Cardinal Burke: we will make ‘formal act of correction’ if Pope doesn’t issue Amoris clarification

by  Dan Michaels

Cardinal Raymond Burke has said it may be necessary to make a “formal act of correction” if Pope Francis doesn’t answer a letter from four cardinals asking him to clarify aspects of Amoris Laetitia.

He is one of four cardinals who have written to the Pope asking for a clarification of Amoris Laetitia. They say that the document could be read as contradicting Church teaching on the moral law and on the question of Communion for the remarried. The Pope has declined to reply to the letter.

The September 19 letter, signed by Cardinals Walter Brandmüller, Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffarra, and Joachim Meisner, asked the pope 5 short questions which call for ‘yes or no’ answers that would immediately clarify the meaning of the confusion-plagued document on precisely those points where theologians, priests and even bishops have offered contradicting interpretations.

In an interview with Edward Pentin of National Catholic Register published last November 14, Cardinal Burke said that if the Pope were to teach error or heresy, “It is the duty in such cases, and historically it has happened, of cardinals and bishops to make clear that the Pope is teaching error and to ask him to correct it.”

In the interview, Burke emphasizes that the cardinals have sought to act for “the good of the Church,” which, he says, “is suffering from a tremendous confusion” on the points they have raised especially. He notes, for example, that priests in different dioceses are being given contradictory directions on how to handle the question of access to Communion for those in adulterous unions.

“We, as cardinals, judged it our responsibility to request a clarification with regard to these questions, in order to put an end to this spread of confusion that is actually leading people into error,” he says.

Asked what would happen if the Pope remained silent, Cardinal Burke replied: “Then we would have to address that situation. There is, in the tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare. But if there is no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.”

Burke goes on to insist that in a case of conflict between the pope and Church Tradition, the Tradition is binding. “Ecclesial authority exists only in service of the Tradition,” Burke explains. “I think of that passage of St. Paul in the [Letter to the] Galatians (1:8), that if ‘even an angel should preach unto you any Gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.’”

Historically, in the rare cases where popes have taught heresy, Burke explains, “It is the duty…, and historically it has happened, of cardinals and bishops to make clear that the Pope is teaching error and to ask him to correct it.”

Such an act of formal correction would be extremely unusual. One example is the challenge to Pope John XXII in the 1330s. He had publicly taught – though only as his personal opinion – that souls in heaven would not actually see God until the Final Judgment, a teaching contrary to Church doctrine.

In response, several theologians challenged Pope John. A few were punished, but the Pope backed down after a joint letter by theologians from the University of Paris, under the leadership of Paludanus, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. The letter professed total obedience to John, but affirmed that the teachings being attributed to him were contrary to the Catholic faith. Before his death John withdrew his heretical opinion.

Cardinal Burke’s suggestion of a “formal correction” comes after a debate over whether the remarried can receive Communion while in a sexually active relationship outside marriage. The Church has taught that this is contrary to the dogma of the indissolubility of marriage.

In his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the Pope made no direct reference to the question, but some bishops have interpreted his words as meaning that some remarried people can receive Communion, even if they are still in a sexual relationship. This is the interpretation of the Buenos Aires bishops, which the Pope has appeared to privately favour.

In a probable allusion to the Buenos Aires bishops, Cardinal Burke said: “Even diocesan directives are confused and in error.” He added that there was ”tremendous division” in the Church over Communion and other related points, concerning the moral law and marriage.

He said the four cardinals had intervened “because so many people are saying: ‘We’re confused, and we don’t understand why the cardinals or someone in authority doesn’t speak up and help us.’”

500 Years of Protestantism: Some of the Most Disturbing things Martin Luther Ever Wrote

by  David Grey

As we approach the five hundred year anniversary of the Protestant reformulation on October 31, 2017, it is good to look back examine how that all worked out for them. For, how are we to judge the fruit of tree over the last 500 years unless we first examine its seed? Therefore, let us start from the beginning and review some of the most disturbing things that Martin Luther, the Father of Protestantism and the Bible-Only movement, said.

The Dignity and Majesty of God

  • “I look upon God no better than a scoundrel” (ref. Weimar, Vol. 1, Pg. 487. Cf. Table Talk, No. 963).
  • “Christ committed adultery first of all with the women at the well about whom St. John tell’s us. Was not everybody about Him saying: ‘Whatever has He been doing with her?’ Secondly, with Mary Magdalen, and thirdly with the women taken in adultery whom He dismissed so lightly. Thus even, Christ who was so righteous, must have been guilty of fornication before He died.” (ref. Trishreden, Weimer Edition, Vol. 2, Pg. 107.
  • “I have greater confidence in my wife and my pupils than I have in Christ” (ref. Table Talk, 2397b).
  • “It does not matter how Christ behaved – what He taught is all that matters” (ref. Erlangen Vol. 29, Pg. 126).

The 10 Commandments

  • “We must remove the Decalogue out of sight and heart” (ref. De Wette 4, 188)
  • “If we allow them – the Commandments – any influence in our conscience, they become the cloak of all evil, heresies and blasphemies” (ref. Comm. ad Galat, p.310).
  • “It is more important to guard against good works than against sin.” (ref. Trischreden, Wittenberg Edition, Vol. VI., p. 160).

The Material Necessity of Good Works

  • “There is no scandal greater, more dangerous, more venomous, than a good outward life, manifested by good works and a pious mode of life. That is the grand portal, the highway that leads to damnation.” (ref. Denifle’s Luther et Lutheranisme, Etude Faite d’apres les sources. Translation by J. Paquier (Paris, A. Picard, 1912-13), VOl. II, pg. 128).

The Importance of Free-Will

  • “…with regard to God, and in all that bears on salvation or damnation, (man) has no ‘free-will’, but is a captive, prisoner and bond slave, either to the will of God, or to the will of Satan.” (ref. From the essay, ‘Bondage of the Will,’ ‘Martin Luther: Selections From His Writings, ed. by Dillenberger, Anchor Books, 1962 p. 190).
  • “His (Judas) will was the work of God; God by His almighty power moved his will as He does all that is in this world.” (ref. De servo Arbitrio, against man’s free will).

Christian Living

  • “Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides… No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day.” (ref. ‘Let Your Sins Be Strong, from ‘The Wittenberg Project;’ ‘The Wartburg Segment’, translated by Erika Flores, from Dr. Martin Luther’s Saemmtliche Schriften, Letter No. 99, 1 Aug. 1521. – Cf. Also Denifle’s Luther et Lutheranisme, Etude Faite d’apres les sources. Translation by J. Paquier (Paris, A. Picard, 1912-13), VOl. II, pg. 404))
  • “Do not ask anything of your conscience; and if it speaks, do not listen to it; if it insists, stifle it, amuse yourself; if necessary, commit some good big sin, in order to drive it away. Conscience is the voice of Satan, and it is necessary always to do just the contrary of what Satan wishes.” (ref. J. Dollinger, La Reforme et les resultants qu’elle a produits. (Trans. E. Perrot, Paris, Gaume, 1848-49), Vol III, pg. 248).

Social Justice

  • “Peasants are no better than straw. They will not hear the word and they are without sense; therefore they must be compelled to hear the crack of the whip and the whiz of bullets and it is only what they deserve…To kill a peasant is not murder; it is helping to extinguish the conflagration. Let there be no half measures! Crush them! Cut their throats! Transfix them. Leave no stone unturned! To kill a peasant is to destroy a mad dog! If they say that I am very hard and merciless, mercy be damned. Let whoever can stab, strangle, and kill them like mad dogs.” (ref. Erlangen Vol 24, Pg. 294).

Love of Jews

  • “If I had to baptize a Jew, I would take him to the bridge of the Elbe, hang a stone round his neck and push him over with the words I baptize thee in the name of Abraham” (ref. Grisar, “Luther”, Vol. V. pg. 413).
  • “The Jews deserve to be hanged on gallows seven times higher than ordinary thieves.” (ref. Weimar, Vol. 53, Pg. 502).

The Sanctity and Dignity of Marriage

  • “If the husband is unwilling, there is another who is; if the wife is unwilling, then let the maid come.” (ref. Of Married Life).
  • “It is not in opposition to the Holy Scriptures for a man to have several wives.” (ref. De Wette, Vol. 2, p. 459).

The Quality of Edifying Speech

  • “To lie in a case of necessity or for convenience or in excuse – such lying would not be against God; He was ready to take such lies on Himself” (ref. Lenz: Briefwechsel, Vol. 1. Pg. 375).

We must proclaim the ‘truth about the conjugal union’ to renew Christian culture, says Cardinal Burke

by  Pete Balinski

Cardinal Raymond Burke has put forward the thesis that the rapid decline of western Christian culture will not begin to be reversed until Catholics boldly live out and then proclaim to the rest of society the “truth regarding human sexuality and human life.”

Speaking at a conference organized by the National Association of Catholic Families at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Britain on May 29, the cardinal said, “Fundamental to the transformation of western culture is the proclamation of the truth about the conjugal union, in its fullness, and the correction of the contraceptive thinking which fears life, which fears procreation.”

Cardinal Burke explained that Christians living in a “totally secularized world” are called to the “new evangelization,” which he explained means “teaching the faith, celebrating the faith in the Sacraments and through prayer and devotion, and living the faith through the practice of the virtues, as if for the first time, that is, with the engagement and energy of the first disciples, of the first apostles to our native places.”

But unless Christians practice the “virtues of purity, chastity and modesty, that is, the living of the truth regarding human sexuality and human life” they will not grow in genuine “holiness of life.” He continued:

The respect for human life is related essentially to the respect for the integrity of marriage and the family as they come to us from God. The attack on the innocent and defenseless life of the unborn, for example, has its origin in an erroneous view of human sexuality, which attempts to eliminate, by mechanical or chemical means, the essentially procreative nature of the conjugal act. The error maintains that the artificially altered act retains its integrity. The claim is that the act remains unitive or loving, even though the procreative nature of the act has been radically violated. In fact, it is not unitive, for one or both of the partners withholds an essential part of the gift of self, which is the essence of the conjugal union. The so-called “contraceptive mentality” is essentially anti-life. Many forms of what is called contraception are, in fact, abortifacient, that is, they destroy a life which has already been conceived, has already begun…Once sexual union is no longer seen to be, by its very nature, procreative, human sexuality is abused in ways that are profoundly harmful and indeed destructive of individuals and of society itself. One has only to think of the devastation which is daily wrought in our world by the multi-billion dollar industry of pornography.

The cardinal stated that the “restoration of the respect for the integrity of the conjugal act is essential to the future of western culture, the advancement of a culture of life.”

He warned Catholics to be “attentive to a false notion of conscience, which would actually use the conscience to justify sinful acts, to betray our call to holiness.”

The cardinal offered no critique of Pope Francis, but many of his arguments offered a clear corrective to much-criticized points from the Holy Father’s recent Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.

The pope’s treatment of conscience, in particular, has come under criticism for the apparent indication that it could allow one to licitly commit a sinful act, while fully cognizant that the act is sinful. The pope wrote in paragraph 303 of his Exhortation: “[Conscience] 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.”

But Cardinal Burke suggested that Catholics who seek “holiness of life, to live more totally and faithfully for Christ, namely, to give our lives to Christ, without any reserve,” must “train” and “form” their consciences to “listen to God’s voice alone and to reject what would weaken or compromise, in any way, our witness to the truth in which He alone instructs us in the Church.”

“The conscience, the voice of God, speaking to our souls, is, in the words of the Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, ‘the aboriginal Vicar of Christ.’ As such, the conscience is ever attuned to Christ Himself Who instructs and informs it through His Vicar, the Roman Pontiff, and the Bishops in communion with the Roman Pontiff,” he said.

He went on to quote Pope Benedict XVI, who called conscience “man’s capacity to recognize truth,” stating that it “imposes on him the obligation to set out along the path towards truth, to seek it and to submit to it wherever he finds it. Conscience is both capacity for truth and obedience to the truth which manifests itself to anyone who seeks it with an open heart.”

Commented Burke: “Conscience, therefore, does not set each of us apart as an arbiter of what is right and good, but unites us in the pursuit of the one truth, ultimately Our Lord Jesus Christ Who is the only arbiter of the right and good, so that our thoughts, words and actions put that truth into practice.”

Burke went on to discuss the family as a “primary agent of the transformation of the culture,” focusing on the responsibility of parents as the first educators of their children. He warned parents to guard their children from ideologies that have crept into schools, even Catholic ones, that are at odds with the Gospel.

“Today, parents must be especially vigilant, for sadly, in some places, schools have become the tools of a secular agenda inimical to the Christian life. One thinks, for example, of the compulsory so-called ‘gender education’ in some schools, which is a direct attack on marriage at its foundation and, therefore, on the family,” he said.

He continued:

Good parents and good citizens must be attentive to the curriculum which schools are following and to the life in the schools, in order to assure that our children are being formed in the human and Christian virtues and are not being deformed by indoctrination in the confusion and error concerning the most fundamental truths of human life and of the family, which will lead to their slavery to sin and, therefore, profound unhappiness, and to the destruction of culture. Today, for example, we sadly find the need to speak about “traditional marriage,” as if there were another kind of marriage. There is only one kind of marriage as God has given it to us at the Creation and as Christ has redeemed it by His saving Passion and Death.

The great majority of Christian marriages are valid

by Edward Peters, JD, JCD, Ref. Sig. Ap.

Last time a ranking prelate (Cardinal Kasper) opined that half of all marriages were null his attribution of such a reckless assertion to Pope Francis himself could be dismissed as hearsay, deflected as referring to marriage in general and not Christian marriage in particular, or at least minimized as describing merely ‘many’ or even ‘half’ of all marriages. But none of those qualifications can be applied to blunt the impact of the pope’s startling claim “the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null”.

If last time was bad, this time is very bad.

Consider: Marriage is that natural human relationship established by God as the normal way for nearly all adults to live most of their lives. God blesses marriage and assists married persons to live in accord with this beautiful state in life. When, moreover, baptized persons enter this quintessential human relationship, Christ adds the special graces of a sacrament and assists married Christians to live as signs of his everlasting spousal union with his Church.

To assert, then, that “the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null” is really to claim that the great majority of Christians have failed to enter the most natural of human states and have failed to effect between themselves the exact sacrament that Christ instituted to assist them in it. The collapse of human nature presupposed for such a social catastrophe and the massive futility of the Church’s sanctifying mission among her own faithful evidenced by such a debacle would be—well, it would be the matrimonial version of nuclear winter. I am at a loss to understand how anyone who knows anything about either could seriously assert that human nature is suddenly so corrupted and Christ’s sacraments are now so impotent as to have prevented “the great majority” of Christians from even marrying! How can anyone responsibly even posit such a dark and dismal claim, let alone demonstrate it?

But beyond the arresting scope of the claim that nullity is rampant, there is the debilitating effect that such a view can and doubtless will have on couples in difficult marriage situations. After all, if “the great majority” of Christian marriages are, as alleged by Francis, already null, then couples struggling in difficult marriages and looking for the bread of spiritual and sacramental encouragement may instead be offered stones of despair—‘your marriage is most likely null, so give up now and save everyone a lot of time and trouble.’

Invoking the same extensive credentials to speak on Catholic marriage law that I invoked two years ago, let me just say that I believe that the great majority of Christian marriages are valid, that a matrimonial contract was therefore effected between the parties at the time of their wedding, and that by the will of Christ an indissoluble sacramental bond simultaneously arose between those spouses. To be clear, I also hold that many marriages are (and could be proven to be) canonically null and that the percentage of null marriages has indeed risen over recent decades, but I can and do reject anyone’s claim that the majority, let alone “the great majority”, of Christian marriages are null.

Finally—and I make this point mostly to preserve it for future discussion—the pope, toward the end of these remarks, made some comments about cohabiting and/or civilly married Catholics being in “a real marriage [and having] the grace of a real marriage”. Canonically (if I may be forgiven for mentioning canon law) such a claim is incoherent. Whatever good might be going on in the life of cohabiting and/or civilly married Catholic couples, it is not the good of marriage and it is not the grace of matrimony, but this—and here is my point—largely because of the Church’s requirement of canonical form for marriage. I would be glad to see the requirement of canonical form eliminated, but unless and until it is, cohabitation and civil-only marriage is not marriage in the Catholic Church.

Famed Catholic philosopher: How can Christ and Our Lady read Amoris Laetitia without weeping?

In a recent article for the Italian news platform “Corrispondenza Romana”, renowned Catholic philosopher Josef Seifert strongly criticizes Pope Francis for statements in his recent Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

Seifert, a longtime ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and a close associate of St. John Paul II, explains that he criticizes the document because instead of invoking joy – as stated in the exhortation title – the papal document would actually make Jesus and his mother cry.

Many of the passages which seem merciful turn the teachings of the Church on their heads, according to Seifert. “In my opinion, they risk an avalanche of consequences which would be very harmful to the Church and to souls,” he writes.

He continues, comparing passages from the Gospels to paragraphs of Amoris Laetitia (AL).

Seifert begins with Jesus’ encounter with an adulteress. The Son of God does not condemn she who would have deserved death in Mosaic law, but shows himself to be merciful. Still, His forgiveness comes with a condition: “Go and sin no more.”

Seifert argues: “In citing the synod, His successor Francis tells the adulterous woman that even if she continues to sin gravely, she should not feel herself excommunicated, and he does not deem it necessary for her to convert from her sinful ways, but to feel as ‘a living member of the Church’” (AL, 299).

What Francis says here, the philosopher explains, is not false, and it can be comforting to couples that the mercy of God is present with them. “Nevertheless,” he says, “the ‘go and sin no more’ is completely absent.”

He argues, therefore, that the document leaves out the core: the call for conversion.

The words of Pope Francis’ close collaborator, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, shed a better light on these statements.  Spadaro says, “Francis has removed all the ‘limits’ of the past, even in the ‘sacramental discipline’ and for the so-called ‘irregular’ couples: and these couples ‘become recipients of the Eucharist’.”

Further, Seifert points out that Jesus explicitly warns his flock 15 times of the peril of eternal damnation as the consequence of mortal sin; whereas his successor on the chair of Peter states: “No one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!” (AL, 297).

While St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians (6:9) states that no adulterer (who has not converted) enters the kingdom of God and therefore is doomed forever, Pope Francis “tells the adulterers that it is possible to live in the grace of God; through the Holy Eucharist they can grow in grace even without turning away from their adulterous life in conversion,” explains Seifert.

The philosopher recalls the Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (11:27-29) once more. Here, receiving Communion despite one’s state of unworthiness is clearly linked to condemnation: “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the Body and Blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.”

“In other words, this is an act of sacrilege which puts one’s own soul in danger,” says Seifert. “Pope Francis, who does not even once mention the possibility of sacrilege or peril for the soul of a person who receives Communion unworthily, tells adulterers that in certain circumstances, which are to be considered individually, it is possible for those who live in adultery or in other ‘irregular’ unions to receive Holy Communion without changing their lives, and so to continue living as adulterers,” Seifert writes.

He notes that Pope Francis, in the text, interprets the commandments given by Christ – which are in and of themselves clear – only as expressions of an ideal which few can reach, as if they are mere evangelical suggestions, applicable only to those who seek a superior perfection, rather than as commandments valid for all.

“The Pope says that if the adulterous woman cannot separate herself from the adulterer, but lives together with him as sister and brother, then they would practice a style of life which could lead to ‘infidelity’ by her or her partner. According to the Pope, where there is a threat of infidelity between two adulterers who live as brother and sister, it would be better for the woman to have intimate relations with the man. In this case, therefore, it would be better to continue to live in adultery than as brother and sister,” concludes Seifert, citing AL 329 and a related footnote.

“How can Jesus and His most holy Mother read and link these words of the Pope with those of Jesus Himself and of His Church without crying? Therefore, let us cry with Jesus, with deep respect and affection of the Pope and with the deep pain that is born out of the obligation to criticize him in his errors,” Seifert writes.

The philosopher adds that his criticism is not unwarranted as the Pope himself called for a discussion and an open arena to express opinions.

“Someone could ask me how I, a wretched lay person, can criticize the Pope. I respond: the Pope is not infallible if he does not speak ex cathedra. Various Popes (such as Formosus and Honorius I) have been condemned for heresy. For the love and mercy of many souls, it is our holy duty to criticize our bishops, and therefore even our dear Pope, if they stray away from truth and if they damage the Church and souls. This duty was recognized by the Church since the beginning.”

Josef Seifert grew up in Salzburg, Austria. He was rector of the International Academy of Philosophy in Irving, Texas and director of the International Academy for Philosophy in Liechtenstein. From 2004 to 2011, he was director of the Catholic University of Chile. He is married and has six children.


by  Jan Bentz, Lifesite News

EWTN panel: Pope’s remarks on marriage, cohabitation were ‘reckless,’ depart from Church Tradition

ewtnOn EWTN’s June 23 World Over program hosted by Raymond Arroyo, canon lawyer Father Gerald Murray and author and editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing Robert Royal respectfully yet candidly dissected Pope Francis’s recent comments on the validity of Christian marriages, cohabitation, and certain priests being “animals.”

Arroyo’s thoughtful questions prompted Murray and Royal to offer their takes on Pope Francis’s recent claim that the “great majority” of Christian marriages are invalid yet some cohabitating couples show “fidelity” and are in “real marriages.” Murray and Royal reiterated their respect for Pope Francis and his office, but spoke plainly about what they perceive as his “reckless” and errant words.

Arroyo began by pointing out that Pope Francis’s claim that the “great majority” of Christian marriages are invalid “is at odds with the traditional Church teaching on marriage and the nature of that commitment involved.”

“Yes, the great majority of Catholic marriages are not null, they’re valid,” said Murray. “For the pope to say that is to express, I think, an unacceptable opinion. I regret he did it, because it causes uncertainty among people now: is my marriage valid? The pope is not following the canonical precision that’s present in the law about what it takes to get married. In order to be married validly, you simply have to know that this is a relationship between a man and a woman in view of having children and by nature, it’s a permanent relationship.”

The pope’s remarks were a “departure from tradition,” Royal said, and send “a paradoxical message that, you know, if you’re not happy, you see somebody else that you’re interested in, there’s a way out for this.”

“I think a line was kind of crossed here,” continued Royal. “Edward Peters, the great American canon lawyer, said that it’s preposterous to put forward that the vast majority, or even a large number of marriages are null because the culture is bad.”

Pope’s comments are a ‘landmine that exploded’

“I don’t agree with the pope,” said Murray. “I think most people are naturally capable of marriage…and the fact that you are 18 years old doesn’t per se mean you’re immature as regards being able to marry…what you need to know to get married is very simple. Boy, girl, ring, vows, and you consummate the marriage—you’re married.”

Royal said he thought it was a good thing that the Vatican seemed to retract the pope’s remarks in their official transcript because it meant “somewhere in the Vatican,” someone realized that “this caused a firestorm around the world.”

The Vatican partially walked back what Pope Francis said because “they understood this was a landmine that exploded,” Murray suggested.

‘Once you start to go down this road, there’s no guardrail’

Royal said it in alleging that cohabitation can be real marriage, Pope Francis is treading “on very dangerous ground.”

“It’s very odd that on the one hand the people who are married are told, you know, probably you’re not really married, and the people who are cohabiting, ‘I see elements of fidelity there and those are, those are marriages,’” said Royal. “It’s as if the culture—the sexual revolution of the culture is recalibrating the Church at both ends.”

“For the pope to say that [cohabitation is] a real marriage—anything before they get married in the Church—it’s just not accurate,” Murray added. “If you’re not married, you’re not getting the grace of the Sacrament, and you’re not in a real marriage.”

“Pastoral charity demands truth,” Murray continued. “If you tell everybody in the world, ‘look, a lot of people cohabiting are in real marriages,’ that’s not something good.”

As part of his justification for the claim that cohabitation can be “real marriage,” Pope Francis said that he’d seen “a lot of fidelity in those cohabitations.”

“If you haven’t given the vows before God, then there is no vow to be faithful to,” responded Murray. “A vow made before a civil official is subject to the laws of the state, which permit divorce, so it’s not—it’s not a conditionless vow as it is in the Church.”

“[Pope Francis] says at one point that priests shouldn’t stick their noses into the moral lives of people,” said Royal.  He continued:

…this is virtually to say that the Church cannot counsel people about what they’re—they’re to do in their moral lives. I hear from people very strange reactions like this. Why do we stop then with marriage? Why is that the only Sacrament the culture has rendered invalid? Why not ordination to the priesthood? You know—are Confessions invalid? Are Communions invalid…?  Once you start to go down this road, there’s no guardrail. I mean, we understand that the pope is trying to be welcoming and he’s trying to open the doors as wide as he possibly can, but there’s a danger in this direction, that in opening the doors, you lose the substance of what the faith is there to teach.

Arroyo also pointed out that in the same address, Pope Francis jokingly asked the audience to not “tell Cardinal Müller on me.” Cardinal Gerhard Müller is the Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, the Church’s doctrinal watchdog.

“Cardinal Müller works for him,” said Murray. “Cardinal Müller’s there to help him in his mission to teach the authentic purity of Catholic doctrine…quite frankly, Cardinal Müller shouldn’t be the butt of jokes. He is there to help [with] exactly what the pope needs.”

‘Incalculable’ shockwaves

Another papal remark that has recently caused many veteran Vatican observers dismay is Pope Francis’s labeling of some priests as “animals” for refusing to baptize children conceived out of wedlock.

Canon law allows for children whose parents are not married to be baptized provided they will be raised according to the teachings of the Catholic faith.

“I’m a priest, I make mistakes,” Murray responded. “I wouldn’t wanna be called an animal if I make a mistake…I think he let his temper get him there, and that’s unfortunate … because people pay attention” to what the pope says.

Murray and Royal both stressed that as the leader of the Catholic Church, the world closely watches what Pope Francis says, and his words carry weight and influence.

“For a pope to speak, seemingly, to demote marriage as it exists and to elevate cohabitation as it exists, and, and on and on, this sends out shockwaves that are just incalculable,” said Royal.

“The pope, in his charity, is trying to steer people in some directions,” concluded Murray. “I disagree with some of his analysis, obviously, but we should never give people the false notion that, number one, sin is good, or number two, the sacraments are ineffectual because we live in a troubled culture. And number three, we should always say what is true yesterday is true today and tomorrow. We can’t change the Church’s teaching.”

by Claire Chretien, Lifesite News

Cardinal Caffarra: If even a cardinal tells you something not in line with the Catechism, don’t listen

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, archbishop emeritus of Bologna and a former member of the Pontifical Council for the Family, said in an interview that Amoris Laetitia must be read in light of Church doctrine.

“To Catholic faithful who are confused about the Doctrine of the Faith concerning marriage, I simply say: ‘Read and meditate upon the Catechism of Catholic Church nn.1601-1666,’” Caffarra said. “And when you hear some talk about marriage — even if done by priests, bishops, cardinals — and you then verify that it is not in conformity with the Catechism, do not listen to them. They are the blind leading the blind.”

The portion of the Catechism he referenced teaches that marriage is a lifelong covenant of man and a woman that “is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring,” and is a Sacrament when it occurs between baptized people.

Caffarra also addressed the ambiguities in Amoris Laetitia, for which he said it seems Pope Francis by his own admission realized the potential. He told Dr. Maike Hickson at OnePeterFive that if he had the opportunity to speak with Pope Francis about the ambiguity of Amoris Laetitia, particularly its controversial chapter 8, Caffarra would ask for clarification on whether the Church’s traditional teaching that certain actions are always gravely sinful is “still believed to be true.”

Caffarra said:

The constant teaching of the Church — as it has also been recently reiterated in Veritatis splendor, No. 79 — is that there are negative moral norms which allow of no exceptions, because they prohibit acts which are intrinsically dishonorable and dishonest — such as, for example, adultery. Is this traditional teaching still believed to be true, even after Amoris Laetitia?” This is what I would say to the Holy Father.

Chapter 8 — and specifically footnote 351 — of Amoris Laetitia seems to contradict the Church’s longstanding teaching that those committing objectively sinful acts, such as marital intimacy in an illegitimate second “marriage,” may not receive Holy Communion.

Responding to Cardinal Christoph Schönborn’s recent assertion that all prior Church teaching on family must be read through Amoris Laetitia, Caffarra said, “one should not only read the previous Magisterium on marriage in the light of Amoris Laetitia (AL), but one should also read Amoris Laetitia in the light of the previous Magisterium. The logic of the Living Tradition of the Church is bipolar: it has two directions, not one.”

Caffarra continued:

Bishops and many theologians faithful to the Church and to the Magisterium argue that, especially on one specific — but very important — point, there is not a continuity, but, rather, an opposition between Amoris Laetitia and the previous Magisterium… Amoris Laetitia says that, under some circumstances, sexual intercourse between the divorced and civilly remarried is morally legitimate. Even more so, it says that, what the Second Vatican Council has said about spouses — with regard to sexual intimacy — also applies to them (see footnote 329). Therefore: when one says that a sexual relationship outside of marriage is legitimate, it is therefore a claim contrary to the Church’s doctrine on sexuality; and when one says that adultery is not an intrinsically dishonest act — and that therefore there might be circumstances which render it not to be dishonest — that, too, is a claim contrary to the Tradition and Doctrine of the Church. In such a situation like this, the Holy Father thus has to clarify the matter…When someone says: the doctrine remains, but it is only about taking care of some few cases, I answer: the moral norm “Do not commit adultery” is an ABSOLUTELY NEGATIVE norm which does not allow of any exceptions. There are many ways to do good, but there is only one way not to do evil: not to do evil.

by  Claire Chretien, Lifesite News