"Amoris Laetitia" and practical consequences - The pastor of Biella(Rome) The Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis, with its conclusions from the two Synods of Bishops in 2014 and 2015 about marriage and the family, has plunged the Catholic Church into a big mess and is showing the initial practical impact.
The papal document has led to a major disagreement in the interpretation. The Pope's closest confidants celebrate the letter as "most important document of the last 1000 years" (Cardinal Walter Kasper). After an initial disappointment, the progressive church circles have awakened to the "revolutionary" implications (Alberto Melloni, School of Bologna). The "conservative" [Catholics] try desperately to explain Amoris Laetitia in relation to the official Magisterium of the Pope and interpret it as a "personal" and therefore non-binding statement by Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Cardinal Raymond Burke). Traditional Catholics who do not ignore the debate at stake, speak of a "catastrophic document" (Roberto de Mattei). A perfect mess to the external observer.
Rarely has the Catholic Church shown herself so fractious and disunited on how to understand and implement a papal document. The confusion concerns the whole Church. It ranges from the very top to the very bottom. How to proceed regarding the divorced and remarried? And also with others people who live in an irregular relationship?
The priest Don Luca Mele wrote the Pope on Twitter: "Be a little more clear: Can I absolve them or not? Do I have to give them the Communion or not? Thank you!"
The Case of the Piedmontese town of BiellaThe pastor of the town of Biella (45,000 inhabitants) in Piedmont, the land from which the ancestors of Pope Francis hail, yesterday in the local newspaper read that he should know that he is "to admit remarried divorcees to communion". The explosiveness therein lies in the subtitle of the newspaper report: "Following the publication of Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis". In other words, the pastor of the town had previously disagreed.
The German-speaking bishops let it be known in advance: If Rome would not guarantee communion to public adulterers, they would act alone. From the "leeway" (ZDF) left by the papal document, a "single-handed" approach is not needed. The "revolution" lies in that there is no longer a general rule. The categorical no of the Catholic Church to communion for public adulterer is replaced by a myriad "case by case" solution. This method applied by Amoris Laetitia to the so-called "divorced and remarried", taken a step further, could be equally applied to homosexuals and other groups of people and situations. [Cf. Der Wiener Praxis (disobedience) of Cardinal Schönborn and Pope Francis' attack upon the Papal Authority].
The "faithful to Rome" part of the Church which was formed under Pope John Paul II in response to the post-conciliar upheaval, is left mesmerized. Since 2013, some have contented themselves by adopting more progressive stances in the name of "loyalty to Rome". The rest stares at the pope like a rabbit at a snake. He ought to confirm the brothers in the faith and pasture the flock and protect it from the wolves. The eventuality that he himself could lead the Church astray, was excluded as a possible category of thought.
Now, in the opinion of the attentive observer, this part of the Church acts as if paralyzed and some things might begin to dawn on it that it might begin to question the very notion of the legitimacy of the future of the Papal office.
The Catholic Church seems thus to face complex new upheavals as late effects of the as yet undigested Vatican II and the unforeseen forces it has unleashed.