The Bishop of Brooklyn on Amoris laetitia

The Bishop of Brooklyn, His Excellency Nicholas DiMarzio has penned a column on Amoris laetitia for the Brooklyn Tablet, his (and my) diocesan newspaper.

The chief difficulty is the one rehearsed so many times about the lack of attention to the clash with the teaching of Familiaris consortio, but perhaps even more crucially with that of Veritatis splendor, which is even closer to the deposit of faith.

Secondarily, pitching the response to Amoris laetitia as an “internal forum” solution is strange. That decision puts Amoris laetitia directly in conflict with the 1994 letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith approved by St. John Paul II (and issued when then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was prefect) condemning the internal forum solution. Generally, those who’ve backed Communion for the divorced and remarried via Amoris Latitae have *not* called it an internal forum solution so as to avoid falling under this condemnation.

But also, it reminds me of my long term concern about the American hierarchy that they’ve isolated themselves from all advice. If Bishop DiMarzio had competent advisers who could read his columns before they were published and who weren’t afraid to speak honestly with him, he might have avoided these three basic errors of fact.

First, Bishop DiMarzio writes, “The Council of Trent confirmed that the Roman Pontiff could not lead the Church into error in matters of faith and morals, which describes the doctrine of infallibility which unfortunately has been misunderstood over time.” This was, however, confirmed by Vatican I, not by Trent as any good member of the Old Catholic or Polish National Catholic Churches could tell you.

Second, he writes, “Pope Francis builds upon the teachings of his predecessors, recognizing the dissolubility of marriage.” Surely he means “indissolubility.” The supporters of Amoris laetitia have all said that it maintains the previous teaching that marriage is indissoluble. It’s a telling error though!

Third, Bishop DiMarzio informs us that “Some time ago, I listened to the press conference Cardinal Coccopalmerio gave about the book and clearly he recommends that it be read by priests who may be more experienced in moral and canonical issues.” Yet, as was widely reported, Cardinal Coccopalmerio didn’t give a press conference about the book. There was a press conference, but he wasn’t there. Since he didn’t give a press conference, it would have been rather difficult for Bishop DiMarzio to listen to it.

Queens, NY, USA

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