In his 1896 Encyclical, Satis Cognitum, Pope Leo XIII warned us of the dangers of accepting error in something otherwise good:
The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavour than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own. The Arians, the Montanists, the Novatians, the Quartodecimans, the Eutychians, did not certainly reject all Catholic doctrine: they abandoned only a tertian portion of it. Still who does not know that they were declared heretics and banished from the bosom of the Church? In like manner were condemned all authors of heretical tenets who followed them in subsequent ages. “There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition” (Auctor Tract. de Fide Orthodoxa contra Arianos).
If you catch yourself, as some are already doing, trying to keep the good and strain out the bad in Amoris Laetitia, it would be well to remember this warning (and the further instruction that follows it in the above-cited encyclical.)
Any promotion of Amoris Laetitia as a partial good runs the risk of also promoting its errors and even heresies. Where the exhortation is good, it reiterates what is known. Where it innovates, it offers more than a single drop of poison. Better instead to reiterate the pure doctrine of the Church on these topics, already taught so clearly in years past.
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.