So far, the reception of the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia has mainly focussed on the question whether divorced people who have remarried could, on certain conditions, be allowed to take part in the Eucharist. This article shows that this conflict is merely a symptom of a fundamental paradigm shift in the church’s speaking about marriage and sexuality. This paradigm shift started as early as the Second Vatican Council and is reaffirmed and developed by pope Francis, for the new approach of an ethics of love with its liberal approach of sexuality has yet to fully be established in the Roman-Catholic Church. Therefore, Amoris laetitia can be regarded as a transitionary document. At the same time, this letter is important to more than just the debate on divorced people who have remarried. The basic condition of love is its central focus. This might even mean that the church’s and theology’s speaking about marriage and sexuality could contribute meaningfully to secularised society. But Amoris laetitia also has consequences within the church. There, the pope argues for synodality and decentralisation in the worldwide community of faith, and for a pastoral approach to the church’s doctrinal authority. That much was already clear even when he was still writing the exhortation. He also uses Amoris laetitia to point to the importance of a dynamic inculturation of Christian faith and the conscience and moral autonomy of people. Moreover, he explicitly appreciates the erotic aspects of physical love. Because of these aspects, his letter could also form an inspiration for partnership outside marriage or between homosexual partners. At the same time, doctrinal authority can only accept the sexual union in marriages between women and men, despite the actual situation. As a result, there is still tension between the church’s doctrines and the experience of many late modern people, despite Amoris laetitia.