The Buenos Aires document did suggest that penitents in a limited number of circumstances, after careful discernment, could access the sacraments.
"If one comes to recognize that in a specific case, there are limitations that attenuate responsibility and culpability, particularly when a person believes that he would fall into a subsequent fault of harming the children of the new union, Amoris laetitia opens up the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. These sacraments in turn dispose the person to continue to mature and grow with the power of grace."
Adequate discernment of each case deserves "special care" in examples such as a new union that arose from a recent divorce or the situation of someone who has consistently failed in his family obligations.
The document also warned of situations where a person justifies or flaunts one's situation "as if it were part of the Christian ideal."
"In these more difficult cases, we pastors must accompany with patience, trying to find some way of reinstatement," the Buenos Aires document said.
The document stressed the importance of the examination of conscience as well as the need to avoid confusion about Church teaching.
In some cases it may be appropriate that access to the sacraments takes place in "a discreet manner" when conflicting situations can be foreseen.
"But at the same time the person should not stop accompanying the community so that he or she grows in a spirit of understanding and of welcome, without this involvement creating confusion regarding the teaching of the Church about the indissolubility of marriage."
Pope Francis' Sept. 5 letter to the Buenos Aires bishops reflected on the difficulties of discernment.
"We know this is tiring, it is a matter of a 'person to person' pastoral ministry, not satisfied with programmatic, organizational or legal mediations, however necessary. Simply: to welcome, accompany, discern, integrate. Of these four pastoral attitudes the least cultivated and practiced is discernment; and I consider formation in discernment, personal and communitarian, in our seminaries and rectories to be urgent," he said.
He added that the apostolic exhortation was "the fruit of the work and prayer of the entire Church, with the mediation of the two synods and the Pope."
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The eighth chapter of Amoris laetitia had prompted much discussion and apparently conflicting views.
In a May 4 speech, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, countered arguments that the apostolic exhortation eliminated Church discipline on marriage and allowed in some cases the divorced-and-remarried to receive the Eucharist "without the need to change their way of life."
He placed the exhortation in the context of the writings of previous Popes.
"This is a matter of a consolidated magisterial teaching, supported by scripture and founded on a doctrinal reason: the salvific harmony of the sacrament, the heart of the 'culture of the bond' that the Church lives."
If Pope Francis' exhortation "had wanted to eliminate such a deeply rooted and significant discipline, it would have said so clearly and presented supporting reasons," Cardinal Müller said.
He countered claims that the exhortation's footnote 351 offered the sacraments to those living in an objective situation of sin.