Monsignor Livio Melina, the former President of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, who was sacked by Pope Francis, spoke on Jun 12th at the meeting of the Polish moral theologians in Nysa about the controversial document Amoris Laetitia. Melina is very appreciated by Benedict XVI, whose collaborator he was at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In his talk, Melina quoted Pope Francis' preference for a "bruised, hurting and dirty Church that was out on the streets" (EG 49). He comments: After Amoris Laetitia "it can hardly be denied that the situation in pastoral care as well as in moral theology is now "bruised, hurting and dirty". For Melina, "it is not certain that this will lead to a renewal of pastoral care."
Cardinal Kasper's interpretation of Amoris Laetitia as a paradigm shift or development of the teaching of John Paul II, Melina calls - quote - "a mere ploy" which leaves the question unanswered, how a sacramental discipline that until now was excluded, especially by John Paul II, should now be admitted.
Melina criticizes voices claiming that Amoris Laetitia only regards the pastoral care and does not touch doctrine. Quote, "Doctrine is thus relegated to the museum of precious treasures, but irrelevant for human life." But a pastoral care without doctrine is eventually reduced to a power play, Melina warns.
The opinion, that access to the sacraments should be left to the judgment of each one's conscience, does not convince Melina. He points out that, this way, the truth, based on divine revelation, is subjected to the private conscience. Consequently, Melina argues, that the priestly words in the sacrament of confession "I absolve you" would have no sense. The priest should rather say, "I take notice that your conscience absolves you."