No doubt Pope Francis anticipated that within hours of issuing Amoris Laetitia, battle lines would be forming—once again. Nonetheless, this “apostolic exhortation” is a valiant and powerful exercise in the Petrine ministry of upholding church unity. Francis achieves this in the deft summation and synthesis of the two synods on the family and in the counterbalancing of two chapters. He describes one as setting forth “some essential aspects of the church’s teaching on marriage and the family” and the other as “the pastoral discernment of those situations that fall short of what the Lord demands of us.”
This is a balancing act conservative critics have been quick to reject. The pope, they complain, has tried to embrace the key concerns of both of the major contending parties at the synods—and the result is an inadequate, inconsistent, or incoherent document that weakens church unity. What these critics miss is that Francis is asking us to enlarge our very understanding of that unity. “Not all discussions of doctrinal, moral, or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium,” he writes in the document’s third paragraph. “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. This will always be the case as the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth (cf. Jn 16:13), until he leads us fully into the mystery of Christ and enables us to see all things as he does.”
Source: Commonweal Magazine
It would be right to describe the publication of Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis as a minor earthquake, though one preceded by plenty of warning tremors. And while the Catholic Church’s foundations may have been shaken, the walls and roof are still standing. Francis was well aware when he was elected Pope that the basic weakness in the Church’s mission to evangelise was its reputation as a stern and unforgiving teacher in the field of sexual and marital ethics, something that touches people’s lives most intimately. Put simply, it did not sound like the gentle voice of a loving mother. Francis had to respect as far as possible the content of the teaching. But he could change the one thing that may matter more than content for ordinary Catholics – its tone.
Source: The Tablet
When Pope Francis released a widely anticipated document on family life last week, he didn’t just weigh in on controversial topics like whether remarried Catholics may take communion (maybe) and whether the Catholic church will approve gay marriages (definitely not).
He said something more likely to be overlooked but also very unusual for a Catholic leader: He wrote about the joy of sex.
In the document, called Amoris Laetitia, Francis frankly addressed sex as a practice married couples work at over a lifetime. His approach to sex and contraception is notable for its affirmation of sexual passion, its realism about what can go wrong in marital relationships and its focus on growing in intimacy. All three are unusual in official Catholic teaching.
The pope wrote in this apostolic exhortation that he seeks to avoid continuing a tradition of “almost exclusive insistence on the duty of procreation” combined with a “far too abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage.”
Source: The Washington Post
In attempting to craft his Apostolic Exhortation, Pope Francis was faced with impossibly conflicting demands: intense pressure from the reformists to introduce changes to pastoral practice (if not actual doctrine) on some hot-button topics, competing with equally intense pressure from the conservative side to reaffirm both doctrine and the rules on pastoral practice. We should also remember, that any direct change in doctrine was never in fact on the cards: that was not the purpose of the family synods, and is not the nature of an apostolic exhortation, which traditionally, is purely pastoral.
This is why it is very much a compromise, and reading the full text is very much an ambidextrous exercise: any fair assessment of the Exhortation must repeatedly assert, “On the one hand….. , on the other hand”. For every disappointment, especially for LGBT Catholics, there is a more optimistic qualification. For every sign of hope, there is a matching disappointment.
- African Theologian Expects LGBT Welcome, Inclusion to Follow from “Amoris Laetitia”
- “The Joy of Love”: Also for Lesbian and Gay Catholics?
- Amoris Laetitia – Goodbye to “Objectively Disordered”?
- Francis Proposes Better Psychosexual Training for Priests
- Pope Francis’ Blistering Attack on Catholic Marriage Discourse.
- If the door is still not unlocked, maybe the key is under the mat? (Global Network of Rainbow Catholics)
- Amoris Laetitia” Is a Step in Process that Is Far From Over, Say Commentators (Bondings 2.0)
- Some Hope But Not Much Joy for LGBT Catholics in Pope’s ‘Joy of Love’ Document (Bondings 2.0)
- Amoris Laetitia: Reaction from the Catholic Community (The Tablet)
Pope Francis has criticized those who care more about the letter of the law than people’s individual situations, continuing to assert the overarching theme of the landmark apostolic exhortation on the family he issued last week.
Speaking during his homily at Mass on Monday (April 11), Francis warned Catholics against such behavior by recalling the day’s scripture reading from the Acts of the Apostles in which Stephen is accused of blasphemy by religious leaders of the day.
“Their hearts, closed to God’s truth, clutch only at the truth of the Law, taking it by ‘the letter,’ and do not find outlets other than in lies, false witness and death,” Francis said, according to the report by Vatican Radio.
Source: – CRUX
La question des couples homosexuels est abordée au chapitre 6 esquissant « Quelques perspectives pastorales », sous le titre « Certaines situations complexes » (n°248 et suivants) :
250. L’Église fait sienne l’attitude du Seigneur Jésus qui, dans un amour sans limite, s’est offert pour chaque personne sans exceptions.
En note de bas de page, l’exhortation apostolique du Saint-Père vise ici la Bulle Misericordiae Vultus, à son numéro 12 : « L’Église a pour mission d’annoncer la miséricorde de Dieu, cœur battant de l’Évangile, qu’elle doit faire parvenir au cœur et à l’esprit de tous. L’Épouse du Christ adopte l’attitude du Fils de Dieu qui va à la rencontre de tous, sans exclure personne. De nos jours où L’Église est engagée dans la nouvelle évangélisation, le thème de la miséricorde doit être proposé avec un enthousiasme nouveau et à travers une pastorale renouvelée. Il est déterminant pour L’Église et pour la crédibilité de son annonce de vivre et de témoigner elle-même de la miséricorde. Son langage et ses gestes doivent transmettre la miséricorde pour pénétrer le cœur des personnes et les inciter à retrouver le chemin du retour au Père. »
Dans son «exhortation apostolique» rendue publique ce vendredi midi, le pape François reconnaît la valeur de certaines union libres stables et appelle à l’intégration des divorcés remariés (sans évoquer l’accès à la communion). Aucun changement en revanche sur le statut des homosexuels
Le pape François a rendu public vendredi un texte très attendu sur la famille dans lequel il tend la main aux personnes «en situation irrégulière» dans l’Eglise catholique, dont les nombreux divorcés remariés, mais qui décevra les homosexuels. La conférence de presse était retransmise à la mi-journée en direct sur Radio Vatican.
Source: Le Temps
“Amoris Laetitia” is above all a pastoral document, which the pope intends to serve as “an aid to reflection, dialogue and pastoral practice, and as a help and encouragement to families in their daily commitments and challenges.” We hope this round up of in-depth coverage and expert analysis will serve to deepen your own reflection and open a fruitful dialogue about the joys and trials of families today.
Pope Francis’ Exhortation on the Family an ‘Organic Development of Doctrine’ By Gerard O’Connell
Reactions Roll In to Apostolic Exhortation from Pope Francis By Kevin Clarke
Top Ten Takeaways from ‘Amoris Laetitia’ By James Martin, S.J.
A Joyful Vision of Christian Marriage By Robert P. Imbelli
The Listening Pope: Surprising sources of “Amoris Laetitia” By Kevin Ahern
A Pastor to His People: For Francis, the ‘good of souls’ comes first. By Drew Christiansen, S.J.
Podcast: What’s Conscience Got to Do With It? By The Editors
Source: America Magazine
When a pope pronounces, there are two mistakes to make. The first is to suppose that Catholics will feel bound to obey him; the second to decide he is not worth listening to. This is especially true of Pope Francis, who has some really interesting and important things to say and fewer illusions than most recent popes about how they will be received by the faithful. His most recent production has been a summary of two long and occasionally acrimonious meetings of bishops about what the Catholic church should do regarding modern families in a changing world which is, in many respects, hostile to all forms of permanence, and to all promises that are unconditional, rather than contractual. The most neuralgic point was the reception of communion by divorced and remarried couples. This is something which is clearly forbidden by church law, and just as clearly accepted in all those western countries where divorce has become part of the pattern of normal life.
Source: The Guardian
IF THE DOOR IS STILL NOT UNLOCKED MAYBE THE KEY IS UNDER THE MAT ?
Pope Francis’s response to the 2014 & 2015 Synods of Catholic Bishops on Marriage & Family, the Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of Love , raises more questions than it answers for LGBTQI Catholics, parents and families, globally. Disappointed by the light touch given to same-sex and gender identity concerns in the papal document, published 8 April 2016, the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics welcomes, nevertheless, the fact that the doors of welcome in this Jubilee Year of Mercy have not been slammed shut definitively. However, the GNRC is pleased that Pope Francis offers some clues as to where the key might be found, even if it looks more like it might be under the door-mat!
Pope Francis has opened up new ways for the Church to engage pastorally with the reality of its members’ lives, including all its LGBTQI people of God. The GNRC welcomes the move away from outmoded theological understandings, and emphasis on law and regulations, to strategies which empower all who minister in the Church to stand alongside and learn from those whom it has previously considered ‘irregular’ or even ‘disordered’. A key question now is how The Joy of Love’s principles on personal and ecclesial discernment, primacy of conscience, respectful and justice-rooted pastoral care, and refreshed ways of doing moral theology can be applied within LGBTQI contexts.
The Exhortation reinforces the priority of respect for the human dignity of each person, not only in its rejection of homophobic and transphobic discrimination but in any form of aggression or violence towards LGBTQI people. These general statements need to lead to the Vatican’s active and public support for global de-criminalisation, as well as the condemnation of torture and the death penalty on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Vatican must be vocal in its support for LGBTQI human rights and the GNRC regrets that the unfounded allegation that aid to poorer countries continues to be linked to the implementation of same-sex marriage remains Vatican rhetoric.
Even though the emphasis on pastoral care priorities is warmly welcomed, the GNRC cannot ignore the continuing harm to spiritual and personal well-being caused by the use of untrue and inaccurate theological language such as ‘ intrinsically evil’ and ‘objectively disordered’ . The GNRC welcomes the lack of such vocabulary in The Joy of Love but such categories foster prejudicial stances towards LGBTQI persons and communities, not least in contributing to higher-than-average rates of bullying, self-harm, and suicide among LGBTQI younger people.
LGBTQI Catholics, parents and families cannot continue to be treated as ‘problems’ that challenge the wider Church, but must be seen as active participants in the dialogue to which Pope Francis calls us all, with gifts to bring for the common good. We therefore renew our call for a structured, international ‘listening process’ wherein the Church’s hierarchy and theologians can engage with LGBTQI Catholics, parents, and young people, including children in samesex families, alongside a diverse group of experts in the human sciences. Such a process will enable the whole people of God to develop its vision, language and teaching on human sexuality and gender identity.
A more detailed response to The Joy of Love may be found on the GNRC website.
The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC) brings together organizations and individuals who work for pastoral care and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, questioning, and intersex (LGBTQI) people and their families. The Network works for inclusion, dignity and equality of this community in the Roman Catholic Church and society. The GNRC was founded in October 2015 at the Rome conference, “Ways of Love”, with 80 participants from 30 countries. To date, the GNRC represents 25 groups of LGBTQI Catholics, their families and friends from all continents.