Vatican Roundup

Prelates enter war of words over Amoris Laetitia guidelines

A war of words between the head of the Vatican’s congregation for the family and America’s Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has erupted over the Amoris Laetitia encyclical.

Following the archbishop’s issuing of guidelines in July for his archdiocese re-emphasising Church teaching that divorced-and-remarried Catholics cannot receive communion unless their forego sexual activity, Cardinal Kevin Farrell of the dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life – who received his red beretta on November 19 – said he disagreed with Archbishop Chaput’s move.

“I don’t share the view of what Archbishop Chaput did,” the cardinal said. “I think there are all kinds of different circumstances and situations that we have to look at – each case as it is presented to us.” He added his belief that bishops should not issue any guidelines until after a “gathering of the conference of bishops…to discuss these things”.

In response, Archbishop Chaput – who is the chairman of the US bishops’ committee for the implementation of Amoris Laetita – rejected Cardinal Farrell’s criticism and told Catholic News Service he had issued his guidelines “because both the final Synod document and Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia encouraged local bishops to do so”.

He added: “Why would a bishop delay interpreting and applying Amoris Laetitia for the benefit of his people? On a matter as vital as sacramental marriage, hesitation and ambiguity are neither wise nor charitable.”


New papal documentary

A new documentary on Pope Francis has had its premiere at the Vatican. Pope Francis in His own Words has come about through a collaboration between the Rome Reports news agency and the Mideast Theological Forum of Chicago. It serves as a personal testimony from the Pontiff on his family, his vocation to the priesthood and his vision for the Church. Significantly, the Pope relates the influence of his grandmother on his faith and how he ultimately discerned his vocation.


Pope responds to critics of Amoris Laetitia

Pope Francis has defended himself against those who have criticised him over his Amoris Laetitia encyclical. In a broad-ranging interview with the Italian newspaper Avvenire, the Pontiff lamented that those challenging his message in the encyclical are suffering “a certain legalism, which can be ideological”. 

Pope Francis did not name those critics, but his interview came just days after four cardinals revealed they had submitted a number of questions to the Pope on his understanding of Church teaching on the family in the wake of Amoris Laetitia. 

The four are Carlo Caffarra, former Archbishop of Bologna; Raymond Burke, patron of the Order of Malta, Walter Brandmüller; former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences; and Joachim Meisner, former Archbishop of Cologne.

According to Cardinal Raymond Burke, who gave his own interview on the issue, the prelates felt compelled to submit their questions due to “division” caused by the apparent move by Pope Francis to allow for case-by-case access to communion on the part of divorced-and-remarried Catholics.

For his part, Pope Francis said in his Avvenire interview that “some – think about the responses to Amoris Laetitia – continue to not understand. They think it’s ‘black and white’, even if in the flux of life you must discern.”