In his homily this week, Fr. Steve addresses the confusion and division in the Church over the interpretation and application of (especially Chapter 8) of Amoris Laetitia, ("The Joy of Love"), Pope Francis's Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on Love in the Family. He begins by placing this controversy in the context of our long history, and exhorts us not to be afraid. Our hope is in Christ, who promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth.
There can be little doubt that there are serious challenges for the Church, caused in part by ambiguities in portions of Amoris Laetitia, which is, on the whole, a very valuable document. Unfortunately, some sections of Chapter 8 are ambiguous and admit of divergent interpretations and applications. Bishops and conferences of bishops have applied AL in ways that are contradictory. In part because of the risk of confusion, four Cardinals submitted what are called dubia, five yes-or-no questions, to the Holy Father. They wrote respectfully to Pope Francis, asking for clarification, but have not received a reply.
Fr. Steve contrasts two examples of guidelines, these from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and the set that came recently from the Maltese Bishops. Fr. Steve also references an article by Madeleine Teahan in his homily, which highlights well the potential negative effects of the Maltese Bishops' approach for all Catholics, especially women. Fr. Steve invites all Christians to pray that the Holy Father will clarify his Apostolic Exhortation in ways that are consistent with the age-old teaching of the Church.