POPE FRANCIS’S NEW STATEMENT ABOUT FAMILY LOVE: does “amoris laetitiae” make Catholic teaching clearer?
The Pope’s recent “exhortation” on family issues is long – nine chapters, broken down into 325 paragraphs and covering 256 pages.
A lot of it is good thoughts emphasising that we should love each other, especially family members.
He reaches the key contentious issue — whether people living in adulterous relationships, having been divorced and later re-married, should receive Holy Communion – in chapter eight, paragraphs 299-304.
Paragraph 299 says such people “need to be more fully integrated into Christian communities . . . Their participation can be expressed in different ecclesial services . . . Such persons need to feel, not as excommunicated members of the Church, but instead as living members . . . .”
Is not-feeling-excommunicated the same as not-excluded-from-receiving Communion?
He doesn’t quite say. It all seems a bit ambiguous. You could take it either way.
Paragraph 304 goes on to be even more ambiguous: “It is true that general rules set forth a good which can never be disregarded or neglected, but in their formulation they cannot provide absolutely for all particular situations. At the same time, it must be said that, precisely for that reason, what is part of a practical discernment in particular circumstances cannot be elevated to the level of a rule.”
It seems like stating a rule and providing a loophole to justify ignoring the rule all in one breath.
A loophole through which one could drive a Mack truck.