Letter #14, 2017: The Quest

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April 23, 2017, Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday “Christian liturgy is a liturgy of promise fulfilled, of a quest, the religious quest of human history, reaching its goal. But it remains a liturgy of hope. It, too, bears within it the mark of impermanence. The new Temple, not made by human hands, does exist, but it […]

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Letter #67, 2016: The Silent Pope

December 8, 2016, Thursday — The Silent Pope “This apostolic exhortation contains a number of statements that can be understood in a sense that is contrary to Catholic faith and morals… We request that the Cardinals and Patriarchs petition the Holy Father to condemn the errors… in a definitive and final manner.” —Letter to Cardinal […]

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Pope Francis vs. 2000 Years of Tradition?

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Fr. Harrison: “May we believe Francis alone is right, and all his predecessors wrong?” A proper understanding, appreciation and evaluation of Amoris Laetitia will require considerable time, study and prayerful reflection. But it is already quite clear from certain key passages that, with carefully crafted language, plausible arguments and persuasive rhetoric, the Holy Father is […]

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Amoris Laetitia: The Church is the “Ark” that Shelters the Family

Pope Francis, seated next to Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, discusses preservation of the family in Synod Hall at the Vatican Nov. 17 during the opening of a three-day interreligious conference on traditional marriage. (CNS photo/Chris Warde-Jones, courtesy Humanum.it) See POPE-MARRIAGE Nov. 17, 2014.

As Apostolic Exhortations go, Amoris Laetitia has been one of the most widely read – and furiously commented upon – in recent memory. Issued following the October 2014 Extraordinary and October 2015 Ordinary Synods on the Family, the document given to the world by Pope Francis is an eloquent meditation on love, marriage and family […]

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Amoris Laetitia’s Language of “Accompaniment” Is Nothing New

Pope Francis greets a couple at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Jan. 8. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (Jan. 8, 2014) See POPE-AUDIENCE Jan. 8, 2014.

The language of accompaniment is nothing new to the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, released to the public April 10, nor even to the pontificate of Pope Francis. In his own apostolic exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis, Pope Benedict XVI used the same term in the same context of the pastoral care of the divorced and remarried. […]

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How to Interpret Amoris Laetitia

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A moral theologian sets forth a closely reasoned guide to the development of moral doctrine In the exhortation Amoris Lætitia, the most controversial question is the one concerning Communion for the divorced and remarried, which however is never expressly mentioned. It must be noted that above all, in the eighth chapter the language is at […]

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Unspinning Amoris Laetitia

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The “received wisdom” is that the Pope’s document is about Communion for the divorced and remarried, but is it really so? You could be forgiven for having decided that Amoris Laetitia is a failed document. If you accept, as it seems to be the received wisdom to do, that its purpose is to resolve the […]

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Marriage and the Family: An Encouragement to the Joy of Love

8/04/2016 Vatican City. Press conference presenting Pope Francis' Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Amoris laetitia", on love in the family, in the Holy See Press Office. Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., Archbishop of Vienna. Photo Grzegorz Galazka.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn gave the official presentation of the text at the April 8 press conference in Rome. The Pope chose Schönborn for this task because he is a Dominican (i.e., a follower of the great medieval Dominican, St. Thomas Aquinas) and because he played a key role in drafting the Catechism The evening of […]

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The Pope’s Hymn to Marriage

In his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”), Pope Francis praises the beauty of marriage and family life. In an age where marriage is in decline, the document is a reminder of how wonderful marriage can be “Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. But […]

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The Tenderness of a Papal Document: “The Joy of Love”

8/04/2016 Vatican City. Press conference presenting Pope Francis' Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Amoris laetitia", on love in the family, in the Holy See Press Office. Bishop Fabio Fabene, Under-Secretary of the Synod of Bishops; Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops; Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., Archbishop of Vienna; Father Federico Lombardi, Director of the Vatican Press Office, and the spouses Prof. Francesco Miano, Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, and Prof. Giuseppina De Simone in Miano, Professor of Philosophy at the Theological Faculty of Southern Italy of Naples. Photo Grzegorz Galazka.

Francis has given us a poetic, eloquent, moving hymn to love in Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”), issued April 8. This text is really for families: one part of this letter, the marvelous Chapter 4 on the true nature of love, should be printed out and read at the family dinner table — one […]

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The Great Divide (part 1)

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Love, marriage, sacrifice, procreation: a reflection on the deep meaning of human love and marriage Many schools and universities pride themselves to have finally acknowledged that the difference between man and animals is minimal. As a matter of fact, Peter Singer, professor at Princeton University, proudly proclaims that a clever chimpanzee is intellectually much superior […]

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A “Back Door” to a “Neo-Mosaic Practice” in the Final Report?

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The following are excerpts from the above-titled article by Bishop Schneider. The article first appeared on the website Rorate Caeli The XIV General Assembly of the Synod of the Bishops (October 4 – 25, 2015), which was dedicated to the theme of “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World,” […]

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Progs to Faithful Catholics: Get Lost

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  The bishops call the crisis of the family a “challenge” — but it’s a life-or-death emergency I’ve read, in the original, the final relatio of the synod of bishops, on the Church’s mission to the family. Let me say at the outset all the good that can be said about it. It teaches no […]

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Suffer the Little Children

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“The universal fact about marriage is not that all human persons are called to it — but rather that all human persons are called to come forth from it”  At a press briefing during the Synod, Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich emphasized the importance of having “an adult Catholic response to living the Christian life,” and […]

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Defending the Triangle

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The anthropology of the family: It’s difficult to defend the obvious You can free things from alien or accidental laws, but not from the laws of their own nature. You may, if you like, free a tiger from his bars; but do not free him from his stripes. Do not free a camel of the […]

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Angelus: On the Opening of the Synod on the Family

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Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! The Eucharistic celebration with which we began the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops just ended in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Synod Fathers, coming from every part of the world and gathered around the Successor of Peter, for three weeks, will reflect on the vocation and mission of […]

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Letter #32, 2015: Eleven Cardinals and a Pope

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August 26, 2015, Wednesday — Eleven Cardinals and a Pope Introductory note We have just come out with a special 132-page Commemorative Edition of Inside the Vatican magazine, welcoming Pope Francis to America. At the center of the issue is a beautiful, deeply moving Photo Essay on “The Beatitudes of Pope Francis.” This Photo Essay […]

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Letter #31, 2015: Rubicon

August 12, 2015, Wednesday — Rubicon Introductory note We are just coming out with a special, splendid 132-page Commemorative Edition of Inside the Vatican magazine, welcoming Pope Francis to America. The Pope will visit Washington, New York and Philadelphia from September 22 to 27, after a visit to Cuba from September 19 to 22. At […]

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Reflections on the family: Marriage: “The sacrament of marriage is a great act of faith and love”

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Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning, In our journey of catecheses on the family, today we touch directly on the beauty of Christian marriage. It is not merely a ceremony in a church, with flowers, a dress, photographs…. Christian marriage is a sacrament that takes place in the Church, and which also makes the Church, […]

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Reflections on the Family: the Sacrament of Marriage: “Man and Woman, as a Couple, are the image of God”

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Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning! Today’s catechesis is dedicated to a central aspect of the subject of the family: that of the great gift that God made to humanity with the creation of man and woman and with the Sacrament of Marriage. This catechesis and the next are concerned with the difference and complementarity […]

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