April 13, 2016

Pope Francis released his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”) on Friday, April 8. Since then, faculty members from three schools at The Catholic University of America have been in demand with reporters seeking expert commentary and clarity on the document.

John Grabowski, associate professor of moral theology and ethics, served as an expert to the 2015 Synod of Bishops. He was quoted in a Religion News Service story previewing Amoris Laetitia before it was released. In a Catholic News Service article, he said the document “serves to help church leaders ‘form and equip families so that families can become the pastoral instruments of ministry and evangelization to families.’ ”

Interim Dean of the School of Theology and Religions Studies William Mattison and Associate Professor Chad Pecknold were quoted in a Boston Globe story:

“This is practical advice on issues our family deals with — ‘Put your phone away,’ ” said Chad C. Pecknold, a systematic theology professor at The Catholic University of America. “Parts of this exhortation really read like you are sitting down with Pope Francis and having a counseling session.”

National Catholic Reporter ran a series of reactions and quoted three Catholic University professors: Mattison, Grabowski, and Melissa Moschella, assistant professor of philosophy. “It’s beautiful; it’s uplifting; it’s practical; it addresses families where they are and so I think it’s going to do a lot of good in that sense if people follow the pastoral tips that he gives,” Moschella said.

Canon Law Professor Kurt Martens wrote an article for Our Sunday Visitor on the internal forum, a topic highly debated after the release of the document. Martens began his article, saying:

“The ink of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”) is not even dry, and already various commentators, particularly in the secular press, have decreed that Pope Francis now allows Communion for the divorced and remarried, adding that he permits it through the use of the internal forum for the formation of a correct judgment, which then grants that access to the Eucharist. It is hard to find even the slightest support for such a headline in a document that is, on the one hand, very pastoral in nature, and that, at the same time, presupposes knowledge of the Church’s teaching on the subject matter.”

He also commented on the topic in a Catholic News Agency story.

To see more faculty comments on this and other topics, visit our Experts Guide.