Pope’s Amoris Laetitia Guidelines Get an Upgrade


National Catholic Register, 12 December 2017

The most recent clarification raises new questions, but clearly rules out the more adventurous interpretations of the Holy Father’s apostolic exhortation.

The latest clarification of the proper interpretation of Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) raises new questions, with perhaps unexpected answers.

In September 2016, the bishops of the Buenos Aires pastoral region released guidelines for the interpretation of Chapter VIII of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, which addresses the situation of those in a sacramental marriage but living in conjugal union with someone else, perhaps civilly married.

On the same day the guidelines were released, the Pope wrote a private letter to the Buenos Aires bishops commending their efforts and saying that there were “no other interpretations.” This letter was first leaked to the press and then put on the Vatican website.

Pope Francis has now decreed that both the Buenos Aires guidelines and his letter be included in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (Acts of the Apostolic See) as acts of the “authentic magisterium” of the Roman Pontiff. The AAS is like the official gazette of a government where official regulations are published. Not everything in the AAS is an exercise of the magisterium, but magisterial acts are recorded there.

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