On divorce, remarriage, and responding adequately to the people’s expectations: Sorry, folks, but this “experiment” has already been tried…


The sole item on the agenda for the upcoming Synod of Bishops–the family–has sparked heated debate concerning the Church’s teaching about marriage, especially among Germany’s episcopate. The agenda has also ginned up hope among divorced Catholics, especially in the United States.

Expect the latter to be ginned up even more as the liberal Catholic news media tout the recent comments of the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri. In an interview with the Christian weekly magazine Tertio, Baldisseri is quoted as stating that he wants a change in Church teaching on marriage:

The Church is not timeless, she lives amidst the vicissitudes of history and the Gospel must be known and experienced by people today. It is in the present that the message should be, with all respect for the integrity from whom the message has been received. We now have two synods to treat this complex theme of the family and I believe that these dynamics in two movements will allow a more adequate response to the expectations of the people.

Perhaps Cardinal Baldisseri’s comments represent the kind of “open” and “frank” dialogue that Pope Francis has encouraged. Perhaps, too, they are a “trial balloon” Baldisseri is floating for the Synod to gauge attitudes and responses. Those comments may also represent only one man’s opinion, in this case, a very important man–given his leadership role in the Synod. Let’s not forget that Cardinal Baldiserri will be intimately involved in selecting the “experts” who will be advising the Synod…the “periti.”


That’s all fine…the stuff of “inside ecclesiastical politics.” The simple fact is that the Church has constantly upheld what Jesus taught:

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:8-9; cf. Mark 10:2–9; Luke 16:18)

Jesus’ words “except for sexual immorality” would seem to allow for divorce. Okay. But, the Church teaches, they do not allow for remarriage. If spouses must divorce due to the existential realities associated with their marriage, divorce–though reprehensible–is tolerable. Again, the Church is upholding Scripture and, in this case, what St. Paul taught:

To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband)—and that the husband should not divorce his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:10–11).

Unfortunately, divorce sometimes happens. Yet, it does not extinguish a sacramental marriage and, thus, as the Church has consistently taught based upon Scripture and Tradition, remarriage is not permissible. It’s in this sense that Jesus was not making an exception in the case of valid, sacramental marriages, despite what many Catholics–including some in the German episcopate–and non-Catholics today hold. This is the “truth” the Church has constantly taught, most recently in Saint John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation “Familiaris Consortio.”

But, Cardinal Baldisseri seems to think, what Tradition has consistently taught is not timeless. After all, the Cardinal does seem to have gone out of his way to note that the document is 33 years old. And, if that’s his attitude as it is the attitude of many of those who want this teaching changed, what about Scripture–which is much older, yes, ancient–“even with all respect for the integrity from whom the message has been received”?

Respect for the integrity ? What about respect for the truth ?

Those who want Church teaching as it concerns divorce and remarriage to change seem to be arguing that doing so will provide a wonderful tool for evangelization. At a minimum, at least consider all of those disaffected Catholics who would return to the faith if only the Church lowered the bar and became more inclusive.

With all respect for the integrity of those who are promoting this message, this experiment has already been tried…to the detriment of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic faith. Look around: Are the divorced and remarried flocking to those Christian denominations that have allowed for divorce and remarriage for centuries? The demographics suggest not.

The Church doesn’t have to become more like those who would fashion the gospel to fit their attitudes to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth. No, the Church’s mission is to promote the truth as it is conveyed in Scripture and Tradition. Yes, as Karl Rahner noted in his book The Shape of the Church to Come, this may very well mean a much smaller Church than many would hope. But, its witness would be more potent to the ends of the earth because its members would be more unified.

Unfortunately, this attitude isn’t very popular in this generation. Or, come to think of it, was it in any previous generation.



To read the article reporting Cardinal Baldisseri’s interview, click on the following link:

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  1. Card. Baldisseri is a former protege of Cardinal Angelo Sodano and a long-time careerist with the Vatican diplomatic services. A Tuscan-born cleric (Campo, Braga, Italy) who studied at Pisa (ordained 1963) and later the Lateran and the Univ of Perugia (M.Lic. dogmatic theology; Ph.D, Canon Law), he appears to have crossed paths favorably with PF when still later on he (Baldisseri) was Apostolic Nuncio in S. America, first at Paraguay (1995-1999) and later with Brazil (2002-2012). After that Baldisseri was secretary to the Cong. Bishops (2012-2013) and then in the key position of secretary of the 2013 conclave that named PF; so usually that person ex-officio is named as cardinal at the end of the conclave by the new pontiff. Or his star, like PF’s, was inevitably ascendant.
    One could first have seen problems with this ” PF-pf” when he announced (as quoted by Andrea Tornielli in Vatican Insider in Nov. 2013, “A new approach needs to be taken with respect to the administration of the sacraments to remarried divorcees.” Another prelate who thinks Christ’s declaration on marriage can be set aside. Usquequo, Domine.

  2. “… a more adequate response to the expectations of the people.” -Cardinal Baldisseri
    what a telling sentiment! not a response to Revealed Truth, but to the expectations of the people.

  3. More fuel for the fire:

    Cardinal Kasper, in a lengthy interview that shows no let-up in his push to change Church discipline on marriage said, among other things, “I’ve spoken to the pope himself about this, and he said he believes that 50 percent of marriages are not valid.”

    No word as to whether Pope Francis I shared his belief with Cardinal Kasper over the phone.
    (ht: Father Z)

  4. Many Catholics left the Catholic church because they didn’t like the Church teachings set by God. and started their own religion. If woman want to get divorced and remarry and have children what does that do to the blood line in the future? People will not know their blood relatives?

  5. I am now eighty yrs. of age and I really appreciate the values the Sisters taught me as a child. I am not confused as to who I am and my Catholic faith guided me through my life I always remember when people are confused or very unhappy THERE FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I . The Sacraments are a blessing especially in this secular world. The Roman Catholic church should not change any of their teachings to please the people.

  6. I pray to our almighty Lord and Saviour that he guide the Church to stay true to the teachings of Christ. Pastoral care needs to be given to the divorced and separated but the foundation must remain strong. If the teaching changes then it mocks my 34 year marriage vow spoken before God, family, and community. As anyone knows sometimes those very words are what keep you going, that and God’s grace, mercy, and compassion.

  7. Amen Mildreed!
    Changing the teaching would strike at the family.
    Stable marriage/ stable family helps an individual know who they are in relation to others and with God. If the platform on which we stand is moving up down and sideways, it makes it very hard for us individuals to keep our balance.

  8. My wife and I recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. 43 of those years have been in the USA, laboring to keep our family straight on matters Catholic. The efforts have paid off: our 5 children are bringing up our 15 grandchildren as genuine Catholics. It has been a tiring 50 years, but ah! what joy in never looking back from the day we said our vows the first time! Surely the Sacrament of Matrimony has seen us through; God grant the same for EVERY man and woman who take this step, the stunning step of commitment forever in this life, and God willing, all through eternity!

  9. There are a great many things that need to be said concerning the upcoming (two) synods of the Church on The Family, and it is hard to know exactly on which note to start. But let me at least put out some key notes as I see them.

    The first is the nature of the double synods. This is highly significant, and I believe that the reason for this is the importance of the family, and the teaching of the Church on Marriage, family and sexuality which are all components of this. I don’t want to over-emphasize the reach of the two synods but I believe they will be at least on par with the Extraordinary Synod of 1985 which gave official reception to Vatican II, the 6 key points in interpreting VII, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church

    Vatican II came ‘too early’ to be of any real effect to the vast sweeping forces of the sexual revolution. It did bring forth some fundamental teachings which pertain to marriage and the family-first in the emphasis on them vocation of the laity in general and with this its teaching on the universal call to holiness pertaining to all the baptized. In Gaudium et Spes it renewed Christian anthropology [view of man and woman] in which the person was seen as ‘the image of God’ and as embodied souls [both body and soul vs. overemphasis just on the soul]-this would bring new emphasis on the beauty of married life (and not just on the consecrated/celibate life). It would also lay the foundation for our crises today, for it raised ‘gender’ to a fundamental aspect of the whole person and not simply an accident of biology. We cannot forget the beautiful teaching on marriage itself as a ‘covenant’ [familial bond] rather than simply as a contract, as it frequently had been seen.

    However, underlying all this teaching in Vatican II lies a two profound and constant mysteries of faith: the Mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity, [as St John Paul would late quip: God is family] and the union/communion of Christ the Bridegroom and the Church His Bride. It is this Mystery of Christ’s love and union with His Bride the Church that is so fundamental to what we are experiencing right now. Christ and His Bride the Church is the fundamental mystery-to which the union of the first couple, and every couple ever since are but a sign. It is not that the union of Christ and the Church remind us of the union of a husband and wife. It is the opposite! Every marriage between 1 man and 1 woman is a sign of the union of Christ and the Church-that’s what Jesus is revealing in Matthew 19 and Paul in Ephesians 5. Christ’s marriage with His Bride the Church is ‘the beginning’ [Matthew]; the Mystery [Paul]. The marriage between Christ and the Church is indissoluble-therefore the marriage between man and woman is indissoluble. Jesus is revealing an extremely profound mystery, not just giving us another rule to live by (such as no divorce/remarriage)

    Now to be honest, while all marriages between man and woman are indeed signs of the union of Christ and His Bride the Church, only those who participate in His new life of grace are given the ‘means’ of living this out in their lives. In other words, Marriage between the baptized, Marriage in the Lord, otherwise and commonly known as Holy Matrimony is actually a participation in the very life and love Christ gives to His Bride the Church. For Christians, at least, such a ‘high’ view of marriage is not an impossible ideal but one that can be lived, as with the rest of Christian life, by the grace of Christ (received in the sacraments) with the Cross a constant dimension-and the means of living what seems to be an impossible ideal. Further, not only as baptism renewed in the celebration of the Eucharist but so was the marriage between Christian husband and wife. Among the fundamental images of the Eucharist is that of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb [anticipation and participation in the Eschatalogical Feast. Christian marriage and the Eucharist are intimately entwined.

    Thus the marriage between a baptized man and a baptized woman is a sacrament-not just a sign (as are all marriages) but also an instrument- a means of which the love between Christ and His Bride the Church become present in our midst. Paul and the early Church called it, ‘married in the Lord’; we call this: Holy Matrimony, St Paul was so convinced of this new life of grace that he believed that the baptized would nonetheless lift up their unbaptized husband or wife (he doesn’t exactly say they will be saved but certainly hints at it)-thus Christians can enter into valid although not sacramental marriages with their unbaptized partner.

    Sadly however, right from the beginning there were certain real life issues which caused crises in the lives of the Faithful and in the Church. The issue of porneia: the exception clause found in Matthew’s Gospel refers to the various illicit sexual unions listed in Leviticus 16 which prevented real marriage in the Lord. Among these are unions between members of the same gender. As the Church brought the Gospel to the nations, the present marital state or sexual mores of the Gentiles coming into the Church were not at all the calm and safe issues facing most Jewish Christians. Some of these unions were illicit [such as marrying closer than second cousin] right from the start and needed to be dealt with before they even became Christian. Another crisis, was the one Paul dealt with in 1 Corinthians: a couple married as pagans and then one becomes a Christian-what happens if the pagan starts raising a ruccus (especially if the pagan was ‘the man of the house’ etc) Paul then stated that for the sake of the faith of the baptized the two could be separated.

    The point is this. Right from the beginning of the Church, the Church had to be faithful to her faith in the union of Christ and His Bride the Church and in the indissolubility of Christian marriage-yet-at the very same time, deal with the human condition, the less ideal aspects of human life, marriage and community. We have the teaching of Christ and the Church and the real pastoral dealing with the real life struggles, failures and sins of Christians.

    How did the Church from the beginning deal with the real life struggles, failures and sins of Christians? Through the Sacrament of Penance [Reconciliation] and the canons of the Church. In the early Church the Sacrament of Penance was ‘celebrated’ really only on and for those who had been excluded from Communion-so the intimate connection between Penance/Reconciliation and the canons is very strong. [For some centuries we have been encouraging people to avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Penance even if not in such an extreme condition etc-and rightly so! But it is important to know the origins of both the Sacrament and canons]

    The teaching of the Church cannot, does not and will not change. How can we say ‘divorce is ok etc’ and still believe that Christ is in the new and everlasting covenant with His Church and celebrate this in each Eucharist? How can we change the teaching on the indissolubility of marriage when we claim that the union of a baptized man and a baptized woman is not only a sign but makes present in our midst the union of Christ and His Bride the Church? Yet, as the Church from her very beginning had to deal with the less than perfect, human failure and sin, we too have to deal with those in our midst whose unions have ended [please note my wording]

    Among the many aspects of ‘family’ that the Church will deal with faithful to her Bridegroom while living in the twenty-first century is ‘divorce and remarried Catholics’. The teaching of the CHurch is not and cannot be up for grabs. How to apply the double medicine of the Sacrament of Penance and Canons will be up for review. Here is where any (if any) change will be seen.

    I really want to continue on other areas such as renewed teaching on sexuality vis a vis theology of the body that I believe will also be brought forth by these two synods-but this has already gone too long. Hope it helps our reflections, calms some fears and leads to deeper study of the Catechism and prayer for us all.

  10. “God grant the same for EVERY man and woman who take this step, the stunning step of commitment forever in this life, and God willing, all through eternity!”

    32 years and counting for me and my bride Sydney. A happy marriage is a pearl beyond price.

  11. In my post above-I was not clear concerning Gaudium et Spes concerning its raising of gender to a fundamental aspect of the human person and not just an accident of biology. In doing so Gaudium et Spes enables the Church to respond to the crisis (Gaudium et Spes did not cause the crisis) of the revolutionary movement of so called gay-marriage

    Sorry about any confusion I caused

  12. Botolph writes, “In Gaudium et Spes it renewed Christian anthropology [view of man and woman] in which the person was seen as ‘the image of God’ and as embodied souls [both body and soul vs. overemphasis just on the soul]… for it raised ‘gender’ to a fundamental aspect of the whole person and not simply an accident of biology –
    Does “Guadiam et Spes” acknowledge a female soul and a male soul…different but complementary to each other?
    And thus the basis for 1 Corinthians 11:7…”For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man” ?

  13. Slainté asked, “Does “Guadiam et Spes” acknowledge a female soul and a male soul…different but complementary to each other?”

    No. In Aristotelian terms, that would make men and women members of a different species, hence the common belief among the Schoolmen that each angel constitutes a species on its own.

    St Augustine is, as usual, very good on this and in his Literal Commentary on Genesis, he specifically addresses your quotation from St Paul, “Some people have suggested that it was now (Gen 1:27) that the human mind [interiorem] was made, while the human body came later, when scripture says, ‘And God fashioned man from the slime of the earth’ (Gen 2:7); so that where it says ‘He made’ (1:26), it refers to the spirit, while ‘He fashioned’ (2:7) refers to the body. But they fail to take into account that male and female could only be made with respect to the body. While indeed it may be acutely argued [as by himself, in On the Trinity, XII] that the human mind [mentem], in which the human being is made to God’s image and which is a kind of rational life, has two functions: the contemplation of eternal truth and the management of temporal affairs; and that thus you get a kind of male and female, the one part directing, the other complying; it is still the case that the mind is only rightly called the image of God in that function by which it adheres in contemplation to the unchangeable truth. It is to symbolize or represent this point that the apostle Paul says that it is only the man who is the image and glory of God; ‘but the woman’, he says, ‘is the glory of the man’ (1 Cor 11:7).

    He continues, “Thus while that which is to be observed in the one mind of the interior person is symbolized by two persons who are outwardly of different sex in the body; still the woman too, who is female in the body, she too is being renewed in the spirit of her mind, where there is neither male nor female, to the recognition of God according to the image of Him who created her (Rom 12:2, Eph 4:23, Col 3:10, Gal 3:28). Women, after all, are not excluded from this grace of renewal and the refashioning of God’s image, although their bodily sex symbolizes something else, which is why only the man is called the image and glory of God. In the same way, too, in the original creation of the human race, because the woman, too, was human, she obviously had a mind and a rational one at that, in respect of which she too was made to the image of God.” (22:34)

  14. “God grant the same for EVERY man and woman who take this step, the stunning step of commitment forever in this life, and God willing, all through eternity!”
    32 years and counting for me and my bride Sydney. A happy marriage is a pearl beyond price.”
    Thank you Donald and Sydney. This is the first time I have heard that sentiment of “now and forever”. “all through eternity” til death do us part. There is no death in eternal life. Seeing God in the Beatific Vision and sharing with the loved one is a pearl beyond price.

  15. Slainte,

    MPS answered your question to me. Can’t beat Saint Augustine. Yet, lest you think I avoided or ignored your question let me answer in this way. According to Aquinas, the ‘soul is the form of the body’. This completely revolutionizes most peoples’ idea about the soul. Most believe the soul lies somewhere in the body. Descartes portrayed the human soul which he identified with the mind (we would not reduce the soul merely to the mind or consciousness) as a ‘ghost in the machine’-sort of like the invisible driver in the driver’s seat.

    Yet the soul is in fact the form of the body-such as the mould is to a jello-mould. Take away the mould and eventually ‘the jello’ melts away. Of course that is precisely what happens at death and the eventual decomposition of the body. What is important however is that the human being is the embodied soul. We are not simply our ‘souls’. At death ‘we’ dissolve, although our soul, that spiritual aspect of ourselves lives on destined for judgment etc.. Full salvation comes with the resurrection of the dead and the Life of the world to come. Salvation does not come with the soul’s release from this body of ours [actually a completely ancient Greek Platonic idea] Thus salvation is not simply the forgiveness of sins but also the conquest of death by Christ in our resurrection from the dead.

    To the point of your question: woman does not have a completely unique feminine soul-that would mean that man and woman are two species. However, speaking analogously of the Person of Christ [One Person, two natures], we can say, we have one human nature (ensoulment) expressed in two distinct genders expressed in the male genius and female genius [see St John Paul’s Letter to Women concerning the appreciation of woman’s genius].

    With this Scriptural and more traditional Christian anthropology (vision of human nature) we see Christ’s mission in terms of the whole person, both genders and all classes etc of people. His healings then are not simply supernatural proofs of His Divinity [although they certainly are that] but also the revelation of the ultimate salvation He was/is bringing-healing to both soul and body-ultimately in the resurrection. On the Cross He revealed our redemption/salvation from sin, in His rising from the dead He revealed our redemption/salvation from death.

    We see in the Gospels, especially Luke’s, His esteem of the feminine genius: His own Mother, Martha and Mary [action and prayer], Mary Magdalen, the women who stood witness at the Cross and went to the tomb. In John’s Gospel, “the Woman’ His Bride, emerged at the Marriage Feast of Cana, was revealed coming from the pierced side of the New Adam at the Cross, and once again reunited in the Garden of the Resurrection. While several women imaged the Woman, there is no doubt about the deep love and union between Christ and the Woman, the Church-the heart and foundation of all our teaching on marriage and sexuality.

  16. Botolph

    I agree. The Council of Vienne (the 15th ecumenical council held 1311-1312) defined as an article of faith that the rational soul is the form of the body, of itself and essentially.

    However, the Council was using the word soul or “anima” in the then-current Scholastic sense. St Augustine and other Latin Fathers and ecclesiastical writers use a different terminology, often that of Neo-Platonism. So, he often (not always) uses “mens” (mind) in the sense of νοῦς (nous) or νόος (noös, “mind”); so do St Ambrose and Tertullian. He also uses “interior” to mean the psyche in the modern (not the classical) sense.

    Another favourite term of his is “cor” (heart) in of “as the seat of wisdom, understanding, heart, mind, judgment, not just of the emotions; this is a meaning most commonly found in pre-classical poets ((cf. Cic. Tusc. 1, 9, 18) This by-the-by is often the meaning of « Le cœur » in 17th century French, notably Pascal.

    My point is that we must always look for the author’s meaning, rather than for the word’s meaning and this applies to modern writers quite as much as to ancient ones.

  17. Thank you, Botolph and Michael Paterson-Seymour: Your exposition of the human soul is going a long way to the understanding and prevention of IVF, cloning and genetic engineering of human beings. It is a known fact that recipients of donated body parts have dreams of their donors, dead and alive.
    I often think of Jesus saying: “My kingdom is not of this world.” in regard to the human soul.

  18. Mary DeVoe, thank you for your kind words; I hope that you enjoyed a lovely Mother’s Day with your family.

  19. Botolph and MPS, please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you. Thank you both for providing such clarity and enlightenment regarding the theological nature and form of the soul.
    Over at Crisis, MPS you wrote: “….In Germany, one had the inevitable reaction, with Hegel vigorously asserting the personality of the state: “Since the state is mind objectified, it is only as one of its members that the individual himself has objectivity, genuine individuality, and an ethical life. Unification pure and simple is the true content and aim of the individual, and the individual’s destiny is the living of a universal life” and the Pandektists claiming that the state is “the corporation of corporations.”
    While I recognize that your discussion of Hegel is within the realm of Philosophy and not theology, how does one account theologically for the possibility of a “mind objectified”….what is Hegel’s view of the mind? …is it the same as Catholicism’s understanding of the soul and what does it mean to objectify the mind?
    Moreover, with what does the mind seek to unify itself? What is a “universal life”?
    Botolph please feel free to weigh in as well.

  20. Slainté

    No, Hegel’s vocabulary is entirely his own.

    His expression, “mind objectified” was, perhaps, better expressed by the French Catholic philosopher, Yves Simon, when he said, “The highest activity/being in the natural order is free arrangement of men about what is good brought together in an actual polity where it is no longer a mere abstraction. This is, as it were, the inner-worldly purpose of our being on this earth.” He also says that ““Beyond the satisfaction of individual needs, the association of men serves a good unique in plenitude and duration, the common good of the human community.” Again, he insists that the individual, taken in isolation from the community is “no longer unequivocally real.”

    It was a fundamental principle of the Enlightenment that the nature of the human person can be adequately described without mention of social relationships. A person’s relations with others, even if important, are not essential and describe nothing that is, strictly speaking, necessary to one’s being what one is. This principle underlies all their talk about the “state of nature” and the “social contract,” and from it is derived the notion that the only obligations are those voluntarily assumed. It was this notion that was rejected, not only by Hegel, but by the Counter-Revolutionary Catholics, like Joseph de Maistre, Bonald, Chateaubriand and the Throne & Altar Conservatives.

  21. Cutting through the mists and fogs of Modernism and post-Vatican II “Spiritism” is a letter from Fr. Carlo Buzzi (OK, Muppet Gallery: no relation to Ruth), a missionary in Bangladesh since 1975, with ‘street-cred’ on conversions to the Catholic Faith), quoted in Sandro Magister’s chiesa.com site May 12, 2014:

    “‘My Take’ on Communion for the Remarried” (excerpt), Fr. Carlo Buzzi

    “… In marriage the ministers are the spouses themselves, the matter is their bodies and souls, the formula is the promise and the miraculous event is that they become as one person. [Here in Bangladesh] We teach that the sacrament is called this because it produces a supernatural event that cannot be seen with our eyes but is grandiose and real in the eyes of God.

    With regard to marriage, we explain precisely that the miraculous thing is that after the promise before God the two spouses become united in one person as if they had been put together with superglue or fused at a thousand degrees.

    Now, if this miraculous reality is taken away from Catholic marriage, what should we put in its place?

    I have made a reflection of my own.

    We know very well that there exists the baptism “of blood” and also the baptism “of desire,” just as valid as that of water.

    Those who have remarried, if they are truly aware of their situation, can make the communion of desire.

    In the reception of the sacraments there is the objective part and the subjective part. It is known that the most important thing is the great grace connected to the sacrament. But I could ruin this grace and even commit sacrilege if I approach communion casually or unworthily.

    Now for these remarried, who all told have trampled a bit on the Christian meaning of suffering, of sacrifice, of forbearance, of penitence, and have forgotten that Jesus went up upon the cross and that the cross, when it comes, is the way for every Christian to drawn near to the Redeemer, it is a bit presumptuous to appeal to the mercy of God when before they have taken it so little into account.

    In the subjective sense, I think that for them it is much more essential that they limit themselves to the desire for communion, instead of receiving communion itself.

    The voluntary acceptance of this fasting will be very good for their souls and for the sanctity of that Christian community which is the Church.

    But taking the route traced by Cardinal Kasper would cause serious harm:

    1. It would make the Church superficial and accommodating;
    2. One would have to deny the infallibility of the chair of Peter, because it would be as if all the previous popes had erred;
    3. One would have to take as fools all those who gave their lives as martyrs to defend this sacrament.

    Perhaps I have made my contribution to this diatribe, which I hope will end soon.

    So long and many warm greetings from Bangladesh, which is emerging in so many things and is no longer a country to be shoved aside.”

    —Father Carlo Sirajganj, [Bangladesh]. May 5, 2014

    I think PF needs to spend some anonymous years in a mission apostolate and learn (dare I say it: I do) from Fr. Buzzi the true meaning of the word “pastoral care.”

  22. “Again, he insists that the individual, taken in isolation from the community is “no longer unequivocally real.”” Communism, atheism, and totalitarianism, worship of the state as God. Total
    rejection of God and embrace of the state as the only reality.
    “An individual substance of a rational nature” is Thomas Aquinas’ definition of the person. Man, with God in his heart and soul IS a community of Persons. “Where there are two or three in my Name, (prayer), there I am, in their midst”, the community in the soul of man. The Blessed Trinity is a community, a family of Persons Who love one another. Man is one species Homo-Sapiens. All men (and women) belong to the one species from conception to death and eternity, and belong to the community, visible and invisible.
    Man’s choice to reject God is called atheism. Devils are each and every one a different species and may be identified by their evil. Devils are the only persons who can be outside of community. Using the template of the devil, instead of God, to measure man is atheism.

  23. This whole thing is of great concern for my faith. I returned two years ago after thirty years. I left because of the lack of solid teaching by the Church (at least her earthly representatives) on these exact issues back then. Now those questions are coming up again. We see the specific Cardinals that are our new Pope’s favorites and brought in to lead these synods, promoting teachings that are directly in opposition of Jesus Christ’s own teaching and the teaching of every Pope for two thousand years. We see how the ‘spirit of Vatican II’ has destroyed the Church and the faith of her people with its wishy washy lack of clarity and trying to conform to a immoral modern society. (It seems even worse than during the Arian heresy where the clergy turned away from truth but the laity stayed true to the faith).

    As Father Carlo Sirajganj was so well quoted above:
    But taking the route traced by Cardinal Kasper would cause serious harm:
    1. It would make the Church superficial and accommodating;
    2. One would have to deny the infallibility of the chair of Peter, because it would be as if all the previous popes had erred;
    3. One would have to take as fools all those who gave their lives as martyrs to defend this sacrament.

    What distinguishes the Roman Catholic Church from any other religion and denomination? The Truth. If we give that up, we have nothing.

  24. St Donatus,

    I must say you have an interesting name, given the history of the Church, lol however that is another conversation.

    Let me say I am glad you have come back home to the Catholic Church. I am not sure what turned you away, but coming back to full communion is always a blessing.

    Having said that however, several of your points which may indeed be objective criticisms of some things going on in the Church these days, you have both universalized and catastrophized. Perhaps the most obvious one is ‘that the spirit of Vatican II” has destroyed the Church. That simply is not true. It may indeed be your perception but it is entirely inaccurate. “The spirit of Vatican II’ begins by seeing Vatican II as a complete break with the Church of two thousand years. We call this the hermeneutic of rupture. For this grouping within the Church, the Church was born again in 1965 (closing of Vatican II) and all we have to do is get with the program. The ‘spirit of Vatican II” is dead wrong and your perception that they have taken over and destroyed the Church is very inaccurate. Especially since 1985 with the Extraordinary Synod in that year, the so called ‘spirit of Vatican II’ has ‘lost the war’ and to be honest are getting so old they can hardly battle any more. While there is still an element of the ‘spirit of VII’ within the Church, which again is voicing itself as we approach another Extraordinary Synod-this time on Family-they are getting a great deal of press-but it is the Synod that counts, not the press.

    The Church of Jesus Christ subsists in the Catholic Church. Those are in full communion with the Catholic Church hold to all its teachings, sacraments and communion with the bishops and Pope. No element of this will change in the next two years. Be not afraid. Welcome home!

  25. As we a thinking about marriage, and about theology of the body, I want to interject this thought: use the word “sex’ instead of “gender”.
    Good communication just depends so heavily on mutually understanding terminology. Gaudium et Spes does not refer to “gender” but uses the more specific and time honored term “sex”. “Sex” refers to the biological/ physiological characteristics that define men and women. “Gender” refers to socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities etc that a particular society or group considers appropriate for men and women, and has come into relatively recent use.
    “Gender” allows a sliding scale, so to speak. More fluid. I think it is very rare for a Church official to use the term “gender” in important communication.
    GLAAD : . Sex is “the classification of people as male or female” at birth, based on bodily characteristics such as chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, and genitalia. Gender identity is “one’s internal, personal sense of being a man or woman (or a boy or a girl)
    Supreme Court Justice Scalia recognizes the increasingly common use: “The word gender has acquired the new and useful connotation of cultural or attitudinal characteristics (as opposed to physical characteristics) distinctive to the sexes.
    Gender theory people say more or less that real identity lies in the mind or self-perception and not in biology.
    Might seem like a small point to some, but being concerned with so-called “gay” agenda, I have come to see “gender’ as speaking of an ideology that I don’t accept. Gender ideology is a tool for dismantling marriage, and that kind of terminology and meaning is already so inculcated and is in use even in the education of young children.

  26. Here is a quote from B16:
    “The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient).
    These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality.
    According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society.
    The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.
    According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God.
    This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist.
    Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will.
    The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed.
    But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation.

    The rest to be found here

  27. Analyze,

    I was using the term ‘gender’ in the sense is ‘sex’. Thank you for interjecting however. The issues at hand are indeed profound. They are ‘anthropological’-vision of ‘man’. Since we believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, we believe He reveals God fully to us; however, He also fully reveals to us what it means to be ‘man’. This profound ‘content’ to being human is precisely what. Is being rejected or rebelled against.

  28. Thank you for your response Botolph. Theology of the Body should be on my reading list- sad to say I have never read the pope’s words, but only what other’s have said about what he said.

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