Will the Amoris Laetitia ‘discernment process’ always produce the same result?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 26, 2018

So now the Archdiocese of Braga, following the lead of bishops in Germany and in Malta, has said that Catholics who are divorced and remarried should receive the Eucharist after the "process of discernment" that is the essence of the "Kasper proposal." But wait. Exactly what is being "discerned" in this process?

Nowhere have I read the suggestion that some Catholics, after going through this process, will discern that they should not receive Communion until they have brought their lives into conformity with the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is invariably taken for granted, in public discussions, that those who undertake this process will be admitted to the Eucharist.

If the result of the process is pre-ordained, then it really isn't a "discernment" at all, is it? And if the result is not settled in advance, what are the norms by which the Church will separate those who may be admitted to Communion from those who may not?

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Eric - Jan. 29, 2018 8:40 AM ET USA

    You are correct Phil. What will happen in a few years it that the discernment process will become a "formality", with the end results preordained. The sad thing is I truly believe that this is NOT what the Holy Father intends, but his ill advised actions will produce this result.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jan. 27, 2018 11:08 AM ET USA

    Great points. In this case, "process" and "discernment" are important-sounding buzzwords used to impress laymen, but the Church, our Mother and a Teacher of Faith, has already conducted a proper process of discernment and made it a rule to follow, saying that all Catholic faithful need to live in the state of grace in order to receive the Holy Communion worthily. A new, individual "process of discernment," even when assisted by a cleric, does not overrule the official discernment of the Church.

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Jan. 26, 2018 7:43 PM ET USA

    I went through a lengthy discernment process recently. Amazingly enough, I discerned that I should be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want.