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Summary

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Errors about true marriage and family are widespread today in Catholic circles, particularly after the Extraordinary and Ordinary Synods on the family and the publication of Amoris Laetitia.
In the face of this reality, this Declaration expresses the resolve of its signatories to remain faithful to the Church’s unchangeable teachings on morals and on the Sacraments of Marriage, Reconciliation and the Eucharist, and to Her timeless and enduring discipline regarding those sacraments.
In particular, the Declaration of Fidelity firmly reiterates that:
I. Regarding chastity, marriage and the rights of parents
  • All forms of cohabitation more uxorio outside of a valid marriage gravely contradict the will of God;
  • Marriage and the conjugal act have both procreative and unitive purposes and that each and every conjugal act must be open to the gift of life;
  • So-called sex-education is a basic and primary right of parents which must always be carried out under their attentive guidance;
  • The definitive consecration of a person to God through a life of perfect chastity is objectively more excellent than marriage.
II. Regarding cohabitation, same-sex unions and civil remarriage after divorce
  • Irregular unions can never be equated to marriage, deemed morally licit, or legally recognized;
  • Irregular unions radically contradict and cannot express the good of Christian marriage, neither partially nor analogously, and should be seen as a sinful way of life;
  • Irregular unions cannot be recommended as a prudent and gradual fulfilment of the divine law.
III. Regarding Natural Law and the individual conscience
  • The conscience is not the source of good and evil, but a reminder of how an action must comply with divine and natural law;
  • A well-formed conscience will never reach the conclusion that, given the person’s limitations, his remaining in an objectively sinful situation can be his best response to the Gospel, nor that this is what God Himself is asking from him;
  • People cannot look at the Sixth Commandment and the indissolubility of marriage as mere ideals to strive after;
  • Personal and pastoral discernment can never lead divorcees that are “remarried” civilly to conclude that their adulterous union can be morally justified by “fidelity” to their new partner, that withdrawing from the adulterous union is impossible, or that, by doing so, they expose themselves to new sins;
  • Divorcees that are “remarried” civilly and who cannot satisfy the grave obligation to separate, are morally obliged to live as “brother and sister” and to avoid scandal, in particular any display of intimacy proper to married couples.
IV. Regarding discernment, responsibility, state of grace and state of sin
  • Divorcees that are “remarried” civilly and who choose their situation with full knowledge and consent of the will are not living members of the Church, as they are in a state of serious sin that prevents them from possessing and growing in charity;
  • There is no halfway point between being in the grace of God or being deprived of it by mortal sin. Spiritual growth for someone living in an objective state of sin consists in abandoning that situation;
  • Since God is omniscient, revealed and natural law provide for all particular situations, especially when they forbid specific actions “intrinsically evil”;
  • The complexity of situations and the varying degrees of responsibility among cases do not prevent pastors from concluding that those in irregular unions are in an objective state of manifest grave sin, and to presume in the external forum that they have deprived themselves of sanctifying grace;
  • Since man is endowed with free will, voluntary moral acts must be imputed to its author, and such imputability must be presumed;
V. Regarding the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist
  • The confessor is bound to admonish penitents regarding transgressions of God's Law, and to ensure they truly desire absolution and God's pardon, and are resolved to re-examine and correct their behavior;
  • Divorcees that are “remarried” civilly and remain in their objective state of adultery, can never be considered by confessors as living in an objective state of grace and entitled to receive absolution or be admitted to the Holy Eucharist, unless they express contrition and firmly resolve to abandon their state of life;
  • No responsible discernment can sustain that admission to the Eucharist is permitted to divorcees that are “remarried” civilly and live openly more uxorio, under the claim that, due to diminished responsibility, no grave fault exists, because their outward state of life objectively contradicts the indissoluble character of Christian marriage;
  • Subjective certainty in conscience about the invalidity of a previous marriage is never sufficient, on its own, to excuse divorcees that are “remarried” civilly from the material sin of adultery, or to permit them to disregard the sacramental consequences of living as a public sinner;
  • Those who receive the Holy Eucharist must be worthy to do so by being in the state of grace and, therefore, divorcees that are “remarried” civilly and lead a public sinful lifestyle, risk committing a sacrilege by receiving Holy Communion;
  • According to the logic of the Gospel, men who die in the state of mortal sin, unreconciled with God, are condemned to hell forever;
VI. Regarding the Church’s maternal and pastoral attitude
  • The clear teaching of the truth is an eminent work of mercy and charity;
  • The impossibility of giving absolution and Holy Communion to Catholics living manifestly in an objective state of grave sin stems from the Church’s maternal care, since She is not the owner of the Sacraments, but a faithful steward;
  • VII. Regarding the universal validity of the Church’s constant magisterium
  • The doctrinal, moral and pastoral questions concerning the Sacraments of the Eucharist, Penance and Marriage shall be resolved by interventions of the Magisterium and, by their very nature, preclude contradictory interpretations or the drawing of substantially diverse practical consequences from it;
While the plagues of divorce and sexual depravity spread everywhere, even within the life of the Church, it is the duty of bishops, priests and Catholic faithful to declare, with one voice, their fidelity to the Church’s unchangeable teachings on marriage and to Her uninterrupted discipline, as received from the Apostles.
 
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Filial Appeal communiqué on the Centenary of the Last Apparition of Our Lady at Fatima

3 cardinals, 9 bishops, 636 diocesan and religious priests, 46 deacons, 25 seminarians, 51 religious brothers, 150 women religious of cloister and active life, in addition to 458 lay people, including academics, teachers of theology, teachers of religion, catechists, and pastoral agents sign a “Declaration of Fidelity to the Church’s Unchangeable Teaching on Marriage and to Her Uninterrupted Discipline” received from the Apostles.


Rome, October 13, 2017

On September 29, 2015, feast of St. Michael and all Archangels, the Secretariat of State of the Holy See received the Filial Appeal to Pope Francis on the Future of the Family, a document signed by 790,190 Catholics from 178 countries, 8 cardinals, 203 archbishops and bishops, and countless priests from around the world. Later, 89,261 signatures were added, totaling  879,451 signatories.

The text asked Pope Francis for a “clarifying word” to dissipate the “widespread confusion arising from the possibility that a breach has been opened within the Church that would accept adultery —by permitting divorced and then civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion”.

To this day, the organizers of the Filial Appeal, a coalition of more than 60 pro-family and pro-life institutions throughout the world, have still not received even an acknowledgment from the Vatican. This omission is all the more paradoxical since Pope Francis wants a Church close to the problems of the faithful and the people in general, and open to dialogue.

After the Second Synod on the Family and the publication of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the organizers of the Filial Appeal, following a suggestion from high ecclesiastical spheres, wrote a “Declaration of Fidelity to the Church’s Unchangeable Teaching on Marriage and to Her Uninterrupted Discipline” received from the Apostles. Not having the same logistical means as at the time of the early initiative, and this document being significantly more extensive, on August 29, 2016 the coordinators of the Filial Appeal posted the said Declaration on their web site so that those wishing to sign it could do so.

The Declaration of Fidelity has reached a total of 35,112 signatures, among which are those of 3 cardinals, 9 bishops, 636 diocesan and religious priests, 46 deacons, 25 seminarians, 51 religious brothers, 150 women religious of cloister and active life, in addition to 458 lay people, including academics, teachers of theology, teachers of religion, catechists, and pastoral agents.

What do the signatories of the Declaration of Fidelity affirm?*

As the title says, they reiterate explicitly and formally, “the unchangeable teaching of the Church on marriage and her uninterrupted discipline” because “errors about marriage and the family are widespread today in Catholic circles, particularly after the Extraordinary and Ordinary Synods on the family and the publication of Amoris Laetitia.”  

Facing this general picture, the Declaration states, the undersigned feel morally obliged to declare their resolve to remain faithful to the Church’s unchangeable teachings on morals and on the Sacraments of Marriage, Reconciliation and the Eucharist, and to Her timeless and enduring discipline regarding those sacraments.”

Among other important aspects, the signatories specifically wish to reiterate that  all forms of cohabitation more uxorio (as man and wife) outside of a valid marriage gravely contradict the will of God; that irregular unions contradict the marriage willed by God, and cannot be recommended as a prudent and gradual fulfilment of the Divine Law.”

They also reaffirm that a well-formed conscience cannot conclude:

  • that remaining in an objectively sinful situation is what God asks in certain circumstances;
  • that the fulfillment of the sixth commandment and the indissolubility of marriage are mere ideals;
  • that grace can sometimes be insufficient to live chastely in one's own state, which would supposedly give some people a “right” to receive absolution and the Eucharist;
  •  that it is enough to have a subjective conscience to absolve oneself from the sin of adultery; that the logic of the Gospel is clear when it says that whoever dies in serious sin is condemned eternally, etc.

Teaching and helping the faithful to live according to these truths, the signatories conclude, is as such an “eminent work of mercy and charity,” recalling that if the Church were to alter the norm of denying access to the Eucharist to those who are manifestly in an objective state of grave sin, She would behave as “owner of the sacraments” and not just as “their faithful steward,” a task given to her by Our Lord.

Albeit different from other initiatives to seek clarification in order to put an end to the glaring situation of anomalous confusion and perplexity prevailing in the Church, the Declaration of Fidelity, with its large and qualified number of ecclesiastical and civil signers is thus established as another voice emerging in the chorus of concerns raised by chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia and by the contradictory interpretations that have ensued.

Indeed, this perplexity of countless faithful from all continents finds a prestigious and trustworthy resonance in the five dubia presented by four cardinals in September 2016. They fraternally asked the Pope to let them know if after that apostolic exhortation, the teaching on the existence of absolute moral norms, valid without exception, which prohibit practicing intrinsically evil acts such as adultery was still in force; and whether it was now possible to grant absolution in the Sacrament of Penance, and consequently to admit to the Holy Eucharist a person who, being united by a valid marriage bond, lives in adultery with another, without having fulfilled the conditions foreseen by the traditional morality and the Code of Canon Law.

The Holy Father has decided not to respond to them, and -- causing even greater embarrassment among many faithful – not to grant the private audience the said cardinals requested in a letter of April 25 to discuss the issue in view of the “numerous statements from individual Bishops, Cardinals, and even Episcopal Conferences, approving what the Magisterium of the Church has never approved” so that, “what is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta.”

The most recent manifestation of Pope Francis’ desire to remain silent and allow the panorama of confusion to be further aggravated by the diffusion of serious theological and moral errors, has been his silence before the "Filial correction for the propagation of errors,” taken to His Holiness last August 11 by a select group of pastors of souls and scholars. New and highly qualified adherents are adding to their number every day.

In the following file there is a list of some of the prominent personalities who have signed the “Declaration of Fidelity to the Church's Unchangeable Teaching on Marriage and Her Uninterrupted Discipline”.


* Those who wish to sign it may do it in the website www.filialappeal.org



“Let marriage be honored among all”
(Heb. 13: 4)
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First Signatories
Prof. Wolfgang Waldstein, Professor emeritus of the University of Salzburg, member of the Pontifical Academy for Life (Austria)
*
His Eminence Jãnis Cardinal Pujats, Archbishop emeritus of Riga (Latvia)
*
The Most Rev. Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Astana (Kazakhstan)
*
Prof. Josef Seifert, Professor of Philosophy at the The International Association for the Study of the Philosophy of Edith Stein (IASPES), Founding Rector and Professor of the International Academy of Philosophy in the Principality of Liechtenstein (Austria)
*
Dr. Anca-Maria Cernea, President of the Ioan Barbus Foundation (Romania)
*
Dr. Vincent-Jean-Pierre Cernea (Romania)
*
Fr. Efrem Jindráček, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum (Rome-Italy)
*
His Eminence Carlo Cardinal Caffarra, Archbishop emeritus of Bologna, Founder and first president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family (Italy)
*
His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (Vatican)
*
Rev. Fr. Nicola Bux, Professor at the Theological Faculty of Puglia (Italy)
*
The Most Rev. Andreas Laun, Auxiliary Bishop of Salzburg (Austria)
*
The Most Rev. Juan Rodolfo Laise, Bishop emeritus of San Luis (Argentina)
*
Rev. Fr. Antonius Maria Mamsery, Superior General of the Missionaries of the Holy Cross in Singida (Tanzania)
*
Rev. Fr. Giovanni M. Scalese, B., Ecclesiastical superior of the mission sui iuris in Afghanistan
*
Rev. Fr. José María Iraburu, Former Professor of Spiritual Theology at the School of Theology of Northern Spain; President of the Gratis Date Foundation and editor of the Site InfoCatólica (Spain)
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