What Francis Forgets About Marriage

The Church affirms that human beings are by nature suited to contract marriage, and she teaches that Christian couples can call upon the graces of the sacrament of Matrimony in living out the marriages they contract. Against such an ancient and affirming tradition, Francis’s assertion that “the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null” shocked both common sense and Catholic sensibility. Continue Reading »

The Other Footnote in Amoris Laetitia

Pope Francis’s recent Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia is, for the most part, a beautiful presentation of Catholic teaching on marriage and the family. But its eighth chapter strikes many readers as problematic. This chapter attempts to identify the patterns of reasoning by which a prudent . . . . Continue Reading »

Marriage is Not a Social Convention

In a Web Exclusive article today, I elaborate problems that I see in Amoris Laetitia. Here on First Thoughts, I want to discuss the parts of Amoris Laetitia that are especially helpful for an engaged couple. The document offers an excellent diagnosis of why marriage can be difficult in our time: . . . . Continue Reading »

Amoris Laetitia and the Words of Christ

The first paragraph of Amoris Laetitia states that “the desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people.” Throughout my engagement, however, my desire to marry has sometimes been less than vibrant. To paraphrase my archbishop Cardinal O’Malley, I long for . . . . Continue Reading »

Why Amoris Laetitia Wouldn't Have Helped Me

Like waves breaking on rock, polishing and shaping by force, the Catholic faith sands and sculpts my being. The day my soul became Catholic was the day I found out that as a divorced and remarried woman I could not receive Communion. “Truth enlightens man's intelligence and shapes his freedom,” . . . . Continue Reading »

On Sex Without Deliberate Consent

In his recent Apostolic Exhortation, the Holy Father puts a question mark in the margin of the following teaching of Pope Saint John Paul II: “The Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. . . . . Continue Reading »