Abp. Chaput Supports Clarifying ‘Amoris Laetitia’

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  November 28, 2016   

Ambiguity on Holy Communion to adulterous divorcees attacks marriage and the Eucharist

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UPDATE, Nov. 29, 2016: The communications director for the archdiocese of Philadelphia has clarified that Abp. Chaput is taking no position on Cdl. Raymond Burke and his brother cardinals' letter to Pope Francis.


PHILADELPHIA (ChurchMilitant.com) - Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is supporting clarity in the face of the confusion engendered by the papal exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" (AL).

When asked recently about the need to clarify the Pope's document on marriage in light of the attempt by four cardinals, including Cdl. Burke, who "have asked the Holy Father for clarifications about key points on that text," Abp. Chaput remarked,
If the document has elements that some serious Catholic scholars see as ambiguous, then the issues they raise need to be dealt with honestly and directly. The differences and discussions bishops are now having over the reception of the document are probably necessary to its proper incorporation into the life of the Church.
Pope Francis has yet to respond to the cardinals' questions seeking answers on doctrinal ambiguities raised in AL.
In the interview, Abp. Chaput noted that poor pastoral practice leads to misunderstandings regarding Church teaching. "[A]mbiguity about communion for the divorced and civilly remarried impacts our understanding of not one but two sacraments: marriage and the Eucharist."
In an interview earlier this month, Cardinal-designate Kevin Farrell, the newly appointed prefect of the Vatican's super dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, took exception to Abp. Chaput's firm guidelines implementing AL, in which Chaput rejected opening up Holy Communion to the divorced and civilly remarried.
Farrell told Catholic News Service (CNS) — the official news arm of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — "I don't share the view of what Archbishop Chaput did. No, I think there are all kinds of different circumstances and situations that we have to look at — each case as it is presented to us."
The cardinal-designate went so far as to say that such implementation "has to be done in communion with our bishops. I think that it would have been wiser to wait for the gathering of the conference of bishops where all the bishops of the United States or all the bishops of a country would sit down and discuss these things."
On Thursday, November 17, Abp. Chaput published his response to CNS after it had asked him to comment on Farrell's criticisms.
Under canon law — not to mention common sense — governance of a diocese belongs to the local bishop as a successor of the apostles, not to a conference, though bishops' conferences can often provide a valuable forum for discussion. As a former resident bishop, the cardinal-designate surely knows this, which makes his comments all the more puzzling in the light of our commitment to fraternal collegiality.
Archbishop Chaput seemingly addressed this point again last week. "Our own diocesan guidelines for Amoris Laetitia, issued back in July, came from a very thorough consultation," he said. "They've been well received. Other local bishops have taken similar steps, and I hope more do the same. It’s the local bishop’s responsibility to govern and teach."


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