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Theologians continue battle over meaning of Amoris Laetitia 303

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

October 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- Theologians continue to battle over the meaning of an important passage found in Pope Francis 2016 teaching on marriage and family titled Amoris Laetitia (Joy of Love). 

Dr. Robert Fastiggi and Dr. Dawn Eden-Goldstein argue that critics of Pope Francis’ teaching in Amoris Laetitia (AL) “misread and distort what Pope Francis actually says.” The Catholic academics have used their translation from Latin to cast doubt on the recent Filial Correction that accused Pope Francis of propagating heresy.  

Fastiggi is a Professor of Systematic Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan and Eden-Goldstein is a Professor of Dogmatic Theology at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. 

At issue is paragraph 303 in AL where Pope Francis speaks about “irregular couples” living in a situation that does not “correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel.”

Dr. Christian Brugger, Senior Fellow of Ethics at the Culture of Life Foundation in Washington D.C.,  has argued, after a detailed examination of the Latin text, that Fastiggi and Eden-Goldstein’s proposed translation that would render AL 303 in a more orthodox light “is not justified by the text.”

Fastiggi and Eden-Goldstein's main argument and Brugger 's response can be read on LifeSiteNews here: Yes, Amoris Laetitia 303 really undermines Catholic moral teaching: scholar

What follows below is a response to Brugger's argument from Fastiggi and Eden-Goldstein, followed by another response from Brugger. 

Fastiggi and Eden-Goldstein's response to Brugger:  

I’m glad Prof. Brugger finds our translation “superior.” The flaw in his analysis is his claim that the “quod” is “clearly referring back to ‘statum quendam.’” This does not seem to follow from the Latin. The “quod” refers to the “liberale responsum” (generous response) and not to the “statum quendam” (given situation). This is made clear from the copulative verb, sit, which links quod to responsum. Furthermore, a “response” involves an act of the will, but a “given situation” is a condition and not a personal act.

I believe Professors Brugger and Seifert are reading into the text what they think Pope Francis is saying, but their reading does not seem to follow from the text. 

Brugger's response to Fastiggi and Eden-Goldstein:

The meaning of the paragraph does not change by adding "oblatio" to the translation and changing the word "ideal" to "model.”  The subject of the paragraph --"this conscience"-- stays consistent throughout: "this conscience" recognises that it is living contrary to “the universal command of the Gospel”; and "this same firm conscience" recognises that this is the "offering" God is asking it (conscience) to make.

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