"This is an English translation of the brief guidelines issued by the bishops of the Buenos Aires pastoral region, the home territory of Pope Francis, for implementation of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia, and Pope Francis's response to those guidelines.
[Editor’s Note: Recently, bishops of the Buenos Aires pastoral region in Argentina issued a set of guidelines for implementing chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia, the document on the family from Pope Francis that appears to open a door to Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. Here is an English translation of those guidelines.
Pope Francis swiftly wrote to the Buenos Aires bishops to thank them for their efforts. That letter also appears below in English translation.]
Buenos Aires Pastoral Region
Basic criteria for the implementation of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia
We have received with joy the exhortation Amoris laetitia, which invites us, above all, to encourage the growth of love between spouses and to motivate the youth to opt for marriage and a family. These are important issues that should never be disregarded or overshadowed by other matters. Francis has opened several doors in pastoral care for families and we are invited to leverage this time of mercy with a view to endorsing, as a pilgrim Church, the richness offered by the different chapters of this Apostolic Exhortation.
We will now focus on chapter VIII, since it refers to the 'guidelines of the bishop' (300) in order to discern on the potential access to sacraments of the 'divorced who have entered a new union.' We deem it convenient, as Bishops of the same Pastoral Region, to agree on some basic criteria. We present them without prejudice to the authority that each Bishop has over his own Diocese to clarify, complete or restrict them.
1) Firstly, we should remember that it is not advisable to speak of 'permissions' to have access to sacraments, but of a discernment process in the company of a pastor. It is a 'personal and pastoral discernment' (300)...
9) It may be convenient for an eventual access to sacraments to take place in a discreet manner, especially if troublesome situations can be anticipated. At the same time, however, the community should be accompanied so that it may grow in its spirit of understanding and acceptance, without letting this situation create confusion about the teaching of the Church on the indissoluble marriage. The community is an instrument of mercy, which is 'unmerited, unconditional and gratuitous' (297)."
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