Catholic Controversies

Luke 16:18  “Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”

Thus says Our Lord Jesus. Some Church leaders today seem to be contradicting His words and the Laws of the Church. Canon Lawyer Ed Peters comments on new developments:

“A single sentence threatens to undercut the good presented in “Sharing in the Joy of Love”, the graphically-attractive, 55-page pastoral plan published by the Archdiocese of Washington (DC) to implement Pope Francis’ document Amoris laetitia.

The problem sentence reads as follows: “Priests are called to respect the decisions made in conscience by individuals who act in good faith since no one can enter the soul of another and make that judgment for them.” SJL, p. 52.

This admonition can, of course, be appropriately applied in innumerable situations. But, if the sentence means that priests must “respect the decision” of divorced-and-civilly-remarried Catholics, living as though married to each other, to approach for holy Communion, and administer the Sacrament to them, then the admonition fails for violating Canon 915 and the Eucharistic discipline which that canon has always represented.

I say “if”, however, because whether that is what SJL calls for is not clear. The words “canon”, “law”, and “discipline”, for example, do not appear in SJL. Canon 915 is never mentioned—not attacked, mind, just never mentioned.

What makes one fear, however, that the sentence might be intended to sway ministers of holy Communion toward administration of the Eucharist under gravely illicit conditions—besides the fact that ministers so inclined could easily invoke SJL’s phrasing here in support of precisely such administration—is that the rational offered for such a stance, namely, that “no one can enter the soul of another and make [a conscience] judgment for them”, is repeatedly put forth these days as if a would-be communicant’s conscience preempted a minister’s application of Canon 915.

But the claim that Canon 915 yields to the conclusions of personal conscience as reached by a Catholic approaching for holy Communion is, as I have pointed out many, many times, completely wrong. Canon 915, and the tradition upon which it stands, operate in the face of observable behavior and not personal conscience. Civil marriage after divorce is observable behavior, behavior that is gravely contrary to Christ’s teaching on the permanence of marriage, to the Christian’s duty to avoid giving scandal, and to the Church’s law on reception of the sacraments.

In short, if encouraging ministers to give holy Communion to divorced-and-civilly-remarried Catholics is indeed what SJL intends by its wording here, then SJL is wrong; even if such is the use that some ministers intend to make of this passage in SJL, they are using the ambiguous wording of this sentence to avoid the clear directives of canon law and sacramental discipline.”


A number of good Catholic journalist and newscasters are speaking out about what is going on with the Vatican. Raymond Arroyo is one of them.

Raymond Arroyo is a New York Times bestselling author, journalist and a producer. He is the news director and lead anchor of EWTN News, the news division of the Eternal Word Television Network. He is creator and host of the news magazine The World Over Live seen in more than 350 million households around the globe and heard on 500 AM/FM affiliates throughout the US. Arroyo is also author of the best-selling Will Wilder series (Random House/Crown) for young readers” (Wikipedia).

Robert Royal, editor of The Catholic Thing (which everyone should subscribe to for a free daily news commentary) and president of the Faith & Reason Institute based in Washington, D.C along with Fr. Gerald Murray, canon lawyer and priest in the Archdiocese of New York, join Raymond in speaking out honestly about what many are afraid to discuss. See one of their latest discussions here.

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 8.59.50 AMRaymond Arroyo was recently mentioned in a Tweet retweeted by the Secretary of State of the Vatican, Fr. Antonio Spadaro. In fact, it called for the firing of Arroyo and that the Church “interdict EWTN until they get rid of Raymond Arroyo” (see Tweet attached). An “interdict” is pretty much one step short of excommunication. My guess is that Arroyo’s popularity will soar as a result.

Here is what Robert Royal wrote as an introduction to The Catholic Thing Article today:

Note: Heartfelt thanks to all of you who expressed support and offered prayers over the past few days after stories appeared about a retweet by Antonio Spadaro S.J., a close collaborator of the Holy Father’s, calling on EWTN to fire Raymond Arroyo for his criticisms of various recent papal moves (and no doubt for the now five-year run of the Papal Posse). Or be placed under interdict.

This was either a weak attempt at intimidation or a lame attempt at humor – in either case, quite imprudent from someone who knows that what he says is taken, rightly or wrongly, to reflect back on Pope Francis.

Be assured, this portends no serious harm to me. This is why we have independent think-tanks and publications like The Catholic Thing, so that at least some in both Church and society may speak freely. Fr. Murray is most likely fine as well. But it’s not entirely a laughing matter for a prominent media figure like the talented Mr. Arroyo. If you want to express support, take a look at #imwithRaymond.

In any case, it will have no effect on our labors to understand and speak truth as we see it. – RR

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 8.59.50 AM



Pope_Francis_(27056871831)_(cropped)There are a lot of discussions this week about the Pope’s comments on the wording of the “Our Father” prayer, especially the line “Lead us not into temptation.” He said it gives the wrong impression — that God Himself leads us into sinful temptations. Of course, taken at face value without understanding the nuances of the wording, it could be incorrectly understood that way.

To be clear, the Pope did NOT say he was going to change the Sixth Petition of the Our Father Prayer. The news media again went overboard exaggerating the whole situation. Another example of not trusting the mainstream media.

First, this could never be the case since we learn elsewhere in Scripture that God tempts no one. James 1:13 tells us, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one.” Along with other similar verses it clear God could never tempt us with sin nor lead us into an alleyway to push us into sin.

The UBS Handbook on Matthew (which is a series I find especially helpful) states, “This final petition is especially difficult to interpret. The Greek word translated temptation may also mean “trial, persecution”… the sense here can be either “to tempt to do wrong” or “to test or try.

For me this line in the Our Father has never been a problem. The Greek word for temptation is also used for testing. For example, 1 Peter 1:6-7, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

temptation-of-christ-1872b1Second, Jesus had just been led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. St. Matthew tells us, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matt 4:1).

The Sermon on the Mount follows Jesus temptation in the wilderness. He had been led by the Spirit to be tempted by the Devil. I have always thought the two were related. We pray that what happened to Jesus does not happen to us. We pray that we will not be put to the test or subjected to trials like the temptation Jesus experienced.  He taught us to pray that we not be subjected to the same kind of testing.

Third, remember when God approached Abraham in Genesis 22 and told him to offer up his son Isaac as a burnt offering? The conversation between God and Abraham begins with, “After these things God tested Abraham.

Abraham-e-Isaac-sacrificanThe Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament was the primary translation used by St. Paul and the early Church.  The Greek text of Abraham’s test uses this same Greek root word (test, trial, temptation) when referring to God testing Abraham by asking him to offer up his only son. It was a test of Abraham, not a temptation to sin. After testing the faith and obedience of Abraham, God proclaims, “now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.

Fourth, the Catechism makes it clear that “lead us not into temptation” does not mean God tempts us. It states, [I]t is difficult to translate the Greek verb used by a single English word: the Greek means both “do not allow us to enter into temptation” and “do not let us yield to temptation.” … We ask him not to allow us to take the way that leads to sin. We are engaged in the battle ‘between flesh and spirit’; this petition implores the Spirit of discernment and strength” (Catechism 2846).

Finally, what is needed here is not to change the wording of the prayer—which would be difficult and problematic on many fronts. It is best to educate and teach the meaning and nuances of the petition so people understand the meaning of the passage.


For Catholic World Reports article “Should the Sixth Petition be Translated, ‘Do Not Let us Fall?’” click here. 
For Jimmy Akins article on this topic here.
For Msgr. Pope’s article on not changing the petition, click here.

Catholic IOn-line here.


“Francis was never pope? Call me unpersuaded.” By Dr. Ed Peters

September 29, 2017

By Canon Lawyer, Dr. Ed Peters: (Note: I am giving this one shot. If it sways some adherents of the ‘Francis-was-never-pope’ group, great; but if it only reassures observers who, regardless of what they think about how Francis is governing, are disquieted by the suggestion that his papacy itself is a chimera, that satisfies me […]

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Is Pope Francis Teaching Heresy? 66+ Scholars and Bishops Say “Yes”

September 25, 2017

I am not expressing any opinion here. I am just posting three of the many articles about a Papal Correction which is taking the Catholic world by storm. Because Pope Francis is refusing to explain his teachings there is a justified response and request for clarification or correction. Read and consider this historical situation and […]

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Leading Theologian: Change Canon Law to Correct Papal Errors

August 19, 2017

Fr  Aidan’s proposal for procedures to rein in an errant Pope and below, Canon Lawyer Ed Peters astute and complementary thoughts. Leading theologian: change canon law to correct papal errors, by Dan Hitchens posted Friday, 18 Aug 2017 In the Catholic Herald… “Fr Aidan Nichols said that Pope Francis’s teaching had led to an ‘extremely […]

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Cardinal Burke Outlines Formal Correction of Pope Francis’ Teaching

August 17, 2017

Posted by Edward Pentin on Thursday Aug 17th, 2017 at 7:56 AM The former prefect of the Apostolic Signatura explains in a new interview how a correction on parts of the Holy Father’s magisterium would be enacted, pays tribute to the recently deceased Cardinal Meisner, and stresses the importance of true mercy. In a new […]

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Silence of Bishops in Response to the Pope: “A New – and Encouraging – Form of Collegiality?”

July 27, 2017

An excellent and insightful article by Fr. Mark Pilon on The Catholic Thing website (worth subscribing to). This article accurately, I think, describes and explains the current rift between this Pope and the vast majority of clergy, including bishops and cardinals. A recent article in L’Osservatore Romano by an Italian priest who teaches biblical theology is yet another […]

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EWTN and Reporter Pentin on Bishops Asking Pope for Meeting to Clarify “Amoris Laetitia”

June 25, 2017

Why is the Pope refusing to respond to Cardinal Raymond Burke and three other cardinals to clarify whether Amoris Laetitia is intended to allow divorced and civilly remarried to participate in the sacraments?

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Cardinal Müller Discusses Islam, “Amoris Laetitia”, Liturgy, Pope Firing People and more

May 27, 2017

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), was interviewed recently by Raymond Arroyo about his book The Cardinal Müller Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church. This was an excellent interview. I would not want this man’s job. But I found him insightful, brilliant and […]

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MEDJUGORJE – the Beginning of the End?

May 18, 2017

Patrick Coffin summarizes situation at Medjugorje.

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Dr. Peter Kreeft is the Devil: Advising How to Win the World!

April 23, 2017

What a delightfully fun hour of wit and wisdom! If you have two brain cells that connect and wish to understand God and the world — and if you aren’t afraid of the truth and talk about sex — you will LOVE this. If you aren’t politically correct about atheism and Islam and other such […]

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The Maltese directive makes answering the ‘dubia’ urgent

January 15, 2017

Dr. Ed Peters, Canon Lawyer wrote two days ago about the Maltese Disaster. The excellent article on The Catholic Thing Here is his latest entitled “The Maltese Directive (allowing divorced and remarried easy access to Communion) Makes Answering the “Dubia” Urgent When highly placed Italian prelates declare that “only a blind man cannot see” that […]

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Follow up by Dr. Ed Peter’s: “The Maltese directive makes answering the ‘dubia’ urgent

January 1, 2017

The Maltese Disaster, by Canon Lawyer Dr. Edward Peters as I reported yesterday. Here is his follow up related to the dubia and the Pope. January 15, 2017 When highly placed Italian prelates declare that “only a blind man cannot see” that confusion is the ecclesiastical order of the day, and that such confusion has as its […]

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Excellent EWTN World Over interview With Cardinal Burke on the Pope’s Encyclical

December 16, 2016

Let me speak my mind clearly. I support Cardinal Burke and the others 100%. God bless them!

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My Final Post on Pope’s Exhortation: A Catholic World Report Symposium with Links Galore

April 13, 2016

From Catholic World Report: Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, “On love in the family,” has been one of the most widely anticipated papal documents in recent years, following the closely watched and sometimes controversial Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in 2014 and the Ordinary Synod of Bishops in 2015. It is also one of the […]

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