The Holy Father has described his epistolary exchange with the Argentine bishops in September of 2016 as “authentic magisterium”.
This concerns the interpretation of the very controversial Chapter VIII of the Apostolic Exhortation on the family.
The news was made public on September 4, 2017: Cardinal Pietro Parolin, in his capacity as Secretary of State for the Holy See, signed the official rescript of the papal audience dated July 5, 2017, confirming that the letter from the bishops of Argentina to the pope – and the papal response – concerning the possibility of granting divorced and civilly “remarried” Catholics access to Communion is part of the authentic magisterium of the Church.
While it does not claim to be “infallible”, which would require“the obedience of faith”,this note, which is both technical and recent, theoretically obliges all to “religious reverence of the intelligence and of the will” to the doctrine taught.
This rescript does not fail to raise many questions: if the letter from the Argentine bishops, as Edward Peters, counselor to the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura declares, upholds “pervasive ambiguities which could open the way for others to impugn Church teachings”, how is it to be reconciled with the notion of authentic magisterium?
Theologians have a lot of work to do.