Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Vatican Newspaper: Amoris Laetitia Is Authoritative Church Teaching

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Vatican Newspaper: Amoris Laetitia Is Authoritative Church Teaching

Article excerpt

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on the family is an example of the "ordinary magisterium"--papal teaching--to which Catholics are obliged to give "religious submission of will and intellect," said a recent article in the Vatican newspaper.

Fr. Salvador Pie-Ninot, a well-known professor of ecclesiology said that while Francis did not invoke his teaching authority in a "definitive way" in the document, it meets all the criteria for being an example of the "ordinary magisterium" to which all members of the church should respond with "the basic attitude of sincere acceptance and practical implementation." The Spanish priest's article in L'Osservatore Romano Aug. 23 came in response to questions raised about the formal weight of the pope's document, Amoris Laetitia ('The Joy of Love"). For instance, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke has said on several occasions that the document is "a mixture of opinion and doctrine." (See story on Page 22.)

Pie-Ninot said he examined the document in light of the 1990 instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the vocation of the theologian.

The instruction--issued by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now-retired Pope Benedict XVI--explained three levels of church teaching with the corresponding levels of assent they require. The levels are:

* "Infallible pronouncements," which require an assent of faith as being divinely revealed.

* Teaching proposed "in a definitive way," which is "strictly and intimately connected with revelation" and "must be firmly accepted and held. …

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