Pope Francis claims Amoris Laetitia ‘follows’ Aquinas, is ‘without rupture’
August 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Amoris Laetitia is “without ruptures” in Catholic doctrine and “follows the classical doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas” in its approach to ethics, according to Pope Francis.
The pontiff wrote this in a letter to a Catholic author who has said the cardinals who submitted a dubia to the pope – formal questions about whether the controversial exhortation is aligned with Catholic morality – have been citing “abuse” that is “nothing short of satanic.”
That writer, Stephen Walford, and his family were subsequently granted a 45-minute private papal audience. The pope’s letter to Walford is the forward to his new book, Pope Francis, The Family and Divorce: In Defense of Truth and Mercy, and was published today at Crux.
“The post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia is the fruit of a long ecclesial journey which involved two Synods and a subsequent consultation with the local Churches through the bishops’ conferences,” wrote Pope Francis. “The entire Church prayed, reflected and, with simplicity, offered various contributions. Both Synods presented their conclusions.”
“The Exhortation Amoris Laetitia is a unified whole which means that, in order to understand its message, it must be read in its entirety and from the beginning,” he wrote of his signature document that some bishops have used to allow those in adulterous unions to receive Holy Communion. “This is because there is a development both of theological reflection and of the way in which problems are approached.”
“Over the course of the Exhortation, current and concrete problems are dealt with: the family in today’s world, the education of children, marriage preparation, families in difficulty, and so on,” Pope Francis continued. These problems “are treated with a hermeneutic that comes from the whole document which is the magisterial hermeneutic of the Church, always in continuity (without ruptures), yet always maturing.”
The perennial teaching of the Catholic Church is that Catholics who are divorced and remarried without an annulment are not to receive Holy Communion. But since the publication of Amoris Laetitia, a number of bishops have rolled out guidelines for implementing the document that contradict that Catholic doctrine. Pope Francis has praised Lisbon’s Cardinal Manuel Clemente for saying Amoris allows Communion for the divorced and remarried and endorsed similarly heterodox guidelines from the bishops of Buenos Aires.
German bishops are now allowing Protestants to receive Holy Communion in some instances, and the vice president of the German bishops’ conference has called for a discussion of the possibility of the Church “blessing” homosexual unions.
“With respect to the problems that involve ethical situations, the Exhortation follows the classical doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas,” the pontiff claimed.
In 2016, 45 theologians sent a letter to all Catholic patriarchs and cardinals asking them to petition Pope Francis to fix a list of erroneous propositions in Amoris Laetitia. Using Sacred Scripture and a number of authoritative Church teachings, particularly from the Council of Trent, the document condemned, among other errors, suggestions from Amoris Laetitia that no one is condemned to hell, one’s conscience can “truly judge” that sexual sins explicitly condemned by the Gospel “can sometimes be morally right or requested or commanded by God,” and that following the teachings of the Gospel may be impossible for some people.
In 2017, 62 scholars also issued a “Filial Correction” to the pope for “propagating heresy” through Amoris Laetitia and other public statements, actions, and inactions.
Pope Francis has still not answered the four cardinals’ – two of whom have died – dubia 701 days after receiving it.