Argentinian bishops release interpretation of Amoris Laetitia—claiming remarried couples may receive communion

Pope Francis released the Amoris Laetitia, a post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, in April 2016. © Getty Images

Pope Francis released the Amoris Laetitia, a post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, in April 2016. © Getty Images

Many have seen Amoris Laetitia as an attempt by Pope Francis to give more leeway to local churches to set their own guidelines. The Argentinian bishops have taken advantage of that—releasing their own interpretation of the “Accompanying, Discerning and Integrating Weakness” chapter of the exhortation. According to Catholic News Service, this interpretation states that remarried couples could have the opportunity to receive communion, if they are living in continence. However, the Guardian reported that the bishops also said that “if civilly remarried couples could not abstain from sex, as the church dictates they should, and if they were unable to receive an annulment of their previous marriages, then it would be possible to take a ‘journey of discern­ment’” that could allow them the opportunity to be offered the sacraments.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput had somewhat different plans for imple­menting Amoris Laetitia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to the Guardian, Chaput set guidelines that allow divorced and remar­ried couples to accept communion, as long as they abstain from sexual rela­tions. He also called on Catholics attracted to same-sex partners to “frequently seek penance” according to the Guardian. These guidelines took effect in July.

In a letter to the Argen­tinian bishops, Pope Francis offered praise for the inter­pretation of the apostolic exhortation released in April, stating, “[T]he docu­ment is very good and completely explains the meaning of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. There are no other interpretations. And I am certain that it will do much good. May the Lord reward this effort of pastoral charity.”

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