Amoris Laetitiae: Panic on the Catholic Right

LGBT and other progressive Catholics who expressed disappointment that Amoris Laetitiae did not change Church doctrines, should pay attention to the panic it has raised on the other side, among the orthotoxic, conservative rearguard. Rorate Caeli was quick off the block, describing it immediately and unequivocally as a “catastrophe”. Now Voice of the Family have issued a formal call for Pope Francis to withraw it.

There is huge irony in this. Previously, these same people would have attacked anyone who criticized Pope John Paul II or Benedict XVI on sexual matters as cafeteria Catholics, or worse as heretics – just for daring to disagree with papal authority. Now they are doing the same thing (just as their hero, Cardinal Raymond Burke, has tried to insist that the document is just a papal opinion, without magisterial authority).

Those who like to think of themselves as guardian of the faith, are panicking as they  discover that it is themselves, and not the rest of us, who are out of step with the Catholic Church.

Voice of the Family calls on Pope Francis to withdraw Amoris Laetitia

Over 100 pro-life and pro-family leaders from all over the world leapt to their feet in applause at a meeting in Rome on Saturday after hearing a call for Pope Francis to withdraw his controversial exhortationAmoris Laetitia.

John Smeaton, co-founder of Voice of the Family and the CEO of the UK Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, issued the request to the Pope in his keynote address at the annual Rome Life Forum.

Smeaton spoke following Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who in his speech decried growing confusion in the Church, and who has previously expressed grave concerns about the exhortation.

Smeaton highlighted several concerns with the exhortation, including:

  • the section about sex education, which speaks at length about sex education in schools, without reference to the rights of parents;
  • references to public adultery which fail to point out the intrinsic evil of adultery;
  • the suggestion that adulterous sexual acts may be justifiable; and,
  • the false message that marriage is not indissoluble.

Source: LifeSite

Unity, Growth & Love in the Church 

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

Power of conscience puts laity at centre of change

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

English Bishop’s Response to “The Joy of Love”

Catholic Bishps’ Conference of England and Wales respond to Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, “The Joy of Love”

Amoris-Laetitia-banner, Catholic Bishops conference

Resolution on the Apostolic Exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia’

15/04/2016 10:33 am

The Bishops of England and Wales welcome the Pope’s Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.
Following the two synods on the family, the Exhortation is intended to aid reflection, dialogue, and pastoral practice on love and family. It offers great help and encouragement to families in their daily commitments and challenges. We are inspired by the Pope’s portrayal of God’s love present in the daily and often messy realities of family life. The Holy Father offers a rich scriptural presentation of the meaning of love, in a reflection on that well-known text of St Paul’s, “Love is patient, love is kind” (1 Cor 13:4-7) (90). Continue reading

A Quest Response to “Amoris Laetitia” (from Quest gay Catholic)

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.

Source:  Quest

Related Posts

Que dit Amoris Laetitia au sujet de l’homosexualité ? 

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. »

Source: Aleteia 

Amoris Laetitia: African Theologian Anticipates LGBT Welcome, Inclusion!

Many commentators on Amoris Laetitia have expressed disappointment that Pope Francis’ reminder of respect and freedom from discrimination for lesbian and gay people, was not accompanied by an explicit condemnation of the LGBT persecution found across much of Africa, or of the endorsement of criminal sanctions by some Catholic bishops.

However, at least one key African Catholic sees it differently, saying that the Pope’s words “should galvanize the Church in Africa to embrace wholeheartedly African families and their LGBT members“.

Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator

Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, SJ, is a Nigerian Jesuit currently serving in Kenya as the Provincial of the Eastern Africa Province of the Society of Jesus, a position he has held since 2009. An author, editor, and lecturer at Hekima College Jesuit School of Theology in Nairobi, Kenya, Father Orobator specializes in ethics and theology in the church and religion in African society.

Writing at National Catholic Reporter on his early response to Amoris Laetitia, he admits that he had expected more, says that the exhortation is not “groundbreaking”, and adds,

I believe that there is still a long way to go before we actually make the bold steps that are long overdue with regard to critical issues such as the role of women in church, homosexual unions, reproductive rights, all of which are broached and addressed in the document.

.
LGBT Catholics in particular will welcome his admission that bold steps are long overdue with regard to homosexual unions.

Even more welcome is his expectation that African bishops will in fact take on board Francis’ words on respect and freedom from discrimination, and act to welcome LGBT Catholics in the life of the African Church. We can but hope that he is right.

African theologian responds to ‘Amoris Laetitia’

 

Furthermore, on a continent where at least 38 countries criminalize homosexuality, the pope’s trenchant call for respect for human dignity, avoidance of unjust discrimination, aggression, and violence, and respectful pastoral guidance [paragraph 250], should galvanize the church in Africa to embrace wholeheartedly African families and their LGBT members who have been stigmatized, marginalized, and excluded from the life of the church. Church leaders need to dissociate themselves from governments and politicians who persecute gay people, and show example of respect for their dignity. In Africa, we say the church is “family of God,” implying that it welcomes all without discrimination. The preeminent mark of this church and the world church is hospitality. Clearly, Francis is calling the church in Africa to practice what it preaches by becoming a church that welcomes all into the family without discrimination.

Source: National Catholic Reporter

“Take a deeper look at Pope Francis’ statement on marriage and the family” – America Magazine

“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.

Francis, Family and Feminism: Changing the conversation around complementarity By Megan K. McCabe

In Good Conscience: What ‘Amoris Laetitia’ can teach us about responsible decision making By James T. Bretzke

Look to the Margins: Violence against women as a threat to the family By Meghan Clark

Discernment: A Key to Understanding ‘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.

Pope Francis Opens Doors to the Integration into Church Life of Catholics in Irregular Situations By Gerard O’Connell

Podcast: What’s Conscience Got to Do With It? By The Editors

Source: America Magazine

The Guardian view on the pope and marriage: making good again ( The Guardian, Editorial)

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

The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics Responds to Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia – The Joy of Love

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!

key under the 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.

NOTE

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.