Papal comments on cohabitation and civil marriage suggest a direction

On his blog “In the Light of the Law” the Canon Lawyer, Dr Ed Peters, writes :

June 18, 2016

The pope’s most recent comments on marriage point in a disturbing direction but let’s address two important matters first.

Point One. Cohabitation is not marriage.

Largely overlooked amid the furor caused by Pope Francis’ rash claim that “the great part of our sacramental marriages are null”—an assertion reckless if false (which it is) and brimming with despair if true (which it is not), a claim followed not by an apology, an official retraction, or even a bureaucratic ‘clarification’ but instead by an Orwellian alteration of the pope’s words in Vatican records—overlooked, I say, in this greater mess was the pope’s later but equally problematic comment about his being “sure that cohabitating couples are in a true marriage having the grace of marriage”. Though multi-facetedly wrong (theologically, canonically, pastorally, socially) the pope’s equating cohabitation (‘faithful’, whatever that means) with Christian marriage did not, mirabile dictu, get edited down to a platitude or deleted completely: his words are still there, “in queste convivenze … sono sicuro che questo è un matrimonio vero, hanno la grazia del matrimonio…”

Let’s be clear: marriage is marriage but cohabitation (as that word is nearly universally understood in social discourse) is only cohabitation. Where to begin?

Everybody starts off single. One stays single unless one goes through a ceremony called a wedding, at which point, one is (presumptively, at least) married. People who are married get to do certain things that people who are not married don’t get to do, like, say, submit a married-filing-jointly tax return with a certain someone and have sex with that same certain someone if they both so choose. In addition, though, married couples who are baptized get something else at their wedding, they receive a sacrament called Matrimony, and with that sacrament come very powerful graces put there by Jesus to help Christian couples living the difficult and wonderful thing called marriage.

But, if one is not married, one does not get to submit a married-filing-jointly tax return with anyone and one does not get to have sex with a certain no-one or with anyone else. Moreover, even if one is baptized (and regardless of what other sacramental or actual graces might be wonderfully at work in one’s life) a single person does not get the specific graces of Matrimony. Why? Because cohabitation is NOT marriage, let alone is it “true marriage”, and cohabiting couples do NOT share in the graces of Matrimony.

Point Two. Civil-only marriage might, or might not, be marriage.

While asserting that couples cohabiting ‘faithfully’ (?) are in a real marriage (which they aren’t) the pope also said that merely civilly-married couples are in real marriages (which they might or might not be). To understand what is at stake here we need to distinguish more carefully.

Couples, neither of whom is Catholic (i.e., most of the world), even if both of them are baptized, can marry (the Church would say, “validly”) in a civil-only ceremony. To that extent, Francis would be right to say that civilly married couples have a true marriage. But if the pope thinks that merely civilly married Catholics—and given the context of his remarks this is likely whom he had in mind—are, just as much as cohabiting couples (supposedly) are, in real marriages and enjoying the graces of Matrimony, then I have to say No, that’s wrong—even though I wish he were right. Once again, the requirement of “canonical form” (a cure that has long out-lived the disease it was prescribed to treat) seriously complicates the Church’s message on the permanence of marriage.

Because Catholics (let’s just talk Romans here) are required for validity to marry in (still keepin’ it simple) a Catholic religious ceremony, those tens of thousands of Catholics who ‘marry’ civilly-only are (outside a few rare exceptions) no more married than are couples just cohabiting (‘faithfully’ or otherwise). Moreover, because of the inseparability of the marriage contract from the sacrament, if one is invalidly ‘married’ (and ‘marriages’ among Catholics who disregard canonical form are invalid) then one does not receive the sacrament of Matrimony either nor any of its graces. Why? Because, No marriage means no Matrimony.

Here’s the rub: as virtually all of the rest of the world, including baptized non-Catholics, can marry civilly-only, they are bound to such marriages if they enter them. So, even though a civil wedding might be just as much of a lark for some non-Catholics as it is for some Catholics, only Catholics have, in virtue of the requirement of canonical form, a “Get Out of Marriage Free” card to play. And play it they do. Lots. Hence, the complications that I (and some sterling canonists going back 50 years) have been warning about in regard to Church teaching on the permanence of marriage in the face of canonical form. Thus I say, one of these days, form has to go—but this is for another discussion.

In short, if the pope had in mind non-Catholics, he would be right to say that their civil-only wedding would count toward marriage (though why he would discuss such persons with cohabiting couples escapes me); but if he had in mind Catholics (as he probably did) then he is wrong to say that such persons are truly married and are drawing on the sacramental grace of Matrimony (though it would explain why he mentioned such persons in the same breath with cohabiting couples, as neither are married).

Now, these two points being addressed, and with the debacle of assertions of massive nullity supposedly plaguing Christian marriage still reverberating, something deeper may be emerging here. Consider,

Marriage, like pregnancy, is one of those ‘either/or’ situations—either you are or you aren’t. Others’ opinions, even your own opinion, about whether you are or aren’t, are irrelevant to whether you are or aren’t. Marriage is an objective fact, not a subjective (however sincere) feeling or attitude. Continuing,

The pope’s most recent statements on marriage were not slips akin to getting the date of a meeting wrong, they are not hearsay shared by a prelate known for a flexible attitude toward accuracy or stories shared by relatives from Argentina, and they are not hints of his views left ambiguous by some obvious omission. Instead these latest assertions were calmly offered by the pope before a large and sympathetic audience, with expert advisors readily at hand, in an extended manner, all of which factors point, I think, in a consistent if disturbing direction.

And what direction is that?

This one: Pope Francis really—and I think, sincerely—believes:

(A) most marriages (at least, most Christian marriages) really aren’t, deep-down, marriages (and so the annulment process has to be sped up to dispatch of what are, after all, probably null marriages anyway, and the consequences of post-divorce marriages need to be softened because most people in those second marriages probably weren’t in true marriages the first time, and so on); and,

(B) lots of things that aren’t marriages (like cohabitation and civil-only weddings between Catholics) really are, deep-down, marriages (so we need to affirm them and assure them that they enjoy the same graces as married people, and so on).

That this is pope’s view can, I suggest, be directly determined from his own words (expunged and otherwise) and, if I am right, would explain many things, from his favoring Cdl. Kasper and side-lining Cdl. Burke, rolling out several problematic tribunal “reforms” in Mitis Iudex, and leaving ambiguous several crucial points that sorely needed clarity in Amoris laetitia. The irreducibly objective, ‘either/or’, nature of marriage would not sit well with someone who prefers subjective, flexible approaches that allow for ‘this and that’ responses, but, whatever problems the principle of non-contradiction poses here, a conviction that most marriages are not marriage but lots of non-marriages are marriage, would explain a lot.

That said, I see no way to avoid the conclusion that a crisis (in the Greek sense of that word) over marriage is unfolding in the Church, and it is a crisis that will, I suggest, come to a head over matrimonial discipline and law. If so, a key fact to keep in mind will be this: No sacrament owes so much of its theology to Church discipline as marriage owes to canon law.

Perusing the pages of, say, Jesuit Fr. George Joyce’s classic study of Christian Marriage (1933), one is repeatedly struck by how deeply indebted the development of Catholic doctrine on marriage is to the practical work of canon lawyers handling marriage matters. That the latest crisis over marriage depends so much on how canonical terms like “valid” or “null” are used, on how “marriage” and “Matrimony” are defined, or on what legally constitutes “objective grave sin” and “repentance”, should surprise no one. Catholic theology of marriage and Catholic canon law on marriage are deeply, deeply interwoven. This heavy presence of law in marriage matters even explains, I think, at least in part, why some proponents of “softening” Church discipline on marriage so often berate canon lawyers as Pharisees with stony hearts who care only about rules (oblivious to the irony that it was, after all, the Pharisees who tried to derail God’s plan for marriage.) By their defense of Church discipline on marriage canon lawyers have long been crucial in the defense of Church doctrine on marriage. And I hope we remain so.

To conclude, and prescinding from what other questions might face the Church under Francis, I think the marriage crisis that he is occasioning is going to come down to whether Church teaching on marriage, which everyone professes to honor, will be concretely and effectively protected in Church law, or, whether the canonical categories treating marriage doctrine become so distorted (or simply disregarded) as essentially to abandon marriage and married life to the realm of personal opinion and individual conscience. History has always favored the former; disaster lurks behind the latter.

Sts. Thomas More and Raymond Penyafort, pray for us.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to Papal comments on cohabitation and civil marriage suggest a direction

  1. johnhenrycn says:

    I can almost hear His Holiness remarking to Crazy Kardinal Kasper in his (Francis’s) Vatican City bedsit after reading this commentary by the estimable Dr Peters:
    “If Canon law supposes that [he said, twisting his zucchetto emphatically with both hands] then Canon law is an ass – an idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eyes may be opened by experience – by experience.”
    I wonder what our senior member of the Dublin bars thinks of Dr Peters and his above analysis.

  2. Fed says:

    I am stuck in a difficult situation. First I am married by Civil Law. Then, a couple years later I got a blessing with my wife. We did not get into the ceremony at the end because their parents died and later on she lost Catholic/Christian faith and of course she does not want to married with the Church.

    I am Catholic but I think is difficult now to convince her to get married by the Church. I consulted a few years ago with a Priest he urged me to get Married by the Church. I told him that I want but my wife does not want. I was wandering if this blessing I got is enough of I have to continue pursuing this. Now this will be difficult as I don’t find any flexibility from her side.

    For me I am married and catholic and consider this blessing the nearest point of a ceremony.

    Thanks for your opinion.

  3. The current poor clown of a pope, sorry, I mean “His Holiness, is destroying the Church in two ways. On the one hand he’s creating a kind of Protestant or Anglican Church which is guaranteed to continue losing members in droves, as in England, in the rest of Europe, in America, and elsewhere. On the other hand, he is causing a schism in the Church between faithful Catholics (or “pharisees” as he regards them) and members of the Church of Nice, who believe that any act or idea is fine with God, as long as it is approved by the individual conscience.

  4. John says:

    Johnhenrycn,
    The opinion of Dr Ed Peter’s is, of course, his opinion; but as between his opinion and that of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ on earth, I prefer the latter. Nothing very profound about that.

    When Sir Thomas More was being privately pestered for his opinion on the King’s great (matrimonial} matter he is supposed to have said : ‘ It is not meet that I meddle in this matter’. If that is good enough for a canonized saint, it is good enough for me.

    Too many meddlers, I think. Leave it to those whose competence and office it is to pronounce on these matters

  5. mmvc says:

    Fed, discussing your personal circumstances on this blog may not be the ideal way of trying to resolve your dilemma. My recommendation would be that you should seek out a good Catholic priest again to discuss your particular situation with him. Please God, he will be able to advise you and help you move forward. Meanwhile I will pray for you both.

  6. mmvc says:

    John @ 13.55

    “By their defense of Church discipline on marriage canon lawyers have long been crucial in the defense of Church doctrine on marriage.”

    “No sacrament owes so much of its theology to Church discipline as marriage owes to canon law.”

    Mere personal ‘opinion’?

    I think not.

  7. John says:

    mmve,

    This assumes that individual opinions from canon lawyers are to be preferred to the teaching of Pope Francis as the Vicar of Christ on earth who is by canon law the universal pastor.

    When Pope Paul VI promulgated Humanae Vitae he did so against the advice of his own appointed commission of experts. Should he have acceded to their advice ? Dr Peters has not even been appointed by the Pope to advise him on this matter.

  8. toadspittle says:

    “The current poor clown of a pope,”
    Steady on, old chap.

  9. johnhenrycn says:

    Mr Kehoe does seem to forget (pace mmvc) at least a few venerable Catholic theologians, including some saints, who criticized the popes of their days and who were subsequently adjudged by Church history to be more doctrinally sound than they.

  10. johnhenrycn says:

    John Kehoe (13:55) says – “The opinion of Dr Ed Peter’s…”

    His name is Peters. The only name you get right here all the time is mine, much to my chagrin because the cn suffix was forced on me by WordPress. I prefer “johnhenry” or “JH”, but I’m sure you know that. Anyroad, without wishing to be gratuitously pedantic, I’m wondering what they teach in your Hibernian backwater about the possessive apostrophe in surnames ending with an “s”? I was bemused (04:23) when I asked: “I wonder what [Mr Kehoe] thinks of Dr Peters and his above analysis”, because I’d have preferred to ask: “I wonder what [Mr Kehoe] thinks of Dr Peters’s analysis”, but it seemed like such a stuttering mouthful that I decided to play it safe, knowing that you would jump at the chance to correct me if I was wrong. I couldn’t allow that, obviously.

  11. toadspittle says:

    Moderators are still deeply debating whether or not Toad’s comment above, submitted at 16.22, is too vicious and venomous to run.
    Exciting, isn’t it?

  12. John says:

    johnhenrycn. I am very aware that unless Papal pronouncements are made ex cathedra they are not regarded as infallible. That doesn’t mean that it is open season on every other pronouncement made by a Pope. The Pope, by canon law the universal pastor, has the pre eminent authority and competence to teach and does not have to defer to any one or more of the plethora of experts who spring up with contrary opinions every time he opens his mouth.
    Popes can, and do, ignore even the very experts they themselves appoint to advise them: Pope Paul Vi who in Humanae Vitae went against the advice of the Papal Commission on Contraception appointed by himself, is just one such case in point.

  13. John says:

    JH,
    Yes I did, because of typing speed, misplace the apostrophe when using the possessive form of ‘Dr Peters’. I am, however, aware of the correct usage. However if, as is unusual, you have nothing more substantive by way of criticism of my last posting I feel vindicated.
    In regard to your reference to ‘what they teach in your Hibernian backwater’ yes I am aware of what Canadians think of Ireland, the supposed ignorant Irish, and their low-class education.

  14. johnhenrycn says:

    My maternal grandmother, who I never knew, is remembered by the family (sotto voce) as a Hibernian prostitute (or “sex worker”, to genuflect in the direction of the dishonest genteelism I suspect you favour), but she could have been a Caledonian one – despite which I’ve never tried to hide my lineage. Whilst not taking pride in it, I own it.

  15. John says:

    johnhenrycn. Why do you think I favour dishonest genteelism. ? I call a spade a spade. On another page of CP&S the moderator calls me a ‘bit of a bruiser’.. I can’t be both genteel and bruising at the same time.

    [The Moderator – I’ll be the judge of that]

    Your dear maternal grandmother may well have given George Bernard Shaw his idea for the play entitled Mrs Warren’s Profession

  16. johnhenrycn says:

    Mr Kehoe (18:07) says – “Yes I did, because of typing speed, misplace the apostrophe when using the possessive form of ‘Dr Peters’. I am, however, aware of the correct usage.”

    I’m not so sure that you do, because I think the correct possessive is Dr Peters’s – not Peters’, even though that does sound like stuttering.

    I used to have a friend in elementary school with a terrible stutter. When he was born, his parents named him Stuart Stewart. At least they didn’t name him Lou Gehrig. Better a stutter than a disease, what, what?

  17. Tom Fisher says:

    My maternal grandmother, who I never knew, is remembered by the family (sotto voce) as a Hibernian prostitute

    So all bets are off as to the identity of your maternal grandfather?🙂

    I kid, I kid

  18. johnhenrycn says:

    Mrs Warren’s Profession?
    You’ve caught me there, Mr Kehoe. The next time it’s produced at our absolutely world famous Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, I should think about taking my sister and her wife to see it. They like transgressive stuff.

  19. johnhenrycn says:

    Tom Fisher, I think acknowledging disreputable relations is not so bad. Not one’s parents or (known) grandparents – we have to keep the feelings of our children in mind – but it doesn’t embarrass me to mention all the long dead people in my family tree. Why should it? They are part of who I am. I have police reports about the Hibernian (possibly Caledonian) grandmother I refer to.

  20. The Raven says:

    Is this a bad time to quote Bracton?

    Non est enim rex ubi dominatur voluntas et non lex

    And as Mr Kehoe’s late studies will have taught him, a monarch, a president or a prime-minister is quite capable of being fallible in his or her application or understanding of the law (if this were not the case his entire field of study would be redundant).

  21. kathleen says:

    I’ve been having such a great laugh at some of the hilarious conversations on this thread and others on CP&S these last few days (thanks to the return of our dashing Rockie😉 ) that it makes it a bit difficult to come down to earth to face up to the really shocking and very serious papal pronouncements reported above. They are unbelievable!

    How anyone can defend them (as we have seen they do) when these statements are so glaringly contradictory to Catholic doctrinal teaching on Holy Matrimony and morality – AND COMING FROM THE POPE HIMSELF, no less!! – then is it any wonder we are in an era of such terrible confusion in the Church?

    RJB’s description of the Pope is insulting (and actually I’m surprised it wasn’t deleted by a moderator), but I agree with his words about the possible schism Pope Francis is forming between faithful (hence, orthodox) Catholics, and those from the Church of Nice with his continual bombardment of Protestant-like statements this latter group just luuuurv.

  22. kathleen says:

    Mr John Kehoe says to JH:

    “In regard to your reference to ‘what they teach in your Hibernian backwater’ yes I am aware of what Canadians think of Ireland, the supposed ignorant Irish, and their low-class education.”

    Mr Kehoe, Canadians think no such thing! This was JH having fun, pulling your leg, cracking a joke – you know, the thing that makes people laugh, “hahaha” sort of thing – and not a dig at you or any of the rest of his chums on here (including myself) who are happy to be Irish or possess Irish ancestry.

  23. Brother Burrito says:

    Mr Kehoe,

    Although I am only a plastic Paddy myself (born of Irish parents and raised in the UK), I am in awe of the Republic of Ireland, its most excellent education system, and its searingly bright inhabitants.

    I am only saddened by their shoddy rejection of their Catholic heritage. This has been evident in their media since the early 90s-I am a frequent visitor to that blessed isle, you see.

    Catholicism is the ultimate operating system for the human soul. No other system comes close. It can improve everything it comes into contact with. Rejection of it is tantamount to spiritual suicide, or at least spiritual self-maiming.

    I pray that Ireland wakes up from its funk and realises once again that it is a great nation that can change the world through the power of its Catholic personality. AMEN.

  24. Brother Burrito says:

    Kathleen,

    I must know: who is this “Rockie” character you allude to? Is he a rival against me for your affections?

    Yours ever jealously

    BB

  25. John says:

    Dear The Raven,
    I am not impressed with Henry de Bracton’s notion that the ruler should be called king only if he obtains and exercises power in a lawful manner. Who is to say what is a lawful manner ? Busybodies ? Closer to the Catholic Church’s constitution is John Austin’s concept of the command of the Sovereign being secured by sanctions. In Church terms that being Papal power, instituted by Christ, obedience thereto and the ultimate sanction of excommunication. I do not find anywhere in canon law that the incumbent Pope must defer to the notions of such persons as appear on this blog or elsewhere. The Church is not a democracy
    Dear Brother Burrito,
    It is nice to know that you are of Irish parents and have a high opinion of the people of the Republic of Ireland. Their rejection of their Catholic heritage was occasioned by the unfortunate practices of the Church itself through the early brainwashing in its Catholic schools, the brutalities, otherwise known as corporal punishment, which we experienced at the hands of dismal teaching brothers and priests, all occurring before the sexual scandals and abuses were exposed, which however dealt the coup de grace to the Church. A not unexpected outcome in the long run. People were happy to ditch the old pieties and the outdated regime of Catholic Ireland

  26. JabbaPapa says:

    the pope’s later but equally problematic comment about his being “sure that cohabitating couples are in a true marriage having the grace of marriage”

    I do get extremely tired of this.

    That is NOT what he said.

    He suggested that those couples in a permanent state of quasi-marriage due to their fidelity to each other have “the grace of marriage” which BTW is NOT the sacramental grace, given that he did not use the word “sacramental” in reference to those couples : “Eppure davvero dico che ho visto tanta fedeltà in queste convivenze, tanta fedeltà; e sono sicuro che questo è un matrimonio vero, hanno la grazia del matrimonio, proprio per la fedeltà che hanno.

    It is a LIE to suggest that the Pope’s comments are somehow magically applicable to every single situation of cohabitation, as well as being a LIE to suggest that the Pope claimed that **sacramental** Grace exists in them.

    Marriage provides multiple Graces, not one single grace that you can put into a handy little box and keep on your shelf.

    Instead of getting all excited about this sort of thing, one really should start by remembering that the Catholic Church accepts the existence of some marriages due to their obedience of the fundamentals of the Catholic Doctrine of Marriage, even where the Sacrament itself may be absent.

  27. JabbaPapa says:

    I am not impressed with Henry de Bracton’s notion that the ruler should be called king only if he obtains and exercises power in a lawful manner. Who is to say what is a lawful manner ? Busybodies ? Closer to the Catholic Church’s constitution is John Austin’s concept of the command of the Sovereign being secured by sanctions. In Church terms that being Papal power, instituted by Christ, obedience thereto and the ultimate sanction of excommunication. I do not find anywhere in canon law that the incumbent Pope must defer to the notions of such persons as appear on this blog or elsewhere.

    tum-te-tum, maybe it’s time to roll out Pope Boniface VIII’s Unam Sanctam, against various Errors ?

    7. Therefore, if the earthly power goes astray, it will be judged by the spiritual power; but if a lesser spiritual power goes astray, [it will be judged] by its superior; and truly, if the highest [power] goes astray, it will not be able to be judged by man, but by God alone. And so the Apostle testifies, “The spiritual man judges all things, but he himself is judged by no one.” [1 Corinthians 2:15]

    8. But this authority, even though it may be given to a man, and may be exercised by a man, is not human, but rather divine [power], having been given by the divine mouth [of Christ] to Peter, and to him as well as to his successors, by [Christ] Himself, [that is, to him] whom He had disclosed to be the firm rock, just as the Lord said to Peter himself: “Whatever you shall bind,” [Matthew 16:19] etc. Therefore, whoever resists this authority, such as it has been ordained by God, resists the ordination of God. [Romans 13:2] Otherwise, he would be proposing two principles to exist, as did Manichaeus, and this we judge to be false and heretical. For Moses testified that God created heaven and earth, not in the beginnings, but “in the beginning.” [Genesis 1:1]

    9. Moreover, that every human creature is to be subject to the Roman pontiff, we declare, we state, we define, and we pronounce to be entirely from the necessity of salvation.

  28. Brother Burrito says:

    Call me a silly old sentimental romantic if you must, but I still believe Ireland has a major part to play in the world’s future.

    Much mission territory was ploughed worldwide by sons of Eire. Such fertile disruptions cannot be ever forgotten.

    An Irish passport is still a lifesaver-ask the Algerian oil worker hostages for proof of that.

    Regardless of our differences, I remain a full-on supporter of Ireland and all of its wonderful children.

  29. Brother Burrito says:

    Well said, Jabba my friend.

    God love you.

  30. kathleen says:

    Oops – I think I must have made a mistake in calling these handsome fellows “Rockies”! But anyway, you now know who your “rival” is, dearest Burrito.
    But don’t worry, there’s enough room in my heart for both of you. And for this commenter I admire and squabble with too.🙂

    P.S.: BB @ 12:54

    Hear, hear!

  31. The Raven says:

    I am not impressed with Henry de Bracton’s notion that the ruler should be called king only if he obtains and exercises power in a lawful manner.

    I am happy for you, but as Bracton’s De Legibus is one of the foundational texts of Common Law jurisprudence, you seem set on overturning the basis of any law-based polity.

    Who is to say what is a lawful manner ?

    We have Sacred Tradition and Canon Law to tell us that.

    John Austin’s concept of the command of the Sovereign being secured by sanctions.

    …is largely of historical interest. Modern jurists are more interested in transactional models of sovereignty.

    I do not find anywhere in canon law that the incumbent Pope must defer to the notions of such persons as appear on this blog or elsewhere.

    Putting the ultra into ultra-montanist, John. If the Pope wishes to change the law of the Church he can do, but until he changes that law, any comment he makes that contradicts that law is as open to criticism as your own writings.

    And Jabba, if the Holy Father chooses to exercise his teaching authority to change the law of the Church, I’ll be happy for you to throw Unam Sanctam in my direction, but an off the cuff statement that has to be redacted in the published version (with papal authority, apparently) hardly comes up to that measure.

    Can I remind both you and John that the teaching authority of the Pope himself is circumscribed by the teaching of an ecumenical council; get your head out of Unam Sanctam and into Pastor Æternus!

  32. toadspittle says:

    “Oops – I think I must have made a mistake in calling these handsome fellows “Rockies”! But anyway, you now know who your “rival” is, dearest Burrito. But don’t worry, there’s enough room in my heart for both of you. “
    Kathleen is blessed with the rare, and indubitably enviable, gift – of being able to simper in print.
    Wish I could. I’d have a few more friends.

  33. John says:

    The Raven, I am afraid we are both fated to disagree just as I do with my old enemies herein Kathleen and Johnhenrycn.
    People need to read Gaudium et Spes, the Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, pace Kahleen who gets steamed up about ‘Modernism’, and move with the times just as Vatican II points the way. Tempora mutantur et nos in illis mutamur.

  34. toadspittle says:

    (Copy edit. Kill version 1)

    “Tempora mutantur et nos in illis mutamur.”
    Easy for you to say, John.
    The only Greek Toad knows is “Ooh, la, la!”

  35. John says:

    Toad, I have to admire your apposite Greek intervention. We are so scholarly here.

  36. JabbaPapa says:

    And Jabba, if the Holy Father chooses to exercise his teaching authority to change the law of the Church, I’ll be happy for you to throw Unam Sanctam in my direction

    erm, my comment concerning Unam Sanctam wasn’t thrown in either your direction or the Pope’s, and claims concerning Papal Sovereignty and Unam Sanctam are very often greatly exaggerated anyway (at least the translation I’ve quoted is reliable, unlike the one that usually gets thrown around) — What the Bull actually *does* establish (as far as this discussion is concerned) is that a Regal and the Pontifical Sovereignty are both ultimately derived from the Graces of God, as must therefore the legitimacy of each, so that John’s doubts about the direct connection between Sovereignty and Law, as if a source of Authority could exist outside Law, contradicts Unam Sanctam in a manner that Pope Boniface VIII establishes as being heretical.

    Two principles of Authority cannot exist.

  37. johnhenrycn says:

    John Kehoe says (19:38) – “…my old enemies herein Kathleen and Johnhenrycn.”

    I am, like, totally gutted that you should shun me as an enemy. Was it something I said about the Emerald Isle? I was born on 17 March and, as mentioned above, quite possibly have a dram or two of Irish whisky (er, sorry, whiskey) flowing through my veins. You’ve got to lighten up, John. I also have more than a dram or two of Finnish blood. Just this morning, another Finn and I were trading jokes about our race, including its propensity for overindulgence in alcohol and a (possibly) concomitant tendency to depression, although I think it’s those long dark winter nights that are more the cause of the latter. Anyway, lots of Finns live in northern Ontario – in places like Timmins, Kirkland Lake, Sudbury and Thunder Bay – and the story goes that if you need to buy rope in Thunder Bay for a home project on the weekend, you’d best go to the hardware stores on Friday morning. If you wait ’til Saturday, they’ll be sold out of rope because the Finns will have bought it all to hang themselves on Friday evening. You should learn to laugh at who you are and where you come from, but I’ve told you this before, and you don’t seem to get it. Here endeth the lesson.

  38. JabbaPapa says:

    Just this morning, another Finn and I were trading jokes about our race, including its propensity for overindulgence in alcohol and a (possibly) concomitant tendency to depression

    Kippis !!

    Been there, done that …

  39. toadspittle says:

    “You should learn to laugh at who you are and where you come from,”
    Like JH does. It’s not a bad idea to laugh at everything, really – starting briskly with religion, and moving eventually onto politics. “Brexit” will be a hoot.

  40. johnhenrycn says:

    John Kehoe drips further droplets of wisdom upon his readers from his pool of condescension:
    “People need to read Gaudium et Spes, the Constitution of the Church in the Modern World…” No mention of Scott Peck’s The Road Less Travelled, Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking, Neal Donald Walsch’s Conversations With God or many other self-help guides for coping with modern life? I’m surprised at you, John Kehoe.

    What you need to read is Félix Sardà y Salvany’s Liberalism Is A Sin (1899), St Pope Pius X’s Oath Against Modernism (1910) and quite a few other similar works by serious Catholic thinkers such as John Henry Cardinal Newman who said: “For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion,” which is why I chose his name at confirmation even though he is not a saint (yet).

  41. John says:

    Johnhenrycn,

    What is needed here is not an antidote to the liberalism you accuse me of, but a little loyalty to Pope Francis, as Vicar of Christ on earth and not challenges to his teaching. I thought loyalty to the Pope was one of the founding principles of CP&S but I must have been mistaken. It is more like a dissenters’ platform [ if we can forget for the moment the heavy discussion about the correct place of the apostrophe].
    My argument throughout is that those on this page who challenge Papal teaching should, if to be taken seriously, demonstrate their competence and authority to do so. I do not have any such competence [REDACTED] at a superiority I do not possess and have never claimed.

    In recommending a reading of Gaudium et Spes, you accuse me of condescension. Is your reading recommendation to me to be somehow regarded as otherwise ?

  42. The Raven says:

    I have a Finnish aunt, JH, and I remember teasing her that Finnish being a member of the Finno-Ugarit language group meant that she was a variety of Turk. She was sufficiently incensed as to telephone the Finnish ambassador, who confirmed the sad truth to her.

  43. johnhenrycn says:

    “…a variety of Turk.”
    Sad indeed🙂 I’m no anthropologist, but yes, my full blooded Finnish grandfather, like many of his race, had an ever-so-faint Asiatic cast to his eyes, certainly not Fu Manchu-ish, but reminiscent of the Mongolian – Manchurian steppe people from which most scholars say that the Finno-Ugric tribe(s), – Finns, Hungarians,etc – are descended. A few places in Finland bear my family name.

  44. The Raven says:

    Let me put a question to you, John.

    You ask us what qualification we have to critique the statements attributed to the Holy Father. Can you point me to the teaching of the Church that demands any such qualification?

    And thank you for reminding me of Gaudium et Spes, chapter 1 of that document is such a clear restatement of traditional Catholic teaching on marriage, and flies so directly into the face of the reported comments of the Holy Father.

    However, as is always the case with VII, the absence of anathemas leaves us with a council that is all recitals and no provisions; meaning that we have to go back to Trent to see what the teaching of the Church is: can I refer you to Session 24, cap 8 on concubinage.

  45. The Raven says:

    Well, JH, like my aunt you buck the stereotype in the old joke:

    How can you tell if a Finn is an extrovert? When he’s talking to you, a Finnish introvert looks at his feet. A Finnish extrovert looks at yours.

  46. johnhenrycn says:

    John Kehoe (22:14) – You make so many false accusations against me. I could cry:

    1. “…the liberalism you accuse me of…” I have not (on this thread – nor on any other one so far as I think you can prove) accused you of liberalism. If someone here were to say that you’re a flaming liberal, I would bite my tongue. What I suggested – and here I take a page out of your patronizing playbook – is that you would do well to expand your Catholic horizons by reading more widely the works of people written before the pope de nour jours.

    2. “It is more like a dissenters’ platform [if we can forget for the moment the heavy discussion about the correct place of the apostrophe]”. Did I ever say that a possessive apostrophe as the last mark after a plural common noun, as distinct from a singular proper noun, both ending in “s” is wrong? I applaud your punctuation of dissenters’. “Peters’? Not so much. Mind you, Jesus’ and Moses’ are exceptions to the general rule.

    3. “…those on this page who challenge Papal teaching should, if to be taken seriously, demonstrate their competence and authority to do so. There’s a logical fallacy lurking in that assertion; but since you address your admonition to me, I will not dwell on it, but simply ask where I have challenged Papal teaching as distinct from meandering?

  47. JabbaPapa says:

    It is more like a dissenters’ platform

    Oh good GRIEF …

  48. toadspittle says:

    Let’s get this out of the way, then – sooner than later.

  49. JabbaPapa says:

    There’s joy too —

  50. kathleen says:

    Mr John Kehoe @ 19:38 yesterday

    “The Raven, I am afraid we are both fated to disagree just as I do with my old enemies herein Kathleen and Johnhenrycn.”

    Naturally, Mr Kehoe, you are most certainly “fated to disagree” with all orthodox Catholics who truly love their Church and want to keep it free from falsehoods and diluted teachings.

    Yes, of course I get “steamed up” about Modernism – and so should you! It’s a pernicious heresy out to destroy the Truth. Numerous past holy Popes and saints have condemned it in all its guises. If you were sincerely worried about the Catholic Church being infiltrated by Modernist errors (so many that abound these days, often originating from Catholics themselves) you would get “steamed up” too! The very fact that you don’t care is uncomfortably telling…

    But, wow – to call fellow Catholics your “enemies” (and to really, really mean it – you being someone who has zero capacity to joke) is pretty strong stuff, and I’d even dare say rings unChristian, n’est-ce pas?

    I don’t think of you as “my enemy”, Mr Kehoe, honestly,… although I must admit your interventions here have definitely become an “occasion of sin” for me! Every time I look into CP&S and read more of your pompous bellyaching I find I get madly IRRITATED. And your arrogant dismissal of all those whom you consider inferior beings to your exalted self really gets my goat. No, not even our most tiresome, teasing, resident Toad is as irritating as you. (And that’s saying something, let me tell you!)

  51. kathleen says:

    Toad @ 19:23 yesterday

    “Kathleen is blessed with the rare, and indubitably enviable, gift – of being able to simper in print.”

    You jealous or something, Toadie?

    But how could I love a toad?😯
    Let’s see: perhaps we could find you a ‘fairy godmother’* (*metaphor, of course) to wave a magic wand so that you:
    Change your mocking tune; embrace humility and openness to God’s Love and Mercy; stop being unkind (pace Crow) and rude; leave pointless scepticism and relativism behind (those never-ending wheels of despair); be a real MAN and face up to what you know in your heart of hearts is the Truth, etc. etc.,… but please, don’t leave your sense of humour behind!😉
    And then join us bunch of sinners in the Church, for we know “in Whom we have put our trust”.

    Then, when you have been transformed from a toad into a Prince, I’ll find a place in my heart for you too.x

    Ed. (@ 17:20) Having just spotted sitting in our ‘Trash’ bin a surprisingly nasty response from Toad to me that the Moderator must have sent there, I realise I was wrong in assuming Toad has a sense of humour. I was only affectionately playing him at his own game. Disappointing. But you live and learn.

  52. John says:

    Kathleen,
    The crude manner in which you choose to express yourself e.g. ‘pompous bellyaching’ and, [DELETED by a Moderator: No lies admitted here, John]
    Please do keep your interventions civil.

    [Moderator: Civility works both ways.]

    You are not the only one concerned with the ‘deposit of faith’, which you have mentioned several times, nor are you its sole repository.
    Would you consider Gaudium et Spes, the Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, an example of Modernism which you so dislike ?

    [Moderator: Who says it is “Modernism”? Perhaps you overlooked this response to you from The Raven yesterday: “Gaudium et Spes, chapter 1 of that document is such a clear restatement of traditional Catholic teaching on marriage, and flies so directly into the face of the reported comments of the Holy Father.”]

  53. JabbaPapa says:

    Modernism which you so dislike

    The issue isn’t if Modernism should be “liked” or “disliked” as if this were a mere matter of personal choice — Modernism is a Heresy against the Catholicity of the Faith that has been formally condemned at the highest level of Catholic Authority.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s