The Hermeneutic of Ambiguity

The Hermeneutic of Ambiguity

[The neo-Modernist Clifford Langley cuts through the crap and delivers another frank but honest analysis of a point in Amoris Laetitia (for his earlier one, see )]

Posted on 23 April 2016 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf @

From a comment under an entry here…

When enumerating the various hermeneutics for reading documents: the hermeneutic of continuity or the hermeneutic of rupture, they, apparently, forgot to include the hermeneutics of ambiguity.

A priest friend sent this.



Meanwhile, the UK’s liberal and not best Catholic weekly The Bitter Pill (aka RU-486 aka The Tablet) has what is, frankly, a critique by Clifford Longley of how sources are used and citied in the problematic Ch. 8 of Amoris laetitia.

I, for one, was pretty concerned about how GS 51 was used.

Longley is disappointed in Francis’ Letter and thinks that he didn’t go far enough. To wit, a smattering:

Conservatives Neo-Catholics say Pope Francis cannot have meant that “divorced and remarried Catholics could be admitted to Holy Communion in certain circumstances”, as many have interpreted the document, because that would be plain contrary to long-standing Catholic practice sanctioned by the magisterium.

[NB] But that would have meant that he too is a conservative neo-Catholic, and we know he is a liberal neo-Modernist [like me; i.e., Clifford Longley]. We are free to interpret his words in the light of that. But why the uncertainty? Why couldn’t he have spelt it out with a simple statement such as the one above? Was he under pressure, for instance facing threats of resignation from senior cardinals in the Vatican, so he had to create a smoke screen so everyone could claim a victory? How does that help the rest of us, or at least those of us who aren’t conservative curial cardinals? He has created confusion precisely where there needs to be clarity.

In every other respect Amoris Laetitia is a pastoral triumph. But not this one. It is a mess. In those circumstances the only possible advice is to follow the instincts and intuitions of one’s conscience as honestly as possible, consulting whomever one likes in the process. Let liberals neo-Modernists interpret the document liberally and conservatives neo-Catholics conservatively. But don’t let anybody tell them they are wrong, because nobody knows that for sure.

Longley’s view is really interesting, coming as it does from the Left.

You would do well to read it carefully.

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