Amoris Laetitia: I’m not yet dead from shock

Well, it has been hard to get a lot of clear space to read the apostolic exhortation, but I am over a third the way through it. As yet, I’ve suffered no paroxysms or cataclysms. It is rather good in parts. There are a couple of parts pregnant with ambiguity, and I have not yet got to the controversial stuff. There is at least one missed opportunity.

As the Holy Father himself suggested, I am reading this with care and attention, and without rushing. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon I will be in a position to offer comment on it. Many commentators will already have put their oars in the choppy waters, but I shall refrain from reading them for now. Dr Stephen Bullivant’s generously-sized news bite is all I have allowed to intrude so far, other glancing at the secular media headlines proclaiming Francis is saying yes to everyone but homosexuals. But we all know they have their own agenda to pursue. Please do not let the secular media provide your commentary on this document. The Tablet‘s headline is just as mischievous, having a different, though related, agenda.

If I offer anything tomorrow, it will not be a systematic commentary but some reactions and observations, especially on points that some may likely have glossed over. However, so far no foundations have been rocked.

If you have, or have seen, any strong reactions from the Catholic world please do let me know of them. I won’t read them till I have finished the document, but they might serve as good measures for my/our own reactions.

Photo: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Oh, yes. I have changed the design of this blog. The near collision of post titles with their dates in the headings in the previous theme was beyond my control and driving me potty (-er). It was time to move on. Best to minimise annoyances!

19 thoughts on “Amoris Laetitia: I’m not yet dead from shock

  1. Father I agree with both your commentators above–thank you for digesting and interrupting as well as thank you for blogging again!
    I suppose as non Catholic I’d be best not to comment. Also, I’ve not read it…
    but like you, when I first read the morning headlines my initial reaction was like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh “oh no, we’ll never make it”
    I thought “well, here we go, officially down the tubes with what, to the world, will appear as The Church’s blessing….”
    There must be a balance between compassion, healing, drawing in verses drawing out, but also a standing by God’s commands against sinfulness—of which lots of modern day life choice are—abominations to God’s Sovereign words as to how we are to live…
    just because things are popular, accepted, sideswiping does not make them suddenly OK …
    But I will wait nervously for your “take” on the Holy Father’s words…..


    1. I suspect, dear Julie, that you need not be too nervous. There seems to be the prospect of wiggle room for those who like to wriggle out of the constraints of Christian moral teaching. But so far there is nothing to suggest there is more than that. And to be honest, if one has a will to do it, wiggle room can be prised open in almost any document!

      Till tomorrow. 🙂


  2. I have no comment on this Exhortation; I will follow Mulier’s suggestion of old and claim, “I am a Medieval Catholic.” Not only do I like long dresses and polyphony…stuff that happens in Rome takes so long to get to me, it might as well not bother!

    The main point of my comment is to say that I really, really like the template 🙂


  3. Father, dear Father, you don’t have to be a rad-trad to find looking at white print on a dark background difficult on the eyes. Father Blake’s Blog is a bad example of such difficulties.


    1. Michael, dear Michael, we are all different it seems. I find reading text against expanses of bright, especially white, background very stressful on the eyes. I have tried to ensure that this background is not black (it is grey) and that the text is larger in size than before. Of course, I am limited in what options I can set on this free version. Needless to say I am not paying to go Premium. My blog is barely tolerated as it is, without expense being added to the arsenal or arguments against it!



      1. However, in this Year of mercy, I felt it incumbent upon me to try to alleviate the pain of my two plaintiffs. I managed to discover a way to specify the background colour (but only the background colour) in this theme without choosing one of the preset palettes. So avoiding white, I have tried to adopt a colour that reduces glare but allows decent readability.

        I hope you both find it easier.


      2. Father, dear Father, those who present things on the Web are rightly sensitive about their aesthetic choices. White on very dark and very dark on white are both harsh on the eyes for the computer user. People seem to make careers now out of offering such advice to people who work on web presentation in order to make their offerings more use-friendly, regardless of the content.

        I thank you for making the change that you did, which indeed is much more restful on the eyes. I can only hope that Father Blake will follow suit, although I hold out little hope of that.


  4. You know, however good/bad this document was ever going to be, it was never really going to change very much in reality. We had so many inspiring documents penned by St. John Paul II, and Benedict XVI, not to mention all of their predecessors, and yet for us Catholics ‘on the ground’ we still find ourselves in a Church whose practice and teachings are hardly even related.

    Every parish I have lived in/visit practices whatever the priest’s own agenda happens to be. I go to Mass at a local convent which happens to be in our parish at which the priest has the congregation reciting parts of the Mass along with him so as to be ‘inclusive’, and at which all of the readings from Holy Scripture are gender-neutered, and our reception of Holy Communion is accompanied by Celine Dion songs played on a CD player in the corner. Why do I attend this Mass? Because my alternative is the parish church at which the priest makes up the liturgy as he goes along in even more outrageous ways, but, on top of that, gives homilies absolutely peppered with lies, errors and outrages that I cannot face without the thought of committing a mortal sin which would probably earn me 30 years in Broadmoor.

    This happened under John Paul II, it happened under Benedict XVI and it now happens under Francis.

    It doesn’t matter what the Pope says, or what the Church teaches, this is the reality we have to face every single week of our Catholic lives. The gap between teaching and practice is so immense that a NASA mathematician wouldn’t even attempt to calculate it.

    Beam me up, Scotty!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One thing I can say with absolute sincerity: for your dire liturgical experience you have all my sympathy, yea pity. But for the record, the crime you are tempted by would get you the Scrubs but not Broadmoor – there would be nothing irrational about it!


      Liked by 1 person

      1. He writes well: it is clear and direct and without rant or cant. Having just posted a new blog post before reading this I was pleased to see that he says some of the very same things I did. It is always nice not to be *Athanasius contra mundum*. Or at least, *contra ecclesiam*.

        He speaks of the truce between liberals and conservatives having now been positively taught, and innovation licensed. he has a point. The thing about pastoral exceptions is that they are almost by definition rare and discreet. They cannot really be legislated for as it is self-defeating. They can be tolerated in particular circumstances, but not really encouraged. The encouragement must always be to move from sin to life. And even when we find that we can help someone to make the best of a bad lot, it must always be with a view to moving as soon as possible into a situation that conforms to Christian teaching.

        He hinted that the Church seems to have lost confidence in its own teaching, the Way of Christ. This reality could and should be investigated. For really it is all about a crisis of faith — faith in the Christian way of life, and of faith in the Church to which it has been entrusted.



  5. Yes, Fr, you are right, of course. Unlike everything the Church seems to do (if you were to concoct a fiendish plan to destroy Catholicism it would look suspiciously like the modern Church does) my decision would be entirely sane.

    Should we not be extremely disturbed by the fact that these things could only be done by people who are/were:

    A) Completely crazy or immeasurably stupid.
    B) Utterly hostile and highly intelligent/manipulative.

    And we know that they are neither crazy or stupid?

    It’s not an accident, or good intent gone wrong, is it Fr?

    Where does that leave us, and what does it leave us with?

    When people compare it with the Arian crisis etc, and tell you that this isn’t ‘new’, and we’ll come through unscathed in the end and all that, what they don’t seem to countenance is that through all previous crises we have had the liturgy to sustain us and, literally, keep us Catholic in spite of everything. The lay encounter with the Church is almost exclusively liturgical. Whenever the Church went astray historically, those few clerics who always emerge at such times stand against the heresy and win through with the aid of the lay masses who have stayed true no matter what – Athanasius and the faithful of Alexandria spring to mind. But us – we are being undone internally through the liturgy itself. Insidious.

    The smoke of Satan has entered the Church indeed!

    With this in mind, I’m happy to be a ‘wet blanket’.


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