Cardinal Schönborn Says Amoris Laetitia is Binding Doctrine

Maike Hickson, writing for

Austrian Catholic website reports that on 7 July, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn published an interview in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, in which he said that Amoris Laetitia is a binding doctrinal document. From now on, says Schönborn, all the previous magisterial texts concerning marriage and the family “have to be read in the light of Amoris Laetitia.”

Schönborn also said in this interview – a fuller excerpt of this text has now been published in English in the Jesuit journal Civiltà Cattolica – that it is “obvious” that Amoris Laetitia is an act of the Magisterium since it is an Apostolic Exhortation.

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So, according to the eminent Dominican, Vatican ONE must be interpreted in light of Vatican TWO, and all previous papal moral teaching on marriage (even the infallible teachings) are interpreted in light of Amoris Laetitia.

This is the Cardinal who said, “We can and we must respect the decision to form a union with a person of the same sex,” the prelate said, “[and] to seek means under civil law to protect their living together with laws to ensure such protection.”

The moral depravity he is endorsing aside, the Cardinal is promoting a perfect inversion of the much lauded and almost-never-applied “hermeneutic of continuity.”

What shall we call it? Any names? How’s the “hermeneutic of incongruity?” Or, to dispense with something that rhymes and instead to focus on the “in light of” imagery, why don’t we call it the “hermeneutic of forward-thinking backlighting?” Such a clunky approach deserves a clunky name.