PopeWatch: Amoris Laetitia-Overall Thoughts





There is no way to mince words in regard to Amoris Laetitia:   it is a disaster for the Church.  In the Exhortation, the Pope and his ghost writers engage in a lengthy exercise to find excuses to disregard the clear command of Christ in regard to divorce and remarriage.  That much of this is done with a wink and a nod merely adds mendacity to the charges that could be brought against this document.  The reasoning, to use a charitable term for the arguments made by the Pope and his ghost writers, could be used in reference to any sin imaginable.  The Catholic Church has always taught that both confession and a firm intention at amendment of life were necessary for the forgiveness of sins.  Pope Francis seems to do away with amendment, and although it is not completely clear from this turgid, twisted document, he seems to be arguing that, depending upon the peculiar situation of a particular individual, what is clearly sin may not be sin, at least not mortal sin, in regard to them.  Thus even the confessional may not be necessary in many cases, since confession is in reference to sin, and who are we to judge?  This stands the teaching of the Church on its head.

Some people are content to focus on the true parts of the Exhortation and do their very best to ignore the rest.  This is understandable for people who find it heartbreaking that a Pope put his name to this dangerous mess, but it is ultimately mistaken.  The only reason why the Exhortation was written is because the Pope regards the position of Catholics in adulterous marriages to be a crisis for the Church.  That on his way to addressing that question he dispenses some truisms and bromides is of no consequence.  Rather than calling upon Catholics in adulterous marriages to repentance and amendment he changes the teaching of the Church.  That sad fact is all one needs to know about Amoris Laetitia.


Here in one post is PopeWatch’s stripped down version of Amoris Laetitia with the commentary of PopeWatch:


1.   Joy of families is the joy of the Church.

2.   Synod revealed complex issues regarding families.  Pope positions himself between those who desire too much change of Church rules regarding families and those who want no change.  (See, I am between the extremes, the sweet voice of moderation!)

3.   Pope doesn’t have to settle all the issues, wielding the Magisterium.  Let a thousand regional and cultural flowers bloom, all guided by the Holy Spirit of course.

4.   Synod process was illuminating and impressive.  Now I am going to show where the Synod Fathers botched things.

5.   Mercy Uber Alles in this Year of Mercy.

6.   Brief outline of how the Exhortation is structured.

7.   The Synod dealt with a lot of questions and that is why this Exhortation is 264, count ’em, 264 pages in length.  The Pope warns against rushed reading, although he then suggests that lay readers may wish to read only the portions of interest to them.  (Whew that is a relief.  PopeWatch can just imagine Catholic life coming to a halt due to a vast number of Catholics putting their lives on hold to read every word of this document that is longer than the combined Gospels and 50% longer than Laudato Si.  At this rate, if Pope Francis is Pope for a few more years, his closing documents might rival War and Peace in length.)

Chapter I-In the Light of the Word

8.   Bible has a lot of incidents involving families.  Lets take a look at a typical Biblical family.  (Take out your curlers, Sarah!  David, put on a clean shirt! Company calling!)

9.    In the house we find a mother and father united in love.

10.  Genesis tells us that God created humanity male and female.

11.  A loving family is a reflection of the Trinity.

12.  Christ referred to the second chapter of Genesis to the first family of Adam and Eve.

13.  Christ referred to the passage in Genesis where the two became one flesh.  (The Pope emphasizes romantic love, although the Bible often has a more pragmatic view of marriage.)

14.  Various passages are cited from the Old Testament to emphasize how blessed are families who have kids.

15.  Families as domestic churches.

16.  Families are the primary means by which kids are taught about the Faith.

17.  Parents are to teach their kids and kids are to honor their parents.

18.  Children are not possessions of their parents and will have their own lives to lead.

19.  Sin can destroy the love in marriage.  (A typical twenty-first century citation of Genesis 3:16 as dreadful:  “Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you.”  Most Christians, of both sexes throughout the ages, hearing that passage would have thought something like “and water is wet and fire burns” as merely describing a fact of life, albeit not describing every marriage or fully describing the complex facets of the relationship between man and wife in almost all marriages.)

20.  Families in the Old Testament were often a fractious bunch.

21.  A rather strained interpretation of various New Testament passages to demonstrate that Christ was familiar with families under stress.

22.  The Bible is a source of comfort for families going through rough times.

23.  Work is an essential element of human dignity.

24.  Work is essential for families and societies.

25.  Unemployment is bad for families.  (You heard it here first folks!)

26.  Pope rides his ecology hobby horse for a paragraph.

27.  Christ was all about love.

28.  Love in a family is often manifested in tenderness.

29.  Summing up as to what the family should be.

30.  The holy family of Nazareth is a model.  Ties their fleeing from Herod with modern refugee families.

31. In this chapter the Pope will look at families.

32. Pope really likes the word anthropological.

33. Extreme individualism threatens families.

34. More on that theme.

35. Christians cannot abandon the concept of families.

36. Church has had too much focus on family as a means of procreation. (Yep, the Pope really did mean his breeding like rabbits comments. The Pope claims to be a loyal son of the Church. That he may be. He certainly is a loyal son of the Sixties.)

37. Some psycho-babble about marriage as a means of personal development. Church is called to form consciences not to replace them. (This theme is one of the major ones in this dog’s breakfast of an exhortation: conscience is everything, which completely ignores the fact that many people have no difficulty in giving a thumbs up to any wretched, self-serving piece of evil they wish to undertake.)

38. Most people value families that have permanence and mutual respect. Church has wasted effort on denouncing a decadent world instead of being like Jesus with his compassion to the woman caught in adultery or the Samaritan woman at the well. (In neither case of course did Christ give the slightest sign that he condoned their sins. Quite the contrary.)

39. The culture of the ephemeral and narcissism are threats to families.

40. We need to find the right language to encourage young people to take up the challenge to form families.

41. Many problems in today’s world lead to the destruction of families.

42. Many pressures cause families to limit their children although the Church stands foursquare against the efforts by States to limit family sizes.

43. Families often feel alone and abandoned. States have the duty to create work for young people and thereby help families form. (The Pope’s belief that States have money trees and thus create wealth is impervious to facts.)

44. A laundry list of items that States should provide families. The Welfare State shall save us. The idea that family breakup or lack of formation is caused by insufficient welfare spending is so contrary to reality as to beggar belief.

45. The growth in the number of bastards gives rise to a whole host of evils.

46. Migration is thrown in. The Pope is laundry listing in this part of the Exhortation.

47. Special need kids.

48. Geezers.

49. The poor.

50. Raising kids is a lot of work. (Well, Duh.)

51. Drugs, alcholism, gambling, family violence are all bad for families. (Didn’t any one say to the Pope, “Holy Father, perhaps restatements of the obvious waste space and are not helpful.”)

52. Great variety of family forms can aid stability of families, but defacto unions and same sex unions cannot be equated with married families.

53. Notes polygamy and widespread cohabitation are threats to marriage, and the family is under attack from laws that render families subject to destruction at the whim of one of the participants.

54. Yay for Women’s Lib! (The loyal son of the Sixties strikes again!)

55. The importance of fathers is noted in a brief paragraph.

56. Attacks gender ideologies.

57. Thanks God for loving families.

CHAPTER THREE-Looking To Jesus: The vocation of The family

58. The Gospel message should always resound in families.

59. The mystery of the Christian family can only be understood in the love of the Father revealed in Christ.

60. This chapter will summarize the teaching of the Church on families.

61.  Marriage is a gift from God.

62.  Jesus mandated that marriage be indissoluble as a gift to Man.

63.  Jesus restored marriage to its original form.

64.  The love that Jesus demonstrated in his earthly ministry is an example to the Church.

65.  Jesus becoming a member of a human family changed the world.

66.  By emulating the holy family of Nazareth, any family can become a light in the darkness.

67.  Cites Gaudium et Spes on the family.

68.  Cites Humanae Vitae on conjugal love and procreation.

69.  Cites Saint John Paul II on the family.

70.  Cites the Pope Emeritus on the family.

71.  The Trinity is represented in the family.

72.  Marriage is a sacrament and a vocation.

73.  Draws an imperfect analogy of Husband and Wife and Christ and His Church.

74.  Sexual union of Husband and Wife is the nuptial mystery.

75.  The Husband and Wife are the ministers of the sacrament of matrimony.

76.  Marriage contains seeds that Husband and Wife through the grace of God can bring to fruition.

77.  Blurs the distinction between Christian marriages and other types of marriages.

78.  Church encourages the conversion of those who are civilly married only or shacking up.

79.  Pastors are not to call a spade a spade when it comes to people shacking up.  Why? Complexity!  (Here the Pope uses the traditional means by which confessors determined the degree of guilt of a sin, and takes it to use as an excuse not to bluntly telling people engaging in sin that they are sinning.)

80.  Conjugal union is ordered to procreation by its very nature.

81.  Children are gifts of god born out of the conjugal love of their parents.

82.  Having children is the prime purpose of marriage.

83.  Pope strongly condemns abortion.  (Bravo!)

84.  Parents are the principal educators of their children.

85.  The Church is called to help parents in their duty to educate their children.

86.  Pat on the back to parents who remain loyal to the Gospel.

87.  The Church is a family of families.

88.  Love within families is a source of strength for the Church.

Chpater Four-Love in Marriage

89.  Love is the core of marriage.

90.  Quotes Saint Paul on love.  (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

91.  Love is patient.

92.  Patience takes root when we accept the right of people to live in the world just as they are.

93.  Love is kind.

94.  Love is shown more by deeds than by words.

95.  Love is not jealous.

96.  Love rejects covetousness, unless, apparently, the covetousness is in service of the welfare state to reduce inequality.  (Another example of the Pope attempting to use Biblical texts to support his leftist political agenda.)

97.  Love is not boastful.

98.  We show our love in how we treat the members of our family.

99.  Love is not rude.

100.  Loving kindness knits a firm social fabric.

101.  Generously serving others is far more noble than loving ourselves.

102.  Cites Saint Thomas Aquinas for the proposition that it more proper to charity to desire to love than to desire to be loved.

103.  Love is not irritable or resentful.

104.  Do not let the day end without making peace in your family.

105.  Love forgives.

106.  Family communion can only be preserved through great sacrifice and forgiveness.

107.  Forgiving others allows us to forgive ourselves.  (Not necessarily and an easy forgiveness of our own sins by ourselves is often not a good thing.)

108.  If we accept that God’s love is unconditional than our love can be boundless.

109.  Love rejoices with others.

110.  God appreciates those who find joy in the happiness of others.

111.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

112.  Love bears all things.  The Pope interprets this as an admonition not to say hurtful comments to each other.

113.  Married couples should not harp on each others’ faults.

114.  Love believes all things.  (A reference to faith in God.)

115.  Love trusts.

116.  Love does not despair in the future.

117.  The hope of true love encompasses a certainty of life after death.

118.  Love endures all things.

119.  The Christian ideal, especially in families, is a love that never gives up.

120.  Conjugal love is a symbol of the love of Christ for humanity.

121.  Marriage is the icon of God’s love for us.

122.  Married couples do not have to reproduce perfectly the relationship of Christ and His Church.  (Whew!  That’s a relief!)

123.  Conjugal love is the greatest form of friendship.  (Too weak a term for what exists between spouses in a happy lengthy marriage.)

124.  A love that is weak cannot sustain the commitment that marriage requires.  (Basing a marriage all on love is always a mistake.  PopeWatch has seen some marriages survive rough patches simply because both parties were fundamentally decent people, and adhered to what some would consider bromides such as “A deal’s a deal.”)

125.  Marriage involves constant mutual respect.

126.  The joy of love needs to be cultivated in marriage.

127.  Tenderness is a sign of a love free of possessiveness.

128.  Pope writes about lover’s gaze in marriage.  (Parts of this Exhortation read like an old Dear Abby column from the Fifties.)

129.  Joy of contemplative love needs to be cultivated in marriage.

130.  Joy also grows in pain and sorrow.  (The most profound, and utterly true, observation yet in the Exhortation.)

131.  Marriage is better than shacking up.

132.  Don’t marry in haste, but don’t wait forever either.

133.  Please, thank you and sorry are important words in a marriage.  (The Pope is certainly correct here, but is this really the type of subject to be covered in a papal document?)

134.  Love grows in a good marriage.

135.  Marriages should not be entered to with media created expectations of perfection and fantasy.

136.  Dialogue is important in marriage, even though men and women communicate in different ways.

137.  Quality time is important in marriage.

138.  Make your spouse of the highest priority for you.

139.  Keep an open mind in regard to the thoughts of your spouse.

140.  Show affection and concern for your spouse.

141.  Have something to say instead of boring chit chat.

142.  A love lacking either pleasure or passion is insufficient to symbolize the union of the human heart with God.

143.  Passions have an important place in married life.

144.  Jesus showed emotions during his earthly life.

145.  Emotions are neither good nor bad, but the actions we take in regard to such emotions can be good or bad.

146.  Marital life strives to ensure that emotions benefit the family as a whole.

147.  Renunciation as an antidote to a destructive hedonism within marriage.

148.  Control of emotions and passions is important in a marriage.

149.  Pleasures within marriage can find different expressions at different times in life.

150.  Sex is a marvelous gift from God.

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.

181.   Members of families should remember that they are called to do good in the world as well as in their family.

182.  No family can be fruitful if the members of the family see their family as different or set apart from other families. “Still, some Christian families, whether because of the language they use, the way they act or treat others, or their constant harping on the same two or three issues, end up being seen as remote and not really a part of the community.”  (PopeWatch wonders what “two or three issues” the Pope has in mind.  Perhaps environmentalism, income inequality and pacifism?)

183.  A call for family members to be the most annoying type of social justice warriors.

184.  More of the same.

185. 1 Cor 11:17-34 interpreted as rich v. poor, an interpretation completely alien to the text, but that is how Pope Francis sees the world.

186.  Pope tries the trick of interpreting worthiness to receive communion as to whether you sign on to his leftist view of the world.  (Like most leftists, the Pope tends to regard morality as having the “correct” beliefs on a laundry list of current social justice issues rather  than morality as traditionally understood by the Church.)

187.  The Pope wishes to make sure that our relatives never have a moment’s refuge from our attempts to do good for them.

188.  Children receive the gift of life from their parents.

189.  Honor thy mother and thy father.

190.  Marriage challenges husbands and wives to find new ways of being sons and daughters.

191.  Save the geezers!

192.  More geezers.

193.  Lack of historical memory in families is a problem if geezers are not listened to.  (PopeWatch finds this ironic since Pope Francis has never shown much interest in the historical memory of the Church.)

194.  Importance of the relationship of siblings.

195.  Families with only one child have to find ways to make sure the child does not grow up isolated.

196.  Praise of the extended family.

197.  Families should help the screw ups in their extended family.

198.  Families should have good relationships with father and mother in laws.

Chapter Six-Some Pastoral Perspectives

199.  New pastoral methods are needed.

200.  Calls for an effort for evangelization and catechesis within families.

201.  Evangelizing families needs to be tied in to the Pope’s hatred of free markets.

202.  Priests often lack training in dealing with families.  The point points to the experience of married Eastern Rite priests as a possible resource.

203.  Pope takes a swing at seminarians as being ill-prepared to deal with families.  (PopeWatch suspects that what really riles the Pope about most seminarians is their orthodoxy.)

204.  The Pope calls on the panoply of lay experts on the family to assist the Church in aiding families.  (Except for giving Communion to Catholics in adulterous marriages, this is probably the most misbegotten proposal in the Exhortation.  Families need Christ and not more input from members of the swarms of “helping professionals” who usually are expensive and completely ineffective in helping troubled families.)

205.  Young people need to be taught about the dignity and beauty of marriage.

206.  Better marriage prep.

207.  More on marriage prep.

208.  More on marriage prep.

209.  Marriage prep should warn couples about potential pitfalls in marriage.

210.  Couples need to recognize potential danger signals in their relationships.  (Priests should not be shy about bluntly telling couples that their marrying would likely be a disaster for both of them.)

211.  More on marriage prep.  (All of this is mostly well and good, but it fails to comprehend that the average parish priest has a lot more on his plate than just counseling couples who wish to be married.)

212.  Pope argues for simple rather than elaborate and expensive marriages.  (The Pope is completely correct on this.)

213.  Couples in marriage prep should be taught the meaning of each part of the marriage liturgy.

214.  The Pope lays stress on the phrase “till death do we part”.

215.  Quotes approvingly the Kenyon bishops who have complained about young people focused on their wedding day and forgetting about the life long commitment.

216.  Couples to be married should meditate upon the Bible readings and they should pray together.  (The last is very important indeed, and just not prior to the marriage.  In all marriages there are always some tears, and praying together at the end of the day is a great means to deal with the inevitable sorrows that confront us in this Vale of Tears.)

217.  Couples need help during the first years of married life to learn to truly love and appreciate each other when the first stage of physical infatuation passes.

218.  Couples need to understand that their marriage is an ongoing life long project.

219.  Hope is necessary ingredient in all marriages.

220.  Love in marriage is often a matter of tender negotiation and making decisions together.

221.  Inflated expectations can help destroy a marriage.

222.  Number of children are up to parents with properly informed consciences and abiding by the teachings of the Church.  Greater emphasis should be placed on the fact that kids are a glorious gift from God.

223.  Experienced husbands and wives with lasting marriages should help counsel newly weds.  (A good sense of humor always comes in handy in a marriage.)

224.  Husbands and wives should always make time for each other.

225.  Couples need to learn how to spend time with each other. “Once a couple no longer knows how to spend time together, one or both of them will end up taking refuge in gadgets, finding other commitments, seeking the embrace of another, or simply looking for ways to flee what has become an uncomfortable closeness.”  (Wise words.)

226.  Young newlyweds should be encouraged to develop patterns of routine that help bring them together.

227.  Families that pray together stay together.

228.  Marriages where one spouse does not practice the Faith pose special challenges, challenges that can with grace be overcome.   “the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband” (1 Cor 7:14).

229.  Parishes can help married couples in various ways.

230.  A missionary effort to married couples who have fallen away from the Church must be undertaken.

231.  Love between those married for a very long time is a wondrous thing.

232.  Crises can strengthen a marriage.

233.  When problems are not dealt with in a marriage, communication is the first thing to go.

234.  Crises in a marriage need to be faced together.

235.  Many crises are typical of most marriages:  births of children, health problems, financial problems, the problem of the empty nest, etc.

236.  “To know how to forgive and to feel forgiven is a basic experience in family life”.

237.  Too many marriages end that could be saved by the parties forgiving each other.
238.  Marriages that last use crises to strengthen the bond between husband and wife.
239.  Emotional immaturity can be deadly to a marriage.
240.  A poor relationship with parents can ill prepare people for marriage.

241.  Separation in marriage can sometimes be warranted, but must always be viewed as a last resort.

242.  Pastoral care must be shown to the separated, abandoned or divorced, especially those unjustly separated, abandoned or divorced.

243.  It is important that those who have entered into new marriages not be “discriminated” against by the Church.  (Probably the most foolish section thus far in the Exhortation.  The Church constantly discriminates in regard to people based upon their conduct and beliefs.  The Church should be far above the secular pieties currently in vogue at any particular time and place during her passage through this Vale of Tears.)

244.  Speed up the annulment process and make it free of charge.  (Wink, the fix is in when it comes to Catholic divorce annulments.)

245.  Bad impact of divorce and separation on kids.  (It teaches them early on that you can’t rely upon anyone in this Vale of Tears.)

246.  For this reason, Christian communities must not abandon divorced parents who have entered a new union, but should include and support them in their efforts to bring up their children. “How can we encourage those parents to do everything possible to raise their children in the Christian life, to give them an example of committed and practical faith, if we keep them at arm’s length from the life of the community, as if they were somehow excommunicated? We must keep from acting in a way that adds even more to the burdens that children in these situations already have to bear!”  (Translation:  “Ignore the clear command of Christ.  Do it for the kids!”  This is a very mendacious argument.  I have never heard of priests “discriminating” against the children of the divorced or those born out of wedlock.  I have seen priests make extra efforts to make sure that such kids get to Church and catechism.  The idea that there are hordes of priests busily visiting the sins of the parents on kids is a typical example of beliefs that the Pope firmly clings to which simply are not true in reality.)

247.  Mixed marriages between Catholic and non-Catholic.

248.  More on that subject.

249.  Pauline privilege.

250.  Don’t “discriminate” against gays.  (Yeah, because the huge influx of gays into the priesthood has done such manifest good for the Church.  Once again, the Pope may or may not be a loyal son of the Church, but he is certainly a loyal son of the Sixties.)

251.  No to gay marriage.

252.  Single parent families must receive support and encouragement from the Church.

253.  When a loved one in a family dies, grieving members of a family need the light of Faith in such dark times.

254.  The Pope understands the grief of those mourning a death.  He noted Christ weeping at the death of Lazarus.

255.  Faith in Christ conquers death.  (The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away,  blessed be the name of the Lord!  Job 1 : 21.)

256.  “For the life of those who believe in you Lord is not ended but changed.”

257.  Pray for the dead.

258.  Memento mori.

Chapter Seven-Towards a Better Education of Children

259.  Parents as moral teachers of their children.

260.  Parents have a great duty to perform as the teachers and guardians of their children.

261.  Don’t be a helicopter parent.

262.  Raising kids is a difficult and complex task.

263.  Schools can be useful for parents, but they can never rely upon schools to be the moral educators for their kids.

264.  Parents are responsible for helping their children train their wills.

265.  A good ethical education includes showing a person that doing what is right is in their own interest.  (In regard to this Vail of Tears doing what is right is frequently not in the interest of the person called upon to do right.  Doing right is often inconvenient, a nuisance, and occasionally dangerous.  Arguing that doing right is always in the interest of the person called upon to do right is simply not true, except to someone who believes firmly in a just God who rewards virtue after death, or those who like to be able to shave or apply makeup and look directly into the mirror.)

266.  Good habits of behavior need to be developed in children.

267.  Freedom without virtue is worthless.

268.  Children need to learn that bad behavior has consequences.  (The sainted mother of PopeWatch was a grandmaster at this.)

269.  Children need to be lovingly corrected.

270.  Disciplining of children should not lead to their discouragement.

271.  Moral education must not involve too much of a child.  (A legitimate concern, although PopeWatch has observed that kids, like most people, tend to live up to, or down to, expectations.)

272.  A rather confused and turgid paragraph on ethical formation in kids.

273.  Excuse making for wretched conduct, a major theme of the Exhortation.

274.  The family is the first school for human values.  (A prime cause of the bloat in the Exhortation is the tendency of the Pope and his ghost writers writing the same thing again and again with minor variations.)

275.  Get your brats off the damn electronics for a while.

276.  We pick our friends, God picks our relatives, and learning to put up with them is an important element in growing up.

277.  More eco-babble.

278.  Media is no substitute to face to face interactions in families.

279.  A advertisement for Catholic education.

280.  Sex education, as currently implemented, has been a failure.

281.  Sex education has to be age appropriate.

282.  Good sex education can foster a sense of modesty.

283.  Sex education is often focused on contraception and “safe sex”.

284.  Young people must be taught to distinguish love and lust.

285.  Sex education should teach students to appreciate the differences between the sexes and to accept the sex God made them.

286.  Masculinity and femininity are not rigid categories.  (To almost all Christians prior to the last century that claim would have struck them as manifest nonsense.

287.  Families have a duty to pass on the Faith.

288.  Education in the Faith has to be adapted to each child.

289.  Bringing up children in the Faith helps the family serve as missionaries.

290.  The family is a means of spreading the Gospel.

Chapter Eight-Accompanying, Discerning and Integrating Weakness  (What a whacked out chapter title.)

291.  Church is a field hospital.  (Whose victims are often from friendly fire these days.

292.  Christian marriage is a man and a woman bound together for life.

293.  Civil marriage and cohabitation will sometimes lead eventually to sacramental marriage.

294.  Excuses for those who shack up or simply have a civil marriage: “The choice of a civil marriage or, in many cases, of simple cohabitation, is often not motivated by prejudice or resistance to a sacramental union, but by cultural or contingent situations”.  (In other words these people are to be treated as confused children and not as adults responsible for their choices.)

295.  Law of gradualism.

296.  “Complexity” as a cover for sin.

297.  No one can be condemned forever because that is not the logic of the Gospel.  (Hell?)

298.  Arguments to mitigate the sin of Catholics in adulterous unions.

299.  Christians in adulterous marriages need to be reintegrated into the Christian community.  (Along with murderers, rapists, heretics, satanists, etc.  All sinners, no matter how terrible their sins, can find the mercy of Christ through repentance and amendment of life, but that is not what the Pope getting at.)

300.  Here we go:  Pastoral discernment of individual cases.

301.  People living in shack ups, the Pope refers to them as “irregular unions”, can’t simply be considered to be living in mortal sin because of possible mitigating factors.  (When it comes to sin the human mind can come up with infinite excuses for such conduct.  The Church never bought into that, except as a possible lessening of the penance imposed in the confessional.  Pope Francis takes this aspect of the priest-penitent relationship and uses it to argue that mortal sin is not mortal sin.  He clearly indicates that he is not referencing as a mitigating factor ignorance that what is being done is sinful, which would be the only legitimate factor which would cause someone not to be in a state of sin in such an adulterous marriage.)

302.  More of this rubbish.

303.  Personal conscience uber alles.

304.  Rules are sometimes not rules for the individuals involved.  (A rather confused paragraph.  Arguing that white is really black tends to be a fairly complicated exercise.)

305. “For this reason, a pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in “irregular” situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives. This would be speak the closed heart of one used to hiding behind the Church’s teachings, “sitting on the chair of Moses and judging at times with superiority and superficiality difficult cases and wounded families.”  (Note the scare quotes around irregular when referring to people in adulterous unions.  The Pope argues like a juvenile in many cases.  This passage obviously tells priests that if they fail to give communion to people living in shack ups in mortal sin, they do so at their jeopardy.  This Pope will make the priests of our Church co-conspirators with him in ignoring the clear command of Christ.)

306.  The paragraph with the infamous footnote 351, the same footnote that the Pope claims to have forgotten about, which clearly allows the granting of communion to people living in mortal sin.

307.  The Pope claims not to be doing what he is clearly doing.

308.  Ignore paragraph 307-Mercy uber alles is the order of the day.

309.  Year of Mercy.  (I think future Church historians may have other terms for this wretched year.)

310.  If you don’t buy into all this you probably aren’t a child of God.  (More juvenile bullying by the Pope.)

311.  People who don’t buy into this are probably heretics.

312.  Priests-you got the message didn’t you?

CHAPTER NINE-The Spirituality of Marriage and the Family
313.  Spirituality of family life.
314.  The Trinity is present in the temple of marital communion.
315.  The spirituality of the family is made up of thousands of small gestures.
316.  The family as a path of spiritual growth.
317.  More on that theme.  (Much of this is not mistaken, but the Pope ladles it on with a trowel.  Like any other sphere of human activity, what goes on in families can be good, bad or mixed.)
318.  Family prayer.
319.  Marriage involves belonging completely to each other.
320.  Interior freedom and marriage.
321.  Christian families participate in God’s dream for the world.
322.  Marriage as being shepherds of God’s mercy.
323.  Seeing Christ in our loved ones.
324.  Hospitality for strangers by families.
325.  The teaching of Christ on marriage needs to be rediscovered in all its richness, even as we wink at its clear command, because mercy.


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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. I’m still most bothered by the cunning use of truth and Christian words of faith to replace doctrine with…well, relativism. The call to “accompany” when referring to sinners, flies directly in the face of leaving that house and shaking the dust from our sandals if they refuse to believe…and woe be to them.
    Yet, in spite of it all, I have learned far more about our beautiful Church than I would have had this synodic travesty not occurred.
    Truth, will set (the faithful) free.

  2. I am thoroughly disgusted with Amoris Laetitia – I so miss the engineering precision of Benedict XVI when explaining difficult theological matters, and the exalted philosophy of John Paul II. After decades of greatest (most of my adult life as a matter of fact), we now have Latin American Marxist Peronism, and it is like muddy, fetid, stale water in the mouth.

  3. 311? Right back atcha.
    Donald McClarey, thank you for wading through this swamp, because I could not face it without your commentary. A little humor alleviates a lot of pain.

  4. 311. People who don’t buy into this are probably heretics….

    Among the MANY disturbing, heretical, and idiotic things in this missive, the pontiff chose to double down on this recently and say those who cling to the old ways (truths of the Church taught by Christ) are idolators! The commit the sin of idolatry! The are diviners! They do not adhere to the new surprised of ‘the spirit’….

    I beg the Lord to help us.

  5. I’m coming away from this as a wake up call for all of us.

    The Church will be chastised first.
    Then expect the homeland you live in.
    I heard this from a Father of Mercy, Fr. Bill Casey, at a Marian Conference years ago. I have the C.D.’S from his talk.

    He quoted Venerable Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.

    I believe this to be true. The overblown paedophile problem… the Bishops not owning it and dealing with it…..and now a misguided pontiff whom I must…we must pray for.

    This is the, please pardon my abrasiveness… this is the shit we have to pray through folks.
    It just is what it is Right Now…
    Not forever, but right now. Today is all we have. Tomorrow isn’t ours. Pray for conversion of All Sinners.

    St. Gertrude prayer; Eternal Father. I offer thee thy most precious blood of thy divine Son Jesus, in union with the masses being said through out the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, those who are within my home and family. Amen.”

    This is it.

    Sinners in the universal Church.
    Our own homes.
    Our own families.

    Pray for this Francis.
    Today I plead with you to pray for him.
    It’s what we CAN do that will help.
    Let’s not loose today to disappoint.
    Let’s pray through this…together.. please.

    PS. Excuse the profanity.
    I too am disappointed.

  6. Something for the pontiff to consider.
    Our fight is with principalities and dominions… or did I get it wrong.

    He, Pope Francis, might be having a hard time seeing the forest through the trees….just saying. Yes. Keep praying. God will work through trust and perseverance.

    Homeland security is a funny thing.
    Murderers with perpetual Halloween masks are not going to win the day…just the fleeting moment.

    Keep up the prayers.
    Our support is from above…..not below.


  7. I said earlier that this document is a pile of crap. I will not read it or heed it because the Church already possesses sufficient teaching and this document adds nothing.

    It is a power play put in effect by Kasper and Marx. They have this Pontiff wrapped around their fingers and he doesn’t even realize it. Kasper and Marx disgust me. The other prelates the Pontiff has surrounded himself with – Daneels, Maradiaga, Wuerl….they are no better.

    I’m just going to soldier on, go to Sunday Mass, educate my sons, go to Confession (more often than I recently have) and treat the corrupt prelates with the same contempt I have for our politicians in Washington. The Church does not belong to Bergoglio, even if he thinks it does. It belongs to Christ.

  8. Thanks Donald for all the pain this exercise must have cost you and for reducing it to something understandable and accordingly deplorable. Unfortunate for all of us that it conflicts in so many places with our understanding of Catholic teaching. A.L is a major extension of Vatican II liberalism whose intent was to Protestantize the Church. For all practical purposes we are now Lutherans. (Time magazine cover to follow.) Accordingly, we should not be surprised if there was some sort of divine intervention soon that would at least assure of Remnant of Catholics when Christ comes again.

  9. Death fixes our relationship with God. The saints and martyrs in heaven will not, cannot and do not change on the Catholic Faith. The Church Triumphant, militant and suffering are the Church. If any Pope can change the mind of a saint, let him try.

  10. Anzlyne.

    Here’s my reference; Fr. Bill Casey from Oct. 14-16, 2011. Marian Confrence XX held in Boyne Falls Michigan at the Boyne Mountian Resort. The title of the talk: The Priest is a Marked Man.

    Father quoted Sheen; “The Church will experience the chastisement prior to the world.”

    I’ve searched for this quote, however I haven’t been successful.

    I hope this helps. Fr. Casey is a dynamic speaker and obedient to Holy Church. A orthodox priest if ever there was one.

  11. Thank you Philip- I love both of those two priests too- wish I could have been there for the retreat.
    and I believe Archbishop Sheen’s prophecy too- “The Church will experience the chastisement prior to the world.” I wonder if we are first so that we can be an object lesson and warning to the world and maybe help them come to Jesus.

  12. Anzlyne.

    Your welcome.
    In the talk, Fr. Casey speaks of the “Church Nice.” It is remarkable. The Church Militant has become the Church Mush, Tolerant, Door Mat…and on. He quotes from Fr. John Hardon as well, who btw..foresaw this era we live in.
    Hardon spoke of the fate of First century Christians and how the faithful will be forced to celebrate Mass underground if not enough Catholics wake up from the deep sleep of indifference. The coma many are experiencing is going to be fatal. Fatal for their souls.

    I won’t ramble on. The Clinton statement about how religions must change their views on abortion, is to me a clarion call.
    She, Hillary, is one of many of minions Lucifer has in his control. Overwhelming? No.
    They will not win.
    We must be there for our neighbors and family that are not ready for the chaos when it breaks upon us. They will see our calm, our peace. They will want it. They will ask you how come you have it. You will lead them to Truth.

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