10. Sep, 2017

What is your interpretation of Amoris Laetitia?

Discernment of Our Will Versus Discernment of God's Will 

On this 23rd Sunday we have an amazing reading from Ezekiel.

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.” Ezekiel 33:7

The Gospel affirms that if a person does wrong, a disciple of Jesus must have it out with them alone to win them back for God. Matthew 18:15

As a priest I have a special obligation to care for my parishioners. Sharing in my Bishop’s office of teaching I have a duty to make clear what the Word of God is asking of us so we may grow in fidelity to Jesus, to grow in virtue, and deepen our participation in the life of God.

I have been asked for my interpretation of Amoris Laetitia. My initial response (April, 2016) was positive http://www.johnthebaptistmoora.com/346443107/3691390/posting/amoris-l%C3%A6titia but I have subsequently changed my mind. Having blogged extensively on this document, I will respond briefly (as I am on annual leave) as this exhortation has proved to be detrimental to parishioners. As watchman, I submit the following interpretation in good faith.

Amoris Laetitia

The first issue is that it is claimed that no one is condemned forever. Other critics of Amoris Laetitia have highlighted the incompatibility of this claim with Tradition and the Gospels.

My hobbyhorse is chapter eight. To claim that “it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace” (Amoris Laetitia, 305). The Catechism teaches us that “the object of the choice can by itself vitiate an act in its entirety. There are some concrete acts that are always wrong to choose, because choosing them entails a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil” (1761).

This means circumstances/intentions can never transform an intrinsically evil act into a subjectively good one. When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end, then the sin is mortal by its very object (Catechism, 1856).

Some may argue that “unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense, but no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law” (Catechism, 1860). Some are confused, arguing that a person in his subjective state may be unable to understand the moral law, so not having full knowledge of his objectively evil act, that person remains in a state a state of grace while committing objective evil. This, they refer to, as the law of gradualness.

The law of gradualness in fact refers to gradual growth in faith, as is affirmed by the traditional teaching on faith involving the purgative, illuminative and the unitive way of faith (a way of ever deeper conversion to Christ and adherence to the will of God). This growth precludes sin. Refer to the prophet Ezekiel above. Clearly committing objective evil is considered as wickedness in the eyes of the Lord. Vice precludes virtue!

The Big Problem

To live a lifestyle of objective sin is abhorrent to God. Amoris Laetitia seeks to justify a lifestyle incompatible with the Gospels (i.e., that is objectively evil) whilst suggesting that lifestyle is somehow subjectively righteous, and persons living that way are in a state of grace (note the second reading—Romans 13: 8-10—cites adultery as against the Commandments). Instead of choosing a path of repentance (the purgative stage of faith), individuals are seemingly allowed to subjectively decide what is good and what is evil. Naturally, in arbitrating between good and evil individuals confirm their own biases and tend to justify their own immoral actions. Hence, Amoris Laetitia indirectly proposes an underlying theology of infidelity to God’s will.

God, on the other hand, calls us to fidelity. We are called to discern the will of God and act on that. Adultery is against God’s will. Don’t be seduced by the false doctrine of Amoris Laetitia.

Watch the video (in English) by Bishop Schneider on the first discernment (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSnAP5BUQ9Q&feature=youtu.be), then reflect on

Genesis 2:17 “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Romans 14:23 “But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.”


So, what is my interpretation of Amoris Laetitia? It is a result of our churchmen wanting to solve modern problems, but it comes at a cost.

Amoris Laetitia calls not for discernment of God’s will, but for the weighing up of good and evil which is prohibited by God (and hence is against the natural law). Amoris Laetitia seemingly asserts that a person can redefine what is good. However, a person living in an objective state of sin cannot be in a state of grace as suggested by paragraph 305. One is culpable regardless of mitigating factors.