What’s Happening – and Where We’re Headed


"Determining the precise meaning of the pastoral guidance in Amoris laetitia (AL) for the reception of Holy Communion is not the real crisis facing the Church. AL is tangled up in a centuries-long struggle with Subjectivism, which seeks to establish the primacy of private judgment as the effective norm for Christian life. No response to the Cardinals’ dubia can resolve this crisis, therefore, because AL did not start it. And besides, the controversy has now reached the stage that the question facing us is the authentic interpretation of the ordinary Magisterium of the Church, not the meaning of prudential guidance found in lesser pastoral letters of individual popes or bishops.

Subjectivism’s attack on the Gospel is rooted not only in the Reformation’s “private interpretation” of Scripture, but in the subsequent individualism and relativism that has characterized the Modern and Post-Modern West. It’s the same error that Cardinal Newman opposed in the 19th century. Although Newman famously defended conscience, he insisted that its only private judgment was the act of accepting the Church as teacher, after which it was bound to be docile to the Church’s normative proclamation of the Gospel."

Read the entire article. Very insightful.

“AL” purports to help families take part in receiving and passing on the Gospel.

As a family of one what does it say about me receiving and passing on faith? Zilch. This is the logical extension of what you are talking about.

Everyone has a parish family.

The article is thoughtful and well-considered. The priest who authored the commentary understands what is at stake, and he is correct in that the issues far surpass the AL document and controversy. No, there are no easy answers, and an answer to the four Cardinal’s dubai would be a good start. Thank you for sharing it.

I would agree that AL is merely the latest in a list of things that seems to put duty to self as a first priority over duty to God.

When I read things about “primacy of conscience” and “personal self evaluation” I hear echos of Pelagianism. It raises specters that Man can choose right by their own intellect without being guided by divine will. Many of the arguments seem to be rooted in the same things heard from men like Charles Curran after Humanae Vitae was promulgated. The arguments for allowing remarried to receive the Eucharist are replete with situational ethics and a certain strain of consequentialism. Instead of moral principles based on an enduring truth we rather rely on ethics driven primarily by a person’s situation and the potential outcomes (i.e. person would leave if the other insisted on living as brother and sister).

When pastoral compassion trump divine law we end up justifying doing wrong as a goal to some other good. This is in the same vein as priests who advise sterilization in order to avoid marital breakdown in the face of the strains of having children. As some interpret AL it is simply moving the line further down the road and hides a hardness of heart under a [FONT=&quot]velvet mantle of compassion. I fear that where we are headed we will see further adjustments of doctrine for pastoral reasons that continues to undermine the perennial teaching of the Church. Once everything has a pastoral exception then the exception becomes the rule and the rule is something of a historical anachronism.

I do feel for people that end up in feeling trapped by their situation, but if person can simply choose which marriage is the real one then it seems that the teaching on remarriage and adultery is nothing but a shell game of words. Freedom and mercy are not based on doing what we want, but rather in doing what we should. Being comforted in this life means nothing if we lose eternal life.

Instead of bashing the Pope, pray for him.

And instead of lecturing people in second marriages about the rules, pray for them.


I see no one bashing the Pope or lecturing anyone on this thread. All I see is people discussing some of the issues with subjectivism and how any potential confusion on AL is rooted in far older issues.

If we read it in light of continuous Church teaching it is less about change in discipline and about a change in how we speak and approach others. The danger is when one approaches AL not from that perspective, but rather from an approach based on subjective feelings vs objective facts. We always have to ensure that duty to God is not subordinated to the wants of Man. That is exactly what Christ speaks of when he says that Moses allowed divorce for the hardness of their hearts. We can never accept sin as morally neutral in order to avoid another sin.


I pray so and so stops committing adultery. Ok good idea. But shouldn’t there be more to it?

Very good article. I agree that AL is just the beginning. This type of dangerous thinking will spill into other areas as well to the detriment of the Church and moral teachings.

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