Francis’ exhortation a radical shift to see grace in imperfection, without fearing moral confusion

In a radical departure from recent pastoral practice, Pope Francis has asked the world’s Catholic clergy to let their lives become “wonderfully complicated” by embracing God’s grace at work in the difficult and sometimes unconventional situations families and marriages face — even at risk of obscuring doctrinal norms.

The pontiff has also called on bishops and priests globally to set aside fears of risking moral confusion, saying they must avoid a tendency to a “cold bureaucratic morality” and shift away from evaluating peoples’ moral status based on rigid canonical regulations.

In a substantial and already hotly debated document addressing church teaching on family life, Francis says that Catholic bishops and priests can no longer make blanket moral determinations about so-called “irregular” situations such as divorce and remarriage.

Writing in his new apostolic exhortation, titled Amoris Laetitia (‘The Joy of Love’), the pope strongly advocates for the worth of the traditional, life-long Christian marriage but speaks respectfully of nearly all models of family life.

Source:  National Catholic Reporter

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