “in season, out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2) and especially today, when the time predicted by the Apostle, in which men “will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers” (2 Tim. 4:3) seems to be at hand. Facing the programmed demolition of marriage and the family promoted by anti-Christian ideological lobbies and by other self-titled “Christians,” but disappointingly ignored by AL, it is no longer possible for Catholics to remain silent.
The officers, members and volunteers of the Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute are Catholics working in society in defense of the perennial principles of Christian civilization.87 A justified concern for the future of the family has led us to deeply analyze Amoris Laetitia and the unacceptable pastoral practices that it promotes. And we have found that such practices are spreading in various quarters on behalf of the Exhortation, increasingly sowing confusion throughout the Catholic world with severe harm to souls and to the social order.
We are dismayed upon seeing the escalation of the media, financial and legal onslaught against marriage and the family attain an unprecedented apex in the West. And precisely at this moment, when afflicted Catholic families tend to turn to the Chair of Peter looking for a clear word of encouragement and firmness, rather than receiving the antidote that would preserve them, Amoris Laetitia induces them to a relativistic, psychological, doctrinal and spiritual demobilization that we do not hesitate to call catastrophic.
* * *
It is with this anguish in our hearts that the signers of the Filial Petition to His Holiness Pope Francis on the Future of the Family have received the publication of Amoris Laetitia. During the four months leading up to October 2015, when the second Synod on the family was held, precisely 879,451 Catholics from 178 countries affixed their signatures begging for a word on behalf of traditional Catholic doctrine and pastoral policy: “Holy Father, we implore You to say this word. We do so with a heart devoted to all that You are and represent. We do so with the certainty that Your word will never disassociate pastoral practice from the teaching bequeathed by Jesus Christ and his vicars—as this would only add to the confusion. Indeed Jesus taught us very clearly that there must be coherence between life and truth (cf. John 14:6-7).” No fewer than 211 prelates (including cardinals, archbishops and bishops) are among the personalities who signed.
That monumental effort to maintain the doctrine and pastoral policy on Christian marriage was sponsored by a coalition of sixty-two associations, many of which were established by disciples of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira worldwide, and in Brazil, by the Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute.
A sepulchral silence followed the delivery of the signatures at the Vatican Secretariat of State on September 29, 2015 (with an addendum on October 22). Pope Francis, so lavish in welcoming and cuddling non-Catholic and even anti-Catholic leaders from around the world, had not a word for these faithful who were asking nothing for themselves but only for the good of the Church, and doing so respectfully and reverently. Yet, o tempora o mores, he was not just in silence: later came Amoris Laetitia, opening the gates to the programmed demolition of marriage and the family, as we have analyzed in this document.
What will be given to those who ask for the bread of good doctrine? “And which of you, if he ask his father bread, will he give him a stone? or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?” (Luke 11:11).
* * *
Moreover, we note with dismay that in subsequent statements Pope Francis has fuelled this relativization. For example, he recently expressed to the Ecclesial Congress of the Diocese of Rome his conviction that “a part” of sacramental marriages “are null,”88 and yet expressed an opposite judgment on certain forms of cohabitation: “I am certain that this is a true marriage, they have the grace of matrimony.”89
In face of statements so conducive to disorient and dilute adherence to Church moral teachings among the faithful, we are obliged to express publicly, as a duty of conscience and with all the respect due to the office and person of the Supreme Pontiff, the serious observations the document elicits from us.
For some time we have been following with apprehension the growth of doctrinal confusion among Catholics on key points of family morality, which leaves them increasingly exposed to the rising tide of immorality and to the dictatorship of relativism, with serious harm to the eternal salvation of their souls. Accordingly, the Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute has increasingly focused its work on alerting the public against initiatives to relativize marriage and destroy the traditional family. This action also extends to individuals, clarifying them about the moral gravity of so-called “irregular marriage situations.” This vital apostolate is now called into question by the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Thus, bound in conscience by the circumstances, we cannot remain silent.
The veneration and filial obedience we render the Chair of Peter cannot exempt us from loyally telling Pope Francis: in conscience, we cannot accept Amoris Laetitia’s statements, sacramental discipline and pastoral proposals, which we have questioned herein. Nor can we stop fighting against the demolition of the family promoted by ideological lobbies and their allies in the media, finance, politics, and progressive Catholic circles.
We are comforted in this legitimate and respectful resistance by the words of Saint Peter, who teaches us that “We ought to obey God, rather than men” (Acts 5:29) and by the example of Saint Paul, who resisted the same Saint Peter “to his face” (Gal. 2:11), precisely on erroneous disciplinary measures that he proposed.
We are also supported by the Code of Canon Law, which provides in canon 212 § 3 for the right “and even at times the duty,”90 which we hereby exercise, to respectfully expose our dissent on these matters and, taking “into account the common good of the Church,”91 to request that Amoris Laetitia be revoked.
Given the similarity between situations, we adopt here this statement by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira in the conclusion of his famous manifesto of resistance to the Vatican policy of detente with communist governments: “This explanation was imperative. It has the character of a legitimate self-defense of our Catholic consciences.”92
In view of the foregoing, it is not surprising that authoritative ecclesiastics and lay Catholics have requested that AL be revoked93 for notoriously and seriously violating traditional Church morals and discipline in many of her teachings and pastoral proposals. The Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute hereby adds its own incisive and well-grounded adhesion to those requests.
Some brethren in the Faith may ask whether by placing ourselves in the state of filial resistance to AL’s implementation we do not risk separation from the mass of the faithful, which large media organizations usually present as a cohesive bloc of enthusiasts of Pope Francis’ style, statements, and writings.
The answer is that the present Pontiff’s alleged popularity with the Catholic public expresses more a yearning of the secular and leftist media, than factual reality.
Indeed Pope Francis’ disturbing initiatives are enthusiastically welcomed only by a small but vocal minority of aged progressive heirs to “liberation theology” and so-called “prophetic” currents of the 1960s. They are also echoed by major media outlets and by non-practicing Catholics (many of whom live in “irregular situations” that Amoris Laetitia now lends its seal). But they are certainly met with a measured, hesitant, perplexed and sometimes distressed silence by large numbers of practicing Catholics who fill the churches on Sundays. And they are beginning to draw respectful opposition from those who, since the pontificate of John Paul II, have engaged in numerous initiatives of the “new evangelization,” particularly those who have made the fight against abortion and the defense of Humanae Vitae and traditional marriage the main axis of their apostolate, if not of their spiritual life.
Until now this huge militant Catholic public, which some observers used to call “The Pope’s Last Sacred Armies,”94 was keeping a wait-and-see position. But ever since the publication of Amoris Laetitia they are discreetly beginning to express their just and well-founded discontent.95
In religious and civic-religious matters, what direction will this immense flock of discontented Catholics now distancing themselves from Pope Francis take because of his controversial initiatives and writings? We absolutely do not fear that it would produce a revolt against the Church. For it is precisely because of their spirit of hierarchy and love of religious discipline that this flock perceives that the present pontificate is dangerously drifting away from the mission Our Lord Jesus Christ entrusted to it.
There is a different situation in the ranks of the world bishops and clergy, Religious Orders and institutions, and ecclesial lay movements. Unfortunately, many of those that should speak remain silent. While on the one hand this silence does not seem consistent with their most serious duties, on the other hand it can be seen as a reason for hope. Indeed, those who keep quiet would have all kinds of advantages should they speak in favor of Amoris Laetitia. If they do not do so it is because they presumably disagree with its content. Thus their silence should not be seen only as a comfortable position of those who are far from the fight, but also as having righteous consciences that earnestly avoid active collaboration with evil.
We especially dedicate the above considerations to those “silent ones”—bishops, priests and laity—that keep mum amid the doctrinal storm shaking Catholic circles. We do so with Christian reverence and affection, reminding them that if there is a time to keep silent, there is a time to speak (Eccles. 3:7). And with the publication of Amoris Laetitia, the time to speak up has arrived for the true defenders of Catholic morals and the indissolubility of marriage.
In order to dispel the dominant doctrinal confusion, we urgently exhort all the discontented but “silent ones” to reaffirm publicly, and by all legitimate means at their disposal, the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Holy Church on:
* the divine and irreformable character of the institution of marriage;
* the indissolubility of the marriage bond;
* the primacy of procreation over the other ends of marriage;
* the hierarchical structure of the family;
* the impossibility of giving sacramental absolution and Holy Communion to those who persist in living publicly in an objective situation of grave sin.
God has placed in the hands of these hitherto silent prelates and institutions, means that can still remedy the situation. We implore them to join the fight, to speak, teach, and resist!
The Holy Family of Nazareth awaits to comfort them in battle. And Our Lady, smiling, prepares for them the hundredfold promised already on this earth to those who leave everything out of love for the Kingdom of Heaven. Finally, let them tremble in the presence of God, meditating on what can happen in one way or another to the Church, to Catholics, and to themselves if they fail to engage all their authority and prestige in the good fight.
PLINIO CORRÊA DE OLIVEIRA INSTITUTE
São Paulo, July 16, 2016
Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Recalling the Wise Teachings of Pope Pius XI in the Encyclical Casti Connubii
• “[E]very use of the faculty given by God for the procreation of new life is the right and the privilege of the married state alone, by the law of God and of nature, and must be confined absolutely within the sacred limits of that state.”
• “[T]he nature of matrimony is entirely independent of the free will of man, so that if one has once contracted matrimony he is thereby subject to its divinely made laws and its essential properties.”
• “By matrimony, therefore, the souls of the contracting parties are joined and knit together more directly and more intimately than are their bodies, and that not by any passing affection of sense of spirit, but by a deliberate and firm act of the will; and from this union of souls by God’s decree, a sacred and inviolable bond arises.”
• “[T]he nature of this contract, which is proper and peculiar to it alone, makes it entirely different…from the haphazard unions of men, which are far removed from all true and honorable unions of will and enjoy none of the rights of family life. From this it is clear that legitimately constituted authority has the right and therefore the duty to restrict, to prevent, and to punish those base unions which are opposed to reason and to nature.”
• “Thus amongst the blessings of marriage, the child holds the first place. And indeed the Creator of the human race Himself, Who in His goodness wishes to use men as His helpers in the propagation of life, taught this when, instituting marriage in Paradise, He said to our first parents, and through them to all future spouses: ‘Increase and multiply, and fill the earth.’”
• “Since…the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.”
• “God would have failed to make sufficient provision for children that had been born, and so for the whole human race, if He had not given to those to whom He had entrusted the power and right to beget them, the power also and the right to educate them…. Now it is certain that both by the law of nature and of God this right and duty of educating their offspring belongs in the first place to those who began the work of nature by giving them birth, and they are indeed forbidden to leave unfinished this work and so expose it to certain ruin.”
• “The second blessing of matrimony…consists in the mutual fidelity of the spouses in fulfilling the marriage contract, so that what belongs to one of the parties by reason of this contract sanctioned by divine law, may not be denied to him or permitted to any third person…. Wherefore, conjugal faith…demands in the first place the complete unity of matrimony which the Creator Himself laid down in the beginning when He wished it to be not otherwise than between one man and one woman.”
• “[M]atrimonial faith demands that husband and wife be joined in an especially holy and pure love, not as adulterers love each other, but as Christ loved the Church. This precept the Apostle laid down when he said: ‘Husbands, love your wives as Christ also loved the Church’ (Eph. 5:25; Col. 3:19).”
• “[T]his accumulation of benefits is completed and, as it were, crowned by that blessing of Christian marriage which in the words of St. Augustine we have called the sacrament, by which is denoted both the indissolubility of the bond and the raising and hallowing of the contract by Christ Himself, whereby He made it an efficacious sign of grace. …[T]his inviolable stability…belongs to every true marriage, for the word of the Lord: ‘What God hath joined together let no man put asunder,’ must of necessity include all true marriages without exception.”
• “[T]he sacramental nature is so intimately bound up with Christian wedlock that there can be no true marriage between baptized persons ‘without it being by that very fact a sacrament.’”
• “Consequently, as the onslaughts of these uncontrolled passions cannot in any way be lessened, unless the spirit first shows a humble compliance of duty and reverence towards its Maker, it is above all and before all needful that those who are joined in the bond of sacred wedlock should be wholly imbued with a profound and genuine sense of duty towards God, which will shape their whole lives, and fill their minds and wills with a very deep reverence for the majesty of God.”
• “No difficulty can arise that justifies the putting aside of the law of God which forbids all acts intrinsically evil. There is no possible circumstance in which husband and wife cannot, strengthened by the grace of God, fulfill faithfully their duties and preserve in wedlock their chastity unspotted.”
• “[It is] the concern of the public authority to make proper provision for matrimony and the family, but also in other things which concern the good of souls. [J]ust laws must be made for the protection of chastity, for reciprocal conjugal aid, and for similar purposes, and these must be faithfully enforced, because, as history testifies, the prosperity of the State and the temporal happiness of its citizens cannot remain safe and sound where the foundation on which they are established, which is the moral order, is weakened and where the very fountainhead from which the State draws its life, namely, wedlock and the family, is obstructed by the vices of its citizens.”
- For example, theologian Marciano Vidal of the Higher Institute of Moral Sciences in Madrid, whose books were the subject of warnings by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and who supports Amoris Laetitia, thus summarizes the Spanish media’s welcome to the Exhortation: “Reporting on the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL) on April 8, 2016, the four leading Madrid newspapers (El País, El Mundo, ABC and La Razón) coincided on four points: 1) they announced the news on the first page; 2) from the whole papal text, they highlighted what it said about the divorced and remarried; 3) they noted in this point the welcoming attitude asked by the pope; and 4) that welcoming attitude should concretely translate into analyzing each case in order to allow such persons to fully participate in the Eucharist” (cf. http://www.iscm.edu/el-prof-marciano-vidal-del-instituto-superior-de-ciencias-morales-madrid-comenta-lo-que-dice-amoris-laetitia-sobre-las-personas-catolicas-divorciadas-vueltas-a-casar/).
- In this regard, see the analysis by theologian Fr. Claude Barthe, “L’instinct de la foi” in L’Homme Nouveau (http://www.hommenouveau.fr/1647/tribune-libre/l-instinct-de-la-foi.htm). According to Archbishop Bruno Forte, one of the vice presidents of the Extraordinary and Ordinary Synods that preceded the publication of Amoris Laetitia and a close associate of Pope Francis in its writing, the “case by case” solution corresponds to a “Jesuitic” strategy of the Holy Father and not to a lack of parrhesia [frankness] he asked from the Synod Fathers: “If we explicitly speak of communion for the divorced and remarried,” said Archbishop Forte referring to a joke by Pope Francis, “you do not know the havoc we will create. So let’s not speak of it directly, but in such a way so as to leave conditions, then I will draw the conclusions” (See ZonaLocale.it and https://fratresinunum.com/2016/05/18/dom-bruno-forte-citando-francisco-faca-de-um-modo-que-fiquem-as-premissas-porque-as-conclusoes-serei-eu-a-tira-las/).
- The measure’s promoters groundlessly allege that the Council of Nicaea, in 325, authorized access to the Eucharist for people living in a “second union.” In fact, in its canon 8, what the said Council confirmed was that the widowed and remarried are in full communion with the Church.
- See, for example, Fr. Claude Barthe (ibid.), Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. (http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/4696/in_iamoris_laetitiai_who_is_admonishing_whom.aspx), Roberto de Mattei, “L’Esortazione post-sinodale Amoris laetitia: prime riflessioni su un documento catastrofico” (http://www.corrispondenzaromana.it/lesortazione-post-sinodale-amoris-laetitia-prime-riflessioni-su-un-documento-catastrofico/), Luiz S. Solimeo (https://tfp.org/tfp-home/catholic-perspective/because-of-its-grave-errors-amoris-laetitia-should-be-rejected.html), Matthew McCuker (http://voiceofthefamily.com/key-doctrinal-errors-and-ambiguities-of-amoris-laetitia/).
- See Raymond Cardinal Burke (http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/amoris-laetitia-and-the-constant-teaching-and-practice-of-the-church/), Most Rev. Athanasius Schneider (http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2016/04/official-response-of-bishop-athanasius.html), Most Rev. Antonio Livi (http://www.fidesetratio.it/conferenza-per-spiegare-al-maggio-2016..html), Most Rev. Livio Melina (http://www.ilfoglio.it/chiesa/2016/04/11/il-preside-dellistituto-giovanni-paolo-ii-lesortazione-post-sinodale-un-documento-positivo-non-c-alcun-cambiamento___1-v-140538-rubriche_c868.htm), Thibaut Collin (http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2016/04/08/couples-non-maries-divorces-remaries-le-pari-ose-du-pape-francois_4898896_3232.html), Robert Royal (https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2016/04/08/beautiful-moving-and-divisive/)
- Some commentators have criticized Amoris Laetitia for placing on the consciences of priests the burden of giving absolution and Communion to public sinners, and for having failed to clarify whether the general norms of an episcopate or a priest’s decision on a particular case oblige another priest (see “Entretien de Roberto de Mattei avec l’abbé Claude Barthe sur Amoris lætitia” http://www.correspondanceeuropeenne.eu/2016/05/10/on-ne-peut-interpreter-dans-le-sens-de-la-tradition-le-chapitre-viii-damoris-laetitia-entretien-de-roberto-de-mattei-avec-labbe-claude-barthe/ and Mathias von Gersdorff, “Wird die Bischofskonferenz deutsche Priester zum Sakrileg zwingen?” (http://mathias-von-gersdorff.blogspot.fr/2016/04/wird-die-bischofskonferenz-deutsche.html).
What is likely to happen is that priests will leave the case’s solution to the consciences of sinners themselves, as Chilean Jesuit Jorge Costadoat suggested, “What should an AL priest do when someone asks him to fully participate in the Eucharist? In my opinion, the priest should immediately welcome that person as if permission to receive communion did not depend on him. In the final analysis, he should take this decision on his conscience” (http://www.cooperativa.cl/opinion/religion/que-han-de-hacer-ahora-los-sacerdotes/2016-05-14/175422.html).
- “I could say ‘yes’ and leave it at that. But that would be too brief a response. I recommend that all of you read the presentation made by Cardinal Schönborn, a great theologian. He is a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and he knows the Church’s teaching very well. Your question will find its answer in that presentation” contested Pope Francis on the return flight from the island of Lesbos to a journalist who asked him if the Church’s discipline had changed. (http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2016/april/documents/papa-francesco_20160416_lesvos-volo-ritorno.html).
- https://zenit.org/articles/cardinal-schonborns-intervention-at-presentation-of-amoris-laetitia/ Cf. also Roberto de Mattei, “First Reflections on a Catastrophic Document,” http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2016/04/de-mattei-post-synod-exhortation-amoris.html).
- See Servizio Informazione Religiosa, “Verso il Sinodo: Lussemburgo, ‘dalla pastorale della famiglia a una pastorale dell’amore’” (http://agensir.it/quotidiano/2015/5/12/verso-il-sinodo-lussemburgo-dalla-pastorale-della-famiglia-a-una-pastorale-dellamore/).
- A significant example of this overthrow of barriers, even within the Catholic community, was given by the Pastoral Council of the parish assembly of the Diocese of Chicoutimi, Canada, which published in the Saint Anne parish bulletin this announcement: “Fulfilling a desire for openness toward all of today’s couples, the Valin Unit Pastoral Council has decided to rename the Feast of Fidelity as the Feast of Love. The Feast of Fidelity used to be held for couples married in the Catholic Church to celebrate their 25th, 40th, 50th or 60th marriage anniversary. We now want to welcome any couple wishing to celebrate their love and renew their mutual commitment, whatever their type of engagement (Catholic marriage, civil marriage, de facto or same-sex union, and whatever number of years [they’ve been married]– 1 year , 8, 25, 57, 62 years…). We believe that any engagement as a couple is important. And so we invite them to come celebrate their love with us, to renew their mutual commitment and to allow us to entrust them to the Lord in their beautiful engagement.” In other words, except for polygamy (for now), anything goes.
- Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Casti Connubii, Nos. 1, 3 and 45 at http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19301231_casti-connubii.html.
- AL No. 294. Here AL quotes the Relatio Finalis of the Synod of Bishops of October 24, 2015.
- AL No. 292, ibid.
- AL No. 298.
- AL No. 52.
- AL No. 303. These statements by Amoris Laetitia seem to contradict this dogmatic statement by the Council of Trent: “Let no one rashly assert that which the Fathers of the Council have placed under anathema, namely, that there are precepts of God impossible for the just to observe. God does not ask the impossible, but by His commands instructs you to do what you are able, to pray for what you are not able, and assists you that you may be able”(Denz. 1536). http://patristica.net/denzinger/#n1500.
- See Richard A. Spinello, Crisis Magazine, “Does Amoris Laetitia Retreat from Absolute Moral Norms?” (http://www.crisismagazine.com/2016/amoris-laetitia-retreat-absolute-moral-norms).
- Because of the deleterious influence of moral theology currents mired in personalism, existentialism and evolutionism the six paragraphs devoted to the family in the Constitution Gaudium et Spes already show some of the deviations that openly emerged in Amoris Laetitia, as they define marriage as an “intimate partnership of married life and love” (No. 48) without reference to procreation, which is only mentioned later among the benefits and purposes of marriage; they omit the hierarchy in the purposes of marriage and deal with mutual support of the spouses (“conjugal love”) before procreation; they also completely eliminate the traditional teaching that the husband is the head of the family, and obedience ceases to be one of the moral principles governing the relationship between parents and children. To a greater or lesser extent, the magisterial documents on the family promulgated by Popes after the Second Vatican Council pay tribute to these same ambiguities or deficiencies.
- As a congressman at the Constituent Assembly, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira had a decisive and successful role to enshrine in the Brazilian Constitution of 1934 provisions establishing the principle of the indissolubility of marriage and the civil validity of religious marriage. Later, as TFP president he led large-scale campaigns against attempts to legalize divorce, notably in 1966 (with a petition of over 1,000,000 signatures, collected in only fifty-two days); and in 1975, by spreading in streets and public squares 100,000 copies of the Pastoral Letter For Indissoluble Marriage, by Most Rev. Antonio de Castro Mayer, then Bishop of Campos.
In his book, Projected Constitution Distresses the Country, Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira devotes an entire chapter to analyze and defend the Christian foundations of the family, challenging the articles of the draft constitution favoring divorce, abortion, and especially established state intervention in domestic family relationships through a strongly leftist educational dictatorship. He also defended the family in a six-page ad published around the world, denouncing President François Mitterrand’s self-managing socialism. It totaled 33.5 million copies in 52 countries. Under his inspiration and guidance, campaigns were organized in Brazil such as Our Children’s Tomorrow, whose work was a decisive factor in the rejection of bills favoring divorce, abortion and the so-called same-sex “marriage.”
This legacy of struggle on behalf of the family lives on in the Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute, which has been effectively acting in fearless street campaigns and successful lobbying efforts in federal, state and city councils, and in public debates on issues such as abortion and the ill-fated gender theory. The history and documentation on this whole range of activities can be found on the site www.pliniocorreadeoliveira.info, a necessary reference for all who wish to know the life and work of Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira.
- In this regard, François de Singly, Professor of Sociology at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Sorbonne, says: “For the family, it is now a lesser goal to produce obedient beings subjected to family and social hierarchy…. It has become a reference space for the construction of its members’ ‘intimate identity’…. A new family has been born, much more focused on individuals and on the quality of interpersonal relationships. This is why we call it a ‘relational and individualistic family’… From now on, a somewhat egalitarian mutual treatment characterizes the family group, something which is a historical novelty… Indeed, unlike traditional families, in contemporary families the breadwinner has been abolished (in 1970 in France, a law replaced paternal authority with parental authority) to the benefit of a regulation mode which includes mostly negotiations between the spouses and between parents and kids” (“La réinvention de la famille”, http://ses.69.free.fr/DOSSIER%20DIVERS/desingly.htm).
- AL No. 19.
- AL No. 53.
- AL No. 54. By excluding all forms of patriarchate and stressing the absolute parity between husband and wife, Amoris Laetitia omits the fact in the story of Genesis that the woman was made from the first man’s rib: “When we read in the Bible about the creation of man and woman, we see God first forming Adam (cf. Gen 2:7); he realizes that something essential is lacking and so he forms Eve” (AL No. 221).
- AL No. 176.
- AL No. 29. Paradoxically, Pope Francis states that “there is no need to lay upon two limited persons the tremendous burden of having to reproduce perfectly the union existing between Christ and his Church” (AL No. 122), and on the other hand, aspires for the family “to be an image of the union between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” The least one could say is that the first analogy, which to him seems almost impossible to fulfill, is nevertheless much closer to matrimony than the second, which he sets as a goal to be attained.
- AL No. 277. Pope Francis indirectly alludes to Chapter IV of the Encyclical Laudato Sì in which he sustains that “everything is interconnected,” so that “living species are part of a network” and thus a “good part of our genetic code is shared by many living beings,” while on the social plane, “each person feels held within a network of solidarity and belonging” in which “the walls of the ego are torn down and the barriers of selfishness overcome.” http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html.
- AL No. 32.
- AL No. 115.
- AL No. 54.
- AL No. 173. Several feminist currents emerged during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries:
– Egalitarian liberal feminism, which set as a goal to eliminate differences between the sexes in education, workplace, public jobs, etc.;
– Marxist feminism, which advocated for women to enter the labor market and participate in class struggle while respecting women’s own biology and their “twofold social mission,” production and reproduction;
– Radical feminism of the 1960’s, which saw the “patriarchate” as the root of women’s oppression and which would be exercised first on their bodies and within the family. The “women’s liberation” struggle moved into the private sphere by extending “rights” to contraception, abortion, etc.
For its part, this radical feminism gave rise to three currents:
– Materialist feminism, which reincorporated the themes of Marxist feminism;
– Differentialist feminism, which criticizes abstract and universalist egalitarianism, accused of prolonging masculine Androcentrism, and enhances differences, especially the sexual one, seeking to reconcile feminism with maternity;
– Lesbian feminism, which claims that “imposed” heterosexuality is the most intimate form of oppressing women. One of its leaders, Judith Butler, is the main theoretician of “gender ideology.”
This phrase by Pope Francis suggests that he refuses this latest form of feminism and favors the differentialist feminism of authors such as the philosopher and psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva (invited by Pope Benedict XVI to the Interreligious Encounter of Assisi in 2011).
- AL No. 54.
- AL No. 220.
- AL No. 156. Pope Francis uses a text by Pope John Paul II in which he states that the community established by the spouses “is constituted by a reciprocal donation of self, which is also a mutual subjection,” since the Apostle advises, “Be subject to one another” (Eph. 5:21). To be consistent with the traditional teaching, this text and the similar one of Mulieres Dignitatem should be understood in the sense that in both places, the word submission has a non-univocal but analogical meaning: “Let women [be subject] to their husbands” and “be subject to one other.” In the latter case, submission means only the spirit of sacrifice and service with which the husband, as head of the family, should take care of his wife and children (just as the Pope is called “servant of the servants of God” without diluting the Church’s hierarchical structure). Added to this the fact that a simple and even superficial reading of the Epistle to the Ephesians shows that, by saying “be subject to one other, Saint Paul is referring to the relationship of the faithful with one another in society in general, and not in family relationships in particular; whereas by saying that women should be submissive to their husbands, without any possible doubt he is referring to the relationship between husband and wife.
- To readers that might feel surprised at this statement we recommend reading the best-sellers Sposati e sii sottomessa (“Get Married and Be Submissive”) and Sposala e muori per lei (“Marry Her and Die for Her”) by Costanza Miriano , a former journalist for RAI (Italian public television), still not translated into English.
- Casti Connubii No. 10 at https://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19301231_casti-connubii.html. Reinforcing this teaching, the encyclical quotes Leo XIII: “The man is the ruler of the family, and the head of the woman; but because she is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, let her be subject and obedient to the man, not as a servant but as a companion, so that nothing be lacking of honor or of dignity in the obedience which she pays. Let divine charity be the constant guide of their mutual relations, both in him who rules and in her who obeys, since each bears the image, the one of Christ, the other of the Church.” (Encyclical Arcanum Divinae Sapientiae, February 10, 1880).
One can also add the words of Pope Pius XII in his allocution “L’Autorità Nella Famiglia: 1. Marito e Moglie” (The Authority in the Family: 1. Husband and Wife) of September 10, 1941 to newlyweds: “Every family is a society, every well-ordered society calls for a head, and the power of every head comes from God. Therefore, the family you have founded also has its head, a head whom God has vested in authority upon the one He gave him to be his companion, and upon the offspring that will come, with God’s blessing, to grow and brighten the family, like olive shoots around the tree trunk. Yes, the authority of the head of the family comes from God, just as Adam received from God the dignity and authority as the first head of the human race and all the gifts that he passed on to his posterity.” (Cf. Discorsi e Radiomessagi di Sua Santità Pio XII, Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, vol. III, p. 191.)
- AL No. 276.
- AL No. 98.
- Pope Pius XII, in his allocution “L’Autorità Nella Famiglia: 1. Marito e Moglie” (The Authority in the Family: 1. Husband and Wife) of September 10, 1941 to newlyweds, teaches: “You, husbands, have been vested in authority. Each of you is the head of the home, with all the duties and responsibilities this title entails. Do not doubt or hesitate, therefore, to exercise authority; do not renege on your duties and do not flee from your responsibilities. Do not abandon to indolence, negligence, selfishness, and pastimes, the rudder of the ship of your household, which has been entrusted to your hands.” (Cf. Discorsi e Radiomessagi di Sua Santità Pio XII, Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, vol. III, pp. 195-196.)
- AL No. 177.
- AL No. 261.
- AL No. 262.
- Pope Pius XII, Allocution “L’Autorità Nella Famiglia: 2. Genitori e Figli” (The Authority in the Family: 2. Parents and Children) of September 24, 1941: “Parents often complain, nowadays, that they are unable to make themselves obeyed by their children. Naughty children who don’t listen to anyone. Teenagers who scorn any guidance. Young men and maidens intolerant of any advice, deaf to all warnings, ambitious to be first in games and races, eager to do everything their own way, and believing that they alone understand the necessities of modern life. In short — it is said — the new generation is not usually (there are many beautiful and appreciable exceptions!) willing to bow to the authority of father and mother. And what is the reason for this rebellious conduct? What ordinarily occurs is that today’s children often lack the sense of submission and respect due to parents and to their voice; that in the fiery atmosphere of youthful pride in which they live, everything they see and hear around them tends to increase, inflame and exasperate their naturally untamed inclination to be independent, contemptuous for the past, and avid for the future.” (Cf. Discorsi e Radiomessagi di Sua Santità Pio XII, Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, vol. III, p. 202.)
- AL No. 264.
- AL No. 267.
- Saint John Bosco, Reglamento para las casas salesianas, apud Juan B. Lemoyne, SDB, Vida de San Juan Bosco, 2nd edition (Buenos Aires, Editorial Don Bosco), pp. 412-413.
- Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Divini Illius Magistri, December 31, 1929, Nos. 60, 63 and 59 at http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_31121929_divini-illius-magistri.html.
- AL No. 279.
- Encyclical Divini Illius Magistri, cit., Nos. 65, 66 and 67.
- AL No. 3.
- http://infocatolica.com/?t=noticia&cod=26533 (our translation). Another telltale episode: On his return trip from the Island of Lesbos to Rome, “a reporter asked the Pope if a civilly remarried divorcee can receive the Eucharist: “Are there new concrete possibilities that did not exist before the publication of the exhortation, or not?” Pope Francis: “I could say ‘yes’” (https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2016/04/18/160418e.html).
- AL No. 37.
- AL No. 38.
- AL No. 211.
- AL No. 59.
- AL No. 204.
- AL No. 32. AL here quotes the Report of the Synod of Bishops of October 18, 2014.
- AL No. 31. AL here quotes Familiaris Consortio of Pope John Paul II.
- AL No. 3. By saying, “as the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth,” AL seeks to give its own interpretation of the Gospel (John 16:13), which reads: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come.”
- AL No. 32.
- AL No. 33. AL here quotes the Report of the Synod of Bishops of October 18, 2014.
- AL No. 39.
- AL No. 40.
- AL No. 43. AL here quotes the Report of the Synod of Bishops of October 18, 2014.
- AL No. 35.
- AL No. 36.
- AL No. 57.
- AL No. 57. AL here quotes the Report of the Synod of Bishops of October 18, 2014.
- In passing, note the daring choice for this title, as “[t]oday, the term ‘love’ has become one of the most frequently used and misused of words, a word to which we attach quite different meanings,” as Pope Benedict XVI rightly stated (Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, No. 2).
- “AMORIS LAETITIA – Struttura e significato dell’Esortazione apostolica post-sinodale di Papa Francesco” in La Civiltà Cattolica, No. 3980 of April 23, 2016, p. 109 (http://www.laciviltacattolica.it/articoli_download/extra/SPADARO-AMORIS_LAETITIA.pdf).
- AL No. 217. The Catholic Church has always held that the free choice of spouse is one of the conditions of validity, but has never considered that such a choice must necessarily fall on a loved one. By stating that only those who love each other can marry, Pope Francis nolens volens retrospectively voids all marriages of reason and convenience celebrated for thousands of years in all civilizations until the nineteenth century and still today. An old French adage says, “The fool marries the woman he loves; the wise man loves the woman he married.”
- AL No. 132.
- AL No. 131.
- AL No. 212.
- AL No. 131. Note that to “turn marriage into…a purely private affair” is for the partners to live “a merely spontaneous association” not formalized before society; but for Amoris Laetitia, there would be no “private affair” if the couple made the primary object of their marriage to cement their mutual love, and relegated procreation to a secondary and subordinate place.
- AL No. 125. AL here quotes the Constitution Gaudium et Spes, of the Second Vatican Council.
- AL No. 80. In this item, AL quotes a) the Constitution Gaudium et Spes, of the Second Vatican Council; b) the Code of Canon Law; c) the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Inversion in the hierarchy of the ends of marriage is also expressed in the Exhortation’s internal structure, as Chapter 4 deals with “Love in Marriage” and procreation is dealt with only in the next chapter as a derivative of love, under the title, “Love Made Fruitful.”
- https://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P511029.HTM. In this document, Pope Pius XII only reiterated the traditional teaching as well as the Holy Office decree of April 1, 1944, which peremptorily answered in the negative the question “Can the opinion of certain modern writers be admitted, who either deny that the primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of children or teach that the secondary ends are not essentially subordinate to the primary end, but are equally principal and independent?” Cf. Acta Apostolicæ Sedis, 36, II, XI, (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1944), p. 103.
- Pius XI recalls it in Casti Connubii (No. 11): “As St. Augustine admirably deduces from the words of the holy Apostle Saint Paul to Timothy (1 Tim. 5:14) when he says: ‘The Apostle himself is therefore a witness that marriage is for the sake of generation: ‘I wish,’ he says, ‘young girls to marry.’ And, as if someone said to him, ‘Why?,’ he immediately adds: ‘To bear children, to be mothers of families’ (St. Aug., De bono coniug., Chap. 24, No. 32.).”
- As Victor Hugo unashamedly put it, “The freedom to love is no less sacred than the freedom to think. Today, what is called adultery is identical to what was once called heresy” (Correspondance, 1853).
- Testimony at the Collectif pour le PaCS forum at the French Senate, in January 1999.
- Howard Kainz, The Catholic Thing, “The End(s) of Marriage Since Vatican II” available at (https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2015/10/17/the-ends-of-marriage-since-vatican-ii/).
- “Interview de Monseigneur Vincent Jordy, évêque de Saint-Claude,” Voix du Jura, October 25, 2012.
- According to the Code of Canon Law, “All the Christian faithful have the duty and right to work so that the divine message of salvation more and more reaches all people in every age and in every land” (Can. 211); “The Christian faithful are at liberty freely to found and direct associations for purposes of charity or piety or for the promotion of the Christian vocation in the world and to hold meetings for the common pursuit of these purposes” (Can. 215).
- http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2016/06/18/pope-francis-comments-on-modern-marriage-raise-storm-of-criticism/ assessed Sept. 2, 2016. In fact, the Pope said, “a great majority of our sacramental marriages are null,” and his words were recorded (see video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ5h2efV0a4 at marker 1:14:30h, assessed Sept. 2, 2016; Cf. LifeSiteNews, “Pope Francis: Most Catholic marriages are null, some ‘cohabitations’ are ‘real marriage’” at https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-francis-most-marriages-are-null-some-cohabitations-are-real-marriage), but the official transcript changed it to “a part.”
- http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2016/june/documents/papa-francesco_20160616_convegno-diocesi-roma.html; See also video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ5h2efV0a4 at marker 1:20:33h, assessed Sept. 2, 2016.
- Code of Canon Law, Can. 212, §3. “According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons” (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__PU.HTM).
- Ibid, Can. 223, §1. “In exercising their rights, the Christian faithful, both as individuals and gathered together in associations, must take into account the common good of the Church, the rights of others, and their own duties toward others.”
- See: https://tfp.org/tfp-home/statements/the-vatican-policy-of-detente-towards-the-communist-governments.html.
- For example, the appeal by John Smeaton, co-founder of Voice of the Family, (http://voiceofthefamily.com/votf-co-founder-building-a-catholic-resistance-movement/).
- “Dall’Opus ai Legionari le Sacre Armate del Papa,” La Repubblica, March 10, 2013, http://ricerca.repubblica.it/repubblica/archivio/repubblica/2013/03/10/dallopus-ai-legionari-le-sacre-armate-del.html.
- When launching his book, Pope Francis Among the Wolves: The Inside Story of a Revolution, Marco Politi, a shrewd left-oriented Vatican insider remarked:
“As an observer, a fact worries me: so far the great lay movements, along with many dioceses, have remained inert….It seems to me that a large portion of the organized Catholic world is in a wait-and-see position….In the past, for example, when Pope Wojtyla launched his re-evangelization project we saw movements like Communion and Liberation and Opus Dei come massively and strongly into the arena. Now, despite it all I see that the Pope remains very isolated….I believe that Bergoglio has aroused attention, reflection and debate in ambiences of agnostics and non-believers who had never bothered with the Church. But so far I have been unable to measure a real increase in frequency to masses or in the practice of the sacraments….We are in the midst of a historical process that does not end with applause at St. Peter’s Square. I was six years in Moscow [as a correspondent of the newspaper] La Repubblica during perestroika and remember newspaper editors hailing Gorbachev as the winner….We, journalists with a democratic culture had enormous regard for Gorbachev. But in my articles I reported that in the Soviet Union, an opposition to that president was forming” (Rossoporpora, “Marco Politi: I lupi di Francesco? Non vengono da Gubbio,” interview of Giuseppe Rusconi, (http://www.rossoporpora.org/rubriche/papa-francesco/385-marco-politi-i-lupi-di-francesco-non-vengono-da-gubbio.html).