The Virgin Mary - Argentina - Pope Francis vs Global Liberalism


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THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS THE WORLD’S largest religion present in nearly every country of the world, despite what statistical yearbooks say about Islam having more adherents.  Those year books often fail to divide Sunni, Shiite and Sufi Muslims, but count them as one body. If Roman Catholics were united with Greek Orthodox and Protestants, the number of Christians would exceed the number of Muslims.  When this is done, there are 2.1 billion Christians and 1.3 billion adherents of Islam.

To make an even more detailed and proper comparison, the largest Christian denomination, Roman Catholicism, should be compared to the largest largest Islamic denomination, Sunnism. When that is done, as it should be if there is to be actually objective data, the Roman Catholic Church is the largest:.  According to the PEW Research Center:

“Of the total Muslim population, 10-13% are Shia Muslims and 87-90% are Sunni Muslims.”

Thus, at a maximum there are 1.13 – 1.17 billion Sunnis Muslims in the world.  According to Religion Factsthere are less than 1.13 billion Sunnis:

“With 940 million adherents out of about 1.1 billion Muslims,  Sunni Islam is the largest Islamic sect. (Shia Muslims make up about 10% of all Muslims worldwide.)

The  “Annuario Pontificio 2016,” released by the Vatican Statistics Office announced that:

“The number of baptized Catholics reached 1.27 billion or 17.8 percent of the global population.” (National Catholic Reporter).

According to the BBC, there are less than 1.27 billion Catholics: “There are an estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world.”

Either way, with approximately 1.2 – 1.27 billion Roman Catholics, the Roman Catholic Church is the largest in the world as Jesus said  that it would be:

“To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? or to what parable shall we compare it? It is as a grain of mustard seed: which when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that are in the earth: And when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches, so that the birds of the air may dwell under the shadow thereof” (Mark 4: 30-32).

With a body this large, it is nearly impossible to keep an eye on everything that is occurring day to day throughout the world. However, there has been an unusually large amount of news coming out of Latin America lately.  The election of Pope Francis as supreme pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church ranks toward the top of the list. The Holy Spirit blows where He wills shaping the global climate from age to age.

During the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, the nations of the world focused on the cold war being fought between East and West, between Communism and Capitalism.  As that battle reached a crescendo, Karol Wojtyla was called out of Communist Poland to lead the Church in Her definitive hour against Athesitic Communism.  Pope John Paul II knew better than any how to posture the Church vis a vis the many headed behemoth controlled by neighboring Kremlin Apparatchik and Politburo members. He adopted the diplomatic posture known as “Ostpolitik” bending  and acquiescing wherever he could while standing firm in those few doctrinal areas where he must until such time as the Church could weather the storm and be in a better position to advance the Gospel and build the Kingdom of God?

Pope Francis is also called at a particular time and from a particular place to give emphasis to a particular manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the third millennium. The pope sees himself as an Argentine:

“For me, the people of Argentina are my people, you are important.” “I continue to be an Argentine, and I still travel with an Argentine passport. I am convinced that the people are the biggest treasure of our homeland…a people who know solidarity, know how to walk with one another, know how to help, respect,” and don’t take a step back. “I respect, love and carry (those people) in my heart.” (Catholic News Service).

SO WHY HAS THE HOLY SPIRIT CALLED A POPE OUT OF ARGENTINA?

First, there has been an approved apparition of Our Lady there, Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicolas. On Holy Trinity Sunday, May 22, 2016, The local bishop, Hector Cardelli, approved a series of apparitions that began with the rediscovery of a lost statue of the Virgin Mary and glowing rosaries. The bishop has proclaimed that the apparitions are of supernatural origin and worthy of belief. Read his announcement in English and Spanish.

According to Bishop Cardelli”

“In my twelfth year of pastoring San Nicolas and, having followed with faith and responsibility the Marian events that I have known about since the very beginning, I have reached the decision to recognize them for my diocese.”

 

“I recognize the supernatural nature of the happy events with which God through his beloved daughter, Jesus through his Most Holy Mother, the Holy Spirit through his beloved spouse, has desired to lovingly manifest himself in our diocese.”

 

“On the occasion of the Jubilee of Mercy of the pilgrims from the Diocese, I announce this valid decision for the flock which I guide and accompany with it the presentation of a book entitled “SPIRITUAL SCHOOL OF SANTA MARIA DEL ROSARIO DE SAN NICOLAS” highlighting the most important teachings in the messages she gives us for our commitment to everything he tells us because he is the culmination of revelation.

Bishop Cardelli  spoke about the apparitions with Pope Francis when the Argentine pontiff was the archbishop of Buenos Aires, and the future pope approved of his confirming them.

ourladyrosarysanicolas1The apparitions began in Buenos Aires after rosaries began to glow in homes throughout San Nicolas de los Arroyos.

On September 25, 1983 The Virgin Mary carrying the infant Jesus and wearing a blue gown and veil appeared (but did not speak a word) to a simple elementary 4th grade educated housewife and mother of two named Gladys Quiroga de Motta, now 80 years of age.

The Holy Mother spoke for the first time on Oct. 13, anniversary of the last Fatima apparition. “Do not be afraid,” She said. She gave Gladys a Bible reference: Ezekiel 2:4-10.

On October 25, the Virgin Mary appeared to Gladys while she was praying in the Cathedral in a town named Rosario. The Blessed Mother handed her a white rosary while saying:

“Receive this Rosary from my hands and keep it forever and ever. You are obedient; I am happy because of it. Rejoice, for God is with you.”

The Virgin Mary asked Gladys to search the church for a forgotten statue that had been blessed by Pope Leo XII.  On November 27, 1983, Gladys found the statue of the Virgin Mary holding the child Jesus in the belfry of the cathedral where it had been placed after being damaged in 1894. Gladys recognized the statue because it resembled the Virgin Mary in the apparitions. Behind the picture were a stained glass window with the Holy Trinity and angels.

On Palm Sunday, 1989, Bishop Castagna relocated the statue from the cathedral to the new Sanctuary of Mary of the Rosary of San Nicolás, which She had requested to be built.

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Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicholas  – Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Gladys has reportedly received stigmata on her wrists, feet, side and shoulder. The many messages she received from Jesus and Mary include topics of penance, peace, return to the sacraments and love of God

Our Lady said,

“Many hearts do not accept my invitation to prayer and to conversion. That is why the work of the devil is growing and expanding.”

 

“It is up to you to set your eyes and your heart on God.”

 

“I want to cure my children from this illness which is materialism; an illness which makes many suffer. I want to help them discover Christ, and I want to make it known to them that Christ prevails over everything.”

Jesus told Gladys:

 “If this generation will not listen to my mother, it will perish. I ask everyone to listen to her. Man’s conversion is necessary.”

 

“Today I warn the world, for the world is not aware: souls are in danger….My mother must be accepted. My mother must be heard in the totality of her messages. The world must discover the richness she brings to Christians.”

 

“ I want a renewal of the spirit, a detachment from death, and an attachment to life. I have chosen the heart of my mother, so that what I ask will be achieved. Souls will come to me through the means of her Immaculate Heart.”

Other important messages include:

  • “The demon acts ferociously, do not be astonished. He attacks without compassion surrounding everything what he can touch. Pray my children, prayer fortifies. You are called by Jesus Christ to pray. The prince of evil spills today his poison with all the forces, because he sees that he is concluding his sad reign. He has little left, his end is near.”
  • “In these times in which the poison of the evil one seems to contaminate everything, the Lord becomes evident for the salvation of souls.”
  • The enemy is defying me very ruthlessly, is openly tempting my children. It is a fight between the light and the darkness. It is a constant persecution to my dear Church.
  • It is in fact this time, a precious time that does not have to be wasted but to be taken advantage of. The Redeemer is offering to the world the way to face the death that is Satan; is offering as He did from the Cross, His Mother, mediator of all grace.”
  • “The soul must unite itself to Christ each day, and for that, there is nothing better than Holy Communion: the Food of the soul for life.”

Gladys received many of these apparitions in the Cathedral at Rosario, which is the object of hatred captured in an article entitled “Feminist Protestors Assault Catholic Cathedral in Argentina”  portrayed in the following video:

In times such as these when liberalism is experiencing its last hurrah and spewing its fury at the Church, Jesus refers all Christians to His Mother whom He refers to as “my Ark.” He said:

“In the past, the world was saved by the Ark of Noah. Today my mother is the Ark. It is through her, that souls will be saved, because she will lead them to me. He who rejects my mother, rejects me.”

Mary spoke several times about a coming victory, it will not come without a spiritual struggle, but “Jesus Christ will win the great battle, my child…”  Blessed are those who make reparation for the grave offences which my Son receives.

Finally, Jesus said: “My Heart wishes the salvation of all souls and loves them, even those who are in sin.”

Although it is easy to get angry and demand justice for such gross violations and sacrileges, the message here is not anger and hatred but, as at Fatima, REPARATION and, as with Divine Mercy, LOVE and COMPASSION, which is the message of Pope Francis. Those men (and women) being spit upon are praying the rosary, and since it is at the cathedral where Our Lady appeared as Our Lady of the Rosary, they are presumably making reparation for those spitting upon them.  Reparation means to make up by your own good deeds for the evils committed by others, especially those committed against God such as the blasphemies, outrages, and sacrileges committed by these radical feminists lost in hatred and shouting slogans such as:

Take your rosaries out of our ovaries,” “O let’s swear to burn down the Church”, and “Church, trash, you’re the dictatorship.”

CRUX also reports that:

“Several dozen of the Oct. 7-10 workshop participants had gathered in front of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary and staged a parody, which included topless women dancing around a man dressed as Pope Francis while they sang for the legalization of abortion.”

On the contrary,

“In Argentina, life is constitutionally protected from “its conception until natural death.” Argentine President  Mauricio Macri, as his predecessors before him, has said on several opportunities that he doesn’t plan on legalizing abortion, even praying for the protection of life when closing the XI National Eucharistic Congress earlier in the year.”

Argentina’s Constitution does not allow for abortion; it was strengthened in 1994 by a series of international agreements such as the Pact of San José that declares a right to life, “from the moment of conception.” In 1995, Argentine President Carlos Menem marked the Annunciation, March 25, as the “Day of the Unborn Child.” Under Menem, Argentina announced its complete rejection of abortion and contraception and declared that the defense  of life was a “priority of Argentina’s foreign policy.”

With the election of Nestor Kirchner in 2003, relations between Church and state were somewhat strained as Kirchner’s administration clashed with the Church over abortion, sex education, and contraception.  In 2007, Kirchner was succeeded by his wife Cristina who, like her husband, supported a host of left-wing moral issues including same-sex marriage, which was legalized in 2010 leading to massive protests spearheaded by Catholic and Protestant evangelical groups.  At that time Pope Francis was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. In this position, he called on legislators to opposes the bill referring to it as  “a move by the father of lies to confuse and deceive the children of God (sound like a liberal pope to you?).

The Archbishop also came out against same sex marriage.:

“According to an article in…L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Primate of Argentina, has said that if a proposed bill giving same-sex couples the opportunity to marry and adopt children should be approved, it will ‘seriously damage the family.’”

At stake, he stated is

“… the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.”

To fight the bill, he called on the nation’s Carmelites for “their prayers and sacrifice, the two invincible weapons of Santa Teresa.” (Does it get more conservative than this?)

In spite of the Kirchner battles, ties between the Catholic Church and Argentine state have remained quite strong.

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SO WHY ARGENTINA

In addition to a highly relevant apparition of Our Lady for our time, another reason Argentina is a place to watch is its confrontation with neo-liberalism. Will Argentina be for Latin America what Poland was for Eastern Europe? That is, can Argentina be the vanguard against the many headed behemoth of liberalism controlled by Washington neo-cons and neo-liberals that Poland was against the behemoth of Muscovite Communism, and will Pope Francis and the Virgin Mary have some unique role to play as did the Virgin Mary and Pope John Paul II, until such time as the Church can weather the storm and be in a better position to advance the Gospel and build the Kingdom of God.

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ARGENTINA SINCE 2010

Today Argentina is experiencing a populist resurgence that is eroding liberal democratic institutions in search of a new way toward the future. Scenes as those in the above video,  serve only to reinforce national Catholic values and increase disdain for liberalism much as the so-called Trump-Effect is having in America. In Argentina, as elsewhere in Latin America, Argentines are

“…defining a chosen “enemy of the people” (businessmen, foreign and domestic – but especially foreign; the pantomime-devils of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.”

Argentina also has a new president, Mauricio Macri, leader of the coalition “Let’s Change”.  Macri  was elected in November 2015. Although identified as a pro-market conservative, the political ramifications of this brand of conservatism

“…escapes the analytical simplifications suggesting a straightforward ‘conservative restoration,’ or a return to the ‘old’ 1990s’ neoliberalism. There is, no doubt, the birth of a new 21st Century’s Right-wing politics in Argentina, as well as in Latin America more generally, electorally competitive and which the nature of Right-wing politics is yet unfolding” (International Policy Digest).

In short, Argentina is experiencing a climate of change away from neo-liberalsim and intent on retaining its Catholic patrimony. (92% of Argintines are Catholic; Argentina has seven Catholic universities and hundreds of elementary and secondary schools funded by the government.

In Argentina, the connections between the Catholic and the political, the political and the Catholic, pervade, broaden and filter into many different spaces, worlds and spheres.”

Thus, in September 2010, “thousands of (liberal) Argentines marched in Buenos Aires to protest the perceived corporate structure of the state and its corrupt ties with business interests, the military, and the Catholic Church. The march’s organizer, university professor and political activist Luis D’Elía, proclaimed it “a disgrace that Catholic schools received state subsidies.”

Note: “Historically, the Argentine church has positioned itself as a non-partisan political advocate, clashing with the government over education, marriage and sexual issues. Tension between church and state reached a high point during the government of Juan Perón, who intervened in religious schools and tried to legalise divorce and prostitution. Many of Perón’s supporters suspected the church’s hand in the 1955 coup that toppled him, which was carried out mostly by staunchly Catholic military officers” (The Economist).

Argentina, is now undergoing a bout with neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism (the World Bank and IMF) that might spearhead change throughout Latin America. Will Argentinians play a role vis a vis liberalism that Poles played vis a vis Communism or will they contribute to the Church in some other way being revealed in the pontificate of Pope Francis?

TO BE CONTINUED: UNDERSTANDING POPE FRANCIS




Attack on Pope Francis: Supposed Loyal Catholics Distort Information Defame Pope


 

WE WERE NOT PLANNING A THIRD ARTICLE on Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, but just when it was presumed that enough had been said, we were presented with a letter from Pope Francis to the Argentine bishops, which has been accosted by EWTN host Raymond Arroyo and his guests Robert Royal, editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and Fr. Gerard Murray, a canon lawyer for the Archdiocese of New York.

Pope Francis recently replied to the bishops of Buenos Aires, Argentina, after they had drafted a series of ten guidelines to assist local clergy implementing Amoris Laetitia. The pope indicated in the document that bishops should draft guidelines to assist their clergy making pastoral decisions involving divorced and civilly remarried Catholics and the possibility of admitting them to Holy Communion as discussed in his Apostolic Exhortation. Francis applauded their guidelines and indicated that they had understood the pastoral dimensions of Amoris Laetitia as well as the integral intersection of pastoral and dogmatic theology. Francis assured the bishops that their document was not only “very good”, but also that it “throughout specifies the meaning of Chapter Eight of Amoris Laetitia.

The same cannot be said for Mr. Arroyo who is clearly uncomfortable with both the pope and the Argentine episcopate. He decided to embrace his guests warmly while employing innuendo to demean the Holy Father. He referred to his two guests as the “Papal Posse” as if the pope were some type of fugitive being hunted for bounty. Together, they concocted a distorted and twisted case against the pope and the bishops, resorting to worn-out misinterpretation, partial information, and faulty cross references.

The three present the pope as a man deviating from traditional Catholic teaching about marriage, divorce and civil unions by comparing his work with that of Pope John Paul II, especially Familiaris Consortio, which they claim, Francis has deviated from.

Arroyo initiates the conversation with his guests by quoting the bishops’ guidelines (the entire text of the Bishops ten guidelines can be cross referenced here).  He excludes, however, vital and critical information necessary to properly interpret and assess the document, information that would throw his own distorted interpretation into jeopardy. He does not start at the beginning but half way into the document, after ignoring guidelines one to four he begins with partial quotes taken from guidelines five and six.

Before looking at the bishop’s guidelines, it will help to point out that the disputed paragraphs 300-308 of Amoris Laetitia begin with the following words that demonstrate the pope intends to remain within the bounds of traditional Catholic teaching on the matter:

“Priests have the duty to “accompany [the divorced and remarried] in helping them to understand their situation according to the teaching of the Church and the guidelines of the bishop” (para 300).

Clearly, the whole issue of divorce and remarriage must conform to the “teaching of the Church. Further, in paragraph 304 Pope Francis states:

This discernment (to live together under the conditions just stated and perhaps others) can NEVER prescind from the Gospel demands of truth and charity, as proposed by the Church…. THESE ATTITUDES ARE ESSENTIAL FOR AVOIDING THE GRAVE DANGER OF MISUNDERSTANDINGS, such as the notion that any priest can quickly grant “exceptions”, or that some people can obtain sacramental privileges in exchange for favours” (para 300)

In other words, whatever follows must adhere to the constant teaching of the Church and this adherence is essential for “avoiding the grave danger of misunderstanding“. No priest can “grant an exception” to the dogmatic truths of the faith.

Amoris Laetitia cannot be understood properly if we prescind from the above statements; they help the reader realize that any pastoral discussion that follows in the text must adhere to Church teaching; of this the pope is fully cognizant.

Without its introductory orientation, the document cannot be read properly; it sets the tone for what follows. The same caveat applies to the Argentine Bishop’s Guidelines. For example, before jumping into the Articles, it is necessary to know what prompted the bishops to draft them, what is their purpose and their end? According to the bishops themselves, they drafted the guidelines to:

“…encourage the growth of love between spouses and to motivate the youth to opt for marriage and a family.”

In other words, the primary purpose is promoting the sanctity of marriage; it is less about divorced and remarried as it is about the beauty and sanctity of marriage and the choice to marry. Then the bishops proceed to open the door to Divine Mercy calling to mind the very special time of mercy the Jesus has granted to His Church.

“Francis has opened several doors in pastoral care for families and we are invited to leverage this time of mercy with a view to endorsing, as a pilgrim Church, the richness offered by the different chapters of this Apostolic Exhortation.”

Strangely, Arroyo ignores this invitation to mercy. Ironically, EWTN is a leading promoter of Divine Mercy, at least it use to be.

The Argentine bishops proceed to explain that Amoris Laetitia is intended to help priests in their difficult work of “pastoral care for families.”  Clearly the guidelines are intended to aid pastoral discernment. Although they flow from objective universal principles, they are not not dogmatic pronouncements.

Contrary to what we will hear from Arroyo, the bishops inform their clergy up front, that receiving the sacraments is not a matter of gaining permission; it is a matter of penitent couples discerning their walk with Christ accompanied by their pastor who is expected to guide them as a good shepherd by taking time to know them and to provide them with ongoing spiritual  direction.

“Firstly, we should remember that it is not advisable to speak of “permissions” to have access to sacraments, but of a discernment process in the company of a pastor. It is a “personal and pastoral discernment” (para 300).

It is difficult to appreciate and understand the document and guidelines without this information, yet Arroyo seems to consciously ignore it. His report blatantly discards the intent of the guidelines: to bring parishioners into a closer relationship with their Lord, Jesus Christ, and each other (especially in the Eucharist) – this is the primary role of a pastor, a role that is often neglected for more mundane business and temporal affairs.
“In this path, the pastor should emphasize the fundamental proclamation, the kerygma, so as to foster or renew a personal encounter with the living Christ.”

The idea is not to simply grant permission to receive the sacraments or to deny them.  Positive or negative, the whole purpose of the whole process is to bring people into union with Christ, and each other, no matter where they are or might be; sinners are called to repentance and this involves a relationship not a simple “yes you may” or “no you may not“.

Perhaps if Arroyo had meditated on guideline three rather than ignoring it, he might have been able to correctly interpret the rest of the document, but Arroyo ignores guideline three as he ignored one and two and then four.

Guideline Three

“This itinerary requires the pastoral charity of the priest who receives the penitent, listens to him/her attentively and shows him/her the maternal face of the Church, while also accepting his/her righteous intention and good purpose to devote his/her whole life to the light of the Gospel and to practice charity (cf. 306).

These is essential information that cannot be ignored “without avoiding the grave danger of misunderstanding“. This type of pertinent information is ignored by ideologues so as to create misinformation and spread confusion. A couple must be willing to devote their entire lives to the light of the Gospel; no where does the document say that adulterous people may be permitted to the sacraments, as the “Posse” claims it does.  What Amoris Laetitia explicitly states is that couples must sincerely repent and seek spiritual growth, just like the rest of the members of the Body of Christ.

The Eucharist is as much Bread for the sick as it is Food for the righteous. As with any sinner, and the Church is full of them, the divorced-remarried couple might fall, but they then must get up and move ever closer to the Lord becoming ever stronger by reception of the sacraments, which strengthen them in God’s mercy and love to be able to live their resolve. Because divorce and remarriage is generally accepted as “normal’ as with other types of sin, such as homosexuality, it is easy to understand how such couples might justify their own behavior and why pastoral care is necessary. Pastoral care is not meant to condone sin; it is meant to mercifully convince sinners of their sin so that they can embrace the Gospel life and eventually receive communion.

BEFORE ANY ONE CAN BE ADMITTED TO THE EUCHARIST HE OR SHE MUST REPENT AND SINCERELY RESOLVE TO “DEVOTE HIS/HER WHOLE LIFE TO THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL.”

The “Posse” has twisted the hell out of this thing.  Perhaps they were too busy looking for faults to be merciful. Like blind guides, they strain at a  gnat (people trying to avoid sin and live a continent life in difficult circumstances), and swallow a camel (failure to see with a heart of mercy).

Finally, the bishops point out that divorced-remarried people can and will be denied the sacraments. But if they are denied, it is good pastoral practice to include them elsewhere in the ministries of the parish (if they are trying to grow and not simply rebellious).

This path does not necessarily finish in the sacraments; it may also lead to other ways of achieving further integration into the life of the Church: greater presence in the community, participation in prayer or reflection groups, engagement in ecclesial services, etc. (cf. 299).”

Clearly, the pope and bishops are conveying to their priests that this is not a carte blanche ticket to the sacraments, that they will have to often say no, but even then, they should act as good and wise pastors.

Arroyo and the “Papal Posse” left all of these guidelines out of their supposedly scholarly and objective scrutiny.

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WHAT DID THEY SAY AND HOW DID THEY MISREPRESENT HIM?

Arroyos begins his presentation by partially quoting Articles Five and Six:

“When the concrete circumstances of a couple make it feasible, especially when both are Christians with a journey of faith, it is possible to propose that they make the effort of living in continence.”

He then omits the following text:

“Whenever feasible depending on the specific circumstances of a couple, especially when both partners are Christians walking the path of faith, a proposal may be made to resolve to live in continence. Amoris laetitia does not ignore the difficulties arising from this option and offers the possibility of having access to the sacrament of Reconciliation if the partners fail in this purpose” (cf. footnote 364, Recalling the Letter that Saint John Paul II sent to Cardinal W. Baum, dated 22 March, 1996).

A proposal to live in continence is to be made “depending on the particular circumstances“, especially when both partners are Christians (that is, not always).  Amoris Laetitia, recognizes that this proposal will be attended by many difficulties (falls), which the pastor must be willing to lead the couple through. Moreover, they must avail themselves of the sacrament of Reconciliation, as the Church has always taught (nothing new here, but neglected by Arroyo). The “Posse” also neglects the footnote from the letter composed by Saint John Paul II to Cardinal Baum cited above.  In that letter, which the Argentine bishops include in their guidelines approved and applauded by Pope Francis, Pope John Paul II states:

“It is also self-evident that the accusation of sins must include the serious intention not to commit them again in the future. If this disposition of soul is lacking, there really is no repentance: this is in fact a question of moral evil as such, and so not taking a stance opposed to a possible moral evil would mean not detesting evil, not repenting. But as this must stem above all from sorrow for having offended God, so the intention of not sinning must be based on divine grace, which the Lord never fails to give anyone who does what he can to act honestly” (From a Letter that  Pope John Paul II sent to Cardinal W. Baum, March, 22, 1996).

Clearly, Pope Francis and the bishops understand that there must be true repentance along with the intention of not sinning, which are necessary for the outpouring of divine grace. In other words, God is a healer who wants to administer the balm of grace, but will not do so unless their is true honesty accompanied by true repentance and firm resolve to defeat sin. These are necessary conditions for all divorced and remarried couples to receive the Eucharist; nothing new here, but misrepresented by Arroyo. Nothing new here except the pastoral dimension and outreach to all divorced-remarried couples not just those with an annulment. Annulment or not, all such couples must meet these basic guidelines, guidelines that Arroyo happened to somehow miss in his haste to vilify the pope.

By the time we arrive at Article Six, would the reader be surprised to learn that Arroyo fails to mention vital information. According to him, Article Six states:

“If one arrives at the recognition that in their particular case, there are limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability particularly to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. “

Article Six does state this, but it also states more that Arroyo failed to mention; it states that:

“If it is acknowledged that, in a concrete case, there are limitations that mitigate responsibility and culpability especially when a person believes he/she would incur a subsequent fault by harming the children of the new union, Amoris laetitia offers the possibility of having access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist.”

The bishops demonstrate that there are cases that mitigate the responsibility of not separating, when for example, the divorced-remarried couple have children of their own. Separating could be a sin against their own children. In such a case, if they sincerely repent, resolve to devote themselves to Christ and live in continence, they might be admitted to the Eucharist after receiving spiritual direction and first going to confession.

Of course, Arroyo might have difficulty making his case that Pope Francis is allowing adulterous couples to receive Holy Communion if he included this information. Quite simply, a couple living together in continence having sincerely given themselves to spiritual growth and union with Christ are not an “adulterous couple” anymore; they are simply a couple living together because of the mitigating circumstances of their children, which almost demands that they live together.  They are not “adulterous” just because some people in the community might think so. It is necessary to avoid this scandal by their own witness, or some unique way in which the information is communicated.

At this point,  as can be seen in the video below, Arroyo asks Mr. Royal what he makes of the partial quote given him by Arroyo. Royal states that he does not know what to make of it. Perhaps if he were given the entire statement he could figure it out.

Worst of all, Royal has the effrontery to claim that:

“In one way we finally do have an explicit statement on the part of the Holy Father that there are – maybe very few – but there are some cases where people are divorced and remarried involving active sexual lives – what use to be called ‘living in adulterous relationship – that they can receive communion” (2:20 in video).

This is an absolutely ridiculous and false statement; no where in the document do the bishops or the pope say anything remotely close to this nefarious nonsense. Pope Francis and the Argentine bishops have made it abundantly clear: There are a few cases where divorced and remarried couples can licitly live together, such as the case to care for their children and see to their proper upbringing. However, they must also be invited to spiritual growth by their pastor, accept the invitation, repent, sincerely resolve to live in continence and go to confession before being admitted to Eucharist.  This is in fact what the bishops and pope wrote, what they teach and what they profess, to say anything else is a gross distortion.

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POPE FRANCIS’ RESPONSE

In his letter of reply to the Argentine Bishops Pope Francs states:

“May the Lord reward this effort of pastoral charity. And it is precisely pastoral charity that drives us to go out to meet the strayed, and, once they are found, to initiate a path of acceptance, discernment and reinstatement in the ecclesial community.

“We know this is tiring, it is “hand-to-hand” pastoral care which cannot be fully addressed with programmatic, organizational or legal measures, even if these are also necessary. It simply entails accepting, accompanying, discerning, reinstating.”

The pope realizes the authentic pastoral work is an extremely difficult task requiring the ability to discern each unique situation, to make prudential judgments, to be patient, to pray, sacrifice and give oneself as a good shepherd for the flock. This is what Francis desires of Christ’s priests, more than anything else.

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Before the interview ends, Arroyo has to set up Father Murray. Responding to Arroyo’s ridiculous questions: How do we know anything is settled when we don’t even know what was said?, “What does that mean?, Father Murray responds:
“The Pope has made it absolutely clear that in his opinion and his way of looking at things, that there are circumstances that people might find themselves in in which they can continue to live in an adulterous relationship and at the same time receive communion” (3:50 in video).
“So we are basically at a loggerheads here. One pope says you have to live continence if you are in an invalid marriage, if you want to receive the sacraments, and now Pope Francis is saying in some circumstances that is not necessary” (4:28).
Given what the document clearly states, it is difficult to comprehend how Father Murray can come to such a conclusion. Divorced-remarried couples who follow the above guidelines can continue to live in a relationship, but it can no longer be an adulterous relationship.
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Please read the Argentine document yourself after finishing this article and see if you agree with the Posse. The two popes are not at “loggerheads”, they agree! Pope Francis is simply extending the universal call by the King of Mercy for an Hour of Mercy into the pastoral work of the clergy as presented in more detail, in “Pope Francis and the Ultra Conservatives.
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At the conclusion of the video below, Arroyo makes the silly claim that the pope is forcing all local priests to become “little popes.” This is another ridiculous claim.  The pope is the universal shepherd responsible for universal dogma and principles of the faith; it is not his job to make local prudential judgements and pastoral discernments; it is impossible do so. Local clergy in union with their bishops must be equipped and responsible for local decision making, for local guidance of the flocks entrusted to their care.  Only they are close enough to them, close enough to enter into significant and merciful pastoral relationships necessary to lead their people into holiness.
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Thus, Pope Francis reminds the bishops that seminary education must include formation for pastoral work of the apostolate; it is equally important to dogmatic education. Clergymen must learn to be better shepherds, must learn to discern so that they can apply universal norms to particular cases, sometimes in particular ways that appear to be illicit, but under further investigation are in fact licit due to the unique pastoral circumstances known to local clergy alone.
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