LGBT people want equality, not Pope’s compassion, says GLEN spokesman 

The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network said that it is disappointed by the Pope’s document on love and the family, calling it a missed opportunity to tackle homophobia.

Pope Francis published Amoris Laetitia (or ‘The Joy of Love’) this morning, in which he repeated the Catholic Church’s teaching that gay partnerships are not the same as traditional marriage.

Kieran Rose, the co-chair of GLEN, said it was a shame that the pontiff wasn’t more inclusive.

“It was billed as something that was going to be very progressive, but basically the only progressive thing, as far as I can see, in the statement is a call for compassion for LGBT people,” he said.

“To be very honest with you, I think me and every other single LGBT person are far more interested in equality and full human rights than in somebody’s compassion.”


Some Hope But Not Much Joy for LGBT Catholics in Pope’s ‘Joy of Love’ Document

Statement of Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry,   in response to Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and family life.

While Pope Francis’ latest document, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), contains some hopeful passages, it does not inspire joy in LGBT Catholics and their supporters.  As far as sexual orientation and gender identity issues are concerned, the pope’s latest apostolic exhortation reiterates church formulas which show that the Vatican has yet to learn from the experiences and faith lives of so many LGBT Church members or their supporters.

Though the pope calls for church leaders and ministers to be less judgmental and to respect individuals’ consciences, he has not provided a new pastoral approach to LGBT issues or people.

On other family topics such as divorce and co-habitation, Amoris Laetitia, offers some hopeful advice—and if this advice were simply applied to LGBT issues, which would not be incompatible to do, this document would have been much more positive.  Pope Francis calls for non-judgmental pastoral care, assisting people in developing their consciences, encouraging diverse pastoral responses based on local culture, and calling church leaders to be more self-critical.  All these things, if applied to LGBT people and issues, could produce enormous positive change in the church.

Source: Bondings 2.0

Top ten takeaways from “Amoris Laetitia” 

At America magazine, James Martin S.J. lists “top 10 takeaways” from Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia” (The Joy of Love):

Pope Francis’s groundbreaking new document “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”) asks the church to meet people where they are, to consider the complexities of people’s lives and to respect people’s consciences when it comes to moral decisions. The apostolic exhortation is mainly a document that reflects on family life and encourages families. But it is also the pope’s reminder that the church should avoid simply judging people and imposing rules on them without considering their struggles.

Using insights from the Synod of Bishops on the Family and from bishops’ conferences from around the world, Pope Francis affirms church teaching on family life and marriage, but strongly emphasizes the role of personal conscience and pastoral discernment. He urges the church to appreciate the context of people’s lives when helping them make good decisions.  The goal is to help families—in fact, everyone—experience God’s love and know that they are welcome members of the church. All this may require what the pope calls “new pastoral methods” (199).


Source: America Magazine

Martin continues, by listing and expanding on the following “top 10 takeaways”:

The church needs to understand families and individuals in all their complexity.

The role of conscience is paramount in moral decision making.

Divorced and remarried Catholics need to be more fully integrated into the church.

All members of the family need to be encouraged to live good Christian lives.

What might work in one place may not work in another.

Traditional teachings on marriage are affirmed, but the church should not burden people with unrealistic expectations.

Children must be educated in sex and sexuality.

Gay men and women should be respected.

All are welcome.

Pope Francis: We must ”see in the women’s movement the working of the Spirit.” 

Changing the conversation around complementarity

For many people, the Catholic perspective on marriage and family life is a fraught subject. Official statements and, to varying degrees, the work of professional theologians and popular thinkers can seem to fall short of the complex, lived realities and diversity of familial circumstances in the lives of members of the Body of Christ. Too often, we are presented with an idealized depiction of “the Christian family”: the pious nuclear family modeled on the Holy Family.

It is well known that, in this model, those who are divorced, especially if remarried, are left out. However, the ramifications go even further: Limiting the view of the family to this single image means we are left without any meaningful recognition of the familial commitments of single adults. Also missed are the importance of relationships with and responsibilities to our parents, potential siblings and extended families, including in-laws. For many Catholics, especially women, the corollary discussions of gender become particularly painful.

With “Amoris Laetitia,” Pope Francis offers a refreshing departure from this oft-repeated model. While not the bulk of the document, he offers a radical shift in tone regarding gender and feminism. Catholic teaching on gender upholds gender complementarity, which maintains that men and women have distinct roles, even characteristics, grounded in their biological sex. For example, St. John Paul II’s “Mulieris Dignitatem” framed femininity as linked to motherhood, which is necessarily compassionate and nurturing, regardless of whether or not an individual woman is actually a mother. One consequence has been that mainstream feminism has often been viewed as suspect in Catholic circles because it seeks to modify gendered roles in families and is seen at the popular level to be synonymous with sexual liberation. While Pope Francis does not reject complementarity, he begins to move this conversation in a new direction.

Source:  America Magazine

What Is Francis Saying with ‘Amoris Laetitia’? 

Amoris Laetitia, the fruit of the long “synodal process” that unfolded between 2014 and 2015, is in keeping with what we’ve come to understand as Pope Francis’s pastoral and nonacademic style. The exhortation draws from his previous catechesis and that of John Paul II, as well as from the documents of bishops’ conferences around the world. And, at 52,500 words, it is very long.But how does the document actually address the at-times contentiously debated issues that arose in the course of the two synod gatherings in Rome?

If there’s an interpretative key, it’s this statement that appears early on in the text: “I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it.” Yet Amoris Laetitia is a carefully constructed document that will give none of the most vocal factions on opposing sides of an issue any reason to claim “victory” or “defeat.”

Source:  Commonweal Magazine

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

Apostolic Exhortation on the family: The Pope is calling for a new openness on the part of the Church

The apostolic exhortation ‘The Joy of Love’ is published today and signals the start of a more flexible, understanding Church.


With his document on the family, Pope Francis has let a chink of light into the Church’s window. His Apostolic Exhortation, titled “The Joy of Love”, signals the start of a more flexible, understanding Church. No longer is it acceptable to “throw stones” of doctrine at those struggling in their personal lives and things are not just about the rules. What used to be black and white are various shades of grey

Source:  The Tablet 

Pope Francis Calls on Church to Be Welcoming and Less Judgmental

In a broad proclamation on family life, Pope Francis on Friday called for the Roman Catholic Church to be more welcoming and less judgmental, and he seemingly signaled a pastoral path for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive holy communion.

The 256-page document, known as an apostolic exhortation and titled “Amoris Laetitia,” Latin for “The Joy of Love,” offers no new rules or marching orders, and from the outset Francis makes plain that no top-down edicts are coming. Alluding to the diversity and complexity of a global church, Francis effectively pushes decision making downward to bishops and priests, stating that a different country or region “can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs.”

Source:  The New York Times

Pope to stress broader conception of family – Religion News Service

Pope Francis’ landmark text on the family, scheduled for release on Friday (April 8), is expected to encourage a more open attitude towards the non-nuclear family, but contain no change in church doctrine.

The Apostolic Exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”), will be the culmination of two synods in which family matters were hotly debated by bishops. Since the second such conference concluded in October, Francis has been charged with producing a defining text to determine the Catholic Church’s way forward on everything from divorce to pornography.

The world’s 1.2 billion Catholics will likely find a push for pastoral care and a less rigid focus on doctrine.

Source:  – Religion News Service

Reader’s Guide Offers Hints to Tomorrow’s Much-Anticipated Apostolic Exhortation 

Tomorrow, April 8th, is the day that Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), his response to the 2014 and 2015 Vatican synods on marriage and family life will be published.

Many Catholics, especially those concerned with LGBT ministry and equality, have been eager to read what this pope, who is always full of surprises, has to say on issues of marriage, family, gender, and sexuality.

The National Catholic Reporter‘s (NCR) Joshua McElwee has provided information from a guide that the Vatican sent to the world’s bishops this week.  The guide is intended to prepare bishops for the release of Amoris Laetitia, but it also gives a tiny peek into what might be in store in Pope Francis’ much-anticipated document.The NCR article noted that the Vatican document said that “”The Pope’s concern is . . . to re-contextualize doctrine at the service of the pastoral mission of the Church,” perhaps indicating that nothing will be doctrinally novel in the text, as the Vatican has been saying for months, but perhaps there will be new directions in how to present doctrine.

The reading guide said that the document “encourages not just a ‘renewal’ but even more, a real ‘conversion’ of language.”

Source: Reader’s Guide Offers Hints to Tomorrow’s Much-Anticipated Apostolic Exhortation