Vatican Cardinal: Pope’s Interpretation of AL ‘Official Teaching’

News: World News
by Christine Niles  •  •  December 6, 2017   

Cdl. Coccopalmerio affirms 'authentic Magisterium' of papal rescript part of Church doctrine

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VATICAN CITY ( - The president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts is confirming that Pope Francis' interpretation Amoris Laetitia is part of the "official teachings of the Church."

In comments made to Catholic News Service Tuesday, Cdl. Francesco Coccopalmerio said, "The fact that the pope requested that his letter and the interpretations of the Buenos Aires bishops be published in the AAS means that His Holiness has given these documents a particular qualification that elevates them to the level of being official teachings of the church."

"While the content of the pope's letter itself does not contain teachings on faith and morals, it does point toward the interpretations of the Argentine bishops and confirms them as authentically reflecting his own mind," he explained. "Thus together the two documents became the Holy Father's authentic magisterium for the whole church."

Church Militant broke the news Saturday that a papal rescript published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS), the official register of the Holy See, raised to the level of "authentic Magisterium" an interpretation of Amoris Laetitia that allows Holy Communion to those in invalid unions in certain cases.

That interpretation is found in the 2016 directives of the Buenos Aires bishops, also published in the AAS, along with a private letter from the pope approving their translation.

"The document is very good and completely explains the meaning of Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia," The Holy Father said. "There are no other interpretations."

Accompanying the two documents was a papal rescript added on June 5, 2017 from Secretary of State Cdl. Pietro Parolin reading:

The Supreme Pontiff decrees that the two Documents that precede [this Rescript] are to be made known by publication on the Vatican website and in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, as authentic Magisterium. From the Vatican Palace, on the 5th day of June in the year 2017. (emphasis added)

Pietro Cardinal Parolin
Secretary of State

Raising this interpretation of a discipline of the Church as "authentic Magisterium" presents a direct contradiction of Canon 915, which forbids giving Holy Communion to manifest sinners in mortal sin, as well as Canon 916, which forbids those aware of being in the state of mortal sin from approaching to receive Holy Communion. In both instances, the communicant commits sacrilege if he were to approach.

The papal rescript — whose message is now being confirmed by a curial official — arguably makes this interpretation of Amoris Laetitia binding on the consciences of the faithful, something one canonical expert is calling "very troubling."

Canon 752 of the Code of Canon Law states:

While the assent of faith is not required, a religious submission of intellect and will is to be given to any doctrine which either the Supreme Pontiff or the College of Bishops, exercising their authentic magisterium, declare upon a matter of faith or morals, even though they do not intend to proclaim that doctrine by definitive act. Christ’s faithful are therefore to ensure that they avoid whatever does not accord with that doctrine. (emphasis added)

Coccopalmerio was recently in the news after it was discovered that his secretary at the Pontifical Council, Msgr. Luigi Capozzi, was at the center of drug-fueled gay orgies at the Vatican apartments. Before being busted in a drug raid by Italian police over the summer, Capozzi's name had been put forward by Coccopalmerio to Pope Francis to be considered being made a bishop.


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