PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-the Lean Version-Part 6




Part 6 of our stripped down look at Amoris Laetitia with some commentary by PopeWatch:

151.  Sexuality is only enhanced by the training of passions that go on in a good marriage.

152.  Erotic love in marriage is a gift from God that enhances the relationship of husband and wife.

153.  Sexuality is poisoned by the mentality of use and discard.  (“I’m going to trade in a forty for two twenties.”)

154.  The physical act of sex in marriage unaccompanied  by love can become a source of misery and manipulation.

155.  Sex as a goal by itself within marriage is destructive of the marriage unless it is accompanied by love.

156.  The Bible rejects every form of sexual submission.  (The Pope does his best to make the Biblical statements on marriage mesh with 21rst Century ideas of equality of the sexes.  The Sacred Authors of course weren’t interested in egalitarianism, one of the central shibboleths of our time, but rather in giving instructions for living a Christian life that would endure in the face of changing societal fads and intellectual prejudices.)

157.  Sexuality is an essential element of a marriage.

158.  A nod to Christian virgins.

159.  Virginity is a form of love and a foreshadowing of how we will live in Heaven, where people are not married or given in marriage.

160.  No basis for playing marriage off against virginity in determining which is more pleasing to God.

161.  Virginity and marriage are complementary in highlighting different aspects of the Christian message.

162.  Celibacy can risk becoming a comfortable single life, while married couples can display heroic virtues.  (Several priests that I have talked to over the years have rejoiced that Catholic parishioners  are unable to subject them to the indignity of trying to set them up with a date with single women in the parish, something that single Protestant ministers are frequently subject to, often with darkly humorous outcomes.)

163.  Longer life spans make lifetime commitments more challenging.

164.  Good marriages are not dependent upon the physical attractiveness of husband and wife, something that almost always wanes as the years pass.


Chapter Five-Love Made Fruitful

165.  Love always gives life.

166.  Married couples must always be welcome to the new life they bring forth.

167.  Large families are a joy to the Church, but don’t breed like rabbits.

168.  Pregnancy is a difficult but a wonderful time.

169.  A pregnant woman can participate in God’s plan by dreaming of her child.

170.  A child is a human being of immense worth and may never be used for the purposes of others.

171.  Pregnancy is a time for mothers to experience great joy.

172.  Every child has a right to be loved by a mother and a father, as both are essential to the child.

173.  Women today are often unable to spend enough time with their children.

174.  Mothers are the strongest antidote to the spread of self-centered individualism.

175.  Mothers comfort children and fathers give them the necessary kick in the tail to grow into self-reliant adults.  Both roles are essential in rearing children.

176.  Missing fathers is a disaster for children.

177.   It is not good for children to lack a father and grow up before they are ready.  (Too often a missing Father means that the children never truly grow up.)

178.  Some married couples are unable to have children but that does not diminish their marriages.

179.  Adoption is a way for married couples unable to have kids to live out their vocations as parents.

180.  The best interests of the child should always underlie any decision as to adoption or foster care.

More tomorrow.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. Actually as to number 154, he’s not being Biblical. The famous Pauline passage about not having rights over one’s body but the spouse has….ending in ” do not deprive one another “…was critical for Aquinas who maintained that saying no to sex in marriage without sufficient reason was mortal sin. The Church seems to have followed Aquinas on non marital foreplay being mortal sin but seems to have taken a pass on his saying no to sex part within marriage as being mortal sin. For the larger part of history, marriages were arranged or quasi arranged through several families and people then were, if we can use biblical Jacob as an example, marrying unattractive Leah not Rachel ( Jacob married both Leah, the uncomely, and Rachel, the beautiful….symbolizing for Augustine that Catholics are married to both suffering and a vision of God). Bottom line….according to the epistle, I Corinthians 7…perfunctory sex in the non enthusiastic spouse that day or night is an act of virtue and for Aquinas, an inconsiderate no is mortal sin.

  2. ps
    His AL 156 sees ” wives be subject to your husbands” as cultural only. He got this from St. John Paul II who twice like Francis ignored Casti Connubii 174 and four NT verses besides Ephesians. The result during John Paul’s reign was a catechism that is silent on wifely obedience though the NT refers to it five times.
    Here in stark contrast is Pope Pius XI in 1930 Casti Connubii:
    ” 74. The same false teachers who try to dim the luster of conjugal faith and purity do not scruple to do away with the honorable and trusting obedience which the woman owes to the man. Many of them even go further and assert that such a subjection of one party to the other is unworthy of human dignity, that the rights of husband and wife are equal; wherefore, they boldly proclaim the emancipation of women has been or ought to be effected.”
    If anyone sees the hermeneutic of continuity between section 74 and JPII / Francis….I want the name of your eye doctor. He’s a miracle man.

  3. This is a vail of tears. There’s no getting away from it.
    Does anyone besides me think these guys are micro-managing stuff about which they have no experience or expertise?
    I am old enough to remember Sunday sermons covering damnation and the pains of Hell. In my old age it strikes me as ironic. Most single men have no experience with long-term misery and torment. Again, dulce nuptias inexpertis.

  4. PS 2
    That’s section 74 of CC not 174. Between Pope Pius XI and recent Popes, this happened…the ascendancy of modern biblical criticism with its strengths but with its weaknesses principally in the person of Fr. Raymond E. Brown who was genius level IQ but orthodoxy level…not so good here and there. He served at the Pontifical Biblical Commission twice…once under JPII. He disbelieved so much of the infancy narratives that it’s amazing that he could give a Christmas homily in Church. In line with his spirit, the three most recent Popes were able to not mention Romans 13:4 on the death penalty or Gen.9:5-6 on same and two of them were able to skip multiple verses on wifely obedience…JPII and Francis.

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