Francis & Fernandez respond to Dubia of ‘Cardinal’ Duka…

Vatican Doctrine Office explains Amoris Laetitia:
Adultery can be a Venial Sin only!

All hell broke loose yesterday, Oct. 2, with the publication of more Dubia by five Novus Ordo cardinals after ‘Pope’ Francis (Jorge Bergoglio) had responded to their first attempt to get straight answers from the ‘Pope’ but would not answer the follow-up questions.

In the tumult of the day — following a busy weekend that saw an ecumenical prayer vigil few people bothered to attend in St. Peter’s Square, in preparation for the Synod on Synodality — there was another big story that went under: the DDF’s response to the Dubia of ‘Cardinal’ Dominik Jaroslav Duka (b. 1943), the retired ‘Archbishop’ of Prague, Czech Republic.

The DDF is the so-called Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, and it is headed by the Vatican’s doctrinal undertaker, ‘Cardinal’ Victor Manuel Fernandez. Dicastery for the Destruction of the Faith would be a more honest and appropriate title.

Duka had submitted his questions on July 13, 2023, and yesterday the dicastery’s official responses were made public in a document entitled “Response to a series of questions, proposed by H.Em. Card. Dominik Duka O.P., regarding the administration of the Eucharist to divorcees living in a new union”. It is dated Sep. 25, 2023, and was signed by both Francis and Fernandez.

The official text was published in Italian and is available at the Vatican web site. An unofficial English translation has been published by Where Peter Is:

The content of the DDF reply is explosive because it confirms what everyone who hasn’t been living in denial for the last decade has long understood: Yes, in the post-synodal ‘apostolic exhortation’ Amoris Laetitia, published in 2016, ‘Pope’ Francis permits unrepentant adulterers to receive the Novus Ordo sacraments, especially ‘Holy Communion’ — only in certain individual cases, of course, but that is enough to establish the principle that it is not always forbidden and therefore not intrinsically wrong.

A few news sites have reported on these ‘Duka Dubia’ and their response, including the Vatican’s in-house news service:

By way of summary, the Vatican’s reply to the Duka Dubia clarify or reaffirm the following:

  1. Amoris Laetitia is “a document of the ordinary pontifical magisterium, toward which all are called to offer the obsequiousness of intelligence and will”
  2. Francis’ response to the Novus Ordo bishops of Buenos Aires, which was inserted in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (Acts of the Apostolic See), constitute “authentic magisterium”
  3. “Francis maintains the proposal of full continence for the divorced and remarried in a new union, but admits that there may be difficulties in practicing it and therefore allows in certain cases, after proper discernment, the administration of the sacrament of Reconciliation even when one fails in being faithful to the continence proposed by the Church.”
  4. Amoris laetitia opens the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist when, in a particular case, there are limitations that mitigate responsibility and guilt.”
  5. “…it is each person, individually, who is called to stand before God and expose to him his conscience, with its possibilities and limitations. This conscience, accompanied by a priest and enlightened by the Church’s guidelines, is called to be formed in order to evaluate and make a judgment sufficient to discern the possibility of access to the sacraments.”
  6. The opening of access to the sacraments for the “divorced-and-remarried” concerns specifically those who are unable to obtain a marriage annulment from an ecclesiastical court. “In these cases, a discernment process that stimulates or renews a personal encounter with Jesus Christ also in the sacraments may also be possible.”
  7. It belongs ultimately to the individual to discern whether he is in the state of grace.
  8. “All aspects of life should be placed before God” in confession.
  9. All these things are best explained in the document “Basic Criteria for the Application of Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia” issued by the bishops of Buenos Aires on Sep. 5, 2016, which was endorsed by Francis and legally ratified to become “authentic magisterium”.
  10. It would be good if each national bishops’ conference could agree on some guidelines “that would help priests in the processes of accompaniment and discernment regarding the possible access to the sacraments of some divorcees in a new union….”

This confirms what we’ve been arguing from the beginning: Amoris Laetitia is the proverbial foot in the door to grant access to the Novus Ordo sacraments for people who live in an adulterous union and are not living celibately as brother and sister.

This is being done somewhat covertly, however: by shrewdly manipulating the circumstances required for mortal sin (grave matter, full knowledge, full consent) until they can shoehorn the mortal sin of adultery into the category of venial sin — not venial per se, of course, but only “in certain cases”, and that is what is to be “discerned” by the individuals affected through a process of pastoral “accompaniment”. Since venial sin does not destroy sanctifying grace in the soul, such ‘venial adultery’ would not be incompatible with a worthy and fruitful reception of Communion. At the end of the day, then, it would be each individual’s own decision, made in the internal forum of conscience, to receive the sacraments or not — nobody else’s.

Now it will be a cold day in hell before anyone who feels happy in an illicit sexual union will go through one of these ‘discernment’ processes and come to the conclusion that he needs to either separate from, or live in celibacy with, his would-be wife because of the “example it sets for young people who are to prepare for marriage” if he doesn’t. Yet that is exactly what Amoris Laetitia counsels, among other things, in paragraph 300, and it is repeated by Fernandez in the Response to the Duka Dubia (see dubium no. 7). In a sense, one could not even blame such a man, considering that if his adultery doesn’t bar him from the sacraments, then it cannot set all that bad of an example for young people preparing for marriage, now can it?

Either way, ideas have consequences, as the saying goes, and it is no different here. One of the consequences of shifting the question “Would God want me to give up my adultery before I receive Communion?” into the forum of personal conscience is that there can no longer be a general church policy forbidding public adulterers access to the sacraments, even though a second and adulterous ‘marital’ union is very much a public and objective matter that concerns the external forum.

This way of proceeding is quite shrewd on Francis’ and Fernandez’ part, but those grounded in true Catholic teaching regarding sin and holy matrimony will be able to see through it.

Back in 2019 already, the Portuguese writer Pedro Gabriel proposed this very idea of adultery as a venial sin, in defense of Amoris Laetitia. We blew it to pieces on this blog:

Gabriel was made aware of this refutation of his errors but chose not to write a rebuttal, saying that his argument was based on principles of post-Vatican II moral theology, not pre-Vatican II (i.e. Catholic) moral theology. He has since published his preposterous thesis in a more elaborate work defending Bergoglio’s infernal ‘magisterial’ document, in book form: The Orthodoxy of Amoris Laetitia (2022).

Since it’s been quite a while now that Amoris Laetitia appeared and generated endless controversy, including a set of Dubia by ‘Cardinals’ Burke, Brandmuller, Meisner, and Caffarra, we’re providing the following helpful background links to help refreshen some memories:

The whole argument that adultery could be only a venial sin in some cases is, of course, a copout. This sophism is merely the intellectual pretext utilized by the Neo-Modernists to get their foot in the door — even if it’s just the back door — to subvert all of Catholic morality/ethics, which stands in the way of so much “progress” in the world. As Francis reportedly told ‘Abp.’ Bruno Forte at the Synod on the Family regarding Communion for ‘remarried’ divorcees: “Make sure the premises are there, and I will draw the conclusions.”

Even if it were possible for a couple to find itself in adultery only venially, it is clear that something like that could only happen in the rarest of cases. The idea that two synods on the family and a ‘papal’ exhortation should concern themselves with such an abnormal and exceptional matter is ludicrous. Issues pertaining to the forum of conscience that may arise on an individual basis are dealt with in the confessional. That is another indication that the ultimate purpose of the two Synods on the Family (2014, 2015) and their subsequent ‘Apostolic exhortation’ Amoris Laetitia (2016) was to enable the gradual and ‘magisterial’ introduction of revolutionary ideas into Catholic moral theology.

Once the principle is established that people in publicly adulterous unions are not barred from reception of the sacraments because they could just ‘privately discern’ that in their particular case (wink, wink), God would not want them to give up their sin, the floodgates are open. We must not forget that Francis blasphemously put that very reasoning into Amoris Laetitia:

Recognizing the influence of such concrete factors, we can add that individual conscience needs to be better incorporated into the Church’s praxis in certain situations which do not objectively embody our understanding of marriage. Naturally, every effort should be made to encourage the development of an enlightened conscience, formed and guided by the responsible and serious discernment of one’s pastor, and to encourage an ever greater trust in God’s grace. Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal. In any event, let us recall that this discernment is dynamic; it must remain ever open to new stages of growth and to new decisions which can enable the ideal to be more fully realized.

(Antipope Francis, Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, n. 303; underlining added.)


The false pope had the audacity to state, in an ostensibly magisterial document, that God may very well desire that one continue sinning against the Sixth Commandment. This commandment — not suggestion! — Francis elegantly but blasphemously recasts as a mere “ideal”, rather than a divine prohibition that must be obeyed at all times under pain of losing the state of grace and risking eternal damnation. (How’s that for “not ideal”!)

The Council of Trent taught infallibly:

But no one, however much justified, should consider himself exempt from the observance of the commandments; no one should make use of that rash statement forbidden under an anathema by the Fathers, that the commandments of God are impossible to observe for a man who is justified [see Pope Boniface II; Denz. 200]. “For God does not command impossibilities, but by commanding admonishes you both to do what you can do, and to pray for what you cannot do, and assists you that you may be able”; “whose commandments are not heavy” [1 John 5:3], “whose yoke is sweet and whose burden is light” [Matt. 11:30]. For they who are the sons of God, love Christ: “but they who love him, (as He Himself testifies) keep his words” [John 14:23], which indeed with the divine help they can do….

If anyone shall say that the commandments of God are even for a man who is justified and confirmed in grace impossible to observe: let him be anathema.

(Council of Trent, Session VI, Chapter 2, Canon 18; Denz. 804, 818)

Therefore, whatever the moral law requires of one is by that very fact possible to accomplish with God’s help — any “concrete complexity of one’s limits” notwithstanding.

But with Amoris Laetitia, this teaching has been undermined. It will be only a matter of time, and of tweaking some more ‘circumstances’, before the whole edifice of Catholic morality is brought to its knees, however gradually.

We can already see the first steps in that direction. For it is clear that with the principle established that one can privately ‘discern’ one’s adultery into a venial sin, this will quickly migrate on to other mortal sins. And, logically speaking, why shouldn’t it? Thus, sodomites too will quickly discover their own mitigating circumstances, and that is precisely what Francis had in mind when he spoke to Jesuits in Lisbon two months ago:

It is interesting to note, by the way, that mitigating circumstances are ever brought up only in connection with those sins Francis has a special, oh-so-merciful preference for — usually sins against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, which he considers “the least serious sins”. Somehow such circumstances are never entertained when it comes to sins Francis actually has a problem with — think of manufacturing weapons, working for the Mafia, not helping the poor, or not listening to the ‘cry of the earth’, for example. The same applies to pseudo-sins he simply makes up, such as approving of the death penalty or converting someone to Catholicism.

Amoris Laetitia at work… (image: Shutterstock/Inked Pixels)

The moral errors of Amoris Laetitia are not new, by the way. They reared their ugly head as the ‘new morality’ in the mid-20th century and were condemned by Pope Pius XII.

Here is a brief excerpt from an essay published in 1952. The immediate context is that of contraception, but the principles involved are the same:

The promoters of the changed perspective [“new paradigm”?] argue that married people often are not prepared to accept traditional morality in this connection; that confessors achieve nothing by their “brutal providentialist attitude”; that present economic and social conditions impose a need for prudence in determining the number of offspring; that conjugal spirituality does not admit of an absolute continence which may well strain the bonds of love and even shatter the harmony of the home.

Such a point of view eschews the hope offered by supernatural faith…. And even granting — for the sake of the argument — the truth of the opposition thesis — has one therefore the right to countenance contraceptive practices? May a confessor absolve a penitent without more ado, once he discovers a vague good will?

…A confessor who absolves a penitent pleading incapability to observe the commandments of God in married life makes short shrift of the words of the Holy Spirit: ”And God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able: but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it” (I Cor., X, 13).

Even if one admits the hypothetical possibility of there being an impossibility to observe conjugal chastity, that “impossibility” can be nothing else, in the final analysis, except a moral weakness. A weakness due in part perhaps to external circumstances, but due particularly and formally to a defective control of the sexual appetite. In his November address to Italian Midwives, the Holy Father [Pius XII] excoriated this very teaching when he said that God does not oblige people to do the impossible, and so if for certain reasons some married couples must abstain from marital union, in such cases abstinence is possible.

(Rev. Edouard Gagnon and Rev. Aidan Carr, “A New Conjugal Morality?”, American Ecclesiastical Review, vol. 127 [Sep. 1952], pp. 178-180)

In an address to a group of young Catholic women given on Apr. 18, 1952, Pope Pius XII refuted the very principles underlying Francis’ Amoris Laetitia:

We will end with an amusing side note, a historical tidbit:

Not long after the release of Amoris Laetitia, it was discovered that key passages in it were virtually identical with 10-year-old theological articles written by a certain Victor Manuel Fernandez. For that reason he has been called the ghostwriter of the document.

We call him the ‘Jorge Whisperer’.

Title image source: Facebook (Arzobispado de La Plata; cropped)
License: fair use

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