Thursday, November 17, 2016

BOOTS IN THE PEWS: Amoris Laetitia in Action

I've long said that the best part of this blog is the readers. Some of the smartest and funniest posts are in the comments section.

The following comment is a great question and I'll toss it open to all the priests, deacons and pastoral ministers out there.

Father John, I was wondering if there has been any actual concrete benefits from Amoris Laetitia in your ministry. Have any remarried people approached you to receive the Sacraments? My concern is that this is basically an academic exercise that won't have an impact on the ground. Any stories proving or disproving this will be helpful.

Anyone with stories about this feel free to chime in as well.

Remember,  you can comment anonymously  here.

Let Father D's new Tat be a reminder that you're in a safe place here.


  1. Below is a very attractive brick in a velvet glove for the Dullard by albrizzi and a pretty clear indication that either he doesn't much of the stuff he posts or doesn't understand it. Probably both.

    In any event, brown nosing the grizzle-gut Four Ponces in Red, is yet another indication of what he has no comprehension at all: Epikeia, the Internal Forum and the central place they occupy in Moral Theology.

    albizzi says:
    16 November 2016 at 5:05 PM

    "The dear Cardinal Farrell doesn’t address specifically the question of the Communion to the divorced remarried couples which is the main concern of the 4 cardinals’ letter."

    Thick as a Brick retorts:[Not quite. A clear concern, certainly. Read it again.]

    "He speaks in a general way about AL saying that it was inspired by the Holy Spirit and in accordance with JPII’s Familiaris Consortio.
    He doesn’t understand why “some bishops should have to interpret AL”. He says that the Holy Spirit presided to the Synod and that the Pope was divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit when he wrote.
    Full stop
    Not one word about the Body of Jesus given to the remarried people living in adultery. This doesn’t look to be his main concern."

  2. And another thing which probably won't appear in Lacy Boy's BSBlatt:

    Robert Mickens' Letter from Rome cites Francis' indirect response to the whining and grizzling of the Four Little Princes:

    "I don’t lose any sleep over it, I just continue on the path that has preceded me, I follow the Council. As for the opinions, you always have to distinguish the intent with which they are made. When there’s no bad intent, they help us to move forward. Other times it’s immediately clear that… they are made with bad intent in order to foment divisions. You can see immediately that certain types of rigorism come from a lack of something, from a desire to protect one’s own sad dissatisfactions."

  3. I do appreciate the "safe space," Father, but even so would like to comment here infrequently. I have not had anyone approach me wanting to discuss "Amoris Laetitia." Most of my parish would not know what "Lumen Gentium" or even "Humanae Vitae" are. Nor should they. They are busy people who come to church to hear helpful instruction on how to live the Christian life and it's our job to break down those things to something tangible and useful. Those that do come to me upset about AAS things are "frequent fliers" at our rectory and are using the controversy as pretext for other spiritual issues like anger, judgement of neighbors, difficulty or exclusion from participating in communal life. Very much like the Holy Father's words on intent and rigorism. They use amateur interpreting of Systematic and Moral Theology to locate themselves in the "correct and orthodox" place while totally ignoring basic vices of wrath and envy in themselves that cut them off from proper life in Christ. Some of these people have psychological issues beyond my ability for counsel. You know the types. I enjoy an academic conversation with someone who has curiosity in this sort of thing and I have enjoyed teaching adult enrichment courses on the CCC and the Documents of Vatican II but that is a very different sort from the usual type looking to develop action items for the parish from a reading of an encyclical.

    As for do I have remarried people approaching the Sacrament then probably, yes, every Sunday and certainly yes on Christmas and Easter and at celebrations of weddings and funerals and quinceaneras. I don't know everyone in the parish and definitely don't know the story of everyone's life and the communion rail in front of the whole parish isn't the place to go asking. When appropriate readings come up in the lectionary cycle I will explain the church's teachings on marriage and divorce in the homily and have to hope that those people hear themselves in my words and make decisions based on what they heard. I do not think this is a big problem since I hear at most ten confessions on Saturday and communicate six hundred at Sunday Masses. How can that many people be in a state of grace? I trust in the mercy of Christ and remind myself of Zaccheus in the tree and invite people to a deeper life in Him by use of the Sacraments. Our Lord knows this is the situation in every parish in the country. I trust He is forgiving this.

    I do have a few couples who have tried to do the "right thing" and who, understanding the law of the Church, do not approach the sacrament. I have one couple in particular I am thinking about who "struck out" at her annulment proceedings. I've let them know that the church "is working on this," and if they read something in the newspaper about Amoris Laetitia I am prepared to discuss specifics. But it is, as I said, at this point entirely in other realms than Pragmatic Theology and there isn't anything I can do with it yet nor have I heard anyone else say "aha! the solution to let me do as I want!" I am interested, Fathers, in what new latitude you believe it offers you.

    1. "I have one couple in particular I am thinking about who "struck out" at her annulment proceedings."

      i know no details of course but i am sorry to read this.

  4. The reason I am interested is because I constantly hear about or from Catholic families who become Disciples of Christ or Congregational or Episcopalians et al. or worse some kind of Evangelical because as parents the celebration of Mass does not allow them to model church participation and the importance of making room in a week for God to their children. The way in which they say that is different every time but it comes down to loving couples trying to raise their children in good homes with two stable parents that feel alienated from their Church and go elsewhere to feel belonging and support in their parenthood. I don't think Jesus wants this, plain and simple. I would rather communicate them in their present state than have them go "down the street" where the fellowship is as good or better but the Sacraments are not offered. There is a much better chance of getting those people to confession and deeper along their journey home to Christ if they stay in my pews. The same goes for homosexuals, better off here not doing it right than at the protestant church next door doing it perfectly. So I think yes, praxis here needs to change in how we minister to remarried Catholics.

    I might be deluded but I think at a very elemental level being a pastor means extending Christ's invitations in word, sacrament and in example. It would be interesting to compare the MMPI's of priests like Father Zuhlsdorf and other lovers of forma extraordinaria and so many of the new young priests today. I believe we would see a massive shift in the clergy toward cynicism, anger, obsessiveness and alienation in ordinands beginning in the 1990's and that these are even more so in the types that wear cassocks to the supermarket. You know who I mean, Fathers.

    The longer I keep writing the less "safe" this space becomes. My brother priests in the Archdiocese may be able to guess at who I am from my writing. So I will conclude and say thank you for inviting my answer, thank you and the others who write these very funny parody blogs to lift our spirits, and I hope that they attract the notice needed to attend to Father Zuhlsdorf's non-charism. Be assured of my prayers.

    With fraternal admiration,
    Father John

    1. Interesting insight Fr. John, "non-charism."
      Not Rev. X, Mr.Y, or Professor Z who are without a charism, but Rev. X, Mr. Y, Professor Z who are (definitively?) a non-charism.

  5. Thanks for the stories from the two priests! It strikes me that in contrast with what our buddies on the right suggest, the sky is not falling when it comes to Amoris Laetitia. There are not hordes of remarried people suddenly demanding the Sacraments nor are people suddenly divorcing each other because of it. It is a tool to use in discretion. I occasionally monitor Catholic forums to keep abreast of Church news and have not read about that many Amoris Laetitia type situations. I suspect that my pastor would have worked with couples who could not get an annulment prior to Amoris Laetitia. I know that my bishop, Cardinal Cupich, would. (And saying Cardinal Cupich is fun because every time the Ray Burke wing cringes an angel gets his wings.) Amoris Laetitia strikes me as an affirmation of the work of good parish priests and perhaps some official protection to them from the Mrs. Kravitzes of the world. I do not think it is the scary thing that Ray Burke thinks it is.

  6. would rather communicate them in their present state than have them go "down the street" where the fellowship is as good or better but the Sacraments are not offered.

    Typical popish arrogance!

    1. no, the father's practice is well reasoned.