Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Priests study Amoris Laetitia in Rome

Image result for amoris laetitiaLast week, 300 parish priests from around the world took part in a Rome training session on Pope Francis's apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia and the new canon law matrimonial processes.

The Vatican's Roman Rota tribunal, which organised the session, is more accustomed to dealing with specialists in matrimonial cases than parish priests.

As the Dean of the Rota, Msgr Pio Vinto, noted, the latter are in the front line for implementing the reforms desired by Pope Francis. 

As a result, the priests came to Rome for training in the new processes for handling nullity of marriage cases and on the implementation of Amoris Laetitia.

"If the reform does not reach parish priests, then the Synod will have no effect," observed Mgr Vinto.

"Amoris Laetitia has not really changed doctrine," a priest from Latium in Italy noted. "The difference is that in the past doctrine was presented to us in a way that was further removed from reality.

"This time, we have a very practical document that raises many more questions regarding the kinds of matters that we deal with."

Since its publication, many faithful "have been trying to renew with sacramental practice but it is not always easy", added Fr Dominique Ntukamazina from Burundi.

"Some have experienced marriage failures and have divorced ... This new dynamic launched by the Holy Father enables us to answer their questions more easily but parish priests are not trained in this area and leave it to canonists," he added.

Cardinal Christophe Schönborn OP explained the spirit of the exhortation.

"Discernment begins with an attentive look at reality," he said. "It means understanding first, not judging. But this does not mean renouncing doctrine.

"We need to explain what marriage and the family is and not deprive people of this treasure. This is not an impossible ideal but it is necessary to take each family where it is," he said.

To the priests who raised questions, he asked them to "have confidence in personal discernment".