Vicar for Rome issues strict guidelines for implementing Amoris Laetitia [CC]

Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Pope’s vicar for the Rome diocese, has issued guidelines for the implementation of Amoris Laetitia, indicating that divorced and remarried couples might be admitted to Communion only in unusual cases and with strict limitations.


Vicar of Rome is basically like a regular bishop. He is not an authority for the entire Church.

No, but he is the Pope’s very own vicar general for the Pope’s very own diocese. It would be ludicrous to suggest these directives aren’t 100% in line with the Pope’s own views.

Why can’t the pope clarify what he wasn’t able to make clear?

SOOOOOOOO, we don’t have to listen??? Are we our own authority?? I think that’s a big problem in the Church today. We think we can “do our own thing”. Where is our faith in the teachings of the Catholic Church to guide us on the narrow path. God Bless, Memaw

It’s not clear what we’re being asked to listen to. According to the article, the pope * “is not saying that they must be admitted to the sacraments, although he does not exclude this in some cases and under some conditions.” *So if he’s not saying they must be admitted then to that extent the status quo remains the standard.

The change seems to be that in "the case in which there is the moral certainty that the first marriage was null but there are not the proofs to demonstrate this in a judicial setting” the remarried couple might be allowed to receive privately, with the decision being made by a priest-confessor.

As I understand this, the parish priest now has authority to pronounce the first marriage null where “moral certainty” exists. In theory this might make sense; there are hard cases that might be best handled at the personal level of the priest and penitent, but in practice it is likely to simply lead to a lax interpretation where pretty much everyone will be allowed to receive. It will be just that much harder for this priest to say no when so many other priests around the diocese are saying yes, and it will surely lead to priest-shopping.

The doctrines have not been changed, but in practice it no longer matters.


Because the situations involve individuals and can not be answered with a black and white response.

Pastoral care means the pastor counsels and listens to the individuals.


But out of the multitude of complex situations out there, certainly a specific concrete example or two would be useful.

Go read what Pope Francis wrote about couples he knew when he was a pastor and Bishop.

He gave the examples and why he called for the Synod in the first place


So provided that the decision to live in continence "is difficult to practice for the stability of the couple”, this is deemed sufficient reason to admit to Holy Communion? Was this a reason given in any of those examples given by then-bishop Bergoglio? And if “difficulty to practice” is a legitimate criterion, then this can spill over and be applied to numerous other types of “irregular” relationships, such as cohabiting couples or same-sex couples.

“God does not command the impossible, but in commanding urges you to do what you can, and in asking what you cannot do, He helps you so that you can do it” (Council of Trent, DH 1536).

“Keeping God’s law in particular situations can be difficult, extremely difficult, but it is never impossible. This is the constant teaching of the Church’s tradition” (St. John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, 102).

I’m not Pope Francis, you need to ask him these questions.


You are the one who said to go read what Pope Francis has said in providing what you considered to be examples. I figured you may have had some insight there.

Interesting question. Robert Royal had some thoughts about this in a recent post from The Catholic Thing:

“But the whole process of producing and presenting AL has made it impossible to take a solely textual approach. I have called the process and the substance “bizarre.” I meant this as no disrespect to the Holy Father or anyone, but as a description. How do you spend two years on something, and find yourself uncertain about what it means until a papal letter to some Argentinean bishops is – not published – but leaked, and only confirmed when it was impossible to deny?”

Some (Not Entirely Random) Thoughts on “Amoris Laetitia”

This opinion won’t be popular with some on this board, but I truly believe the Holy Father has deliberately chosen to be ambiguous. It is clear to anyone with eyes and ears that the global episcopate is deeply divided on this issue. I don’t think the Pope wanted to openly antagonize the more conservative bishops, while still “giving an inch” to the more “progressive” bishops.

If by “popular”, you mean agreed upon, I guess I poll might answer that question. As for me, I do not even agree his document is ambiguous. I would recommend that anyone who desires clarification for some point that touches on their life to simply talk to their priest. That is clearly what the Pope wants to happen. He does not want to serve as judge of every marriage.

Yes! :slight_smile:

I have been regretfully seeing much disregard for our current Pope, doubting his authenticity and disrespecting his authority.

It is SO sad! :frowning:

Considering that some bishops have continued to maintain the position of St John Paul II (namely, that it is never OK for the divorced and remarried to receive unless they are living as brother and sister) while others insist AL changes everything proves it’s ambiguous (and as I said, I believe that’s by design). There is no question that the bishops are sharply divided on this. For obvious high profile examples compare Cardinals Burke or Mueller’s AL commentary to Cardinal Kasper’s - completely and absolutely at odds. There’s no nuance here - bishops are flat out contradicting each other.

The problem I see is many well meaning Catholics treat the Holy Father like a Mormon prophet who’s every utterance is inspired scripture. Popes make mistakes. Popes sin. Popes made horrible calls. (I am not saying Pope Francis has made horrible calls- but popes certainly can and have many times throughout history). One can respect papal authority while respectfully questioning a pope’s prudential judgment. On the issue at hand, the bishops themselves are openly and sharply divided.

I am aware of a handful of bishops that disagree with the Holy Father. both more conservative and more liberal, to use the political terms. They were also present at the last synod. However, disagreement does not equate to confusion. If the problem was truly confusion, it would be simply enough to point to the sentence that seemed ambiguous. It is helpful to narrow the focus by using questions that are more precise. Yet then the answer might be simple and there would be less to complain about, or perhaps the actual disagreement might be shown for what it is, *even though disagreement is okay.
The pope seems quite clear that people be treated as individuals, with the priests operating under the directions of their local bishops in balancing the pastoral with the theological. This seems a simple enough concept to me.

You make both of these statements.

There’s no nuance here - bishops are flat out contradicting each other.

One can respect papal authority while respectfully questioning a pope’s prudential judgment.

:shrug:So, what is the issue? Bishops need not agree on how to proceed. Since they are all in different areas, the should disagree somewhat.

Additionally, they surely can disagree on beliefs that have not been defined as doctrine. This happened at the synod. Those who were in the minority were not rebuked and nothing issued said they were wrong. They still can rightly believe as they do. The Pope has not defined things more precisely because what is true has simply not been revealed. Maybe there is a reason for this in God’s wisdom.

Back in May 2016, Homiletic and Pastoral Review published an analysis of AL by Fr. Regis Scanlan, in which he said “The ambiguities and apparent contradictions in the document have raised more questions than they have answered, which is certainly an odd and puzzling result for such an eagerly awaited papal document."

HPR May 2016

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit