A recent article was released last week by the Register entitled “Catholic Scholars Appeal to Pope Francis to Repudiate ‘Errors’ in Amoris Laetitia.” This article detailed how certain theologians, prelates, and clergy have appealed to pope Francis to “repudiate” the “erroneous propositions” contained within the recent encyclical. While the appeal itself did not surprise me, what did surprise me was the premise behind their argument, namely; that the encyclical contains “a number of statements that can be understood in a sense that is contrary to Catholic faith and morals.”
Notice, if you will, the argument being proposed: Erroneous propositions exist because it contains statements that can be interpreted in a way that is contrary to the faith. The logic here is very simple: Because a statement “can be understood” to be erroneous (i.e., one interpretation, among many, is false), then it is, and it must be repudiated.
I wonder how this reasoning appears to you, the reader.
Imagine if we approached reading all Magisterial documents in this way.
If only one bad interpretation exists, then we must reject the passage outright as erroneous.
Imagine if we interpreted Scripture in this way? How many people have arrived at bad interpretations of Scripture? Does this mean we should reject those passages outright?
I wonder what you think about this.
Does this logic begin with a presumption of innocence, or a presumption of guilt?
Does it prefer the most favorable interpretation first, rather than the worst?
Is it a charitable (i.e., Catholic) method of interpretation?
Does it even attempt to place the statement in the context of the tradition of the Church, or does it usurp it from its context?
Does it acknowledge the parts where pope Francis [repeatedly] states his intent not to change Church teaching, or the fact that he bases much of his arguments on direct quotes from pope John Paul II?
I would like to hear from you, as I am rather confounded at the path of logic.