On the day of the spectacular descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Apostles were so filled with strength and courage, that Saint Peter went out and converted three thousand people that very day with his preaching. From these conversions we have the first ecclesial testimony: ‘They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life. […] All who believed were together and had all things in common’ (Acts 2: 42–44).
Jesus said: ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you’ (Jn 14:27). This is why the Church has never wished to be considered a philanthropic institution that suits the likes and dislikes of humans of every age, regardless of their moral practices and customs.
There is no doubt that the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia is principally surprising in the field of matrimonial morality, in its veiled contradiction to the principles always defended by the Church. But readers may find many other worrisome points for reflection within this document; they perhaps appear inoffensive, at first sight, but are very decisive points, in reality.
One of Cicero’s famous sayings defines history as a thing ‘which bears witness to the passing of the ages, sheds light upon reality, gives life to recollection and guidance to human existence, and brings tidings of ancient days’ (De Oratore II, 9, 36). And it is precisely the witness of history that shows us how the ancient peoples lived, with their cultures given to idolatry, slavery and even human sacrifice.
Negative precepts play an important role in moral formation. They remind us that we are limited, dependent and sinful beings, made to lovingly obey an absolute Being who created us and governs us according to his most wise designs.
On February 27, Francis received the current President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, accompanied by his concubine Juliana Awada, as well as other politicians from his party, in a brief audience lasting less than thirty minutes.
Through the centuries, the Church has moved from triumph to triumph, though it continually endures attacks, persecutions and hatred from all quarters, all promoted by one leader: the infernal enemy who has the illusion of one day destroying it.
The Gospel shows us clearly that Christ chose the twelve Apostles and gave them special powers with regards to the Eucharist, the forgiveness of sins and the administration of the other Sacraments.
Over the last three years we have all accompanied Francis’ constant efforts to hold out a hand toward other religions in an attempt to foment ecumenical dialogue with surprising and novel implications.
Catherine of Aragon – the Spanish princess married to Henry VIII, King of England – after having been repudiated by him, could well have exclaimed: “our division is nothing less than a scandal,” and the Catholic world, upon discovering this monarch’s concubinage with Anne Boleyn could well exclaim: “Your union is nothing less than a scandal!”