Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Fr. Linus Clovis on Amoris Laetitia

This week's letter is written by Father Linus Clovis, Family Life International's Spiritual Director, and is a reflection on Pope Francis' Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.
Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on the Family, Amoris Laetitia (AL) has been received with very mixed reactions ranging from positive jubilation to that of respectful reservation. It is a 60,000 word document that will require time, study and prayerful reflection in order to unravel all of its implications.
While the nuances, implications and applications of AL are being unravelled, it seems to me that we ought to remain calm and take the sagacious advice of St Paul of simply following the well established Catholic rule of holding fast to what we have received and always believed. In practical terms and, indeed, in line with Pope Benedict XVI’s hermeneutic of continuity, this means that AL must be understood and interpreted in light of previous magisterial teachings...
The principal areas where AL has provoked simultaneous reactions of jubilance and reservation are sex education (§§280-285), contraception (§222) and the admission of some civilly remarried divorced Catholics to the sacraments without a commitment to continence when separation is not possible (Chapter 8).
Specifically, AL seems to suggest that the classroom is the main, if not only, place where sex education is to be imparted to children, which, of course, is quite contrary to the Church’s constant teaching that this is the primary responsibility of parents (Familiaris Consortio, The truth and meaning of human sexuality 1995, Gravissimum Educationis, etc). In regard to contraception, the fountain head of much of the contemporary family dysfunction and sexual deviancy, AL only indirectly alludes to it and that without actually mentioning it. Further, AL not only glosses over of the seriousness of sins against chastity but also gives a strong emphasis to the role of the individual conscience in sexual matters without any corresponding affirmation of the duty of forming one’s conscience in accordance with the Church’s magisterium. The most controversial issue, however, is the exceptions being made for some of those living in irregular sexual relationship to approach the sacraments without due amendment of life. Here it seems that AL has departed from the Church’s clear bimillennial teaching as found in Scripture and Tradition, as has been confirmed by numerous popes, including St John Paul II and as is articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Code of Canon Law.