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

The Vatican’s report on Catholic family life – the Guardian briefing

On Friday, the Vatican will publish a papal document on Catholic family life. It follows two lengthy consultative summits of Catholic bishops in 2014 and 2015 to consider various family issues.

Pope Francis’s document is known formally as an “apostolic exhortation” and will be published under the title Amoris Laetitia – The Joy of Love.

After last October’s three-week synod to discuss the “vocation and mission of the family in the church and the modern world”, the 190 bishops who took part issued a long document for the pope to consider. The pope is now ready to sum up the two-year debate within the church and indicate a way forward.

An apostolic exhortation is a vehicle for the pope to communicate his views and encourage the church to follow them in practice, but does not change church doctrine.

Source:The Vatican’s report on Catholic family life – the Guardian briefing | News | The Guardian

Vatican guide says Francis’ family document puts doctrine ‘at service of pastoral mission’ 

A Vatican reading guide sent to Catholic bishops globally ahead of the release of Pope Francis’ widely anticipated document on family life says the pontiff wants the church to adopt a new stance of inclusion towards society and to ensure its doctrines are “at the service of the pastoral mission.”

The guide — sent by the Vatican’s office for the Synod of Bishops in preparation for Friday’s release of “Amoris Laetitia; On Love in the Family” — explains that Francis “encourages not just a ‘renewal’ but even more, a real ‘conversion’ of language.”

“The Gospel must not be merely theoretical, not detached from people’s real lives,” states the guide. “To talk about the family and to families, the challenge is not to change doctrine but to inculturate the general principles in ways that they can be understood and practiced.”

“Our language should encourage and reassure every positive step taken by every real family,” it continues.

Source:  National Catholic Reporter

The Million-Dollar Question: What Will Be In the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation? 

The countdown begins.

In one week from today, the long-awaited document from Pope Francis which will summarize the 2014 and 2015 Vatican synods on the family and offer his direction for pastoral practice will be released on Friday, April 8, 2016, at 12 noon, Rome time (6:00 a.m. for the U.S. east coast).  The Vatican announced the release date of the document, known as an apostolic exhortation, yesterday, according to a news story in The National Catholic Reporter.

Source:  Bondings 2.0

Pope Francis is world’s most popular leader, poll finds

Pope Francis is the most popular world leader according to a new opinion poll by WIN/Gallup.The survey, taken by 1,000 people in 64 countries respectively, puts the popularity of the Pope above US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande.Francis achieved a net score of +41 – the difference between favourable and unfavourable opinions – 11 points ahead of closest rival President Obama, who achieved +30.Citizens in countries around the world were asked: “Irrespective of your own religion, do you have a very favourable, somewhat favourable, somewhat unfavourable or very unfavourable opinion of Pope Francis?”Five out of 10 respondents (54 per cent) hol

Source: Pope Francis is world’s most popular leader, poll finds

Are big changes coming to the Catholic Church? Pope Francis finally wraps up anticipated document on controversial family issues

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – Pope Francis has become recognized for some of his unconventional practices as pope, and his newest writings may further push him into that role of the “modern-day pontiff.””This the most important test for this pope to show us how he deals with dissent in the Church, how he deals with divided issues,” said Massimo Faggioli, a Church historian who directs the Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship at the University of St. Thomas, a Catholic school in St. Paul, according to The Washington Post. Since the launch of discussions over the “practicalities” within the Catholic church’s different families, there have been two very important Synods with top bishops of the church and countless rumors surrounding the pope’s unique position on the matters.

…..Pope Francis’ addressing of the topics of divorced and remarried Catholics has become “the most important moment in the Church in the last 50 years. This was the biggest sign of hope that in the Catholic Church there are ideas, and we can talk about it. No one before Francis ever had the courage to think about that” (Massimo Faggioli)

Source: Catholic Online