Authentic Magisterium in Troubling Times

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by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  December 4, 2017   

What's a Catholic bound to believe?

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Catholics must be true to the Deposit of Faith as it's presented by the authentic magisterium. So what are Catholics to believe now that Pope Francis has used the words "authentic magisterium" regarding his praise of a dubious interpretation on Amoris Laetitia given last year by bishops of Argentina?

There's speculation that as per canon 752 some "religious submission of the intellect and will must be given" by faithful Catholics to this interpretation. This interpretation may, however, in some cases open the door to the sacraments for those living in invalid unions as husband and wife. The question is, then exactly what are Catholics bound to believe?

The troubling section in the 2016 guidelines issued by the bishops of Buenos Aires is paragraph 6, which reads, "If ... in a specific case, there are limitations that mitigate responsibility and culpability ... especially when a person believes they would incur a subsequent wrong by harming the children of the new union, Amoris Laetitia offers the possibility of access to the sacraments of reconciliation and Eucharist." To this guideline, Pope Francis responded, "There are no other interpretations."

The question then must be asked what specific cases open the way to the sacraments for active adulterers? What mitigating circumstances would trigger such a pastoral solution? What is meant by harming children and doesn't the perception of that possibility change from person to person? It must be asked, furthermore, how are there no other interpretations when contrary interpretations have already been issued by previous popes and from other bishops?

Watch the panel discuss the implications of this papal activity in The Download—Troubling Times.


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