A Time to Speak Plainly

Thank you for your continued prayers for our mission! After a very successful week in Kenya, Dr. Brian Clowes and I have arrived in France, and after some fruitful meetings with pro-lifers from over 12 countries, tomorrow we expect to march with about 40,000 in the streets of Paris in defense of innocent life. God is so good.

Certainly we must all deepen our prayer lives without delay, by God’s grace. These are troubling times. It is time to speak plainly in truth and charity about the confusion engulfing the faithful regarding Church teaching on marriage, family, and the Eucharist. I meet many priests from around the world, and you would not believe how unsettled they feel about what they are hearing from Rome and how many bishops are interpreting Amoris Laetitia.

If you follow HLI’s writings on the topic, you know that we have been very respectful even as we affirmed the beautiful and traditional teachings of the Church, and as we insisted that practice must not contradict doctrine. Where such a contradiction exists, we have a failure of integrity—basically setting aside doctrine as if it were a dusty artifact so we can proceed in “compassion” as if that doctrine did not exist. We have thanked faithful bishops who, seeing the widespread confusion and recognizing their pastoral responsibility to their priests and catechists, affirmed the positive elements of Amoris Laetitia while also teaching that it changed nothing in the doctrine or Eucharistic practice.

Sadly, the Holy Father’s closest collaborators do not support this interpretation. One of the bishops upholding the continuity of teaching and practice for marriage and the Eucharist was even publicly attacked by one of Pope Francis’s recently appointed cardinals, in a remarkably substance-free broadside. And the courageous cardinals who privately presented to Pope Francis the dubia—charitably expressed and very precise questions on serious theological questions presented by Amoris—were ignored and thus went public to address the public confusion and hopefully advance the conversation. For their trouble they, too, have been attacked by many in the Curia, not on the level of theological engagement, but, tellingly, on the level of their supposed motives. In saner days such unjust attacks would be dismissed by all thinking people as an admission of the emptiness of the attackers’ arguments.

Now the bishops of Malta have published guidelines telling their flock that divorced and remarried Catholics may receive the Eucharist, after some kind of discernment, if they feel they are “at peace with God.” This was now over one week ago, in the Vatican newspaper, and there has been no clarification from above even as the Maltese bishops have reaffirmed their teaching as being consistent with Amoris Laetitia. This follows reports that an Austrian bishop actually invokes his dangerous pre-Amoris diocesan practice of giving Communion to Catholics in adulterous relationships as finding justification in the Apostolic Exhortation.

Such is how reckless dissent regarding the most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is now affirmed, and Biblical and doctrinal admonitions against unworthily receiving Christ dismissed. Such is a person’s conscience—a conscience that is by all accounts not formed in accord with the truth of Catholic doctrine—made supreme, even when it opposes the very plain teaching of Our Lord Himself on marriage. And if a faithful priest, bishop, or cardinal feels impelled by his own conscience to ask questions and adhere to existing doctrine and practice, he will have his character and motives attacked even from the highest positions of the Church.

As all of this continues to unfold, we hear that proponents of forced abortion and sterilization are being invited to speak at the Vatican. After three years of watching population control promoters go unchallenged in this pontifical academy as they are invited to speak and co-sign statements with Vatican officials, we hear the leading prophet of the “people are the problem” anti-gospel, Paul Ehrlich, is to be honored with a speaking position at a conference that is tailor made for his discredited theories about the always-impending ecological catastrophe. And since his population panic mongering was apparently insufficient to make the case, leaders of the most aggressive population control agency in the world, the Population Council, are also invited to speak.

Why bring all of this up now… hasn’t this been going on for some time? Yes, for sure. But like you, and like most those who are now voicing criticims, I have a great love for the Church and the Holy Father, and a deep disposition toward defending them against unjust attacks. Indeed, this situation has led many to stand up courageously and ask legitimate questions about what is going on. One doesn’t do this to be popular at cocktail parties or to make peace with the wider culture. We believe that our societies are sick, that sin has run rampant, and that the only answer comes from Our Lord Himself and the courageous witness of the Church that he established on the Rock of Peter.

In fact, we’ve been called “dissenters” – quite bizarrely – simply for upholding Church teaching even as the confusion has spread. Such charges are usually made quickly and without support, but this nonsense is now fairly common.

I simply can’t look my brother priests in the eye anymore and tell them I have a way of interpreting the current state of affairs in a way consistent with previous doctrine and practice. I’ve read some attempts to do so, but they mostly entail name calling against those who believe that Christ’s words on marriage were definitive, that the Church’s doctrine cannot suddenly change, and that practice cannot contradict doctrine. My brothers, we cannot be forced against our will to mislead those under our spiritual care, or to say what is not true.

To all who are confused: Our task in this situation is in prayer. Pray and offer your suffering for the Holy Father, the cardinals and bishops, priests and catechists, and lay people who are confused. Be consoled by the examples of saints who held strong to Christ and told the truth in love even as many around them fell into error. It is the centenary of Our Lady’s appearance at Fatima, and there are many riches and consolations for the faithful in these devotions.

Our faithful bishops have been put in a very difficult position with this confusion, and we must pray for them constantly. They cannot end the confusion above them, but they can mitigate the confusion that is spreading among those put under their spiritual care, and they can stand by brothers who are publicly attacked for telling the truth. They can tell their priests that they will not be asked to violate their consciences and further mislead people whose consciences are poorly formed. They can tell Catholics in the pew that they are loved, that God’s divine mercy remains available to everyone who turns to Him, confesses their sin, asks for forgiveness and firmly resolves to amend their lives. The person who does this may partake in Holy Communion. If they are not ready to do this, then they may be welcomed by the community, praying and discerning under the direction of a priest who will tell them the truth in love and accompany them without affirming what may be mortally sinful acts.

Do not be afraid to tell the truth, but do so thoughtfully and with care, always beginning with prayer and acts of reparation. We don’t need more rants, we need more clarity, more truth presented with love. We need saints.

About Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

Fr. Shenan J. Boquet has served as president of Human Life International since 2011. He was ordained in 1993 as a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana. As HLI’s president, Fr. Boquet collaborates with fellow laborers in the pro-life and family movement in over 80 countries, offering the Sacraments, giving seminars and trainings, appearing on numerous media outlets, and encouraging people of all walks of life to live as faithful advocates for a Culture of Life and Love. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing hli@hli.org.


  1. Pedro on January 22, 2017 at 2:19 AM

    My dear Father, you have all the evidence before you to come a most difficult, but logical, conclusion. The man who is occupying the See of Peter is a heretic. Ergo, he is not Catholic. A non-Catholic may not occupy the Chair of Peter. Simply put, the man is not a True Pope. Much mental calculus has been done in bizarre, well-intentioned perhaps, attempts to declare this heretic a valid, and thus worthy of obedience, successor to Peter. He is not. Take many deep breaths, clear your mind as best you are able, and examine his thought, teaching, voluminous and disgusting errors almost any time he opens his mouth to speak, and see what is, not what we may want to be.

  2. Dagbat on January 22, 2017 at 5:29 PM

    While I fully understand that the sacred chair of Peter is beyond reproach I also believe that the person sitting in that chair is not himself infallible. It is long overdue that this distinction be articulated. The silence of the current pope in the face of obstinate heresy around him speaks volumes. Either the pope agrees with the heresy or he has been deceived. All the evidence points to the former. This leads to a critical second question. Does the pope understand the damage that he is inflicting on the Church that he is sworn to protect? The answer here appears to be a resounding yes. As if the pope is a closet Protestant who wants to transform the Church into another protestant sect. Perhaps he even thinks he is reunifying Christendom when in reality his is destroying the Church. For this we all need to pray, pray, pray, but at the same time we also need to become much more militant. We need to start challenging the pope directly and demanding that he explain himself. He may think he does not need to answer to anyone because “I am the Pope”, but he is wrong and arrogant to think so. For even the Pope is not above God’s Law. The current situation brings to mind a term introduced by our prior Pope that seems fitting. Diabolical disorientation.

  3. […] Source: A Time to Speak Plainly – Human Life International […]

  4. Mary Sue Laing on January 22, 2017 at 7:10 PM

    I am praying for Pope Francis to Pope St. Leo that Pope Leo will help Pope Francis be a good shepherd to his people. I also pray that Mary will send her spouse, the Holy Spirit, to guide, protect, and inspire Pope Francis that he may lead the people of the world from hatred to love, from war to peace, and from the culture of death to the culture of life.
    Meanwhile, in the U.S. and across the world, young men and women are deciding that they want faithful spouses who are good parents to their children. Young women are very tired of offering their bodies to be slaves to the lust of men. In parishes where the truth is clearly taught Masses are crowded Sundays and weekdays. There are many families with young children, and confession lines are long. God is stronger than the devil. God always wins.

  5. E. Maria V on January 22, 2017 at 8:20 PM

    Many of us Orthodox Roman Catholic’s have had an issue with this Pope. I for one, had a very ominous feeling about him the first time he stepped onto the Vatican balcony and that feeling hasn’t left me. This man has said and done so many un Catholic and heretical thing’s, too numerous to mention here. I do believe we people here on earth and especially our holy mother church are going to go through many evil and dark times before Our Lord and Savior comes to purge this wicked world like in the times of Noah, Sodom & Gomorrah and other wicked times when He sent his mighty Angelic army come down and destroy most of humanity.

  6. Diane on January 22, 2017 at 10:26 PM

    In Chapter 16, verse 17, Luke writes these words of Christ “But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one dot of the law to become void.” Heaven and earth passing away clearly puts the words in an “end-times” context. And, then, to make His point, perhaps regarding what in the Law will be most threatened in the end-times, the Lord points out to us the issue on which the very threat will come, in very next verse: “Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.” This is the very issue on which Amoris Laetitia revolves. Invalid marriage cannot become valid marriage, and valid marriage is the issue on which John the Baptist was martyred. It is the very issue on which the Catholic Church was willing to lose all of England rather than accommodate a king’s sin. Is it perhaps a sign of the very issue that will test how the Law will not and can not change?

    We know that the evil one despises the Eucharist, so denigrating the Sacred Species through receiving in mortal sin adds to adultery the sin of sacrilege. We have been warned.
    And Paul told the Galatians 1: 8-9: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.”

  7. Deborah Sullivan on January 23, 2017 at 6:11 AM

    I’m going to continue the plain speaking and agree with Pedro. Also, Bergoglio is himself responsible, not the people around him. Bergoglio is trying to destroy the Church and instead build a one-world religion. Cozy up to the muslims by supporting their invasions. Cozy up to the protestants by celebrating their Reformation, calling Martin Luther a “Witness to the Gospel”, putting out a commemorative stamp featuring Luther, and softening Church teachings protestants don’t agree with. Cozy up to the Communists in China by preparing to let their government choose bishops.

    Finally, it is time to admit that the heresy did not start with Bergoglio. It started with V2, and all the “popes” who supported V2 were/are heretics. Our job is to stop legitimizing the Novus Ordo church and go sedevacantist until the heirarchy is ready to scrap V2, reinstitute the Mass as it was before Montini wrecked it, fix the form of the rite to ordain bishops so that we have true priests to validly enact sacraments, and elect a true pope.

  8. Silvia Mendive on January 23, 2017 at 2:26 PM

    It is sad that see the secularization in our Belen ver church. The lack of leadership is taking us to a cism in the Church. We need to be pray for the Holy Spirit to guide Pope Francis to act promptly, and to set clear guidelines to end the confusion. May our Blessed Mother interceed for the Catholic Church, bring us back to a new spring.

  9. Paul Francis on January 23, 2017 at 4:28 PM

    That the woman who so supported a regime of death & persecution is not today Commander-in-Chief, owes, I believe, in no small part to the 54-day Rosary novena prayed from last Assumption solemnity until October’s Rosary feast. Comparably, we must pray for Peter, that he be converted so to confirm his brethren in the truth. It cannot be that the Good Shepherd shall allow the present confusion to perdure without His intervention, but clearly, He awaits the Church itself to do penance for this grace, so indifferent have we become to attention to the necessary means of salvation. Perhaps HLI might promite yet another 54-day novena…?

  10. Vremuri de disidență nesăbuită! on February 12, 2017 at 10:02 PM

    […] Traducere după HLI.org […]

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