Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by Mac, Aug 28, 2015.


Is the Church heading towards Apostasy?

  1. Yes

    27 vote(s)
  2. No

    9 vote(s)
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  1. DeGaulle

    DeGaulle Powers

    If you mean why the name, I admire the man. He made many mistakes, particularly over Algeria, but he was one of the less corrupt politicians of the past century and did, I believe, genuinely attempt to let his faith influence his politics. I was always particularly impressed that he insisted on paying for his own private phone calls while president. If he was so conscientious about small matters maybe he was with the bigger ones too.
    josephite and Joe Crozier like this.
  2. Basto

    Basto Guest

    I’m sorry for my English, especially when I was in a rush. Thank you for the correction about the eternity of the marriage. What I meant is that the recognition of validity of your lifetime Marriage by God, as any other sacrament, is eternal because God is eternal.

    For the rest, we know that one thing and its opposite can’t be both true. One of them must be a lie...
  3. garabandal

    garabandal Powers

    I will make this a regular prayer intention of mine and bring it to the feet of our Lady. God Bless you and all whom you love.

    St Therese of Lisieux intercede for us.
    Patty and DeGaulle like this.
  4. Praetorian

    Praetorian Powers

    One of my favorite DeGaulle quotes comes from when he went to the U.S.S.R. and visited Stalingrad. This is from memory so it is not a direct quote. The soviet generals were taking him around the various places of import in the city where the Russians and Germans slugged it out. He came to one of the most fought over spots in the city and paused for a moment and said "What amazing soldiers they were". The Russian general said thank you and DeGaulle replied, not the Russians, the Germans.
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  5. Aviso

    Aviso Guest

    The General De Gaulle was a great Man, my own Father owes him much, the General will not miss a single Mass and was with his wife a good Catholic, I have a little anecdote, little known, welcomed by Pope Paul VI in Rome, De Gaulle found a way to send a private message to the Pope, in this message was written :

    Holy Father, please do not forget to reveal to the world, the Fatima 3rd secret, thank you.

    General De Gaulle.

    Praetorian, DeGaulle and BrianK like this.
  6. MarysChild

    MarysChild Principalities

    BH, we don't disagree too much any more once you spell it all out. I do think that, if the Church is not able to grant an annulment (whether for a time period or permanently) that by far the safest course morally is to refrain from sexual relations with any new partner. Yes, one may be convinced in their own mind that the previous marriage was invalid, but people are very good at convincing themselves of things they want to believe. You are right that the sin may not be imputable if they are utterly convinced in their mind (even incorrectly) but objectively they may be sinning, since to go ahead and do a potentially sinful action in an uncertain situation (as I pointed out in my last post) would itself be a sin.
  7. Joe Crozier

    Joe Crozier Guest

    Thanks G. Much appreciated.
  8. Blue Horizon

    Blue Horizon Guest

    MC there is a lot of moral theology dedicated to personal decision making in objectively indeterminate moral situations. Their are various schools of thought and the Church has never clarified the matter for very good reason. Your more exacting view is acceptable and the one you must follow if you find yourself in this situation.
    I tend to follow Alphonsus Liguori who says it is no sin to take the less probable view in objectively indeterminate cases.

    If even Cardinal Ratzinger has publicly stated that Marriage Tribunals regularly do not always assist Pastorally obvious cases I think that means those in sincere conscience who have done all that the Church has asked and the Tribunal process can be reasonably seen to have been of the sort he speaks of... may all the more be justified in going forward alone... and not without God or grace and with possibly no objective sinfulness to boot. Of course it may take Ecclesial law sometime to discern the true reality (if ever) and because of that the faithful remarried Catholic will remain barred from Communion.

    But my main point is this. They are not barred from Communion because they are true adulterers before God. As above, some will eventually be shown not to have been, so nobody yet knows for sure objectively... not even the Church.
    They are barred purely on technical reasons of Ecclesial Law. As far as EL can discern they were not free to remarry. It's primarily a matter of legal procedure/discipline and not a judgement they have committed (imputed) personal mortal sin... and there's even a possibility that there may not even be true grave matter (adultery? fornication?) to impute in the first place.
    They may have been engaging in legit marital acts in their 2nd marriage the whole time.

    I believe that is why some Cardinals (eg Cotter at the beginning of the Synod 2015 thread) are saying that we simply cannot wholus bolus treat all the remarried in the same way and label all of them "remarried divorcees". At a pastoral level very different "sinners" are easily enough distinguished, some are more sinned against than sin.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2015
  9. Blue Horizon

    Blue Horizon Guest

    To keep things grounded lets repeat what you previously disagreed with:
    "G we need to understand there is a significant difference between "disordered" and "mortally sinful."
    One can habitually engage in grave disordered acts (eg breaking the commandments) and yet possess sanctifying grace in one's soul. This is why even habitual disordered sex relations, whether hetero or homo, do not by that reason alone rob all souls of a graced relationship with God."

    Now, above, you are in fact agreeing with me!
    Recall I distinguished two meanings of what most people mean by "mortal sin". They were:
    (1) It can be thought of as an impersonal, legally definable action (e.g one of the Commandments) divorced from any personal considerations involved in the real individual commission of such an action.
    (2) It can be thought of as a complete, personal "moral act" with all the personal factors involved. Those factors are (a) "grave matter", (b) full understanding, (c) full consent.

    The first, is exactly what you above call "objective mortal sin". (People often just call it "material sin" or "(grave) matter" or "the object of a moral act."
    The second is exactly what you call "actual mortal sin." (Some call it "grave formal sin" or "grave sin" or "a grave immoral act" or just "mortal sin")
    But I am intrigued. From where have you gained your sudden precision in moral terminology and phrase?

    For example, "objective mortal sin" is a curious way of referring to the first meaning above. Its a phrase common in the old moral theology tombs of the pseudo-Thomistic "Manualists" (popular in the 19th century) as they are called.
    The only other modern place I have seen that phrase used recently is by one Ron Conte, a self-proclaimed lay Moral Theologian who even has published his own book. We've had a bit of correspondence over the years (as has Padraig) but I would not trust his moral theology at the deeper levels as it doesn't accord with what I was taught wrt Aquinas.
    Aquinas's moral theology system is of course the one in which the Church's teaching is couched since Trent...it is what we are discussing here.

    This article from the Old Catholic Encyclopaedia is an excellent summary of what I was taught from Aquinas.
    It even mentions Augustine's approach: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14004b.htm

    Yes, it certainly is accepted by the Church. It is part of Aquinas's tightly integrated Moral Theology basics from which the above phrases you used derive.

    But ambiguous english has got in the way which may be why you do not see it...
    I am simply saying that a "material sin" (ie an act of "grave matter", a "serious transgression") by itself does not provide us enough information to know if we are also dealing with an "immoral act".

    What is an "immoral act" according to a Moral Theologian is the issue?
    In english we tend to think the opposite of an "immoral act" is a "moral act".
    But "moral act" has a more general meaning in moral theology. It really signifies "a human act".

    So the clearest english terminology in discussing these things is to speak of "good human acts" (what most of us call a "moral act") and "bad human acts" (what most of us call an "immoral act").

    So what I said above becomes slightly clearer:
    I am simply saying that a "material sin" ... by itself does not provide us enough information to know if we are also dealing with a "bad human act".

    Clearly we are dealing with something "bad"... but is it a "human act" - that is the question.
    Only "human acts" can be sinful (or virtuous) before God. If the action isn't a "human act" then it may be evil, it may be disordered, it may be "grave matter", it may be a transgression - but it won't be a true sin, it won't destroy grace in the soul. That is why we call it "material sin". It only looks like sin but is not truly sin (called "formal sin"). Strictly speaking it is just an outward "transgression", it is like a dead body without a soul. It looks human but isn't. Nobody home.

    Now moral theologians always make a distinction between "acts of a man" and "human acts".
    Scartching my bum or stroking my beard while watching TV is not a "human act." Its the "act of a man" (as in "animal") because it is without conscious intent or purpose or even engagement of the will. Laughing when someone tickles me is not usually a "human act" because it is often involuntary, without significant engagement of the will.

    (For Aquinas it is the human faculties of mind and will that separate us from animals and are what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God).

    So now we know why the Church distinguishes between "objective mortal sin" (as you call it) and "actual mortal sin" (as you call it). The difference is that the first is the (disordered) "act of a man" while the second is a (bad) "human act".

    The first cannot be called "immoral" (or "moral" for that matter) because it is missing significant acts of the intellect ("knowledge") and will ("consent") which are needed for truly "human acts".
    Only "human acts" can be "immoral" (ie a bad human act) or "moral" (ie a good human act).

    The Old Cath Encyclopedia puts it this way:
    "Contrary to the teaching of Baius (prop. 46, Denzinger-Bannwart, 1046) and the Reformers, a sin must be a voluntary act. Those actions alone are properly called human or moral actions which proceed from the human will deliberately acting with knowledge of the end for which it acts. Man differs from all irrational creatures in this precisely that he is master of his actions by virtue of his reason and free will (I-II:1:1). .... An involuntary transgression of the law even in a grave matter is not a formal but a material sin."

    Do note that we can still call "acts of a man" evil or disordered or grave.
    But we cannot really call them "immoral".

    If the Church ever says something is "intrinsically immoral" rest assured that implies full consent and knowledge is assumed in that "something".
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2015
  10. MarysChild

    MarysChild Principalities

    BH, can you refer me to some information about these various schools of thought? I have a hard time believing it is no sin to take "the less probable view". So, as long as it's not adultery for sure, it's OK? That's hard for me to believe.
  11. Julia

    Julia Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

    Dear Padraig, I bring you and your family and all forum members to God at every Holy Mass I attend these days.

    I would also like to bring to your notice there is already a site called 'Crown of Stars' so someone else beat you to that forum name. I love MOG forum.

    I say the prayer before a Crucifix before each Holy Mass which includes a prayer for Holy Father. God protect him, enlighten him and bring him to the fullness of the mission God has planned for dear Holy Father Francis.

    I think there will always be those who need to ask why, and what if and why and what about this saint or that theologian or some other writer known or unknown, and we just have to hope they will outgrow the phase. After all we will all be judged on love, not what if's at the end of the day.

    Don't give up on us Padraig. Your forum is the best thing since sliced bread. God be with you, and blessed Mother.
    miker, kathy k, hope and 2 others like this.
  12. Blue Horizon

    Blue Horizon Guest

    MC I haven't studied this area of moral theology closely since my days at the Dominican House of Studies in the early 1980s!
    Nor do I have my theology manuals on that particular topic anymore. But if you go to a good Catholic Library and look up "Probabilism" (Catholic Encyclopedia would be a good start). Its a pretty theologically dense and dry debate so not for the faint hearted.
    The two sides are pretty much like we have here on this forum - one calling the other "lax" and the other "rigorist". The fight was intense but in the end a stalemate ... right up until today. I believe the magisterium refrained from deciding for very good reason ... so that it could apply mercy or justice to such questions according to the Age. It seems Pope Francis has us in an age of "mercy."

    It may be that the specifics of this probabilist debate may not be applicable to the scenario you and I are debating - however I believe the principles of the debate are. In which case, in grave but doubtful (ie different possible scenarios may be at work) matters ... if there is any significant probability that my personal view of my own moral situation is objectively correct (even if less probable than the current view of Ecclesial human law), then I may act as if it was correct until Ecclesiastical Law clearly settles the matter.

    Remember, in our discussion here, we are talking of a remarried person who first approached the Marriage Tribunal to determine the objective nature of her 1st Marriage. If it was unable to deliver a clear final verdict for technical reasons ... then her situation is still indeterminate. We do not know for sure if she is currently, objectively committing adultery do we? Even Pope Benedict agrees such doubtful situations exists, where it is reasonably clear to those in authority that there was no marriage...yet the Tribunal is powerless to officially state that conclusion for purely technical reasons.

    I know St Alphonsus weighed heavily into this debate, though ultimately the debate is bigger than he. He is known as the Father of Moral Theology and my 75 yr old PP quoted him just the other day in his homily which I passed on to you. My PP is a very pastoral and theologically educated guy, he used to head the Diocese's Education in Faith portfolio.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2015
  13. Infant Jesus of Prague

    Infant Jesus of Prague The More you Honor Me The More I will Bless Thee

    St Alphonsus. Our Church raised him to Doctor of Moral Theology ( Dr of the Church)... Glories of Mary is a GREAT book!
  14. MarysChild

    MarysChild Principalities

    BH, maybe it has been discussed before, but what are these "technical reasons" you are talking about?
  15. I will keep you in prayer Padraig, it came to mind that you could be going through a rough patch.
  16. Torrentum

    Torrentum Guest

    Prayers on the way Padraig.
    I'd miss this place terribly if you decided to put the forum in the freezer for a year!
  17. Blue Horizon

    Blue Horizon Guest

    This has been mentioned numerous times by numerous Popes and Cardinals since the 1980s I believe.

    Here's a typical quote from Cardinal Ratzinger when head of the CDF:
    "Admittedly, it cannot be excluded that mistakes occur in marriage cases [ie Tribunal cases]. In some parts of the Church, well-functioning marriage tribunals still do not exist. Occasionally, such cases last an excessive amount of time. Once in a while they conclude with questionable decisions." ( On the Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried, LEV, Vatican City 1998)

    There are other reasons too: essential witnesses will not testify (eg the abusive husband's side) , expense/time/documentation is too much for poorer or less educated persons).
    In short all the usual reasons that impede and "blind" any system of law administered by humans.

    In this document Card Ratzinger also states, as mentioned previously, that if a remarried Catholic believes their first marriage never existed they actually have a duty to try and have that subjective decision confirmed objectively by the Church:
    "If divorced and remarried members of the faithful believe that their prior marriage was invalid, they are thereby obligated to appeal to the competent marriage tribunal so that the question will be examined objectively and under all available juridical possibilities."

    And here an interesting article that also assumes the fallibility of Marriage Tribunals and what that may mean for sincerely conflicted remarried Catholics.
    Some suggest this would allow for purely private decisions about receiving Communion. I don't think so!
    But this weakness of the tribunals does bring into question whether they can fairly be called adulterers in the same way as others who DGAD.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2015
  18. padraig

    padraig New Member

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