Friday, September 30, 2016

To Sign or Not To Sign

I signed a private letter to their Eminences requesting clarification of certain aspects of Amoris Laetitia, as we saw in the Synod, such is the dysfunctionality of the Church in recent times,  even private letters from Cardinals to His Holiness, are leaked, so the making public of a letter from us is not unexpected.
Life Site News reports this, on that letter, we are indeed in cruel times!
Many of the signatories of the scholarly appeal remain anonymous to protect their reputation and jobs. Yet some are still suffering pressure for their attempt to stay faithful to Church teaching and tradition.
LifeSiteNews has gathered information – confirmed by several of the signatories, including the spokesperson, Dr. Joseph Shaw – that one signatory, who is well known internationally,  has lost his position as a director of academic affairs at a Pontifical university.
Another was threatened by his bishop that his academic sabbatical would be canceled, but he found another bishop willing to allow him to begin the process of incardination in his diocese.
Yet another has been forbidden to speak publicly about Amoris Laetitia, and another has been told to rescind his signature.
And a Cardinal put pressure on one of the signatories to withdraw his name.
Two clear conclusions can be drawn: first, many of the suffering parties are under pressure not by remote institutions but by high-ranking individuals in the hierarchy. Second, the scholars’ document has opened the discussion on a wide public field and given rise to similar demands by individuals and groups.
There is another letter on-line, a Declaration of Fidelity to the Church's Unchangeable Teaching which you may consider signing.

I can well understand many clergy not signing, not because they don't believe 'the unchangeable teaching' but because they fear the consequences, which isn't necessarily the displeasure of their bishop,
Fr Raymond de Souza has written a couple of interesting articles for the Herald, the latest is headed "Amoris Laetitia is destined to be forgotten" I can agree within him, Amoris Laetitia is best forgotten, and will soon be forgotten, it is a novelty as far as Papal teaching is concerned. The subsequent leaked letter (all these leaks!) of the Pope to the Bishops of Buenos Aires is a repudiation of the teaching of all Pope Francis' predecessors. I can't help being in two minds, if you have an eccentric but lovable grandfather, who does or says something stupid, or even illegal does one draw attention to it or look a little askance and ignore it.

We used to study Papal documents in the parish, I haven't done this with either Laudato si and I certainly won't do it with Amoris Laetitia, it is just too big, it just goes on and on. It is as one bishop described it to me as a 'very subtle document', so subtle that the Holy Father himself when questioned couldn't remember one of its most controversial footnotes.

Bigging it up, especially as it goes far beyond the powers of a Pope, as defined by either of the Vatican Councils could be described as sharing in folly. Orthodoxy has a sense that in order for a Council or the Magisterium of a Patriarch or bishop to become the Church's teaching it has to be accepted by the Church, though some dissident or sycophantic bishops might extol the more controversial aspects of Amoris Laetitia, this is actually an eccentric view. From both the Church's history but also from the Synod itself the controversial aspects of Amoris Laetitia have already been rejected.

The good thing is that the Pope is not the Church, it is not ruled according to his whim or the latest leak, his bright ideas are not that important, what matters is the faith, which is given it by Jesus Christ himself. The Church has a way, overtime, of purifying itself. It might well be that Church at a given time appears to be dominated by Protestantism or Arianism but Jesus is the Lord of history and the Church and has and will triumph.


JARay said...

I, most certainly, have signed such a letter asking the Pope for clarity on this issue. I find it very sad that there have been priests who have been threatened for signing such a letter. As you say Father, Amoris Laetitia will be forgotten in the future, but there are many of us who regret that it ever saw the light of day. There ought to be very few who will take advantage of its ambiguities. The Church has been resoundingly clear that all those in "irregular situations" ought never to approach for reception of the Blessed Sacrament. Anyone who receives the Blessed Sacrament unworthily does indeed commit a sacrilege in so doing.

Unknown said...

Now if I was Pope I would send a document to each and everyone of the signatories with a couple of simple questions. "Do you believe every couple who was invalidly "married" before an SSPX priest is in fact living in an objective state of mortal sin due to their cohabitation? Furthermore, do you believe that every time said couple receives communion they do so sacrilegiously?" But, alas, I'm not pope.

Restore-DC-Catholicism said...

Right now many of us aren't signing it because the page isn't accepting our signatures - we gat a "bad capcha" message. I don't know how to contact the webmasters; do any of you know how to?

kiwiinamerica said...

I think the Pope already has issued the requested clarification on Amoris laetitia, Father.

He sent it to the Argentinian bishops and it makes clear that Communion for those in ongoing adulterous relationships is A-OK!

The ball, as they say, is now in our court.

Victoria said...

so subtle that the Holy Father himself when questioned couldn't remember one of its most controversial footnotes.

Is it possible that the Holy Father couldn't remember the controversial footnote because he didn't write the document and possibly hadn't read it?

Sadie Vacantist said...

Looking at the queues for confession and those for communion then ninety-nine per cent of the Church are committing a sacrilege. A liturgy which reflects this reality needs to be reinstated as the norm. Encouraging people to return to confession during this year of mercy has not worked. The contemporary Church has been reduced to bailing out its own initiatives. Out of pastoral necessity a major overhaul of its sacramental life is required.

Jacobi said...

I haven't signed any letter asking for clarification. The Religious Knowledge and Apologetics classes we had at school gave us a thorough understanding of Catholic doctrine.

For instance while doctrine can be understood more clearly all that was understood before is in and inherent in any deeper understanding.

A new doctrine can be defined, but only if and when it is already believed as infallible as part of the Magisterium and importantly it must be addressed to the whole Church and defined as such.

Amoris Laetitia does not contain these last three conditions. It is therefore nothing more than speculative ramblings of someone who happens one of 266 Popes we have had, and Catholics, married or unmarried, divorced or not, are still bound by doctrine, as are Popes.

On the other hand, no one has to a Catholic you know

Jacobi said...

@ S V

In my mid-size city centre parish in UK the attendance at Holy Communion is 100%. The attendance at our rather nice classical Confessional is zero.

Mind you there are rumours that Confession is available about 2 miles away?

John Lusby said...

The following extract from a reading from "The Pastoral Rule" of Pope St Gregory the Great from tomorrow's Office of Readings seems appropriate : "A religious leader should be careful in deciding when to remain silent and be sure to say something useful when deciding to speak. In this way he will avoid saying things that would be better not said..."

BobBrookes said...

The trouble is that we need to pray for and request the Pope to confirm and uphold the Faith clearly and unequivically. Most Catholics. certianly of my age (60) and younger have received minimal formation in the Faith to which they adhere and many do not even realise that the beliefs they hold are not even Catholic! It is vital that the Church, from the Pope to every last Priest and Catechist, expounds the FULL Catholic tradition with clarity and enthusiasm.
Yes I have signed the Declaration of Fidelity.

Anonymous said...

Many priests, bishops and people in positions of influence openly dissent from Humanae Vitae, which is definitely magisterial and in line with the Church's Tradition, but they have never been called to task or pressurised to withdraw their dissent. But now those who dare to question this novelty in a document which does not claim to be magisterial (now interpreted through a leaked private communique'), people are immediately called to task. It seems that there are bishops who wield their God-given authority only when it suits their own agenda. Do they not realise that in doing so they undermine their own credibility as human beings, let alone as men of God.

mark wauck said...

"a way over time"

Here's my problem, which I'm quite sure has occurred to many others. Over that same period of time incalculable harm is being done. When Paul confronted Peter in Antioch, did he say, "Look, over time I know that the harm of your scandal will be undone, but could you just please reconsider your actions?" Or did he not "withstand him to his faith?"

Barbara Jensen said...

AL is NOT a 'novelty'. Rather, it is a true harbinger of things to come. It is this naïve belief that 'everything will turn out all right' that is so harmful now. 'Everything will NOT be all right' unless those who love the fullness of the Faith stand up for Jesus Christ. Nothing should come before defending the true Faith, especially if one is a priest of God. I find it very puzzling that people keep excusing the silence of prelates because they are afraid of this and that. Jesus told us to be afraid of Him Who can destroy BOTH body and soul. It is time to be counted--each one of us--for Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Faith He gave to us.

Liam Ronan said...

Dear Father Blake,

As ever, a well-written piece for reflection by serious minded Catholics.

You asked:

"I can't help being in two minds, if you have an eccentric but lovable grandfather, who does or says something stupid, or even illegal does one draw attention to it or look a little askance and ignore it."

May I suggest that if one is hoping for a legacy from one's grandfather, or presently enjoys a lolly from his largesse, one applauds the eccentric old bloke.

I once read that the polar opposite of love is not hate, but rather indifference. I should hope that anyone, relative or not, who gives a fig for a daft old boy would at least let him know his trousers were drooping in public and thereby discharge their Christian duty to the family and its honour.

John F. Kennedy said...

"...and will soon be forgotten". I'm sorry, I don't think so. I think this will resound down the ages, no differently than when other Popes spoke and acted against the Teachings of the Church. Who today, familiar with these issues, doesn't know of Pope Honorius I? How has he been forgotten? said...

Cf. Pro Domine et Ecclesia contra #AmorisLaetitia; Petitions: To the Pope; To all Catholic Cardinals; To all Catholic Bishops -

Mary said...

My grandpa criticised Jesus for being "unevolved" some year before he went. He wanted to be incinerated. Just before his death he changed his mind, called for a priest and did it the way we know it. During the conversation in which he criticised Christ he said instead that the wise one was Theotokos, Virgin Mary. Maybe she changed his mind? :-)
When he died we were around him, his closed ones, and I ..his favored.. who still feels guilt of being away from him for such a long time, held him in his last hour. He had been stuborn about me seeing him, weak, going... but he let me in eventually and I for one needed that. It's never too late.
Faith is like light, just a bit and is not dark anymore.
Or.. this too shall pass, like the Jews say. Hakol over. Administrative police will stop. The Pope and other hierarchs will change their hearts. Another schism will not happen. Yes, I do believe.

RichardT said...

Dear Father,

The bigger problem with this is, if the Church is changing its beliefs on marriage, or on Communion (even if it is not changing its formal teaching), then how can we believe it on anything?

The circumstances have not changed; some people have always wanted to put aside their spouse and take up a new one (Herod, Henry VIII ...). But it seems that the Church's practices, and therefore beliefs and practical teaching, regarding this are now changing.

Either the Church is wrong now, or it was wrong for the last 2,000 years. In either case, if it is or was wrong on such an important matter, how can we trust it on anything?

How can we believe that anything is sinful? Or that there is any concept of sin? Or that Christ died and was raised from the dead to redeem us from sin? If the concept of sin can change, how could Christ's death have been necessary? If the Church's attitude to receiving Communion can change, why can't it decide that the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist was wrong? What about more fundamental beliefs - that Jesus is God and the Son of God? That God made us? Even that God exists?

All of these things I believe because of the witness of the Church; I don't have any personal revelation of any of it. But if the Church can decide that it was wrong, if the witness of the Church can no longer be relied on, what basis do I have to believe any of it? Once the foundations are removed, the whole Catholic faith collapses.

Simple Simon said...

Fr.Ray,'From both the Church's history but also from the Synod itself the controversial aspects of Amoris Laetitia have already been rejected.' But not rejected by Pope Francis, nor by the very large numbers of Bishops priests and laity who firmly support Francis. And are working day and night to promote Francis' agenda. For every priest like yourself who intends to ignore AL, there is a Cupich promoting it vigorously. Where will it all end?

Anonymous said...

Regarding Amoris Laetitia, I read it the first week it was published. Just looking at it in toto, the first thing that came to mind was Proverbs 10:19, and reading it did not disappoint, so-to-speak.

I am embarrassed for all those Catholic prelates, commentators and pundits who try to make sense or orthodox teaching from that document. Ditto Laudato Si. The secularists and anti-Catholic see then for what they are and if they were wrong, the Vatican would have clarified things by now, right? Indeed, the Pope's rank and blatant misquote of Jesus and replacement of God with man in paragraph 161 of Evangelii Gaudium still sits there like a rotting road kill on the Vatican website last I checked.

Yes, it is embarrassing listening to “orthodox” folks {especially the prelates!} sift thru the tripe in order to try to concoct viable Church teaching from gobblygook.

I hold history and theology degrees but I am also a rancher. I admit that such a combination of interests is curious, but sometimes the rancher informs the theologian. When it comes to Pope Francis and his writing, such is the case.

Doing what these folks are doing is no different than sitting in the pigpen fingering a big pile of hog crap in the hope of finding a decent meal.

Sure, by taking that approach they might find a few undigested kernels of corn and the occasional bone with some marrow left in it, but on the whole and in the Big Picture of Soteriological History, the only significant result of this effort will be their smelling like dung, looking silly and in the end, well, still being stuck with what the pig got rid of.

God Save the Catholic Church. said...

Bishops: Be Brave before Pope Francis as Paul before Peter | Online Petitions -

Anonymous said...

OK, "for something completely different".

O rather, piggybacking on what one poster said...

A local priest at my daughter and son-in-law's parish I visit is so fed up with everybody communing and nobody confessing that after he confessed my son-in-law and me strolled into the back of the nave and yelled out "Hey, folks, I'm here! I am always willing to hear confessions and you might all be sinless but I don't think so, so come on back right now if you need to!!"

It was beautiful. One old lady stood up and walked back to the confessional. Mass was postponed until she finished her confession.

I thought, "Praise God for that!! That old lady might have received the Body and Blood to her own condemnation had Father not made a scene!!"

we need Priests who are sick of the BS that goes for Catholic Culture these days.

Oh, and this guy is an Ordinary form priest.

At my FSSP parish, you better get there an hour before Mass or chances are you will either get to Mass late or have to remain seated during communion and confess after Mass.

I guess FSSP types are just plain worse sinners than novus ordo attenders...?

Anonymous said...

I signed the thing at about 600 signatures. Now there are over 3800. Still not enough. We need many more.

Well, better put, I would love to see many more. Our Lord Jesus doesn't NEED any. He can sort this thing out with a single word, or puff of His breath.

John Vasc said...

Richard T - The Church is by definition not changing any jot or tittle of its beliefs, because it *cannot ever do so*.
The absolute continuity of belief and sacramental practice is an essential touchstone.
What this or that priest or bishop (or pope) says to contradict the deposit of Faith is irrelevant. We need to seek out the good shepherds, and strengthen our faith by listening to them. There are plenty of them.

Gillineau said...

Can someone explain why in the first section of the summary of the statement, chaste consecrated life is declared intrinsically better than marriage? Doesn't Theology of the Body challenge this?

HPE said...

Come on everyone....let us find courage for Our Lord. Let us ask The Holy Ghost to fill our souls with it and do what this good and faithful bishops suggests:

John Vasc said...

I don't usually sign petitions, even when I wholeheartedly agree with them. But I signed the Fidelity petition, because as a layman I am completely immune to any attempts at hierarchical bullying - and very many of our faithful priests are not so lucky. We should help them by doing what many want to do, but dare not for fear of punitive retaliation.

Liam Ronan said...

@ John Vasc,

You said:

"...very many of our faithful priests are not so lucky. We should help them by doing what many want to do, but dare not for fear of punitive retaliation."

When I read that observation (with which I agree by the way) the name that sprung into mind was Annelies Marie (Anne) Frank.

I have also signed the petition. One has to stand up for Holy Mother Church and Our Lord come what may.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

@ Willard Money = do you, or does anyone else know if this pope is computer literate ? Does he know his way round the internet ? Can he Google ? Is he aware of the world outside Osservatore Romano and TV ?
I doubt it.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

@ kiwiinamerica – you have stimulated a strange thought in my mind, a sort of reductio ad absurdum.

Let’s posit an entirely theoretical situation :
A Catholic divorces, enters into concubinage (“marries” at a register office, say) for a period. Then, without going anywhere near a confessional, poor soul, she returns to her first “husband” and takes up what would have been “normal” conjugal life.
How does the HF see this situation ?
OK, it is taking hypothesis to the limit, but, it seems to me, under the new “dispensation” (dare I say discernment ?, it is possible, even if not plausible.

gemoftheocean said...

I agree with Liam and John, so I signed too. Safety in numbers, and no real consequences for the majority of us lay folks.

Francis said...

Are the prelates who are punishing priests and intellectuals who have requested a clarification of AL doing so because:

A. They think AL is a good thing, the breaking of John Paul II's magisterium, which the prelates concerned always dissented from; or

B. They think AL is a bad thing: it is best swept under the carpet, sidelined and ignored so that the next pope can swiftly reassert the Wojtyla party line. A clarification now could spell disaster.

Are the "silencers" only from group A?

Paul Hellyer said...

Bishop Markus Stock of Leeds stated he will not sign. He called me impertinent for asking.

Sadie Vacantist said...

Michael "HIV positive" Voris is a reason not to sign.

The majority of marriages are invalid and in truth the Church can no longer guarantee its own sacramental life. Perhaps we need a 12 step approach and admit powerlessness and unmanageability in the first instance.

I'm not seeing anyone willing to take that first step. Instead it's just a can being kicked down the road.

Jacobi said...

@ S V

I follow Voris apart from US politics which is none of my business.

He and Church Militant are soundly Catholic

Sadie Vacantist said...


He is a strange cove (rather like Damian Thompson) and should be avoided.

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