A Handbook for Faithfully Interpreting Amoris Laetitia

Editor’s Note: This interview not only provides badly needed clarification regarding the confusion over different interpretations of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia,” it also includes important insights on the development of Catholic teaching, which guided by the Holy Spirit, is always faithful to scripture and to the Gospels in particular. 

Stephan Kampowski, who co-authored the handbook, explains how the authors hope their work will provide a definitive interpretation in continuity with the Church’s magisterium

By Edward Pentin

VATICAN CITY (National Catholic Register) — Since Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) was published last April, bishops around the world have interpreted the document differently.

This is especially true of its most contentious passages in Chapter 8, dealing with whether to admit some remarried divorcees, living in an objective state of adultery, to the sacraments.

Some bishops’ conferences, such as in Malta and Germany, have interpreted it as loosely allowing such Catholics to the sacraments without a clear amendment of life, while other ordinaries, such as the Canadian bishops of Alberta, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and Bishop Steven Lopes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in the United States, have interpreted it strictly in continuity with the magisterium of past popes, most notably Pope St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

To help provide a definitive interpretation in continuity with the Church’s teaching and Tradition, three professors of the Pope St. John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Rome — Father Jose Granados, Stephan Kampowski and Father Juan Jose Perez-Soba — have written a handbook for bishops, priests and laity.

The handbook, called a “vademecum,” is entitled Accompanying, Discerning, Integrating: A Handbook for the Pastoral Care of the Family According to Amoris Laetitia.

In this April 12 email interview with the Register, Kampowski explains how the authors hope their work will provide a definitive interpretation of Chapter 8 in continuity with the Church’s magisterium and Tradition.

He also discusses the depth of concern about the different readings, how allowing some divorced and remarried to receive Communion without commitment to an amendment of life introduces “a chasm between life and liturgy,” and how their handbook could unintentionally offer a solution to the dubia — questions four cardinals have addressed to the Pope aimed at ending the confusion over differing interpretations of the contentious chapter.

Read the complete interview.