Pope Francis & ‘Amoris Laetitia’

Pope Francis avoids doctrinal nitty-gritty but goes straight to the people
doctrinal nitty gritty

Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro says the Pope’s refusal to directly answer the questions put to him by four cardinals is emblematic of how Francis effects change in the Catholic Church: he doesn’t deal in the doctrinal nitty-gritty but goes straight to the people — via his priests — regardless of the rules.

In an op-ed Spadaro, defended Francis from the criticism that he had not answered the questions put to him by 4 cardinals.

“I think that Amoris Laetitia has created an open and interesting debate within the Catholic Church thanks to Francis, a Pope who never blocks dialogue if it is loyal and motivated by the good of the Church.”

Pope Francis has responded to the letters indirectly. He has criticized “a certain legalism” in the response to his document.

“Some continue not to understand,” he said in an interview November 17 with the Italian Catholic newspaper, Avvenire. “Think about certain responses to Amoris Laetitia — it’s either black or white, even though it’s in the flow of life that one must discern.”

But the cardinals’ letter, called a dubia, is an official request for a Yes or No answer from the Pope.

Not having received a such a direct response the cardinals published their letter on various Catholic news sites.

The questions focus particularly on the issue of giving communion to divorced and remarried Catholics, which footnote (#351) in Amoris Laetitia says could be allowed “in certain cases.”

Spadaro said the questions had already raised during the Synod, “where the dialogue was deep, extensive and most of all, frank.”

Amoris Laetitia is only the mature fruit of Francis’ reflection after listening to everyone and reading the Synod’s final document.

It is the result of a Synod and not just a personal idea of the Pontiff, as some might think.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the signers of the letter, told the National Catholic Register that if Francis does not answer, he will spearhead a “formal act of correction” of the Pontiff — something that has never happened for 100s of years.
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New Zealand’s CATHNEWS offers this article from Roman Catholic Sources in the press; which clearly show the concern by some of the Church’s conservative Cardinals and Bishops who are not happy with the interpretation of Pope Francis’ most recent document ‘Amoris Laetitia’ that would allow divorced and remarried Catholics to be re-admitted to the Eucharist – without having to pledge their relationship to being celibate.

In his defence of the Pope’s openness to re-admission to Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics: “Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro says the Pope’s refusal to directly answer the questions put to him by four cardinals is emblematic of how Francis effects change in the Catholic Church: he doesn’t deal in the doctrinal nitty-gritty but goes straight to the people — via his priests — regardless of the rules.”

This is just one sign of Pope Francis’ determination to put pastoral needs before doctrines of the Church that seem to insist on discipline rather than the Gospel exercise of mercy – the charism that this Pope has emphasized as one of the great gifts of Christ in the Gospel.

One is reminded of the Shakespearean quotation: “The quality of mercy is not strained, it falleth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the earth beneath. It is thrice blessed”. Better that the Church, the Body of Christ, is celebrated for Mercy rather than dry legalism, perhaps? – Especially for those people who know their need of God in the complexity of their lives.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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2 Responses to Pope Francis & ‘Amoris Laetitia’

  1. murraysmallbone says:

    Bravo once again to Pope Francis !!! It has been the nitty gritty of doctrinal matters which has kept OLJC out of his Church .
    The English bench of Anglican Bishops might take a leaf from the book of Pope Francis instead of framing all their pronouncements in such language that it is difficult to see a way “in”, which amounts to the same thing as tightening all the bolts on doctrine and throwing away the spanner.
    One could say the spanner to all this tightness is OLJC. Our Lord is knocking on the door, but is up to us to unlock the door and let him in;the first step of Faith.

    Jesu mercy! Mary pray!

  2. kiwianglo says:

    AMEN! Thank you, .Murray

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