Amoris Laetitia 3: “Time Is Greater Than Space”

amoris laetitia memeThe Holy Father’s post-synod document Amoris Laetitia is here. What do you think he means by this quote that leads off paragraph 3?

3. Since “time is greater than space”, I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it.

This statement is certainly not contradictory to church teaching. But it might seem alarming to some who count on the unity of teaching and application. A personal observation: unity of teaching and practice is a personal discipline first and foremost. Those who are aware of church teaching and are accustomed to implementing it personally, are under at least a twofold obligation. First, to be true to oneself. And second, to give the good example for others.

A vital consideration for those who accompany others and look to them:

This will always be the case as the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth (cf. Jn 16:13), until he leads us fully into the mystery of Christ and enables us to see all things as he does. Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs. For “cultures are in fact quite diverse and every general principle… needs to be inculturated, if it is to be respected and applied”. (Concluding Address of the Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (24 October 2015): L’Osservatore Romano, 26-27 October 2015, p. 13; cf. Pontifical Biblical Commission, Fede e cultura alla luce della Bibbia. Atti della sessione plenaria 1979, 1981; Gaudium et Spes 44; Redemptoris Missio 52; Evangelii Gaudium 69)

A heavily referenced quote spanning fifty years. Inculturation is not just a principle for liturgy, as we discussed here five years ago. At the core, there is the matter of trust. Do we trust others to discern the Holy Spirit and arrive at different practices, and–horrors!–a different repertoire than us? Clearly Pope Francis trusts.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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