Postcode Adultery


How is Amoris Laetitia to be interpreted and applied? And whose interpretation is to be authoritative?

These are no longer merely academic questions.

The Bishop of Rome, it seems, holds to one interpretation, and the Archbishop of Florence to the opposite. Which means that divorced Catholics in covenanted relationships in Rome are admitted to Holy Communion. In Florence, where the exegesis of Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, former president of the pontifical council for the family, holds sway, they are not.

Since Amoris Laetitia (para 300) calls for bishops to draw up diocesan guidelines for those in irregular relationships (and not only for their pastoral care), it would seem that Giuseppe Bertori is well within his rights. But the anomalies are startling – verging on the absurd.

If the Vicar of Christ can have one opinion about the meaning of a document (of which, after all, he is the accredited author), and a neighbouring Archbishop can take an opposite view, what was the point of the document in the first place? Surely it cannot be the purpose of a Magisterial declaration to sow dissension and discontent in a matter so close to the hearts of many and so clearly addressed in the Gospels?

What if the Rome/Buenos Aires axis proves to hold the minority opinion, and the Antonelli/Bertori view takes the world by storm? Who then is Pope?

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