Catholic Family News
A Monthly Journal Preserving our Catholic Faith and Heritage



From Voice of the Family

The following presentation was delivered by Matthew McCusker, Deputy International Director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, at the Rome Life Forum on 6 May 2016.

Key doctrinal errors and ambiguities of
Amoris Laetitia in the light of Catholic teaching on the family


The publication of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia on 8
th April 2016 marked the end of the synodal process that was launched back in October 2013, when Pope Francis announced that two synods would be held to discuss the pastoral challenges facing the family and the role of family in the modern world. This synodal process was increasingly marked by controversy as it become clear that a powerful group of cardinals and bishops were attempting to use the synods to force changes in Catholic teaching across a wide number of areas related to human life, marriage and the family.

It was because of these increasing concerns that the Voice of the Family coalition was founded in August 2014. A team from Voice of the Family was present here in Rome at both the Extraordinary Synod in October 2014 and the Ordinary Synod in October 2015. Both of these assemblies witnessed serous divisions between synod fathers who wished to uphold Catholic teaching on marriage and the family and those wished to undermine or alter it.

Voice of the Family’s primary intention at both synods was to provide assistance to those synod fathers who were striving to defend and promote the Church’s teaching. We also sought to  accurately report what was taking place at the synods in order to assist the wider Catholic public make sense of events. It has been to this end that we have produced in-depth analyses of the most important of the synodal documents; our analysis of the Final Report of the Ordinary Synod is in your conference packs.

The Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia is the concluding document of the synodal process. In the weeks since its publication it has been the subject of much commentary and analysis, with many commentators finding much that causes concern. In this short presentation I wish to give a brief overview of some of the document’s most serious problems, with particular regard to Voice of the Family’s three core principles.

These core principles, which we adopted at the beginning of our work, are as follows:

  • • First, that marriage, the exclusive, life-long union of one man and one woman, is the foundation of a stable and flourishing society and the greatest protector of children, born and unborn
  • • Secondly, that the separation of the procreative and unitive ends of the sexual act, which is intrinsic to the use of contraception, has acted as a major catalyst of the “culture of death”
  • • Thirdly, that parents are the primary educators of their children and that the protection of this right is essential for the transmission of the Catholic faith and for the building a new “culture of life”

Marriage and Amoris Laetitia

I will begin therefore by considering Amoris Laetitia in the light of Voice of the Family’s first principle, the defence of marriage. We, like many others, first became concerned about the synodal process as a result of the address given by Walter Cardinal Kasper to the consistory of Cardinals held on the 20
th February 2014.

In this address Cardinal Kasper proposed the admission of divorced Catholics, living in invalid second unions, to the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion without true repentance and amendment of life.

This address, which was explicitly praised by Pope Francis, was the opening salvo in a concerted campaign to use the synodal process to bring about a clear change in the Church’s teaching on this issue.

Indeed, upon the publication of Amoris Laetitia the first question that everyone seemed to ask was: “Has the Apostolic Exhortation changed Catholic teaching in this area?”

The first remark we must make then is that it is of course impossible for there to be any change in Catholic teaching on this issue. No authority on earth can annul the words of Our Lord Himself, or the constant tradition of the Church, which teaches that marriage is an indissoluble union, which is brought to an end only by the death of one of the spouses. Nor can any authority on earth negate the words of St Paul on the Eucharist, upheld by the constant Tradition of the Church, that “he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself” (1 Cor 11:29). It is on these unmovable foundations that the Church proclaims her immutable doctrine, enshrined in Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law, that those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

The question that we should be asking is not “Does Amoris Laetitia change Catholic teaching?” which it cannot do, but “Does Amoris Laetitia contain statements which contradict or undermine the Church’s unchangeable teachings?”

The answer that we must give to that question is a definitive “yes”. There are statements in Amoris Laetitia which directly contradict the authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church, and there are further statements that undermine it without directly contradicting it.

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See also:
Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia cannot be interpreted in a traditional sense - de Mattei / Fr. Claude Barthe
Situation Ethics Enshrined: Francis’ Amoris Laetitia
Francis' Zombie Apocalypse
Video: CFN Media 14 - Francis' Rich Church and "Exhortation" Fraud
Amoris Laetitia and The Great Façade
De Mattei: If the text is catastrophic, even more catastrophic is the fact that it was signed by the Vicar of Christ...
Socci: The Apostolic Exhortation is a turning-point in Catholic Doctrine
Francis Post-Synodal Exhortation released

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Daily Blog - 2016 Catholic News