The undermining of John Paul II in the name of Veritatis Splendor continues

Avid supporters of Amoris Laetitia are increasingly open in their disdain for John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical on moral doctrine, even while many claim they alone understand both documents correctly.

Pope John Paul II gestures to the crowd during World Youth Day in Denver in 1993, the same year he promulgated "Veritatis Splendor", which addressed issues and controversies regarding moral theology. (CNS photo/Joe Rimkus Jr.)

Pedro Gabriel has penned a response to my most recent CWR article, which focused on the moral theology of Pope Francis. Gabriel’s essay is full of the kind of sophistry one has come to expect from the blog on which it was published. I am responding to it for one reason: his essay is a shining example of my assertion that this pope’s supporters (just like Francis himself) never answer the fundamental questions raised by critics, instead resorting to deflections, ad hominem caricatures, and straw men.

The first bit of sophistry appears early in the essay, when Gabriel claims those who are critical of Amoris Laetitia, and who see some of its teachings contradicting key aspects of Veritatis Splendor, are themselves guilty of acting against Veritatis Splendor. This is so, he argues, because Veritatis itself called for a renewal in moral theology and therefore, “those who do not want to implement new ways of doing moral theology are in open contradiction to the teachings of Veritatis Splendor. This is quite a tragic paradox, especially for those who think they are loyal defenders of the encyclical.”

In other words, Gabriel assumes that if one is critical of some parts of Amoris, one is by definition opposed to doing moral theology in new ways. The pope’s critics are backward-looking, hardline conservatives of the old school type whose beef with Amoris is that it has dared to do something new. Perhaps it doesn’t occur to Gabriel that one can be in favor of a renewal in moral theology (which I am) and still think that Amoris does not represent such a renewal. And that, in fact, it is a backward-looking document that evinces in spots a recrudescence of old-timey proportionalism of the Bernard Häring school. This is a straw man, which is why Gabriel never bothers to quote anything I have actually written about the topic.

He says folks such as myself treat Veritatis as nothing more than a set of condemnations of incorrect moral theories; further, we misunderstand that the encyclical was about establishing the principles of moral theology around which a renewal can happen—and that this is all Amoris is doing. He goes so far as to quote Veritatis to the effect that moral norms cannot be reduced to mere precepts and legal stipulations. He then insinuates that those of us who are critical of Amoris should also then be critical of Veritatis since both documents are engaged in the same anti-legalist endeavor.

This is sophistry taken to new depths of silliness. It misrepresents the critics of Amoris, without citing a shred of evidence, as hopeless legalists who misunderstand Veritatis as a purely “legalistic” document, even while it misrepresents Amoris as a mere extension of the teaching of Veritatis on the role that circumstances must play in moral adjudication. As such, Gabriel’s essay is an exercise in question begging since that is the question that the critics are raising: Is Amoris merely an extension of Veritatis on the subject of mitigating circumstances and their role in creating invincible ignorance? Or is it saying something more? Indeed, is it saying something else?

At this point, Gabriel’s essay simply devolves into an exercise in deflection. He conveniently focuses on only a few parts of Amoris in isolation from other facts of this papacy that do indeed lend credence to the notion that Amoris is calling for a change in moral theology that goes well beyond a mere extension of Veritatis. And he further ignores the problematic sections of Amoris that the critics cite, allowing him to caricature the critics as hopeless louts lacking in reading comprehension skills.

For example, Gabriel leaves unaddressed the fact that Pope Francis in 2017 explicitly and pointedly singled out the moral theology of the proportionalist Bernard Häring as the best model for renewing moral theology in the light of Vatican II.

He leaves unaddressed the fact that Pope Francis purged the faculty and leadership at the John Paul II Institute in Rome, as well as the Pontifical Academy for Life (and in both cases violated academic due process), and replaced all of them with thinkers who are on the proportionalist/progressive moral theological spectrum.

He leaves unaddressed the shocking misreading of Aquinas in Amoris where the text misrepresents a distinction Aquinas is making in the Summa (I-II, q. 94, a. 4) between negative and affirmative moral norms, making it sound as if Aquinas is embracing the idea that even with intrinsically evil actions there can be exceptions created by unique circumstances (AL 304). But that is not what Aquinas teaches at all. Negative norms apply always and everywhere regardless of circumstances, such as in adultery or murder (which is affirmed in Veritatis 79), whereas affirmative norms affirm a moral obligation in principle (such as the requirement to return a borrowed object to its owner) but which may be suspended, at least temporarily, due to changed circumstances, such as if I borrow my neighbor’s car but do not return it on the designated day because he is drunk and wanting to drive.

Amoris makes no such proper distinctions, which are the distinctions Aquinas makes. And it uses this sloppy misreading of Aquinas to further the notion that circumstances can indeed become so complex as to render even intrinsically evil actions permissible and, by implication, even morally good in many ways. (For an excellent analysis of this entire issue, see Eduardo Echeverria’s book titled Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II, pages 193-196).

Worse, Gabriel leaves unaddressed the fact that Amoris Chapter 8 does indeed undermine and contradict Veritatis Splendor by treating the Church’s teaching on moral matters as mere ideals which, if you cannot live up to them, and you are only capable of half-way measures, that God will bless your status quo and the modus vivendi you have reached with the moral law and that your compromised state of life is now magically transformed into God’s will for you (AL 303).

Indeed, Gabriel just completely ignores the statement in the controversial chapter 8 of Amoris, where the Pope explicitly states the issue is not about circumstances that create invincible ignorance of the moral law (a very traditional and unproblematic idea), but instead about circumstances that make it practically impossible for you to live up to the moral law even if you do recognize it as such—and that if you are doing the best you can, that God blesses this, and it is God’s will for you. In other words (keeping in mind that God cannot will evil), the violation of a moral norm that you do know about and do affirm, in these difficult and compromised cases, by some kind of theological alchemy, is no longer a violation at all, but a positive moral good.

I do not know how you can avoid the conclusion that this is indeed, if not proportionalism straight up, at the very least “proportionalist adjacent”. And if you doubt me, I will repeat here again the pope’s own words on the matter:

Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal. (AL 303)

Pope Francis is indeed saying more than Gabriel will admit to—and most of Francis’s more astute supporters know it. In fact, most of those supporters celebrate it and promote it for the revolution in moral theology that it represents. But in his rush to defend the pope from his critics, Gabriel now has to twist and distort even the statements of the pope’s friends.

For example, Gabriel quotes a Father Julio Martinez, a Jesuit professor of moral theology who spoke in May at a conference on Amoris Laetitia at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and correctly notes that Fr. Martinez stated that Amoris now allows us to “untie the knots” in moral theology created by Veritatis Splendor. But Gabriel twists those words by Fr. Martinez to mean that all Amoris is doing is untying knots that Veritatis spelled out as problems needing further adjudication, giving the impression that all Fr. Martinez means here is that Amoris is completing a project that Veritatis itself called for.

But that is not the case, as Fr. Martinez was in fact heavily criticizing Pope John Paul II for creating those awful knots in the first place in Veritatis by introducing the strange innovation of “intrinsically evil acts” into moral theology! Fr. Martinez speaks of how Amoris returns us to a proper reading of Vatican II and allows us to avoid the obfuscating “meanders” of Veritatis  and its putative lack of respect for the individual conscience with its “philosophically problematical” notion of intrinsically evil actions. And this, he insists, is what tied the Church into knots, for the idea that some actions are always wrong everywhere and always, and regardless of circumstances, threw a monkey wrench into the process of “discernment” and the proper development of conscience. Fr. Martinez  claims that Veritatis “very much fears what is called ‘creative conscience…'”, and made that mistake of teaching that the conscience “has to somehow be obedient to the rules and the norms of the magisterium…”

Fr. Martinez also criticized Humanae Vitae for similar reasons, stating the encyclical simply got wrong the concrete circumstances of marriage and was not “accurate” in its teachings. And almost every other speaker at this same conference drove home this same point with a repetitious monomania. They all spoke of “discernment” and “difficult and complex” circumstances and of how the Church’s moral teaching has stunted a proper development of conscience in individual believers and replaced conscience with a legalistic magisterialism, and so on.

So, no, continuity with Veritatis Splendor was not evident at all, contrary to Gabriel’s facile claims. And this was a conference which opened with a laudatory letter from Pope Francis encouraging the deliberations of those in attendance.

Similarly, and in case one doubts that this conference really represents the thought of Pope Francis, the National Catholic Reporter just ran an interview with Emilce Cuda, an Argentinian theologian who Pope Francis appointed as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and as co-secretary on the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Latin America. She applauds the approach of Pope Francis to the politics of abortion and implicitly criticizes the approach of John Paul II for espousing “fundamentalist” positions, claiming that the 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae “advances a deeply polarized ideology of the ‘culture of death’ against which Catholics must fight by obeying the moral law or, better, changing the civil law.” She points to a new book issued by the Academy for Life (The Theological Ethics of Life) that is “not a matter of taking fundamentalist positions, loaded with ideology, but of opening the debate within the community of moral theologians to think of a theological ethics that respects the human condition.”

There are plenty of dog whistles and code words in that latter quote, and the text she promotes is filled with similar views. The implication, of course, is that John Paul II’s moral theology did not respect the human condition and was indeed an example of the kind of “fundamentalist positions” that are “loaded with ideology” since John Paul held firmly to the notion that there is a seamless garment of life ethic, but that this does not preclude the fact there is a hierarchy of goods within that ethic, with abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia being higher in the hierarchy than gun control legislation or immigration policy. It is also telling that she equates opposition to abortion as usually being distorted by ideology, but appears to see no such ideological distortion among those who downplay the politics of abortion in favor of a politics more palatable to the Left.

The interview also quotes Therese Lysaught, who teaches at Loyola University in Chicago and is a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. She is even less nuanced and far more blunt than Cuda, saying, “Although John Paul II wrote important social encyclicals, ‘life’ issues remained siloed from ‘social’ issues under his pontificate and were reduced to a few topics – almost exclusively abortion, euthanasia, and issues related to sexuality, framed almost entirely in the language of commandments, laws and absolutes. … Pope Francis’ tone has been very different.” There are those pesky “moral absolutes” again, with their unnuanced condemnations of such merely “cultural” issues as adultery and pre-natal homicide.

These are among Pope Francis’s most astute supporters and they correctly, I think, insist that this pope has blessed a revolution in moral theology that bears a strong family resemblance to the proportionalism of old. But according to Pedro Gabriel, all of this is in wonderful continuity with Veritatis Splendor and critics such as me are just too obtuse to see it.

Yep, there is indeed an obtuseness here. And a cultivated naivete. And it is getting increasingly difficult for the partisans of the “Pope Francis is in total continuity with John Paul II” apologists to engage in the kind of linguistic and conceptual legerdemain that is required in order to keep that narrative alive. Because now this Pope’s critics and his closest supporters all agree: Pope Francis is revolutionizing moral theology in ways that do indeed involve a rupture with the moral theology of Pope John Paul II.


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About Larry Chapp 25 Articles
Dr. Larry Chapp is a retired professor of theology. He taught for twenty years at DeSales University near Allentown, Pennsylvania. He now owns and manages, with his wife, the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm in Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania. Dr. Chapp received his doctorate from Fordham University in 1994 with a specialization in the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. He can be visited online at "Gaudium et Spes 22".

222 Comments

  1. “You are Peter (‘petros’) and on this rock(‘petra’) I will build my church.” Matthew 16:18. The Pope “enjoys infallibility when. .he proclaims by a definitive act a DOCTRINE pertaining to FAITH or MORALS.”
    “Cathechism of the Catholic Church” # 891. Only the Pope makes the rules.

    The College of Cardinals, all younger than 80, elects Popes and requires at least 66% votes. Francis will have it on 2/3/23 when Calcagno is 80, and Francis has 83/124 appointees. He need not appoint more before then, given his 16 new ones, who shall replace retired and current Cardinals through Cardinal D’Rozario, who turns 80 on 10/1/43. On that date, there shall be 38 Non-Francis Cardinals. If Francis were to appoint 15 new Cardinals on that date, only 15 months away, they would replace 15 Cardinals through Cardinal Ricard, who turns 80 on 9/26/44, and there would be only 29 Non-Francis Cardinals; Francis Cardinals shall be 75%.

    Benedict is 95. Francis will be 95 on 12/17/31 if he is Pope. Members of the current College, not “Francis Cardinals,” will be 5 then. 7 Cardinals were born before 1960; new Cardinal Marengo is 47. They will elect 2 “Francis Popes.” More shall follow; the same with Francis Cardinals and Francis Bishops, who shall appoint Francis Heads of Seminaries, who shall appoint Francis faculty, who shall teach seminarians to become Francis priests. To those who have “ressentiment” toward Francis, remember that old saying: “you don’t have the numbers.”

    The Francis Legacy already changed US Bishops as he appointed 135/455 (30%). One of them is only age 39. 20/455 will turn 75 in the next 5 years when they must offer to retire, which Francis accepts or rejects. Some shall be from large dioceses: Detroit, Los Angeles, Newark, Miami, Atlanta and Orange County, Ca. 2 currently are the President and Vice President of USCCB. More than 50% of US Bishops shall be Francis Bishops in 5 years, who shall vote in the USCCB.

    Arch-conservative Pope Benedict XVI is the cause of Cardinal Bergoglio being Pope Francis because Benedict would be Pope had he not retired, making Francis his Papal legacy. Benedict gambled that his successor would be like him, but he forgot an old saying: “the House always wins.”

    Benedict also shall be the cause of Francis not retiring before Benedict dies because having 3 living Popes would be an ontological impossibility for the Church. While Benedict lives, ironically, there is another Francis Bishop, who appoints another Francis Seminary Head, who appoints another Francis Seminary Faculty, who creates another Francis priest.

    To those who dislike Francis, you can thank Benedict for your “ressentiment.”

    • “…but he forgot an old saying: ‘the House always wins.'”

      I doubt Benedict put his trust in “the House”. Francis alone is responsible for his bad decisions and many problematic acts and statements. Playing the “what if” game is fine to a certain degree, but at some point we have to simply deal with matters as they are.

      Finally, Benedict was/is not an “arch-conservative”. Actually, I don’t know what that really means in this context. It’s pointless.

      • Benedict was anything but an arch-conservative. He was actually quite progressive. He only looks conservative from the perspective of post-Vatican II radical progressivism. Most of the supposedly “conservative” actions he took were quite weak.

        And yet, I must agree with the above comment that Benedict, in effect, gave us Francis. He resigned, abdicated, quit. However you want to say it he gambled and lost. Scola was not elected and Francis was.

        In retrospect, it seems like a bad bet, given all the rad-prog bishops and cardinals who were appointed by St. JPII and Benedict. I can’t help it, I do blame Benedict for putting us in this situation. He never wanted to be pope, I get that, but the fact is he was elected pope and accepted the office. I question do whether it was appropriate for him to lay that burden down and walk away from it. I can see how he may have thought he was doing the prudent thing – seeing how St. JPII struggled for years with Parkinson’s. Thank God I was not in his shoes, as I am by far a lesser man than him., but I feel in my heart that somehow the pontificate of Pope Francis represents God’s judgment upon all of us. In place of the leader he chose and who we needed, he has given us the leader we deserve.

        • What absolute total nonsense!

          If Benedict had died instead of abdicating, we would still have had Francis.

          If anyone should be blame it should be JPII for making him bishop, archbishop then cardinal.

          But then these liars were very good at concealing their evil. I mean just think of Nichols and Schonbon. I think these people are just plain politicians. Then again, one can question JPII’s acumen with regards these and Maciel. Is this simply poor judgment?

          • This isn’t where I was going Cory; though I sense your indignation. VATICAN II never said the Church would no longer declare heretics or not recognize new imposing dogma; and such actions always were and remain part with apostolate and pastoring.

            In the aftermath of VATICAN II Paul VI defrocked Franzoni and JPII excommunicated Lefebvre.

            The Church has always administered upon externals. Measures reflect the gravity. By this I mean the acts, the personal consequences, the social danger, the recalcitrance of the ones doing them and the objective manner of the affair. And it isn’t merely about divorce, it’s about many types of externals.

            Discipline doesn’t merely happen at a level of excommunication or defrocking. When you are advised not to receive communion it is pastoral. If you are not in some kind of wrong you may be able to receive it privately.

            It doesn’t mean the Church lacks mercy or isn’t pastoral. The history of it reflects the care she showed for souls and the compliance even among errant souls; and, we have all experienced this many of us for decades long before the inauguration of the current Papacy. The history also shows her going to severe measures, as last resort and in steps. Or, when it really mattered.

            Concerning liturgy, Paul VI expressly said, Sacrosanctum Concilium 55, the Trent principles hold. Why then suppress what is good and true “in the name of pastoring”? same time as being too permissive where abuses are occurring?

            What is going on now seems more to tear up the (true) seamless garment. Or, in another image, if one keeps hitting another with a hammer after he has collapsed, one means for him not to be able to get up without dialogue? Or not get up with dialogue?

        • Benedict began his pontificate with his famous interview critiquing relativism. He knew of the dangers of bad moral theology and how it corrupts the entire moral edifice of the Church. He also knew it extended into the corrupt thought all the way to high prelates with cardinals like Martini and Danneels who were flat out pro-aborts. If he did not have the physical energy to go after every single radical lib theologian, hundreds of them, something he failed to do when he was young, he could have musted enough energy to at least find a handful of trusted lieutenants to create a Curia to weed out much of the corruption while he confined himself to writing his articulate exhortations that affirmed Catholic orthodoxy. He had to have known that a new conclave could produce someone unworthy.

          • Moral theology is not hard at all. We sin. We lie to ourselves by telling ourselves we don’t sin. God gives us His gift of guilt to remind us that we did sin, but instead we find idiot theologians to construe our evil as make-believe good so that we can pretend our guilt is “imposed” on us, so we can ignore the guilt and go on sinning. It matters not at all if our sinning kills people, we still love to sin. Even prelates might like to pretend they’re big shots by talking about talking about sin in “new ways” to pretend the sin is not a sin, as though no one in history ever pretended their sin is not a sin before. They call this talking about talking “dialogue” even when it doesn’t involve actually talking about it among actual people. It only needs to involve feeling good about yourself even if it involves killing people, even little babies. See, it’s all so very easy.

      • Yes – this truly bizarre effort to blame Pope Benedict for the things that Francis did is very weird. I find that in most cases, an SSPX or similar person is behind such comments, because they just have learned to dislike both JP II and Benedict.

      • Exactly, as it is pointless to paint Pope Francis as a “Progressive,” something that Larry Chapp seems to be promoting. Hans Urs von Balthasar and Dorothy Day must be turning in their graves. He has gone off the rails.

    • No, Bri, the Lord and His Providence alone has permitted all of this…francis, like pilate, would have no authority except by the Father…

          • However, Jesus described the position of his Pope as a rock and gave him the keys to the kingdom of heaven – and promised to bind in heaven whatever – yes, whatever – his Pope would bind on earth. You can disobey the Pope but Jesus will accept his authority. I prefer our Lord’s words to yours.

          • Good point, dear Cory.

            See Matthew 18:7 and Luke 17:1 – evils have to take place . . .

            Have tried to help explain why that is, in terms of God who is love, permitting evil to exhaustively actualize, so it can be justly, completely removed eternally.

            ‘Ethical Ontology Harmonizes . . . ‘ & ‘Ethical Encounter Theology . . .’ & ‘Creatio ex Ethica . . .’ – all free on web.

            Always in the love of Jesus Christ; blessings from marty

          • Yes, Doc Martin, evils do take place. Evil people always attack what our Lord provides for our good, but, as Jesus assured us: even the gates of hell will not prevail. Sometimes, Satan quotes scripture to suit his evil purpose.

    • Since two popes appear to be contradicting each other, it is impossible to hold that both are acting infallibly. The quotation from the CCC seems strong. I suggest that there is an error of fact affecting Pope Francis’ teaching, because he has partly relied on a statement about St Thomas Aquinas’ teaching, and he is in error about what St Thomas taught. Wouldn’t it be the case in any field that conclusions relying on factual errors are not definitive? A recent example arose in the US Supreme Courts rejection of Roe vs Wade, where a significant point made was that the original judgement included false historical statements among its considerations.
      Use a thought experiment where a pope makes three or four errors of fact, and then says “therefore I solemnly teach that…”, where you know the preceding points are false, but he does not. Surely you would not think he had made a definitive statement.

      • Replying to myself. I don’t claim to know whether the pope’s apparent error regarding the views of St Thomas Aquinas invalidates his conclusion – this error may not play an important role in his presentation. I was speculating about a possible resolution of the problem. If infallible teaching is possible, then later infallible teachings cannot contradict earlier ones – that would just undermine any meaning of the word “infallible”.

      • has it been decided if the council was an experiment? Most of the conciliar popes are either saints or shoe ins for it, it appears that every pope should be lauded for whatever they can come up in their own way, don’t you agree? There is no doubt in my mind that Benedict will be a saint as soon as he departs from this life and well it goes without saying Francis will be the first declared saint prior to his death. I’m sure Pedro would agree with me , even though i’m banned from whereispeter site.

    • That is very informative, dear Bri. Yet, our Faith is so much more than this. Why are we Catholics so dreadfully uncertain about who we ARE in Christ, forever looking for someone else to tell us who we are. That makes us SO vulnerable. Here is an outline of a better way, one that is fully approved by every holy Pope.

      We are those for whom the Holy Eucharist is a place where we regularly renew our covenant with God, and publicly witness to and affirm the promises of the One who enables us to have a New Covenant in Christ.

      Awesome indeed are these New Covenant promises to the New Israel of God: “I will put my laws into your minds and write them on your hearts: and I will be your God and you shall be My people . . . you will all know Me from the least to the greatest.” Hebrews 8:10-11.

      The apostolic author then reminds us of God’s assurances: “I will not fail you or desert you,” enabling us to say with confidence: “With the Lord to help me, I fear nothing: what can anyone do to me?” Hebrews 13: 5-6.

      In Christ, at last we see the fulfillment of God’s long-standing promise: “A new heart I will give you, and a new Spirit I will put within you . . . and make you to follow My statutes and be careful to observe My ordinances.” Ezekiel 36: 25-27.
      The blessings of God’s New Covenant are sealed by the obedient broken Body of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of His poured-out Blood.

      God’s side of this incredibly gracious, life-giving bargain could not be more transparent, complete, and eternally robust. What, then, is required of us humans by the New Covenant? Primarily, we are to cooperate by learning, dwelling on, & doing our best to keep God’s commandments.

      For Catholic Christians that’s more than was given to Moses at Mt Sinai (Deuteronomy 5:1-22), since for the last two millennia we’ve had privileged access to the divine edition of these commandments, as exegeted by Jesus Christ of Nazareth (Matthew 5:17-48).

      The Jesus-refurbished commandments, like their Jewish antecedents, can be easily memorized, by reference to our two hands and their ten fingers

      HAND ONE. Thumb: With all my heart, mind, body, and soul I will worship the One revealed by Jesus Christ: Father/Son/Holy Spirit; Index Finger: I will have no other god nor any idol; Middle Finger: I will not use God’s name profanely; Ring Finger: I will keep the Sabbath Day holy; Little Finger: I will honour my mum and dad.

      HAND TWO. Thumb: I will love every person and will not hurt or kill anyone, nor hate, nor think evil; Index Finger: I will maintain sexual purity and faithfulness in thought, word, and deed; Middle Finger: I will not steal but follow Christ in giving not taking; always forgiving, never taking revenge; Ring Finger: I will tell the truth and not lie nor deceive nor slander; Little Finger: I will not covet, for God in Christ is providing all I need.

      At holy communion we acknowledge our New Covenant obligations by stretching out our two hands & ten fingers to meet God stretching out His Body and Blood for us.

      Remembering these simple ‘finger commandments’ can give us confidence in our personal and collective, ever-evolving love affair with God in Christ Jesus.

      The world depends on a covenant-keeping Catholic Church FAR more than she depends on the world. It’s a satanic lie that any-old religion is good enough!

      When the Catholic Church flourishes in loving obedience to God, then the whole world will flourish. The inescapable spiritual principle is that when The Church flouts her covenant with God, the world itself loses its way.

      Can we see: It is no small thing to be called to be a full-on Catholic Christian in a totally dedicated Church.

      Much love in The Lord; blessings from marty

      • My brother:

        Peace and love and discernment in the name of Jesus the righteous one! Your words ask us for reflection plus a reminder of our new found status in Christ. We were redeemed at a price!

        Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

        Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

        Thank you for proclaiming what is needed for our souls.

        Brian

    • I attended Catholic church for 40 years before being confirmed and joining my parish. My children attended Catholic school and were raised Catholic. I chose and committed to Catholicism because of Her fundamental and traditional beliefs. Just in time, apparently, to be faced with a Church now seemingly embracing more secular views. This is not the moral, theological base i was and am embracing. I am not a neophyte to religion. I have and do still read and study our Catechism, theology, and most importantly the Holy Bible. I believe Americans of all ages are looking for increased moral direction not less not a Church that wants to join in the watering down of Biblical teaching. Do i want to return to the “hellfire and brimstone” of my Baptist upbringing? No, I embrace a religion that promotes love, giving and charism along with our rich traditions and Biblical adherence.

  2. An excellent essay, though I do wish Dr. Chapp had more strongly highlighted that it isn’t simply John Paul II’s theology that’s being contradicted by Francis, but the traditional and definitive teaching of the Church, not least the Holy Scriptures. We need to stop explaining and defending our religion as if we believe it started with the Second Vatican Council, let alone Pope John Paul II. It’s not the case that Francis is merely contradicting one of his recent predecessors. The reason John Paul’s teaching is authoritative is precisely because, besides the fact that he was a pope, that teaching was objectively true on its merits, i.e., it reaffirmed and reiterated, even as it explicated in some new ways, God’s very word.

    • Excellent point, Don. Especially since it seems that far too many Catholics (not Dr. Chapp, of course) look at these matters in terms of Pope X v. Pope Z. My own many concerns and criticisms of Pope Francis exist because he so often does either contradict or push aside beliefs, practices, devotions, etc. that the Church has long (long!) held to be good, vital, or even necessary (the latter especially true re: doctrine).

    • Except Don, that Pope Francis has not contradicted Pope John Paul II. It has no doubt been presented as a clash by those who want there to be one.
      Brian Killian, writing sometime ago in WPI about this “clash” said: “It is more like a clash between the two attitudes that Pope John Paul II described in Veritatis Splendor”.Brian sees these two attitudes presented by Jesus when he spoke about the two men who went to the temple to pray. HHere we encounter two different attitudes of the moral conscience of man in every age. The tax collector represents a “repentant” conscience, fully aware of the frailty of its own nature and seeing in its own failings, whatever their subjective justifications, a confirmation of its need for redemption. The Pharisee represents a “self-satisfied” conscience, under the illusion that it is able to observe the law without the help of grace and convinced that it does not need mercy. Of this problem of the self-satisfied conscience, the two popes are in perfect agreement. Just as the Pharisee was scandalized by the tax collector, today’s Neo-Pelagians are scandalized by the “tax-collector” theology of Pope Francis.”

      • But, there was a third person also in the temple, in addition to the tax collector and the Pharisee. It was the nondescript nobody like most of us. He said nothing worth recording in Scripture, but wondered to himself, “Why doesn’t anyone in charge here clean up the mess left here by the stray dogs?”

        • Peter, since you are aware of this third person could you tells us why he did not do anything about the mess left by stray dogs? Was a theologian, a priest or some uppity person who did not want to get his hands dirty or to smell like a dog?

          • Perhaps he was just a hireling from Germania who installed the imaginative doggy door–thinking it would serve only as a sheep gate?

            And who, in his inclusive way, couldn’t tell the difference between the smell of the sheep and that of a dog rolling around in its own mess. By the way, it was not entirely uncommon for livestock and pets to be housed overnight in Medieval cathedrals–but wolves were “rigidly” excluded. Or, as Thomas More said about the camp-follower Duke of Norfolk’s seemingly purebred family tree: “…somewhere back along your pedigree–a bitch got over the wall!” (A Man for all Seasons, Act II).

      • Mal, as Carl has pointed out, Francis is not clashing merely with this Pope or that but against the Rock that is Jesus Christ.

        I have often said that these days you have to choose to either follow the Pope or Jesus Christ. One is a human being the other God.

        • Cory,I follow Jesus Christ and believe that his faithful Vicar is Pope Francis. You can try to put a wedge between the two but your efforts will not succeed.

          • Oh but I am not putting a wedge between the two. Francis accomplished that by himself. He didn’t need help from anybody.

          • You know, Mal, the binding and loosing authority that Our Lord gave to His apostles and their successors has nothing to do with changing doctrines, which is exactly what Francis is apparently working hard to do.

          • Joan, the binding and loosing was the privilege given solely to Simon Peter. Read the Catholic bible. I would like you to know that Pope Francis has not changed doctrine, and has no intention to do so. He is a faithful Catholic.
            Edward, you keep repeating the huge lie. Pope Francis has never refused to call himself the Vicar of Christ. You will never find such a statement made by the Pope because he never ever said that.

    • A valid criticism and a great point. I thought that exact same thing after the essay was published. I said to myself, “Darn it Chapp, this isn’t just about JPII but the entirety of the Church’s natural law moral theology.” In my defense, the essay was already pretty long and I was responding to a specific critique that involves the distinction between Amoris and Veritatis. But your comment is spot-on.

      • I read “Where Peter Is” assiduously when it first started. I was eager to hear a defense of Pope Francis. But basically I learned the people writing on that website simply could not defend him. They tried all manner of obfuscations, etc but they never were able to defend him in any serious manner. They avoided the hard questions, and when I posed them in their comments section, they banned me. Only Pope Francis lovers were allowed to post comments there. Pedro was one of the more obtuse writers there. He really was unable to mount a serious argument. Sad!

      • What you wrote, professor, is sufficient. Excellent article and very important. It explains Francis’ teachings, yes his wokeness. I studied this ‘proportionalism’ in the 80’s. I knew it was double-talk but the theologates then (and now?) were full of proportionalist theologians. It explains Francic’ insistence on allowing homosexual behaviour to flourish with no heart towards the victims. Something is severly ‘off’ and it has been for decades. Popes JP and Benedict were much deeper intellects than Francis. They delve into the theological anthropology of the Church rather than superficial social trends which Francis constantly quotes. The latter has done terrible damage to the Church and it is surely in this area of ‘moral theology’, which i would argue (re: proportionalism) a form as atheism , where , in the end, the individual is in charge. That reflects the narcissistic period we are living in. Following proportionalism, you wonder, what then is the good of the Church.. no need for Divine Revelation, do what YOU want. Surely there is a correlation between this pathetic theology and the horrible narcissistic behaviours (the gay lobby) totally permitted and even lauded by Francis. We need divine help. Fantastic article. Keep writing! Im looking your up on your website. God bless! (I think also it is unreasonable to blame Pope Benedict for this).

    • Right on, Don.

      Popes come and go. There are saints and sinners; none are God!

      In the always-risky matter of making pronouncements regarding what is OK with God: Matthew, Mark, and Luke assure us that whole generations can be rejected for twisting or setting aside God’s commands. They are: ‘a generation of vipers’; ‘an adulterous and sinful generation’; ‘faithless and perverse generation’; and ‘a wicked generation’. They are “slaves of sin” (2 Peter 2:19).

      Then, the Catechism of the Catholic Church shows how to avoid being thus identified by God. Not complicated – just obey the Ten Commandments and Christ’s New Commandment. Deliberately breaking one of the Ten is breaking all: it sets a person on the track of spiritual death and judgement by ‘consuming fire’ (Hebrews 12:29).

      Sexual liaisons outside legitimate marriage are a major sin causing that disastrous end-point. Contraception does not change that! Claims that: “I’m a good and loving person in spite of fornicating or adulterating or perverting” are dismissed by the New Testament and the Catechism (e.g. Ephesians 5:3-5). One cannot love God and flout God’s commands (see Luke 6:46). There’s nothing proportional in it.

      Where does Jesus Christ’s saving mercy feature? Certainly not by proportional watering down of God’s eternal commandments. His mercy for sinners is defined in 1 John 1:9. If we honestly, repentantly, and humbly confess our sins to Him, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us of all our unrighteousness.

      To access Christ’s shriving we need to have taken the trouble to: (1) Find out what God counts as sin; (2) Have a Holy Spirit-inspired personal conscience that shows us our sin; (3) Be disgusted by our sin and desperate to be cleansed and stay clean; (4) Make a proper confession with a heart set on repairing any harm we’ve done, and with determination not to be trapped again by the devil.

      Our access to this awesome (and most necessary) gift, won by Jesus Christ alone for us all is subverted when clergy, who should know better, downplay the soul-destroying reality of sin and the need to seek and find righteousness BY GOD’s METHOD, not by subtle theological equivocations.

      King Jesus Christ alone is the Savior, the Deliverer, and the Healer of sinners. Shriven sinners are rightly full of thanks & praise & worship & adoration of Christ, as they sing: “I’m no longer a slave of sin; I am a child of God!”.

      Take care everyone. Keep well. Always in the love of The Lamb; blessings from marty

      • What you said, Dr Martin, about sin and conscience makes a lot of sense to most Catholics still practicing the faith. However, what Christ-like advice would you give to this woman? She is an uneducated, unskilled woman whose husband abandoned her to fend for herself and her three children in the slums, and a man takes her into his home, marries her and looks after them as a good husband and father? She goes to Church and lovingly receives communion. Would you condemn her? Do you think Jesus would?

        • This man marries her. Well, since she is still married then she cannot possibly be married.

          Does Christ’s teaching apply only to the Catholics practicing the faith or does it apply to all?

          Are people exempt from the law of God simply because they do not believe in God?

        • Mal, your proposition suggesting blanket, non judgmental, merciful access to the Holy Eucharist is as described a narrowed example, a possible exception to the rule [prohibition for those living in manifest adultery]. Not all who are divorced and remarried outside the Church approach the sacrament are in the empathetic conditions you describe.
          For centuries people who are divorced and remarried without declaration of nullity have approached the Eucharist, some priests have knowingly and secretly accommodated them avoiding public scandal. What is tragically new with Pope Francis? Francis has undermined the very principles that maintain the justice of Christ in his teaching on marriage as exclusive until death, that its abrogation is adultery. That which the Decalogue condemns and Christ renews in all four Gospels, and Apostolic tradition. Francis has falsified the interpretation of Aquinas in ST 1a2ae 94, 4 which argues whether the natural law is the same for all throughout the world. Not as the pontiff suggests that the further we examine details the more we’re apt to find exceptions – in each sacramental marriage, that is, in every marriage. A purposeful deceit. The natural law is not practiced in similar manner throughout the world because some cultures either by sinful choice, or lack of knowledge instances of polygamy for example that are accidental – not formal exceptions to the rule. The universal rule doesn’t change in itself, it remains intact. The day following publication of Amoris Laetitia Pope Francis made a worldwide public statement that most marriages or invalid [based on the false interpretation of Aquinas]. Next day after outcry he stepped back a bit claiming he meant something else, a confused response evidently preconceived. Nevertheless the poison was purposely dripped into the waters. Today in many nations [Malta, Philippines, Germany among them] following this travesty of justice, this tragic deceit, receive communion whether married, divorced and remarried without declaration of nullity, whether cohabiting, whether they are practicing homosexuals living together.
          Your defense of this is unacceptable to the faith. Unacceptable to the integrity of what the Church lives for and has died for throughout the centuries. Beware Mal. Reconsider your intention to spread the infection of heresy that you advocate. Many souls are being lost under this pontificate due to false teaching, that’s neither formally pronounced, or true to the commandments of Christ.

          • Excellent reply, Father! I always appreciate your comments. YOu defend the Church very well. What is going on is absurd. You don’t need theology to see that. but the untold consequences we see today in all sectors of life belie a terrible theology coming from Rome.

          • Mal, I’ll reply here since replies were omitted where we conversed. As to what I’d teach, it’s along the lines of your opinion. Example. There are instances when people take Christ’s name in vain, almost like an expletive doing it unthinkingly. Similarly when driving using expletives. Although here, Pope Francis in citing doctrine on habitual masturbation references that to persons living in manifest adultery. Nevertheless, with habitual masturbation while there may be occasions when habit diminishes culpability the habit itself is sinful, meaning the overall intent when the person makes no effort to desist. That holds true for those living in adultery. There must be at least a willingness to reform their lives if such persons wish to approach the sacraments. Otherwise it’s not a remedy but a condemnation. Francis doesn’t clarify this in Amoris Laetitia leaving the impression that communion should be available to such in that ‘They’re offering God the best they can’. As is.

        • Hi Mal, thanks for this interesting and relevant question.

          Every such diverse situation needs a situation-specific consideration. For example, any Church marriage that is entered into by one or other (or both) of the spouses IN BAD FAITH, is not a valid marriage. It is concubinage.

          In the example you gave, it certainly seems as if the male did not enter the marriage with good faith. The woman is likely to have just cause to have her relationship with that deserter declared nullified. She would then be free to begin a process to legalise marriage with a faithful man.

          My reading of Jesus’ teaching, in the context of that society, suggests He is WARNING MEN who faithlessly divorce their wives for any cause (other than sexual infidelity) that they have made others stumble into adultery. I don’t think He intends to condemn those who are forced into such invidious situations by a deserting male spouse’s lack of good faith.

          However, the deserted partner does well to take the matter to the Church for discernment, prior to entering into another conjugal relationship. Remarrying, and saying: “What else could I do?”, without submission to good Christian counsel, is a serious sin in itself.

          Hope these brief comments show that there is an orderly & merciful way.

          Always under the grace of God in Christ Jesus; blessings from marty

          • Dr. Martin, thank you for your response. I have no problem with it except that you say that it seems that the male did not enter the marriage with good faith. This shows that you are not sure about it. This is why Pope Francis says that matters such as this should be dealt pastorally by the local Bishop. I agree with him. Pope Francis who, as priest and Bishop has had a vast amount of experience in these matters, is aware of numerous instances which call for loving care. Our Pope, who comes across as a person well-versed in Catechism, has obviously referred to it.
            In CCC 1735, we read: “Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors.”
            So, clearly, our Pope has not gone out on a limb; he has firmly and correctly quoted Catholic teaching. Those who are critical of this view are wrong.
            We need to look at a person’s actions not with the eyes of a Jewish priest or a doctrine-obsessed Pharisee, but with the loving eyes of our Founder who is constantly on the lookout for lost sheep.

          • Perhaps we could make our points better by not airbrushing current debates with oversimplifying parallels to the Pharisees?

            In support of your view, Pope Francis has shifted responsibility in declarations of nullity more to the local level—where such cases should be handled “pastorally,” as you propose, but also faithfully. Yes?

            Pope Francis, or his scribes, do wrap his actions with accurate quotes from the Catechism…But, then, the broken (!) “limb” you mention is the trajectory to also have the Church complicit with those still in bigamous (“irregular”) situations, by conceding access to the Eucharist. The broken limb is also in using the precise and pastoral (!) guidance in Familiaris Consortio as wrapping paper, and then dragging it into territory entirely new and novel. Instead, and as for the “lost sheep” in all situations, what exactly is the discerning, pastoral, true and real path forward to sacramental union within the fold?

            As an undeniable part of the Gospel—“Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14)?

          • Mal. Does that mean that habit, as cited in Catholic Catechism 1735 that the serial fornicator is absolved of those many acts when he dies because of his habitual fornication enters eternal bliss in the Beatific Vision, while the man who fornicates once and dies goes to Hell?

          • No, Fr Peter, habit here does not mean an act that is done INTENTIONALLY over and over again. I believe it means something that is done instinctively, unintentionally. Anyway, as a teacher, how do you explain this particular clause in the Catechism?

        • Hope you won’t mind a response, even though it will be better put By Dr Marty.

          One wonders what you might have said to the women in question!

          Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

          John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

          Revelation 3:21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

          Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

          We are the sheep of His pasture and His sheep hear His voice and follow Him.

          Blessings of discernment through God’s Holy Spirit.

        • We already know the answer, Mal, don’t we? He did indeed refrain from condemning her, but also admonished her to “Go and sin no more.”

        • Mal, the only reply button for the citation you made below from the Catechism was here, so I’ll note here that Francis did go out on a limb to cite only examples that seem sympathetic and although the Catechism discusses factors that diminish culpability, which the Church has always taught, does not mean that we should ignore reality. The reality that people who abandon their first spouses do not generally do so for noble reasons, and it is rather phony to ignore the evil side of reality in one’s haste to try and prove a level of mercy superior to Our Lord who never held to ignoring our sins as the price of mercy. Francis is as capable of the sin of pride in exercising false mercy as anyone else.

      • You are the only who truly makes sense. It seems that people (popes included) put their egos above all else including God attempting to water down what is so crystal clear clear, and “create” a new morality. Then folks wonder why this world is in such a mess.

    • Oh come on everyone! Great thoughtful writings but bottom lines are bottom lines and PF promulgated a major one with Pachamama. Never forget all those red hats bowing to that wooden lump of carved wood. Hmmmn? The BVM or pachamama? So do we elevate humanity or do we teach Brazilian forest inhabitants a better way? Is transubstantiation real because Christ provides the change or do we define it to fit our sins? Christ has ripped opened our prideful conceit for all to examine, especially self examine. St JPII for me will always be the bottom line. His life, the world circumstances he had to deal with forged his will in Christ. He continually surrendered his trust in Him. PF leaves us in a sea of confusion. Why have a papal climate conference and invite only those in support of world population control through abortion and euthanasia and now BTW discovery of the world farm dissolution famine plan, see Sri Lanka and the Netherlands). Look to the Christians who do the work of Christ. They roll up the sleeves workers in Him. I think of those pregnancy life centers laboring every day and putting the lie to Planned Parenthood’s rhetoric. Good heavens we can’t let those monstrous lies be exposed, can we Elisabeth Warren? They actually help women and their babies for years and subvert “the plan”. Just so you know EW just called for those centers of life and help to be illegal and closed.

        • Thanks for unmasking, dear Mal.

          This is what King Jesus Christ, the Alpha & Omega, the Beginning & the End, the Ruler of Heaven & Earth says to those who speculate that idolaters: ‘can teach us a better way to revere God’:

          “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the sexually immoral, spiritists who engage in magic arts, the idolaters, and all liars – their place will be in the lake that burns with fiery sulfur. This is the second death.” (John’s Revelation 21:8)

          Mal, denying or distorting the Word of God can be eternally fatal for all of us, whether we are popes or peasants. We have been warned by God.

          From today’s Holy Mass readings: “Receive and submit to The Word planted in you; it can save your soul.” (James 1:21)

          In the awesome Majesty of Christ, who will judge us all: blessing from marty

  3. The thing that galls the Francis tribe is that Pope St. John Paul II anticipated (!) their antics, by writing Veritatis Splendor. Hence the knee-jerk efforts now to unsay what JP II actually said, and what he also established as part of the Magisterium. Instead, this from Veritatis Splendor:

    “A separation, or even an opposition, is thus established in some cases between the teaching of the precept, which is valid and general, and the norm of the individual conscience, which would in fact make the final decision [no longer a moral judgment!] about what is good and what is evil. On this basis, an attempt is made to legitimize so-called ‘pastoral’ solutions contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium, and to justify a ‘creative’ hermeneutic according to which the moral conscience is in no way obliged, in every case, by a particular negative precept [thou shalt not!]” (Veritatis Splendor, n. 56).

    And, again:
    “This is the first time, in fact, that the Magisterium of the Church [!] has set forth in detail the fundamental elements of this [‘moral’] teaching, and presented the principles for the pastoral discernment necessary in practical and cultural situations which are complex and even crucial” (n. 115).

    Then:
    “The relationship between faith and morality shines forth with all its brilliance in the unconditional respect due to the insistent demands of the personal dignity of every man [italics], demands protected by those moral norms which prohibit without exception [!] actions which are intrinsically evil” [!] (n. 90). “The Church is no way [!] the author or the arbiter of this [‘moral’] norm” (n. 95).

    Where Luther saw our humanity saved by grace as still the corruption of dung simply covered with snow, the new mold sees authentic moral teaching as old-fashion snow, now to be graced with their own markings.

    The time-tested aphorism still applies: “Don’t eat yellow snow.”

  4. Papa speak? There has been much criticism of this pontificate. Yet, what concrete action has developed?

    It has been said, he wreaks havoc and yet, what serious punitive action has been taken against what some maintain is abuse of power? God asks us poignant questions. We need to examine ourselves first and foremost.

    Ezekiel 34:4 The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.

    2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

    Matthew 23:3 So practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.

    2 Corinthians 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

    Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

    Acts 17:10-11 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

    We must pray for our leaders, constantly.

      • Yet, I try to obey the Lord’s instructions! Satan is doomed. Jesus is eternal life, all His words are life and healing.

        One wonders, does Papa still have a confessor? Will a man trust his eternal soul to Papa or the Rock which is Jesus Christ?

        Matthew 16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

        Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

        Philippians 3:19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

        May showers of blessing guide and sustain you in your walk.

  5. Not that I think anything could change Larry Chapp’s mind, but he seems to be attacking several things at once.

    The question Pedro sets out to answer is “Does Amoris Laetitia promote proportionalism?”

    Dr. Chapp, in his own rebuttal, concedes that “I do not know how you can avoid the conclusion that this is indeed, if not proportionalism straight up, at the very least ‘proportionalist adjacent’.”

    “Proportionalist-adjacent” is not proportionalism.

    Of course it can be falsely interpreted as proportionalist. Which is why Pope Francis goes to great lengths to explain, in the exhortation, that the teaching is not proportionalist and why.

    Dr Chapp criticizes Pedro for not quoting his arguments, then proceeds to not quote Pedro’s argument (the quote in the beginning is his conclusion). He goes on to attack Pedro for not defending other things he finds wrong with Amoris Laetitia, and tries to lump him in with other theologians who are decidedly NOT Pedro, as well as the overhaul of the JP2 Institute.

    On top of all that, Pedro wrote a book on Amoris Laetitia that includes a 20 page chapter on Veritatis Splendor, but nevermind. Actually listening to the positions of other people is too much to ask.

    • 1. Pertinent philosophical and theological matter that is absent to (from) a work, would mean of necessity that proportional estimations have to enter.

      2. Lack of direct knowledge and relevant information concerning the actual facts that the work administers upon, would of necessity bring in proportionalisms.

      3, Unclear representations of another work and/or of the mechanics of a connected development between the two works, would necessarily entail proportionalist weighing.

      4. In the particular situation, the irreconcilability among Pedro, other theologians and the explanations by the work’s author, requires proportionalist accommodations.

      5. The interaction of all of the above would entail tentative-ity of assumption-making and of listing of possible decisions -that would invariably be proportionalism.

    • This doesn’t seem like a fair criticism of what Dr. Chapp is saying. Dr. Gabriel is making the (defensible, supportable) argument that Amoris Laetitia is not proportionalist. Dr. Chapp is responding that some of what Francis is saying in the moral theology context can be viewed as proportionalist and that saying Dr. Gabriel’s arguments are not sufficient to prove it is not actually proportionalist.

      I don’t think he was trying to lump Dr. Gabriel in with theologians who are not Dr. Gabriel, either. He is arguing that these other theologians recognize that the distinction Dr. Gabriel is trying to draw is not tenable. Accusing him of lumping together is just another caricature of Dr. Chapp’s argument.

      All I see here is that Dr. Chapp believes in his position, thinks it is a good one, and is defending it vigorously against what he makes a pretty good case is a sloppy attack. Him accusing WPI of general sophistry was mean (I was surprised when I clicked on the link to WPI) and I see why it got you upset. I’ve only heard you guys say nice things about each other. But as someone who likes WPI and Dr. Chapp both, I think he has the better argument here. I know what it is like to be irritated at ill-informed responses to an argument you know is a good one. In the future I wouldn’t put a non-theologian up against Dr. Chapp.

      One last thing: I know Dr. Chapp a little and have heard him change his mind somewhat on a number of things. I think he goes back-and-forth on Traditiones Custodes, for example. And sometimes he’s quite hard on Francis, and sometimes he expresses general admiration. So that’s not a fair criticism, either. That you can’t change his mind on this issue does not make him an unreasonable ideologue.

    • I have read your articles on Where Peter Is, and they are uniformly disappointing and do not, on the whole, make much sense. You seem to be firmly ensconced in the “If it feels good, do it” side of Catholicism, which bends its knee to the modern world in all instances. Ever so slyly it seems to me you reject many points of Catholic teaching. You overstress some points to the breaking point and then ignore others all together.

        • Mal here you went an put “illuminate” with “honest”.

          As for your “wedge” comment, the converse would be that if the Holy Father slipped on something he should own it in humility; meantime however others may be helping not to own it.

          Speaking in general terms, we can “stand with the Pope” who has erred and yet still recognize and avoid the error and speak about it to him. Jesus did that with Peter.

          Jesus did the same for Judas. We shouldn’t ever suppose ourselves so high on authority; and by saying this I am repeating the Christian ethic of eons.

        • Mal, that’s because you’re an ultramontanist and buy into the false, irrational late 17th century Jesuit ideal of religious obedience (that corrupted St. Ignatius’ intention and is repudiated by St. Thomas Aquinas). May the scales fall from your eyes!

          • Mal pointing out that no-one can or may proclaim homosexual civil union in the Name of Jesus Christ, does not rise to a “maligning” of the Vicar of Christ or anybody else. That’s ONE example. Mal if you call your darkness, light, you are going to get what’s coming to you with or without scales on your eyes; but maybe if you keep your scales on you won’t see it coming.

      • I embrace the Catholic faith in its fullness. Period. I’m not lying about anything. I might be mistaken about certain things. I’m only human. I don’t appreciate my intentions or character being judged by people who don’t even know me, however.

        • If you believe Francis is not blatantly proportionalist and consequentialist in his moral reasoning, and in ways that are doing massive harm to the Church and to humanity, than you do not know Catholic Moral theology in the least.

        • right, just trying to expand its fullness a bit here and there.

          While WPI is exclusively dedicated to defending the indefensible and steeped in the assumption that Francis is the only real pope we have ever had, I find this discussion to be one of arguing over the temperature and salinity of the sea water rushing in through the hole on the side of the RMS Titanic.

          Some experts may contest vehemently over proportionalist or proportionalist adjacent, but the simple folk know that it doesn’t matter. The end of the project is letting a whole bunch of evil into the church… Contraception to be sure, remarriage, gay marriage…

          What does St. Alphonsus have to add, or was he written out of moral theology already?

          • WPI is a site run by and for a new class of ultramontanist. Some of whom believe Francis to be the first true pope of the church of ‘what’s happenen now’, and that all previous popes have only sought fame and glory for themselves as evidenced by their red shoes and grandma’s lace.
            But, their devotion to Francis is not because he is the pope or (heaven forbid) Vicar of Christ, but because he is ultra liberal and is working to remake the church into that formless, invisible humanist, universalist gathering of rainbows and lollipops that they believe the council meant it to become.

            A lack of faith tends to lead one to think that if the church doesn’t change, (allow ss unions for example or contraception) it will become extinct. Of course, other’s simply want these things for the sake of them. So, Francis, is beyond reproach. Not because he is pope, but because he is paving the way for these things.

  6. I cannot think of a time when it has been possible to be both a Catholic, and in favor of doing moral theology in a new way full stop. You are both remarkable in your similarities rather than your differences. Nonsensical from beginning to end.

  7. Thank you, Dr. Chapp, for this most incisive commentary on both encyclicals.

    I ask the indulgence of the reader if I interpret so much of what passes through the Church these days through a psychological lens, since this was the profession I practiced for almost half a century. I cannot separate the teachings of the protestant wing of our Catholic Church from personal motivational factors – especially when those teachings pertain to moral theology. I cannot help but wonder what is personally behind such moral positions that seek to abrogate time-honored moral teachings. I speculate that some moral failing that the individual is in conflict over is at the foundation of their teaching- a personal moral conflict that they hope to resolve by changing either the moral code itself, or the functioning of the conscience which should serve to adjudicate moral behavior. In sum: I wonder what sin these people are trying to hide. I think of former Cardinal, former priest and Pope-Maker McCarrick and his advancing the Progressive agenda of the protestant wing of the Church so effectively through the years. We can see that behind it was a life led in support of a lie – all at the expense of respect for Truth in the Church.

    So, this is not, for me, just an academic discussion. The motivation of the proponents of Progressivism must also be examined. Our Church leaders, you know, do have personal profiles.

  8. So much absolutel hateful criticism of Pope Francis! He was duly selected in the proscribed manner, so get over it. Sorry, but he reminds me of Jesus, in that he tempers cold,legalistic judging of others with the heart & ideal of love. If we want to be legalistic, Dorothy Day had definite Communist sympathies. Well,guess what- So did Jesus! “Go and sell all you have & give to the poor and follow me.” Should we have black-balled her forever & avoided all her indefatigable good work & righteous support of unions that support the dignity of “man”/ dignity of the worker? Many Right wing billionaires don’t like Pope Francis- they don’t want a moral leader condemning the overly zealous, overly selfish, materialistic, unbridled capitalism that has reared it’s ugly monster head, producing the ever-widening income gap between owners/CEOs & workers,run by greed. Popes John Paul II (RIP) & Francis have both shown disdain for that brand/degree of immoral capitalism. If we all spent more time in humble, deferential prayer like Pope Francis & less in critiquing our pope’s encyclicals & every comment, Christ’s Spirit of love would conquer all. I’m 70 & a half (ha!) now. Can you imagine our broken knuckles from the almighty ruler of our truly muscular nuns,if any of us had sat around “critique-ing” ANY encyclical?!

    • In your very first sentence, the “proscribed manner” (as in condemned or forbidden!), rather than PRESCRIBED? The point here, and the point raised by constructive (not hateful) critics, is that the devil is in the details. It ain’t about billionaires.

      (Even the Nicene Creed turns on the subtle difference between homoousios and homoiousios–the same or only similar).

    • Yes, Jesus said “Go and sell all you have & give to the poor and follow me.” while secular communism confiscates your property, giving control to the government to do with it as they wish. Today we have a secular society where God is mocked. Government, in partnership with big tech, is pushing out small business and turning our democracy into a socialist, government controlled society. Capitalism, along with any other form of government, does not work in a secular society where God is not welcome..

  9. “In a way, Pope John Paul II’s undisputed contribution to Christian thought can be understood as a profound meditation on the person. He enriched and expanded the concept in his encyclicals and other writings. These texts represent a patrimony to be received, collected and assimilated with care” (Pope Benedict XVI Address The Uniqueness of Persons in the Life and Thought of Karol Wojtyła Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences 11.21.05 extract from Peter Colosi The Uniqueness of Persons in the Life and Thought of Karol Wojtyła and his Indebtedness to Max Scheler).
    Widely misunderstood is attribution of the term ‘acting person’, which actually belongs to Max Scheler. Scheler, part of the Edmund Husserl Existential Phenomenology German Jewish nucleus including Edith Stein at Gottingen U [Scheler converted to Catholicism and an influence on the conversion of Stein. Husserl converted to Lutheranism]. Fr Wojtyla authored a 2nd dissertation 1953 on development of the personalism of Max Scheler within Thomistic philosophy calling it Thomistic personalism. Wojtyla used the terminology the person acting with emphasis on a form of Christian humanism. A more intimate emphasis on moral behavior that we find in Veritatis Splendor.
    “Behavioral sciences are concerned with the phenomenon of morality as an historical and social fact; moral theology, however, while needing to make use of the behavioral sciences, does not rely on the empirical observation or phenomenological understanding alone – must always be measured against: What is good or evil”. This approach to moral theology makes morality more accessible to the young, to the modern mind. This is a new way of moral exhortation more an invitation to truth that is at odds with P Gabriel as argued by Larry Chapp. And a new way of moral expression clearly more intimate and personal, more genuinely human as in the humanity of Christ.

  10. Thank you – for the article giving the impetus to go back and read the words of the Holy Father , which sounds even sweeter now , such as below , with his focus on presenting the Gospel truth in more meaningful and appealing ways to the wounded in the ‘field hospital’ of The Church –
    https://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=19107

    The Eucharistic Miracle of Argentina would have prepared him to experience those wounds in a vivid and deep manner ? and the reason to choose the name of Francis .. that miracle itself ? prepared for him , as reward for his compassionate love and care for the poor which earned him the affectionate name – ‘slum Pope ‘ from those who took pride in seeing him as one of their own ..

    The Pope Emer. having discerned how the flood waters of chastisements had arrived
    and not sparing Germany either ..? the symbolic resigntion on Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes ..seeing need for purification .. the discernment that the next chosen one in that role would need the support and strength of his prayers and presence to deal with the huge bushel baskets that would be brought out by hands and hearts often unaware that the chastisements have not spared the wise and the learned ..

    Families too to benefit from the same perspective in these carnal times – the attitude of seeing others as ‘gifts’ likely having contributed to excess of expectations in relationships , its rebellions afflicting even the very ones who are to be at the forefront of dealing with the chastisements ..
    need for the domestic churches too ,to have the compassion of being field hospitals …
    The Holy Father allows the loud cry of the wounded to be heard too , not throwing them out …trusting that The Spirit would come through ,blessing the children to focus on same as does our Mother .
    FIAT !

  11. It’s over. If PF can do this, then the Church is dead. Worse, she will have proven herself to have been a fraud from the beginning. Why should anyone, ever, listen to what this Church has to say again if she can teach one thing authoritatively this week, and teach the opposite authoritatively the next week? If a new “administration” can come in and wipe out the teaching not only of the most recent popes but of the entire Catholic tradition then why give any credence to anything the Church teaches, ever? God help us.

    • This is surely a permitted test of the faith, a chastisement for sultry practice by the majority of Catholics, a form of separation of the chaff from the wheat. Hold fast to what you know is true.

    • No, it’s not over, BXVI. We’re in a heck of a mess, but Christ left us a promise that many are trying to obscure. There have been several very good articles recently on Vatican I and the constraints on infallibility (one is here: https://onepeterfive.com/spirit-vatican-one-post-revolutionary-political-problem/ but there are others). The point is redolent of the one made above by Don Corleone (with which Dr Chapp readily agrees), that there is a 2000 year backdrop of developing doctrine which cannot be ignored. The careful, consistent organic growth evident over the centuries is utterly reliable, and these petulant hiccups will inevitably be cast aside as indefensible.

      “Woe to those who scandalise the little ones” is a ferocious threat, menacing those who ignore the spiritual works of mercy owed to the vulnerable — as well as those who don’t stand up to the bullies, whether through indifference or cowardice. We know better, and can benefit by the example of countless saints, many of whom stood alone in the public square as witnesses to the truth. It isn’t over because the truth will prevail. Keep the faith!

    • The distinction with a difference is that Pope Francis DOES “teach one thing authoritatively this week,” but then casts a shadow by NOT actually “teaching the opposite authoritatively the next week.” Instead, ambiguity, photo-ops for James Martin (etc.), enabling appointments and pass-overs, signaling, hints, low-ranking motu proprios, and silences, e.g., toward the dubia.

      The likely precedent in history is Pope Honorius I who did not sufficiently resist the heresy of monothelitism, but never actually taught it authoritatively. Decades after his death, at the Third Council of Constantinople, Honorius I was anathematized. As one acute historian (the 19th-century Anglican, John B. Bury) explained: “it was for the ‘imprudent economy of silence’ [not formal teaching] that he was condemned.”

      Today the wedge of contradiction is between the formal teaching of the faith and enabled pastoral practice in morals. But, to Francis’ credit, however spotty and ineffective, we do have the two pieces of paper from the CDF to the German synodal way, against its path generally, and specifically against the blessing of homosexual “marriage” parodies.

      So, let’s give credence to perennial doctrine, and be even more patient. And possibly avoid being scandalized. The indwelling Holy Spirit is helping us, but in His own good time. As for the Holy Spirit and the specifics of Papal Infallibility:

      “The Roman Pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra [!], that is, when exercising the office of pastor and teacher of all Christians, he defines [!] with his supreme apostolic authority a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, through the divine assistance promised to him in St. Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to be endowed in defining doctrine concerning faith and morals: and therefore such definitions [!] of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable of themselves (and not from the consent of the Church).”

      • An excellent response Peter. Although, there’s an obvious issue of justice in play here. Effects, effects, effects. Patience is a virtue. I realize this is not your intent. Nevertheless. Silence when the effects of an unwritten [no two Honorius like letters for example] policy driven by suggestion, undermining of the basis of moral judgment in Amoris, and by appointments to key policy positions speak as loud or perhaps more loudly in favor than two pieces of paper.

      • Peter, if there had been photographers in our Lord’s time they would have had many shots of Jesus with an adulteress whom he had defended so well, chatting with a free-loving Samaritan woman, and with the sinful Mary Magdalen, with drunks, tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners. And oh, the priests, theologians, doctors and other “decent” people would have enjoyed themselves demonizing Jesus.

        • Hi again, dear Mal.

          Maybe we should be careful how we interpret Jesus’ merciful ministry to numerous people who were living in breach of God’s commandments. His aim was (and still is) to minister spiritual HEALTH to those who are spiritually unhealthy. He certainly was not affirming their sins (spiritual sicknesses) as insignificant!

          His criticism of the clerics of the day is that they were not doing this soul-healing ministry [a ministry that must be part of the life of each of us who truly know God]. These are the hypocrites Jesus loathed: presumptuous, knowing what is right and not ministering it to those in desperate need. Giving Himself on the Cross should have shown them how far God will go to convince sinners of God’s immense love and bring them to righteousness, at last.

          Think about the changed life of wicked Saul after he’d encountered Jesus! Jesus’s aim in relating to sinners is to give them an experience of God’s amazing love and it’s power to enable even the worst of us (like me!) to find grace to become obedient to God’s commands.

          Out of many examples, please read Luke 19:1-9 – especially verse 9.

          Hoping this makes sense to you, dear Mal.

          Always in the merciful grace of Jesus Christ; blessings from marty

        • Why is it either/or?

          Some criticisms of Pope Francis are extreme and scandalous & have caused others weak in Faith to loose the Faith(anybody else notice Steve Skojec is flirting with Atheism? Or that Joseph Sciambra is a vicious anti-Catholic Russian Orthodox?) because they go over board? Some Criticisms are just flat out unfair and wrong. Some are correct but use imprecise terms themselves which mislead. Like Crisis has an article up claiming Pope Francis has “changed doctrine”. Also in Trad circles there is a lot of naked hatred for the man which mirrors the hostility Trad often spewed at St John Paul II. Not a good look.

          Then there is the false Pachamama nonsense.
          (note Eric Guinta here is a Traditionalist who thinks Pope Francis is a heretic and an “evil man”. But he calls out the fake Pachamama nonsense.)
          https://www.renewamerica.com/columns/giunta/191108

          But that having been said. Pope Francis is no St John Paul II. His teaching is gravely ambiguous and is more often then not is read in a heterodox manner and the Holy Father does little if anything to correct it. Letting Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden take communion at the Vatican was a real grave scandal(unlike the Pachamama nonsense which was fake news). Yes the Pope told the Germans to cut it out but he wasn’t as hard on them as he has been on the Trads. Is he trying to proselytize for the SSPX and Sede Yobs? Yeh nerfing the Old Mass was a mistake. The Mother of Bad Pastoral Policies.

          QUOTE”The likely precedent in history is Pope Honorius I who did not sufficiently resist the heresy of monothelitism, but never actually taught it authoritatively.”

          This is a fair assessment and I have reluctantly become a Critic of the Pope.
          Francis doesn’t explicitly teach proportionalist nonsense but his is not going out of his way to suppress it. (Maybe if Proportionalists started chanting their prayers in Latin he would get bothered about it).

          So it is not either/or. It it both and. I am put off by extremist radical Traditionalists taking advantage of the trouble Francis causes to push their nonsense but I think the Francis defenders have devolved to FRANCIS! FRANCIS! UBER ALLES!

          Even St John Paul II made mistakes(Koran Kissing?).

          So enough people. Yer both wrong and both right. I’ll leave it to you lot to figure oot which.

          • Dear Jim the Scott,

            You have expressed very well the sort of growing confusion that we Catholics are experiencing everywhere. Rather than “only one thing is necessary”, that Jesus taught to Saint Martha, we’re being bombarded on a grand scale with a diversity of cognitively dissonant, speculative doctrines.

            Why is this discombobulation happening in our lovely Church that aspires to faithfully serve the One who said: “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free!”?

            Pope Francis in a new interview (25.07.22) on LGBT Catholics said God “does not disown any of his children” and that a church that is “selective” about its membership more resembles a “sect” than what the Gospel commands.

            If that was an off-the-cuff remark by a poorly-educated pastor in some backwater, we’d excuse it. But when it comes from the highest officer in our Church, it’s utterly (and eternally?) inexcusable.

            Matthew 7:24 critiques Pope Francis’ comment. By denying the clear teachings of Jesus Christ, he shows he’s not building on the the Rock (of hearing & practicing Christ’s instructions); he’s building on the sand of those who flout Christ’s instructions. He is contaminating himself with unitarian, universalist, syncretistic, worldly logic and populism.

            He’s utterly confusing: 1) our precious mission to offer repentance and salvation to LGBT and others who flout God’s commandments; even to the most profane & blasphemous of sinners; and 2) us, the Church, as the corporate body of those who have given their lives to Christ and live repentantly obedient to His commands, to show the world His righteousness & salvation.

            If that’s not outright APOSTACY, then please show me what is . . !

            It’s not too late: while there’s breath there’s hope. Pope Francis can still repent, ask forgiveness from our Lord, and return to teaching the truth as given to us by Christ’s Apostles, as is very clear in The New Testament.

            Let’s all pray for his soul.

            Keep safe, Jim. In the love of The Lamb; blessings from marty

          • Thanks Jim for your post. I must say that I have never found Pope Francis to be confusing. I believe that many opinion writers in so-called Catholic websites have intentionally caused all the confusion. Yes. our Pope has said things that have jolted me. Not because he said anything that is contrary to doctrine but because he has woken me up to the fact that being a faithful Catholic is much more that just going regularly to Church, praying everyday, confession, communion, and so on. He is asking us to be like our Lord’s followers in the early Church – reaching out to members of the Church family – as well as to the lost sheep – no matter how weak, sick or sinful they may be.
            He has never said that sin, abortion, same-sex marriage are okay. He has echoed St Paul’s words regarding those receiving Holy Communion unworthily. He has repeatedly said that those who are not in communion with the Church should not receive the Eucharist. There is absolutely no evidence that he told Biden or Pelosi to receive communion. However, no priest should refuse communion to any person who says that he/she has made peace with God. If it is a lie then it is a sin on the part of the receiver.
            Jesus reached out to prostitutes, adulteresses, murderers, thieves, and other sinners. Why? Because he did not come to condemn (we were all already condemned) but he came to SAVE. Heaven rejoices, we are told, over every sinner that is saved. This was the mission given to Peter and the others.
            Pope Francis, who was well tutored by his very devout grandmother, had a unique spiritual encounter one day at the confessional. He has a profound understanding of Jesus, His mission and His Church, and this led him to dedicate the rest of his life to serving the Lord and the Church.
            This is why he is now Christ’s Vicar who has been entrusted with the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
            If Jesus trusts him so much, how can I not do the same?

          • Mal…
            Trust or entrust?

            Vive la difference. Historically, Pope Alexander VI is at least one who illustrates the distinction.

          • Intelligent people devoted to Christ are increasingly voicing discontent with Papa’s predilections. Some might argue that protests to the parish priest might be overdue! A groundswell against a leader who appears not to be instep with the teachings of Jesus is great cause for concern!

            1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

            2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

            2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

            1 Timothy 6:3-5 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

            Jude 1:4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

            God gives sound advice and a discerning heart to those who love Him.

            God bless you and thank you for your reflection.

  12. My fear is that there is nothing that can stop the revolution at this point. And it’s not just a revolution in moral theology, though it includes that. Yes, Dr. Chapp, “it is the moral theology, stupid” but it is also and equally a revolution in ecclesiology.

    This is an unpopular view, but in my opinion it was the weakness of St. JPII and Benedict that leaves us in this predicament. They could and should have been far more aggressive in disciplining heretical prelates – instead, they promoted many of them. And they should have been more willing to make unambiguous infallible declarations on some of these key issues so that what is happening now could not happen.

    Also unpopular to say: Pope Benedict quit on us. In hindsight, his decision to resign was profoundly unwise and has resulted in extreme damage to the Church. He never backed down from an intellectual challenge but he hated personal conflict and was unwilling or unable to manage the Church forcefully.

    I am sure he felt confident that the conclave would elect a like-minded man but one who was not tired-out and who was better able to manage the church (Sodano?). It’s hard in retrospect, however, to resist the notion that he laid down the cross that Christ had asked him to carry and that the entire Church is now paying the price.

    One thing I am confident of: PF will not resign. He saw what happened to Pope Benedict and knows that nothing is sure even if he has packed the college of cardinals with progressive ideologues. I believe he will push his revolution until the day he dies.

    • I hope he will keep pushing. There is a need to get people out of their comfortable zones into the real world that our lord wants us to live in, and in which to show his love.

  13. This doesn’t even get out of the gate – for ANY of these people to assume themselves worthy of criticizing the intellectual work of the late PJPII is simply absurd.

    I remember April of 2005 when PJPII died and the world seemed to come to halt for a few days. Among other things – millions of people stood in line in the rain for up to 24 hours to view him. He was unquestionably one of the moral and intellectual giants of the last 50 years, one billion people watched his funeral on television, he was made a Saint in record time, and for the last 5 years of his life he gave the whole world an example of how to accept suffering.

    I could go on and on but I won’t – suffice to say that the lilliputians and their minions who seem to be running the show these days all over the world are in their glory trying their lilliputian best to diminish him, but that will end.

  14. Pope Francis has demonstrated some sympathy for proportionalism. Some of his statements about giving out/receiving holy Communion, irregular relationships and the ten commandments are cases in point. One of the results of proportionalism is that moral absolutes such as the ten commandments are reduced to aspirational ideals. Given this slippery ethic even intrinsically evil actions such as living in an adulterous relationship can be affirmed if withdrawing from them would cause upset or pain. Proportionalism turns your mind to jelly and removes your spine. Avoid this mortal danger to the soul.

  15. sorry – second paragraph I forgot to paste

    We must remember that Jesus was very clear on this exact subject in his discussions with the woman at the well. Go and sin no more! She got the message and so must we. Stick with Popes Benedict and John Paul II and before them the constant teaching of the church in matters of the moral law. Teach your children well.

    • Jesus said no such thing to the Samaritan woman at the well. Apparently, he had quite a long chat with her. He told her all that she did but there is no mention of Jesus condemning her or telling her to sin no more. In fact, because Jesus was so welcoming, non-judgmental and kind that she brought others to Jesus.

      • Yeah, well, Turner was probably thinking of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11).

        As for the woman at the well with five husbands, Christ remarked that she really had no husband (John 4:4-26). A contradiction, of course, to the latitude insinuated in Laudato si, but hey, Christ was not sufficiently updated. Speaking theologically and biblically, what the hell does He know?

          • The continuing confusion raised by the subtleties–yes, very subtle I agree–in Amoris Laetitia Chapter 8 and fn. 351 regarding “irregular” situations (e.g., civil marriage following a divorce without a declaration of nullity) combined with discerning access to the Eucharist…

            And, how such precise subtlety is now being (very predictably) exploited by some, partly through the synodal process (especially the German “synodal way”), with the likelihood that national abuses will simply be bundled together, rather than corrected, in the “synthesized” 2023 Synod on Synodality.

            Cardinal Hollerich (appointed relator for 2023), with his call already to reject the Catechism’s sound and settled teaching on human sexuality (coincidentally with Marx and Batzing!), does not inspire confidence.

            Thoughtful minds can surely differ on how to interpret current events, but does there come a point where Shakespeare helps connect the dots?: “something is rotten in the state Denmark!” (Hamlet, Act I, Scene IV).

      • Mal,

        You really kind of need to read that text because I don’t really know where you got that idea.

        Read the entire text and see if there is any indication that Jesus was being nice or merciful.

        Jesus was very clearly telling her her sins and what an adulterous woman she is. The only thing going for her was that she was quite truthful that she has no husband but actually had five adulterous relationships.

        And what changed her? Well straight out of her lips when when she was telling the people about her, what she found compelling was that he told her all that she has ever done. He confronted her about her sins and strangely (or not) enough that was actually freeing for her.

        • I read the text many times, Cory, and every time I see a caring, loving, gentle Jesus talking to a child of God who is not of the fold. The only people Jesus confronted were the priests, theologians and ritual-loving Pharisees who did not want to hear something that messed up their comfortable lifestyles.

      • “In fact, because Jesus was so welcoming, non-judgmental…”

        In your world, does personal sin exist and did Christ do away with the Mosaic Law at His Transfiguration?

  16. Genesis 22:14 – The ecclesial dimension suggested by BXVI, above, is the prophetic issue in VATICAN II. Or you might like to see the image of the angel telling Elijah to eat.

    And if we think of Elijah we can be Elisha asking for the double portion. Well it came from Benedict!

    Stop being so hard on Fr. Benedict, it’s not what I indicated. The resignation of Pope Benedict removed him OUT from the BUBBLE they were pumping up around the Papacy. Listen!

    It put Fr. Benedict in touch with the FAITHFUL and the People of God.

    Then in one go it also revealed all the temptations coming at the Church. The same ones who say “Holy Spirit”!

    It is like Elijah telling them, after their own invocations failed, to keep pouring water on the holocaust. Pour! Keep pouring! They poured and poured and poured and fire came down and licked up the sorry enigma in toto. And still there was the price to pay!

    Do you suppose I am the only one who can see the bubble prodigy and how many people are making bubble covenants! It has nothing to do with FAITH!

    Who takes the Name of the Lord in vain will sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. Fear the Lord our God. Fear Him I say.

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/layman-giving-homily-and-dancing-included-at-archdiocese-of-chicago-parish-mass/

    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2022/06/15/how-can-catholics-navigate-the-crises-in-the-church-and-society/

    https://www.saintmarksphiladelphia.org/sermons/2014/1/12/jesus-blowing-bubbles

    https://buildfaith.org/its-pentecost-lets-party/

  17. It matters little what Gabriel- who seems to have zero training in any relevant discipline- says. (He is a medical doctor, not one of theology.) It is an opinion of some guy on a blog. But that doesn’t stop the folks at WPI pretending they are experts and labeling Gabriel a theologian. What Chapp and others are pointing to is that Francis and Co. themselves are now openly and explicitly promoting the errors that Veritatis splendor condemned. This is what Mike Lewis and the folks at wherepeteris don’t want to face, because it is in the words of proponents themselves, not the claims of any critics. The names associated with the errors are not used, obviously, e.g., proportionalism, but if its walks like a duck…

    Here Gabriel makes a substitution for what chapp is addressing. The amoris conference in May, for instance, put forth the idea that the fact of intrinsic evil itself needs to be dismissed, because it is a “controversial philosophical concept,” essentially introduced into the magisterium by JPII, two blatant falsehoods. Gabriel’s and others’ claims also completely gloss over the fact that what is now being proposed- replacing the absolute prohibition on certain acts that can never be done via a process of “discernment,” mitigating circumstances, intention, and the like- was addressed and refuted as an error by JPII and BXVI, and others before them. So, this cannot be claimed to be a legitimate development or new approach and certainly not one that JPII left open as an option. The same specifically goes for the idea of communion for adulterers, which is why these folks avoid the specific condemnations of it by JPII and BXVI or claim they are “only” statements of the holy see and not papal ones.

    The fact that error is being promoted is also why certain official organs are careful as to what they say, e.g., the pontifical academy for life, upon issuing a book that claims contraception, euthanasia, and illicit fertility techniques can now be chosen, indirectly admit they are entertaining a dissenting position. But to keep the door open they also say that what is dissent today can change, while also trying to deny they are questioning such teachings by claiming they just want to foster dialogue, discussion. So, a vatican dicastery avoids claiming these evils are now permissible, if even by way of “discernment” and mitigating circumstances in individual cases; but it’s still clear that’s what they’re trying to promote.

    The error of trying to permit evils via the discussion of mortal sin must also be put to rest. Determining if one has committed mortal sin is a very different thing from whether an act is intrinsically evil and comprises grave matter, mixing up the objective and subjective components. The former determination is also made post factum by its nature, i.e. one cannot determine in advance whether they will commit a mortal sin. How could one say in advance, “I’ve determined that I don’t have the freedom or knowledge and therefore will not commit mortal sin and thus can choose to commit this act. In fact, such a process of “discernment” would almost guarantee one would have the requisite components. The fact one might be judged to have not committed mortal sin after performing an act does nothing to change the grave matter of it and thus make it permissible to discern one can and then choose to do so. The only way to permit this would be the other error that people can choose to commit things they know will be a mortal sin for them. It is also a case of either/or- either there are intrinsic evils which may thus never be done or if there is any “exception” then there really are no such evils.

    Further, how could one possibly perform such things as euthanasia or fertility processes as a matter of discernment via the argument one is not committing mortal sin, as some sort of process! How does one have a “process” of committing euthanasia on a person, in which they gradually try to work to the truth or claim they’re not committing mortal sin!!!

    What we are ultimately seeing here is a form of heterodoxy, driven by leftist ideological/political views, and/or coupled with a cult-like idolatry of Francis. Instead of evaluating things in the light of all that came before, they re-evaluate and/or undo them in the light of whatever novelties this pontificate proposes, from the mere fact they are proposed, not because they are true, part of the deposit of faith, etc. In this regard the folks at wherepeteris have also claimed that mere opinions, on such things as covid vaccination or climate change, are “teachings” one must obey and are dissenting not to follow them.

  18. I admire Larry Chapp for his defense of Vatican II, and I admire Pedro Gabriel for his splendid refutations of the claim that idol worship took place in the Vatican Gardens during an October 4, 2019 tree planting ceremony.

    I still think Dr. Chapp and others misunderstand what Pope Francis is saying in Amoris laetitia, 303. Pope Francis never says moral norms are “mere ideals.” Dawn Eden Goldstein and I criticized this misunderstanding in an article published some time ago. Josef Seifert, E. Christian Brugger and others responded to our article by simply repeating their initial misreading of the text. In the Latin text of AL, 303, exemplar is used where the English has “ideal.” An exemplar is a model, pattern, or standard to follow. Jesus is our exemplar of love (Jn 15:12). If we fail to follow Him perfectly, that does not make Him a “mere ideal” as our exemplar. Our Lord, though, is pleased by our small steps to follow Him, even if our steps fall short of the exemplar.

    I also think Dr. Chapp makes too much of Pope Francis’s appreciation of the contribution of Bernard Häring. Many faithful Catholics have praised Fr. Häring’s 1961 work, The Law of Christ, for its personalist approach to Catholic morality. Unfortunately, Fr. Häring later dissented from Humanae Vitae and lapsed into proportionalism. To appreciate Häring’s early contribution to moral theology does not make Pope Francis a proportionalist any more than an appreciation of Tertullian’s contribution to Latin Trinitarian language makes one a Montanist.

    I was a student of Fr. Häring when he was a visiting professor at Fordham University in the spring of 1977. Some of the students in the class thought Häring was overly conservative because he regarded masturbation and homosexual acts as objectively wrong— even though he emphasized subjective circumstances that mitigate the full culpability for these acts. I disagreed, though, with Fr. Häring’s opposition to Humanae Vitae and his support for abortion in cases of danger to the mother’s life. I wrote my paper defending Humanae Vitae. I was not sure how he would react. When I met with him to receive my paper back, he was very gracious. He told me I earned an “A.” He said I defended my position well even though he disagreed with me.

    Many people I respect have argued that Amoris laetitia undermines traditional Catholic morality. I have sincerely tried to understand their arguments. In all honesty I think they simply misunderstand what Pope Francis is saying. In this regard, I agree with what Cardinal Gerhard Müller said in an interview published in the Italian journal, Il Timone (Feb. 2017):“It is not Amoris laetitia that has provoked a confused interpretation, but some confused interpreters of it” (Non è “Amoris laetitia” che ha provocato una confusa interpretazione, ma alcuni confusi interpreti di essa).

    • Robert L Fastiggi, this is a great post. Some people have tried to knock Pedro Gabriel on the grounds that he is a medical doctor and not a theologians. This is such a weak argument. Theology does not necessarily make people say or write things that are faithful to Catholic teaching. Many of them have their own ideologies or obsessions. Furthermore, one does not have to be a theologian, priest, professor or any learned person to appreciate the truth.
      Simon Peter, a fisherman, declared that Jesus was the son of God. This was something all those theologians, priests and Pharisees of that time did not know. In fact, these people, who were conditioned by their doctrines, rituals and lifestyles, did not want to accept that Jesus was the Messiah.
      I see that happening here in this discussion.

      • Thank you, Mal, for your kind support. Here is a link to the 2017 article Dawn Eden Goldstein and I published on Amoris laetitia, 303:https://www.lastampa.it/vatican-insider/en/2017/09/26/news/does-span-id-u67850162484fpt-amoris-laetitia-span-303-really-undermine-catholic-moral-teaching-1.34426739

        I fully agree with you that it’s an extremely weak argument to try to dismiss the insights of Pedro Gabriel because he is a medical doctor and not a theologian. He’s a very intelligent man and a great researcher. I have found his insights on subjects like Pachamama, Amoris laetitia, and the death penalty far more astute than people with doctorates in theology. I have a doctorate in theology myself, but I have learned a great deal from Catholic writers without doctorates or formal theological training. I have also read some very misinformed statements from people with doctorates in theology. Thank you again for your support.

        • And for the record, I am not one of those who disparaged Pedro Gabriel’s credentials. I treated his essay like I would any other.

        • I have read many of his columns and find they are generally pretty shallow and evade issues rather than confront them. I have never been impressed by him or any of the writers at Where Peter Is. As far as I can tell, they are simply apologists in the “America” vein of progressive Catholics who want the church to “move on” from Catholicism to something else.

    • Thank you Robert Fastiggi for this. As a long time admirer of your work I am happy you took the time to respond to my essay.

      With regard to Amoris (303) my main complaint is not so much with his use of the word “ideal” (or “exemplar” as you translate it) as with his claim that evenif one knows and understands the moral law and what it demands, that if you judge, based on your circumstances, that this is the most “generous” response you can give right now with regard to avoiding evil, then you can have a peaceful and secure conscience that this is what God is asking of you in that moment as well. Which is another way of saying that this is God’s will for you since if God is “asking” this of you then it means it is what God is willing for you at that moment. But God cannot will evil or ask evil of you. Therefore, it follows that, given your circumstances and your judgment of conscience that this is the best you can do, that your decision to violate a negative moral norm changes from an immoral action into a moral action. In other words, the species of the moral object itself has now changed based on your circumstances and your private judgment of conscience. But this is an approach specifically rejected by JP II in Veritatis.

      As for the the Pope’s use of the term “ideal” or “exemplar” I can only say that if this were the only instance of his use of this term then I would agree with you. After all, this is the Holy Father we are talking about and I prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt. However, he frequently speaks of not treating moral commandments as “mere precepts” that have a one-size-fits-all legalistic quality to them, and talks all the time about how all of the moral commandments – – even negative moral precepts that are always wrong regardless of circumstances — need the discernment of circumstances. But this it seems to me is to confuse the question of subjective moral culpability with the question of objective evil. And his use of the term “ideal” constantly threatens to conflate those two things into one.

      Furthermore, even if you are correct about Amoris 303 on the term “exemplar” it does not alter the fact that the purges at the JPII Institute and at the Academy for Life have resulted in the appointing of faculty who do indeed interpret Amoris 303 as making the distinction between moral ideals and “the complexity of the human condition”. And the recent conference on Amoris at the Gregorian was filled with speakers who made this distinction over and over. And it is Pope Francis who has appointed and empowered these folks and he has not corrected them in their various public statements that do indeed support my reading of Amoris 303. I simply cannot fathom that the Academy for Life’s recent book, which calls for a complete rethinking of the life and sexuality issues, and which clearly calls into question Humanae Vitae, Evangelium Vitae, and Veritatis Splendor, was published without the Pope’s permission or his knowledge of its provocative contents. And that book clearly reads Amoris as opening the door to viewing Church teachings as mere ideals that can be set aside if an individual deems his or her circumstances as requiring it.

      You can defend Amoris with a laser like focus and zero in on specific words and terms, but this risks losing sight of the bigger picture of how Amoris fits into these changes at the Institute and the Academy, as well as the promotion of prelates like Cupich, Tobin, McElroy and so on to high office, all of whom are on record for the need to change Church teaching on some key issues. And it is Pope Francis who has been the catalyst for all of these changes and personnel decisions.

      Finally, It is true that the early Bernard Haring was more conservative than the later Haring. But Pope Francis made no such distinctions in praising Haring and his praise for Haring came in 2017 which means he had to have in mind the entirety of Haring’s career and not just part of it. Indeed, the Pope specifically said that Haring’s moral theology was a “model” for how to do moral theology in a post Vatican II manner. Haring was a proportionalist. The Pope had to know this as well. And of ALL of the excellent moral theologians he could have chosen to hold up as models for doing moral theology, he chose a man who was known to be a proportionalist. I think that means something. Taken by itself it might mean very little. But when placed in the context of all of these other factors, I think it means more than you are allowing for here.

      At any rate, despite my disagreement with you, I hope you will take the length of this response as a sign of the high esteem in which I hold you. Blessings.

      • In following this series of articles, and now appreciating greatly your current reply, I am reminded of a journal article I read probably back in the 1970s. A prisoner in the Gulag received a small loaf of bread from the outside. And, inside was a small, undetected note of but one word: “Persevere.” The prisoner castaway somewhere in Siberia knew then that she was not alone, that she was not forgotten, that she still existed. This one word sustained her until her much later release into the light day.

        You are valued and not alone in this dark fog, and your analysis has the ring of truth to it. So, thank you for your clarity and witnessing, and: “persevere.”

      • Dear Larry,

        Thank you for your kind and gracious comments. I have great esteem for your work, and I am honored that you esteem my own (as modest as it is). I share your concerns about what happened with the John Paul Institute in Rome (especially since I know some of the people affected by the restrucuring). I am trying to figure out what is happening, and I intend to order the volume, “Etica teologica della vita” recently published by the Pontifical Academy for Life. I will withhold judgment until I have had the chance to read through these essays.

        I agree that there are some other moral theologians that Pope Francis could have held up as a model instead of Fr. Häring. I tend to think it is Häring’s personalist approach that Pope Francis likes rather than his proportionalism. When I took a graduate class with Häring in 1977, I disagreed with his dissent on Humanae Vitae and his proportionalism. I did, however, appreciate his general personalist approach to morality.

        With regard to the use of “exemplar” rather than “ideal” in Amoris laetitia,” this is not my translation but that of the Holy See. I am sure Pope Francis wrote AL in Spanish or Italian, but the official text in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis 108 (2016) 311-446 is in Latin, which uses “exemplar” in the places where the English has “ideal.”

        I certainly agree that God cannot will evil or be pleased with a choice for evil. As Dawn Eden Goldstein and I explained in our 2017 Vatican Insider article, this is not what Pope Francis is saying in AL, 303. He is simply recognizing that at a certain stage of growth, conscience can recognize a step in the right direction that God is asking even though it’s not yet the objective model. AL, 303 should be read in light of AL, 305, which states that “a small step, in the midst of great human limitations, can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order, but moves through the day without confronting great difficulties.” In my response to Mal above you’ll find a link to the article Dawn and I published in 2017. The hope, of course, is that those individuals who find themselves in situations that don’t correspond to the demands of the Gospel will move through new stages of growth that can enable them, through grace, to live in accord with the moral law. This is what Pope Francis communicates in the last sentence of AL, 303. I am sorry if you don’t agree with my reading of AL, 303, but I’ve discussed my understanding with some orthodox Catholic priests who are very good confessors. They have told me that they understand just what Pope Francis is talking about in AL, 303. Some people find themselves in very complicated situations because of bad choices they have made. Such people need to move gradually through various stages of moral and spiritual growth before fully realizing the demands of the Gospel. This is the law of gradualism mentioned by the Pontifical Council for the Family in its 1997 Vademecum for Confessors. It is not the gradualism of the law; nor is it proportionalism. Let’s pray for each other and for Pope Francis.

    • Dr. Fastiggi,

      Interestingly, but not surprisingly, you avoid the elephant in the room- it is not Chapp making these claims but persons, organs, and events, with some authority, who are publicly attributing to Francis and Amoris the errors, e.g., the recent Rome conference on the subject. An international, vatican-sponsored conference on the interpretation of Amoris with respect to morals, as well as interviews by the keynote speaker and organizer, directly attributes to Francis and Amoris what Chapp describes, and we’re supposed to think that’s just someone’s strange interpretation?! Then there is the recent book/collection of articles issued by the pontifical academy for life, more specifically claiming contraception, euthanasia, and illicit fertility techniques can now be chosen, and attributing this to Francis’ thinking and that found in Amoris. Their reply to critics is also revealing and disturbing- inferring teaching on such matters is up for debate and can change. It is also noted that your own earlier work and other citations are from five years ago, ignoring all that has happened since. That’s a glaring omission. Even Cardinal Muller has since changed his tune.

      These are only just recent examples, but there are many more in which people and institutions of note have publicly ascribed to Amoris and Francis what Chapp and others have pointed out. And just as importantly, there is no refutation or retraction of these positions. It is astounding that a dicastery of the holy see is promoting/tolerating heterodoxy and no one around francis or anyone else at the holy see says anything?! And Archbishop Paglia promotes the book and its contents and says Francis has been aware of the project all along, giving a reasonable assumption he is aware of its general contents.

      Further, there is a more general trend of people at the highest levels saying openly erroneous and heretical things, with impunity, e.g., cardinals running the synod stating Chruch teaching on homosexuality is wrong, heads of bishops conferences and cardinals from Francis’ c-9 group saying similar things, what is occurring in Germany. So, when people in authority and positions of prominence and in Francis’ circle are consistently and more frequently saying what they are, it is almost bizarre to say that Amoris doesn’t allow for what they are all saying it does! That is denial that some still have of this troubled pontificate. Of course, amoris cannot formally be teaching error and so must be given an orthodox interpretation by posterity. But that doesn’t negate the fact that error and heteropraxy can be and are being promoted/tolerated in informal ways, and at lower levels, for which there is now substantial evidence.

  19. Seems to me that Pope Francis and his cohort are doing all they can to place individual conscience on an equal footing (at least) with the teachings of the Catholic Faith. Once they have achieved this aim, victory will be theirs. They won’t have to agonise over how to change the hitherto unaltered teachings of the church and not just on matters of morality either. Everything will be subject to the individual conscience of the believer. They will continue to pay lip service to the content of the Catholic faith, all the while denying it in actual fact … because their consciences sincerely tell them it OK to do so. This sort of approach to the faith is already clearly evident in the church. The German Synodal Path is a perfect example. A majority of the church in the west at least tacitly supports the whole German agenda as diocesen and regional synods clearly reveal all over the place.
    Take this thought to heart: the official teachings will not change so that the conservative believers can still take comfort in their surety that there is no salvation outside the Roman Church. All the while though the liberal majority will do as they please and put it all down to their consciences informing them in difficult and complex situations. The Roman Church will be completely indistinguishable from any liberal Protestant church where all of this has already happened… in all of them you can believe what you like (even God can be an optional extra) as long as you are respectful, inclusive and avoid any open confrontation.

  20. It is true the focus on sin in Veritatis Splendor is different from that which one observes in Amoris Laetitia, but to find that the latter contradicts the former is, I believe, a fantasy concocted by those who have it in for Pope Francis. Actually, it is not only Pope Francis that is targeted in this attack. There are some who have attacked all the Popes since John XXIII. Pitting one Pope against the other is part of their strategy.
    I would like to go back to Eden where God, having created man, gave him the “dos and don’ts” by which to live. It was the religion taught by God for man’s wellbeing. Man was not made for that religion; religion was made for man – to paraphrase our Lord’s words on the Sabbath. Later, we see that Moses was more specific about those dos and don’ts when he presented the Ten Commandments and the other laws. These laws were literally observed by the Jews. It was all black or white for them. Then Jesus came along and presented that very same religion from a different angle. His two Commandments – love God and love your neighbour as yourself – provided a fresh, new look at religion without contradicting the Ten Commandments. Why without contradiction? Well, if one love his neighbour he would not steal from, or lie to, or maim or kill his neighbour. In fact, he would do even more for his neighbour in that he would reach out to him wherever he is or however low he might have gone. Yes, Jesus wanted us to reach out to the poor, the desperate, the disadvantaged, the sinner, prostitute, eunuch, outcaste and to every single person created by our ever-loving God. As I said, our Lord did not contradict the Ten Commandments but brought his love to be a major factor in it.
    The priests, doctors of the law, the doctrine-loving, ritual practicing Pharisees who were so comfortable with the old way, did not like our Lord’s presentation. In the end, they were slaughtered along with many others who followed them. So, we should keep this in mind: Jesus did not create a religion; he established a Church, a unique family, in which Peter was specifically ordained by him to oversee the affairs of this family with the assurance that with the eternal presence of the Holy Spirit, nothing bad would ever happen to it. This is what Pope Francis, who has a very profound understanding of Jesus and his Church, wanted us to appreciate.
    It seems we have no trust in Jesus and in the Holy Spirit. Let us make sure that our lack of faith and trust does not see us being spewed out of our Lord’s mouth.

    • Mal, like Fastiggi, you admit and then deny. Actually no-one needs a degree to understand any of this.

      At which point it is not so as “to be pitted against the Pope and/or to pit the Popes against one another.” Shameful Mal.

      Eden retrogression and the like is not the Christian faith. It’s one of the refrains of those who have lost the way.

    • “…nothing bad would ever happen to it [the Church]?” All hail Pope Alexander VI, etc. etc. We must hear more about this, considering, you know, the martyrs and that sort of thing that never happened.

        • “Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’” The Church IS the Body of Christ, which is why Christ said “me” instead of “them.” Therefore, this: “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20).

          Other than Saul’s earliest bad things done to the Body of Christ…from the powers of the world and from corruption within the Church itself, Cardinal Ercole Consalvi retorted thusly to Napoleon Bonaparte (after the general had threatened to crush the Roman Catholic Church): “If in 1,800 years we clergy have failed to destroy the Church, do you really think that you’ll be able to do it?” Today, we could say “2,000 years”—but there are also those who, instead, would qualify as Holocaust deniers…

          Yes, the “gates of hell” will not prevail, but what other less-than-prevailing and bad things from the wafting “smoke of Satan”?

          • Good point, dear Peter.

            God’s New Jerusalem, the destination more desirable than any other, has long been prepared. With Christ as God’s Lamp illuminating it night and day; and that vast river of Holy Spirit pure water, we will drink without charge.

            Yet, as we travel through time towards it (or maybe time is actually the result of it hauling us in ?), there are many trials, disasters, betrayals, sabotages, pain, suffering, that Paul says will develop the quality of HOPE in us who rely on Jesus Christ. A hope that will not be disappointed!

            Is it not an awesome thing for any person to realize they are participating in this the greatest of all sagas. Let God be praised.

            Take care. Stay well. Always in the love of Jesus Christ; blessings from marty

          • I his journey, our Founder faced many trials and hardships, but never did any devious temptation or vicious blow, cause him to falter or to fail. Jesus never said that we would not have our crosses to carry.

  21. Se habla mucho de la Amoris Laetitia (AL) y no se dice nada. O la atacan sabiendo que no puede ser falsa o la alaban no sabiendo exactamente lo que dice. Todo lo referente al matrimonio es jurídico. Si no se tiene mentalidad jurídica, no se puede hablar de matrimonio. El mensaje subliminal de AL es que hay actos que no son justos, pero sí explicables, o sea, son contra la ley, pero su autor no puede ser condenado por haber obrado en estado de necesidad (ej.matar en defensa propia, guerra para defender un ataque, etc. son injustos, pero explicables, ergo no son punibles). En ese tren, muchos de los que han contraído matrimonio, advierten que fue nulo, pero no lo pueden probar, es un caso que los habilita para proceder en conciencia, Otro es el caso de los matrimonios válidos, pero fracasados, en cuyo caso, los divorcios pueden ser “explicables” y confiar que solo Dios puede juzgarlos con misericordia. No se pueden dar normas generales, y esto es lo que Francisco repitió. Las soluciones sin salida legal habilitan a proceder en conciencia, “remoto scandalo”, si son explicables, y su punibilidad están solo reservadas a Dios. La conciencia retoma su valor pero no para legislar sino para obligar al “discernimiento” y a obrar con madurez y en consecuencia dcon la norma básica de la moral paulino-agustiniana; “ama y haz lo que quieras”.

    <ita para proceder

    • Señor Santo Ángel Guerrero,

      Los anglicanos, protestantes y masones ya lo hacen como dices. Muchas sociedades naturales también la tienen y todas se enredan en ella. Lo que significaría es que el testimonio de los santos supuestamente sería cancelado y el mensaje del Evangelio 1. convertiría a los católicos a las otras sociedades y 2. haría de las prácticas de esas sociedades, de Cristo.

      Ahora, ¿qué se supone que alguien debe hacer solo porque “el ángel dijo”?

      Por lo que puedo entender, ¿quieres decir “ita para proceder” – es para “ir hacia adelante”? La ley establece un límite que desea eludir y, en el proceso, elude la fe y la ley… en nombre de la ley. ¡Aiyeeeee!

      * * * * *

      Mister Saint Warrior Angel,

      The Anglicans, Protestants and Freemasons already do it as you say. Many natural societies have it too and all get mired in it. What it would mean is that the witness of saints supposedly would be canceled and the message of the Gospel 1. would convert the Catholics to the other societies and 2. would make the practices of those societies, Christ’s.

      Now what then is someone supposed to do just because “Angel said”?

      From what I can make out, you mean to say “ita para proceder” – it is for “going forward”? The law sets a limit you want to bypass and in the process you bypass faith and the law ….. in the name of the law. Aiyeeeee!

  22. Why not just read the Bible and be dependent on the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s wisdom and mysteries to us through fellowship with Him? Thank you Jesus for your precious blood applied so, that we can come to you for all that we need.

    • That has been tried, and somehow there are thousands of Christian denominations, all saying that they have the correct interpretation of the Bible’s Scriptures, and condemning the others around them. That contradicts Our Lord Jesus praying that all be one in Him.

      • Hi, dear Patti.

        I think Jesus Christ meant we would be one in The Holy Spirit and so, identify ourselves to one another by our love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, generosity, faithfulness, humility, and self control.

        Jesus wanted us to love one another so much as to be willing to lay down our lives for one another. Instead, over the last 2 millennia, most of the various organizations calling themselves by His Name have obeyed the devil and hated, tortured, and slaughtered one another. We all have SO much to repent of.

        Jesus’ oneness with The Father, He explains is by His complete obedience – e.g. John 14:15-24 – especially clear in verse 23.

        Until Christians, including us Catholics, major in obedience (see John 10:27-30) there will be no oneness.

        Take care. Stay safe. Ever in the love of Jesus Christ; blessings from marty

    • Well said, dear April.

      If only the Light would switch on in the minds and hearts of all these disputants.

      How lovely, as they all go home singing: ‘Just one thing is necessary; it’s You, beloved Jesus, just You!”

      Ever in the love of The Lamb; blessings from marty

    • April, the Bible tells us very clearly that Jesus created the position we call Pope and assured all him – and all present – that whatever he would bind on earth would be bound in heaven and he gave this Pope the Keys to the kingdom of heaven. Such was the trust he had on this rock. You will notice that all the protesting groups – outside and inside the Church – have one thing in common: they attack this very rock that has the keys. All their scripture readings and quotations might please their egos, but not accepting the authority of the Pope is akin to a lack of trust in our Lord’s assurance.

      • But, perhaps a distinction between the papacy and virtually everything that might be said and done or undone by any particular pope?

        Nowhere did Christ announce that Peter and subsequent popes would be infallible in their governance, prudential judgments and off-the-cuff remarks. The First Vatican Council provided explicit clarity by rejecting both the Liberals and the Ultramontanists, when it defined precisely what “papal infallibility” means and doesn’t mean. Yes, the conscientious attitude of loyalty toward each pope is the correct predisposition, but Pope Francis himself is on record as saying that “it is not a sin to [constructively] criticize the pope.”

        And, also to his credit, at least Pope Francis acknowledges his knee-jerk incapacity.

        • A blessing and yet, a man is invited to wrestle and reason with God. In the end we are to submit to Him. He does nothing that isn’t in our highest good. Where He places a roadblock it is to signal danger ahead!

          Can legend become tradition? Where scripture is silent, it is because we don’t need to know of a matter! The secret things belong to God. To argue from where there is stillness, should make us reticent.

          Thank you for your words, may you be blessed.

        • Nowhere did I mention anything about infallibility. I was stressing the fact that, like the Church, the Pope is an entity of our Lord’s creation. Just as our Lord’s Church will last forever without even Satan destroying it, so too the Pope has been so well ordained. He has the keys to the kingdom of heaven. This the the extent of the trust our Lord has in this person. But, of course, humans are free to trust our Lord or to hide behind their own worldly judgements.

          • Yes, the “keys to the kingdom” (Mt 16:14-19), but followed immediately by a rebuke to the very same Peter (Mt 16:23): “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” What! Even the “well-ordained” but still-human Peter was/is subject to “hide behind [his] own worldly judgments!”

            And, there are the disdained among us who trust Christ, therefore, that the keys to the kingdom of heaven do not include an extra papal key to indefectibility.

          • You are right, Peter, but you forget that all these things took place before the Church was established and before our Lord’s death and resurrection. The Apostles then still had a lot to learn. Their true character as Christians came into evidence only after Jesus completed his mission on earth and the Holy Spirit descended on the Church. Not only descended but remained forever. I will continue to trust Jesus on this.

      • Dear Mal, that’s not something those informed of the history of the popes would second!

        To get up-to-speed on the reality, have a look at Eamon Duffy’s: “Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes” (nothing to do with the popular TV series).

        Everything King Jesus stands for is factually true. Not so with the rest of us.

        When a pope deliberately contravenes the clear teachings of the Apostles – plain for us all to read in the 27 texts by 9 authors of the New Testament, that pope is destroying the foundation that all papal authority depends on.

        When a pope makes an infallible statement, of necessity it must cohere and concatenate with what St Peter and the other Apostles were given by God’s Holy Spirit. God never contradicts God.

        Keep well. Always in the love of The Lamb; blessings from marty

        • However, mate, here we are not talking about some Pope who has deliberately contradicted the teachings of the Apostles or the Church. our Catechism has maintained teaches us exactly what Pope Francis places before us. I will repeat it just for you. In CCC 1735, we read: “Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors.”
          If you do not like Catholic teaching then you would be better off becoming a Protestant.

          • Sadly, dear Mal, in distorting the CCC teachings, you are spouting what many Protestants adhere to. For example, assembled in Hillsong church you will find every sort of unrepented offender. They are welcomed provided they pay well and support the Hillsong Royalty. They have ‘another jesus’ . . .

            Think: is it not your proposal, Mal (of all sorts of sinners being accepted holus-bolus, whether they are transformed by the Word of Christ or not) that is so unacceptable to other Catholics? It is precisely this lack of Divine selection that worries people about their perception of strange directions brewing in Rome.

            Believe me: Mary Magdalene was accepted among the Jesus group BECAUSE she had been delivered, had repented, and become a new person: no longer a slave of sin but a new-born child of God. Ditto for Mathew, Zacchaeus, and so many others joyfully receiving salvation.

            It doesn’t matter how hard you resist, dear Mal, obdurately unregenerate sinners are out-of-place among the true people of God.

            It is only a humble willingness to BE CHANGED by Christ’s Word that gives us entry into The Kingdom of God and then eternal Life.

            Our Lord compassionately ministers to sinners with one objective: that they repent & are saved.

            Many today find this a hard message. It needs faith to believe Christ can save us from the flesh, the world, and the devil. Without faith no one can please God.

            Hope this is helpful, dear Mal.

            Take care. Always in the grace & mercy of Jesus Christ; love & blessings from marty

          • No, Martin, this was not helpful because you are way off the point. This is not about sinners who do not repent, it is about the conditions that might make a wrongdoer not deemed to be a sinner. This is Catholic teaching, period.

          • So there it is, Martin, it’s not about conversion, but only about “conditions that might make a wrongdoer not deemed (?) to be a sinner.”

            So there (!), Marty, “Period!” But, please Marty, continue to dialogue electronically with the deaf. While it may be a waste of electrons, modern physics concludes that the annihilation of electrons only accelerates the collapse of the known physical universe, thus hastening the Second Coming!

  23. As someone who is not impressed by Dr Chapp’s writing, I find it amusing that his natural allies won’t abide even his limited and fairly mild criticism of Francis. After nearly a decade of non-stop scandal, anyone with the slightest integrity would have to acknowledge the obvious about this Papacy. If Chapp continues in this vein, he will find that the likes of Lewis and Fastiggi will treat him no differently than they do the SSPX and The Remnant. There is a definite Maoist streak running though the Francis fanatics.

  24. All are now gently encouraged by Pontiff Francis and his Bishop of the Secret Communist Party Accord, “to listen to the voice of the Party, to walk with the Party, to feel the embrace of the Party,” as declared by the very successful new Bishop of the Patriotic Church:

    http://magister.blogautore.espresso.repubblica.it/2022/07/14/at-the-vatican-the-game’s-afoot-to-be-the-most-pro-china-in-the-lead-is-sant’egidio/

    Or as Endo writes in “Silence,” all that is asked is to “step on the crucifix.” It’s a small thing, no big deal, everyone is foing it…

  25. JP:

    Absolutely true. The reason is because of their overwhelming desire to “sanctify” their sodomy. The cost to them is a fair trade: the sodo-clerical caste get their sodomy, and in return they offer the laity caste fornication and adultery.

    Thus the Pontiff Francis’ agent “Eminence*” Hollerich has already groomed the Church for their forthcoming sanctification of sodomy.

    As St. Paul prophecied, their idolatry and sodomy go hand-in-hand.

    PS – Funny how clerical apostates wage war against tradition, calling it Medieval…yet the love their Medieval Court titles don’t they?

  26. It is required only to keep in mind what the ultimate goal of AL is to know what it means, and why some people defend it so fervently.

        • This is right, JAF. This is why we stand firm when Protestants – inside and outside the Church – attack our belief that the Pope was ordained by Jesus, when he was given the keys to the kingdom of heaven.

          • Oh! Come-on, dear Mal: basic stuff . . .

            Pope Francis’ keys will only unlock and lock when they are shaped by the instructions given by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to Saint Peter and the Apostles. God never contradicts God!

          • Oh! Come-on, dear Marty” basic stuff…

            It’s like veneration of the folk-hero Muhammad and his Qur’an…there is no such thing any more as real “contradiction,” only Islamic-style “abrogation” of the old by the new, and with both divine dictations retained side by side in the scripture, e.g., peace and jihad, both.

            Or, cross-culturally and inter-religiously, our clericalist “hermeneutics of discontinuity” and the “paradigm shift”—with the “rigid” and the new—the doctrinal and the divergently “pastoral”—likewise cobbled together in an “assembled and compiled” synodal synthesis! (Hegel smiles.)

            Does the non-demonstrable first principle of non-contradiction (to which you quaintly appeal) still exist?

  27. AMORIS would seem to position VATICAN II for nullifying marital situations found to be with some measure of defect according to Gaudium et Spes 46-47. AMORIS has 29 references to Gaudium et Spes. The occasion for the intervening for nullity would seem to be when one of the parties to the relationship decides he or she is being stifled in conscience.

    Call that person the first party.

    The questions would then be, 1. what is the thrust of VATICAN II and 2. what has been the way of the Church through the centuries.

    AMORIS considers the marital bond in varied aspects and calls for “further reflection”.

    But whereas the original bond is between the two spouses who are its ministers, AMORIS seems to put a lot of emphasis on the idea of the bond as to its “public” character -precisely where it can’t be discovered.

    A very serious concern should be, that, if at the same time you are over-riding the original bond on the say-so of the first party and then testing it on its absent or emaciated “public character” and the short-comings of the other party, the conscience of that first party is bound to go in another direction and have final say.

    What is the defense of the original bond when the first party is being recalcitrant?

    What is there, inside that arrangement, at that point, or before it, or after it, that would portend the presence and activity of Christ affirming the original bond and looking for healing proper to the bond?

    • Hi Elias, nicely reasoned logic.

      In the same vein: it would be informative to have the statistics on the comparative incidences of divorce among Catholics in parish communities that have strong, agape bonds in Christ, contrasted with parish communities where those bonds are weak. The cherishing support of other loving Catholic couples might make all the difference to a couple whose marriage is otherwise heading towards the rocks.

      One thinks of Amish communities, where the agape love bond is VERY robust and divorce is extremely rare – according to this pericope from the web:

      “Amish take their wedding vows seriously. Divorce is not sanctioned in the Amish church, though may occur in rare cases. Divorce is seen as reason for excommunication. Separations, however, do occasionally occur among Amish. Amish do not remarry so long as their previous partner is alive.”

      Ever in the love of Jesus Christ; blessings from marty

      • You do send mixed messages on where you actually stand on this issue. I have a feeling that you have allowed yourself to be influenced by the deceptive presentations put forward here by those who have it in for Pope Francis.
        Well, you can find out for yourself what Pope Francis, the faithful Apostle of Jesus who has committed himself to serve our Lord and his Church, has to say about marriage.
        I will begin by presenting what the Pope says about marriage and then I will give you the link. You will notice that Pope Francis unambiguously states that marriage is a man and woman union in accordance with our Creator’s plan. He says: “Christian marriage, as a reflection of the union between Christ and his Church, 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, who belong to each other until death and are open to the transmission of life, and are consecrated by the sacrament, which grants them the grace to become a domestic church and a leaven of new life for society (AL 292).” Let us know if you can find any fault with the Pope’s statement.
        Here, you will find the rest of the article written by Jimmy Akin.
        https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/pope-franciss-new-document-on-marriage-12-things-to-know-and-share

        • Mal I can see your point of refuting everybody because sometimes there will be nullities and other times not. It is founded on your premise that it is “against the Pope” to question the open-ended things in AMORIS.

          Actually Mal there’s nothing “mixed” in what I have said on this page anywhere. The fact is myself and others have noted across a number of pages in CWR, that you are sending mixed messages. And I highlight you use the word “illuminate” for it and on this page I bring out that you even use the word “honest”.

        • Hi, dear Mal.

          Did you actually read my responses to your posts? It helps fruitful dialogue when we’re factual rather than introducing vague aspersions, don’t you think ?

          “Hi again, dear Mal.

          Maybe we should be careful how we interpret Jesus’ merciful ministry to numerous people who were living in breach of God’s commandments. His aim was (and still is) to minister spiritual HEALTH to those who are spiritually unhealthy. He certainly was not affirming their sins (spiritual sicknesses) as insignificant!

          His criticism of the clerics of the day is that they were not doing this soul-healing ministry [a ministry that must be part of the life of each of us who truly know God]. These are the hypocrites Jesus loathed: presumptuous, knowing what is right and not ministering it to those in desperate need.

          Giving Himself on the Cross should have shown them how far God will go to convince sinners of God’s immense love and bring them to righteousness, at last.

          Think about the changed life of wicked Saul after he’d encountered Jesus! Jesus’s aim in relating to sinners is to give them an experience of God’s amazing love and it’s power to enable even the worst of us (like me!) to find grace to become obedient to God’s commands.

          Out of many examples, please read Luke 19:1-9 – especially verse 9.

          Hoping this makes sense to you, dear Mal.

          Always in the merciful grace of Jesus Christ; blessings from marty”

          I’d like you to respond properly to this earlier post; if you’d be so kind.

          • Dr Martin, I understand what you have written but I do not agree with your interpretation. You might see our Lord’s mission as a caring one, caring for the spiritual health of people. I see it as, our Lord himself said, as one who came to redeem, to save lost souls – that’s all of us. It was for that reason that he lay down his life, assumed human nature and lived a sinless and obedient life in spite of the pain and suffering that he was made to endure. Yes, all of us were the sinners, disobedient ones that he came to save. Jesus was not affirming their sins as insignificant but he certainly did not come to condemn them. he reached out to sinners and prostitutes and even to Samaritans with love. This is exactly how our much maligned Vicar of Christ wants us to reach out. Our very Catechism also says that. You can go your own way on this just as Protestants do, but I will abide by the teachings of the Church. Luke 19, does confirm what I said. Jesus did not condemn that tax collector but reached out lovingly. In Luke 15:7, we read: “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Hope you see the sense in this.

          • Mal, regarding the use of both eyes for depth perception, and (!) the additional burden of clouded minds which can also distort the picture, let’s try this…

            A helpful clue comes from the 14th-century mystic, Julian of Norwich. Within one day of intense suffering before the crucifix she experienced sixteen private revelations linking the Transfiguration and the Crucifixion as a single event (!). As part of her astonished and written “Revelations,” which she took decades to reduce into words, we find the relevant insight that “Our Lord may not forgive [!]”, BECAUSE he first is not wrathful (“wroth”)…

            What does this really mean?

            Julian means that God is only Goodness and Love clear through; he does not change as we perceive, from “blaming” to “forgiving,” because in his divine and eternal nature (the Divine Mercy) he does not “begin” with blame at all. When Julian refers to “blame” she is referring to our finite expectations of blame, and not what is in God as changeless and eternal Goodness. Possibly shaky ground theologically, and this gets subtle, but while God cannot change, the Second Person of the Triune Oneness can still freely choose to take on our suffering and sin. The suffering and resurrected Christ of the Transfiguration is fully the divine pity incarnate. This Christ left bloody footprints on this planet—and therefore we ourselves must change.

            So, Julian sees that “judgment,” as taught by the Church, is truly necessary for us—that is, we must see that fallen man is truly worthy of “blame,” and that personal “sin” is radically harmful. An offense against God (!) and a betrayal of our very selves (!) as made in his image and likeness.

            It is true that we, by our fallen human nature, must experience “contrition” and the desire for “forgiveness.” And, in our own apprehension and contrition, it is totally true that we are in fact “forgiven.” But Julian proposes that none of these categories of thought ultimately applies to a transcendent God who does not change. Within God there is no (imagined) movement or “change” from wrath to pardon. God is pardon. (Or, as John also proclaims, God is Love, 1 Jn 4:16.)

            I say this inaccurately and expect corrections. But the point is that while God by his nature does not change, nevertheless Magdalene is a saint BECAUSE she got it and converted (changed), not otherwise. The Catholic both/and.

          • God does not change but people do. Mary of Magdala did change for the better. Was it because she was chastised or because she was moved by our Lord’s love and kindness. However, Peter you are changing the subject. We are talking about conditions that might exempt a person who has done wrong from being deemed a sinner; conditions that are spelt out in our catechism.

          • Mal,
            Rather than “changing the subject,” is it just possible that we are talking about two subjects? Like walking and chewing gum at the same time?

            Your point about mitigating “conditions” affecting subjective guilt as a “sinner,” yes, but ALSO the broader question glossed over by Cardinal Grech that synodality is only about “stretching the grey area”?

            How much of a stretch before a new category altogether, exempt from objective morality, is invented and Veritatis Splendor is denied, never in formal statement, but in enabled pastoral practice?

  28. It seems to me that Francis has given us is the Law of Moses and ignored what Christ taught concerning marriage. “Moses permitted divorce and remarriage because of the hardness of your hearts.” We seem to be back to the Mosaic law. We can call it the Franciscan Law. Does Christ have to return to remind the Church what God intended from the begining? The church has forgotten her own Teacher, Jesus Christ.

  29. In response to Mal’s post of July 20th.

    Dear Mal, you are repeating what I commented concerning Jesus’ befriending & ministering to sinners (this is the call of every Catholic, too).

    The difference is that you omit the crucial consequence of hell for those sinners who do not repent & allow Christ’s love to transform them.

    In Saint Laurence of Brindisi memorial today the Gospel reading was from Mark 4 – ‘The Parable of the Sower’. The Sower being Christ, whose seeds are effective in some hearers and not others. A form of Divine selection?

    Is it not your proposal, Mal, of sinners being accepted holus-bolus, whether they are transformed by the Word of Christ or not, that is unacceptable to other Catholics? This lack of Divine selection is what worries people about their perception of strange directions brewing in Rome.

    Believe me, Mary Magdalene was accepted among the Jesus group BECAUSE she had been delivered, had repented, and become a new person: no longer a slave of sin but a new-born child of God. Ditto for Mathew, Zacchaeus, and so many others joyfully receiving salvation.

    It doesn’t matter how hard you resist, dear Mal, obdurately unregenerate sinners are out-of-place among the people of God.

    It is only a humble willingness to be changed by Christ’s Word that gives us entry into The Kingdom of God.

    Our Lord ministers to sinners with one objective: that they repent & are saved.

    Many today find this a hard message. It needs faith to believe Christ can save us from the flesh, the world and the devil. Without faith no one can please God.

    Hope this is helpful, dear Mal.

    Take care. Always in the grace & mercy of Jesus Christ; love & blessings from marty

    • Dr Martin, we are not talking about those who do not want to repent, but about what makes a sin committed by a person a sinner. The adulteress had clearly sinned and this is why Jesus told her to sin no more but he did not condemn her because he knew that there was something that “nullified” – as our Catechism states – or conditioned her actions that were not under her control.
      So, I repeat. This is not about those who do not repent, but about those who do wrong but are not necessarily considered to be sinners. I learnt this when I was a little kid in school.

      • In response to Mal, 21 July

        Come on, dear Mal, you are capable of better reasoning than this!

        Whatever the reason for a failure to obey God’s commandments: whether the demonic involvements of Mary Magdalene, the covetousnesses of Levi and Zacchaeus, the murderous legalisms of Saul, the lustful adulteries of the woman at the well, etc., their encounters with Jesus Christ were able to evoke either: (1) a willingness to turn away from sinning so as to walk in His saving way, as part of His flock; or, (2) a choice to continue sinning and so alienation from Christ and His flock. Mal, you can’t be a ‘shoat’; you’re either a sheep or a goat.

        Disobeying a commandment of God is sin, irrespective of your personal level of responsibility. The Apostle of love, John 3:1-10, makes it crystal-clear. e.g. “. . do not let anyone lead you astray: to live a holy life is to be holy just as He is holy; to lead a sinful life is to belong to the devil.”

        Perhaps we need to be careful about adding our ideas to Gospel truths. Jesus did not treat people differently based on their degree of culpability. EVERY sinner could (and still can) find forgiveness by repenting and resolving to listen to Jesus Christ and follow Him (please read John 10:27-30).

        The Gospels offer no third option.

        Take care, dear Mal. Always in the love of King Jesus Christ; blessings from marty

        • Show me one statement made by our Pope that suggests that sin is not a sin. It is always wrong. Nobody is condoning those who deliberately and knowingly sin. However, we are talking about those who do sinful acts unconsciously, inadvertently, or out of sheer ignorance. Check what our catechism says about this. I learnt this when I was in junior school.

          • Well, shucks, Mal. Maybe you do get points for this. Maybe there is “no [sweeping] statement by our Pope that suggests that sin is not a sin.” Take this papal clarification, for example:

            “(First) I have been absolutely certain that there is something wrong with the theory of the justifying force of the subjective conscience . . . Hitler may have had none (guilt feelings); nor may Himmler or Stalin. Mafia bosses may have none, but it is more likely that they have merely suppressed their awareness of the skeletons in their closets. And the aborted guilt feelings . . . Everyone needs guilt feelings. (And second) The loss of the ability to see one’s guilt, the falling silent of conscience in so many areas, is a more dangerous illness [!] of the soul than guilt that is recognized as guilt (see Psalm 19:12) . . . To identify conscience with a superficial state of conviction is to equate it with a certainty that merely seems rational, a certainty woven from self-righteousness, conformism, and intellectual laziness. Conscience is degraded to a mechanism that produces excuses for one’s conduct, although in reality conscience is meant to make the subject transparent to the divine, thereby revealing man’s authentic dignity and greatness.”

            Oh, wait, this clarification is from Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI (“Values in a Time of Upheaval,” 2006)! Now, what Pope Francis offers in Evangelium Gaudi (2013) does not formally contradict. But, is it studiously cryptic, almost as if to enable pastoral divergencies?

            “Realities are more important than ideas [concepts?]” which is at risk of NOMINALISM (pastoral exemptions from undenied moral norms);
            “Time is greater than space” which is at risk of HISTORICISM (the “paradigm shift” and disdain for “rigid” foot-draggers);
            “Unity prevails over conflict” which at risk of CLERICALISM (the synodal unity of Marx, Bats-sing, and Hollerich in 2023);
            “The whole is greater than the part” which is at risk of GLOBALISM (e.g., the Fundamental Option, Proportionalism/Consequentialism).

  30. Mal it serves some purpose of yours to be going round in circles saying what others have said but not acknowledging it unless you say it -another mixing of message.

    When sin and grave matter become institutionalized those who are facilitating a perpetuation either do that deliberately or by negligence or ignorance. But no-one has to wait for their repentance or recognition to come about, for the right authority to suppress and expunge the sinful arrangement. If the right authority fails, it too has now fallen into the quagmire.

    Mixed messaging can be compared to a car without gasoline: everything is there except the gasoline and so the car can not get going as wont and the passengers and driver can have a non-stop jaw-boning chatter, just sitting in place.

    • Am thrilled we have Francis as out Pope. May he live many more years so that
      We havre more Bishops and priests with his pastoral humility and love of all.

      • Dear Mr Wilhelm:

        There appears to be a good deal of animus towards Papa these days. It has been said that he too often berates loyal priests and bishops and that his language is salty at times! There is something called false humility and some would argue he wears the mantle well.

        Perhaps you would look at some of his recent encyclicals pointing to what you view as noteworthy, that is to say befitting the head of the church?

        In the guidance that is Jesus Christ.

        Brian

          • Hello Mal:

            Did wonder if my response might attract your attention! Glad that it has. Seeing that “All of them are for the good of the Church”, could I ask you to choose one you feel is especially honouring of the Lord Jesus.

            God bless you.

            Brian

      • Dear Wilhelm,

        I, too deeply love Pope Francis and pray for him; he clearly seriously wants to do the right thing.

        But think, Wilhelm: there are quite a few leaders in history (including some popes) who were humble and loving persons, just as winsome as Pope Francis, yet they flouted God’s commands and misled their people.

        Being a nice, empathetic person does not of itself make you an obedient servant of King Jesus Christ.

        To be The Vicar of Christ one must represent Christ faithfully. That is the question being raised in this article by Larry Chapp, and so many commentators.

        Some commentators, such as ‘Mal’ appear not to understand that the title of Vicar of Christ only has meaning when the incumbent truly comprehends, submits to, and witnesses to the actuality of Jesus Christ’s obedience to The Father’s will.

        The central question, as far as I can see, is: “To what extent is this Pope’s teaching and ecclesiology conditioned by materialist, even Marxist, prioritizing of worldly values over the spiritual values taught by Jesus Christ and His Apostles?”

        Has Pope Francis forgotten: “What does it benefit anyone to gain the whole world and yet lose their eternal soul!” For me, that is still an open question.

        Along with many, far more eminent scholars, we urge:

        “Dear Pope Francis, please toe-the-line of full New Testament authenticity, without fear or favour of anyone.”

        Blessings from marty; and always in the merciful love of Jesus Christ.

        • Dear Thomas Wilhelm,

          We, Catholic Christians can be so impressed by Jesus Christ atoning for our sins on the Cross, and His inaugurating the New Covenant in His Flesh & Blood, that we miss His witness that the Cross is how far He asks us to go in obeying God’s will.

          The supreme joy of atoning grace, the sacraments, with their promise of eternal bliss may cause us to be insensitive to Christ’s call for us to obey God’s commandments. The Cross does not mean freedom to disobey God.

          True: Christ has set us free and we are free, indeed! Yet the way He set us free was by His obedience unto death. We are vocally & visibly instructed to pick up our cross of obedience, at whatever cost, as we follow our Lord every day.

          It is a deception to conceive we can belong to the Church, whilst deliberately disobeying her Royal Master.

          The same perspective applies where Protestant Christians, especially, affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ has defeated sin & death & the devil. True, yet we can’t pretend that sins and dying and every sort of evil are not prevalent in human experiences, everywhere in this world.

          The power of the affirmation is that: by faith in, infilling by, and obedience to Jesus Christ, His followers confidently overcome all evils and sins; and, rejoice in the knowledge that our bodily death is the gateway into an eternity of joy with King Jesus Christ & with the vast family of all who love God.

          THAT is our victory, NEVER freedom to disobey God. This is binding on Popes and cardinals just as much as on us ordinary believers.

          Take care. Stay well, Thomas. In the love of The Lamb; blessings from marty

        • Dear Dr Marty:

          Jesus asks us to love the unlovely and the catholic church is good at that. You mention that you “love” Papa and you are to be commended. Alas, I am not there yet (sanctification is a slow process with me) however, I praise God for His mercy.

          Romans 5:8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

          John 2:23-25 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

          1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.

          May His incomparable blessings surround you.

          Brian

          • Dear brother Brian,

            Thank you for your persevering persistence in bringing the Word of God to life among us. As the Apostles of Jesus Christ teach us – this is the duty of every true believer.

            Reading in Luke this morning I noticed in 6:32 and 6:46:

            “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.”

            “Why do you call Me: ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?”

            Almighty-God-With-Us, King Jesus Christ, who is The Everlasting Father made visible to us, and who will judge every human soul, then teaches that we are built on Him, the unshakeable Rock, if we obey what He has told us and shown us.

            Now, I don’t think there are 2 Rocks in the New Covenant.

            Thomas & Mal & all the other enthusiastic Papaphilios must grasp the truth that any Pope is a reliable rock, only as far as He obeys Jesus Christ.

            Disobedience to Christ can be as fatal for popes as for peasants.

            With every blessing in The Lord who is all love & righteousness; from marty

      • Thanks for your post, Thomas. The vast majority of Catholics are thrilled as you are that we have Pope Francis as the “rock” at the present time.

  31. In response to Peter D. Beaulieu of July 22, 2022

    Dear Peter,

    “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” (1 Cor 14:33a)

    Yet, that discombobulating comment of yours caused me to think of philosopher Richard Swinburne’s wise comment: “Not everyone’s god is God.”

    Love in THE Lord Jesus; blessings from marty

    • A response to Peter D. Beaulieu of 23rd July 2022, 11.25am

      This universe, dear Peter, is hanging on the thread of a scientifically inexplicable ‘partial quantum vacuum’. With the advent of the full quantum vacuum, it disappears, leaving only the Barthian ? ‘das nichtige’, as a home for all the evil that rejects Christ’s rule. A spiritually agonizing place that burns like flaming sulfur; but unlike the chemical, the spiritual suffering is eternal. May none of us ever end there.

      So, if our Lord returns and decrees full quantum vacuum, the ‘heat death’ of the university in billions of years (you mention) will never be reached. SO disappointing for my materialist freemason friends who are all counting on GATO to give them limitless time to conquer all of space and become gods themselves.

      In response to Peter D. Beaulieu of 23rd July 2022 at 7.40pm

      God is love and is faithful to those who love and obey God; desiring us to accept our invitation to the Wedding Feast of The Lamb; and then to enjoy the Divine Glory with the Heavenly host for all eternity. “Eye has not see . . . ”

      Our beloved Juliana, did not consider that all who chose to reject the invitation and go their own way, perhaps not even bothering to ask God for a revelation of truth, & never bothering to invest time in studying the life and promises of Christ in readily available New Testaments, have only themselves to blame for ending up in ‘das nichtige’ rather than Paradise. Again, a disappointing proposition for my freemason friends who are banking on a unitarian universalist dénouement, following a jolly life of fraternally ignoring the 10 Commandments & Christ’s firm instructions.

      • Gimme a break, Marty, my comment about wasted electrons and the collapse of the physical universe doesn’t need to be taken so literally.

        But, now, about the partial congruence of faith and reason, I invite your attention to the physics of the Shroud (“The Light of Holy Saturday,” Part 2, Inside the Vatican, July-August 2022). As for the yellow image on the Shroud, no deeper into the fibers than the thickness of a soap bubble:

        “Italian scientists achieved a comparable yellowing effect when they bombarded a piece of linen with laser light in the ultraviolet spectrum for hours. However, it the image formation process took place in a matter of seconds (as evidently is the case of the Shroud), according to 2011 calculations by experts from the Italian ENEA (“National Authority for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development”), an energy output of 2000 MW/cm2, which would be 17000 cm2 = 34,000 billion watts, would be required, more than any power plant on earth could produce.”

        Not sure how this fabric (!) relates to your “thread [!] of scientifically inexplicable ‘partial quantum vacuum’,” but perhaps you have a non-“discombobulating” comment?

        • Thanks for replying, dear Peter.

          Please forgive any misunderstanding; no offense intended.

          Larry Chapp has rendered good service, & huge interest, by opening-up the possibility that the current thinking in Rome may be undermining the unique charisms of Catholicism (starting the ‘general apostasy’ of Revelation?).

          Great comments on the Shroud at Turin, Peter. Have also been interested in it for about 40 years. Scientifically it is, as you say, truly impressive. However, . . .

          There are some millions of Catholics who think of themselves as ‘born-again’. They view relics like the Shroud, together with multiple ‘apparitions’, etc. as distractions. Basically because they all refer to past events & are, of themselves, lifeless. The wise shy away from the spirit of things; rather . . .

          To the Holy Spirit-filled Catholic, every day is an adventure with the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. For them, miracles both small and large are simply a normal part of their walk with The Lord. They need no relics of the true cross, etc. to boost their faith; for God in Christ lives with them & in them (see John 14:15-17; Romans 8:9; II Corinthians 13:5; etc.).

          This reality also applies to sacred scriptures that are all dead texts. Only when such texts are read and applied by a Holy Spirit-filled believer do they truly come alive. This is what Saint Paul intended when coining the neologism: THEOPNEUSTOS.

          True believers, full of the Holy Spirit, breathe God’s life into the texts, so making them pertinent to every godly need. Without such, the texts can be seen as mechanical, mysterious, magical, contradictory and no better than any other religions’ superstitions.

          Regrettably: ‘theopneustos’ is generally taken to mean that ALL scripture is automatically God-breathed, & so infallible; inevitably leading to endless disunity between denominations (& within them) about what counts as holy writ, and what God is saying to us through the texts.

          In contrast, John 14:23 gives a clear idea of what it truly means to be ‘theopneustos’. Every Catholic should be ambitious for this!

          Take care. Stay well, Peter. Thanks for the dialogue. Always in the love of The Lamb; blessings from marty

          • Thank your, Marty. As for Catholics who “view relics like the Shroud, together with multiple ‘apparitions’, etc. as distractions. Basically because they all refer to past events & are, of themselves, lifeless.”

            Relics and apparitions are not articles of faith, of course, but then we have the following from a non-Catholic (a former Communist turned Quaker), about the value of relics in our dark times which themselves are a colossal “distraction” (!):

            “It is idle to talk about the wreck of Western civilization. It is already a wreck from within. That is why we can hope to do little more now than snatch a fingernail of a saint from the rack or a handful of ashes from the faggots, and bury them secretly in a flowerpot against the day, ages hence, when a few men begin again to dare to believe that there was once something else, that something else is thinkable, and need some evidence of what it was, and the fortifying knowledge that there were those who, at the great nightfall, took loving thought to preserve the tokens of hope and truth”(Whittaker Chambers, author of “Witness,” 1952; in a letter to William Buckley, August 5, 1954, in the collection “Cold Friday,” 1964).

          • Dear Dr Marty;

            As we strive with the Lord He blesses us and we are able to be of some value to our fellow pilgrim. The outworking of our faith is a humbling process, mistakes and yet, enlightenment. Some passages of scripture are difficult, “This is a hard teaching Lord, who can accept it”. Yet, God gives us the capacity to reason and think matters through. we are not bionic in our thought process. God is linear and allows us the capacity to wrestle and reason with Him. And yet:

            Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
            For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

            The outworking of your faith is a blessing to the reader. Thank you.

            John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

            1 John 4:15-16 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

            1 John 2:24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.

            Revelation 3:20-21 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

            your brother,

            Brian

  32. Thank you so much, dear Brian, and dear Peter, for such a Christ-loving & Christ-beloved dialogue. You are heroes!

    John 4:14 sums-up what Holy Spirit-filled Catholics & other Christians experience:

    ” . . anyone who drinks the Water that I shall give will never be thirsty again; the Water that I shall give will turn into a Spring inside them, welling up to eternal life.”

    Once we’ve been given this by Jesus Christ (& it can’t be received if our hearts are full of faith in objects, even ‘holy’ objects) we are new creatures, experientially united by the ever living, ever moving, Holy Spirit of Christ & His New Jerusalem.

    Catholics & other Christians whose faith depends only on believing in THINGS (whether relics or apparitions or texts interpreted by human reasoning) are not bad but just incomplete. They are invited to find deeper, more unshakeable faith, freely offered by Almighty God in Christ.

    Too many in the Church (including leading clergy) are like Nicodemus – i.e. reputable, godly, sincere believers – but, like Nicodemus, they are ignorant of the magnificent gift that Christ offers (see John 3:3-13).

    Matthew 11:11 has Jesus again shattering traditional preconceptions by assuring us that John the Baptist is greater than all who came before, yet the lowliest, genuinely Holy-Spirit filled person is greater still.

    This can be, has been, & still is experienced by millions of believers who’ve persevered in seeking & asking for this incomparable gift. Indeed, God’s best gift always brings great humility, with life-changing awe, since The Holy Spirit seals us with certainty of eternal salvation (John 6:27; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13).

    Peter, Brian – there’s always MORE. Let’s never stop asking for it! (Luke 11:13b).

    My friends, stay well. Ever in the love of The Lamb; blessings from marty

  33. Thank you so much, dear Brian, and dear Peter, for such a Christ-loving & Christ-beloved dialogue. You are heroes!

    John 4:14 sums-up what Holy Spirit-filled Catholics & other Christians experience:

    ” . . anyone who drinks the Water that I shall give will never be thirsty again; the Water that I shall give will turn into a Spring inside them, welling up to eternal life.”

    Once we’ve been given this by Jesus Christ (& it can’t be received if our hearts are full of faith in objects, even ‘holy’ objects) we are new creatures, experientially united by the ever living, ever moving, Holy Spirit of Christ & His New Jerusalem. (Never think of New Jerusalem as a material metropolis; it is a divine, ethical, powerhouse, selectively attracting its citizens out of the eons of our physical, space-time/energy-matter universe.)

    Catholics & other Christians whose faith depends only on believing in THINGS (whether relics or apparitions or texts interpreted by human reasoning) are not bad but just incomplete. They are invited to find deeper, more unshakeable faith, freely offered by Almighty God in Christ.

    Too many in the Church (including leading clergy) are like Nicodemus – i.e. reputable, godly, sincere believers – but, like Nicodemus, they are ignorant of the magnificent gift that Christ offers (see John 3:3-13).

    Matthew 11:11 has Jesus again shattering traditional preconceptions by assuring us that John the Baptist is greater than all who came before, yet the lowliest, genuinely Holy-Spirit filled person is greater still.

    This can be, has been, & still is experienced by millions of believers who’ve persevered in seeking & asking for this incomparable gift. Indeed, God’s best gift always brings great humility, with life-changing awe, since The Holy Spirit seals us with certainty of eternal salvation (John 6:27; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13).

    Peter, Brian – there’s always MORE. Let’s never stop asking for it! (Luke 11:13b).

    My friends, stay well. Ever in the love of The Lamb; blessings from marty

  34. The author says she doesn’t understand what proportionalism is so it’s hard to tell if they agree or not.

  35. I read or heard somewhere that people will do the worst things out of loneliness. I think that is a valid assessment. How many people get addicted to various substances or sucked into disastrous relationships because they can’t bear to be alone? It sounds like St. Teresa got sucked into that trap, but because of her situation it didn’t involve her in grave sin. How do you help someone caught up in a gang or in an abusive relationship, or addictive gambling or any other devastating addiction? I don’t think that threatening them with hell will help. There are already living there.

  36. In AMORIS “loneliness” is discussed on different sides depending on the one “affected” with it and how the affectation works. There is no mention of Teresa. There is one mention of Therese, regarding “continuing to do good from heaven”.

    Where AMORIS is vague or non-decisive and you are generalizing, it could entail proportionalism as I mentioned above, JULY 15, 2022 AT 6:03 AM – see 2. and 3.

    Thomas More’s first wife was most flighty and he sent back to her father who obliged her to straighten up and get with her commitment. St. Rita’s situation was reversed: 1. it was the husband who was obtuse (and quite violent) and YET 2. she was encouraged to persevere.

    St. Rita underwent social rejection for it and the moral loss of her sons.

    But consider a more typical situation, a spouse claims to be lonely without letting on he or she means to escape being accountable. These days everyone is “reading the signs of the times”. Men do this as well as women, so much for equality.

    Anyway, what you would be doing here is forcing the other spouse to “read the signs of the times” TOO and come up with a personal story to fit whatever happens next. This is not Catholicism.

    I see Protestants and Freemasons are very tactile with all these things and when it materializes for them, they do not even blink, they right off the mark brand the moment fatalistically and cynically and decisively. Hard-nosed. Brand is one of their words. And the relatives all stoke the fire for the brand, no questions.

    I think some Anglicans can be the same way. But I knew one Anglican woman whose husband a father of 4 left her in his 50’s for a 20-something and a motorbike. She took that like a warrior and later in life when her strength was failing the Lord carried her off during a surgery.

    Circumstances matter. For example, more generally, if, hypothetically, a certain Carmel active in the parish was supportive of pro-abortion people and an objection was raised against it; the issue at hand would have nothing to do with loneliness.

    • Elias Galy, I assume that when you speak of a “Carmel active in the parish” you are referring to the institutes of active Carmelites, the Carmelites of the Aged and Infirm or the Carmelites of the Sacred Heart, both of which are very orthodox and admirable institutes. Cloistered Carmelites cannot have any active ministry, just as cloistered Benedictines or cloistered Dominicans. I think you owe an apology to the active Carmelites unless you can give a proven instance of the example you give. It would have been better to simply refer to “a religious institute”. Your “hypothetical example” comes regrettably close to defamation unless you can prove your accusation. I belong to a cloistered Carmel and I have a high regard for my active Sisters.

      • Sr. I never set out just to be right. Within the hypothetical, the wrongdoers need confession. If the situation were real but I described it in diplomatic terms to catch attention with s certain amount of sensitivity about forum, the issue is the same. This is the attraction of the truth, the root of the truth is the Divine declaration. We should set out for the truth and for its root.

        There is another assertion in confusion being bandied about the place underrating abortion and diminishing its proponents. It is dressed up as “faith and reason”. They say “it is a human rights matter not a religious one”. But when abortion is administered up into the members of the religious or positively protected by them, IT IS A RELIGIOUS MATTER AND IT REACHES TO ABOMINATION.

        • I am disappointed that you did not address my comment. The Carmelite family is made up of real people, whose reputation can be ruined by careless use of our name. The active Carmelite Sisters do admirable work. If you do not realize that your use of the name of Carmel as a hypothetical example can be seriously misconstrued, then you are regrettably unaware of the dangerous effect of “fake news”. Whatever your intention was – and I believe that it was a good one – your use of the name in the way it was used can have do serious damage to the reputation of good and holy women.

          • Sr. I addressed all your points, my given hypothetical and the real possibilities, squarely – and, admirably. I praise God. Once you take note of the welcome communique of confession and that a faithful love is spread abroad and everywhere, you will praise the Lord God.

            But take me out of your negative framing for a second. I am not God and there’s nothing fake where I am coming from: and I told you to look for God in the material. You say He’s not in it? Well, you say it.

      • Thanks Sr. Gabriela for this information. I did have a feeling that cloistered Carmelites could not have active ministry, but I was not sure about it.

  37. Love & Shalom to you dear Sister Gabriel & dear brother Elias, in The Lamb of God.

    Having had time to think & pray, am sure you both have regrets over words that wound.

    Mark 3:17 has Jesus laughing at the aggressiveness of Zebedee’s sons. As you forgive one another and pray blessings on one another, Br Elias & Sr Gabriel, I’m hoping you, too, will yield to holy merriment. In The Holy Spirit, please give each other a hug.

    Always in The One whose thoughts are so much greater than ours; yet loves us all.

    Gentle love in Jesus Christ (who smiles more than we think); blessings from marty

  38. In response to Mal of 29th July 2022.

    Dear Mal, thankyou for so much prose (some interesting) but all sadly avoiding the matter others are concerned about: Pope Francis saying LGBT can be members of the Church, etc.

    That Pope Francis has said he wants them as members of the Church is revolting to good Catholics, who yet, are very ready to lovingly explain the Gospel to them & other unrepented sinners; and, its foundation upon God’s unchanging commandments.

    In sharp contrast with unrepentant sinners, we repentant sinners often make good members of the Church

    Do you participate in Sunday mass, Mal? This Sunday’s second reading was from Colossians 3:1-11. In this, God tells us we have to be members who have ‘killed off’ sexual immorality, guilty passions, lust, and greed. We have to have stripped off our old behaviour and our old self. All the Apostolic witnesses say the same.

    As regards your claim that our Lord, Jesus Christ, has ‘trusted’ Pope Francis, please remember that our Blessed Lord also trusted Judas, who betrayed Him, and Simon Peter who denied Him.

    In all honesty, dear Mal, you should, at last, concede that the hard facts (the splendour of truth!) do not support your uncritical adulation of Pope Francis. Let’s keep all our adulation for the perfect holiness of God and His Word.

    Thank you for the discussion. Take care, dear Mal.

    Ever in the Way, the Truth, and the Life; with blessings from marty

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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  3. Fr Bryan Houghton’s Crisis of Faith and the Joy of “Humanae Vitae” – Via Nova Media

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