Questo articolo è disponibile anche in: Italian English French Swedish


Dear Father Angelo
I have been visiting this website for a while now, I have read the various questions and I have been fascinated by them, so I thought I would write to you to get your answer to an intimate problem that torments me. I have a tremendous fear to leave the Church. I converted to Catholicism five years ago and since then I feel that my life totally changed, was almost transfigured. The merit was the Word of God, which I read out of curiosity and drew me back to the Church to receive the sacraments, and this year I attended a class in religious sciences.

My issue is that I have problems with what I have heard, that is, that the Pope wants to give communion to the divorced who remarried; although I have a great love for my neighbour, I cannot share something like that because it is totally contrary to the Word of God. Of course, those who divorced and remarried should come to Mass and be accepted as brothers and sisters because they are Children of God, but it cannot be accepted that this is a regular situation for receiving communion. I heard the Pope saying that he would like that each situation be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but the problem is that it is always adultery: according to the Gospel, whoever leaves his wife and marries another commits adultery, same for the wife (Mk 10:11-12), and there are no exceptions that authorize a second marriage (except the death of the spouse). A person who is separated is invited not to remarry or to reconcile with his partner (1 Cor 7:10-11). My family is treating me like an animal, as if I were the villain of the situation, just because I say what the Gospel REALLY says, and what the doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church, which is the bride of Christ, teaches about the indissolubility of marriage. Even Jesus was excluded and killed because he did God’s will, and he said we will be hated because of His name, so being treated this way does not make me sad. The thing that saddens me instead, and that I fear so much, is that the Pope may question the indissolubility of marriage and thus change the doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church, and I am afraid at that point I would leave the Church because it would commit apostasy!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (C.C.C. 1650) teaches that the second marriage is a violation of God’s law and those in that state cannot receive the Eucharist, but it also says that they can receive it if they repent and commit to live in total continence. This is a good thing I fully agree with, that is, that they live in continence and can take communion. But no one agrees with it, and I am told that it is impossible for a man and a woman to be together without having relations and that we must be more lenient. But the point is that to have relations in that irregular situation would be adultery! God is merciful but mercy does not ignore sin, what is sin is sin, mercy recognizes sin and forgives it, but the sinner cannot remain in sin, “What then shall we say? Shall we persist in sin that grace may abound? Of course not!” (Rom 6:1). Sinners are to be forgiven but invited to abandon sin, one cannot be authorized to remain in sin!

I seriously fear that the Pope will change the doctrine. I would not like to leave the Church and I pray day and night that the Pope does not change the doctrine. I do not sleep at night and I am afraid because the Church is now my life. I am also a minister and I would like to become an acolyte, but if the Pope contaminates the doctrine to please the world I will have to leave because I would never follow a doctrine contrary to the Word of the Lord, which I profoundly love. Whoever loves the world turns into an enemy of God (James 4:4). The doctrine of the Church is beautiful, a sound doctrine, which distinguishes us from Protestants who are divided to the point that one cannot even tell how many denominations they have. Our doctrine cannot be changed just to please the world. What can the Pope do? If he says that the doctrine does not change but then adds that they can take communion (while remaining in the state of sin for having relations with the second partner) then it is tantamount to changing the doctrine, the marriage would no longer be indissoluble and thus he would have to delete the 6th commandment “You shall not commit adultery” (Ex 20:14).
Please do not treat me as the villain of the piece as the others do, I only do what the Gospel and the Catechism of the Catholic Church say because I love Jesus Christ, the Holy Trinity, and I love all my brothers. I do not want to dictate laws because only one is the legislator and judge! Can the Pope change the doctrine? And how should one behave if the Pope admits something that is contrary to the Word of God, which has the Holy Spirit, who is God, as its author?

As a disciple of Jesus Christ how should I react if the Pope changes the doctrine? Since I cannot go to another Church because I recognize that only the Catholic Church is the bride of Christ, should I leave the Church and remain alone with God? How should one behave in such cases to remain in grace of God?

Priest’s answer


1. You wrote me this email on 5 December 2015.
And I am replying to you today, 25 July 2016.
When you wrote to me, the post-synodal document had not yet been published.
Now, however, it has been published.
While there are expressions here and there that need interpretation, the substance of the document is clear.
The Doctrine, it has been repeatedly stated, does not and cannot change.
The Pope himself said at the time: “I am a son of the Church”.

2. You write to me: “I have heard that the Pope wants to give communion to divorced people who remarried”.
Put like this, one would have to say that it is not true.
This never came out of the Pope’s mouth nor is it written in the document.
Rather, the Pope says that we must go out to meet these people, that we must not abandon them, that they must not feel excluded, that we must support them. And, even if it is not explicitly written, to direct them to holiness of life.

3. In the exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the Pope says, in harmony with the magisterium of John Paul II, that it is necessary to discern the various cases.
But discernment presupposes that there are criteria and principles in the light of which one discerns.
Now the principles of the Gospel that you mentioned are immutable.
There can be no discernment that ignore these principles or, worse, that go against these principles.

4. The support that is dear to the Pope’s heart and that must be dear to the heart of every good pastor must aim at conversion.
Because the preaching of the Gospel is based on this assumption.
The Lord himself said it at the beginning of his preaching: From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 4:17)
And he reiterated this at the end of his preaching: “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things” (Lk 24:46-48).
It is clear from the succession of Jesus’ words that forgiveness is subsequent to conversion.

5. You write again: “I seriously fear that the Pope will change the doctrine”.
This is materially impossible.
On this point we have Jesus Christ’s pledge: “and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18)
And also: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).

6. You say: “I would not like to leave the Church and I pray day and night that the Pope does not change the doctrine. I do not sleep at night and I am afraid because the Church is now my life. I am also a minister and I would like to become an acolyte, but if the Pope contaminates the doctrine to please the world I will have to leave”.
It is good that you pray for the Pope, who by the way does not cease to ask for prayers.
But out of the Church you must not go.
Where do you go outside the Church?
Christ has guaranteed to be with her “until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
And the Church is where Peter is: ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia, as the great St Ambrose said.

7. However, I understand your suffering.
And I am sure that, although the words that I have said may reassure you at least on some points, your suffering for the Church, which you love more than yourself because it is your true Mother and because it has regenerated you to the Grace and new Life, will remain.
When you converted you knew well whom you would be following.
Now perhaps you are less confident.
But do not let yourself be confused.
The Church, the Bride of Christ without spot or wrinkle, is always the same.
The Church is like her Lord and her Bridegroom who “is the same, yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrew 13:8).

8. You are a minister and soon, I hope, also an acolyte of this Church.
Well, just as Christ “handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:26-27), you do the same.
Continue to live for the Church, to suffer for the Church, to pray for the Church so that it will always be as the Lord wants it for all peoples to continue to save men.
May your vocation be like that of St Catherine of Siena who, when she was dying, said: “I tell you that I have given my life for the holy Church, and I have done this, I believe, thanks to an exceptional grace granted me by the Lord”.

Therefore, do not stop to cry for the Church. Go further. Do as St Catherine did: give your life for the Church. This, too, is a singular grace.

I gladly remember you in prayer, wish you well in your theological studies and bless you.

Father Angelo