Realizing that a majority of people will not give Amoris Laetitia -- the exhortation to the Catholic Church and the world issued by Pope Francis in light of the Synod on the Family of 2015 -- the careful and discerning attention requested by Pope Francis, below are some questions that may be raised through a perfunctory (politically correct) reading of that apostolic exhortation as a sign of the continuing “evolution” of Church teaching:
Is truth discovered through discernment or through dialogue, in which each premise, perspective and opinion is to be respected as equally valid?
Is there a difference between a sin-seared conscience alienated from truth by the habitual vice and a sincere conscience conscientiously seeking to be fully integrated into the truth?
Is it wrong to hurt a person’s feelings by pointing out dimensions of truth and morality, which do not conform to that person’s perspective and lifestyle?
Is integral natural marriage to be treated by the Church as merely an ideal or as a perennial standard of accountability?
Does deliberate conscientious rejection of objective moral standards absolve a person from moral accountability for acts done under the guidance of such a prejudiced conscience?
Should Church regulations for Catholics regarding marriage be accommodated to the wishes of those sincerely seeking to make their wedding a meaningful experience?
Does the widespread practice of sin (e.g., cohabitation, contraception, abortion ) diminish the seriousness of such a sin?
Will the fact that certain serious sins (e.g., fornication, contraception, abortion) are socially acceptable ensure that a soul will not be held accountable for such sins on Judgment Day?
If a person sincerely believes that adult-child sex is helpful for promoting the healthy psycho-sexual development of a child, should such a person be condemned for seeking to help initiate a child into a more liberated acceptance of his/her sexuality?
If a particular practice is culturally acceptable in certain parts of the world (e.g., Moslem men raping women who are not wearing headscarves), is it right to condemn such a practice as criminal in another cultural milieu?
Is it wrong to call a person to accountability to objective truth and to sincere repentance from perverted premises, perspectives and practices, or does Christ will that all people be unconditionally affirmed in their current moral condition?
Is Christ, through the gracious fidelity of the Holy Spirit, able regenerate humanity and each person into a whole new spiritual way of thinking in full harmony with the whole truth of God?
Is the Gospel of Jesus a transformative and regenerative proclamation, or merely a subjective proposition, encouraging people and society to gradually move toward an obfuscated moral ideal?
Spero columnist Rev. Thomas Collins is a Catholic priest who serves the people of Virginia.
See the Vatican document Amoris Laetitia here.