AMORIS LAETITIA: Advice for Mature Catholics

FRANCIS COAT OF ARMSI’ve been reading some commentaries on the Holy Father’s apostolic exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia”. I’d like to point out some errors that we have to avoid.

First — we need to read the document very carefully, pray over it, and read it again before we comment on it.

Second — let us remember that an apostolic exhortaion is not a catechism. Do not expect an apostolic exhortation to repeat what is already stated in every catechism of every generation. I use the admonitions of St. Francis of Assisi as an example. If you read them, you’ll not find anything in his admonitions that is already stated in the Rule and Constitutions. The admonitions are reflections that flow from the study and observance of the Gospel. The same principle applies to an apostolic exhortation.

Third — Do not let others determine what you should like or not like about the exhortation. Nor should you allow others to tell you that something is great or something is bad without giving you a specific example.

Fourth — If there is something that you find problematic, quote it when you share it. Dissect it so that others know what you find to be a problem. Leave an opening for others to agree or disagree with you. Dialogue is essential in understanding these writings.

Fifth — Because something is not mentioned in the apostolic exhortation, it does not mean that the Church has neglected a particular point or doctrine. Apostolic exhortations, like any other writing, must flow. Sometimes a specific statement or subject makes the writing sound awkward and does not add to what the Holy Father is saying.

Sixth — Remember, extreme reactions, to the left or to the right, are equally misguided. Extremes are circular. Eventually, the extreme left meets the extreme right at some point on the other side of the circle.

Seventh — Pay close attention to the citations that the exhortation includes from the writings of Blessed Paul VI, Saint John Paul II and other Church documents. This is an attempt to connect the present with the past. To understand the connections, one needs to read carefully.

Eighth — Notice that the exhortation makes three kinds of statements: admonitions, doctrine, and pastoral recommendations. We are used to apostolic exhortations being admonitions, pastoral or dogmatic. This particular exhortation blends the three.

Ninth — Remember respect. One is allowed to disagree with the pope. Saints and other theologians have done so in the past. However, none of them have ever been disrespectful in expressing their disagreements. We don’t hear them calling popes: Modernists, eretics, diabolical, dumb, mentally ill, or apostates. Name calling is never appropriate, especially when it applies to our parents, spouses, children and popes. Who of us would dare apply any of these labels to a loved one, because we believe him or her to be in error? Usually, we try to point out the error. This may lead to heated discussions, but the conversation limits itself to the subject on the table, not the character of the participants. We owe the Holy Father reverence, obedience and respect.

Tenth — Let us be humble and keep in mind that our opinions are not absolute truth, even when we quote truth. That which we quote may be true, but our understanding and application of said truth may be mistaken. We must be open to hearing opinions of those who do not think as we do. We must discuss our concerns with those who are knowledgeable in theology and who are authorized to teach it: parish priests, religious educators, Catholic theologians, Catholic theology teachers, many religious brothers and sisters who are trained in theology and Christian Spirituality.

I hope these points will help you as you navigate through this or any other papal writing.

Wait for us in Eternity


The Franciscans of Life give thanks to Almighty God for having called another holy Franciscan to Himself.

We mourn the loss of a heroic and exemplary Franciscan in this life; but we celebrate her entrance into eternal life.  We offer prayers for the repose of her soul and we count on her prayers for our salvation.

Run Mother . . .

and don’t look back!

Published in: on March 29, 2016 at 1:30 PM  Leave a Comment  

Disagreement ≠ Aggression

The Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form, Gregorian chant, the Holy Rosary, Benediction and Adoration, and many other devotions has been part of our Catholic tradition for centuries.  They should be allowed to live, encouraged and be made available when possible.  These are part of our Catholic patrimony, just as is the Mass of St. John Chrysostom, the Ambrosian Rite, the Maronite Rite and the Ordinary Form of the mass.   At some point in history, all of these were in their embryonic state.  As time passed, the traditions became more ingrained in the Catholic community and the rites and customs became more polished.  In other words, none of the older forms and rites was born as we know them today.  Truth and mystery don’t change, but structure and order do.  It is foolhardy to believe that the Ordinary Form of the Mass, the change in styles in how the papacy operates and the birth of newer devotions should be perfect and without need for adjustment here and there.

Imagine what would have happened if Pope St. Pius V had decided to throw out the different rites and forms of the mass of his time.  But he didn’t choose to do that.  On the contrary, he chose to take what was the best of the tradition, polish that which could be polished and jettison that which did not reflect the faith of the Church and the true nature of God.  All of this took time and painstaking labor.  Rumor has it that while St.  Pius V was in the process of consolidating the Tridentine form of the mass that we often refer to as the TLM or the Extraordinary Form (EF), he was not popular with everyone.  He faced some resistance.  Very often, those who resisted him sinned not because they disagreed with the reforms and ideas of St. Pius.  Their sin was worse.  It was the sin of detraction.  They didn’t simply disagree with Pope Pius; they tried to make him look like a fool.

Unfortunately the are elements in the Traditionalist Movement that don’t simply disagree with the Holy Father’s style, his projects, his manner of proceeding or even his way of life.  There are elements in the Movement that have taken it upon themselves to destroy a good man’s reputation.  If one reads some of the Traditionalist sites, one find sentences such as these.

On the Pope’s meeting with the Patriarch of Moscow

“Pope Francis needed the Moscow Patriarch to force him to say some obvious things”

 “An Orthodox Patriarch was needed to make the Church speak up on the family, Christian roots, abortion, and the persecution of Christians…, to make us Catholics say that leaves are green or that two plus two makes four.”

Reaction to the commissioning of the the Missionaries of Mercy by Pope Francis

“Missionaries of Mercy….Another Round of Stupidity from His Humbleness”

“The Missionaries of Mercy, Coming Soon to a Theater Near You”

 “Pope Francis is setting in motion an action which will result in a predictable reaction and he is using his masterful knowledge of psychology to manipulate poor simple minds who are convinced that the Pope is doing the world a favor.”

 On the Holy Father’s vision for the Church and his “ulterior” motives

“For Pope Bergoglio, the papacy is a vehicle for achieving what he dreams, what he wants, what he prefers, as opposed to what has been handed down to him for safekeeping. He intends to leave his personal stamp on the Church in a manner he hopes will be irreversible,”

On the Holy Father’s dignity

 “Then, under a cloud of mystery and bafflement, came Jorge Cardinal Mario Bergoglio . . . and this is what we saw: Francis on [the] logia”

 “It was a man dressed as a simple bishop, whose first words were a thudding banality: “Brothers and sisters, good evening!” A bishop dressed in white, waving to the crowd and telling them, strangely, that he had been elected “Bishop of Rome” for “the evangelization of this beautiful city,” for which he pointedly requested “the prayer of the people for their Bishop.” He was denuded of the traditional symbols of papal authority, later donning the papal stole only long enough to bestow the Apostolic Benediction, promptly removing it once the words were uttered. Even his dull metal pectoral cross was the same one he had worn in Buenos Aires.”

 “Bergoglio is such a loose cannon he’s careered right through the deck and smashed through the hull. A (bleep) from a (bleepin’) country.”

 “But Francis does not think like a Catholic. . . . his pronouncements appear so dated as to be almost deranged”


This not the way that a virtuous man disagrees with another man; the key to healthy disagreement is respect for the dignity and position of the other person.  These comments not only show a lack of respect for the Vicar of Christ, but they incite anger and even hatred.  These are not statements of disagreement.  These statements sound like deliberate attempts to disparage the reputation of none other than the Vicar of Jesus Christ.

One can place the points of disagreement on the table and proceed to present one’s objections to each point, without bringing down the person.  Our holy father St. Francis never allowed the brothers to speak against authority.  But he did allow them to disagree with anything they felt was dangerous to the soul.  He set the example for Christian debate.

I feel sad having to warn our brothers and our friends to be careful of the evil mindset that very often invades extremes, be they extreme liberalism or extreme conservatism.  There is nothing wrong with the traditional elements of our faith.  There is nothing wrong in preserving and making use of the richness of these elements, because they move thee soul closer to God.

Beware of the poisonous talk and accusations that often hide underneath the shroud of righteousness.  Do not be sucked in to such way of thinking, be it from the right or from the left.  Poison is poison, no matter what flavor it comes in.  Anything that detracts from the dignity of another person, calls into question his integrity without proof, and does damage to the reputation of one who is doing good for so many is evil.  Unfortunately, those who are posting these and similar comments all over the Internet do not realize that they are cooperating with evil, rather than defending the holy, which is what they really want to do.

There is nothing to prohibit the Franciscans of Life from participating in activities and services within the Traditionalist community.  These things are part of our Catholic heritage and they serve as channels of grace.  Franciscans of Life are never to participate in detraction of any kind and anyone, especially the Vicar of Jesus Christ, nor are they to associate with those who engage in such evil behavior.  They may disagree and engage in intellectual debates about points of disagreement, always speaking of and treating the person with the opposing point of view as a son or daughter of God and our brother whom we are sent to serve, not to judge.



Atonement or chocolate?

Lent is about to begin and many of us are thinking about what we want to give up. Here is the irony of it all. Some people give up chocolate. In fact, chocolate is the most common Lenten sacrifice, followed by dessert.

Let’s take this in baby steps. The whole idea of Lent is that it is a time of atonement. Now let’s get this straight. We sin against purity, honesty, loyalty, charity, faith, justice, detachment and many other things and virtues. Then we try to atone for all of this by giving up Hershey’s Kisses or ice-cream and apple pie? Sometimes we have to ask ourselves whether our Lenten sacrifices are somewhat presumptuous. We hope to atone for a multitude of sins with a few candy bars and some dessert; if we remember, we abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent.


“My merit is God’s mercy.” -St. Bernard

Fortunately for us, God’s mercy far exceeds our foolishness. We often forget that Lent is a time of penance. Penance means atonement and conversion of manners.

We can never atone for our sins on our own. For this reason Lent culminates in Passion week, when Christ enters Jerusalem to be executed for our sins. Only the perfect man can offer the perfect act of atonement.

Our Lenten sacrifices must be offered with the ultimate sacrifice that Christ offered. During Lent we must be able to answer several questions with honesty.

1. Whether I am giving up chocolate or something else that I like, am I aware that I must also give up a specific sin? The external sacrifice is only a reminder of what we have to change. It does little good to give up a goody that we like while continuing to fall into the same sin.

2. If I add extra prayer or an extra mass to my weekly schedule do I take the time to meditate on the sin that I am trying to atone? Or do I offer the mass and prayers without much thought to what I have to change? The purpose of the extra mass and prayers is to bring us closer to God and draw us farther away from sin.

3. Finally, do I remember that Lent is to the Church what novitiate is to religious formation? During Lent I take a closer look at what needs improvement in my life and I work toward a conversion of manners. That is, a change in how I live my life with God and neighbor.

One cannot enter Lent with heart and soul without acknowledging one’s sins and the Passion of Christ, which restored to man the necessary graces to change and become like Adam before the Fall. If we ignore sin and the fact that we are sinners, Lent becomes just another tradition that leads nowhere. If we recognize sin, the Cross, and our need for a conversion of manners, Lent becomes a season of extraordinary grace.


The Perfect Joy of Saint Francis

Who said that you have to like the Pope?

Saint Pius XI found this article to be very helpful and supportive of what I presented in an earlier post, “Under Whose Authority “

Apparently, I’m not the only one who is noticing that people are not making a distinction between what they like and what they don’t like but must learn to live with.

When I was growing up I hated almost every rule that my father imposed on us.  As far as I was concerned, he was a totalitarian despot.  I’ll let you in on a little secret.  I had no idea what a “totalitarian despot” meant.  But I had read the term in a social studies book in school and it sounded like an appropriate label for my dad.

As the years passed and I transitioned from a child to an adult, I came to realize that my father was just a very conservative man from a different generation.  The truth of the matter was that nothing that he imposed on us did any harm to our bodies, mind or souls.  Some of his rules and statements were arbitrary and others were right on the money.  As I became an adult, I jettisoned that which was arbitrary and incorporated into my script that which was truth.

The same applies the pope and others in the hierarchy.  Many times, just like our parents, they say things that are right on the money, but we don’t like what we’re hearing.  That does not mean they’re wrong.  Other times they say things using a language that is different, one that we’re not used to.  That does not mean that they’re wrong.  It simply means that we have to pay close attention to the nuances.  Finally, they may even say things that sound silly to us or not consistent with what came before.  That does not mean that they’re wrong either.  It means that they are speaking to a different generation, at a different time in history, using a different language, and building on what came before, not denying it.

If we don’t understand, it’s like not understanding our fathers or mothers.  We have to learn to respect the person and the office.  The rest is a matter of biting the bullet.  How many people would belittle their parents with such labels as “modernist, apostate, heretic, infidel, devil incarnate” and more, because the parent does not seem to tow the line with what we believe our parents should be saying or doing, in matters of home management, discipline and even faith formation of the children?

I remember that my father was a twice a year mass attendant.  It was not until my mother converted that he started to attend mass every Sunday.  My mom was a formidable woman.  If she said “We’re going to mass,” we were going to mass.  No discussions.  Having said that, I wouldn’t dare place my father on the stand and accuse him of being any of those things that some people attach to the Holy Father.  Respect and love do not depend on being right or being lovable.  Respect and love are a choice that we make to treat every man and woman as Christ did.  Let us never forget that even though Pilate was wrong, he was given authority from above to judge and execute Jesus.  Jesus acknowledged that authority.  He was not a fan of Pilate, but he was a loyal Son of the Father.

We too must learn to live in the Church as loyal sons of the Father.

One last note, this is not an attempt to bash Traditionalist Catholics or the Traditionalist movement.  There are many Catholics in the movement who are very holy people and exercise great self-control when they don’t like something and know how to speak with firmness and respect.  They are to be admired and applauded.

Some of you may like this article.  I thank Scott Eric Alt for sharing it.


Published in: on January 28, 2016 at 2:20 PM  Comments (1)  

A Tradition of Hopelessness?

I’ve been reading certain blogs and newspapers online by Catholics who believe that the Church has lost her Catholic identity and her traditional roots.  I must admit that the reading is very depressing; but not because of the alleged crisis in the Church.  This is not to deny that there is a crisis of faith in the world, which affects people of all faith traditions.  We can address that in a later post in this blog.  For the time being, allow me to speak about the blogs and periodicals that are being posted online by Catholics.

When I was growing up, I was taught that in a democratic society, disagreement is a sign of health.  When disagreement triggers dialog, the possibility for growth is endless.  Along with such sage advice, my mother also taught me that disagreement must never rise to the level of disrespect for a person or his office.  Crude, disrespectful, dismissive or condescending behavior is simply arrogance.  Arrogance, like any other evil, has no rights.  Therefore, the arrogant person forfeits his right to a dialog with civilized and intelligent human beings.

What we have is certain Catholic journals and blogs publishing articles and posts that disagree with much of what Pope Francis does and say.  There is nothing wrong with that, as long as the Church is open for dialog, which she is on certain points.  However, they take the liberty to apply such terms as Modernist, apostate, heretic, Marxist, sacrilege, indifferentism, syncretism, and more to the Vicar of Christ.

Everyone knows that there has never been such a person as the perfect pontiff.  From the first day of its existence, the pontificate has been plagued by human weakness.  Yet, it has survived.  It has survived, because Grace has never been absent in the Church, especially in the Petrine Ministry.  The first pope denied his master three times.  He behaved with certain prejudices toward Jews and Gentiles, causing Paul to “lose it.”

However, when Paul lost it, he challenged Peter’s behavior and position.  But he also addressed him by his proper title, Cephas or Rock.  Paul did not cease to insist that Simon was the Rock upon which Christ built his Church.  Paul was smart enough to see the weakness in Peter’s behavior when it came to the conversion of Gentiles and smart enough to remember that despite it all, Peter was the Vicar of Christ, not him.  So . . . he took his argument to Peter and to the Council of Jerusalem.  But not once did he stick disparaging labels on Peter.

Some “Traditional Catholics” invoke Irenaeus as their model or Catherine of Siena.  Both of these people held on to the faith during times of crisis in the Church and the world.  Both were honest enough to speak their mind to the pope and point to the errors in the pope’s thinking.  Maybe, the reason why Irenaeus and Catherine share the label “saint” in front of their names, is not because they challenged and questioned, but because they loved and respected.  They acknowledged that whatever they saw as mistakes didn’t change the fact that the pope was the legitimate successor of Peter who was the Prince of the Apostles and the Vicar of Jesus Christ.  They spoke up without mocking, insulting, and labeling the pope or encouraging others to do so.  They communicated their protest with dignity, charity and humility.  I often find this lacking when writers in blogs and periodicals apply hurtful labels to the person of the pope and to his ministry.

Surely, we can learn from Catherine, Irenaeus and many other great men and women in Catholic history, how to speak about those things that are difficult and disturbing without arrogance, rudeness, and hopelessness.


Published in: on January 19, 2016 at 10:14 PM  Leave a Comment  

First time in Miami: Respect Life Hispanic Conference


On Saturday, November 7, the Franciscans of Life attended the Second Statewide Respect Life Hispanic Conference. This is the first Hispanic pro-life conference to take place in the Archdiocese of Miami. The location – Immaculate Conception Catholic Church – was no coincidence: Hialeah is the city with the highest number of abortions in the State of Florida, and the Catholic pro-life efforts in its territory are still limited.

Featuring an impressive panel of speakers, the Conference covered topics such as: “Christian Matrimony: God’s master plan”, “The truth on abortion”, “Recovery after abortion”, “The ethical care of human life from conception to natural death”, “Moral medical methods for the treatment of infertility”, “Spiritual and practical support for couples suffering infertility”, and “Plan of action for the family”.

Hispanic_Conference_talkOne of the talks was titled: “Project Joseph – for fathers”. This was the first time that we presented in Spanish the work carried out in Project Joseph – a joint effort between the Franciscans of Life and Respect Life Ministry Archdiocese of Miami to serve fathers in unexpected pregnancies.

The talk was delivered by our Father Superior, Br. Jay, who founded the program 6 years ago and currently directs it. He was accompanied by Br. Bernardo, Project Joseph mentor at the North Dade Pregnancy Help Center.

The talk – which we will feature in an upcoming article – began by describing how Project Joseph is relevant to the Ibero-American culture, in which too often women, and particularly mothers, are treated as if they were servants or nannies, rather than with the respect they deserve. This leads to the development of dysfunctional environments. As a consequence, there are many situations in which few rights are recognized to the women but many burdens are imposed on her if she becomes a mother, while the father on the other hand retains many rights and few responsibilities. On this note, the origin of Project Joseph were described.

(c) Ana Rodriguez-Soto | FC

(c) Ana Rodriguez-Soto | FC

“Don’t let me catch you talking badly about my Project Joseph dads!”, admonished Br. Jay. “These men are good people. Project Joseph offers them the opportunity to mature and grow as men and as fathers.”  Over 200 fathers have participated and become mature men, responsible and prepared to face the challenges of life.

Br. Jay mentioned that the success of the Project is due to the intercession of St. Joseph, patron of all fathers. His role in the Holy Family, described in a few examples, shows why it is so important to help these men walk in the footsteps of St. Joseph.  The Franciscan charism is also behind the success of Project Joseph, a charism that originates in the Seraphic Father and finds worthy example in the martyr St. Maximilian Kolbe, patron of the pro-life movement.

It was a beautiful, well organized, well attended event. We were glad to be there and have a table set aside for us to raise awareness of the work carried out by the FFV.

Hispanic_Conference_tableOur apostolate to the preborn children and their parents has developed significantly through Project Joseph, and we are particularly interested in recruiting Hispanic or bi-lingual mentors, since many of our dads speak Spanish as their primary language. However, we also serve the chronically and terminally ill and their families and caregivers, as well as the immigrant poor – populations that are very much in need of attention as we look to “The Family in light of God”.

The Conference came to a closing with Holy Mass celebrated by H.E. Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of Miami. During his homily, he underscored the important role of St. Joseph in God’s plan for the family. Here is our translation:

“The theme of this conference has been “The family in light of God.” Here, in Mary, Joseph and the child Jesus, that is, in the holy family, we see reflected God’s plan for the family when there is no stain of sin.

May the prayers and example of the Jesus’ parents strengthen today’s parents in their efforts to raise their children according to God’s will. In thefulfillment of His plan of salvation for mankind, God did not need the participation of Joseph to create the child Jesus. Nevertheless, God decided that the help of Joseph was indeed necessary in raising the holy child. Joseph, as chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, played an indispensable role in the life of Jesus as his foster father. He was not an absent or indifferent father. In fact, to him was entrusted the safety and well-being of Mary and of Jesus. We see this in the episode of the flight to Egypt. We perceive this in the narration of the child lost and found in the temple of Jerusalem. We can deduce that Joseph played a crucial role in the life of Jesus before he began his public life by the fact that his fellow citizens knew him as “the son of the carpenter”.

God wanted the best for his Son, and thus made it possible for Mary to marry Joseph, for only matrimony ensures the commitment between the parents and for the children. The children are raised better when the effort is carried out by a father and a mother. Thus was then and thus is now: every child needs a father, every child deserves a father – a father like Joseph. For this reason, the Church proposes the family of Nazareth as a model; and if for some reason our earthly family does not count with the presence of a mother or father, the Church invites us to count on Mary and Joseph. They will not disappoint us.”

The event was featured on the Archdiocesan News. Click here to read the article, which features the Project Joseph talk.

If you wish to see some more pictures, courtesy of Respect Life Ministry Archdiocese of Miami, follow this link 🙂

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to us! We will be glad to help you explore and discern if the Lord is inviting you to proclaim the Gospel of life with us.

FFV Immigration Resources Page Well Received

We have noticed with great joy that ever since we published on our website a page with information and resources for immigrants and refugees ( ), it has become our second most visited page, counting hundreds of visits every month.


The link on

Written entirely in Spanish, the page briefly describes the service of the Franciscans of Life to the immigrant poor. It also provides a list of services in Miami-Dade and Broward, such as emergency and abuse hotlines, low income medical care, community resources, public transit, internet, legal help, prison ministry, food and clothing, pregnancy help, housing, help to minors and refugees, and education.


To make navigation easier, a series of intuitive icons allow the visitor to quickly go to the section of interest.


Our website access statistics can only record a minimal part of the search phrases that led the visitors to our resource page. However, for those phrases that we have learned about, we are very moved to see how this page is able to meet the call for help of so many who are looking for very basic necessities.

In fact, out of curiosity we typed some of those phrases on popular search engines and much to our surprise we found that in many cases they are among the top results!

For instance:

  • #1 in “catholic churches in miami that help find medical help”
  • #2 in “help for immigrants in hollywood florida”
  • #4 in “immigration refugees hialeah”
  • #6 in “catholic medical services in miami”
  • #7 in “metro rail low income miami”
  • #7 in “clinics for people without medical insurance broward florida”
  • #9 in “abuse help broward”
  • #14 in “emergency help miami”
  • #21 in “help for immigrants miami”

Please help us reach a greater number of our immigrant brothers and sisters in Miami-Dade and Broward by sharing this simple list of information and resources.


Published in: on November 17, 2015 at 12:34 AM  Leave a Comment  

FFV Highlights

Pax et bonum!

The past few months have been quite busy 🙂 We wish to share with you some highlights, hoping that you will enjoy them and pray for us! Also pray for vocations. The Year of Consecrated Life is not over yet. Could the Lord be inviting you to build with us in the footsteps of St. Francis…?


The regular brothers wear the “corona” as a sign of consecrated celibacy.



Extern Brother Chris Thomas More (right) renewed his Solemn Promise, and Regular Brother Leo (center) made his First Profession.



In September we celebrated the birthday of Father Superior by throwing a “surprise puppy”… 😉



We crafted our first holy cards featuring a statue of St. Joseph donated to us by a generous benefactress. Some of the cards were blessed in Philadelphia by the Holy Father.




We went in pilgrimage to D.C. and Philadelphia following the footsteps of the Holy Father. In the picture: Pope Francis preaches the homily at the closing of World Meeting of Families.




On the evening of October 3rd we celebrated the Transitus of our Seraphic Father, St. Francis outside of our mother house.



The brothers worked hard to raise funds at the Flea Market of St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church. Most of the objects were donated to us for this purpose!


20151024_003_X     20151024_005_X


Tailor and cobbler workshop at the mother house 🙂 In the pictures, a brother sows a pair of pants and admires its seam, then proceeds to repair some sandals.



A big “thank you” to the generous donor who helped us purchase much-needed front tires for the community car!



Boo! 😀 On Halloween we “dressed up” the front door of the mother house for the joy of the little children who live in the neighborhood.



Franciscans of Life presented Project Joseph (Proyecto Jose’) at the II Respect Life Ministry Hispanic Conference.



Mrs. Joan Crown, Executive Director of Respect Life Ministry Archdiocese of Miami, along with our Superior and Director of Project Joseph.



Franciscans of Life attended the Ministry Fair at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, raising awareness for Project Joseph and its great need for mentors.


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Moral Reasoning Through the Complexity of Homosexuality

This is a very complex issue. It’s not as simple as people on both sides of the aisle want to make it. There are some basic principles that do help us understand what is right and wrong. Many people are not educated in these principles.

First: God reveals himself. He discloses himself to man through Sacred Scripture, also through sacred tradition, the baseball_throwingMagisterium of the Church, natural law, and logic.

We can’t just throw a bible verse at something and pretend we have it all figured out. All of these pieces must work together. They are all good, because they all come from the same divine origin.

Second: Faith enlightens reason. We must reason through these questions and let our faith inform us whether or not our reasoning is consistent with what God has revealed about his nature and the nature of man.

Third: People have to distinguish between the action and the person. They are not the same. When a five-year old kills his little brother with his father’s gun during a game of “cops and comicrobbers,” the action is contrary to the commandment, “Thou shall not kill.” However, the five-year old is not a murderer, because he neither intended to actually kill his sibling, nor is he knowledgeable of the commandment. The action remains evil; but the child is not culpable. We can condemn behaviors, but we have to be very careful not to judge people. That would be playing God.

Fourth: Juangel_appears_to_st_josephdging another person involves walking through his or her mind and conscience. One’s thoughts on any issue and one’s moral conscience are part of what is known as the “internal forum”. This is an area of human existence that no human being may trespass or attempt to read without an invitation from the individual who is the lawful guardian of his mind and conscience. We can explain why a certain action or behavior is wrong, but we may not pass judgment on the individual’s moral reasoning unless that person invites us to examine it with him, thus inviting us into the internal forum.

Fifth: There is a big difference between homosexual acts and homosexuality. A person with same sex attraction does not wake up one morning and decide to be gay. As he develops and goes through different life experiences, he becomes aware of his feelings in this area. On the other hand, people freely choose to engage in sexual behavior with a person of the same sex. Choosing to be attracted to the same sex is very rare. That which man does not choose can be neither a sin nor a virtue.


Sixth: Homosexual acts, like heterosexual acts, are freely chosen by the parties involved (except in cases of violent force). The person(s) must use reason to determine whether an act is right or wrong. If the person is a man or woman of faith, that faith should confirm the correctness of his conclusion or point to its moral error.

right and wrongSeventh: Acting on faith and basing our actions on what God has disclosed to us about him, about us and about the relationship between the divine and the human is not the same as playing God. It is using that which makes us in the image and likeness of God to make right choices, that being knowledge of right and wrong.

Eighth: Standing in judgment of an action does not constitute godliness. It’s part of human reason and part of living in society. On the other hand, standing in judgment of the person involved in the action that we reject, IS playing God. No one has the right to judge the conscience of another human being, unless the other person opens up his heart and shares what is on his conscience.

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