April 8, 2016

Pope Francis' Post-Synod Apostolic Exhortation on the Family, Amoris Laetitia, "The Joy of Love" [in PDF]. The Media's Spin & the Truth

Pope Francis' coat of arms
Pope Francis' long awaited post-synod apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia, "The Joy of Love", was released this morning. It is available on the Vatican's website in PDF form. Speculation has been rampant about its content. In the wake of the document's release, the secular media is reacting predictably.

Time online's headline proclaims, "Pope Francis Pushes Church to be More Open to the Divorced".  Newsday's headline is even worse, "Pope Francis' 'The Joy of Love' says individual conscience should guide sex, marriage, family". The International Business Times says this, "Pope Francis’ Long-Awaited Document ‘Joy Of Love’ May Open Doors For Communion To Remarried Divorcées The National Catholic Reporter and other like minded publications are calling this an outright about face in Church doctrine.

Perhaps the best analysis thus far was offered by EWTN's Raymond Arroyo who said in an interview on Fox News that if you were a divorced Catholic unsure of your standing within the Church, you needed to consult your priest or your bishop for guidance. Mr. Arroyo further expressed his concern that Church doctrine in this area was now [in the minds of many] in a precarious position.

Let your conscience guide you?

Fox News online reports: "The Rev. James Bretzke, a Boston College theologian, said the document will give cover to and empower those priests and bishops who want to apply a broader understanding of the confidential discussions between priests and divorced and civilly remarried Catholics — a concept known as the "internal forum solution."

"He does not outlaw that, whereas John Paul II specifically outlawed (it)," [Fr. Bretzke] said.

For more see "Amoris Laetitia: Five key passages you need to read" from the Catholic Herald [UK] and "Highlights of Pope Francis’ teaching on the family", Irish Catholic Bishop's Conference.

Vatican Radio has a summary of Amoris Laetitia on its website.

Update #1: Robert Royal at The Catholic Thing, notes the many positive aspects of Amoris Laetitia in a balanced and sober review that is worth your time.

Equally worthy, Fr. Zuhlsdorf cites Royal's critique and adds his own insights on the matter.

Update #2Msgr. John R. Schulte's comment on the Catholic Thing Blog is priceless. [See comments section of article.]

Update #3: From Life Site News, "Pope Francis opens door to Communion for ‘remarried’ Catholics in landmark exhortation".

Update #4: John Vennari weighs in "Exhortation: Francis Advances Situation Ethics - Subverts Moral Theology".

Update #5: Drudge announces "Age of 'Individual Conscience'", links to USA Today article, "Pope has good news for divorced, but not for gays".

Update #6: CatholicCulture.org has an annotated version of Amoris Laetitia online that I find more user friendly than the PDF text on the Vatican website.

Phil Lawler has completed his own analysis, and finds himself less impressed than some commentators: "The Pope's confused message undermines his own pastoral program".

Also, Jeff Mirus sees a potential tension between doctrine and discipline. He examines possible reasons for that in: "Divorce and remarriage: Why has Pope Francis chosen to leave one door open?"

Update #7: From the blog One Peter Five comes "Pope Francis Departs from Church Teaching in New Exhortation", an eye opening, critical examination of the exhortation.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

Presentation of the Exhortation Amoris Laetitia

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