“All members of the Church… have the duty to ask for an authentic interpretation.”

At the Italian site Corrispondenza romana we find a longish reaction to Amoris laetitia from His Excellency Most Reverend Athanasius Schneider.

The text is in Italian, but eventually it will be translated in full (but not by me and not today).  Here is a taste:

The need for a “veritatis laetitia”

Fortunately and without question Amoris laetitia contains theological insights and affirmations of great pastoral value.   Nevertheless, realistically, it is insufficient to affirm that LA would be interpreted according to the doctrine and traditional practice of the Church.  When in an ecclesiastical document, which in our case is lacking a definitive and infallible character, there are discovered elements of interpretation and application that could have dangerous spiritual consequences, all the members of the Church, and in the first place bishops who are the fraternal collaborators of the Sovereign Pontiff in effective collegiality, have the duty to indicate this fact respectfully and to ask for an authentic interpretation.

When ambiguous elements of the Exhortation seem, in an honest reading, to contradict Catholic doctrine and practice, and when there is a realistic danger that some priests and people will willingly interpret the ambiguities in a way that manifestly contradicts Catholic doctrine, and then they cause scandal and spread errors, we have a right and duty to seek clarifications, solid teaching, authentic interpretations of the law, which defends and upholds doctrine.

It seems to me that it is not enough simply to read again what Card. Schönborn said during the presser that presented the Letter.  Nor is it sufficient to review what Pope Francis said in an airplane presser about reviewing what Card. Schönborn said.  I, for one, would like open statements that are clear, informed by charity, and easy to understand.

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  1. Nancy D. says:

    “It seems to me that it is not enough simply to read again what Card. Schönborn said during the presser that presented the Letter. Nor is it sufficient to review what Pope Francis said in an airplane presser about reviewing what Card. Schönborn said. I, for one, would like open statements that are clear, informed by charity, and easy to understand.”

    Confusion is not of The Holy Spirit.

  2. thomas tucker says:

    I would also like some clarity. At the present, it seems as if the doctrine of the Church as expressed in AL is that marriage is indissoluble, except when it isn’t. And I know that can’t be right.

  3. RAve says:

    I notice that even the most orthodox, well-formed, well-informed among my friends have trouble processing the fact that the actions of our beloved Holy Father, Pope Francis, as our chief shepherd are very confusing to many people (both those whom he shepherds and those outsiders who are observing him), and that he is worthy of our loving queries and expressions of concern over his very confusing papal actions.

    If we respect Pope Francis and love him enough to take him seriously as our chief shepherd, does not the same spirit of “meeting people where they are at” he generously espouses apply to the way he (and those who are embracing his teaching and exhortations) deal with us when we are scratching our heads wondering how we can reconcile the new things we are now trying to receive with what has been previously received over the millennia (and passed on to us as a gift)? Can someone please meet those of us who are confused where we are at? Can someone please meet those of us who are trying to evangelize others with the Truth (and who find some of what comes from Pope Francis a practical impediment) where we are at?

    Loving the Pope as a shepherd who has a great weight on his shoulders and the gift of the Holy Spirit protecting his magisterial acts is actually an easy thing to do. But loving him and approaching everything he does with great respect and openness is not where it ends. To take him or anyone else seriously is to ask questions about the important things they share with me in order to understand them. Can I have solidarity with ideas that make no sense to me? If they make no sense to me, then should not the Holy Father and those who love him come to meet me where I am at? Is there some other step required in order to be met where I am at?

  4. Thomistica says:

    Time is running out for a definitive reply to AL by far more members of the hierarchy, in addition to Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider. Cardinal Sarah reportedly will not comment on AL. Disappointing, but perhaps he has quite legitimate prudential reason

    Perhaps some people in the hierarchy who would otherwise be quite vocal want to stay in the game and so are quiet so that they can be effective later on. That strategy will likely not work, imho. Already tremendous confusion reigns. The lack of an immediate response after AL was issued helps contribute to this problem.

  5. Papabile says:

    I would hesitate to ask PCILT for anything at this moment. I would caution that we be wise on whom is asked for answers.

  6. Benedict Joseph says:

    The last paragraph, as already cited, is surely a reasonable and respectful request. How many will need to make it, and how often? No matter the frequency, no matter the number, it will not be acknowledged beyond what has already been offered. And if something further should be presented, it will be terribly disappointing because it will be no less ambiguous, or worse, entirely unambiguous.
    In reality, it is unambiguous right now. It says what it says and that is a problem. Those who produced it don’t see that as a difficulty – that is the real problem at the moment, for the foreseeable future, and maybe long beyond if accountability is not brought firmly – and unambiguously – to the task. Fear of scandal, beyond what is already hot on the table is no longer an excuse for cowardliness under the guise of obedience, discretion and charity.

  7. Nat says:

    I am so very glad to read this. I am tired of hearing that my little layman’s voice is irrelevant and I should just go read my catechism and never mind error floating around. Error is a “pastoral” concern. It shouldn’t get us upset, no big deal. It is not part of your vocation to worry about stuff like that…

    It should matter to every Catholic. Period. Now I have someone to quote with some clout. Thank-you Bishop Schneider!!!

  8. pseudomodo says:

    Perhaps all members of the Church should submit to the Holy See about 10,000 carefully worded DUBIUM especially crafted to elicit a precise response. ie; “DUBIUM: is it the intention of the Holy See to ____ and _____ etc etc?”

    Maybe 100,000.

  9. Bender says:

    Re: an authentic interpretation

    I’m sorry, but I think this falls under the category of “be careful what you wish for.”

    If the document truly is in line with Church teaching, then it is superfluous, and there is no need to read it, particularly since others have said the same things so much better and more understandably. If it is not in line with Church teaching, then we really do not need that to be authentically confirmed, and not only is there no need to read it, it should not be read. In any event, to ask a common everyday person to read it is to invite confusion into their lives, from which no good can come, so again, it is something best avoided.

  10. JARay says:

    I received the whole thing in Italian and using Google I got it translated. It is not a perfect translation but it is understandable. I can recognise what you have printed above and it closely resembles my translation.
    Indeed how are we going to get a clear, precise, statement out of the Vatican?! I don’t hold out much hope.

  11. The “official English text” authorized by Bp. Schneider is posted here:


  12. cl00bie says:

    I’m beginning to think that the ambiguity of this document is not a bug, but a feature. It allows people to interpret it any way they want without consequence because it invokes “invincible ignorance”. You are not living in sin if you are not taught you are living in sin and if you interpret the Holy Father’s exhortation wrong, it’s not really your fault. That is how you understood the document using the primacy of your conscience.

  13. geri says:

    Clarity is charity.

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