In the 14 months since the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia was published, countless pixels have been spilled discussing it, dissecting it, breaking it down, and lamenting its clearly heterodox intent.
We’ve seen its ambiguous provisions allowing Holy Communion for the divorced and “remarried” implemented in more concrete fashion in the Philippines, in Argentina, in Malta, in Belgium, in German, and even in Rome. It was in fact the Argeninian bishops of the Buenos Aires region who brought to light the pope’s personal interpretation of his exhortation, when he confirmed their allowance for sacraments for the “remarried” with a letter stating, “The document is very good and completely explains the meaning of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. There are no other interpretations.”
It appears that one bishop in Argentina — elevated to the episcopacy in 2013 by Pope Francis himself — has decided to go all in on this interpretation, of which the pope insists there is no other:
This past Sunday at the Parish Church of San Roque, Reconquista, Santa Fe (Argentina), the local bishop, Msgr. Macín, appointed by Pope Francis in 2013, carried out a monumental and sacrilegious scandal that clearly shows what’s behind Amoris laetitia.
In this church he organized a solemn Mass, in which he publicly announced that according to the norms sent in a letter more than 6 months ago by Pope Francis, and within the framework of the integration of Christians who are “marginalized” because of their irregular situation of being divorced and remarried or in an irregular situation (the divorced in a new union), after having completed a period of 6 months of meetings on Saturdays called the “path of discernment”, it was determined in accordance with what was previously stated (by order of the Pope) TO INCLUDE THEM IN FULL AND SACRAMENTAL COMMUNION, which would happen in the ceremony. At no point was mention made that those people had taken some vow of chastity or of living “as brothers [and sisters].”
In the same way, communion was given to all those mentioned (some 30 couples) accompanied by their relatives who took photos in a festive atmosphere. At no point was reference ever made to the Scriptures which condemn adultery, and again and again the excerpts of Amoris laetitia are mentioned where it is said that the divorced and remarried ought to be included in full communion.
We have reached the last train station on the line, ladies and gentlemen. This is the full implementation of Amoris Laetitia, and it didn’t take long to get here.
If the pope wants to make a course correction, to pull back and say this isn’t what he really intended, now is the time, and this is the case. If he does nothing about it — which we can all reasonably conclude that he won’t — this puts an end to the debate, forever, over whether or not this is exactly what he wanted Amoris Laetitia to do.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.