Adulterous Unions: “Pastoral Concern” Euphemism For “Acceptance”?

Adulterous Unions: “Pastoral Concern” Euphemism For “Acceptance”?


Rome, Italy, Dec 18, 2013 / 02:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Catholic Church must reach out to Catholics who are divorced and remarried to let them know they are welcome even if they cannot receive the sacraments, several theologians have noted.

Sean Innerst, theology department chair at Denver’s St. John Vianney Seminary, said he hopes to see “interesting and creative responses” to help those who are divorced or divorced and remarried and believe themselves to be outside of the Church.

“They might be in a life situation which means they can’t receive Communion, but that doesn’t mean they can’t darken the door of the church,” he told CNA Nov. 5.

“It’s just inconsistent with the gospel for people to feel they’re excluded because they’re in a situation that’s tragic and complicated and they can’t currently sort out.”

“We need to have some pastoral responses to these situations where we don’t simply allow people to drift away because they’ve made serious mistakes, because the culture has led them in this direction,” Innerst emphasized.

“We need to go out and find these people and help them to know they have a place in the Church.”

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller – head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – reaffirmed in an essay republished in L’Osservatore Romano in October that Catholics in irregular marital unions after divorce cannot receive Holy Communion. He underscored, though, that it is “imperative” to show “pastoral concern” for them
(Ed: it would help if someone would spell out what this means in practical terms.)

However, many Catholic bishops in Germany have said they intend to give Holy Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics, despite Catholic teaching.
(Ed: and what then? Do they remain “bishops in good standing” – unlike the Bishops of the SSPX?)

The Archdiocese of Freiburg in October released a document saying that divorced and remarried Catholics can receive Holy Communion if they can show their first marriage cannot be reentered, if they repent of their fault in a divorce and if they enter “a new moral responsibility” with their new spouse.

That document drew a swift response from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which said pastoral approaches must agree with Church teaching.

Despite these rejections, Bishop Gebhard Fuerst of Stuttgart in November told a meeting of the Central Committee of German Catholics that the German bishops have drafted guidelines and aim to approve them at their plenary meeting in March 2014.
(Ed: what will the Pope do then? Remember, Archbishop Lefebvre was “excommunicated” for a heck of a lot less)

Last week, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith member Cardinal Walter Kasper told the German weekly Die Zeit that the divorced and remarried will soon be able to receive the sacraments, the Italian news site AGI reports.
(Ed: this is the same Cardinal Kasper who said the SSPX must accept Vatican II – hilarious considering he clearly doesn’t accept Christ’s own words about divorce and remarriage = adultery, expressly stated in the Gospel.)

Catholic teaching recognizes the indissolubility of Christian marriage, allowing marriages for the divorced only if they can show the first marriage was invalid according to canonical norms. Those in irregular unions are admitted to Holy Communion only if they are living “as brother and sister” with their partners.

Manfred Lütz, a German psychologist and theologian in Rome for the Pontifical Council for the Laity’s plenary meeting on “Proclaiming Christ in the Digital Age,” said the Church’s dogmatic teaching on divorced and remarried Catholics who have not received an annulment is “clear” but the pastoral response is the question.
(Ed: at the risk of repeating myself, will someone tell us all what “pastoral response” means – in practical terms.)

He told CNA Dec. 4 that in the Catholic Church in Germany lay people are “not always very informed about the position of the Church” and believe that the Church is “not merciful enough.” This is “a great problem” not only in Germany but “all over the world.”
(Ed: someone should tell them that they are, therefore, accusing Christ, our Lord of not being merciful enough.)

Innerst agreed that many Catholics do not know or understand Church teaching.

“I know some people who are divorced, and not remarried, and they think they’re formally excommunicated from the Church, but that’s not the case of course,” he said. “They feel that if you violate a rule, you no longer belong.”

He noted that many people feel that Catholicism is “all about laws” and places the “law before love.”

While Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI had to establish guidelines to correct laxity in the Church, Innerst said, Pope Francis is working to stress that “God loves us first.”
(Ed: but what Pope Francis consistently forgets to mention is that Christ told us to prove our love for Him by obeying His Commandments: “If you love Me, you will keep My Commandments.”)

“All Francis is saying is that we have to start loving people first, and then bring them to…the law.”
(Ed: again, a false dichotomy is being created: God’s law IS “love”. Are these guys really “theologians”?)

If others see Christians as “a source of God’s love” then Catholics can “begin to talk, about conversion and changing people’s lives in accord with natural and revealed law. Otherwise it’s a losing battle.”

Lütz said Pope Benedict XVI was also aware that the pastoral care for divorced and remarried Catholics is poor. Catholics have to “see how we live in the parish together with these people” so that they are “not thrown out of the Church.”

He said it is “very important” to help these people and Pope Francis aims to discuss this pastoral care at the October 2014 extraordinary synod of bishops, which is dedicated to the pastoral care of families.

Innerst suggested that the divorced and remarried should refrain from Communion and engage in prayer and penance “not as a punishment, but just as a way of finding meaning in their currently tragic situation.”

This would be a way for them to wait “for the time when they can come into conformity with Church teaching.” These are ways to respond “without pretending that the Pope can change things that he can’t.”

Pope Francis “can’t erase the marriage bond” but he can change the Church’s approach given that the status quo is “not working.”

Innerst suggested that the Pope’s request for input from the Church around the world is an effort to find a good pastoral response for divorced and remarried Catholics, rather than a way to “pretend that they’re not divorced.”

Lütz said the Catholic Church in Germany or an individual diocese cannot decide these responses alone. Rather, this response has to be decided “worldwide.”

He noted that many young Catholics in Germany place the “highest value” on being “faithful” in marriage.

“So, young people hope that to marry will be forever. But when they are asked if they think that they personally will succeed in this, they say they do not think so. And this is really a little bit pessimistic view of things.”   Source    (All emphases added)

Note:  while there’s talk about not pretending people are not divorced in the above article, there’s plenty of pretence that they’re not committing a grave sin, causing public scandal – yet that is the truth of the matter. Their “situation” is described every which way to avoid all mention of sin and repentance.  And what do I tell my friend who struggles to remain faithful to her vows despite the fact that her husband left her for another woman? How about some “pastoral concern” for her and the millions of abandoned spouses like her?

So, what’s going on here – and will someone please tell me what can any priest, bishop or lay person do that constitutes “pastoral concern” – in practical terms – for those living in an adulterous union?  Are we supposed to send  postcards from the place where the altar rails used to be saying “wish you were here”?  Well… what then?

Comments (53)

  • Jacinta

    I have seen co-habiting couples going up for a blessing at a First Communion Mass because they were unable to receive Communion along with their child. I wonder if that is one of the ways they do “pastoral concern”?

    That sort of thing is only superficial though, all about appearances. If priests were really concerned about the souls of the people who were “remarried” they would tell them they had to either separate and live as brother and sister. If one of them had an accident or illness that meant they couldn’t live as man and wife, then they wouldn’t think twice about it.

    December 19, 2013 at 11:37 am
    • Petrus

      I’m sure we would all agree that the Church should provide pastoral care for cohabiting, divorced and “remarried” Catholics. It seems to me that the problem lies with off the cuff remarks by the Pope which gives such Catholics false hope.

      Let me state quite unequivocally: cohabiting and divorced and “remarried” Catholics cannot receive Holy Communion. This can never change. To attempt such a change would be tantamount to calling Our Lord a liar…….

      So, what pastoral care can the Church provide to such persons? First of all, proper catechisis in parishes and secondary schools, ensuring that young Catholics understand the sacramental nature of marriage. Secondly, proper marriage preparation. I myself received no preparation before I was married and have had to rely on friends, the Internet and the priests of the SSPX to keep me right. This is quite unacceptable.

      However, perhaps the most important form of pastoral care the Church can provide is a call to conversion, penance and reconciliation. This can be done in a general way through sermons, marriage preparation courses etc.

      It can and should also be done in a personal way. Perhaps when a cohabiting couple come to the priest to ask about marriage he could explai know to them the true requirements, ie. A requirement that they show their intention of following the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family. This would be a firm purpose of amendment.

      Of course, sometimes a couple only becomes aware of the Church’s teaching through the RCIA programme. When my wife was converting, the parish priest asked another man taking part if he lived alone. Father gently explained that a cohabiting person cannot be received into the Church because they automatically would be excommunicated as a result of the cohabitation. This is in stark contrast to an infamous priest in the north of Glasgow (where wee “Mary”walks up the ” Hill”) who allowed a young girl who was cohabiting with her boyfriend to be received into the Church.

      Hopefully, the “pastoral care” suggested by next year’s synod will ensure that the former priest’s practice becomes the norm. Of course a priest should always be gentle and pastoral when dealing with these issues. However, this doesn’t mean he should be weak. Positive things could come from this synod, but Pope Francis isn’t doing anyone any favours by providing false hope.

      December 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm
  • Frankier

    If one of them met another man or woman they probably wouldn’t think twice about it either. Sometimes once bitten doesn’t always mean twice shy.

    December 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm
  • Tirrey

    This will be a very difficult problem to solve.But one must be cruel to be kind,perhaps,in such cases.There is a grave danger of ending up with a Church which accepts deviations from Catholic teaching,in many areas.This would be a very grave error,if it were used to increase Mass attendance.Renewal will not come from compromising the Truth.

    December 19, 2013 at 7:44 pm
  • Nolite Timere

    Unfortunately this is probably the area of Church teaching that can cause the most ‘hurt’ (perceived or otherwise) to many members of the Church. Over the last few months this has been a constant theme of letters in the SCO with a number of different views being out forward.

    In the majority of cases no one enters marriage thinking that it might not ‘work’. Those who marry generally do so faithfully and in many cases something happens outwith the control of one of the spouses that leads to the breakdown of marriage. The Church already recognises that in certain circumstances spouses are better to live seperately.

    I often find that the general Catholic population misunderstand the Church’s teaching on this matter. For example I know of an elderly lady who many years ago had to leave her husband because he subjected her and her children to the most horrendous abuse (physical and otherwise). Since this happened said lady has lived a chaste life in line with the teaching of the Church but still feels unable to come forward for communion as she is divorced.

    However it is true in many cases that problems occur for others as they choose not to live appropriately following separation, however it must be recognised that this must be a difficult thing for some people.

    Another misunderstanding in this area is that everyone attending Mass must receive communion at every Mass, obviously this is to be commended but our obligation is to hear Mass not to receive communion.

    December 19, 2013 at 8:56 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    ‘The Archdiocese of Freiburg in October released a document saying that divorced and remarried Catholics can receive Holy Communion if they can show their first marriage cannot be reentered, if they repent of their fault in a divorce and if they enter “a new moral responsibility” with their new spouse.’

    This statement comes as no surprise given that the Archdiocese of Freiburg was/ is headed by the biggest dork this side of the Volga- Archbishop Robert Zollitsch.

    A valid marriage is a valid marriage. It really is that simple. An annulment can only be granted when the marriage is obviously not undertaken with the correct intention, i.e if one party knows on the day of the vows that he or she will be unfaithful for example, or if they are forced into a marriage. That being said, Jesus said a divorce could be granted in a case of adultery, did he not?

    Although, with regards to that elderly lady, who got divorced due to an abusive husband and stayed chaste and celibate and had no other relationship- she could be allowed to receive communion, but not the husband, as she is not sinning as she is following Church law.

    December 19, 2013 at 9:49 pm
    • editor

      Catholic Convert,

      Here is a fairly good article (it seemed to me, on scanning) about annulment

      December 19, 2013 at 10:07 pm
      • catholicconvert1

        Thanks for the interesting article Ed. Don’t you think that the elderly woman in a previous post should be admitted to Holy Communion?

        December 20, 2013 at 11:17 am
      • Petrus


        This is a red herring of an argument because such a woman has always been able to receive Holy Communion.

        December 20, 2013 at 11:21 am
      • Eileenanne

        Of course, but I am confident she is not the only Catholic who does not understand that. I have put a couple of people right on that score myself.

        December 20, 2013 at 1:26 pm
    • Frankier

      Catholic Convert

      If the husband hasn’t taken up with another partner and confesses his sins there is nothing to stop him receiving holy communion either.

      December 20, 2013 at 7:51 pm
      • Frankier

        Catholic Convert

        I should have pointed out that in the eyes of the Church they are still married.

        December 20, 2013 at 7:54 pm
  • Josephine


    Please don’t take this the wrong way because I do believe in calling things by their proper name (as Pope John Paul II said in his encyclical The Gospel of Life, about abortion) but I’m sure I’m not the only one with relatives and even siblings who are in “adulterous unions” of one kind or another. I think the headline might have been a bit more sensitive to this being a widespread problem in Catholic families now. Perhaps calling them “irregular partnerships” or something like that would make it a little easier to discuss with family members. How many of us would suggest to relatives who are cohabiting or divorced and in second relationships that they could benefit from reading this thread?

    Saying that, I do agree that it’s not pastoral to pretend there’s no sin involved and I am dreading the outcome of the synod next year because I have a strong feeling that there could be some wobbly statement issued that would allow Communion to the “remarried”.

    December 19, 2013 at 10:38 pm
    • editor


      I’m afraid I was a very bad girl indeed when creating the headline for this thread. I decided to – very deliberately – send shockwaves through the souls of the divorced and “remarried” who may happen by.

      Believe me, I fully sympathise with all that you say about family members – my own family is no different from any other family, so take it as read that we have our fair share of members in, er, “irregular partnerships”…

      However, given that the Pope himself speaks of divorced Catholics finding happiness in “second marriages”, it is my considered opinion that we need to now, more than ever, use the correct term whenever possible.

      December 19, 2013 at 11:35 pm
    • Petrus


      I must say that I disagree with you. Of course, I understand that this is a widespread problem these days, but we must tell the truth about what “remarriage” is – adultery. The time for softly, softly is over. Perhaps you think Our Lord was slightly harsh when he said:

      “Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery.”

      Luke 16:18

      December 20, 2013 at 10:28 am
      • gabriel syme

        I fully agree which what you say here Petrus.

        I think its true that many modern clergy simply lack the backbone to say anything which even might prove unpopular. You are right that some direct, straight talking is needed at times.

        Many people seem to think the Church exists only to praise and affirm their personal choices. They do not realise the Church has authority for a purpose – to guide and correct (at least, that is what it is supposed to do).

        Sadly Pope Francis seems to fall into this trap of seeing Christianity as nothing more than a sickly sweet system for telling people how lovely and wonderful they are. “All carrot and no stick” you could say!

        I also agree with the headline of this article, that “pastoral concern” is essentially a euphemism for “accepting anything” and being able to conveniently ignore difficult or challenging doctrine.

        December 20, 2013 at 2:24 pm
      • chasdom

        Petrus, did Our Lord have a lithp or some other speech impediment when He said all that????

        December 20, 2013 at 3:49 pm
      • Petrus


        I assume you refer to the text of Sacred Scripture. Are you aware that the Douay Rheims bible is a direct translation from the Latin Vulgate and the Church’s official bible translation. Your post verges on blasphemy. Shame on you.

        December 20, 2013 at 5:10 pm
      • Eileenanne

        O Petrus… really! As you well know, the translation is in that type of English only because of when it was written. There is nothing intrinsically better or holier about putteth and committeth and marrieth than in puts and commits and marries. Jesus didn’t preach in English as far we know, and if he came back to speak to us today I think He would use language that people would understand.

        The official translation of scripture as used in the Mass is the Jerusalem Bible.

        December 20, 2013 at 7:36 pm
      • Petrus


        Now, it helps to do some research before opening ones mouth. The issue is not simply one of the style of language used. There are serious problems with mistranslations. For example, the famous 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 reads “Love is patient” etc. This is often used at weddings. However, the direct translation is “Charity is patient”. This is not about married love, but love of our neighbour. Charity. Therefore in the modern translation, the true meaning of the text is lost.

        As for the official translation being the Jerusalem Bible – Wrong again. That is the version used in English speaking countries. It is not the Church’s official translation.

        Your response speaks volumes about you, eileenanne. Chasdom’s crass comment about Our Lord having a speech impediment and poking fun at the translation of the Bible used by faithful Catholics for centuries doesn’t seem to bother you. Speaks volumes.

        December 20, 2013 at 8:24 pm
      • Eileenanne

        I am sure Chasdom can speak for himself, but my understanding is that he was making fun of the archaic language of your quote, not the words of Our Lord, who would not have been speaking ANY words in ANY style of English.

        The Jerusalem Bible is the official translation approved for the Mass in this country. Other English speaking countries use other versions.

        I wonder if we have a native speaker of some other language here who could tell me whether their language has a version of the Bible which includes the equivalent of putteth and committeth and marrieth. It would be interesting to know.

        December 20, 2013 at 9:13 pm
      • Josephine


        It’s still not very nice to make fun of the words of Jesus. As Petrus says, it’s bordering on blasphemy.

        December 20, 2013 at 8:33 pm
      • Eileenanne

        They are not the words of Jesus. Jesus did not speak English. His actual words would have been quite different (in Aramaic?). What Petrus quoted was a translation into an archaic style of English.

        December 20, 2013 at 9:03 pm
      • Petrus


        Your actions this evening speak volumes about you. It is a very sad person indeed who ignores this important subject, but rather tries, and fails, to score cheap points.

        Tell me this, what is the official Scripture texts of the Catholic Church? It is not Aramaic, it is the Latin Vulgate. The Douay Rheims Bible is an exact translation. Here’s what the EWTN website has to say:

        “Douai-Rheims. The original Catholic Bible in English, pre-dating the King James Version (1611). It was translated from the Latin Vulgate, the Church’s official Scripture text, by English Catholics in exile on the continent.”

        Now, the issue is not just stylistic. There have been some mistranslations in modern versions. For example, 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 reads “Love is patient” in modern Bibles. However, the direct translation from the Latin Vulgate is “Charity is patient”. This text is quite often used at modern weddings. However, the text does not speak of married love, but charity – love of neighbour. There’s an important difference. This is just one example.

        Are you seriously claiming that in order to understand the Bible properly we must all enrol in Aramaic classes? In that case, do you think the Church is wrong to base Her teaching on divorce and remarriage on that Bible passage? If the “words” of Our Lord were “something quite different” should we reconsider this teaching? Can you see the hole you are digging for yourself?

        December 20, 2013 at 9:43 pm
      • Eileenanne

        Of course I do not suggest we all need to study Aramaic, but nor do we become holier or better informed about God’s Word by insisting on reading / quoting the Bible in a version of English that to some to some ears sounds rather clumsy, when there are other approved translations. With all due respect what matters is whether the translation we read is approved by the Church, not whether it is approved by you. Your version is NOT intrinsically superior to any other, though if you like it, you are of course welcome to use it. As in other matters, the Church allows choice to suit different tastes and times.

        I don’t doubt the meaning of Our Lord’s words – I was merely stating that he did not say them in English. I believe everything the Church teaches, including, of course, her teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

        As to my not contributing to the discussion in hand, I find I am not keen to participate in the communal tutting and hand wringing over other people’s perceived sins which is becoming the dominant feature of discussions on this blog.

        December 20, 2013 at 10:11 pm
      • domchas

        ” As to my not contributing to the discussion in hand. I find I am not keen to participate in the communal tutting and hand ringing over other peoples perceived sins which is becoming the dominant feature of discussions on this blog”
        Eileenanne, very well said; I couldn’t agree more. The self righteous indignation of the perfect Catholics who tend to constantly bleat about others supposed sinfulness in their personal lives on here is quite sickening.
        I’m so glad I am a sinner and don’t have to answer to the SCHIZOPRHENIC GOD of the catholic truth and the sspx

        December 20, 2013 at 11:04 pm
      • Josephine


        It’s not a “perceived sin” – divorce and “remarriage” is a very grave sin, a mortal sin, deadly to the soul.

        December 20, 2013 at 11:23 pm
      • Petrus

        This is a very mixed up reply, Eileenanne.

        “Of course I do not suggest we all need to study Aramaic, but nor do we become holier or better informed about God’s Word by insisting on reading / quoting the Bible in a version of English that to some to some ears sounds rather clumsy, when there are other approved translations. ”

        Now, where did anyone say that “we become holier” by reading/quoting the Douay Rheims Bible? Please quote. Having said that, we DO become better informed by reading an accurate translation. The example I gave from 1 Corinthians is pertinent here. The modern translations do NOT allow us to become better informed because they are not completely accurate.

        “With all due respect what matters is whether the translation we read is approved by the Church, not whether it is approved by you. Your version is NOT intrinsically superior ”

        A red herring. Accuracy matters. The Douay Rheims is a direct translation of the Church’s official Latin Vulgate bible. So, it is superior. I think a direct translation is always better than paraphrasing, don’t you?

        “I don’t doubt the meaning of Our Lord’s words – I was merely stating that he did not say them in English.”

        Please quote where anyone claimed Our Lord spoke English…. This is a nonsense argument. Those words are still the words of Our Lord no matter which language they are translated to.

        ” I find I am not keen to participate in the communal tutting and hand wringing over other people’s perceived sins which is becoming the dominant feature of discussions on this blog.”

        You fail to grasp a key concept, eileenanne. This argument would only have any merit if we were discussing a specific case. We are not. We are discussing the teaching of the Church. It is imperative that members of the Church, ordinary Catholics, understand these teachings.

        Hopefully you will take on board these points, eileenanne.

        December 21, 2013 at 8:57 am
      • catholicconvert1

        Is Aramaic not an ancient and archaic language, like Latin and the type of English in the Douay Rheims Bible?

        December 22, 2013 at 2:47 pm
      • catholicconvert1

        Can you not realise that the Douay Rheims Bible was translated into Elizabethan English? Did Shakespeare et al have a ‘lithp’? You really do act like a dolt.

        December 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm
      • crouchback

        I think the ….”putteth”… the bit we are all struggling with…..

        As long as a person doesn’t ….”putteth”…..then there is no fault, as far as I can see.

        If one side….”putteth”….the the other person should be treated with the greatest….most abundant mercy. Nobody can expect All such people to live as cloistered religious.

        There are so many people in this situation now…..a result of many factors not least of which is rampant materialism.

        Jesus didn’t condemn the woman at the well…..though he did read her problem very accurately. …..something we should very wary of trying out in the here and now

        December 28, 2013 at 11:21 pm
      • editor


        While I’ve met many unhappily married people, I’ve yet to meet an unhappy cloistered religious. Reflect.

        As for “Jesus reading the problems of the woman at the well very accurately” – shucks! Is there no end to the euphemisms for sin around and about these days?

        Your third paragraph appears to be saying that the innocent party in any divorce cannot be expected to live without an intimate married relationship, a terrible fate you seem to suggest. As if refraining from sexual activity is akin to a near death experience! We (Us single folk) drag ourselves reluctantly out of bed in the morning, pray our swears, force some breakfast into our lonesome, weary bodies and struggle through the day – NOT 🙂 Breaking News…it’s possible to be celibate and happy – very! And anyone who has doubts, just has to check up on the latest divorce statistics!

        Anyway, back to your suggestion that the innocent party in any divorce cannot be expected to live without an intimate marital relationship. Wouldn’t that be just dandy? Wouldn’t that remove any need for fidelity from the spouses? As it is, it is quite clear to any but the most dim numpty, that the betraying spouse is to blame for the plight of the other, not the Church. The Church hasn’t done anything to that innocent spouse, so has no need of being “merciful”.

        The person who condemns an innocent spouse to a life of loneliness when they bargained for marriage and family life, is the unfaithful husband or wife. That is the fact of the matter. No use blaming the Church because the Church has no authority to ignore the crystal clear words of Christ, that anyone who divorces and marries another, commits adultery. He made no exception in the case of an innocent spouse.

        So, with respect, you are wrong. There IS fault, the fault of the unfaithful spouse who selfishly “putteth” away his wife, condemning her to a single life (unless the wretch dies) which she didn’t want. Those of us who chose it, love it, but for those who bargained for marriage, it may well be a huge cross. But keep focused on the real villain: the unfaithful husband/wife, not the Church.

        Here endeth the lesson about putteth…

        December 28, 2013 at 11:40 pm
  • Eileenanne


    This began when you chided Chasdon for “verging on blasphemy” when he poked fun at the archaic language in which you quoted Our Lord. These were not Our Lord’s actual words – they were ONE translation of what he said, in a style of English which sounds strange to many 21st century ears. I am sure Jesus spoke in the normal language style of His time – why should we quote him otherwise? It is not blasphemy to joke about a particular style of language,

    Not being capable of translating the Bible for myself, I trust the Church to do it for me. There are several approved versions in English, including the one we use at Mass in this country. Thou art free to choose whichever thou preferest and and verily I say unto you that there are others that maketh different choices which are also pleasing unto the Lord. (BTW I have just had a quick look at the readings in my missal, printed in 1961. I see some thees and thous, but not a putteth or a committeth or a marrieth. Do you know what Sunday that reading comes up so that I can check?)

    I wonder if I am the only one to have noticed a shift in the style of this blog in recent months. More and more frequently the topics are things about which there is nothing useful to say. Often the pattern is that Editor introduces a subject with some topical information and a question, after which others join in to say things along the lines of “I think that’s terrible too”. I see little value in that. Catholic Truth has served a useful function over the years in alerting Catholics to issues that should be addressed. Now it seems as if topics are just about looking for the motes in others’ eyes, even if references are to groups rather than individuals. There has also been less courtesy to those who do not toe the party line. The worst example is the pinning of the Pope Francis thread. To encourage people to go out of their way to look for reasons to criticise the Popoe is fairly unpleasant to say the least.

    December 21, 2013 at 10:05 am
    • Petrus

      “The worst example is the pinning of the Pope Francis thread. To encourage people to go out of their way to look for reasons to criticise the Popoe (sic) is fairly unpleasant to say the least.”

      If only we had to go out of our way to find reasons. If only.

      December 21, 2013 at 10:29 am
  • Petrus


    Again, you completely miss the point. Suggesting that “Our Lord has a lisp” is crass and verges on blasphemy. Do you think this is acceptable?

    You also miss the point about the nature and function of this blog. Raising awareness is extremely important. Also, you have missed the issues that have been teased out and the things people have learned. I know I learn something knew every time I log on. Perhaps you only see what you WANT to see. If you log on with a bad spirit, always seeking mistakes – a sort of “Corrector General” then you shut off possibilities, which is a real shame.

    December 21, 2013 at 10:28 am
    • Eileenanne

      I think Chasdom’s comment was no more than a harmless bit of fun aimed at the old fashined language you put into Jesus’ mouth and not at Our Lord Himself.

      I hope you and your loved ones have a happy and blessed Christmas.

      December 21, 2013 at 10:35 am
      • Petrus


        Clearly you think that’s acceptable to poke fun in such a way. It’s sad that someone would find this a bit of harmless fun but would be the first to criticise.

        Anyway, as long as you remember that I didn’t put any words into Our Lord’s mouth. Again, it’s the direct translation from the Latin Vulgate. Take it up with the Magisterium.

        Happy Christmas to you too.

        December 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm
      • editor


        I’m really speechless reading your posts on this thread. How utterly dishonest of you to come on here saying (albeit after a shot of very unpleasant and unjust criticism) “…Catholic Truth has served a useful function over the years in alerting Catholics to issues that should be addressed… (but)”

        This is not how you’ve appeared on this blog – ever. Your default position has been to criticise us for everything from the chosen headline to the (yawn yawn) tone and style. Even in your 10.05 comment, you remark on the “shift in the style of this blog in recent months” (to get worse, of course, never better).

        Look, if you think that our “style” could be improved, YOU improve it. That’s what happens in verbal conversations, someone intervenes to improve the “tone” and “style” if they object to what is being said. For pity’s sake, the Church is melting away, humanly speaking, before our very eyes, with a Pope who seems determined to destroy it – see the latest shenanigans on the Pope Francis Latest thread – and here we have an allegedly concerned orthodox Catholic whose chief concern seems to be to “get at” the poor sinner who is writing up the introductory articles. The articles are meant to provoke discussion and if what is reported is “terrible” well, let’s not be afraid to say so – over and over again.

        This is the only Catholic blog in Scotland where people are allowed to speak / write freely about the dire state of the Church. If you don’t like us, then don’t read our articles. But if you do choose to comment, please focus on the issues not looking for excuses to highlight my poor writing up of the introduction to the discussion; allow me a little charity, please, since I’m very busy and often just throw together a few words to get the discussion started. “Charity” did I say? Oops! That’s NEVER to be allowed the editor of Catholic Truth, right?

        However, it’s noteworthy that you have cut plenty of slack in the direction of Domchas or whichever username he’s picked today. He, too, only comes here to attack the newsletter and, of course, me personally, so naturally “birds of a feather” and all that…

        You may not like the tone and style of this blog, Eileenanne, but I’ll tell you what I don’t like. Wasting time writing responses to people who appear to be using this blog for one thing only: to criticise the work of Catholic Truth. Anything or anyone that serves that ignoble purpose will do. That’s how it looks from where I’m reading.

        Well, I hope you’ve had your fun for today. I’m more disappointed than I can express, given the length of time you’ve been reading our newsletter and blog. I notice that Petrus thanks you for your Christmas wishes. I’m glad you didn’t send any to me, because I am not inclined to accept them. I’ve got plenty of faults – insincerity isn’t one of them.

        I, however, will be wishing you a very happy and holy Christmas along with everyone else – friends and enemies alike – who read this blog, when I post a Christmas thread nearer the time. I sincerely wish you a happy and holy Christmas, but, more than that, I sincerely pray that the scales fall from your eyes very soon indeed, because – with the latest shocking news about Pope Francis’s plans for the Church – “crunch time” (as Sixupman puts it on the Pope thread) can’t be far off. Hopefully soon, you will appreciate the truth of what we are about – not nit-picking and looking for faults in the Pope or anyone else. That’s not what we are about and the fact that I need to say that to you after all the years you’ve been following us, is enough to send a lesser soul looking for the whisky decanter. Me, I’m off to partake of a Diet Coke.

        December 21, 2013 at 10:56 pm
      • crouchback

        Banging on a bit is another…..only saying….like…..!!!

        Men aren’t allowed to cover their heads in church…..

        except in dire necessity. ….tin hat for me tomorrow…

        December 28, 2013 at 11:31 pm
  • Eileenanne

    I have nothing to take up with the Magisterium. I am willing to accept ANY of the approved translations of Scripture, I reject none of them and am happy for others to prefer something different from the one I choose myself.

    Jesus would surely have spoken to people in the language they themselves used, not in a style that had been out of date for hundreds of years. It seems a bit silly, therefore, for us today to put His words for us into a version of English that no-one still speaks, and cannot therefore be the best way to communicate His teaching, which is, after all, what matters. From my basic knowledge of Latin, I am pretty sure that the Latin for putteth, committeth and marrieth is identical to that for puts and marries and commits, so the translation simply reflects the time when it was produced. It has NOTHING to do with altering the meaning.I cannot understand why you seem so keen to defend and promote the archaic version

    The words Chasdom made fun of are not the words of the Bilble. They are ONE way among many of translating the actual words. Absolutely nothing of the meaning is lost by saying puts and marries and commits instead of putteth and marrieth and commiteth.

    December 21, 2013 at 10:16 pm
  • catholicconvert1


    I’d love to know why you think God is schizophrenic?

    December 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm
  • Nolite Timere


    Maybe you need to lighten up a bit, the lisp comment was clearly tongue in cheek, I’m sure our Lord had a sense of humour. It is nowhere near blasphemous.

    With regards to translations of the bible, on the Vatican website the ‘official’ translation is from the New American Bible.


    I cannot say that I have noticed ‘communal tutting’ etc. The discussion is of Church teaching on certain matters, teachings we should all know and understand.

    However you allude to an interesting point that we should always remember, the teachings of the Church seek to provide the ideal situation, and the vision the Church has of the perfect world. However we all need to remember that by our very human nature, we are fallen and at times cannot live up to the ideal that the Church puts forward.

    December 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm
    • Petrus

      Nolite Timere,

      I don’t think that is an interesting point at all. I think it’s a bit of a cop out.

      Remember, Our Lord said “be ye perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” We must always strive for this perfection, relying on the Sacrament of Confession for when we fall. We must never use our fallen human nature to become an excuse for not doing everything we can to attain sanctity.

      We must remember that to divorce and remarry is a mortal sin. It is remiss for anyone to claim that it is in any way permissible, allowable, understandable etc to commit sin. We should detest all sin and do everything we can to avoid it, and occasions of sin too.

      Whilst I don’t doubt the good intentions of those who try to make those caught in this irregular situation feel better, we all know how the old adage goes: the path to Hell is paved with good intentions.

      December 22, 2013 at 5:35 pm
      • Nolite Timere


        I’m sorry it is no way a cop out. I’m sure we all strive for perfection but at times we do not achieve it. That’s because we are human and are imperfect. What should be do, discard those who cannot achieve the perfection you perceive for them?

        Remember Our Lord also said:

        “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven”

        And also

        “And why seest thou the mote in thy brother’ s eye: but the beam that is in thy own eye thou considerest not? Or how canst thou say to thy brother: Brother, let me pull the mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seest not the beam in thy own eye? Hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother’s eye”

        Thankfully God is all forgiving, hence why he sent his Son as the ultimate sacrifice and also instituted for us the Sacrament of Confession as He was all to aware that all of us, at some point, in some way will fall short and be unable to attain the ideal.

        December 23, 2013 at 2:12 pm
      • Josephine

        Nolite Timere,

        I think it’s a mistake to talk of the “ideal”. The law is the law. As has been pointed out on this blog many times, we don’t talk about the law of the land as being an “ideal” – we are supposed to obey it or maybe go to prison, points on driving licences etc.

        Also, I think Petrus has said more than once that he’s a sinner as we all are, so I don’t think the quotes about hypocrisy etc apply to him. Just pointing out that something is a sin doesn’t make anyone a hypocrite.

        December 23, 2013 at 2:50 pm
      • Petrus

        Nolite Timere,

        With respect, you make a classic mistake. There’s a big difference between speaking of mortal sins in a general way and dealing with an individual sinner.

        Think about it – your logic would mean that the Church could never condemn any sin. She couldn’t say that homosexual acts are wrong, she couldn’t say abortion is wrong because that might give the impression that the Church is not merciful. It’s a nonsense. We would all be walking around frightened to say anything.

        Our Lord was the fount of love and mercy, but He was also just. When dealing with the woman at the well, He did not condemn her, but sent her away saying, “Go and sin no more.”

        We must condemn sin, but not the sinner, in the strongest possible terms and constantly seek perfection. It is a modern error to fail to condemn sin (not the sinner) for fear of upsetting someone. When we fall, we pick ourselves up, go to Confession and start again.

        December 23, 2013 at 6:45 pm
      • Nolite Timere


        Unfortunately your post highlights your lack of philosophical concept, the law of the land is in fact an ideal. The law of the land puts forth a manner in which we ought to live (an ideal), the law of the land recognises that some people fail to reach that ideal ( that’s why prison, fines etc exist).

        The same is true of the Church, she puts forward Her law to which we ought to live (again an ideal) in Her charity she recognises that we will sometimes fail to reach that ideal so gives us the Sacrament of Confession to help us in this.

        It’s not as simple as the law being the law.


        I am not necessarily disagreeing with you, the Church most certainly has the authority to point out the errors of the faithful, and to state what is right and wrong.

        However sometimes I think that discussions on here are too ‘black and white’ and do not recognise the complex situations that sometimes are involved in these situations.

        Yes condemn the sin, but realise that for some people perfection is not easily attainable.

        December 24, 2013 at 12:44 pm
      • Petrus

        Nolite Timere,

        On this blog we tend to discuss sin in a general way. I don’t think I’ve ever taken part in a discussion about a personal “Complex situation”. That’s the key difference.

        December 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm
      • crouchback

        Quite right….

        but what of the abandoned spouse….

        there’s the rub, we cant expect all such people to live alone for decades….

        even cloistered religious have the support of communities. ….

        God recognised that Adam needed Eve…..and that Abraham needed Sarah. …and Hagar….!!!….then look what happened….!!

        December 28, 2013 at 11:42 pm
      • Petrus

        Crouch back,

        I don’t think anyone has ever suggested that a married person, abandoned by their spouse, had to “live alone”. Many unmarried persons live very happy and fulfilled lives with friends or family. However, some are also very happy alone. In the case of a person abandoned by a lousy spouse, perhaps they might be quite happy to live alone.

        However, the two issues of paramount importance are the indissolubility of Marriage and chastity, to which we are all, married or unmarried, called to observe.

        The Church simply cannot allow either of these to be set aside in order to allow someone to satisfy their lust. That is what this argument comes down to. How sad that even in the Church there are people who cannot imagine happiness without sexual intimacy.

        December 29, 2013 at 9:13 am
  • Frankier

    If divorced people were allowed to re-marry again in the Church would there be a limit set, or would “Catholics” like Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor get the go-ahead to make it an annual event?

    After all, if it is permitted once I don’t see how anyone can be refused if they wish to do it 20 or more time, especially if they had a medical certificate to prove they were weddingcakeaholics.

    December 22, 2013 at 10:29 pm
  • Miles Immaculatae

    I suppose the English Reformation need not ever have happened.

    December 24, 2013 at 1:23 am
    • Michaela

      Miles Immaculatae,

      That is a very good point to make. If there is nothing wrong with divorce and remarriage, to keep people in second marriages from Communion nowadays, what was all the fuss about before?

      December 26, 2013 at 8:59 pm

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