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Pope’s letter to Argentine bishops is magisterial teaching, Cardinal Parolin says

December 04, 2017

The Vatican has published a letter from Pope Francis to Argentine bishops, confirming their interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, in Acta Apostolicae Sedis (Acts of the Apostolic See), the official collection of formal Vatican decisions and decrees.

The Pope’s letter appears in Acta Apostolicae Sedis together with the full text of the Argentine bishops’ letter. It is also accompanied by a note from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, who says that both the papal letter and the bishops’ guidelines should be recognized as acts of the “authentic magisterium.” Cardinal Parolin revealed that the Pontiff had ordered the publication of his letter in the offical Vatican gazette.

In his letter, which was originally addressed to the Argentine bishops but became public in September 2016, Pope Francis said that the Argentine guidelines for implementation of Amoris Laetitia—which allowed for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion in some cases— reflected an accurate understanding of his apostolic exhortation. “There are no other interpretations,” the Pope wrote.

When the Pope’s letter was made public, some analysts argued that it could not be understood as an official exercise of papal teaching, since it was a private message to a small number of bishops. By publishing the letter in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the Pope has responded to that argument. Questions remain, nevertheless, as to whether the papal message contains any authoritative statement of Church law or teaching.


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  • Posted by: feedback - Dec. 05, 2017 11:25 AM ET USA

    Dr. Peters offers an in-depth canon lawyer's reflection on this topic

  • Posted by: feedback - Dec. 05, 2017 11:05 AM ET USA

    Logic needs to become a required course in seminary training.

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Dec. 05, 2017 12:03 AM ET USA

    More smoke and mirrors from the deceptive Pope.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Dec. 04, 2017 6:03 PM ET USA

    In 2 Cor 12:9 Christ says: "My grace is sufficient for thee." It seems prudent at this point to consider the nature of the statement: "a person judges that he would fall into a subsequent fault by damaging the children of the new union." Does it mean sexual abuse of the children, recourse to a prostitute or concubine, physical or verbal assault on the children, mere bad example, assault against the putative spouse, misleading the children into mortal sin? This question now becomes monumental.