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Document Details :
Title: New Wine in New Wineskins
Subtitle: Amoris Laetitia and the Church's Teaching on Marriage and Family
Author(s): KNIEPS-PORT LE ROI, Thomas , BURGGRAEVE, Roger
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 39 Issue: 3 Date: 2015-2016
The authors analyze Pope Francis’ most recent Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia which brings the reflections and discussions of the two bishops’ synods on the family in 2014 and 2015 to a provisional end. They first show that Francis adopts a new tone which overcomes the cultural pessimism that guided previous church teaching on marriage and family. They then argue that by elaborating on the concept of friendship love the exhortation develops for the first time an unambiguous personalist theology of marriage in which natural and institutional claims are consequently seen in function of the mutual loving commitment of the spouses. This renewed theology of marriage inspires also the ethical and pastoral solutions offered for so-called 'irregular situations'. Although the recognition of constructive elements in forms of living together that do not correspond to the church’s ideal of lifelong heterosexual marriage remains somewhat deficient, this weakness is largely compensated by a strong revaluation of personal conscience and discernment. The authors also point to a few erratic blocks that run counter to the exhortation’s overall approach and caution against a restorative reading of its contents.