What if Pope Francis retracts portions of Amoris Laetitia?

On EWTN news show “The World Over”, canon lawyer Fr. Gerald Murray said that chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia was in “error” and he hoped it would be “withdrawn” by Pope Francis. [LifeSiteNews.com]. What would happen, in the Church, if Pope Francis withdrew that portion of Amoris Laetitia? The result is very predictable.

Groups of Catholics with particular points of view on controversial issues, as well as any individual Catholics, would begin to identify other passages in documents which they think should be “withdrawn”. And even if no other passage in any other document were withdrawn, the mere fact that a request for a withdrawal is left standing would be an excuse for individuals and groups to ignore and contradict anything in Church teaching they think should be changed.

Ecumenical Councils would be unable to teach, because anyone who disagrees will claim that the teaching will possibly be withdrawn at a later time. Each successive Pope would be unable to lead, because, for each of his decisions on doctrine and discipline, there will be a group clamoring for a withdrawal. The Church will no longer be united by our common belief in the teaching of the Magisterium. Instead, each person and group will believe whatever they like, and they will demand that the Church change or withdraw whatever is contrary to their own minds.

Conservatives, in particular, would go out of their minds with pride, if Pope Francis withdraws or changes any portion of Amoris Laetitia. They will declare victory, and then set their sights on the next target to be changed to conform to their own minds and hearts. Even now, conservative Catholics are no longer defined by faithfulness to the Pope and the Church, but rather by their opposition to a liberal Pope and to whatever is contrary to the conservative Catholic subculture.

Do you think that the next conservative Pope, after Pope Francis, will change Amoris Laetitia, or somehow nullify or withdraw its teachings? He will not. There have been conservative and liberal Popes in the past, and they did not do so. Discipline changes from time to time. So I expect the next conservative Pope to change the discipline for Communion. But the teaching of Amoris Laetitia will stand, as within the authority of the Church to permit Christian sinners to receive Communion, if they are not conscious of unrepented actual mortal sin.

The solution to the Amoris Laetitia controversy is very simple: bend your necks and accept the yoke of the Lord. Humble yourselves and accept the decisions of Pope Francis on doctrine and discipline. And turn away from all those loud-mouthed self-appointed judges over the Pope, who think that the Pope should submit to their understanding of the Faith.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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7 Responses to What if Pope Francis retracts portions of Amoris Laetitia?

  1. Erlin Maci says:

    Okay I have another question. If somebody (let’s say an athiest) asks you why you believe in God and what proof you can give for God’s existence, what would your answer be?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Personally, I would answer based on the experiences of my life. Prayer has made a real difference for me and for those I’ve prayed for God to help. And then the teachings of Christ and His Church have proved to be true, to my mind and in my life experiences. It all makes sense: love of God and neighbor, prayer and self-denial, and all the rest.

  2. Tom Mazanec says:

    But the teaching of Amoris Laetitia will stand, as within the authority of the Church to permit Christian sinners to receive Communion, if they are not conscious of unrepented actual mortal sin.

    Isn’t that a truism? If you are not aware of being in unrepented actual mortal sin, how can you be denied communion? Anyone could be in unrepented actual mortal sin that they are unaware of.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Canon 915 allows the minister to refuse Communion, given a manifest grave sin and obstinate perseverance. A Catholic might be aware that an act is gravely immoral under Church teaching, and yet the sin might not have full culpability.

  3. Mark P. says:

    It does seem to be a problem that now some theologians are proposing a relaxation in the Church’s teachings on contraception “in light of” Amoris Laetitia. It would seem that if these errors persist, the Holy Father may have to address them. In the case of the Dubia, etc., Pope Francis, as the ultimate author of AL, did not respond because he provided the document to the Church. But now certain people seem to be stretching the document beyond its original intention in order to accommodate certain secular ways of living.
    One thing I often wonder is why some theologians and clergy propose certain confusing “conscience clauses” which approach entering the realm of relativism, when the call to repentance and availability of the sacrament of reconciliation provides us with a straightforward way of living the faith. A full life of faith should not be going through conscience exercises, decision trees, etc. to rationalize our sins as mere “acts of conscience.” Upcoming debates about Humanae Vitae and contraception will make the Amoris Laetitia controversy look like a minor issue in comparison.

    • Ron Conte says:

      They are misusing the idea of conscience. But the solution is not to do away with Church teaching on conscience.

      As for contraception, most papal critics hold to their own version of a distorted or “relaxed” version of the teaching on contraception, permitting its use: outside of marriage, within marriage for a medical purpose, within marriage for some other intentions or circumstances. Germain Grisez argues in favor of partial birth abortion! And no one speaks out when it’s a conservative saying these things. They are following Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment, instead of the other ten.

  4. Marco says:

    But the thing is, Ron, that Pope Francis cannot retracts portions of Amoris Laetitia, for the fact that objective mortal sinner can be admitted to Catholic Sacraments is already established by Canon 844.3, as i’ve shown here https://ronconte.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/communion-discipline-for-the-orthodox-shows-the-wisdom-of-amoris-laetitia/ , since people who refuse to convert to the catholic faith are committing an objective mortal sin.

    That’s why that argument is important, for Canon 844.3, as you yourself said here https://ronconte.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/communion-discipline-for-the-orthodox-shows-the-wisdom-of-amoris-laetitia/comment-page-2/#comment-5004 (let me quote your own words)

    “ Canon 844 does prove that mere objective mortal sin, apart from being conscious of actual mortal sin, does not absolutely require refusal of Communion, as if Canon 915 were an expression of divine law.”

    Now, it’s not that i want to reopen that debate, but the critics can’t conveniently overlook this fact just because canon 844,3 benefits a kind of sinners that they deem forgivable.

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