The official interpretation of “Amoris Laetitia” according to Francis
Though somewhat eclipsed by the sensational footage spread interminably by the press, perhaps the most interesting aspect of Francis’ recent journey to Lesbos, would be the confirmation that he made of a certain commentary we had published with respect to “Amoris Laetitia”, during his routine interview on the occasion of his return flight to Rome. It is a well-known fact that on the pontifical plane — usually subject to turbulence — the inner Jorge Mario Bergoglio tends to be revealed, for he is normally somewhat disguised during official interventions, which have always undergone a revision by assistants obliged to perform dialectic juggling as “trouble-shooters”. Perhaps Francis had read and wished to confirm our interpretation, as though saying: you’re right, the interpretation that I give of what I have affirmed is the most abominable possible. No such thing as an “interpretation according to tradition.”
In the midst of the turbulence — psychological or meteorological, we’re not quite sure — the journalists asked him if the emergence of the aforementioned document signified that something had changed in the doctrine and practice of the Church, allowing the re-married (those in adulterine unions) to receive communion without abandoning their situation of public and scandalous sin. In effect, Canon 915 states: “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” The question was absolutely clear and necessary, in order to know if we should interpret this confusion in light of the magisterium, or as a doctrinal and pastoral novelty.
The journalist Francis Rocca queried: “Some sustain that nothing has changed with respect to the discipline that regulates access to the sacraments for the divorced and remarried, that the Law, the pastoral praxis and obviously the doctrine remain the same. Others sustain that much has changed and that there are new openings and possibilities. For a Catholic who wants to know: are there new, concrete possibilities that didn’t exist before the publication of the exhortation or not?”
This question has also been proffered by numerous commentators from the left and the right wing, both the laity and religious, Bergoglians and Catholics. How will Francis respond to such a direct question? Will he deny the “official interpretations” that affirm that everything has changed? Or will he give credit to the “ostrich-like interpreters” who sustain that nothing has changed?
Text of Bergoglio’s response:
“I can say there are. But it would be too short an answer. I urge you to read the presentation Cardinal Schönborn gave on the document.”
Period. If any “ostrich” still attempts to interpret Amoris Laetitia affirming that nothing has changed, and that it reflects the multisecular magisterium of the Church, he is mistaken. We complete Francis’ thought: “I could say that, yes, there are new concrete possibilities regarding access to the sacraments for the divorced and re-married, possibilities that did not exist before the publication of the exhortation.”
Regarding Cardinal Schönborn’s “presentation”, we have commented on it here at the Denzinger-Bergoglio, showing how for this Cardinal, there no longer exists a difference between “regular” and “irregular” marriages, that is, both may equally receive communion.
This news has been gladly welcomed not only by atheists and laicists, not only by adulterers and concubines, but also by numerous bishops. Here we cite those mentioned by the perceptive Vatican analyst Sandro Magister. The President of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines opening “welcoming arms to those who have kept themselves out of the Church because of a sense of guilt and of shame.” And he explicitly adds that, according to the Papal exhortation, “at the table of sinners at which the All-Holy Lord offers himself as food for the wretched, there is always room”. The “table” is obviously the Eucharist, and the sinners, adulterous concubines.
In addition, Msgr. Alberto Carrara of the diocese of Bergamo, Italy, director of the diocesan publication “SantAlessandro”, began his editorial with this affirmation: “In this way, then, the divorced and separated who have remarried may be admitted to the sacraments. It is one of the novelties of Amoris laetitia”
If someone still thinks that Amoris Laetitia may be interpreted in the same way as the multi-secular doctrine or the Church, taught by Jesus Christ, he is sadly mistaken: Franciscus dixit.
The meaning of footnote 351
Time was running out and Fr. Lombardi, increasingly nervous when he perceived what was coming his way, had permitted “a last question from journalist Guérnardi regarding footnote 351, that opens the possibility of communion for the adulterous concubines. The journalist questioned: “You wrote this famous note in ‘Amoris Laetitia’ on the problems of the divorced and remarried (footnote 351). Why put something so important in a little note?”
Text of Bergoglio’s response:
“I don’t remember the footnote, but for sure if it’s something general in a footnote it’s because I spoke about it, I think, in Evangelii gaudium”
The facility with which he affirms at the same time that “I don’t remember” and “for sure if it’s something general” causes… well, we’ll let our reader qualify this.
Evidently footnote 351 does not cite Evangelii gaudium, but is rather something new. As Guénard recalls, this footnote has been the object of numerous criticisms due to its opposition to the magisterium of the Church; at the Denzinger-Bergoglio we have commented on it here.
Below we copy the footnote and our commentary, for any of our readers who have not had the time to find it.
“A pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in “irregular” situations.” Read as: the parish priest, the confessor, the bishop may not apply moral laws to adulterers and concubines.
The text continues: “Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love.” The “objective situation of sin” of the adulterine union may not “subjectively” be a sin, and therefore the adulterers could be in the state of grace…without even knowing it.
Therefore, Francis affirms that this “objective situation of sin”, but not “subjective”, “can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.” That is, the Church should assist those who are not in the state of grace to “grow in the life of grace”, in the objective situation of public sin (adulterine union of a second union). We learn in the Catechism that a sinner recuperates the life of grace through the sacrament of penance, as long as there is a purpose of amendment in relation to his sins; however, the concubine adulterer does not leave the sinful state, so he or she may not validly receive absolution. Therefore, the individual in this circumstance may not “grow in the life of grace”
How curious… in a few words Francis has corroborated the affirmation we had commented on a few days ago within these very pages…
Let us pray for him, for the Church, for the salvation of all mankind…and we cry out due to the indifference and rejection of the Law of God, the numerous sins of adultery, concubinage, sacrilegious communions, invalid confessions…etc. And if what Jesus foresaw in Jerusalem occurs, God help us…