Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago will be among the leading clergy and theologians on campus Oct. 5 and 6 for the symposium “Amoris Laetitia: A New Momentum for Moral Formation and Pastoral Practice,” hosted by the Jesuit Institute, led by institute director and Canisius Professor of Theology James F. Keenan, S.J.

Cardinal Blase Cupich
Cardinal Blase Cupich
(Read an advance of the event in National Catholic Reporter.)

The product of two synods on the family convened by Pope Francis in 2014 and 2015, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) is an apostolic exhortation on love, individuality and the family that was signed by the pope in March of 2016. The announcement gained attention for its call to appreciate the difficulties of married life today, stress understanding over condemnation, and concern for the sacramental needs of divorced and remarried Catholics.

Through Amoris Laetitia, the pope “is inviting the Church to a renewed process of moral formation and pastoral practice with regard to marriage and family life that is rooted in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s faith,” Fr. Keenan notes.

On a broader level, the pope set out a vision of renewal for the whole Church, Fr. Keenan said. Central to that are opportunities for discussion and reflection based upon the model of the synods that bring together church leaders.

Fr. Keenan said the symposium aims to assist the US church in further “receiving” Amoris Laetitia and beginning to fulfill the vision set forth by Pope Francis. In particular, the panels will look at the issues facing Church leaders at the diocesan level.

“It is a new way of listening, consensus building, and setting an agenda for the future of the Church,” said Fr. Keenan, co-host of the symposium with Cardinal Cupich. “Pope Francis doesn’t want a grand plan. But he wants to know what each country wants to do.”

In other countries, major members of the hierarchy have co-hosted with Catholic universities similar seminars on Amoris Laetitia.  Fr. Keenan hopes that this seminar of bishops and scholars might further the agenda of Pope Francis, particularly on the important topic of marriage.

In addition to Cupich, conference participants include Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck, of Germany, Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy, Malta Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Cardinal Kevin Farrell, from the Vatican. Msgr. Philippe Bordeyne of Paris' Institut Catholique, La Civilita Cattolica Editor Antonio Spadaro, S.J., and Msgr. John Strynkowski, of the US Council of Catholic Bishops will be part of the program as well. Also attending will be Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas, Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester, Burlington, Vt., Bishop Christopher Coyne, Rapid City, SD, Bishop Steven Robert Biegler, Lafayette, Ind., Bishop Timothy Doherty, Indianapolis Archbishop Charles Thompson and San Bernardino, Calif., Bishop Gerald Barnes .

Boston Archbishop Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM, Cap., and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, chairman of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, are unable to attend, but are sending their delegates, Bishop Mark O’Connell and Andy Lichtenwalner, executive director of the archbishop’s committee, respectively.

Boston College faculty participants include Professor of Theology Kenneth Himes, OFM, Darald and Juliet Libby Professor Cathleen Kaveny, Associate Professor of Theology Brian Robinette, Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology Richard Gaillardetz, J. Donald Monan Professor of Theology Lisa Sowle Cahill, and School of Theology and Ministry Associate Professor Hosffman Ospino.

–Ed Hayward / University Communications