Pope Francis endorses Argentinian openness to Divorcees

CathNews NZ and Asia Pacific

Divorced, remarried Catholics may receive Communion says Pope


Pope Francis has approved the Argentinian bishops’ interpretation of his apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (Joy of Love).

The bishops have published a document saying some divorced and remarried Catholics may receive Holy Communion.

Francis  says the document “explains precisely the meaning of Chapter VIII of ‘Amoris Laetitia.’ There are no other interpretations.”

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of State, says a letter Francis wrote to the bishops on 5 September 2016 and the bishops’ guidelines for interpreting Amoris Laetitia will be published as official documents on the Vatican website.

Francis wrote the letter in response to guidelines the bishops in the Buenos Aires region published.

Parolin says Francis also wants the letter and the bishops’ guidelines to be included in the “Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS)”.

The AAS is the official record of Vatican documents and acts.

By applying the character of “official Magisterium” to an exchange of letters, the pope has strengthened the bishops’ interpretation’s doctrinal significance.

Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, commented on the official Magisterium.

“The fact that the pope requested … [these documents] … be published in the AAS means that His Holiness has given these documents a particular qualification that elevates them to the level of being official teachings of the church.

“While the content of the pope’s letter itself does not contain teachings on faith and morals, it does point toward the interpretations of the Argentine bishops and confirms them as authentically reflecting his own mind.

“Thus together the two documents became the Holy Father’s authentic Magisterium for the whole church.”

Open letters that question a “confused” teaching – such as that by the American theologian Fr Thomas G. Weinandy, or those by the four cardinals who wrote the “dubia” (“doubt”) – now come up against a new theological obstacle.


In accord with the title of Pope Francis’ document ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (Joy of Love) he has now “strengthened the (Argentinian) bishops’ interpretation’s doctrinal significance” – thus giving the document ‘offical ‘Magisterium’ status in the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

This latest development – reported on our local CATHNEWS website in New Zealand today – will no doubt disappoint those bishops of the Roman Catholic Church (like Cardinal Burke of the U.S.) who have sent a ‘dubia‘ to the Vatican, protesting their opposition to this particular interpretation of ‘Amoris Laetitia’.

This latest announcement from the Vatican will challenge the ‘loyal opposition’ in the Church, whose own actions are set to reverse the Roman Catholic understanding of the Supremacy of the Pope in instances of magisterial declarations like Amoris Laetitia.

The determination of Pope Francis, however, to bring his Church into the 21st century – in terms of his movement towards Justice and Peace in its interface with society – will be seen by the world as a revolutionary force for good for all humanity, in accord with the concern of Jesus for the poor and the marginalised.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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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