The Worrying Thoughts of Cdl. Vincent Nichols on Divorce & Remarriage

from Church Militant

What are the chances of the 2015 Synod voting in favour of abandoning Our Lord’s categorical teaching on divorce and the immorality of adultery? There are worrying signs coming from England. Since the close of the 2014 Extraordinary Synod the English cardinal Vincent Nichols has made a number of statements exploring the possibility of accepting a version of the “Penitential Way.” If Cardinal Nichols’ reasoning is representative of many Synod Fathers’ approach to this fundamental doctrine on marriage faithful Catholics have grounds for real concern about the outcome of the October Synod.

Cardinal Nichols will have the opportunity to express the fruits of his thinking on “second marriages” and the “Penitential Way” at the Synod in three months’ time. The working paper for the 2015 Synod proposes yet again Cardinal Kasper’s frontal assault on the indissolubility of marriage and the sanctity of the Blessed Sacrament. Even though his proposal failed to receive a two-thirds majority during the 2014 Synod the Instrumentum Laboris contains a section on Kasper’s so called “Penitential Way” that if accepted would lead to the divorced and re-married receiving Holy Communion.

Cardinal Nichols’ Strange Proposal

On his return to England following the 2014 Synod Cdl. Nichols gave a press conference during which he admitted that “his thinking on the question of second ‘marriages’ had developed and deepened.” He told journalists that he “now understood the idea of a ‘penitential journey’ for those in so-called ‘second marriages.'” Cardinal Nichols outlined a number of versions of a “penitential journey,” but has focused on one in particular. He said:

In Catholic belief a valid marriage is a sacrament to which Christ gives His word. So for a person who’s in a second marriage that sacrament, the first marriage, remains a source of grace. Now I’ve never thought that before. And they go on to say, even if it’s the grace of repentance and sorrow. But that sacrament never goes away and remains a potential source of grace for somebody as they carry on making the best of their lives with all sincerity and integrity.

Cardinal Nichols returned to this proposal in a homily during a special Mass in thanksgiving for the Sacrament of Matrimony in Westminster Cathedral. He said:

So we have to grasp the challenging truth that even when the human relationships within a marriage degenerate and break down, something recognized in a civil divorce, there remains in that marriage the Word of Christ, given and never revoked. So even a ‘broken’ marriage remains a source of grace for those who are part of it. From this arises a demanding and painful question: What is the grace of marriage that remains for the spouse in such a situation? Perhaps it is the grace of sorrow and repentance, the grace of being able to see and embrace the hurt done through that breakdown and the responsibilities that still flow from it? Perhaps that recognition is the first step on the pathway of mercy and of conversion.

Importantly, in the second reflection Cdl. Nichols does not talk about spouses in “second marriages” benefitting from the grace of the original sacramental marriage. Of course, separated and divorced, but not re-married, spouses can benefit from the grace of the valid marriage because they are not committing the sin of adultery.

But let’s return to the implications of Cdl. Nichols first reflection that talks explicitly of the penitential journey of divorced and re-married spouses and his  idea that they benefit from the grace of the sacramental marriage.

Downplaying the Sinfulness of Adultery?

Before attending the Synod Cdl. Nichols admitted that allowing divorced and re-married to receive Holy Communion would require “quite a radical rethink of one or the other” of the doctrines of the indissolubility of marriage and the meaning of reception of Holy Communion. The “penitential path” focused on by Cdl. Nichols requires a radical re-think of both doctrines.

It is hard to see how the suggestion that divorced and re-married benefit from the grace of the sacramental marriage can be reconciled with the grave immorality of adultery committed by the divorced and re-married or with the prerequisite to receive Holy Communion — the intention of a firm amendment of life required for a sincere repentance from grave sin.

I know a Catholic wife and mother who has been abandoned by her Catholic husband following his long-standing affair with a younger woman. The husband went on to contract a civil divorce and re-married. According to the doctrine and discipline of the Church, going back to Our Lord’s teaching that divorced and re-married commit adultery, that husband is in a grave state of sin. Though only God and the husband in his inner most conscience knows if he is in a state of mortal sin, this is a very real possibility.

Those proposing such a “penitential path” for divorced and remarried need to address the following questions:

  • Can a husband committing adultery in a civil marriage benefit from the grace of the sacramental marriage he continues to betray?
  • If the divorced and re-married husband is allowed to receive Holy Communion after following a penitential path, what of justice towards the wife and children he continues to betray?
  • Will the penitential path involve the Church assessing if the husband maintains his obligation of financial support towards the children he abandoned? If the husband refuses to pay adequate child maintenance, will the Church insist that he must in order to be reconciled with the Church?

Sin is not an abstract moral condition but is expressed in very concrete decisions and actions.  It is important to remind ourselves of the grave consequences of mortal sin:

Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. (CCC, 1861)

If the husband continues to sin against his sacramental marriage by persisting in his adulterous relationship, how can one talk about repentance and sorrow creating the conditions necessary for God to re-establish a state of grace that would allow admission to Holy Communion? Rather, St Paul’s warning about the consequences of betraying the sacrament of the Eucharist may indicate the consequences for couples of “second marriages” betraying sacramental marriage:

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.  That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. (1 Cor 11:27–30)

Grace Is the Heart of the Matter

Cardinal Nichols is right in concluding that at the heart of the debate about Holy Communion and the divorced and re-married is the reality of grace.  The fundamental truth about grace is that it is a personal gift from God. During this time when people demand their rights, it’s important to proclaim the truth that grace is not a right, that grace is not formulaic, that grace is not something that can be achieved through a programme.

God is always ready to accept the repentant sinner and is always ready to give again this gift. But the essential condition is that we have to be disposed to accept this gift. The problem with the various “penitential paths” proposed to allow the divorced and re-married to receive Holy Communion is that, by glossing over the indissolubility of marriage and the grave immorality of adultery, the couple will not be disposed to accept the gift of God’s grace.  If some form of penitential path, with all these deficiencies, is promoted in the Church we are faced with the tragic spectacle of couples being misled into thinking that they are forgiven, reconciled and in a state of grace, when in reality they remain in a state of grave sin. May God so grant us His grace that in this difficult journey we may discern His truth and that each successor to the Apostles safeguards His doctrines.

About Gertrude

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

78 Responses to The Worrying Thoughts of Cdl. Vincent Nichols on Divorce & Remarriage

  1. The Sacrament of Marriage gives a person the “grace” to divorce and contract a second “marriage”? Our Lord Himself called such an action adultery.

    If Cardinal Nichols really believes such an idea, then what he believes is patent nonsense.

    How can any bishop or cardinal who believes in the teachings of Christ and His Church support such thinking?


  2. ginnyfree says:

    Some of what is said is true: any and all sacraments carry grace with them. If a person has been validly married, they have the sacrament of marriage on their souls. It doesn’t matter if they’ve ignored this and re-married thinking either a new sacrament is formed which it cannot be but they may not either agree with this or even know it. The original sacrament is still grace-filled and capable of moving hearts and minds as grace and the free will of the individual responds. This grace and responding to it is what helps those committed to their marriages sustain and endure the hardships of life as married folks. Even if the marriage as a civil contract ends, as long as the sacrament remains, there is grace imparted. We cannot say that this grace morphs somehow into a grace of sorrow though. Grace is grace and there are different types of grace but to label one a specific penitential grace given by the sacrament of matrimony to those is difficult marriages is a stretch and is at best only sentiment or a good wish to the persons involved. More likely it is the cover your you-know-what language of those priests who think they can absolve away the sacrament of matrimony in the confessional seeing the tears of the “sufficiently contrite” flow in said places. If that is what is meant by the “penitential way,” then he is way wrong and should in no way encourage the priests under his charge to do or believe this nonsense. There are very sadly men who think they’ve absolved away the sacramental bond of matrimony in the confessional, but they haven’t and if they do this by ignorance, then they shouldn’t be hearing confession and faculties need looking at as well. When they do this they injure not only the person confessing, but all parties involved including all the children of said marriages and the families and the faith community itself because those knowing the full situation and not being ignorant of proper church teaching regarding the discipline of marriage are properly scandalized. These folks living it the “right” way grow resentful towards these others and their priests who bend the rules in their favor. No one wins in such messes. Ignoring the broader community that is affected by each and every marriage is also something that is being overlooked. So let’s hear from those folks too who do it right and know their not-so-right neighbors are getting favored by their priests and receive communion sacrilegiously every Sunday. No, there is no “penitential way” that covers the grave scandal of persons ignoring the discipline of the sacrament of matrimony who receive communion sacrilegiously that imparts any grace at all to the rest of those affected by the immoral and scandalous behavior. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  3. johnhenrycn says:

    “…what [Nichols] believes is patent nonsense.”

    Quite. It’s called “squaring the circle”. Can’t be done and never will be, no matter what intellectual contortions His Eminence is capable of. But what do we do if, as a result of the upcoming October Synod, divorced/remarried persons (or possibly even unchaste homosexuals?) are welcomed to receive Holy Communion, on some sort of zombie “penitential / pastoral” footing? The mind boggles. If so, I’m thinking of the nuclear option (metaphorically speaking), but let’s not go there.

    I have a friend who is an altar server at our weekday Masses. His brother, also a friend, never darkens the church doors, partly because he married a divorced Catholic woman, yet another friend, who refused to seek an annulment because that it would mean telling her children that they were bastards. Now that’s an intellectually principled and honest attitude that I wish to commend to Cardinal Nichols if he reads this blog.


  4. Reading the article under review , I am reminded of a passage from the poet , Omar Khayyam : “The moving finger writes ; and having writ , moves on : Nor all the piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line , nor all the tears wash out a word of it . ” Your comments are not written on a blank page . No-fault divorce has been with us for decades. The faithful hear not a word against it from the pulpit . Annulments appear to be granted upon the personal whim of the priests standing in judgment . I remember from a decade or two ago , an annulment was granted to one of Bobby Kennedy ‘s sons after decades of marriage and four children . There was a public uproar . There is movement in the curia to make annulments simpler and faster. It seems there is more than one way to “skin the cat ” . Catholic lawyers and judges arrange and grant divorces as fast as the petition can be placed on the Court’s schedule . You might as well be arguing in favor of the divine right of kings . Remember when that was a given . This year we celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta . Why don’t you call for the excommunication of the six Catholic judges on the United States Supreme Court who permit all of this to go on ? Can you pick and choose your battles based upon your subjective whim ? You must feel like a whirling dervish on most days– evil seen out of every corner of your eyes . To grow and reform is to change and Holy Mother Church has changed often . Slavery is a good example . Why even the American Jesuits have given up on its ownership of any during the last couple of centuries . Blacks can even marry now . Freedom of conscience means we cannot burn people at the stake for their errant thoughts. Perhaps the Church should tolerate the lesser ” evil ” of receiving Holly Communion in order to avoid this massive exodus of the laity from the Church . Remember that God the Son (Jesus ) gave the Holy Eucharist and wine to Judas Escariat knowing that he had made up his mind to betray Him and would later commit suicide . Do you find that remarriage is the moral equivalent of the acts of Judas ?


  5. johnhenrycn says:

    “Remember that God the Son (Jesus ) gave the Holy Eucharist and wine to Judas Escariat knowing that he had made up his mind to betray Him…”

    Your comment, overall, richardjclarkson, is a pretty good one. I was surprised to learn, for example, that 6 of the 9 U.S. Supreme Court judges are nominal Catholics. And in other ways, you were a worthwhile read, which is not to say that I agree with your (sotto voce) endorsement of divorced/remarried persons receiving Holy Communion.

    But let’s get down to the really alarming mention you make of Judas partaking of the Eucharist. Can you support that belief of yours with scriptural authority? We all know Judas was in the Upper Room for part of the time, but you will have to do better than that.


  6. toadspittle says:

    “But let’s get down to the really alarming mention you make of Judas partaking of the Eucharist.”
    Toad is clearly the last person to be suggesting an answer to such a metaphysical point, but surely we know it by default? If Judas had not received the Eucharist, it would have been underlined as highly significant.

    Supreme Court Judges are not in place to enforce, or necessarily endorse, Catholicism. Or Islamism.
    Or Judaism. Or Atheism.


  7. Michael says:

    If Cardinal Nichols’ reasoning is representative of many Synod Fathers’ approach to this fundamental doctrine on marriage faithful Catholics have grounds for real concern about the outcome of the October Synod.

    This ‘if’ is the real question here isn’t it? It is clear that there are a significant number of cardinals who support changing teaching on marriage, and if Cardinal Kasper is to be believed (a very big ‘if’ indeed) the numbers of those who agree with him are sizeable. However, it would be interesting to have some kind of list of names that are pro and con the sort of changes Nichols et al are in favour of, so that we could actually get an idea of how representative these views are. My impression from the last Synod is that, whilst people like Kasper, Baldisseri, etc seemed to have an inordinate influence in the proceedings (to the point of interference and misdirection I might add), their numbers were actually fairly slim compared to those who wished to support orthodoxy.

    As for Judas receiving the Eucharist, I think I kind of agree with Toad here – his presence at the Last Supper, and the verses that suggest his active participation in it (the meal overall that is, not necessarily the Bread itself – c.f.; John 13:26-27) do heavily imply that he would have received the Eucharist. However, I don’t think this actually proves anything at all with respect to the question of whether or not people should receive in a state of sin then or now, any more than Judas’ being elected as an Apostle would suggest that only righteous men should be ordained. We can see Judas’ presence there (and possible reception), in the same way as we see his presence amonsg the Twelve – as pointing to the fact that there will always be wheats and tares in the Church, even at the highest level, and that people will always misuse the channels of grace instituted by Our Lord.


  8. kathleen says:

    @ richardjclerkson
    “Perhaps the Church should tolerate the lesser ” evil ” of receiving Holly Communion in order to avoid this massive exodus of the laity from the Church .”

    The one thing the Holy Catholic Church can never be accused of is that of watering down her doctrines to accommodate those who break the rules.* Besides, do you honestly believe that if She were to tolerate the lesser “evil” and permit such a thing, that this would stem the exodus of laity from the Church? We are better off without such people if they wish to model the Church according to their own sinful behaviour and whims. These people have, sadly, lost their faith it would appear, so they are already “out” of the Church in practice. (The betrayal of the U.S. Supreme Court judges in the recent vote for ‘gay marriage’ is a good example of how destructive simply ‘nominal Catholics’ can be.)

    The remnant left in the Church in the West may become smaller than in earlier times, but if this “remnant” is strong in their faith and continue to live as true witnesses of Christ and His Church, in time, like the yeast in flour, it will grow again. In the meantime, the Church in Africa and parts of Asia continues to bring good and abundant fruit.

    * This is precisely why the members of the Synod who have designs to do just that, i.e. water down Church teaching, is of such great concern to all faithful Catholics.


  9. Michael says:

    Supreme Court Judges are not in place to enforce, or necessarily endorse, Catholicism. Or Islamism.
    Or Judaism. Or Atheism.

    No, but they are there to reflect upon the nature of the law as has developed in the society which they are a part of, and to use the legal and moral resources that society has provided in order to make judgements on contemporary cases. In the case of the recent decision on marriage, the decision of the SCOTUS not only completely ignores the huge role Christian morality has played in the development of American law and society, but also flagrantly violates the principles of natural law that have also played a huge part in that development.

    Aside from that, the rationale given for those who voted in favour was decidedly faulty, and two of the Justices that voted in favour of the decision had previously officiated at same-sex union ceremonies, thus invalidating any pretence they may have had to impartiality. Basically though, the point is that judges in any country do come out of a particular tradition, and more often than not are called to endorse a particular moral consensus when making judgements – in this case, the tradition the Justices came out of (and patently ignored) was largely shaped by Christian principles.


  10. Michael says:

    I just came across a couple of quotes from the historian Christopher Dawson that make the same point, more powerfully and with more concision, as well as :

    ‘Culture, as its name denotes, is an artificial product. It is like a city that has been built up laboriously by the work of successive generations, not a jungle which has grown up spontaneously by the blind pressure of natural forces. It is the essence of culture that it is communicated and acquired, and although it is inherited by one generation from another, it is a social not a biological inheritance, a tradition of learning, an accumulated capital of knowledge and a community of ‘folkways’ into which the individual has to be initiated.’

    and on the responsibility we have to fight against any attempts to sideline or violate our cultural heritage by those who consider (in practice if not always in theory) the regulation of society by law as a mere reflection of whatever happens to be politically correct/expedient at the time:

    ‘It is here that Catholics have a special responsibility. They are not involved in the immediate issues of the conflict in the same way as are the political parties, for they belong to a supranational spiritual society, which is more organically united than any political body which possesses an autonomous body of principles and doctrines on which to base their judgements. Moreover, they have a historical mission to maintain and strengthen the unity of Western culture which had its roots in Christendom against the destructive forces which are attempting its total subversion. They are the heirs and successors of the makers of Europe—the men who saved civilization from perishing in the storm of barbarian invasion and who built the bridge between the ancient and modern worlds.’

    The article these quotes are taken from makes some good points about the relationship between religion, culture and (amongst other things) law too, as well as suggestions for the revitalisation of culture:


  11. ginnyfree says:

    Hello Kathleen. I am currently re-reading A Story Of A Soul, the autobiography of the Little Flower, St. Terese of Lisieux and in it I am reminded of the facts of our shared history. There was a time when folks didn’t receive Communion in Church on Sunday unless they were absolutely sure they could and the Little Flower actually reveals that she would ASK PERMISSION TO RECEIVE THE EUCHARIST FROM HER PRIEST IN THE CONFESSIONAL!!! This means she was there EVERY WEEK. She didn’t receive the Eucharist unless and until she obtain this permission. That was the acceptable practice in her days. Others did the same. The priest for his part by this practice KNEW WHO HE WAS GIVING COMMUNION TO because he’d heard their Confession and gave permission to receive to the penitent in the Confessional. I’ve even read elsewhere that folks when they went to a different parish, either traveling or moving to another place, would FIRST go to Confession to the Pastor of the place so they could receive the Eucharist in that parish. How far away from our practices these days is this most pious of practices among the common people in the past? Yet these are our grandparents in the faith, our own ancestors. They weren’t wrong to behave this way. It is true, the times have greatly changed the way we practice. The problem we are talking about here in this discussion did not exist then. Folks knew they couldn’t just go up and receive because they deemed themselves worthy. Interesting isn’t it? What do you suppose would happen in a parish if Father got up one Sunday and said he wanted every adult in the place to come to him in the Confessional over the next three weeks and if they didn’t then they could no longer receive the Eucharist in his Masses? He would be well within his rights and duties and obligations as a Priest to do so. He could do this. It would be greatly challenged both in his parish and outside of it, but it could happen. Yeah. Think about it. It would be the Cross for the man so moved. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  12. ginnyfree says:

    Very nice Michael. Very nice. Thought provoking. God bless. Ginnyfree.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. johnhenrycn says:

    Did Judas Receive Holy Communion?
    “Judas was indeed present at the Last Supper, but Judas was not present at the full revelation of its meaning. He heard that there would be ceremonial bread and wine, probably saw it, but never actually partook of that bread and wine as a religious expression of faith in Jesus because he had already left before that stage was reached. In short, it seems clear that Judas had no part in the first ever Christian communion service.”


  14. ginnyfree says:

    Ummmm….the guy writing the article should’ve read the Scripture a little further because if he had, he’d have learned that Judas dipped his morsel in the wine and ate and just after that Satan entered into to him and he fled to go do what he was to do – betray our Lord. Judas received our Lord just as the others did, but he did so in a state of sin and well, those of us who actually pay attention, know the rest of the story. GOd bless. Ginnyfree.


  15. ginnyfree says:

    Thanks for the link JohnHenry. I’ll check them out. Might be fun. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  16. Michael says:


    Don’t find the piece all that convincing I’m afraid. It makes a lot of assumptions about what is happening when in Saint John’s timeline, which I would think unwarranted given that John is not describing the Last Supper in detail. The argument in support of Judas leaving before Communion hinges on the fact that he received and dipped the ‘sop’ before leaving to betray Our Lord, and I would want to see a bit more evidence that this had to have taken place before the consecration before accepting the conclusion made in the article – it is simply stated that this could not have been otherwise, without support by way of references, etc.

    Now, more to the point, I do not actually wish to say either way whether or not Judas did receive the Bread. The conclusion of the article cited might be right – I just disagree that the author has actually made a strong enough argument in order to reach that conclusion. My point is that it doesn’t really matter, as even if he did receive the first Eucharist, this can in no way be used as support for unworthy reception of the Sacrament in general.


  17. ginnyfree says:

    You’re right Michael. But for those who never read the Bible, he may appear to be a very smart Biblical scholar. There are those who go to places of worship, place their Bibles in their laps and never actually read it. They simply listen to what someone else says it says and live like they’re asked to without ever questioning the authenticity of what they are being told about the book in their laps. If I had to thank my departed dad for one thing, it would be the way he encouraged me to question everything. He was a NASA rocket scientist and he questioned everything. Unfortunately he questioned God once too often and died without conversion. He chose to remain an atheist at his passing. Please pray for his poor soul if you think of it today. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  18. johnhenrycn says:

    The author of that link addresses the dipping of the “sop” and Judas’s receiving of the “morsel”, but he is of the view that the instituting of the Lord’s Supper took place after Judas had left the room. Is his argument an ironclad one? I don’t think it reaches that level, but I think it’s as plausible as the alternative.


  19. johnhenrycn says:

    ” I just disagree that the author has actually made a strong enough argument…”

    Well, I guess we’ll just have to agree to agree [sic].


  20. Michael says:

    Um, yes I guess so – I presumed you found his argument pretty solid though? What are your opinions on the implications if Judas indeed had received the Eucharist btw?


  21. Michael says:

    Please pray for his poor soul if you think of it today.

    Will do indeed Ginny 🙂


  22. TerryC says:

    The friend is misinformed. An annulment does not effect the legitimacy of children, which is a legal matter. An invalid marriage, if legally contracted, produces legitimate children. The legitimacy of children is unaffected by the declaration by the Church that a marriage is invalid. This is a point that cannot be declared too loudly, since many like your friend, refuse to seek a declaration of nullity based upon an erroneous understanding of the facts.


  23. johnhenrycn says:

    If the morsel received by Judas mentioned in John 13:26-27 was the Eucharist and if Judas consumed it, wouldn’t that mean Jesus and Satan were co-occupants of his body?


  24. Michael says:

    I am not suggesting that the morsel received by Judas was the Eucharist; only that the argument hinges on this morsel being eaten before the actual Communion, and that this hasn’t been satisfactorily proven.

    As to the question of whether or not someone into whom Satan has entered could receive the Eucharist, this raises several other questions:

    a.) What did Saint John mean when he wrote that ‘Satan entered into him’? It could mean actual possession, or it could just mean that he was guided by or under the influence of the diabolical spirit, as all of us are (to some extent) when we commit serious sin.

    b.) Regardless of the answer to a.), is it not Catholic teaching that whoever receives the Eucharist unworthily receives it to their own judgement, and does that not imply that when receiving in such a state, we do not actually receive Jesus into us? If we are in a state of sin, under diabolical influence, or even possessed, we can still receive the Eucharist, and it will still be the Body and Blood of Our Lord, but we will simply not receive Him into us – the presence of serious sin/evil spirits/etc precludes our being able to receive a communion with Him.


  25. johnhenrycn says:

    Thank you, Terry, for that clarification. What about a marriage entered into in bad faith by both parties (nb: which is not the case of my friend)? Might that have an adverse impact on the legitimacy of their offspring. The Catholic Encyclopedia suggests so.


  26. johnhenrycn says:

    Apologies. Here’s the link:


  27. toadspittle says:

    “…two of the Justices that voted in favour of the decision had previously officiated at same-sex union ceremonies, thus invalidating any pretence they may have had to impartiality.”
    Not necessarily. If my job was officiating at legal marriage ceremonies, that’s what I’d do. The two judges in question might privately disagree with the concept of gay marriage. Or they might not. I don’t know.
    Suppose a judge privately detested the idea of a black man marrying a white woman, but married them anyway, because that’s what his job entails – thus acting impartiality within the law.
    Would we think him/her wrong to do so?


  28. ginnyfree says:

    No, John Henry. We’ve known for two millennia that the Last Supper is the place when Jesus instituted the Eucharist. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  29. ginnyfree says:

    Persons who are possessed can receive the Eucharist. It happens. For the most part they are averse to holy things, but if it is necessary so as to deceive others, (which is the case with Judas) then they can receive the Blessed Sacrament. Think of Satanists who deliberately lay hands on our sacred species so as to defile it. They are holding it and it isn’t any less holy then if it were in holy hands. Yet they are Satan’s own people by choice and pact, etc. They are the perfectly possessed and they can appear perfectly normal and function fine around others to bring about the ends of their diabolical master. But this is a subject for another day. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  30. ginnyfree says:

    See my other answer Michael. I don’t want to repeat myself. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  31. toadspittle says:

    “Moreover, they have a historical mission to maintain and strengthen the unity of Western culture which had its roots in Christendom …”
    There are those who might point to other roots – of Greece and Pagan Rome, and the Norse culture, (tomorrow being Woden’sday) not forgetting (largely in Iberia, certainly) the Islamic culture. In Montaigne’s time, educated people looked back in awe at Greek and Roman culture. Many people still do.
    “They are the heirs and successors of the makers of Europe—”
    If you like – but the history of Europe over two thousand years is a virtually unbroken saga of war, strife and horror.
    What “unity?” Have we forgotten two world wars already? As Pascal famously said, “Why do you want to kill me?” .. answer.. “Because you live on the other side of the river.”
    And, no – the history of the rest of the world is no better. Worse, even – in parts.


  32. toadspittle says:

    I hadn’t read the link before I wrote the above. I should have done. It doesn’t change my comment, but I’d might have stressed some other aspects.
    Neither had I heard of Dawson, which I thought was odd. Not any more, it isn’t.
    “A culture may linger on, and indeed produce some of its most brilliant artistic and other successes after the religious faith has fallen into decay.”
    But I have heard of Eliot – whose quote above comes from the article here.
    So there’s something to look forward to. Seems a bit at odds with Dawson tirelessly grinding his Catholic axe, to me.
    But what do I know?
    “Men who had written on the middle ages in a positive light, such as G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, Mr. Dawson believed, had gone too far in their praise.” Amen to that, at least.


  33. Michael says:

    See my other answer Michael. I don’t want to repeat myself.

    I don’t want to seem impolite, but there would be no need to repeat yourself anyway as my reply was not directed to you, who I had already assumed that I was in agreement with.


  34. Michael says:

    Not necessarily. If my job was officiating at legal marriage ceremonies, that’s what I’d do.

    Is that part of the day-to-day ‘job’ of a Justice of the Supreme Court? I would have thought that they could quite easily pick and choose who they were to marry, and hence it would be quite easy for them to not marry a couple if it were at odds with their consciences. More importantly though, the two Justices in question chose to marry same-sex couples at a time when same-sex marriage was not legal across all the states, and not long before the question of its being passed into law was to be debated. I would say this definitely constitutes a violation of the impartiality of their office.

    Title 28, Section 455 of the United States Code states explicitly that:

    ‘any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.’

    I think we could reasonably question impartiality in this case. The comparison with marrying an interracial couple is not a valid one because a.) the issue of interracial marriage is not a contentious one, soon to be debated by the Supreme Court itself and b.) race and sexual orientation are not comparable issues anyway; the colour of one’s skin is morally irrelevant; it literally has no moral dimension to it at all – it just is what it is. When we are discussing sexual orientation however. this is something that pertains to acts, which always have some kind of moral dimension and can therefore be judged accordingly. It is thus appropriate to ask whether the official endorsement of same-sex marriage is the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ thing to do in a way that is not only inappropriate, but irrelevant, when discussing marriage between people of different races.


  35. Michael says:

    What “unity?” Have we forgotten two world wars already?

    No, the whole point of the article was that the unity of European culture was and is being ruptured in our time because of the loss of a sense of its roots. That European history is ‘ a virtually unbroken saga of war, strife and horror’ is a view that can only be sustained by ignoring huge swathes of its history and focusing on conflict – something that is understandable given the legacy of the 20th century (and looking back throughout history with it in mind), but we must understand that the last century and its enormous violence stands out over and against the rest of European history, which was significantly less violent.

    As to the fact that Europe has other roots as well as Christian ones, as I have said before here, unless you wish to make the case that Norse and Islamic culture shaped European thought and life to anywhere near the same degree as Christianity (and classical sources, which the author acknowledges) then I don’t really see your point.

    As Pascal famously said, “Why do you want to kill me?” .. answer.. “Because you live on the other side of the river.”

    I thought religion was the cause of all trouble in the world…


  36. Michael says:

    Seems a bit at odds with Dawson tirelessly grinding his Catholic axe, to me.

    I thought you said you read the article? The point here is that decline can, and often does, take place over a long period – Eliot is not saying anything in opposition to Dawson, his statement is in support of Dawson’s position, but complements it by pointing out (and this is something Dawson would have acknowledged as well) that cultural decline is not instantaneous, nor would we expect it to be so, given how deeply the roots of any given culture are planted in the collective consciousness.


  37. kathleen says:

    Good points Ginny!
    We do not realise how fortunate we are these days, that we can (as long as we are in a state of grace) receive Our Blessed Lord in Holy Communion every day at Mass if we so wish. It was far more restrictive in earlier times, being recognised by both the official Church and the layman for the tremendous privilege and wonder that it truly is. Communicants prepared diligently well beforehand, fasted for many hours, prayed and painstakingly scrutinised their souls to rid themselves on any lingering sins, all in longing anticipation for the great moment. Today, on the other hand, we have in general grown increasingly blasé about this marvellous heavenly gift, thus too often receiving It out of routine, and therefore, unworthily.
    It would be perhaps be a good idea to bring back some of the Church’s old standard preparatory rules – Fr Z often has surveys on his blog asking people’s opinions on such matters – that would go towards helping make us more aware and prepare our souls more appropriately for receiving the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus.

    ‘A Story of a Soul’, autobiography of Saint Thérèse, is an absolute gem of a book, isn’t it! It has marked the life of countless people who have found in her Little Way, a path to sanctity.


  38. toadspittle says:

    “A culture may linger on, and indeed produce some of its most brilliant artistic and other successes after the religious faith has fallen into decay.”
    I took Eliot to be asserting that even if religion is discarded, excellent cultural results are still possible. That’s all.
    I assume Dawson would not agree if the religion in question was Catholicism. But I don’t know, of course. He might if the religion was, say, Lutheranism or Anglicism. But then, he might not.

    “I thought religion was the cause of all trouble in the world…”
    No, Michael.
    Politics is the cause of all the trouble in the world. Far too often allied to religion, certainly.
    Because everything is politics.
    Including religion.
    But not everything is religion.
    …Thank God.


  39. Michael says:

    I took Eliot to be asserting that even if religion is discarded, excellent cultural results are still possible. That’s all.

    Yes, that is what he is saying – that excellent cultural results will still be possible after the decline of a religion for a while at least. But you also suggested that this was in contradiction with Dawson’s point that religion establishes the roots of culture and thus provides its most significant source of growth – this is not the case, not something Dawson himself would have seen as a contradiction, and I’m not quite sure why you think it is one.

    Politics is the cause of all the trouble in the world…Because everything is politics.

    If politics is the cause of all trouble in the world, and everything is politics, then everything is the cause of all trouble in the world, which, depending on how you look at it is either a truism (obviously things in general, and therefore everything, are the cause of all events, and so all trouble) or nonsense (everything cannot possibly be the cause of all particular troublesome events).

    Given a good proportion of your comments here though, I would have put my money on your believing religion to be the cause of all the world’s woes – you’ve even said so outright on several occasions – but my mistake! 🙂


  40. toadspittle says:

    “I would have put my money on your believing religion to be the cause of all the world’s woes – you’ve even said so outright on several occasions.”
    No I haven’t. A large percentage of them possibly. Because I believe that.

    Anyway, maybe we can agree that religion occasionally exacerbates the world’s woes?

    I suppose that Pascal might have pointed out that people on one side of the river were Protestants, and on the other Catholics. Or if you prefer, Shiites on one side, and Sunnis on the other. Or Hindus and Muslims. Like in India. Or:
    Or Jews and Christians. Like in Spain. Incidentally, the other day I was in a neighbouring village called Matajudios. There’s talk of changing the name. Hope they don’t. To what? Matamoros?

    Incidentally – On the subject of religious woe:
    I suspect Christians in these countries have very little doubt that their religion is the cause of all their woes, just as their killers believe religion is the justification of their obscenity. One might be tempted to say “Some people take religious intolerance too far.” Depends on who’s doing the intolerating, I suppose.


  41. Brother Burrito says:

    Toad, there is organised religion and there is organised religion.

    The first type is like the organisation of a fossilized tree branch, every detail perfectly preserved in its beauty. However it is dead.

    The second type is like the organisation of a living tree branch, every detail vibrant in its beauty for it is alive.

    Stop attacking organisation. You are only alive yourself because of your own vital organs and the organisation that holds them together.

    There is good and bad organisation: one is dead and the better one is alive.


  42. toadspittle says:

    “Toad, there is organised religion and there is organised religion.”

    Sorry Burro, but that is meaningless (to me, at least) How are we supposed to distinguish one organisation from the other? How do you?
    Revelation? OK.
    I’m not attacking organisation. How could I? What for? The world in which we live is “organised” in an incredibly fragile fashion, according to which, if we find ourselves in a particularly unstable bit of it, such as Christchurch, New Zealand, or San Francisco, or Haiti – during an earthquake, we will probably be killed.
    That’s life. And organisation, for you. (Or am I missing your point?)


  43. toadspittle says:

    ..And saying, “You are only alive yourself because of your own vital organs and the organisation that holds them together.” utter tautology. The same as saying “I’m only alive because I’m not dead.”
    The key word is “vital”. If they weren’t vital, I wouldn’t be alive in the first place.


  44. Thanks for your comments ! I was out of town so my reply is a little delayed . Although I studied some Greek in my youth , I am far from fluent now . The English translation I use is The New American Bible ( giant print edition ) 1970 copyright of Confraternity of Christian Doctrine . I call your attention to the Gospel of Luke 22:17-23 . The editors of this section demarcate it with the special heading ” The Holy Eucharist ” . During the blessing of the bread and wine using the ancient words of their transubstantiation , ” … He broke it and gave it to them ” . It is only after that sacred moment that the editors initiate a new paragraph titled ” The Betrayer ” wherein Jesus states “And yet the hand of my betrayer is with me at this table . ” This language and sequence have the proper nihil obstat and imprimatur .


  45. johnhenrycn says:

    Not all Catholics like the NAB, not even the giant print edition:


  46. ginnyfree says:

    Bravo Richard bravo! Glad you’re back from wherever it was you were. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  47. johnhenrycn says:

    …which makes me wonder if the Muslims don’t have a point when they insist that the only true Koran is the Arabic one. I have a couple of expert English translations of the Koran (“Know thine enemy” and all that), and as for the Bible, like most of us, many English translations, although not the NAB. For Catholics, which is THE official version, I wonder? It can’t be St Jerome’s translation for the simple reason that it is a translation, with which even St Augustine had reservations.


  48. ginnyfree says:

    I use my NAB in my parish’s Bible class and when studying as it is all marked up and high-lited which comes in handy. I generally ruin them in a short time so using the NAB suffices. I much prefer my Douay-Rheims but it was an expensive one so it never leaves home. I will be grateful when the current NAB is replaced. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  49. ginnyfree says:

    John Henry, I once heard this from Father Pacwa – “The best version of the Bible is the one you’ll actually read!” So there ya go! Know ya know. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  50. johnhenrycn says:

    Fr Pacwa may be right; I’m not convinced. Is he from Hawaii?


  51. Kathleen, I replied earlier to identify the exact biblical passage that I relied upon for my statement that Judas received the Eucharist from Jesus . Jesus was not deceived by anything ! Again, see Luke 22: 17-23 . Also, it is a well-known principle of Catholic theology that one may tell a lie to avoid a greater sin. This is what Judas should have done . When I was a child in grade school and we were being taught how terrible atheistic communism was, the nuns ( Ursulines ) taught us that it was okay to tell the authorities that we did not know where the priest was hiding . I am sure the other apostles would have denied knowing Jesus’s whereabouts if asked . Would you have betrayed Jesus’s whereabouts ?


  52. toadspittle says:

    Here’s something I’m sure we can all agree on, which I now see I have been expressing quite wrongly and incorrectly so far.
    And I think it might be what Michael is getting at: Religion is not the “cause” of anything, any more than politics, or science, is – it’s the way these processes are interpreted and employed, and the actions taken in their respective names, that cause trouble.
    So, saying, for example, science is the cause of atom bombs, or religion is the cause of strife, or politics is the cause of corruption – are all absurd. It’s not religion’s fault that people cut one another’s heads off.
    It’s all down to language again, I’m afraid.
    “Anyway, maybe we can agree that religion occasionally exacerbates the world’s woes?”
    No it doesn’t, Toad. That’s sloppy thinking, and expression.
    It’s the way people choose to interpret religion that causes the woes.
    The end result may be the same – people without heads, and burned alive – but still.


  53. kathleen says:

    Forgive me Richard, but I cannot follow your train of thought here. What has lying got to do with what I wrote in my comments above? Still, I’ll answer your question if I can…

    In his monumental Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas states: “It is not lawful to tell a lie in order to deliver another from any danger whatever. Nevertheless it is lawful to hide the truth prudently, by keeping it back, as Augustine says” (II:110:3). Nevertheless, lying – actively giving false witness – is always objectively wrong and a breaking of the eighth commandment.
    “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:29).
    From the verses of St. Luke you mention above, it would appear that Judas did just that: “eateth and drinketh judgement to himself”!!

    If you are asking my opinion as to whether the Church should change its teachings and wangle ways to allow the divorced and remarried to receive Communion (whilst their former marriages still remain valid marriages in God’s eyes) then naturally I would give a resounding ‘No’ as my answer. This is 2000 years of Church teaching, taken directly from the Words of Our Lord Jesus Christ and will stand forever. Valid marriage vows entail fidelity to one’s spouse till “death do us part”; we have no authority to alter Christ’s clear teaching in this matter.

    However, it is true that many marriages nowadays are not undertaken with clear knowledge and understanding of a commitment to a lifetime of faithfulness to the other, and this is what the Church will look into in the case of the annulment process. That there are those who obtain annulments when all ‘exterior’ indications are that the marriage was a valid one (e.g., Bobby Kennedy’s son who you mentioned earlier), I do not deny. The annulment process is worked out by committed clergy, experts in the field of Canon Law and marriage, but as always in the case of fallible human beings, mistakes can be made – this goes without saying.


  54. ginnyfree says:

    Hey yo! Dat Jesus – He’s da man! Where on earth did you find that link? Good one!


  55. ginnyfree says:

    Ahhhhh……….the rhetoric of Catholic Compromise is just getting warmed up!


  56. Michael says:

    No I haven’t.

    Blimey, I could have sworn that…on several occasions…precisely to that effect… Well, one of our memories is going, and, no offence but I hope it is not mine, as I had not expected that to happen for a few years yet!


  57. Michael says:

    How are we supposed to distinguish one organisation from the other?

    The same way you would assess anything else – by carefully weighing up the arguments made by the organisations for themselves, checking that against what can be known from historical sources, etc; also by assessing whether the claims are self-consistent and reasonable according to what one already believes, and all the time being ready to call into question one’s own prejudices so that as objective an assessment as possible can be made. On top of all this, a good test would be to see what happens when people take the teachings of that organisation seriously (c.f.; the Communion of Saints) – by their fruits ye shall know them…


  58. Michael says:

    Toad, this is one of the most (possibly the most) sensible things that I’ve read by you, and with the odd qualification here and there I’d say I agree with the gist of it as well.


  59. GC says:

    Toad, this is one of the most (possibly the most) sensible things that I’ve read by you

    To the extent, Michael, that it surely calls for a fully festal and wholly Habsburgian Te Deum to be sung. (But only a brief one.)

    Liked by 1 person

  60. toadspittle says:

    Toad is done far too much honour.
    It makes him wary. There must be a catch. If someone on here gives him a “thumbs-up,” he wonders if he’s said something unusually stupid, even for him.


  61. Kathleen , Even the popes have recognized the need for the Church to compromise on this multi-cultural planet . This need to compromise was given more emphasis in a number of Vatican II documents . See , for example , Lumen Gentium . Many such magisterial documents are found in , The Social Agenda : A Collection of Magisterial Texts (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2000 ) . It amazes me that Vatican II seldom intrudes into these learned discussions on the Catholicism Pure & Simple website . To “tolerate the lesser evil ” is at the epicenter of our discussion . Your argument that the entire institution should rejoice at the prospect of its immolation on the altar of its intellectual purity is selfish at best .
    A book that I read recently is entitled , Conscience and its Right to Freedom by Eric D’Arcy (Sheed and Ward , 1961 ) written right before the beginning of Vatican II . The pre-councilor viewpoints and documents found therein are mostly in harmony with the final magisterial documents that came out of the Council . I will cite one example which I find is directly on point . It is found in an allocution of Pope Pius XII , entitled : Ci Riesce (AAS ,45 (1953) pg. 798 , 801 ). This good pope , discussing whether or not the Church or state has a duty to suppress any wrongful act ( sin ) which either has the power to stop , states that no such duty exists and cites respect for conscience as a reason for refraining from the use of force majeure to end such activity . As an example , the Pope states : “Out of respect for those who are in good conscience — mistaken indeed , but invincibly so –and of a different opinion , the Church has felt herself prompted to act , and has acted ,along the lines of tolerance . ” Along the lines of tolerance ” is not part of your vocabulary , is it ? The National Catholic Reporter states that approximately 90 % of Catholic adults believe that use of artificial contraceptives is not a sin when used in a marriage . When you are attending Sunday Mass and see all of these Catholic couples and their two children coming toward the altar to receive the Holy Eucharist , why are you not at the front of the Church flailing your arms to keep such sinners away from the Blessed Sacrament ? Perhaps this is a matter between the couples and Jesus . Perhaps the same rule should apply to remarried Catholics !


  62. The Raven says:


    I am going to blame D’Arcy and not you for mangling that quotation from the papal allocution, but the sentence in its full context is:

    Concerning the second proposition, that is to say, concerning tolerance in determined circumstances, toleration even in cases in which one could proceed to repression, the Church—out of regard for those who in good conscience (though erroneous, but invincibly so) are of different opinion—has been led to act and has acted with that tolerance, after she became the State Church under Constantine the Great and the other Christian emperors, always for higher and more cogent motives. So she acts today, and also in the future she will be faced with the same necessity. In such individual cases the attitude of the Church is determined by what is demanded for safeguarding and considering the on the one hand, the common good of the Church and the State in individual states, and, on the other, the common good of the universal Church, the reign of God over the whole world. In considering the “pro” and “con” for resolving the “question of facts,” as well as what concerns the final and supreme judge in these matters, no other norms are valid for the Church except the norms which We have just indicated for the Catholic jurist and statesman.

    And the full text of the document is here

    A more telling quotation from that document is as follows:

    For the Church with her mission has been, and is confronted with men and nations of marvelous culture, with others of almost incredible lack of civilization, and with all possible intermediate degrees: diversity of extraction, of language, of philosophy, of religious belief, of national aspirations and characteristics; free peoples and enslaved peoples; peoples that have never belonged to the Church and peoples that have been separated from her communion.

    The Church must live among them and with them; she can never declare before anyone that she is “not interested.” The mandate imposed upon her by her divine Founder renders it impossible for her to follow a policy of non-interference or She has the duty of teaching and educating in all the inflexibility of truth and goodness, and with this absolute obligation she must remain and work among men and nations that in mental outlook are completely different from each other.

    In short, the Church must never compromise its teaching, even if it must, as a civil power tolerate a diversity of opinion.

    To be blunt, I find D’Arcy’s representation of this passage (assuming that you have reported his views correctly) mendacious.

    The fact that married Catholics may be, through a fault in their formation, receiving communion unworthily does not mean that the Church should make the pretence that vice is, in fact, virtue.


  63. Remember the ancient biblical king who saw the handwriting on the wall ? This may be at hand again in the preparation for the upcoming synod on the family . Today on the CNA website there is an article on the “shadow council ” that took place in Rome in May of this year . The article stated that all the issues this discussion group dislikes were being pushed hard by the French and German attendees . One part of the analysis of that event that particularly caught my attention were the remarks of a French Jesuit professor , Alain Thomasset . He urged that the upcoming synod reject the label “intrinsically evil ” in the pastoral care of families on issues such as use of artificial contraception , sexual acts of the divorced and remarried or stable homosexual unions .
    Let me reveal that I am an homosexual in a loving union with my partner for the past 45-years. We are monogamous and lived through the AIDS epidemic without any fears . My dear mother was very devout and a third-order Franciscan most of her adult life . She loved me and my partner and told us so often . We often went to Mass together . I hope that in your world, my mother is not burning for all eternity in Hell because she loved her son and wanted him to be happy . The “Clarkson ” family is from old recusant English stock and has given the Church many priests and nuns during its more than one-thousand years of devoted membership in the body of Christ . I hope and pray that persons such as Kathleen , and those with her mindset , are not able to achieve our separation from the Church– something that King Henry, his daughter Elizabeth , and all their armies were unable to do . My last defense is one of “invincible ignorance ” at the last . My conscience is clear . Is there a drop of compassion for me and mine by anyone on this website ? Perhaps not !


  64. ginnyfree says:

    Hello Richard. Compassion I have for you and your friend. What I do not have is a crafty excuse for the choices you’ve made and the heartache it caused you and your loved ones. Jesus died to set you free of your sins and no matter that they be as scarlet, you can be forgiven. The freedom from sins of the nature you’ve disclosed to us here today is such that an end to them would have to be made before absolution can be given. Just as an adulterous affair cannot be absolved away until the penitent’s firm purpose of amendment is assured by the ending of the affair prior to it’s confession, your situation requires that you end your affair with your friend prior to absolution. You have chosen this instead of Christ. It would be wrong of me to say anything less. I hope and pray you take it as it is meant: a loving instruction regarding the truth of the matter. The truth of this is changeless. How we express it can from time to time. But to change how we say it to make it seem less than mortally sinful we as a Church cannot do. Your mother’s love is what is expected of a mother. I have children of my own and I love them with a mother’s love. More than once I’ve had to tell them things they didn’t want to hear. I wouldn’t be a loving mother if I held back the truth from them. If one of them disclosed to me they were homosexual, I’d say the exact same things. That is the loving thing to do: speak the truth in charity. From what little you’ve shared about your personal experience it is obvious your mother never stopped loving you. If a mother’s love was all that was needed to go to Heaven, every mother’s child would be there. We know that is not the case however, don’t we? I thank you for your candor. I will pray for you and your friend that both of you will find you way to Christ as He wills it and not as our digressing societal norms dictate. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  65. Dear Raven , Thank you ! That narrow quote I cited was the only part D’ Arcy included in his book. I stand corrected .


  66. johnhenrycn says:

    I don’t know why anyone would have given you a “thumbs down” richardjclarkson. I thought your comment was an excellent one – partly because of its frankness, but more because you write well. That said, I completely agree with your hope and prayer that Kathleen’s “mindset” (as you call it) will not achieve your “separation from the Church” because, frankly, despite your misguided views, that is NOT “her mindset” (as you call it), the essentials of and with which I completely agree. I don’t know why homosexuals who visit here think that we are troglodytes who wish them harm. You cannot know our personal circumstances, and so to assume we have no right to speak of homosexuality in a negative way because we have not walked a mile in your shoes is unfair. Do you not know that there are Catholic bloggers suffering from homosexual orientation who agree with Kathleen and me?


  67. Thanks for your remarks John Henry ! I know of whom you speak . I often read the ” Spiritual Friendship ” website . I am never quite sure where that relationship begins and ends . Is the answer really so crass ; one must refrain from touching one another’s genitals . Does an infrequent kiss or holding hands as one walks in the countryside condemn both men to Hell ? I can see a couple of young monks falling into those acts of friendship . One can agree with you and Kathleen and yet not accept your predictive consequences .


  68. johnhenrycn says:

    richardjclarkson: I have never visited or before today heard of the Spiritual Friendship website. I was thinking of another one.

    A small point of order, friend. I prefer not to be called “John Henry”. I chose my confirmation name – “Newman” – in honour of the real John Henry, but selected the lowercase-joined up blog name johnhenry [later forced by WordPress to change it to johnhenrycn] because I do not wish to be seen as assuming Newman’s Christian names or presuming an unwarranted philosophical or intellectual equivalency. My blog name (johnhenry or “JH”) suggests a modest respectful connection, which is all that I ask 😉


  69. geoffkiernan says:

    Michael: ‘possibly the most sensible thing I have read from You’… There was a time when agreeing with the Toad was the ‘kiss of death’.. . What is it with the Toad? Has he suddenly lost his mettle?
    In tribute to you Michael I see a more mellow frog.
    It seems you have achieved what the illustrious Kathleen, and others, has failed to do. Quite a conquest.
    I am sure many will be watching him (Toad) to see how complete the conquest.
    Personally I feel he wont survive the pressure…. A wager any one?


  70. Michael says:

    Richard, you may find this article on vincible and invincible ignorance useful:

    Also, I must second JH* when he states that the ‘mindset’ you are attributing to Kathleen is very much not what you seem to think – I am sure she does not actively seek the separation of anyone from the Church, but am equally sure she is very zealous to ensure that people are not misled as to what the Church actually teaches. Zeal for the truth and compassion for persons are not only not incompatible, but if true compassion is to flourish, the two must go together.

    *Apologies here to JH, as I have referred to you as ‘John Henry’ on a number of occasions. The only restitution I can offer here is a heartfelt ‘oops’ – a visual idiom which I am sure you will appreciate 🙂


  71. Michael says:

    Has anyone heard about these goings-on in Germany? I only just found out myself via another story linked to at Fr. Z’s site:

    Shows what we can expect (if we didn’t know already) from Cardinal Marx et al in October… Seems like they are trying to make real their threat/desire to break away from union with Rome by stealth – i.e; by gradually secularising themselves up to the point where they are barely a church at all.


  72. johnhenrycn says:

    RJC: Due to your slightly confusing but nevertheless fairly clear recommendation, I cannot right now summon the courage to read the link you offer. Perhaps the owners of this blog will publish an article about it with some introductory commentary to ease my pain.


  73. Michael says:

    Hi Richard,

    As there doesn’t seem to be a link to what you write here about Cardinal Erdo, I can’t really comment. However, I would draw your attention to two things that relate to what you’ve said:

    1. The fact that the areas of ‘reform’ that you mention have made it into the Relatio for the upcoming Synod is, in itself, a disgrace. Not necessarily because of what they propose, but because they did not receive the necessary super-majority of votes required for their inclusion in the document, but were forced through anyway. This alone might give one pause to consider the way in which those pushing for changes in Church teaching are going about their business, and whether such views genuinely reflect the mind of the Church.

    2. Cardinal Erdo recently issued the following statements:

    Again, I don’t know what it is he said that you are drawing attention to, but here he seems to be firmly in support of maintaining Church teaching. He also seemed very uncomfortable during the Synod last year when he had to relate to the press what had been included in the official documents.


  74. kathleen says:

    Ahhhhh……….the rhetoric of Catholic Compromise is just getting warmed up!

    Yes, I see what you mean now ginnyfree!
    ‘Catholic Compromise’ does not appear to realise that he has entered into a Traditional Catholic website, not a liberal one where the National Catholic Reporter (Fr Z’s Fish Wrap) is read and quoted… and “TOLERANCE” screamed from the rooftops is used to cover up and justify the breaking of the Ten Commandments!


  75. kathleen says:

    Richard, do you not read the other articles we have published on our blog? You seem to be referring to the “Shadow Synod” that we, and other orthodox Catholic websites, have denounced as a rebellious group of prelates who are aiming to undermine the Church’s teaching at the October 2015 Synod on the Family.

    [Ed. Agreeing with Michael, I cannot find any link to the dubious views you claim Cardinal Erdo has expressed.]

    P.S. For my belated reply to your previous comments, please see down below.


  76. kathleen says:

    [Moderator writes: The two comments kathleen replies to here and below have been removed, owing to their sacrilegious content and ad hominems]


    From both your uncharitable mocking jibes towards me, plus your very real anguish and despair so evident in all your outpourings here above, I would bet that you have anything but a “clear conscience”!

    I was doing no more than try to reply to your tangled, all-over-the-place comments and the questions you asked me. Besides, the article is about the coming Synod on the Family (and Card. Nichols worrying modernist ideas), not strictly that of homosexuality, which has been discussed at length on other threads.
    I am sorry if my words might have seemed harsh to you, but I believe I have done no more in my earlier comments than repeat the Church’s timeless teachings on marriage and the family. There are ‘enemies’ that are inside the very heart of the Church who are attempting a Protestant-type attack on Her doctrines and dogmas; no true Catholic can want or allow that to happen. We, on this Traditional Catholic blog, reject all these “wickedness and snares” of the Devil. If that displeases you, you have come to the wrong place.

    As Michael has already confirmed, I most certainly would not like to see anyone leave the Church who truly loves Our Blessed Lord and His Bride, who recognises Her as the One True Church (as you say you do) and yearns to live a virtuous and good life, even if he/she at the same time struggles with temptation to serious mortal sin. Those are not the Catholics I was referring to, but the ones who want to destroy her from within, thus creating a ‘church’ in their own image! In your heart of hearts you will know yourself to which category you belong.

    You are wrong to assume I do not have “compassion” for you and your problem; as a fellow pilgrim on life’s journey on earth, torn by his conscience, I honestly and truthfully do. Besides, we are all sinners are we not? Though our sins may differ, we all have our own weaknesses and temptations and struggles – I know I do. But God must come first; He must be our Greatest Love, whatever the cost.

    May I just add that I agree with Ginny, re your mother. In the same way Our Loving Saviour loves us unworthy sinners, calling us back when we lose our way, parents will always love their children and long for their return ‘home’ when they go astray. So why should you fear she is in “burning for all eternity in Hell” for having done no more than love her son (and his ‘friend’)? However, as a “devout Catholic” that you say she was, I do not see how she could have avoided suffering a deep inner pain and sorrow (perhaps never revealed to you) for the choices and path she saw you take.

    Could you not perhaps consult an orthodox Catholic priest to help and guide you? Though the Cross of suffering will never be taken away – this is part and parcel of “picking up our cross” and following Our Lord to Calvary – a personalised spiritual direction could be of great benefit.

    P.S. Apologies for my long delay in responding; I have been inundated with family visitors to look after (I live by the sea, you see) and have barely had time for more than a quick look-in on CP&S these last days.


  77. ginnyfree says:

    Only one fly to point to in the ointment Richard, the Church is not a democracy. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  78. kathleen says:

    WHAT DISTURBS ME is the possibility that you suffer from what has been described as ” the sin of intellectual pride ”

    Ah, please don’t let that “disturb” you Richard… you have plenty of your own “intellectual pride” to be worrying about.
    Plus a whole lot of other troubles, hang ups, and conundrums (as how to model a ‘c’hurch that will justify all your perversions) that each of your angry comments (including mocking the Holy Spirit and unchangeable Catholic teaching) has clearly shown us.

    Unfortunately (for you and other apostates) you will miserably fail in your attempt to change the One True Church. But those like you, rebelling against Truth today, will form your own little schismatic church that will ‘permit’ and ‘tolerate’ whatever whim or vice you fancy. Penance, repentance, sacrifice, et al., – that Our Blessed Lord calls us to, and that not one of us can do without – are not words in your ‘dictionary’ are they?

    My earlier replies to your nasty jibes at me were polite and considerate [not this one], but you are not in truth looking for “compassion” are you? What you want is to get your own way, come what may, and then look for justification from others for it.
    You won’t get it from me… nor any other traditional Catholic.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s