A recent article posted by a respected Catholic news organization came out last week titled “Catholic Scholars Appeal to Pope Francis to Repudiate ‘Errors’ in Amoris Laetitia.” In it, the article details how certain theologians, prelates, and clergy have appealed to pope Francis to “repudiate” its “erroneous propositions,” because, so the argument goes, it 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?
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 instead analyze it alone, as in a vacuum (for example, omitting the parts where pope Francis clearly establishes his orthodoxy and intent to keep Catholic doctrine unchanged, or fact that he bases most of his statements on direct quotes from pope John Paul II)?
I would like to hear from you, as I fear I would not be charitable if I continue writing.