This review article documents how Amoris Laetitia has been received and implemented, five years after the post-synodal exhortation on family life was promulgated by Pope Francis. Theological engagement with and pastoral applications of Amoris Laetitia have already proven life giving as we celebrate the Year of the Family in local contexts, even as questions remain about how best to interpret the document. Many of those questions center on how chapter 8 should be read vis-à-vis the tradition—whether it is a corruption of the tradition, a restating of the tradition, or a coherent development of the tradition.
Catholic feminism has flourished in the decades following Humanae Vitae. Still, Catholic women do not speak with one voice on the issue of birth control. I argue that Humanae Vitae has had far-reaching damaging effects on many Catholic women and their spirituality, moral agency, and fertility. Nevertheless, any feminist critique of the document must also take seriously the experiences of Catholic women who express that practicing natural family planning has brought empowerment, good health, and increased spousal intimacy. Further ecclesial discernment is needed, with special attention to women’s leadership on this issue.