Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I write in Vatican Insider: "Does Amoris Laetitia 303 Really Undermine Catholic Moral Teaching?"

Today, La Stampa's Vatican Insider features an article I wrote with Sacred Heart Major Seminary Professor Robert Fastiggi: "Does Amoris Laetitia 303 Really Undermine Catholic Moral Teaching?"

The article begins:
Although most Catholic bishops, pastors, and teachers commenting publicly on Pope Francis’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia have welcomed it, a small but persistent chorus of critics accuse the Holy Father of obscuring and even undermining the foundations of Catholic moral doctrine. In this article, we show that one contested passage in the document, when read in its original Latin, has a significantly different meaning than it does in the official English translation. We argue further that many of the critics of Amoris laetitia are basing their criticism precisely upon what the Latin text does not say.
Read the rest at Vatican Insider.

Update, 9/29/17: E. Christian Brugger has issued a response to Fastiggi's and my article. Here is a reply to Brugger that Fastiggi posted in the comments section of Brugger's article (an expanded version of the statement I posted here earlier):
Dr. Dawn Eden Goldstein and I are grateful to Prof. Brugger for his reply and his tone of civility. We are glad that he finds our translation "superior." The flaw in his analysis is his claim that the "quod" is clearly referring back to "statum quendam." This does not seem to follow from the Latin. The "quod" refers to to the "liberale responsum" (generous response) and not to the "statum quendam" (given situation). This is made clear from the copulative verb, "sit," which links "quod" to "responsum." Furthermore, a "response" involves an act of the will, but a "given situation" is a condition and not a personal act. We believe Professors Brugger and Seifert are reading into the text what they think Pope Francis is saying, but their reading does not seem to follow from the text itself.

We should also note that even the English translation posted on the Vatican website (which preceded the Latin posting) can be read in a more benign way than Professors Brugger and Seifert claim. The Latin text, which is now in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, should be considered normative, and it makes more clear the Holy Father's meaning, a meaning which we explained in our article.