My Position on Pope Francis and Communion Discipline

This article is just a bare statement of my position, without supporting arguments.

1. The prevenient grace of God prevents any Pope from teaching material heresy, and from committing formal heresy.

2. A Pope can err: not at all in his infallible teachings; to a limited extent in his non-infallible teachings; to a greater extent in his personal theological opinions and in his decisions on discipline.

3. The faithful can disagree, without sin, to the extent that error is possible, that is: not at all for infallible teachings; to a limited extent for non-infallible teachings; to a greater extent in personal theological opinions and decisions on discipline.

4. Amoris Laetitia contains limited errors in the non-infallible Magisterium and in decisions on discipline, but the errors are few and limited. Most of the errors are in the interpretation and application, afterward.

5. The decision of Pope Francis to allow Communion for the divorced and remarried, under some conditions, is within the limits of the authority given to each Roman Pontiff by God. I think it is a decision prompted by the grace and governed by the providence of God. However, I do not think this discipline is useful in the long term, so it should be changed, in the near future.

6. The best long term discipline, in my opinion, is to prohibit Communion, in general, to anyone guilty of any objective mortal sin, until they repent and confess. The usual exceptions would apply, as when the penitent is in danger of death, or is unable to confess for a long time, etc.

7. Canon Law should be amended so that anyone who publicly treats the Roman Pontiff with contempt, denigration, or calumny may not receive Communion until he or she has publicly retracted the statements and has done penance by public expressions of support for the Pope.

8. The faithful should be taught the moral teachings of the Church more fully and more carefully, in new magisterial documents, in sermons, and in letters from Bishops and Bishops’ Conferences. In this way, they will know which sins to avoid so as to be worthy for Communion.

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

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3 Responses to My Position on Pope Francis and Communion Discipline

  1. Matt Z. says:

    “The best long term discipline, in my opinion, is to prohibit Communion, in general, to anyone guilty of any objective mortal sin, until they repent and confess” I go to confession every two weeks. Maybe its just me but if they put this discipline in effect I would not be able to receive communion after a week. After a week, I always look back on some action that could have been an objective mortal sin that I have commited in the past week usually by ignorance. Maybe its just my tempermant, or some sort of scrupulosity, or I am just a nasty sinner. I believe its the latter.

    • Ron Conte says:

      I think it is scrupulosity. In the types of sins that fall short of actual mortal sin, but still generally require Confession (in my preferred discipline), thoughts which would be mortal with full consent would not be included. Sins committed by ignorance would not be included. The divorced and remarried generally know Church teaching against their remarriage; they know because the second marriage was not a church ceremony with a priest or deacon. Total ignorance should not prohibit from Communion.

      If everyone went to Confession once a month, bishops and priests would need to spend several hours every day hearing confessions.

  2. Marco says:

    I myself have fluctuated on this issue, in the sense that i’m not entirely sure if the discipline of Amoris Laetitia really is the best thing for the Church.

    I tend to think, like Ron, that God is very probably at work here, though.

    What i can’t accept, though, is the fact that some people are saying that the Church doesn’t possess the very authority to admit them.

    This is unacceptable and also inconsistent, because the same people who say that the Church doesn’t posses the authority to admit the divorced and remarried, very rarely argue against the admission of public unrepentant schismatics like the ortodox to the Sacraments, as i’ve shown here and here

    What now? Isn’t refusing to convert to Catholicism not an objective mortal sin anymore? Really? Well, too bad that the Council of Florence has infallibly taught the opposite. How about that?

    The whole situation is very simple:

    1: either JPII has fallen into formal heresy in 1983 when he admitted the schismatics to the Sacraments (provided that their decision not to convert to the Catholic Church is due to good faith, which is very often their case),

    2: or, if GPII wasn’t heretic, then Pope Francis isn’t heretic either, and the decision to admit the divorced and remarried to the Sacraments is within the authority of the Church.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it, dear anti-Francis conservatives. You can’t have it both ways, nobody can.

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