(Vatican Radio) A newly published book dedicated to Chapter 8 of Pope Francis’s Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” was presented on Tuesday in the Vatican.
Written by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, the 30-page booklet, is published by LEV, the Vatican publishing house.
Presenting the book, Father Maurizio Gronchi, theologian, professor at Rome’s Pontifical Urbaniana University and consultant at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and veteran journalist Orazio La Rocca, expert in Vatican affairs.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:
La Rocca explained the publication aims to provide clear and simple guidelines for all readers who are interested in better understanding the Apostolic Exhortation’s chapter dedicated to the Church’s ministry of those who find themselves living outside the traditional boundaries of marriage.
“I had asked myself whether the doubts that had been raised regarding a possible violation of the Church’s doctrine could be founded; after reading this book it is clear that this is not so” he said.
La Rocca pointed out that Chapter 8 offers us a new perspective on how the Church views society that changes, and that it is imbued in the Pope’s call for mercy and his appeal to reach out to those who are most wounded, most excluded, most in need of God’s message of love and salvation.
He recalled some of the points of the original Papal document saying that Saint Pope John Paul II proposed the so-called “law of gradualness” in the knowledge that the human being “knows, loves and accomplishes moral good by different stages of growth”.
La Rocca highlighted the document’s admonition to men of the Church not to condemn anyone forever, but to consider a pastoral approach towards people who have contracted a civil marriage, who are divorced and remarried, or simply living together but who are seeking to have their situation transformed into the full reality of marriage and family in conformity with the Gospel.
And he quoted the Pope’s words “never to forget that the Church’s task is often like that of a field hospital”.
All this, he said, is part of Pope Francis’ reiterated call to enter into dialogue with the other and to enter into other people’s lives with the power of tenderness.
Coccopalmiero does this, La Rocca said, using a simple and direct language which is accessible to all, “so much so, he continued, I will personally give copies of it to two ‘good Catholic’ friends of mine who are suffering the consequences of “irregular” situations but would like to feel more included in the life of the Church.
Father Gronchi observed that the backbone of Cardinal Coccopalmiero’s book is provided by excerpts from the Apostolic Exhortation itself that have been selected, introduced and eventually elaborated upon by the author himself.
He pointed out that Coccopalmiero, who is a top Vatican canonist, has used a pastoral approach in the writing of this book, effectively breaking down any barriers that may exist between doctrine and pastoral ministry.