The publication of Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia started the most important theological debate in the Catholic Church since the end of the Second Vatican Council. The cardinals, bishops, theologians, priests, lay Catholics found themselves on the opposite sides of this crucial and complicated discussion. This book attempts to shed some light on this debate by tracing its genealogy.
Since Amoris Laetitia is a post-synodal document, the large part of the book is devoted to the theological analysis of the two Synods of Bishops convoked by Pope Francis in the first years of his pontificate: the extraordinary in October 2014 and the ordinary that took place a year later. The main topics for the two synods were determined, however, in the speech given by Cardinal Walter Kasper during the cardinals consistory in February 2014 whose main aim was to prepare the possibility of admitting divorced persons who live in second unions to Holy Communion. The arguments of Cardinal Kasper are presented in the first chapter of the book and confronted with the most significant statements of the Magisterium of the Church on the issue of admittance to the Holy Communion.
This book is a study at the intersection of Church history, the history of theology, and systematic theology: dogmatic and moral. Kupczak is interested in the chronology of the events connected to the two synods on the family but in the context of theological problems discussed therein: the theological significance of contemporary cultural changes; the relation of the Church to the world; the understanding of the indissolubility of the sacramental marriage and the Eucharist; the methods of ethically assessing human acts, particularly the concept of so-called intrinsically evil acts ( intrinsece malum); and the relation of conscience to the general moral norm. The non-partisan ambition of this book is to serve as a "road map"— a help in navigation for the reader in the complicated discussions leading to publication of Amoris Laetitia.
The uniqueness of this book consists in combining the historical analysis of the events leading to the publication of Amoris Laetitia with research of the theological discussion that ensued. Since Amoris Laetitia is a post-synodal exhortation, this book rests on the assumption that crucial for its understanding is a thorough analysis of its genealogy. Only in the light of this historical and theological perspective the debates surrounding Amoris Laetitia may be understood.
"Offers a detailed analysis of the events leading up to the promulgation of the Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Important for situating and understanding Pope Francis’ document on family and the controversy it has generated. Will appeal to scholars or advanced students and may be of some interest to well educated Catholic laity who want to better understand some of the current controversies around the synods and Amoris Laetitia."~John S. Grabowski, The Catholic University of America
"Since his doctoral studies in Washington, D.C., Father Kupczak has shown himself to be a keen interpreter of theological trends in the Church. Now he uses his analytical skills to unpack a moment of magisterial instruction that has left many Catholics and others in a state of hermeneutic perplexity. Theology students need this book. Bishops and those who assist them may need it more."~Romanus Cessario, OP, Ave Maria University
"When historians and theologians fifty years from now seek to understand the lead-up to Amoris Laetitia, this is the book to which they will turn. Kupczak has written a definitive theological study and critique of the developments that marked the years 2014-15. He makes clear that these developments are likely to be with us for some decades, and that they will not ultimately stand the test of time, since, at their core, they reflect a disintegrating Christian culture."~Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
"In this work, Father Kupczak, a leading expert on the thought of Pope John Paul II, critically examines the novel theological and ideological campaign during the time leading up to Amoris Laetitia. He takes the reader from Cardinal Walter Kaspar’s critical speech on divorce and remarriage in 2014 through the debates and arguments leading up to the two synods until the eve of Amoris Laetitia. Kupczak’s work shows how new forms and paradigms for a pastoral approach to marriage and family were unfolded and proposed to replace those of the magisterium of John Paul II."~Adrian Reimers, University of Notre Dame
"When the dust finally settles on Amoris Laetitia, this book is likely to become the standard reference work on the subject. It covers every angle of the issue--the historical, the sociological, the moral, sacramental, canonical, and dogmatic. It is written with the intellectual discipline of a Dominican scholar and with the heart of a member of the hero generation of Polish youth who refused to be corrupted by the ideologies blowing in the breeze from the western side of the Oder River."~Tracey Rowland, University of Notre Dame (Australia)
"Father Jarosław Kupczak, OP, is one of Catholicism's finest thinkers. Father Kupczak is also a dedicated priest whose philosophical and theological insights draw on extensive pastoral experience as well as the tradition of the Church and the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II. His roadmap of the controversies preceding Amoris Laetitia is a masterful guide to some of the most urgent questions facing Catholic scholarship and pastoral practice today."~George Weigel, Ethics and Public Policy Center
"This is an extraordinarily useful book for anyone attempting to understand the state of the Church today. For although it limits itself to the early years of the pontificate of Pope Francis and to discussions both within and with reference to two assemblies of the Synod of Bishops, it lays bare in a very precise and well-documented manner the philosophical and theological ideas that lie beneath the surface of the pontificate as it continues."~Thomist