Book Reviews – July 2021

Real Philosophy for Real People: Tools for Truthful Living. By Fr. Robert McTeigue. Reviewed by T.S. Barbarossa. (skip to review)

Catholic Parishes of the 21st Century. By Charles E. Zech, Mary L. Gautier, Mark M. Gray, Jonathon L. Wiggins, and Thomas P. Gaunt. Reviewed by Christopher Siuzdak. (skip to review)

The Profession of Ecclesiastical Lawyers: An Historical Introduction. By R.H. Helmholz. Reviewed by Christopher Siuzdak. (skip to review)

Come Into the Silence. By Thomas Merton. Reviewed by Lawrence Montz. (skip to review)

Luke 10 Leadership. By Fr. David Heney. Reviewed by Susan M. Timoney, STD. (skip to review)

A Commentary on Chapter Eight of Amoris Laetitia. By Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio. Reviewed by Christopher Siuzdak. (skip to review)

Real Philosophy for Real People – Fr. Robert McTeigue

McTeigue, Father Robert. Real Philosophy for Real People: Tools for Truthful Living. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2020. 300 pages.

Reviewed by T.S. Barbarossa.

We live in a world in which we are bombarded with what philosopher Josef Pieper calls “visual noise,” which includes the incessant flow of information and claims spewed by everyone from news reporters to the entertainment industry to acquaintances on social media. Like its acoustical counterpart, visual noise makes it very difficult to focus on or even determine what is objectively true. In his book Real Philosophy for Real People: Tools for Truthful Living, Father Robert McTeigue cuts through the visual noise that plagues us by doing exactly what the title says: first, offering the reader tools he can use to evaluate the accuracy of others’ assertions of truths; and second, presenting “a robust philosophy that is worthy of confidence, easily correctable, and in fact livable” (55).

The first tool McTeigue offers to help readers evaluate others’ claims is a method he calls “Thinking in Four Directions.” Even seemingly simple claims about truth come with baggage; and once one acknowledges that, he can unpack that baggage by considering “the scope of the assumptions, implications, grounds, and bounds” of the claim (39). When one makes a moral claim, the assumptions or antecedents include the individual’s understanding of reality, the human person, and what acts are good or evil; the implications involve the consequences that logically and morally follow from it; the grounds refer to evidence that supports the claim; and the bounds refer to reasoned objections others have made to the claim (46–47).

Thinking in Four Directions promotes extensive thinking, that is, carefully considering “the range of a proposition’s reach or scope” (47). The second tool McTeigue introduces, called the Ethical Wedding Cake, promotes intensive thinking, drilling down to the core of a claim to understand all that one endorses if he accepts it. Just as several layers combine to form a wedding cake, so too do a set of metaphysics, anthropology, and ethics combine to form a “package” of interrelated ideas; and together, the components of the package can be examined for both coherency and accuracy.

One of the many strengths of McTeigue’s book is his frequent use of concrete and relatable examples to illustrate the abstract concepts he presents. For instance, immediately after introducing the Ethical Wedding Cake, McTeigue uses it to evaluate David Lee Roth’s music video rendition of the song “Just a Gigolo” in order to expose the “package” of ideas Roth endorses there. The video, which depicts Roth cavorting with scantily clad women who seem to enjoy “submitting themselves to his gyrations and ogling,” suggests an ethics that promotes pleasure as the highest good, which in turn suggests an anthropology that reduces humans to their biology and their capacity to receive sensory stimuli, which in turn relies on a naturalistic metaphysics that claims reality ultimately consists only of matter (50–51).

Having arrived at the foundational layer of the Ethical Wedding Cake, one can work his way back up through the cake, asking, “What if reality consisted of both matter and spirit?” Then, a view of the human person that reduces an individual to his biology would not be accurate, because the person would be a body-soul composite. But if an anthropology that acknowledged the human person as a body-soul composite were true, then one must reject a hedonistic ethics, since the satisfactions afforded by physical pleasures alone would not constitute the ultimate good that ethics helps mankind attain.

After introducing those tools for extensive and intensive thinking, McTeigue embarks upon an in-depth treatment of various metaphysical, anthropological, and ethical systems as well as the world views to which their acceptance leads. For instance, in the chapter on metaphysics, McTeigue explains why a transcendent metaphysics that acknowledges “the absolute origin and terminus of the cosmos is rooted in a supreme being” best corresponds to reality (141). In addition to defending a transcendent metaphysics, McTeigue also carefully considers alternative metaphysical systems, such as naturalism and existentialism, and applies the aforementioned tools to expose them as untenable because of their antecedents and consequents. In fact, therein lays one of the strengths of McTeigue’s book: he not only presents cogent arguments for a Christian world view but also carefully engages with the ideas of those who disagree with him so that readers can learn common objections to his arguments and also ways to rebut those objections.

McTeigue discusses anthropology in the following chapter, exploring the meanings of “sign,” “symbol,” and “sacrament” in relation to the human person and showing that the human body is more than an object; it is fundamentally sacred, and as such it is sacramental, enabling the invisible — the private person — “to become visible through the physical” (176). McTeigue then uses the sacramental relation of the human body to the human person to build a strong case for the Christian understanding of marriage and of the significance and sacredness of the marital act. While McTeigue’s explanations here are terrific and his argument is airtight, if one is seeking a succinct way to defend the Christian view of human sexuality in a conversational context, he should look elsewhere. That is because the conclusion of this argument relies on much prerequisite knowledge and several premises — nearly forty pages’ worth, in fact. One certainly needs patience to work through this chapter.

In the chapter on ethics, McTeigue explains that philosophers evaluate moral methodologies by asking how they “handle the three moral determinants” of a human act: the object, or action itself, the motive, and the circumstances; and he then proceeds to apply this evaluation to various ethical systems, including situationalism, utilitarianism, and proportionalism (204). This chapter in particular would be extremely helpful to catechists and teachers of moral theology courses because it offers a comprehensive treatment of various contemporary ethical systems to which individuals subscribe, exposes the flaws in those systems, and ultimately demonstrates the accuracy and coherence of the ethical methodology proposed by Christianity, which McTeigue calls “prudential personalism.” McTeigue concludes this chapter by showing that the Ethical Wedding Cake consisting of a moral methodology of prudential personalism, a composite anthropology, and a transcendent metaphysics is the world view that best and most effectively guides one to live “a rational and moral life” and enables one to be “more fully human and fully alive” (23).

In the introduction, McTeigue wrote that his goal was to equip his readers “readily and honestly [to] meet challenges with a quick mind and discerning heart” (27). He has definitely accomplished his goal with this accessible yet in-depth overview of philosophy. It is a book the reader will want to acquire for his personal library; but it will not sit on the shelf indefinitely. Faced with the incessant visual noise of contemporary life, before too long, the reader will be removing the book from the shelf to consult some chapter or one of the many charts and diagrams that summarize and organize key content in order to remember exactly how to interrogate the latest specious claim that confronts him.

T.S. Barbarossa teaches at a Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Seattle.

Catholic Parishes of the 21st Century – Charles E. Zech, Mary L. Gautier, Mark M. Gray, Jonathon L. Wiggins, and Thomas P. Gaunt

Zech, Charles E., with Mary L. Gautier, Mark M. Gray, Jonathon L. Wiggins, and Thomas P. Gaunt. Catholic Parishes of the 21st Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. 164 pages.

Reviewed by Christopher Siuzdak.

Co-authored by social scientists at the Georgetown University-affiliated Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate and Villanova University’s Center for Church Management, this synthesis of studies and surveys provides an up-to-date statistical overview of parish life in the United States.

The first of ten chapters explains that there has been a need for fresh findings since the landmark Notre Dame Study of Catholic Parish Life conducted in the 1980s. Chapter two treats tectonic changes in the geographic, generational, and ethnic distribution of Catholics. For example, the Catholic population in the United States has become roughly equally distributed between the Northeast, West, South, and Midwest due to internal migration and the immigration of Hispanic Catholics from Latin America, but most of the Catholic infrastructure (e.g., churches, schools, colleges, and seminaries) is still concentrated in the former stronghold of the Northeast (9).

Chapter three treats changing demographics among priests, permanent deacons, women and men religious, and lay ecclesial ministers. For example, “While just over 50 percent of all Catholics in the United States are non-Hispanic white, 81 percent of clergy leading parishes are non-Hispanic white” (26). Data indicates that there is increasing collaboration or co-responsibility between clergy and the laity. “The estimated number of lay ecclesial ministers serving in U.S. parishes surpassed the number of diocesan priests in the early 2000s,” (36) and “the total number of permanent deacons is likely to surpass the total number of diocesan priests in the next few years” (29).

Chapters four and five discuss organizational structuring and parochial administration. Interestingly, 62 percent of parish business managers are women (67). Members of parish finance councils report a gap between their level of preparation and the level of importance of certain items, such as understanding diocesan financial guidelines (73).

Chapter six treats parish finances. The authors identify three major trends: “the relatively low level of giving by Catholic parishioners relative to members of other Christian churches, rising expenditures due to factors such as increased labor costs and facilities maintenance, and the migration of Catholics from urban and farming communities into the suburbs, out of the Northeast and Midwest and into the South and West” (76). Financial transparency seems to be necessary in the face of an alarming number of embezzlement cases (90).

Chapter seven examines the increasing diversity of parishioners in terms of age, ethnicity, language, gender, marital status, and educational level. Notably, “While the male-to-female ratio currently is about even for Catholics nationally, women make up 64 percent of those in the pews” (97). The phenomenon of “parish hopping” or “parish shopping” is also treated (102). Chapter eight examines the growing cultural diversity in parish life and how this effects attitudes about participation in parish activities.

Chapter nine treats parishioners’ attitudes and subjective evaluations of various aspects of parish life. For example, “The view from the pews is that pastors are still accessible and approachable. More than 90 percent of parishioners feel comfortable talking with their pastor” (125). The surprising statistic that six in ten Catholics agree that one can be a good Catholic without attending Mass weekly raises important questions. The tenth and final chapter succinctly summarizes the overarching trends discussed throughout the book and their impacts.

The authors are to be commended for communicating quantitative data in such an accessible and engaging manner. Easy-to-understand graphs and charts reinforce the prose. Overall, the authors explain well the canonical facets they touch upon; however, there are some canonical imprecisions, technically speaking. For example, the authors explain: “Parish pastoral councils are not required by canon law; it is up to the diocesan bishop to decide if they will be required in his diocese” (73). The authors erroneously equate canon law with the universal Code of Canon Law. Although parochial pastoral councils are not required by the universal Code (see canon 536), a bishop’s determination to establish pastoral councils and the norms governing them are indeed part of canon law. Secondly, the authors refer to the laity’s co-responsibility with the pastor “promulgated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (2009),” but the reference is unclear (75). The authors likely refer to the Holy Father’s 2009 address on “Church Membership and Pastoral Co-Responsibility.” The verb “promulgate,” which in Catholic circles refers to the legislation of norms by the competent lawgiver, appears to have been misused. Thirdly, the authors do not touch at all upon the diversity of rites and churches sui iuris. A section on the state of Eastern Churches in the United States would have been an eye-opener for many. These are, nevertheless, minor quibbles.

This work is a golden resource for canonists, ecclesiastical leaders, and any educated person interested in learning about the present state of Catholicism in the United States. In a succinct manner, the authors identify emerging challenges and opportunities worthy of serious consideration. The information conveyed in this work will surely shape discussions within various fields of academic inquiry and influence practical action among ecclesiastical leaders of all levels.

Christopher Siuzdak is a canonist in the Tribunal of the Diocese of Portland.

The Profession of Ecclesiastical Lawyers – R.H. Helmholz

Helmholz, R.H. The Profession of Ecclesiastical Lawyers: An Historical Introduction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2019. 232 pages.

Reviewed by Christopher Siuzdak.

King Henry VIII abolished the formal teaching of canon law in his realm (including the full-fledged faculties of canon law that had been operating at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge since the mid-thirteenth century) and prohibited appeals from going to Rome, but — somewhat counterintuitively — advocates and proctors working in matters under ecclesiastical jurisdiction continued their practice, propagated their profession, and maintained a fluency in the canonistic tradition relatively unabated until a setback during the seventeenth-century English Civil War and the tsunami of legal positivism at the end of the nineteenth century. In this history of the profession of ecclesiastical law in England, the author explores “the working lives of ordinary ecclesiastical lawyers” (6) with attention to the “the law that regulated their professional conduct, the nature of their education in becoming lawyers, their reaction to the English Reformation, and the changes and developments that led up to the English Civil War” (3).

The first half of the work describes the evolving contours of the profession from preparation through practice. The formal qualifications necessary for serving as advocates and proctors were more of a via negativa. “The writers concentrated their attention upon the disqualifications,” Helmholz observes (18). Although women were unable to act as legal representatives, “the records actually produce at least one case in which the wife acted for her husband” (20). “That,” interestingly, “seems to have been allowed in the absence of objection” (21). Some statutes and customs called for considerable academic qualifications, but “it was not clear that it was ever an absolute requirement for entry into the profession” (28). “A respectable opinion had long held that the only fair test was a candidate’s actual knowledge of the law, no matter how it had been acquired” (28). Nevertheless, “a degree must have given a man an advantage” (49). Notably, “at Oxford the normal course of education for a canonist began with” a recommended five-year “study of the civil law” (46-47). Interestingly, “it was an almost universal custom to require a ‘Year of Silence’ between acceptance and admission of an advocate in a bishop’s court and commencement of his gainful employment” in order to develop a fingertip sense of actual practice in the courtroom (29). The education of proctors appears to have consisted of “a kind of apprenticeship or pupillage in the office of an established proctor” (48). Contemporaries saw repetition as the best pedagogical method (41).

Texts “defining and requiring ethical practice among lawyers” were scarce, but “means of securing upright professional conduct on the part of advocates and proctors” existed (30). The author observes: “The canon law of lawyering, including that part of it which was originally taken from the Corpus iuris civilis and then ‘canonized’ by the church, was regularly called upon as authoritative in the English ecclesiastical tribunals” (38). Ecclesiastical lawyers took oaths upon admission to practice and renewed them, stating that they would—among other things—act in good faith and withdraw from any cause they learned to be without merit (30-31). “Fees were made a matter of public display” and both advocates and proctors were required to offer their services gratis in the cases of paupers (32).

It would seem that the Reformation would have caused a great disruption in the legal profession, but the rejection of papal authority did not mean a rejection of the content and methods of the tradition that had previously grown under papal authority. The English Civil War marked a greater eclipse of ecclesiastical jurisdiction and posed a greater threat to the stability of ecclesiastical lawyers than the Reformation.

The second half of this work is prosopographical. Biographical sketches of noteworthy ecclesiastical lawyers illustrate how the profession was embodied and advanced, from the twelfth through the nineteenth century, by such figures as: Roger of Worcester, Gilbert Foliot, William of Drogheda, John de Burgh, Adam Usk, Richard Rudhale, Daniel Dun, Clement Colmore, Arthur Duck, William Somner, Richard Zouche, Leoline Jenkins, Hugh Davis, George Lee, Thomas Bever, Francis Dickins, Arthur Browne, and Henry Charles Coote.

R.H. Helmholz, the Ruth Wyatt Rosenson Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School, successfully demonstrates “that the lives and careers of English ecclesiastical lawyers have played a legitimate part in the growth and development of the legal profession” (x). Informed by previously neglected or underutilized sources, namely, “the legal literature of the time—the treatment of lawyers and the legal profession that is found within the ius commune” (5) and archival materials in England’s ecclesiastical courts (including surviving formularies, case reports, and manuscript notes) (6), the author is able to paint a finely textured picture of the legal landscape. This historical work is geared toward specialists or those with a certain level of familiarity with and affinity for legal history. The bibliography is a treasure trove for scholars and students conducting research. Given that the book spans both Roman Catholic and Anglican epochs of legal history in the British Isles, it can be a fruitful point of departure in ecumenical conversations.

Christopher Siuzdak is a canonist in the Tribunal of the Diocese of Portland.

Come Into the Silence – Thomas Merton

Merton, Thomas. Come Into the Silence. Edited by John Kirvan. South Bend: Ave Maria Press, 2021. 71 pages.

Reviewed by Lawrence Montz.

Thomas Merton needs little introduction to the readers of Homiletic & Pastoral Review. Fr. Merton is one of the most significant spiritual writers of the 20th century. The Trappist monk was the author of more than seventy books. Come into the Silence is a presentation of the more significant writings of Fr. Merton on spiritual practice, in particular on the topics of silence and finding one’s true identity in our relationship with God and his creation. This book is part of a series called 30 Days With a Great Spiritual Teacher. The series provides daily readings from many of Christianity’s great writers. A short reading is suggested for our morning prayer with a thought to carry one through the day on the topic of the reading and a nightly wrap-up to help one focus on these deep spiritual movements. They are designed as prayer guides for active people who want to center their prayer lives on the solid ideas of these masters. Unlike some daily meditation guides, when Ave Maria Press says short, they mean just that. This is not to say that consideration of these deep thoughts cannot serve as fodder for lengthy contemplation if one is so moved, but the selected passage only takes a couple of minutes to read slowly.

The editor provides a brief set of guidelines for the practice of the daily meditations and emphasizes that this is not a book for reading but a source of wisdom from a true saint. The 30 meditations are configured to move one toward the theme of silence and communion with our Lord. Truly, this is a handbook for our journey. Passages from several of Fr. Merton’s books, such as, Entering Silence, and, A Silent Life, form the basis for our reflections. The compendium of spiritual ideas is synthesized for active Christians into snippets of daily wisdom useful to our spiritual growth.

Take Day Nine, or for that matter any of the 30 days. While there is rhyme and reason to the layout, we still benefit from prayerful consideration of the thoughts and aspirations of any day deemed meaningful to us at that point of our relationship with God. The selection covered in the first section of the day, My Day Begins, is excerpted from Fr. Merton’s book, Entering the Silence. The thought is if we wait in silence and surrender, the Holy Spirit will bless us with the grace to give ourselves completely to God, who is love. The meditations are followed by a thought for the day to help the reader remain in prayer on the opening theme. At the end of the day the thematic mediation is concluded with a petition to conform our lives to the central premise, a challenge to metanoia, a change in one’s way of life.

The themes of the prayer guide are designed to help us become aware of our true selves as we begin to listen and love more intimately and to discover that “quiet place” inside us that should allow us to become a more joyful person. In Thomas Merton’s book of meditations, New Seeds of Contemplation, he wrote, “Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self.” “My false and private self is the one who wants to exist outside of the reach of God’s will and God’s love.” This short prayer book can help us to find peace by recognizing that God is the center of our lives and not ourselves.

Lawrence Montz is a Benedictine Oblate of St. Gregory Abbey, past Serran District Governor of Dallas, and serves as his Knights of Columbus council’s Vocations Program Director. He resides in the Dallas Diocese.

Luke 10 Leadership – Fr. David Heney

Heney, Fr. David. Luke 10 Leadership: How to Succeed at Parish Ministry. South Bend: Ave Maria Press, 2020. 128 pages

Reviewed by Susan M. Timoney, STD.

In the past twenty years, a lot has been written about pastoral leadership. Curiously, much of it relies on a plethora of secular titles on leadership. One can find references to and advice from successful CEOs, successful athletic coaches, successful military officers and yes, successful pastors. Many of these books are inspirational and offer advice that can be of help to anyone seeking to be an effective leader but there are far fewer resources that turn to Scripture and theology with the questions being asked today about effective pastoral leadership. One reason for this is that often pastoral leadership is confused with management of pastoral resources.

Managing a parish often does look like managing a small company. Pastors as managers spend a lot of time on personnel issues, annual budgets, and property maintenance, but those duties are not the heart of pastoral leadership. The Congregation for Clergy in their Instruction, “The Priest, Pastor and Leader,” (2002) rightly warns of a kind of planning that is more managerial than pastoral, too much of which can diminish the sacramental reality of priestly ministry. The pastor ought to think about the way in which his leadership is a reflection of who he is -in the words of the Instruction- as an “icon of the presence of the historical Christ.” This invites one to turn to Scripture and this is exactly what Fr. Dave Heney offers the reader in Luke 10 Leadership.

Luke 10 Leadership looks to what Jesus teaches us about evangelization in chapter 10 of the Gospel of Luke and what it can teach us about pastoral ministry today. In choosing Luke 10, Fr. Dave Heney, writing with 40 years of experience as a pastor, seeks to emphasize that successful leadership for any priest ought to be judged on how effective he is at bringing people to Jesus. In this lies both the authority and the power entrusted to the priest at ordination.

Building on this idea of the priest as icon, Heney writes, “People will follow you if they see the person of Christ in you.” In service to evangelization, a case is made that effective leadership begins in witness and what Jesus teaches in Luke, chapter ten, is that pastors give the best kind of witness to the Gospel when they come in peace, eat what is set before them and announce the good news (Luke 10:5-9). What follows is a manual for how best to walk into a parish community for the first time and practice watching, listening, learning, the people and culture of the parish. This is how the pastor comes to know how he is being called to lead his people.

For anyone who has given the advice to a first-time pastor to “not change anything in the first year,” placing this book into the hands of the person to whom you are speaking will be a welcome gift. What Heney does so well is show how much more effective the change that needs to happen will be if the pastor has taken the time to gain parishioner’s trust, learn the culture of the parish, and discern what it is that the Lord is asking of him and of the parish community.

The reader ought not question the substance of the book because of the discussion of such fundamental aspects of priestly witness such as demeanor (smiling is recommended), dress, and the importance of not seeming rushed. Heney’s goal in the early chapters is to make a point of understanding how the bond of parishioner and pastor happens through the eyes of the parishioner. Over the course of the first months of a new pastorate, parishioners spend more time watching a new pastor than they do speaking with him. How they perceive their new pastor carries great weight in what the future of the relationship will look like. Fr. Heney, in choosing Scripture as the primary source for assessing effective leadership invites the reader to reflect on how the grace of ordination and the Word of God can teach us what makes for effective pastoral leadership in the church of the 21st century.

Dr. Susan Timoney is an Associate Professor of Practice in Pastoral Studies at The Catholic University of America. She has twenty years of experience in parish and diocesan ministry.

A Commentary on Chapter Eight of Amoris Laetitia – Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio

Coccopalmerio, Francesco. A Commentary on Chapter Eight of Amoris Laetitia. Translated by Sean O’Neill. New York: Paulist Press, 2017. 56 pages.

Reviewed by Christopher Siuzdak.

In this lecture-length book, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, then-President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, offers a guided reading of the much-discussed eighth chapter of Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. To be clear, this is not an authentic interpretation issued officially by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. It is, rather, a prominent hierarch’s recapitulation of and commentary upon sections 291 through 312 of Amoris Laetitia.

The first chapter, entitled “An Explanation of the Church’s Doctrine Regarding Marriage and Family,” reaffirms the indissolubility of marriage (1). Chapter two discusses “the pastoral attitude of the Church toward people who find themselves in irregular situations” (5). Chapter three treats “the subjective conditions, or conditions of conscience, of different people in various irregular situations and the associated problem of admission to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist” (13).

Cardinal Coccopalmerio maintains that the Church “could allow access to Penance and the Eucharist, for the faithful who find themselves in an irregular union, which, however, requires, two essential conditions: they desire to change the situation, but cannot act on their desire” (25). There may be instances in which the obligation to separate cannot be implemented because “abandoning the irregular situation would harm other people who are themselves innocent [. . .]” (19). He adds that “it could be necessary, or at least very useful, to have a service of the Curia, in which the diocesan Ordinary, [. . .] offers appropriate counseling or even specific authorization in these cases regarding admission to the sacraments [. . . ]” (26).

Chapter four explores the problem of the relationship between doctrine and the rule in general, and individuals in particular” (31). Chapter five examines “integration, that is, participation in the life of the Church and also in the ministry of the Church by people who find themselves in irregular situations” (45). Chapter six summarizes “Pope Francis’ hermeneutic of the person” (51). The key to understanding Amoris Laetitia’s eighth chapter, according to Cardinal Coccopalmerio, is to grasp that “Pope Francis evaluates reality through the person, or rather, he puts the person first and thus evaluates reality” (53).

There is, however, a loud absence on the part of the author. Cardinal Coccopalmerio does not make any reference to the Pontifical Council for Legislative Text’s “Declaration Concerning the Admission to Holy Communion of Faithful Who Are Divorced and Remarried” of June 24, 2000. Cardinal Coccopalmerio is uniquely positioned to explicitly discuss how the aforementioned declaration interfaces with the 2016 apostolic exhortation, which is the fruit of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (2014) and the Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (2015). Whether or not one subscribes to Cardinal Coccopalmerio’s gloss and the direction he signals, this booklet is quick yet requisite reading for those moral theologians, practicing canonists, and pastoral ministers who enter into discussions about access to the sacraments for persons living in irregular marital situations.

Christopher Siuzdak is a canonist in the Tribunal of the Diocese of Portland.

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