In a previous study, we analyzed a reference that Francis presented in number 159 of Amoris Laetitia. Taken from a catechesis of Pope John Paul II, July 14, 1982, this reference was truncated in its essential theological dimension. Consequently, having silenced what Pope John Paul II had affirmed in recalling that virginity and celibacy are based on an option for the sake of the “kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 19:12), Francis prompts a one-sided interpretation.
One of Cicero’s famous sayings defines history as a thing ‘which bears witness to the passing of the ages, sheds light upon reality, gives life to recollection and guidance to human existence, and brings tidings of ancient days’ (De Oratore II, 9, 36). And it is precisely the witness of history that shows us how the ancient peoples lived, with their cultures given to idolatry, slavery and even human sacrifice.
In the first paragraphs of Amoris Laetitia we encounter an affirmation that sets the entire gist of what Francis wishes to convey in this document: it is time to develop ‘various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching’ to ‘seek solutions better suited to its culture’ in family ministry.
All of us remember the experiences of so many of our national soldiers who went through arduous, exhausting and seemingly interminable combats. How many of them saw numerous companions fall, and they themselves were uncertain of their own survival…but the desire to defeat the enemy, to save their country, and to fight on like heroes encouraged them to continue without desisting, and even to give their lives if necessary. How many nations have the glory of numbering among their sons men of this valor; men who are more concerned with fulfilling their duty than enjoying a life of betrayal and egoism.
Negative precepts play an important role in moral formation. They remind us that we are limited, dependent and sinful beings, made to lovingly obey an absolute Being who created us and governs us according to his most wise designs.
In reading Saint Augustine’s The City of God, we get the sensation that he was writing for our days; not what he wrote on the city of God itself, but rather, the city of the evil one as he describes it.
“God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying: ‘Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it’. […] That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh” (Gn 1:27–28; 2:24).