Could Gay Marriage be PASTORALLY Approved at Synod on the Family?

The Pope recently made some remarks about the Synod on the Family coming up on Oct. 4-25 2015. Both the liberal media and Catholics within the fold are eager to see this play out.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 12.15.07 PM

When I was in Rome last month, I had the chance to talk bishops, priests, and layman (some work in the curial offices of the Holy See) about the “word on the street” regarding the upcoming Synod of the Family.

I left Rome concerned and not at all encouraged regarding the place of the Family.

The buzz word for this year’s Synod on the Family is: “finding solutions.” I don’t know what it means, but that’s the phrase. It’s all about “finding solutions.”

Here’s my concern:

The contemporary political landscape is unilaterally affirming:

  • reproductive “health” (contraception and abortion) as a political right
  • same sex “marriage” as a political right
  • “divorce for the sake of happiness” (however defined) as a right

So when the Church speaks of “finding solutions,” what is the problem?

Two possible options:

  1. Good Option: Could it be that the Church is going to find new and creative ways to help traditional monogamous Christians to flourish and succeed under the cloud of political oppression?
  2. Bad Option: Could it be that the Church is going to find new and creative ways to hallow the new political status quo by “finding solutions” for give the “rights” of full communion to those that live and/or support the newly ratified politically lifestyles.

My concern is that the “finding solutions” phrase refers to finding a way to give the Holy Eucharist for those living in adultery and in same sex marriage without technically and theologically sanctioning adultery and same-sex marriage.

The hypothetical argument for a sleight-of-hand Church sanctioning of divorce/remarriage or same sex marriage would look like the argument below.

[Note that this is not my argument or something I am suggesting. Rather, my observation and my gut tells me that this is the sort of thing that the enemies of the Catholic Church (from within) are going to try.] Here is what they will try to push at the Synod on the Family:

We must approach the emerging forms of family and the individuals involved belong to these units with a hand of mercy. People have made decisions in the past (or had decisions made for them in the past) that places them in a situations or relationships contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church. Due to the passing of time and/or physical/mental/emotional damage, there is no way to “turn back the clock” so that these people of good will can enter into a regular sacramental situation with the Catholic Church. For the sake of mercy, we have found a pastoral solution that does not run counter to the theology or dogma of the Catholic Church regarding monogamy and sacramental marriage. The local conferences of bishops can authorize their bishops and pastors (those with canonical cure of souls) to determine, after prayer, counsel, and interviews, whether certain baptized faithful can be dispensed from certain irregularities due to the passing of time or through physical/mental/emotional trauma. The prayerful dispensation of the bishop or pastor should be honored and respected. The bishop or pastor’s dispensation is similar to the pastor’s power to dispense of the Sunday Mass obligation or rules for fasting for those under his care for pastoral reasons.”

I’m not a prophet, but I feel pretty sure that the argument that I drafted above will be developed and popularized in the years to come, but perhaps even as early as this next Synod of the Family in October 2015.

A couple things to notice:

  1. It affirms the traditional teaching of the church, but…
  2. It introduces the ability of a bishop or pastor to make dispensations or sanations due to past realities.

Question: What do you think? Could you see this happening? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Don’t lose hope: I think this is a dangerous proposition that could emerge. But don’t worry, good people. The Holy Trinity is in charge! The Holy Spirit will be victorious! Never lose hope in Christ.

Here’s a video I made for last year’s Synod on the Family about not getting worried or depressed about these things. Watch it if you’re worried: VIDEO: Crazy Cardinals, Synod on Marriage, and Finding Peace.

Download My Book for Free
Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages
Over 15,000 copies downloaded! This is a quick and easy way to learn the basic philosophy and theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas. The Popes of the last 300 years have endorsed St Thomas Aquinas. Learn more through this accessible resources. Download it for free.

Comments Policy: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. If your comment contains a hyperlink to another site, your comment automatically goes into "Comments Purgatory" where it waits for release by way of moderation.

  • One thing that fails in the analogies with dispensing of Sunday Obligation and fasting is that those are unique, “one-time” experiences. The pastor/bishop does not dispense with the Sunday Obligation or fasting rules forever. However, that is the “pastoral” consideration described here…a “forever” kind of dispensation.

    • Deacon Sean, this is a great point. Thank you for making it. I with you would agree that “perpetual dispensations” would not be in conformity with Catholic tradition. I don’t think the strategy above will prevail, but I definitely see it being (wrongly) advocated.

      • Therese

        I HAVE TO BELIEVE, that say, even IF the Holy Spirit didn’t exist, there would be NO individual who would even ‘whisper’ about ‘perpetual dispensations.’ Frankly, it’s too STUPID for ‘learned men’ to want to look ‘UNLEARNED before the entire synod. (UN- learn-ed is MY ‘coined’ word, made up because I couldn’t come up with a word to use to express the absurdity of the THOUGHT alone, much less it’s OUTRAGEOUS verbalization ).

    • St Donatus

      But the argument surely will be that ‘like a dispensing of the Sunday Obligation, for an individual family, this is a one time dispensation. For example, it won’t be in force for the next divorce and remarriage’ (that statistically will most likely occur).

    • ETCW

      Dear Deacon Smith, the exception to the fasting requirement can be permanent for a medical reason e.g. lifesaving medication that must be taken frequently would be one, but such a man would, presumably not have long to live.
      I think you are correct about Sunday Obligation though. One instance where I personally have heard of a priest granting such a dispensation, not permanent, was for particularly trivial, even ridiculous, situation. A trip I took with some family members to Florence comes to mind. A family member asked for and received a “travelers” dispensation while we were in Florence, mind you, for a few weeks. You cannot walk a hundred yards without seeing some of the most famous and awe inspiring Catholic Churches,Basilicas, and Chapels, but, you see, we were on vacation! I reminded the family member, to little effect, that their priest had erred and why wouldn’t you want to go to Mass at say, the Duomo, San Lorenzo, or San Croce to name a few. I was astounded.

  • Charles Volz

    I hope you are wrong. Yet what you write is the type if liberal speak we often hear. However, I am encouraged the Pope Francis has promoted the churches teaching.

  • The problem with “solutions” such as these is the very real chance such “pastoral” compromises will lead to more souls being damned. It’s a serious thing to receive the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin, as St. Paul tells us. I wonder how many of the Churchmen that support such “solutions” are deluded into thinking we have a “reasonable hope that all will be saved?”

  • ealopez

    My sense is that such a ‘solution’ will be rendered. I can tell you that there are already Catholics who believe that the Church’s teaching on homosexuality has already been changed. The communication from this Pope is highly troubling, even when factoring in secular press manipulation – a fact that should be factored in at St. Peter’s. I remain faithful, hopeful and in prayer for our Papa – but concerned for the salvation of souls.

  • Janie Harris

    At our local Cathedral dispensations are already fairly common for Catholics married to non-Catholics for the non-Catholic spouse to receive.

    • St Donatus

      I didn’t think such a dispensation was even legal.

    • MAJohnson

      My husband isn’t Catholic, but I am and we were married in a Catholic Church. In our Diocese, he wouldn’t be allowed to receive the Eucharist unless he goes through 6-9 months of RCIA, becomes Catholic and has undergone First Confession.

    • Arnot1936

      I have to believe this is either a mistake or an anomaly not sanctioned by the Bishop. He is probably unaware and the people doing it are probably told its ok by some pinko RCIA teacher. How can they be receiving communion if they ain’t in Communion. I’m no theologian, just sayin.

    • Therese

      Never, never, never have I heard that the Eucharist is available to ANY person who is NOT a Catholic….EVER. Either you are concluding such from what you perceive (that some people you KNOW to be non-Catholic ARE actually receiving the Eucharist) and thus drawing your own conclusion that it is A-OK. It could be that the non-Catholic may be going up to receive a BLESSING (with crossed arms, indicating to the priest/Eucharistic minister that they NOT receive the host) If what you say is the TRUTH, it would have been headlines across the UNIVERSE. Cudda missed it, though I can’t think HOW. SOMEBODY in the know, PLEASE ADVISE on Church STANDING on said DISPENSATION .

  • David F. Dieteman

    The Synod could do no such thing, per paragraph 2344 of the Catechism: “Chastity represents an eminently personal task; it also involves a cultural effort, for there is ‘an interdependence between personal betterment and the improvement of society.’ Chastity presupposes respect for the rights of the person, in particular the right to receive information and an education that respect the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life.” In other words, for the Synod to do such a thing would be to effectively destroy the cultural work of encouraging the virtue of chastity, which activists and politicians are already working to do. Per Aquinas, the morality of an action is determined by the kind of an act it is, the object of the act, the circumstances surrounding the act, and the acting person’s intention. We might describe the omission of attending Mass as a species of acedia, that is, sloth, not caring enough about God to worship Him. On the other hand, there are times when we cannot and should not go to Mass – perhaps I have an unpleasant viral infection which is also contagious. That would excuse the omission. In the case of adulterous and homosexual relationships, these are commissions, not omissions. Even if we imagine a case where adults who profess to be living together with romantic attachment (with or without the blessing of the law) also are living chaste lives (i.e., not engaged in sexual relations at any time), there is still a problem: Paragraphs 2358 and 2359 call them to chastity, that is, to self-mastery by overcoming an “inclination which is objectively disordered” (in the case of homosexual tendencies). For the Church to somehow wink at such relationships would make hash of those paragraphs. Similarly, as to adultery, paragraph 2381 of the Catechism puts it this way: “Adultery is an injustice. He who commits adultery fails in his commitment. He does injury to the sign of the covenant which the marriage bond is, transgresses the rights of the other spouse, and undermines the institution of marriage by breaking the contract on which it is based. He compromises the good of human generation and the welfare of children who need their parents’ stable union.” And so the Church cannot simply turn a blind eye to persons openly living in adulterous relationships.

    • I don’t think it will actually happen – but I do see it being a major push.

      • Aliquantillus

        These changes won’t happen by means of legislation or new dogmatic teaching, not even by Francis’ new pastoral approach of mercy. And yet they’ll happen, because this new pastoral climate will slacken the discipline of the Church which is already in a process of constant erosion. This slackening of the sacramental discipline will be encouraged by the Pope and the Vatican authorities and this will become the policy. After sufficient time has elapsed the Kasper faction will thus gain a de facto the victory. That’s how things will go. In the mean time the minority of orthodox bishops in the West and the majority of orthodox African bishops will be satisfied with declarations that have an orthodox ring, and the Synod will have a happy ending, everything nice and beautiful. No worry. Only in the years after the Synod the betrayal will become manifest.

    • Prettylady!

      Well said. But these are scary times. The momentum and tizzy the west is in after Friday the 26th could easily be taken up by these bishops, and certainly this pope. That marriage could be turned upside down by the court was un thinkable even 15 years ago. It would not be RIGHT for the synod to gloss over the teachings you so eloquently sited, but what does that have to do with wanting to be popular and “with the times?”

      I would not be surprised if something like this happened. Read kennedys opinion. Why couldn’t Francis come up with another “beautiful” document ignoring church teachings on sexuality (nature’s teaching).

      And do you think most “Catholics” would care? Most Catholics are pathetic brain dead sheep, think the church is old fashioned at best, hateful at worse, and just want their Facebook.

      Do I sound cynical?

      • Glendon

        I disagree in part, most Catholics, or people who call themselves Catholic, have already excommunicated themselves from the Church; however, they may one day return if they receive a good confession and are accepted back into full communion with the Church. If you even miss one Mass, for your own selfish reasons, on Sunday, you are in the state of mortal sin and should not received Holy Communion. How many of the Catholics today can honestly say, I am in the state of grace or at least are trying to remain in the state of grace? I fear that number is less than 7% of those identifying themselves as Catholic.

        • Prettylady!

          I think we agree. How many Catholics in the world, actually accept and try their best to adhere to the teachings of our Church? I don’t think I’m exaggerating that it might be a million.

          Maybe we could all fit on an ark!

          • Glendon

            I believe the Catholic Church was said to be the Ark by one of the saints, if at the time of Christ’s second coming those in it will be saved, all others will perish. Can’t remember what saint, if you want I will look for it.

          • Prettylady!

            That boat need not be very big, most Catholics hate the church…

          • Glendon

            We need to do all we can to make them appreciate the beauty and the exceptional gift that was given to us. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is like having access to a piece of Heaven.

          • Prettylady!

            As true as it gets, my friend! And confession. Daily mass and twice a month confession with the same priest has made all the difference for my pathetic life!

            God bless sir!

  • Jonathan Taylor

    Luke 17:1-2

    And he said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should not come: but woe to him through whom they come. It were better for him, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones.

  • emiliani

    I think the Synod’s actual report will be totally irrelevant.

    People of good faith will continue living out their faiths in family/marital life in line with the Church’s teaching.

    People of bad faith, like their forefathers who used and abused Vatican II for their own purposes, will insist that whatever deviation from the Church they want to accomplish is aligned with the synod — or at least the “spirit” of the synod.

    In a certain sense, this is already being done: a couple/few bishops, along with some of the laity, have used the synod as a cover to publicize heterodox views … which just muddies the water for everyone else.

    • H Miller Jr

      I am afraid I agree. There will be many “pastors” who will be too liberal with their dispensations. Our churches will be sullied by gay marriage, and adulterers will crowd the communion rails. Oh, that’s right! We don’t have communion rails any longer. Our churches are already “off the rails.”
      There are three parishes locally. My hope is that at least one of them maintains orthodoxy.

      • emiliani

        I’m afraid that will never happen: The Church will NEVER grant the sacrament of holy matrimony to two men or two women, any more than the Church will ever green light women priests; coming to the priest (or extraordinary minister) for communion will also NOT be acceptable — if the priest knows that the two men in line are “married”. (However, some small number of gay couples WILL go up to communion together in an effort to rub it in the faces of “homophobic” parishioners and Church teaching — like those two dudes who were given communion by the priest in San Francisco dressed as nuns a few years back; the bewildered priest, not knowing a reason to withhold communion from them, apparently just handed it to them.) They’ll be oblivious to the spiritual/physical danger they would be placing themselves in, mostly because they don’t believe the Eucharist is what it is anyway.

        What WILL happen, and is already happening (ironically it happened at St. John the Baptist in Costa Mesa, CA), is that two “husbands” and two “wives” will enroll their adopted/in vitro children in Catholic schools, and our sons and daughters will be subjected to the couple’s odd-ball presence — and the deafening, uncomfortable silence of the adults, teachers, administrators, and parochial vicar around them — at every Back-To-School Night, school play, and athletic event.

        I assume this is the precise strategy for how Catholic Schools will be attacked in the courts in the very near future — probably this fall. I’m sure the Rainbow Mafia — the hard core activists — are already looking for their operatives to send into Catholic schools to get the ball rolling.

  • Bob C

    I think few understand trauma and I doubt that the synod does. Even in such cases we need to have the courage to be chaste even when the original causes for our current sin might be because of someone else. Sin is sin, and confession is necessary to remove mortal sin. Priests are already pastoral in the confessional.

  • Mike Cusack

    As a convert to the Church I have staked my eternal salvation on it’s eternal truths. If the Synod goes in the way you fear, I would no longer feel the Church is being guided infallibly by the Holy Spirit. (Not that I’m claiming to know more than God!)

    I know God is in charge, but wouldn’t this be Church sanctioned apostasy? Then what? Your fears give me cause to fear. I pray the Church reaffirms the truth or there will be a schism.

    • woodyjones

      Exactly the point, Mike, and that’s the way this convert sees it too. If they dilute the teaching straightforwardly or with a “pastoral” loophole, that’s still the equivalent of saying the Church has been wrong all these years, and then everything is up for grabs. The guidance of the Holy Spirit is assured to the true church, the question will then be, where is she to be found? You may have to forward my mail to Moscow.

    • St Donatus

      The fact is that the individuals in power of the Church don’t have to listen to the Holy Spirit. Like in our lives, sometimes God will allow harm or pain to cause a better outcome. There have even been heretical Popes in the past, but their heresy was revealed and blessings came to the Church. Even if there was some ‘pastoral’ solution, the teachings of the Church would remain the same. In England, during the reign of Henry VIII only a very few bishops remained loyal to God and the Church. God will have justice.

      All you have to do is look at the history of God’s people, the Israelites. They had many religious and political leaders that lead them to heresy. God punished them and eventually they repented and came back. The old testament is one story after another repentance, rebellion, disaster, then repentance again. Sadly, us humans just don’t seem to learn. Look at the world today, look at the millions of baptized Catholics that have rejected the Church’s teaching on contraception. Do you not think that Catholics are due a bit of chastisement at this point? Of the Catholics I know, perhaps one out of twenty actually believe and follow all of God’s commands that he has given the Church.

      • iggram

        Heretical Popes! Really??? Perhaps you could post a proof of your
        You seem to forget that the Holy Spirit is there to ensure no Pope ever infallibly defines a heresy as orthodox dogma.

        Some popes may have led bad lives but that does not make a pope a heretic. It makes him a public sinner.

        • Feed the Hungry

          I think he may be referring to popes who personally held to heretical views, though they never pronounced such views as official church teaching.

          • St Donatus


          • iggram

            If they never pronounced such views as official church teaching then they can’t be called heretical popes. After all personal opinions are not doctrines.

          • Feed the Hungry

            If a church leader personally holds to heretical views and everyone knows he holds to those views, I’m good with calling him heretical.

          • iggram

            Keep in mind that a pope’s private theological opinions are not infallible, only what he solemnly defines is considered to be infallible teaching. If in calling him a heretic you mean the charism of infallibility has been undermined you couldn’t be more wrong since the charism of infallibility prevents a pope from solemnly and formally teaching as truth something that is an error.
            Holding a heretical view is one thing declaring that heretical view to be a doctrine is an entirely different matter. This is something no Pope has or can do.

          • Deacon_Augustine

            It was enough for Pope Honorius to merely allow the promotion of Monothelitist tracts against the orthodox faith for him to be posthumously anathematized by both his immediate successors and the second Council of Constantinople.

            One does not have to attempt to make a public definition of a heresy to be a heretic. Anybody who holds any doctrine which is contrary to divinely revealed truth is at least a material heretic.

          • iggram

            Let’s put it this way.

            In the case of Pope Honorius it has nothing to do with Papal infallibility. Pope Honorius was criticized sometime after his death NOT for something he taught. He was criticized for not stopping the rise of a heresy during his pontificate. Infallibility only applies to a teaching by the Pope on matters of faith and morals when he speaks ex cathedra. That is when he exercises his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians in defining a doctrine concerning faith or morals. What Pope Honorius is guilty of is not acting more forcefully against the heretics. His action or lack of it does not impact his infallibility as Pope. He was not a heretic he was a weak person who did not do his job right.

            Pope Leo II, did not agree to the condemnation of his predecessor for heresy and said that Honorius should be condemned because “he permitted the immaculate faith to be subverted.”

        • Therese

          Excellent point. It just AIN’T POSSIBLE for the POPE, when speaking on FAITH or MORALS to make an error. The BAD POPES (as is the case with us ALL) are NOT impeccable. We, as they are SINFUL. Despite this FACT, the Holy Spirit (plain and simple) will NOT ALLOW for error when the VICAR OF CHRIST, from the Chair of Peter
          speaks on FAITH AND MORALS. Period/END OF STORY.

      • Prettylady!

        Well said!

    • iggram

      Mike in staking your eternal
      salvation on the Church’s eternal truths you will not be let down. As St. John Paul II once said “I did not make
      up the rules, they come from God I am merely the custodian of God’s eternal
      truths”. That truth applies to all Popes
      past, present and future. There are many
      dissenting voices and opinions out there but that is exactly what they are
      OPINIONS ONLY. The Deposit of Faith
      given to the Apostles by Christ himself and handed down to the Church will
      never change. There have been many, many
      heresies threatening the Church down through the ages but the infallible truths
      of the Church have survived the onslaughts.
      It will survive the wolves who are trying to undermine this divine
      institution called the Catholic Church and its teaching and truth will be triumph
      we have the Holy Spirit’s word on that.

    • Therese

      I remember when Humanae Vitae …the ‘contraception’ encyclical was the talk of the town. I remember the anxiety, NOT unlike what is expressed in quite a number of comments, was a part of the ‘wait and see’ for the FINAL conclusion. We knew then as we know now that Pope Paul was being duly advised by many ‘clericals’ who advocated and PRESSURED for change that would allow the use of artificial contraception. We all know the final result, believing that the VICAR OF CHRIST ON EARTH, cannot, will not, AND,is in fact, INCAPABLE of error when it comes to ANY promulgation when related to FAITH and MORALS, right from the ‘get go.’ Even of the BAD POPES, (and there were more than a few whose stories could be told as hair raisers,) EVER proposed a scintilla of error in Church teaching. Maybe we should question OURSELVES as to whether WE BELIEVE/TRUST the Holy Spirit as He relates to speaking the INFALLIBLE truth through the Vicar of Christ HIMSELF…when speaking from the Chair of Peter on FAITH and MORALS.

  • Ok. My english is not 100%. But did you misspell sleight of hand (when calling it “slight-of-hand Church”) or is slight a word and I’m missing a play on words here?

  • Colin Zee

    Thanks for this Dr. Marshall. I think myself and other listeners would like to hear your perspective on how Catholics should react, understand or conceptualize the Church, magisterium, and its teachings, in the event that all these things do – God forbid – come to fuition.

  • Patti Day

    We are three months away from the synod and I believe we’d have to be hearing many more bishops coming down on the side of these so-called “pastoral solutions” in order to have it accepted. The Church in Africa would never agree at this point and that’s where the Church is seeing the most growth. Also I believe the Pope has backed off his earlier support of Kasper and Marx and as Cardinal Burke has said faithful Catholics would have to resist such a solution. Pray the rosary.

  • RAinWV

    I’m all for believing that, in the end, “the Holy Trinity is in charge,” but I think we run the risk of deluding ourselves into believing that we will see this triumph in our lifetime. The Israelites suffered cruel bondage for over 400 years waiting for a deliverer. Many of them, I’m sure, had serious difficulty keeping hope alive, generation after grinding generation, and I’m sure many lost hope and fell away from the faith during that time. We are in a spiritually similar perilous time, and I am personally convinced that a great sifting of Catholic hearts is on the horizon. Those who stand with the Faith once for all delivered unto the Apostles will very soon be faced with some stark choices, including overt exclusion from the public square, economic harassment and persecution, loss of property, and political marginalization, and social scapegoating (a la Nero). Your choice will be to renounce your religious beliefs as hateful, bigoted, and dangerous, or risk loss of life, liberty, and property. I am not hopeful in the near term about what secularized Catholics will choose, or how they will treat Cathoics who refuse to apostasize. Fasten your seatbelts and keep your spiritual bags packed.

    • Prettylady!

      Some great posts here, well said sir!

  • Julian Barkin

    Dr. Marshall, that is a dangerous thing that is being proposed. Will out Holy Father, Pope Francis, be that foolish to let something pass in this Synod? Many of his speeches of recent sounds like he’s not that naieve about the whole situation after the blowup of Ex. Synod 2014. He surely won’t let something like that pass, right?

  • Cindy

    I want to believe that the Holy Spirit will prevent this from happening although I really believe that only a supernatural miracle could prevent it from happening. I’m Hispanic and I’ve heard many conversations our current pope had while he was bishop in Argentina. They are on the internet and in Spanish language. I’ve also viewed a disturbing video of him while pope, where he says we should not try to bring people into the Church. He talks in Spanish and I understood CLEARLY what he said and that’s exactly what he said. He said we should walk with people, not try to make them Catholic and let God do all the work of bringing them into the Church. One of my concerns with the holy father is that apparently, he’s tainted. What do I mean by that? I think throughout his life and while he’s been a cleric, he’s experienced pharisee type, hypocritical Catholics and they have left a real sour taste in his mouth. Those experiences have led him to equate orthodoxy with a lack of mercy, a lack of love and “rigidity”. I heard a story he told of very pious women in his parish (when he was a priest), who were extremely pious, yet he found out they expected and seemingly approved of their married sons also having access to their house maids as “more than maids”. He was shocked and taken aback by their hypocrisy. He’s also recounted the legalism of going to confession because he brushed his teeth before Mass and swallowed a little of the water within the time allotted for fast, and believed it to be a serious sin. I think he is suspicious of orthodox Catholics. Why is that important? Well, because he will tend to side with those whom he perceives to be merciful and charitable.

  • St Donatus

    My emotions cry for those who have been abandoned by an adulterous spouse, but my logic and senses tell me that we can’t destroy the family for the sake of the few. You might say that this ‘solution’ is like outlawing trucks and cars because people get killed driving. Yes, I feel terrible for those who have died on the road, but we count the number of people would die on the way to the hospital, unable to get there because of the distance, or the people that would starve due to the rise in food prices because of the lose of adequate transportation, or the houses that would burn down while waiting for the firemen to get the horses hitched up on the fire engine. Likewise as selfish Catholics realized how easy it would be to abandon the stresses of their family life, the additional pain would far surpass those divorced who were completely innocent.

  • Cecil Schriver

    I’m sure there were simular justifications discussed in Sodom, and we know how that turned out. Are there 50 Christians left?

  • Aldo Buenahora

    I want to thank Dr Taylor for bringing this up. As a revert I feel very close to Mike and Woody Jones posts down below. If this come to pass I will say that the Church is else were. But we must wait to see what happens, remember el Papa is a Jesuit by training , they can be difficult to read until they are clear.

    That said I have been praying for the Pope and the Church. His comments regarding who He is to judge or the overtures to the divorced are very disturbing but his remarks about capitalism are at least as concerning….
    I know The Holy Trinity is in charge and in the end the Church will prevail I hope I will be there to enjoy mean while I agree that though choices will need to be made. Please pray for me pray for us pray for the Pope pray for the Church.

    • St Donatus

      I too am a revert, but I overcame what drove me away in the first place. Many of these heresies that are now showing up at the synod are heresies that have existed ‘pastorally’ for some fifty years now. BUT I came back seeing the Church starting to move back in line with God’s will. Like many others here, I belong to an FSSP parish and I know that these priests will stand with God no matter what the Synod proposes.

      Even though we are part of the Church, we can’t put our trust in men, even the men who guide the Catholic Church. God will ensure that they don’t change the constant truths of the Church because the Church is the bride of Christ. We too will be tested during this time. Do we put our trust in men or in God?

  • KristinLA

    Read about Modernism and its pre-Vatican II papal warnings and condemnations if you want to understand why the Catholic hierarchy today is the way it is. Learn about “the synthesis of all heresies” to know why we are being fed heterodoxy buried in ambiguities instead of clear, true and beautiful Catholic teaching from the Deposit of Faith.

    Propositions Condemned by St. Pius X, Syllabus Condemning the Errors of Modernists:
    #20 “Revelation could be nothing else than the consciousness of man acquired of his relation to God.”
    #40 “The sacraments had their origin in the fact that the apostles and their successors, swayed and moved by circumstances and events, interpreted some idea and intention of Christ.”
    #41 “The sacraments are intended merely to recall to man’s mind the ever-beneficent presence of the Creator.”
    #54 “Dogmas, sacraments and hierarchy, both their notion and reality, are only interpretations and evolutions of the Christian intelligence which have increased and perfected by an external series of additions the little germ latent in the Gospel.”

  • jason

    Dr. Marshall, I agree that there is likely to be some version of this argument. I think that it would be a huge mistake to yeild to this argument. The slippery slope of possibility, which grants mercy without justice in some instances and inherently chips away at the understanding of sanctity in marriage ought not be encouraged. Sacrifice, an inherent component of sacramental marriage, ought to be presented as the beautiful aspect.

  • Derek Pierson

    Does a Synod rank just below an Ecumenical Council?

  • jacobum

    We all have reason to believe that your concerns are more than real. It will not only be used it will be spun and expanded. The books have been cooked. Barring an intervention by the Holy Spirit or the BVM, the abominations are on track as sure as God made little green apples.

    The liberal progressives aka Modernist in the Church hijacked Vatican 2 and brought the French Revolution to the Catholic Church. Ecumenism has replaced objective truth and Universal Salvation is preached rather than “No Salvation Outside the Church”. Now truth evolves and changes with the times. It is now centered within each of us.

    However, the average Catholic still does not have a clue as to what has actually happened except they are aware of the most notable and visible result. Namely, that i/n/o of “updating” and the “Spirit of V2” the Mass of PP6 a/k/a Novus Ordo was crammed down the throats of the faithful which effectively destroyed the organic Liturgy of 1800 Years. The fact that the Tridentine Mass was/is dogmatically the official Mass of the Church in perpetuity per the Council of Trent was ignored (and still is for all practical matters). It was/is very Important because of Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.

    Now under very unsettling and mysterious circumstances at best we get a resignation and election of a new Pontiff whose actions, encyclicals and commentaries can only be described charitably as “creating confusion”.

    The fact that Pope Francis is/has been directing the Synod and it’s messaging(s) from the Cdl Kaspers et al is very,very unsettling and indicative that anything is possible at the Synod. This combined with the appointments that have been made over the last 30 months reflect a very liberal bias. Combine this with the disturbing fact that we have not heard a “peep” from Rome and PF on the victory of “Sodomite Marriage” in Ireland and the USA speaks volumes. Silence is a form of consent and complicity. Last I checked this is a sin when dealing with “intrinsic evils”

    In summary, the liberal modernist faction that Pope St Pius X forcefully warned, preached, fought, taught against and condemned emerged as an organized force at V2. They hijacked the Council and proceeded to implement numerous harms among which was to destroy the liturgy. They have been in charge ever since and now believe the time is now to “make V2 permanent” by doing the the same to dogma(s). They do so by leaving the language of the dogma in place while changing/redefining (aka “updating”) it’s interpretation and implementation. After all Truth evolves don’t you know?

    The real truth is Supernatural Faith has been lost at the highest levels of the Church and hierarchy while the modernist poison and the heterodoxy of the Thiehard de Chardin S.J et al continues its damage unabated. Synod I was a disaster and embarrassment. Synod II promises much more of the same. Train wreck dead ahead

    May God Help Us and Our Mother Mary crush the heads of the apostates in her Son’s Church.

    • Yankeegator

      Exactly!!! The Horizontal, Humanistic, Dogmatic Free, Church of Man, Dialoguing with The World is their aim…

  • What do I think? I think the “Bad Option” is REALLY bad, and if if’s adopted by the Synod and by the Pope, it will be a disaster for the Church.

    The Catholic Church will then start to disappear the way that Protestant denominations are disappearing.

    I think before the Church disappears completely, though, at some point – years or decades from now – a good Pope will be elected who can start to reverse the damage. Of course, by that time the number of true and faithful Catholics in the world will have greatly diminished.

    However, I suppose that if Catholics are ultimately few in number, that should hardly surprise us. After all, as St. Matthew wrote: “How small is the gate, how narrow the road that leads on to life, and how few there are that find it,”

  • Maria Gabriela Salvarrey Rodri

    I’m past trying to predict anything. Things are not well. Too many enemies within, too many worrisome declarations and actions by the pope, too many who surround him that are so questionable. I must confess that I’m spiritually and physically tired lately but not in despair. Yet though I value all the activism necessary and possible everyday I’m more convinced that we need prayer more prayer and more penitance and fasting. Evil has spread and reproduced and now we must be ready for very difficult times. Times that will put our faith to the test so we need to get a firm grip on Jesus and keep it strong through what is to come. This is only possible by prayer.

    • mariamgal

      I agree with everything you say, María Gabriela. Things are not going well in and outside the Church. Prayer, penance, and sacrifices are in great need. The “in” is what worries me most. There is confusion, doubt, and concern among the faithful.

      When people refuse to follow God’s laws and begin to choose what is more convenient according to their preferences or way of life anything can happen! There are reasons to believe that things will get worse before they get better.

      We must be ready to stand firm and fight the good fight for Jesus. We are not alone. Our Blessed Lord is always with us. We are in communion with the Angels and the Saints in heaven and down here, as part of the Church militant, with those who will not bend, who, for the love of Christ, will carry their cross to Calvary and will prefer to die instead of giving their souls to the devil. I know that, with God’s grace, we can do it. God bless you! +

      • Maria Gabriela Salvarrey Rodri

        Pray God will give us all the grace we need to do it. God Bless you.

  • Lynda Christoffers

    I am a Lutheran, Missouir Synod, I was happy with my Lutheran faith until I moved to a rural area in Florida. I was not happy with the Lutheran Church, and started attending Mass at the Catholic Church, then in time I attended RCIA classes. I am not welcome be a convert to the Catholic Church. I have never been divorced, I was married for 32 years, my husband was Catholic, my children were raised Catholic. He passed away. I did remarry 6 years later, a civil ceremony. My husband was also raised in the Lutheran faith, but he does not attend church.
    His marriage ended in divorce after 25 years of marriage. There was a long separation and the a divorce. 19 years have passed. They were married in a Greek Orthodox Churh, the marriage was annulled by the Greek Orthodox Church. I was told that my husband would have to have his marriage annulled by the Catholic Church, unless that is done I will never be able to convert.
    I was hoping that maybe there would be a change, but from what I am reading hear, that most likely not happen.
    When you are born, and your parents take you To a church, you usually remain in that faith.
    That was my intention, I was happy being Lutheran, now I am not. I feel very sad that I cannot convert. I cannot help feeling that For reasons that I do not fully understand, Martin Luther separated people from the Catholic Church, and now I am not welcome to be Catholic

    • St Donatus

      Why wouldn’t you be welcome as a Catholic. I came to the Catholic Church even though the Church had to annul a previous marriage. It was annulled. It really was not that difficult. The issue is whether the Church sees the original marriage as a valid marriage. Anything worth having is worth working for. There are many ways that the Church can help you in this situation. Talk to a priest first before you decide it is too late.

      • Cathaholic

        Lynda’s husband’s marriage needs to be annulled by the Catholic Church. A Greek Orthodox nullity is not recognized because they do not acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope.

        • Deacon_Augustine

          The Greek Orthodox do not have an annulment process – they accept divorce allowing people to marry up to 3 times in church.

          That is quite different from declaring that a valid marriage never took place at the outset which is what a judgment of nullity states.

          • Cathaholic

            That’s a better answer than mine 🙂

          • This is why Rome and Constantinople can never unite under Constantinople’s terms. We’d have to accept their divorces.

    • Cathaholic

      Lynda, you are welcome but the Church must protect the sanctity of The Eucharist. If your husband refuses to file for the annulment in the Catholic Church, then this becomes a matter of prayer. Meanwhile you can still faithfully attend mass and go to adoration, and be active in the church. You will meet more and more who will pray for you, and this will all help. Don’t give up. Trust and have faith.

      • Lynda Christoffers

        Cathaholic, I do understand the sanctity of The Eucharist , I respect that. I am not sure about asking my husband to fill out the papers for an annulment. We have briefly discussed it, I think it is a lot for me to ask of him. The process, from what was explained to me is not an easy one.
        The divorce was a long time ago, I do not want to cause any one in his family to become upset. So, I will continue to pray for an answer.

        • Cathaholic

          Yes, I’ve been through it. It’s very comprehensive. I have a suggestion, though, which may be worthwhile to consider:
          Get the forms so that you and your husband can look at what’s involved. Meet with the deacon or assigned facilitator and just talk about the process and express your(plural) feelings. Take time to digest it all, and allow the Holy Spirit to work. Just start there and see where it goes.
          His ex-wife is not even obligated to respond, and he can choose witnesses that maybe won’t mind the process.
          It’s not a simple process, but it is valuable. If this is God’s will, you will be amazed at the outpouring of grace.

          • Lynda C

            Thank you for your suggestion.

  • Barbara Ann Baugh

    Either way the Pope will be misquoted and misinterpreted by the mass media. Also as with Vatican II Satan’s minions will be busy spreading rumors and outright lies.

    Of course the Catholic Church will survive. But I do not think it will be without bloodshed. That being said your Good Option is the only solution. It just doesn’t go far enough. The Supreme court has made gay marriage the law of the land. But it must be noted in the decision it was stated that gay and lesbian individuals had a right to CIVAL MARRIAGE. The Catholic Church has NEVER recognized civil marriage. There may be in the future pressure for priests to officiate same-sex marriages.

    And I do not believe that the pressure will end with same-sex marriage. There will be pressure on hospitals to perform abortion and euthanasia.

    The solution must be inclusive. All groups must be strengthened the clergy, families and those choosing celibacy outside of the clergy and orders.
    The Catholic must strengthen it’s structure of hospitals and schools. She must also embrace other disciplines such as social workers. In short the Church must act as a support for all the baptized.

  • Deacon_Augustine

    I too have been in Rome recently and I think you are correct that we shall see a massive putsch in this direction. However, Catholics know what is coming and are preparing to resist it – it will certainly not get unanimous support. I hope and pray that there will be enough resistance to derail it.

    What disturbs me more is knowing how the last synod was manipulated and that the Pope was clearly behind and supportive of the manipulation. We must remember that the evil paragraphs rejected by the bishops in the final report, were retained in it on the insistence of the Pope. The synod has no magisterial or defining power whatsoever. It is in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation where the damage will be done, irrespective of the outcome of the synod.

    It is unlikely that the Pope will go out on a limb unless the clear majority of bishops are behind him. But any ambiguity in the synod voting will be used to insert the thin end of the wedge into the Church’s “pastoral practice”, and a divorce will be attempted between doctrine and practice in the name of a false mercy. It was the Pope’s own decision to call a “Year of mercy” to coincide with the conclusion of the synod, and the strategy behind this should be pretty obvious to all but the most naive of Pollyannas.

    • iggram

      Most of the comments I read indicate to me that there is a really lack of trust in the Holy Spirit’s promise to guide the Church in all truths.

      Public opinion and dissenting Cardinals or bishops or theologians who push for change will not change doctrine. Paul VI stood alone when he issued Humanae Vitae and Francis even if he stands alone will uphold the Church’s teaching in this area as well. The Holy Spirit will
      make sure of that. After all He is in charge the Pope in merely His Prime Minister.

      • Deacon_Augustine

        We have no guarantee that any particular Pope will uphold all areas of the Church’s teaching – only that no Pope will solemnly define error as being true. Infallibility of doctrine does not extend to infallibility of prudential judgement either. Discipline often falls in the realm of prudential judgement.

        One only has to read the history of the pontiffs in the Catholic Encyclopedia to know that there have been several who have led the Church to the verge of heresy. Sometimes it seems that the Holy Spirit has intervened only through the angel of death to save the Church from ruin. Nevertheless, He has always intervened before and I believe He will always intervene in the future. That doesn’t mean that things can’t get very nasty for Catholics in the interim.

        We need to pray for the Pope like his fidelity was dependent upon it.

      • Therese

        I feel the same. Intellectually I KNOW that ABSOLUTE TRUTH will remain ABSOLUTE…ABSOLUTELY…that, as you say, the POPE is ONLY the Prime Minister of the ONE who gave him the KEYS, to bind and to loose,…putting him in charge until Christ, the GIVER OF THE KEYS returns. How stupid is it to DOUBT that the Holy Spirit hasn’t been ‘clued in’ and will always direct for that TRUTH.”
        Deliver us all from such STUPIDITY.

  • Brad Morse

    I think this could cause a political schism as bad as Martin Luther’s back in the 16th century. Our faith is constantly tested by the world. Maybe this will be the impetus for the faithful to recommit to our faith and know that there are those out there who seek to destroy us. Mob mentality is rampant in our society. I pray the Pope will keep us on Christ’s path. John 14:23-27

  • Feed the Hungry

    I hope the new perspective being proposed gets lots and lots of support, to the point that it looks like it’s going to win the day…….

    ……. then in a sudden turn of events, the Holy Spirit begins to speak to those whose hearts are open to His leading. Things suddenly start shifting decisively back in favor of the Church’s current teaching, and all those who forsook it are exposed, discredited and forever fade into the background of Church affairs.

    • St Donatus

      Kind of like what happened at the last Synod at the end where the mid term relatio pointed in one direction but in the end the synod upheld Church teaching. I hope you are right.

  • Dan Bucci

    The Anti Church is only short months away … Make a choice, the Church or the zeitgeist of the dictatorship of relativism … The Lord will spit out the Luke Warm …. The Gate is narrow ….

  • Pennell

    I think you could be correct on your prediction concerning the Synod Marshall. I also think that because of this many Catholics will leave the church.
    I believe our Blessed Mother, through Her Rosary, will clean up this coming mess and all that is filthy in Her Son’s Church and we can’t despair!
    We have to remember dear fellow Catholics, “where sin abounds, Grace abounds even more!”

    Viva Christo Rey!

    • A Catholic can never leave the Church. He would cease to be Catholic. I think that this won’t happen, but I’m trying to show people the (incorrect) argument that might be used by those in the Church to make it so. They will not prevail, however.

  • ETCW

    I cannot see this happening. Even if a bishop can dispense with the fasting obligation, due to some rare medical condition, that is a discipline of the Church. It in no way compares to apostolic-from the very mouth of Christ and constant teaching of the Church regarding either of these issues which are both mortally sinful. No bishop, synod of even a pope can change them without falling into heresy. By conversion or taking him to his eternal reward the Holy Spirit will prevent the Pope and the synod from such errors. We must all pray, and offer penance for out confused prelates.

    • I agree, it’s not the same thing. But that doesn’t mean some people will try to sneak it in using the same kind of (broken) analogy.

  • One of the great injustices I saw in a Protestant Church was watching a close friend’s wife walk out on him but be embraced by the Church they were both attending. She was never challenged, or encouraged to keep her vows. It was as though there was nothing wrong. The Catholic Church must protect the justice of withholding communion from those who live in mortal sin if it is to protect the sanctity of marriage as an indissoluble once in a life time sacrament – broken only by death.

  • Julie Pagano-Puhr

    I must admit I am feeling very shakey regarding the future of our Catholic Church and our freedoms

  • Prettylady!

    You have got to wonder about Africa. Sodomy is still illegal there. Homosexuality is not what it is here.

    How will this pope communicate a “wink” to sodomy to African biships?

  • Kim Michaud

    I most certainly see the possibility. I have been led recently to pray specifically for protection against intentional or non intentional misleading the flock for all: from Pope to religious teachers.

  • Thomas J. Ryan

    I pray the African bishops will be the No vote.

  • geekborj

    I think the mercy that the Church will be contemplating will not be separate from justice. The solution will be very consistent with the true Faith of the Church.

    Has anyone read the Papal Bull declaring the Extraordinary Year of Mercy from 08 December 2015 to November 2016? The bishops will surely find “solutions” for them in line with this document. The Document is really about calling people to repent and change lives and take this Year of Mercy as an opportunity to go back to the Fold. I feel a tone of strictness but there’s mercy all through out.

  • KJR

    The key to all of us is our relationship with our father and that we continue to receive the Eucharist. Jesus said that they claim that they are the followers of me, but I don’t know them. Our mission is to love his children, and if leaders of our church changes to radical liberal agendas, all my gifts will go to the poor, but the Eucharist is still my foundation. Pray for our church and that our Papa stays strong.

  • peggy fuchs

    homosexuality is sin, and evil an abomination to our God, full stop!!!!!

  • Jm J Raymond


  • david

    Taylor, I agree with you when you say “don’t worry.” Whatever happens, I will accept it as God’s will, because, as you say, the Holy Trinity is in charge. If Christ wants to give himself sacramentally to sinners, then he will. If this is how he intends to heal them and bring them into a state of grace, he will. But what am I saying “them”! Us…
    As I recall he gave the eucharist to Judas, even though he knew that Judas was about to betray him. Who are we to say who may or may not receive the eucharist? It is not ours to “give”, much less to withhold. Christ alone “gives” himself; and I, for one, thank him that sinners like me, US, may receive him, unworthy as we ALL are.

    • David,

      Thomas Aquinas is very clear about Judas receiving the Eucharist.

      Christ did give Judas the Eucharist even though Judas was in mortal sin, BUT…

      Thomas Aquinas says that this was as an example to the clergy. If a priest knows that a Catholic is in mortal sin, but it is not a public sin, the priest must give him Communion. However, if the Catholic is in open and manifest mortal sin, the priest is obligated by divine law (not just canon law) to refuse communion in public to the notorious sinner.

      The distinction is whether the priest alone knows about the sin, or if the community also knows about the sin.

      In the case of Judas, only Christ alone knew about the sin and thus He gave Communion to Judas.

  • Yankeegator

    I think it is time for every Bishop, Cardinal and The Pope to openly take The Oath Against Modernism…

  • Glennfriend67

    I have a very difficult time understanding Pope Francis. He criticizes all capitalism, yet free-market capitalism, when it has been given a chance, works beautifully, and could actually save the whole world. He obviously knows communism is a failure. The socialism practiced in his home country isn’t any different. How can I know he won’t decide to change what has been Church policy for over 2000 years, and policy set down by our Lord Himself? This suggests to me that Pope Francis is considering contradicting the laws set down by Jesus, and it is gravely disturbing to me. I truly hope that we’re just making a mountain out of a molehill, because the alternative might be a schism within the Church, and that would be catastrophic.

    • Therese

      I’d like to think that when Pope Francis speaks so harshly about capitalism that he is referring to the SELFISHNESS that makes money a GOD, …though if so, I wish he would make that PERFECTLY CLEAR. We can’t read his mind, but I would RATHER hear that the great wealth, capable of being attained through Capitalism, is definitely subject to a SELFISH attitude, for which we ALL must take care to AVOID, knowing that (as the Good Book says…”The LOVE of money is the root of ALL evil.” ) Note, it does not say that MONEY is the root of all evil but the SELFISH LOVE of it IS. Why does the pope’s METHOD of saying something, leave a muddied feeling. Is there a method to his madness? Why are we left to interpret and re-interpret what he means? Why doesn’t he just SAY it…like it is. I GET IT when he remarks (when questioned about homosexulaity), ‘Who am I to judge?’ since the Catholic Church always taught and continues to teach that you judge the SIN…and NOT the sinner, because we have no idea what is in the HEART and SOUL of the person…ANY PERSON….but…I think we have EXPECTATIONS that confusion and frustration would never be the resulting factor that creates FODDER for those in a frenzy to demean the Catholic Church whenever and for whatever would serve such a purpose, and, at EVERY POSSIBLE opportunity. Waiting, hoping and believing that once the synod is OVER, the prevail will be comforting in TRUTH ABSOLUTE.

      • peggy fuchs

        Capitalism is a very selfish lifestyle, when it causes such a great divide between how the rich can live and how the poor can live. God gave us humans enough for all on this planet, I do not see why a certain percentage of rich people have control and say and power over the rest of the world. There are a few much better alternatives to capitalism, a bit hard to write it all up on here, but with Capitalism there will be ever growing divides between the rich and poor, it is amazing how many people in Western societies suffer depression and even suicide when there is constant individualism and competing at extremes. I read an essay at Uni recently that countries in the past that were majority Catholic had less suicide than Protestants, as Catholics were more family and community orientated. Makes one ponder!

      • Glennfriend67

        I hope so, too. He does not speak plainly, as St. John Paul and Pope Benedict both did; therefore it is all too easy to possible misinterpret what he might be saying. I agree with you completely regarding some peoples’ attitude toward money, especially those didn’t earn it. As Christ said,”No man can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.(money)”(Mt 6:24) This new Pope claims to wish to live a simple, nearly poverty-stricken life, yet he does not speak simply and plainly as a simple man does and we are left to founder. Why? What is the purpose of him couching everything in ambiguity? It can’t be good for the spirits of the people, especially now, when we are undergoing one of the most brutal persecutions we’ve gone through in a very long time. Islamic fundamentalists are bent on wiping every Christian, and Catholics in particular, off the face of the earth, and we don’t feel like we can rely on our Holy Father for guidance. This disturbs me a great deal, as before we have always been able to turn to the Pope for guidance, and now we cannot depend on the Pope to give us a straight answer. I pray you are correct, and that the family synod will be what we need, not another minority issue being shoved down my throat.

  • MG Ragan

    If language comes out of the Synod supporting homosexual behavior and adultery to any degree with the pope’s approval, there could be a schism in the Church. Faithful cardinals and bishops could condemn the Synod and its language and walk away, taking hundreds of thousands of Catholics with them. What choice will they have? Why would the pope even consider going down that road?

    To allow for any moral approval for homosexual behavior and adultery is to cease to be holy and Catholic. I also think that it will prove that Francis is not the true pope. I have suspected this for a long time. Just because Pope Benedict decided he didn’t want to be pope anymore doesn’t mean that God accepted the notion. If the Synod goes south, it will be clear to me that Benedict is still the reigning pope.

    Several days ago, Francis accepted a gift from the Marxist president of Bolivia, Evo Morales. It was a crucifix in which Christ is nailed to a hammer and sickle. Morales has banned the Bible and Catholic ritual from the presidential palace and supported a new constitution that proclaimed his country as secular. Francis told reporters he was not offended and saw the gift as “protest art.” How many encyclicals have been written by previous popes condemning the evil of communism? How many millions have been murdered under communist regimes? How could a sitting pope accept such a blasphemous gift in such a public manner?

    What is happening in the world and the Church is very, very bad. God help us.

  • Victor

    The priest here announces if you believe that the Holy Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus you are allowed to receive Him. Seems to me that is misleading. Also much lack of true knowledge about our Catholic faith here

    • The ability to receive the Eucharist depends on faith, hope, and charity in the soul. A person can have the true faith 100% (the theological virtue of faith) and not have the theological virtue of charity.

      This is what happens with we Catholics believe the magisterial teachings 100% but then commit mortal sin. We have the virtue of faith, but we lost the virtue of charity.

      As Christ and Saint Paul said, we will be saved only if we die with charity (ie, no mortal sins since mortal sin breaks the bond of charity in the soul).

  • John Germain

    The problem with “special dispensations”, with “indults” and this sort of thing is that they seldom end up fulfilling the intent. (One example; communion-in-the-hand = loss of faith in the Real Presence, not to mention much abuse) These “special circumstanses” usually get “hijacked” by those who (mis)”interpret” the true intent and then things get out of hand, and the church ends up trying to fix what has unintendedly become common practice in parishes and diocese. Have we not learned from the (mis) “interpretations” of things done during and after Vatican II? Over fifty years and we still cannot fix it! Until the “smoke of Satan” has been driven from the church, we should put aside any and all future special dispensations, indults, and anything that can be used to diminish faith and worship any further. Pope Benedict made it clear that fixing the Sacred Liturgy, and restoring the faith should be our first priority, I once heard it said; “As the church goes, so goes the world”, If we repair the church (liturgy and faith education) , it will repair families, and thus the world. We don’t seem to want to give the Holy Spirit a chance, we want to find “human” remedies for things. The church needs to worry more about souls and spiritual things and let the Holy Spirit fix the world. We don,t repair mans spirit by appeasing the physical, we give strength to the physical by repairing his spirit.

    • John,

      Just a few observations on your great comment.

      1) Yes, the current strategy of liberal politicians and liberal churchman is to use the exceptions and special cases to push for a solution and then once accepted, then to leverage it with all their weight.
      2) The “smoke of Satan” or whatever you want to call it will always be wafting in the halls of Church – among the laity and clergy.
      3) All grace flows from Christ. Our best access to Christ is the Eucharist. Therefore, you’re right, our attention should be primarily (not exclusively) on the liturgy and how the Eucharist is confected, protected, and administered to the faithful.
      4) A New Evangelization must have an emphasis on the Person and role of the Holy Spirit. We need a new Pentecost with fiery Apostles.

      • John Germain

        Thank you for this. I only mentioned the “smoke of Satan” because of Pope Paul VI’s comment once he realized there were clergy well prepared to “hijack” the council. Driving it out refers to Pope Benedict’s desired renewal by a “proper hermeneutic” of the council. I think the Virgin Mary has been gathering the “fiery apostles” you speak of, the new Pentecost you speak of can’t be to far off. P.S. I am totally enjoying being a member of the “New Saint Thomas Institute, I am learning so much.

  • Bob Terry

    I think that the present annulment process adequately deals with arranged, forced, or “shotgun” marriages or those contracted by two people too emotionally immature or improperly catechised to effect a sacramental marriage. I suspect that in most cases where the local tribunal has decided that the “marriage” qualifies for a decision of annulment it is rubber stamped by Rome. Perhaps all that is needed is the removal of this step and the expansion of local tribunals. Unless, of course, the true agenda goal is to expand the annulment process to include those marriages that do not qualify for annulment.

  • Cathryn Havel Lang

    Is this the reason why lightening hit the Vatican when Pope Francis was elected Pope?

  • Cpq

    It does scare me – something like this could lead many Catholics down the wrong road and it could cause division within. I have three children in their 20s who are Catholic and attend church. I don’t want to have to explain that the church is wrong in this.

  • Remnant

    As part of or after the Synod, you will find the worst case scenario where sin is approved under the guise of “pastoral care.” No repentance, or the other lie of gradualism as applied to repentance, will be used. The approved prophecy of Akita will occur, that is cardinal against cardinal, and bishop against bishop. You see that already because of the 2014 Synod and follow on. You can expect the “indult method”, whereby there are given special exceptions to Church norms will be promoted. All in all, this will be the “subtle Christological heresy” as Cardinal Muller, head of the CDF, stated last year. Be ready to choose sides! And remember, all the modernist leaders of the Synod were appointed by Francis.

  • rtclovesmac

    I see the concern lying more with the children of gay couples.

    What does the Church do when a gray couple desires to have their child baptized?

    Are not parents supposed to be able to raise their children (minors/infants ) in the Faith?

    Is the Church going to have the moral courage to say no?

    But wait, there is precedence here when you consider the Church’s stance on illegal immigration.

    Children born in the U.S. Are citizens.
    Families should not be divided, so we should if we support illegals through sanctuary and says they should be allowed to stay in the country because of their children, should we not baptist children of gay couples and allow them to become Catholic?

    Mans law is not Gods law.

  • Sara

    It’s duplicity, short and sweet…which Jesus says is the work of Satan. You can’t say you’re for marriage and then work to undermine it, still calling yourself a man of God. Our Bishops and Priests need to decide who they are working for…Christ or the enemy.

  • Kim Johnson

    I pray that the upcoming Synod on the family focuses on the power of Christ to deeply and completely transform us in every way according to His will. Through my powerful re-conversion experience, I suffered greatly as I allowed God to re-mold me. The steadfast Catholic faith and her canon law anchored me through many months and years of shedding the old and being made new. A skeptical non-Catholic even asked me as I struggled through the initial transformation process in which I was denied participation in the Sacraments why I was going to the Catholic Church if I was so unhappy. However, even in those times of deep despair when I wasn’t even sure if I would ever be allowed to receive the Sacraments again I disagreed with those Carholics around me who said that is what they did not like about the Church – “all the rules.” Well “all the rules” was the process by which God was slowly, but surely healing me in mind, body, and soul. Through God’s revelation and teaching, we know the path to our healing which results in our salvation. To truly be merciful we must speak out of God’s power to transform us – even painfully so – unafraid of a culture who wants immediate satisfaction if only at a shallow level. We are a people who seek to reconcile ourselves to God not people who seek to reconcile God to themselves. If we go along with the latter, that is not mercy. That is the selling of Truth to avoid pain. That cannot be done. But once you go through that long, dark tunnel, it is glorious on the other side. Surely our fathers in the Faith know that I hope and pray.

  • Glendon

    I for one am not worried, Our Holy Father the Pope, can not and will not change church dogmas or doctrine. If he does, then he himself has decided that God and prior popes and the magesterium had made mistakes when instituting the existing dogma; hence, the pope would not have infallibility when it comes to speaking “Ex Cathedra”. Which by the way is another dogma of our Faith.

  • Rob T

    I can certainly see this coming. I believe it will. I’m glad you are concerned, Taylor. We must always follow Christ in the Tradition of the Church and Scripture, even (or especially), when/if the hierarchy fails.

  • michael ortiz

    Sadly, I fear this is going the way of Communion-in-the-hand: wide-spread flouting of the law in certain places (start with Germany), then a post-facto approval by the Pope.

  • Julie Pagano-Puhr

    Dr. Marshall, would you mind teaching about the Beatitudes or recommend good solid Catholic teachings /books? thanks

  • vkelch

    As an ordained deacon, I deal with the initiation of annulments. Much could be streamlined in the canonical process. Occationally, couples do give up on simple annulments when the tribunal situation goes beyond six months. I believe the prohibition on receiving the eucharist for divorced and remarried Catholics should remain. It’s just the process of annulment should be made more accessable, straightforward and timely.

  • ChrisC

    Thanks for the post. .Unfortunately I have to agree with your analysis. We have to pray and trust that in the triumph of the immaculate heart of Mary. .. I recommend AA1025 book to all those confused by the duality in our beloved church. Archbishop fultan sheen prophecy of the two churches. .church and anti church in one ‘edifice ‘as it were is surely on point… may God bless you and your family and friends. …Chris

  • Dr. Danielle Christmas

    Dr. Marshall: I take exception to your characterization of your ideological opponents as “enemies of the Church (from within).” It is neither helpful to advancing the conversation, nor reasonable to stigmatize an alternative position as “the enemy.” If your point of view is the right one, it will prevail. But if the synod develops some doctrinal revision that is more nuanced than the present position, we can disagree in good faith and work towards a position that is faithful to the gospels and tradition. I tire of theological disputes that appeal to alarmism; even if the synod reaches an unsatisfactory conclusion, it is hardly the collapse of the church as we know it. Hand your concerns over to the Holy Spirit and surrender the heightened rhetoric that leads to theological panic. Any institution that thrives, as long as our church has, has changed in ways that may make us uncomfortable, reverted to old positions that it wrongly abandoned, and (perhaps to the greatest dismay of you and others) developed new doctrines entirely that seemingly oppose earlier church teachings. It will all come out in the wash and, as it does, I hardly think it worthwhile to castigate those who oppose your positions as “the enemy.” Because doing so ends any goodwill conversation before it even begins. I say this as a faithful Catholic who almost certainly disagrees with several of your ideas; as someone who takes seriously scripture’s call to wrestle with God and His teachings, I’m willing to readjust my position as the evidence calls for it, but am hardly inclined to do so when the conversation degenerates to name calling. After all, if you aren’t leaving room to engage with ideological opponents, then you’re just preaching to the choir, and what’s the use in that?