PopeWatch: Never Mind

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Father Z wonders how the Pope might cure the problems with Amoris Laetitia:


I am trying to think back through the Church’s long history for an instance in which a Pope has withdrawn one of his own teaching documents, on faith and morals.

Of course Popes have superseded previous documents by issuing their own.

But has a Pope ever withdrawn one?  How would that work?  In my mind’s eye I see a Pope giving a presser on an airplane (which in the future may become the Roman Pontiff’s official cathedra):

POPE WITH MICROPHONE: Okay, everyone, listen up!  That document I issued a while back… you know the one… okay, that’s all over now.  No more document, okay?  It’s gone. I’m withdrawing it.  It’s like… like an annulment, a rendering of something that was something into nothing, right?  Got it?  It’s not going to be on the website anymore.  We are not going to twitter about… tweet?… tweet about it.  We are asking everyone to just, like, throw it away.  If you love Vatican II, just stop talking about it.  Okay?  Thanks in advance everyone.

PRESS SECRETARY: Okay, folks, that’s it for today.

Anyway, I can’t think of an instance of a Pope withdrawing a document.

And yet, that is precisely what one group, which met recently in Rome, wants Pope Francis to do.

LifeSite reports that attendees of the Voice of the Family conference in Rome wanted Pope Francis to zero-out the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia.

ROME, May 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Over 100 pro-life and pro-family leaders from all over the world leapt to their feet in applause at a meeting in Rome on Saturday after hearing a call for Pope Francis to withdraw his controversial exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

At LifeSite are the text of the speech given by John Smeaton of SPUC and addresses people can use to write letters.  A video of Smeaton’s talk is posted.

Look… a lot of those people at that conference were serious people.  There is a growing sector of the Church’s serious people who find problems in Amoris laetitia.   The lack of universal enthusiasm (or at least quiet indifference) and the increasing vocal and written criticism of the problems in the document clearly have shaken some of the usual suspects in the Roman sphere.

Digression: That explains in part, I think, the bitter, peevish, angry comments Fr. Rosica made the other day when he vented his spleen about the Catholic blogosphere, thus doing exactly what he accused others of doing.  But I digress.

Meanwhile, speaking of something that needs to be withdrawn, over at Crisis, my good friend Fr. Gerald Murray has an essay about Amoris laetitia.  He concludes:

Any approach that would further confuse the sinner by telling him that the Church now has decided that he can be absolved and receive Holy Communion because for various reasons (“mitigating factors”) he is not considered guilty of mortal sin for future acts of adultery is unacceptable – and frankly untruthful.

The shepherd’s duty is to lead the sheep into the good pasture of truth, where God’s grace strengthens the repentant sinner’s resolution to live according to the law God gave us. A “permission slip” to keep committing adultery is a serious failure of pastoral charity by the priest advising someone who is living in sin.

The permission given in footnote 351 of Amoris Laetitia poses a dilemma for the priest/confessor who knows the Church’s constant sacramental discipline, based upon her unchangeable doctrine. The practical solution to the dilemma is to ignore the unwarranted permission.

The greater problem for the Church is that such permission was ever given. It must be withdrawn, for the good of souls.

So, Fr. Murray, too, clearly sees problems in Amoris laetitia. His solution is, also, that something must be withdrawn.  Murray, however, limits himself to the Infamous Footnote™… 351, which contains the imprudent, unjustifiable permission that he discerns within it.

Of course Francis is not going to withdraw Amoris laetitia.  That’s not going to happen.

But that doesn’t mean that nothing can be “withdrawn”, so to speak, from the Exhortation.

Fr. Murray’s request is reasonable and doable and, frankly, not out of the realm of imagining.

My solution: Make necessary changes to Amoris laetitia, such as elimination of, or reworking of, the Infamous Footnote, etc., and then publish the final, official version in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.  And then TELL PEOPLE about the version in the Acta.


Go here to read the rest.  Ah perhaps the below video is the best solution in regard to this papacy:


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  1. Jorge Bergoglio’s ego is too big to withdraw an exhortation that he himself wrote.

  2. Memorize Canon law 749-3 recent converts and it will protect you from mistakes in documents…

    §3. No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident.

    That’s canon law telling you that the false can occur in documents. Read section 40 of Evangelium Vitae and watch St. John Paul II subtly imply that God did not give the death penalties of the Pentateuch…yes He did in the first Person imperative. Read section 42 of Benedict’s Verbum Domini where his late life pacifism screws up the Old Testament by saying that the prophets challenged every form of violence…individual and communal. Elijah killed 552 men minimum. Jeremiah 48:10 warns the Chaldeans to kill the Moabites well…”Cursed be he that doeth the work of Jehovah negligently; and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.”. Eliseus cursed boys who mocked his office (Aquinas ST) and two bears killed 42 of them. Prior to sanctifying grace brought by Christ (Jn.1:17), God used and willed much violence because man was much weaker morally and Satan was stronger prior to Christ….so mankind needed fear of the Lord in a physical sense greater than we do…though they did have actual grace and certain people cooperated greatly with that but the vast majority was unfaithful…hence the exiles.

  3. There is no need to withdraw the Infamous Footnote. If we just interpret it within the traditional Catholic context of ‘psychological mitigating factors’ (which is where it was dredged up from) then it becomes a nullity. The only way it can stand as valid is if people engaged in non-sacramental marriages are all engaged in compulsive behavior. The Infamous Footnote then becomes another pastoral ideal that crashes when it runs into hard reality.
    The really big problem for Catholic teaching is explaining HOW and WHY it came to be in the first place.

  4. It’s like… like an annulment, a rendering of something that was something into nothing, right?
    –something seen in “Z” mind’s eye.

    Ugh. That’s not what an annulment is, that’s what Protestants (and too many of the Catholic Christian faithful) think it is. (I’m confident Fr. Z knows the difference and that he’s poking fun at misunderstandings of Church doctrine in high places within the Church.)

  5. Of course an annulment recognizes that the marriage did not ever exist in the first place- not that something that was is now no longer.
    The pope has had opportunity to address the footnote. He doesn’t want to because it serves a purpose for him. Our pope says he is a loyal son of the Church- but
    It seems that in his eyes, the Church is not any more ekklesia “called out”, called to be separate from the corrupt age, but now as Church we should just identify with the mainstream of the morally relative and corrupt culture…

    Acts 2: 38 Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. … … 40And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’

    and though he has warned about moral relativism

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