“Amoris laetitia” is at the center of the controversy over the John Paul II Theological Institute

The architects and executors of the new Institute want the place to have a more sympathetic focus on the much-debated Apostolic Exhortation than they believe it has heretofore received from former faculty and administrators.

A journalist takes photos of copies of Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on the family, "Amoris Laetitia" ("The Joy of Love"), during the document's release at the Vatican April 8, 2016. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Somehow, the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris laetitia, is at the center of the controversy over the present circumstances and future direction of the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences. At the end of the first essay in this three-part series examining the affair at the crossroads of politics, culture, and theology, the centrality of Pope Francis’s pastoral encouragement to the Church began to come into view. In this second essay, the matter comes more fully into focus.

The architects and executors of the new Institute want the place to have a more sympathetic focus on Amoris laetitia, than they believe it has heretofore received from former faculty and administrators. The president of the new Institute, Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, explained the matter to the Italian bishops’ newspaper, Avvenire, in an interview published July 19:

The Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (sic) will naturally be integral to the curricula and in the material that provides magisterial support for the various courses, as well as for in-depth research within seminars and in faculty publications. It is certain that the addition of new faculty and the reshaping of academic programs, made possible now under the new Charter, will permit the adequate development of reflection and study that includes topics now under discussion by theologians. The central importance of the magisterial teaching of Amoris Laetitia (sic), which must guide theological and pastoral understanding of the family—even in its most problematic circumstances—must surely imply recognizing the credence due to the authoritative expression of the living teaching of the Church.

Fair enough. The Institute is the Pope’s, and he may do with it what he pleases. As long as we’re talking about a real expansion, to bring in other — different and more sympathetic — voices, or even about a reshuffling of the administrative deck in favor of those more sympathetic voices, there would be no reason for any expression of outrage and little for complaint.

On July 30, however, Avvenire ran a piece by a senior journalist at the paper, Luciano Moia, in which Moia dutifully parroted the party line regarding two professors, Msgr. Livio Melina and Fr. José Noriega DCJM, whose positions were not part of the “renewal in continuity” Pope Francis envisioned and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia directed at Pope Francis’s behest.

The line is that Melina and Noriega weren’t fired, there simply wasn’t room for them in the new outfit, and anyway Noriega was going to be superior for another four months after the new school year started ineligible. Then Moia explained that Melina and Noriega were troublemakers, who had it coming and got what they deserved.

“No one can forget,” wrote Moia, “that, in the intense synodal season and then also in the months that followed the publication of Amoris laetitia, some few representatives of the Institute’s administrative leadership, together with some teachers, worked themselves breathless with publications, declarations, interventions at congresses and conferences, to minimize the import of the change desired by Pope Francis.”

The problem with that is twofold.

First, either it was all business and nothing personal, or Melina and Noriega were counter-revolutionary malcontents. It can’t be both. Second, and more important for the broader conversation in the Church, Melina and Noriega have been trying to explain how it is possible to understand Amoris in keeping with prior teaching, and in accord with established universal discipline. As moral theologians at a Pontifical institution, that was their job.

Msgr. Melina replied to Moia in Avvenire in early August, impugning the charge of attempting “to minimize the import of the change desired by Pope Francis,” and stridently objecting to some of Moia’s other insinuations:

Having weighed the vagueness of that expression, we desire to underline how the argument already belongs to the natural debate in the theological and pastoral sphere, in which the hermeneutic of renewal in continuity with Tradition is a criterion, to date, never condemned and never retracted by the Magisterium. This, in dutiful tutelage of the “good name” of the professors, who are victims of the provision and now also of calumny; but above all in tutelage of the “freedom of the children of God.” Among these professors are also theologians — who are not mere doctors or court scribblers, weathercocks who pursue the whims of the wind, nor even maîtres à penser salaried to express the opinions of others; salaries, of which some [of those professors] are now deprived, upon motivations that we adjudge unfounded and seriously damaging to our dignity. Finally, allow me to make present to you that defamation is not only a grave sin, against which Pope Francis has repeatedly railed, but also a prosecutable crime.

Moia answered Melina’s letter — to which Professors José Noriega, Stanislaw Grygiel, Monika Grygiel, Vittorina Marini, Przemyslaw Kwiatkowski, and Jaroslaw Kupczak had also given their signatures — saying the truth of his charges is manifest in Melina’s own writings and other public declarations.

Moia adduced two texts: both from a paper Prof. Melina delivered to a 2016 conference at the JPII Institute to offer keys to the interpretation of Amoris, which later made it into a book titled, Quale pastorale dopo Amoris laetitia? (What pastoral approach after Amoris laetitia?), which brought together the acts of the conference. In the first, Melina writes: “…according to that, which is taught by Familiaris consortio (n.32) and by Veritatis splendor, which is an encyclical with explicitly doctrinal intent, and that therefore has a superior magisterial rank with respect to a simple exhortation of a pastoral nature.”

If you’re doing a double take, wondering where the subject and main verb in that last quoted sentence might be, stop. Moia didn’t bother giving them. He had what he wanted in that fragment. He thought he had a smoking gun. “One knows not whence the conviction was born,” Moia glossed, “according to which doctrine (law) comes before pastoral care (man). It certainly does not come from the Gospel, where it is said that ‘the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath’.”

Never mind that any 1st semester theology student should be able to tell you that Melina is right about the pecking order of magisterial documents, and explain why. Ignore for a moment that doctrine is not law, and that pastoral care properly understood and practiced is to help Christians conform their lives to the teaching of the Church. Moia’s deployment of one line ripped from context proves absolutely nothing, even as it treats Sacred Scripture as little more than a campaign slogan.

Moia brought a slogan to a professional academic discussion, sure, but that doesn’t matter much when a mitred Frank Nitti is in the stairwell.

The other quote Moia adduced against Melina is this: “Therefore it must be clearly stated that even after Amoris laetitia, admitting the divorced ‘remarried’ to communion, outside the situations envisaged by Familiaris consortio and by Sacramentum caritatis 29, goes against the discipline of the Church, and teaching that it is possible to admit the divorced ‘remarried’ to Communion, beyond these criteria, goes against the Magisterium of the Church.” Moia introduces those lines from Molina with these, of his own: “According to Melina there is nowhere in Amoris laetitia that opens the way to this possibility [to admit divorced and civilly remarried persons to Communion]. In order to avoid falling into contradiction, he ignores taking into examination notes 336 and 351 — an essential part of the text[.]” Melina didn’t account for the fine print.

The problem with this, is that Pope Francis and all but a very few ideologically committed readers agree with Melina on this point. The debate is not over whether Francis has changed either doctrine or discipline, but whether there is room for the kind of pastoral latitude Pope Francis envisions in Amoris for people in irregular situations. More finely couched: the disagreement is not over whether there is any pastoral latitude — everyone agrees there is — but is over how much there is, where to find it, and how to police it.

There is no candid view of the Church since the publication of Amoris laetitia, which could possibly conclude that there is anything close to agreement on those questions. Not even across jurisdictions that have implemented Amoris laetitia through policy measures or particular law, is there general agreement on the scope of the development Amoris countenances. One may fairly ask why a pastoral exhortation calling for deep pastoral discernment needed such hasty implementation anywhere, but that is another subject, entirely.

All that is debatable. At least, it was. Now, however, Moia — writing for the official paper of the Italian bishops’ conference — is claiming that merely framing the issue not only arouses suspicion, but constitutes an act of contumacious disloyalty.

Moia wasn’t done, though. He next pointed his knife at three other JPII Institute professors: José Granados, Stephan Kampowski, and Juan-José Perez-Soba, impugning a book they co-authored under the title, “Amoris laetitia, accompagnare, discernere, integrare (Amoris laetitia: accompanying, discerning, integrating)”. Two of the three professors, at least — Granados and Kampowski — are apparently slated to continue in their work at the Institute. So, their inclusion in Moia’s indictment may be to show the restraint with which the business has been done, or as a warning to them to stay in their lane, or both.

“The basic thesis,” wrote Moia of their book, “is that a magisterial text is valid only if it is placed in continuity with the previous magisterium.” Well, yes. The authors are Catholics, not Mormons. Then Moia quoted their paper:

When in Amoris laetitia, an ambiguous or debated text appears, the only valid interpretation is that which consists in reading it in continuity with the previous magisterium.

“Thus,” Moia went on to proclaim in hand-wringing triumph, “in Amoris laetitia there would be ‘ambiguous and debated’ passages, an evaluation that is not exactly benevolent towards the Pope.” Pope Francis himself was unsure of Amoris’s orthodoxy. We can be fairly certain Granados, Kampowski, and Perez-Soba were on safe ground.

The ground perhaps began to shift beneath the authors when they wrote that the much-discussed footnote 351 was, “very general” and “cannot be referred to the case of the divorced and civilly remarried, for which there exists a very clear magisterium, which serves as a guide to every doubt.” There, the authors may well have exposed themselves to legitimate criticism. It was fairly early in the debate when they wrote that essay, though, and in any case they’re right about the broad applicability of note 351, which ought not be taken only — or even primarily — to refer to Communion for persons in irregular states.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna said so. The day Amoris laetitia was released, he spoke with Vatican Radio:

I am profoundly convinced that, 35 years after Familiaris consortio, Pope Francis has given us a beautiful example of what [Bl.] John Henry Newman calls, “the organic development of teaching.” [St.] John Paul II has already innovated in some points: not a break with tradition, but his “Theology of the Body” was something very new; his words on graduality in Familiaris consortio were rather unusual; his words on “discernment” in Familiaris consortio #84 were quite surprising – his strong invitation to discern different situations. Pope Francis is very much in continuity with this, and the Synod was – the two Synods were [as well]. Discernment was a key word in Pope Francis’ Exhortation. It is very “Jesuitical” – discernment of spirits – and that leads him to an attitude that was already present in Pope Benedict’s teaching, in Pope [St.] John Paul II’s teaching, that the Church offers help to those who are in so-called “irregular situations”. He adds a little note, where he says, “In certain cases, also, the aid, the help of the sacraments.” That’s all he said.

CRA:  That brings us nicely to the point, because, when we are talking about discernment, we are inevitably also must discuss conscience – but we must let Mother Church form our consciences – and Pope Francis certainly knows this, though it does bear mention. The sacraments: which ones, and in what order?

Card. Schönborn: 

I think it is fairly clear: there are circumstances in which people in irregular situations may really need sacramental absolution, even if their general situation cannot be clarified. Pope Francis has himself given an example: when a woman [in an irregular marital situation] comes to confess her abortion – the sin, the grave sin of abortion – not to relieve her, even if her situation is irregular – the discernment of the shepherd can be, and I would say, “must be”: you have to help this person to be freed from her burden, even if you cannot tell her that her marital situation has been regularized by this absolution – but you cannot [let her leave] the confessional with the burden of her grave sin she finally had the courage to come to confess. That was the example he had given, and I think it is a very good example for what this little note could mean in certain cases: i.e. “[…]even the help of sacraments.” 

Moia next adduced a passage from the renowned John Paul II chair-holder, Prof. Stanislaw Grygiel, who wrote regarding Amoris in May of 2016: “Amoris laetitia constrains us to a profound reflection on the faith, on hope, and on love, that is, the gift of liberty received from God, for Amoris does not bring a clear message regarding the ‘gift[s] of God’ that are the truth, the good, and mercy.” That’s not flattering, perhaps, but it hardly meets even the impossibly vague criterion Moia himself established as the benchmark against which to measure.

Moia also pointed to lines from Grygiel’s essay, which in 2016 predicted, “[P]astors and arch-pastors,” who, “propose a ‘yes, but…’ casuistry that takes into consideration not so much man’s conscience, as his inclination to evil.” Moia further quotes Grygiel, “If things keep going like this, we may soon expect chaos to follow, in which persons subject to the inclination to evil shall go about parishes and even dioceses in search of the most clever casuists.” Thank heaven that has not come true.

Near the end of his screed, Moia returned to work on Prof. Melina, who delivered remarks in 2018, at the presentation of a posthumous volume by Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, the founding president of the defunct John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, “who, by strange fate, died on 6 September 2017, one day before the Pope should have made the John Paul II Institute cease to exist, which he [Caffarra] had seen born, almost as if the Lord wanted to spare his seeing this thing [done].”

So, Prof. Melina, remembering a deceased figure who dedicated a significant portion of his life to building an institution they both loved, expresses what may fairly be interpreted as at least mild dissatisfaction at their beloved institution’s dismantling, and Moia discovers therein sufficient ground to challenge and defeat Melina’s protestation of “filial respect and cordial obedience.”

Moia’s indictment is so thoroughly inept that one almost wonders whether it wasn’t a false flag operation. It does not come close to carrying its burden, and gives away the store along the way. One would not fall out of one’s chair to learn that, after it appeared, the powers had sent Moia a discreet invitation to stop helping.

Suffice it to say that, should “evidence” of such quality as that, which Moia rehearsed, ever become effectively sufficient to establish contumely warranting dismissal, then the day on which it does will be the day on which free inquiry and unfettered debate of ideas in search of truth in the Pontifical system of higher education both meet unworthy death.


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About Christopher R. Altieri 111 Articles
Christopher R. Altieri is a journalist, writer, and editor based in Rome, Italy. He spent more than a dozen years on the news desk at Vatican Radio. He holds the PhD from the Pontifical Gregorian University, and is the author of The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood.

37 Comments

  1. My children and family are abandoned by the Church of 2013, the Church that has “the mind of McCarrick.”

    The Bishop of Rome and most Bishops are fiddlers as the city burns.

    I note that St. Peter and St. Paul and the martyred popes did not invent titles for themselves like “Your Excellency” and “Your Eminence.”

    Rome right now, and those bleating for “filial obedience and cordial respect” for the person sitting in the Holy Chair are reaping the harvest they have sewn all their lives. For 50 years, they have taught young people and seminarians to disbelieve the evangelists, the Apostles, and the very voice of Jesus. And yet now…after a career sowing disbelief and disobedience…they expect people to render to them respect and obedience that they themselves refused to give to the 2 previous popes and worse, the evangelists and apostles.

    Having now ascended to the very power that they so long lusted after, their lives of disbelief and disobedience make mockery of themselves in the seat of authority.

    What a pitiful display by “The Herd of McCarrick.”

      • Sure, if you want to trust your eternal fate to the Barque of St. Chris in Maryland. Maybe he could arrange to be crucified upside down first, though, so we can have some indication he is at least serious.

        There is an old joke: “What do you call the student who graduates at the bottom of his class in medical school? Ans: Doctor.” In the same way, what do you call the worst Pope in 500 years? Pope.

  2. When in Amoris laetitia, an ambiguous or debated text appears, the only valid interpretation is that which consists in reading it in continuity with the previous magisterium.”

    Sound familiar? Just replace Amoris Laetitia with Lumen Gentium, or Dignitatus Humanae, or Nostr Aetate. Its a very brilliant stroke of Lucifer. Introduce ambiguity, and divide people into conservatives and liberals. Both camps can claim to be authentic, and they are both right! Its brilliantly creates a dogma-less one world religion.

    • the only question who is guided by the Holy Spirit. The Church united to the Pope is guided by the Holy Spirit and this is the 2000 years Tradition. Can we say the same to opposing Cardinals and Dissenting Bishops? Definitely No!
      St.Paul had a letter to all bishop eho oppose the Pope. Read Romans13:1-2

    • Okay, now you’ve cherry-picked your three whipping boys (and misspelled the titles of two of them; did you perhaps learn your Latin in Snuffy Smith, West Virginia?) from among the documents of the Second Vatican Council – and you’ve quite wrongly and falsely tried to tar those three documents with the same brush as “Amoris laetitia.”

      Let’s see you try to do the same with each and every one the remaining THIRTEEN documents of the Second Vatican Council, to wit:

      “Dei verbum” (DOGMATIC Constitution on Divine Revelation)
      “Sacrosanctum concilium” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)
      “Gaudium et spes” (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)
      “Gravissimum educationis” (Declaration on Christian Education)
      “Ad gentes” (Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church)
      “Presbyterorum ordinis” (Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests)
      “Apostolican actuositatem” (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity)
      “Optatam totius” (Decree on Priestly Training)
      “Perfectae caritatis” (Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life)
      “Christus Dominus” (Decree Concerning the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church)
      “Unitatis Redingratio” (Decree on Ecumenism)
      “Orientalium Ecclesiarum” (Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite)
      “Inter mirifica” (Decree on the Media of Social Communications)

      Either take on all thirteen of those documents, or take on none of them; no cherry-picking or particular generalization allowed.

    • The truth is that ambiguous text appears in virtually all documents. I have been going back over the writings of Leo XIII, Pius X and other pre conciliar popes and there is lots of ambiguous language included in their documents as well.

      It is simply a false notion that everything was crystal clear before Vatican II, and that Vatican II started the whole ambiguous language thing. Ambiguity is always there, whether you are talking about Pius X, John Paul II, or a statute of the United States. Although some things are clear, others are uncertain, at least as applied to specific cases.

      So let’s discard the worn out complaint of the breakaway sect catholics that Vatican II was ambiguous, so that people could ignore it as they pleased. It just is not true.

      • No, the truth is that ambiguous texts appear in THE BIBLE ITSELF. Seriously, there are passages that SEEM to support the positions of the Arian heretics or the Jehovah’s Witnesses. That is NOT to say that the passages themselves are heretical or that no orthodox understanding of them exists, only that we would be in a pickle if we had to deal with them without the context of Sacred Tradition and the credibility the Church has earned through the witness of Her Martyrs and Saints.

    • It is a cop out and an attack on logic and the fact that words do mean something and are spoken or written to communicate such meaning. Some of what Francis has in AL simply cannot be interpreted as in agreement with previous teaching, even what many Church Fathers such as St. John Chrysostom taught. These authors who have been purged now must realize or should that they would have been far better off if they called out the problems of AL and “died fighting” in favor of authentic Catholic teaching.

  3. To now ask for personal obedience that they refused to render to the Gospel in their own lives.

    The word brazen comes to mind…

  4. As Fr. Raymond de Sousa noted in the Catholic Herald, if Amoris Laetitia can only be enforced via diktat rather than via persuasion and interpretation in continuity with the perennial magisterium of the Catholic Church, then it is doomed to fail and be forgotten.

      • I’m willing to concede that it is, in theory, possible to interpret AL in continuity with traditional Catholic teaching. Fathers Thomas Petri OP and Matthew Schneider LC have written good arguments on this.

        But the question is does Pope Francis WANT an orthodox interpretation of AL or does he specifically want a “Paradigm shift” and heterodox interpretation? His letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires regarding their guidelines did not fill me with confidence.

        • For the moment, assume that Pope Francis is an evil man. King Saul was an evil man, but the Holy Spirit came upon him, and he prophesied (1 Samuel 19). The same happened with the evil High Priest Caiaphas (John 11:50,51). “Understanding this first, that no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20) So what Pope Francis WANTS it to mean has nothing whatsoever to do with its actual authoritative meaning; if it has any enduring authority, it has authority over him, not he over it.

          • One king that you need to consider is King Solomon. He started well with a request for wisdom. But step by step he fell from grace before God. In a Bible study I went to, the presenter on a video showed how the descriptions of King Solomon were that of a tyrant. Deuteronomy 17:14-20 establishes the laws for the kings of Israel. The most interesting point is:
            *
            16 Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ 17 And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.
            *
            King Solomon fails on all counts. He had a large army with many horses. He had many wives and concubines, the foreign ones turned his heart to idolatry. He had much wealth. In 1 Kings 10:14
            *
            14 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,
            *
            Note the number 666. In King Solomon wisdom turned into folly before the Lord. The kings and the people of Israel became faithless when they became worldly.
            *
            King Saul lost his crown, and in 70 AD came the horrific siege of Jerusalem, and the destruction of the Temple. God has already allowed the the Catholic Church to become a divided kingdom, just like ancient Israel. So in the Catholic Church defective leadership can have dire consequences, no different than was the case for ancient Israel.

        • Speculations or conspiracy theories regarding what the Pope wants are rabbit holes.
          “His letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires regarding their guidelines did not fill me with confidence.”
          The letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires as well as the pertinent paragraph in the guidelines have also been discussed in the link given in the previous comment. They too can and must be interpreted in continuity with the perennial Magisterium.

  5. C Altieri is correct in identifying promotion of Amoris Laetitia as the rationale for purging the John Paul II Institute. If I may add Mitigation, Discernment of Conscience, Mercy as presented in Amoris by the Pontiff [his paradigmatic three cardinal virtues] have scope well beyond communion for D&R, the family affecting the entirety of moral theological doctrine. They’re the necessary premises for implementing the Instrumentum Laboris in Amazonia, the prototype Layout for the entire Church. Already being implemented in Germany thru the Synodal process that had been urged upon Francis by his former ‘progressive’ mentor Cardinal Mario Martini SJ Archbishop of Milan as the vehicle for radical change. Can this be nipped in the bud is the question? The Bishops of the world must respond as their sacred duty to their office as Apostolic Defenders of the Faith.

    • Yes, we must not follow false shepherds who offer us dead ‘stones’ of Amoris Laetitia’s rationalization for our sins in place of Our Savior, the True Bread of Life.

    • The really scary part is that they want to elevate Amoris Laetitia to be THE primary method through which all other magisterial documents must be viewed. This is to give it a primacy that is not warranted. It basically is a get out of jail free card, which destroys the magisterium entirely.

    • In my opinion, throughout the history of the Church, in general bishops have not been anything like heroic. Remember the mess they created after the Council of Nicea, the English bishops under Henry VIII, one out of 19 was heroic. Something similar happened after the Council of Chalcedon and we still have schismatic churches going back to those centuries such as the Copts and the Jacobites. The present bishops have been trained in heretical moral theology by the likes of Josef Fuchs and Bernard Haring, so I wouldn’t expect much from them. I hope I am wrong.
      The present crisis is unique in as much as it is being led by Rome itself, which throughout the history of the Church was always considered to be the bastion of orthodoxy, the final court of appeal in all doctrinal disputes. For instance, both Nestorius and St. Cyril of Alexandria appealed to Pope Celestine in their dispute about Mary as the Theodokos. This is an appalling situation.

  6. Pope Francis is docile to the voice of the Holy Spirit as he followed God’s Divine Plan for Church purification.(CCC675). Pope Francis controversial teachings is a subtle weapon to identify who are the wolves (Cardinals and Bishops in sheep clothing who are infected by Clericalism) and exposing too the packed of wild dogs (church critics and enemies who just want to scandalize the Church).
    Pope Francis is a Master in the Art of Spiritual War by exposing all the enemies. In a war knowing your enemies is half battle won.
    Thank you Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus BXVI for leading the Church to victory. Exodus14:14 and John1:5

    • Mr. or Ms. Jong:

      Pope Francis is the supreme clericalist, the polar opposite of Benedict XVI.

      Francis prefers an infantalized laity revering Bishops and Cardinals and the Pope. This was evidenced in his arrogant denunciation of the faithful in Chile…when he smeared the faithful of Osorno as “dumb.”

  7. The hierarchy occurs to me as a pack of false prophets and muzzled apostles. The judge of the living and the dead has already judged them, and their crosses await them at the gates of hell.

    This fiasco by the praetorian guard of the Empire of Franco-Rome will turn into another Westphalia, where this third betrayal of the sheep leads them to slaughter at the hands of their shepherds, and the Society of Marxist Jesus imposes another Caesarian dictatorship and dares call it Christendom.

    And the deification of humanity that Jesus sought is finally buried by these greedy aristocratic traitors.

  8. Is Altieri correct that Amoris Laetitia sowed the seeds for the apparent deconstruction of the John Paul II Institute–either initially still within bounds, or more by design, or simply by the hands of exploitative moles, or by accident, or all of the above?

    If so, then here’s a pass-fail quiz:

    INSTITUTIONALLY, when is the “new paradigm” not really a broadening stock-split, but actually a hostile takeover? Where historical assets (like the Magisterium itself!) serve initially as collateral, only later to be divested?

    PASTORALLY, when is it not a legitimate, two-way discernment over a ship’s future course (the Barque of Peter?), but rather the sound of water rushing one-way through a fateful hole below the waterline? (The [w]hole is greater than the part!)

    DOGMATICALLY, when is it not simply the in-house genre of technical “heresy”—here downgraded to a euphemism?—-but the poorly-disguised violation of Holy Mother Church now stripped and roughly accompanied into the side ditch of history?

    Bishop Barron, in his “Letter to a Suffering [betrayed?] Church,” inspires and is surely correct to call broadly for renewed “holiness” as the necessary alternative to abandoning the victim-ship. But, one must be a “man” BEFORE one can be a “holy man.” Yes?

    So, was it rudimentary and unspoken manliness (in the face of an assault) that came even BEFORE the pastoral charity of the “Good Samaritan”? Grace perfects—does not annihilate—nature.

    When the Samaritan arrived at “the inn” with his newfound “neighbor,” we might discern that the career-assailants were still seated and even calculating their take—-in the same inn! And, that they remained silent in the shadows long after overhearing that there was an actual adult in the room and that he would be back…

  9. Bergoglio clearly said that if a woman living in adultery confesses an abortion, the abortion can be absolved even if she has no intention of discontinuing the adultery.

    This is the dissolution of the Catholic Church.

  10. It would be nice if people who were critics of Pope Francis would state things clearly because they obfuscate what they are saying and they are playing verbal gymnastics when not just outright saying what they believe… that Pope Francis is a heretic and destroying the God given faith to humanity… telling us things we want to hear but are not true according to Divine law

    • I will continue to pray for Pope Francis as a matter of obligation and out of respect for the office of the Papacy. But I have lost respect for him as a man, and he should either repent or resign for the good of the Church.

  11. Those readings on marriage again today – the one on hardness of hearts , incapacity for marriage and all that ..https://www.universalis.com/-600/mass.htm
    Fatima message also mentioning how there are many marriages that are not of God , possibly to mean that many possibly entered marriage incapable of / being ignorant of having the grace of God for same, whether being in mortal sin , having the wrong intent and so on .
    Thank God that The Church makes all sorts of help to remedy same too .
    The Living Word , well applicable to our times as well and when our Lord mentions about persons being incapable of marriage and the hardness of hearts , would it be what also makes marriages ‘unlawful ‘ ..and the Holy Father , discerning these areas with his compassionate heart, trying to look for ways to help marriages in these times of ours …he also may be seeing the need to be merciful enough in some situations that need same , yet not wanting to diminish the need in most marriages for the couples to take up the cross of dying to the egos , the related hardness , thus to help them in deeper relationship with and in The Lord so that all else can also follow .
    It could be too that just as our Lord allows a Magdalene to be counted as the one to see the Risen Lord before other disciples , even though in reality , as
    Bl Emmerich mentions , He presented Himself to The Mother, in glory , before He appears to others- St.John Paul 11 also alludes to same .
    Magdalene , since she possibly was the most needy may be , as one that was also likely to have been most tormented by spirits of fear and worry , having been a victim of a lifestyle that could have made her to be so , including the likelihood of sins against life as well .
    Some of the choices of persons that many find puzzling in these realms, could it have a deeper mystery that the Holy Father senses in the ‘oneness in the wounds’ , that some of these persons also might have struggled and found ways to use the very wounds to find healing and deliverance that they feel called to share ..
    Many marriages and families and relationships in our times would need such an approach and it could very well be that St.John Paul 11 himself could be interceding and guiding the process .
    God bless !

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