Thanks to Father Carville for reviewing “Amoris Laetitia” and subjective matter that doesn’t determine practice, but makes interesting reading. Father considers “Amoris Laetitia” in itself. I’ll place it within the church.

“Amoris Laetitia” is properly interpreted from the church’s heart by faithfulness to pre-existing teaching: Scripture, catechism, canon law and infallible magisterial pronouncements within previous documents (e.g., Familiaris Consortio 84, Veritatis Splendor 52). These treat irregular situations like second marriages without annulment in such depth that no question of objective morality remains unanswered. No result regularizing these situations is left undefined. Thus, the only possible end results are annulled first marriage, terminated second marriage, second marriage lived as brother and sister or no change. Valid paths to eucharistic Communion combine reconciliation (confession) with any of the first three, but not living as brother and sister.

Conscience avoids minimizing adultery by erroneous judgement. Objective morality unerringly escorts conscience to right action. Thus, regularization results from remediation allowed by objective morality. This is “good conscience” (Catechism 1776-1802).

Certainty comes from Jesus whose teaching was never “reductive” (“Amoris Laetitia” 304). Jesus allows one exception for divorce. But adultery is always grave because Jesus prohibited it under all circumstances (Catechism 2072; Mt 5:32, 19:17-18 – all noticeably absent from “Amoris Laetitia”). God-given sacredness of marriage determines gravity rather than circumstances, precluding any change in regularization requirements. Adultery must be removed, not simply reclassified by conscience. Anything else would be “easy recipes” rejected by “Amoris Laetitia.”

“Amoris Laetitia’s” mercy is pastoral, rather than change in paths to the Eucharist. The church accompanies adulterous couples on their journey, not abandoning them even should they choose to live as brother and sister. Thus, relationship with the church doesn’t end in condemnation. In fact, it doesn’t end. It continues in merciful accompaniment, such that these couples also experience “joy of love” despite self-induced separation from the Eucharist by ongoing adultery.

Claude Culross

Baton Rouge