Task Force appointed in response to Apostolic Letter on marriage, family


PROVIDENCE — The Diocese of Providence has established a Task Force for the Study and Implementation of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter “Amoris Laetitia.”

Eighteen religious and lay individuals, including four married couples, have been appointed by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin to serve on the task force, which he hopes will be able to provide him with some practical recommendations about the further study and implementation of “Amoris Laetitia” that will benefit all members of the diocesan Church.

“In promulgating “Amoris Laetitia,” our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has given the Church and the world a very comprehensive and compelling reflection on marriage and the family,” Bishop Tobin said.

“He addresses the nature, challenges and blessings of marriage and family life in our world today. Our Holy Father’s words certainly deserve careful and prayerful study.”

Described upon its highly anticipated release in April as a blueprint for the Pope’s vision of what the Church needs to do, “Amoris Laetitia” offers Francis’ reflections on the two Synods of Bishops meeting over the course of the previous year to discuss matters of marriage and the family.

Rather than proposing any changes to current Church teaching, “Amoris Laetitia” focuses instead on process and discernment and advocates prayerful discretion when considering such hot button topics as welcoming the divorced and civilly remarried and those of same-sex attraction seeking full communion with the Church.

While the document does not advocate that the church offer holy Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, Pope Francis does call upon the leaders of individual flocks throughout the world to be more understanding and welcoming of those living in situations not sanctioned by Church teaching, and try to draw them closer to the core of their faith rather than hold them at arm’s length.

Among other things, the Task Force will be asked to recommend the most effective ways that the local Church can demonstrate its openness toward individuals living in such situations.

Father Jonathan DeFelice, OSB, Vice Chancellor and Assistant Moderator of the Curia, serves as the Chairman of the Task Force.

He said that in releasing “Amoris Laetitia,” it was the Vatican’s expectation that the issues it addresses would be discussed at the individual church level around the world, with possible solutions to the challenges presented offered through that dialogue.

“Many dioceses have set up some kind of Task Force to take a look at the implications of the document and what sorts of things might make sense in the local Church because that’s very much been the message of Francis in this document that it’s to be adapted locally,” Father DeFelice said.

An example of an area the Task Force will explore, he said, is whether or not there is a different approach to the marriage preparation we offer today that would make sense for this diocese.

Bishop Tobin says he expects to receive at least some preliminary recommendations from the Task Force by the end of the year.

Diocesan Task Force for the Study and Implementation of the Apostolic Letter Amoris Laetitia

Father Jonathan DeFelice, OSB, Task Force Chairman

Mrs. Genevieve Kineke

Mr. Edward Trendowski

Dr. & Mrs. Rex Appenfeller

Mr. & Mrs. Carlo Samson

Mrs. Aida Neary

Mr. & Mrs. Ron Jelinek

Mr. & Mrs. Mike St. Thomas

Mr. & Mrs. Zach Augustine

Rev. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P.

Rev. Brian M. Sistare

Rev. Henry P. Zinno, Jr.

Ms. Annette Joseph

Ms. Eileen Peduto

Deacon Stephen Cote