Follow usTwitterFacebook


18 Dec 2015 News USA Comments (2)

The Life-saver of many Jews is to be canonized

Blessed Elizabeth Hesselblad, Swedish and a convert from Lutheranism, baptized into the Reform Church and converted to the Catholic faith. She  was mother super…

Read more

03 Jun 2015 Articles Q&A No comments

What is the Church’s teaching on capital punishment?

Response: The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human…

Read more

21 Jan 2015 Q&A Comments (14)

Islamic State throws man from a building for his alleged homosexuality

In another example of what the militant jihadist group considers "justice," photographs have since surfaced of a group throwing an Iraqi man to death from his b…

Read more

05 Jul 2016 Q&A No comments

Are we close to the kingdom of God when we receive the Eucharist?

Full Question I recently read a book claiming that we are close to the kingdom of God while receiving the Eucharist. What does this mean, and how close are…

Read more

08 Sep 2016 Articles Comments (1)

DID YOU KNOW? The most bombed country during the Vietnam War was NOT Vietnam? Find out where the U.S. dropped…

During the Vietnam war, one country was bombed more than Vietnam itself. Every eight minutes, for 24 hours a day, for 9 years straight, American bombers dropped…

Read more

22 Jun 2016 Vatican No comments

Francis: ‘Benedict XVI’s life of prayer teaches us a great lesson’

The Pope has written the preface to a new collection of Benedict's writings on the priesthood Pope Francis has said that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s life of p…

Read more

26 Sep 2015 News USA No comments

Cardinal O'Malley to families: Want to evangelize? You'd better have these two qualities

As thousands of Catholics descended upon Philadelphia to hear talks about family and faith, Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley had a message for them: Don’t be a par…

Read more

02 Oct 2015 Articles Comments (1)

Why Medjugorje matters

In the early 1980s, six children in the Yugoslavian town of Medjugorje reported seeing visions of the Virgin Mary. Since that time, millions of people have made…

Read more

30 May 2016 Vatican No comments

George Clooney and Richard Gere honoured by Pope for contribution to Vatican education project

During the event, Pope Francis said he has never considered following Benedict XVI into retirement Pope Francis awarded medals to George Clooney, Salma Hayek a…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Amoris Laetitia: Five key passages you need to read

Here we provide a short summary of the Pope’s apostolic exhortation released today

The full 60,000-word text of Amoris Laetitia is available here. But these are five key moments likely to attract attention:

1. A footnote on Communion

On the much-discussed question of Communion for the remarried, the exhortation says nothing direct. Instead, it makes a general statement about those in “irregular” situations (305):

“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 and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.”

A footnote (f351) adds:

“In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, ‘I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy’ (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium [24 November 2013], 44: AAS 105 [2013], 1038). I would also point out that the Eucharist ‘is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.’”

2. Diminished responsibility

The document addresses the question of how external circumstances may reduce culpability for sin (301). This bears on the question of pastoral discernment in “irregular situations”.

“It can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace. More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding ‘its inherent values’, or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin. As the Synod Fathers put it, ‘factors may exist which limit the ability to make a decision”’.

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly mentions these factors: ‘imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors’.”

3. The authority of the document

The document does not deal in depth with the question of authority, but it does not claim to make authoritative doctrinal statements. It presents itself as a summing-up of the recent Synods, with some “considerations”. As an apostolic exhortation, it has a lower level of authority than an encyclical; the Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si’ claimed that it was “now added to the body of the Church’s social teaching”.

“The various interventions of the Synod Fathers, to which I paid close heed, made up, as it were, a multifaceted gem reflecting many legitimate concerns and honest questions. For this reason, I thought it appropriate to prepare a post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation to gather the contributions of the two recent Synods on the family, while adding other considerations as an aid to reflection, dialogue and pastoral practice, and as a help and encouragement to families in their daily commitments and challenges.” (4)

4. Reaffirmation of teaching on contraception

As well as condemning abortion, the document contains many references to Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae and John Paul II’s writings on contraception (68, 81 82, 151, 155, 283) Perhaps the strongest restatement of Church teaching is this (80):

“Nonetheless, the conjugal union is ordered to procreation ‘by its very nature’. The child who is born ‘does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfilment’.

“He or she does not appear at the end of a process, but is present from the beginning of love as an essential feature, one that cannot be denied without disfiguring that love itself. From the outset, love refuses every impulse to close in on itself; it is open to a fruitfulness that draws it beyond itself. Hence no genital act of husband and wife can refuse this meaning, even when for various reasons it may not always in fact beget a new life.”

5. On same-sex unions

The exhortation briefly summarises the conclusions of the synod, which strongly opposed the redefinition of marriage (250) and repeats the Church’s teaching on showing consideration to gay people (251):

“During the Synod, we discussed the situation of families whose members include persons who experience same-sex attraction, a situation not easy either for parents or for children. We would like before all else to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence.

“Such families should be given respectful pastoral guidance, so that those who manifest a homosexual orientation can receive the assistance they need to understand and fully carry out God’s will in their lives.”


Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories