Om - Amoris Laetitia

Crux: Reading ‘Amoris Laetitia’ in the New Light of Easter

21. april 2017 


Father James F. Keenan, S.J. skriver bl.a.:

It is Easter. Jesus Christ rises from the tomb: He is made manifest, the Risen Lord. He is no longer understood as simply Jesus of Nazareth. He is Lord of the living and the dead. We confess him as such.

Humanity will never be the same. By his resurrection we are brought into the way of the Lord. By his mercy, we are saved. By his resurrection we are not simply restored; rather all things are made new. The possibility for us to follow on the way of the Lord is given to us as a fruit of his resurrection. Only by his death and resurrection can we follow him.

The Easter message unfolds for us as something, which only by faith, becomes believable. And, if we dare to accept the grace of that faith, then we can see a new dynamism in our lives that never dies again.

That Easter dynamism, that call to see things new, that call to see not what is permissible but what is summoned is, in my estimation, so apparent in the apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.

I invite you for Easter week to read the exhortation. If you do, you might start smiling and say, as I did, there’s a lot new here. And you might find that newness not to be so worrisome.

Christian newness is not untethered from reality nor from its own heritage. The possibility of the extraordinarily radical newness of the resurrection comes not from thin air. When we Catholics believe in newness, we are not looking for the fanciful, the spontaneous, or the unreal. Christian newness always has history ever since the Lord rose from the tomb where Jesus of Nazareth was laid. Easter in Jerusalem had its roots in Bethlehem. There was no rupture between the two.

For Christians, newness is not a contradiction of the past; it’s born from it. The newness of Amoris brilliantly brings the tradition into the present, for the sake of the future. Our tradition must always develop, as the great theologian Marie Dominique Chenu taught; otherwise we cannot bear it into the future.

As you read Amoris, let me offer what I think is new in Amoris.

1. Amoris marks a turning point. For the past year, I have read and reviewed the reception of Amoris worldwide and the bottom line is what a group of German theologians called Amoris, in a book they edited: A “Wendpunkt,” a turning point.

They looked at the uncanny number of fresh perspectives that are integrated in Amoris: Synodal teaching, a relational theology of marriage, dictating consciences, ministerial accompaniment, mercy bearing mercy, a confessing church. Like the Germans, the Belgians called it, admiringly, “the Point of No Return.”

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