“The Joy of Love”: Pope Francis between the ideal and the real

“In his Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, ‘The Joy of Love: On Love in the Family’, Pope Francis has spoken as a true pastor who really knows the human heart and is well aware of the pressures now facing marriage and the family”, said Archbishop Mark Coleridge on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference today.

“The Pope moves between the ideal and the real, offering the Church’s vision of marriage and the family but also dealing with the facts on the ground that can be messy,” Archbishop Coleridge said. In the document, which was launched at 8pm AEST in Rome, the Holy Father sees marriage and the family in dynamic terms, writing of them as a journey. ‘The Synod process’, he notes, ‘allowed for an examination of the situation of families in today’s world’, opening up ‘a broader vision’ and a renewed awareness of the importance of marriage and the family, which is counter cultural in today’s  society.

Francis does not shy away from complex and controversial issues including divorce, abortion, domestic violence, euthanasia, same-sex marriage and gender ideology. He stresses the need to care for the most vulnerable in society, especially the elderly, people with disabilities and migrants. In reference to the sexual abuse of children, Francis said, ‘the sexual abuse of children is all the more scandalous when it occurs in places where they ought to be made safe’ (45).

‘On unions between homosexual persons, the Pope writes, ‘We would like before all else to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration’ (250). ‘Only the exclusive and indissoluble union between a man and a woman has a plenary role to play in society as a stable commitment that bears fruit in new life’ (52).

“The Pope’s words are both high-visioned and home-spun, at times soaring but often down-to-earth. They summon the Church to accompany people on their journey, listen to them and help them discern the truth of their situation, and discover where God is in the mess,” Archbishop Coleridge said. 

Dr Maria Harries, Chair of Catholic Social Services Australia, said, “The Holy Father identifies the appalling impacts on families of a huge variety of evils such as war, violence, addictions, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, gross materialism and greed that lead to isolation, despair, loneliness, fragmentation of families and peoples everywhere”. “He invites us to not lose hope but to walk with and embrace families who suffer, married couples who are in trouble and those who feel alienated.” 

Shawn and Branka van der Linden, a married couple with four young children, who represent the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council, said, “To have a Church document that speaks in a realistic way about the practicalities of family life is a great encouragement and relevant to our lived experience”.

The text of Amoris Laetitia is available to download from the ACBC website: 
https://www.catholic.org.au/synod-2015/blog

Back to List


More News


22.10.2020

Bishop draws further attention to those made vulnerable by VAD

Bishop draws further attention to those made vulnerable by VAD  Bishop Tim Harris believes the concerns many indigenous people hold over Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) have been overlooked and underestimated and should further delay its legislation. Speak...

Read Full Article
7.09.2020

Catholic bishops call for new solidarity in election statement

Catholic bishops call for new solidarity in election statement Queensland’s Catholic bishops believe the state must discover “a new kind of solidarity” to deal with the impacts of COVID-19 and to find a way beyond the pandemic.  The bish...

Read Full Article
21.08.2020

Catholic leaders publish report on Church governance

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia have today published an “important and substantial” document on the review of diocesan and parish governance and management in Australia. The review was recommended by the ...

Read Full Article
19.05.2020

A word of encouragement to the Catholic cPeople of Australia from the Bishops of Australia

A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO THE CATHOLIC PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA FROM THE BISHOPS OF AUSTRALIA Dear brothers and sisters, Grace and peace to you in these Easter days. We write to you from a plenary meeting of the Bishops Conference which is like no other...

Read Full Article
7.04.2020

First Assembly of Plenary Council postponed

FIRST ASSEMBLY OF PLENARY COUNCIL POSTPONED In response to the dramatic changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the bishops of Australia have made the “difficult, but necessary” decision to postpone the first assembly of the Plenary Council. Chang...

Read Full Article
24.03.2020

Pastoral letter to the Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of Townsville

Pastoral letter to the Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of Townsville regarding the latest instructions in response to COVID-19 Pandemic   Dear Friends Peace be with you.  At this time of world crisis all of us are going to miss gathering as commun...

Read Full Article
19.03.2020

Special Dispensation due to COVID-19

Dear People of the Diocese of Townsville I communicate once again concerning the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19.  Directives have already been put in place and I trust all parishes, in particular, are implementing the temporary liturgical changes and other...

Read Full Article
4.03.2020

Pastoral Statement on temporary liturgical changes as a result of COVID-19

PASTORAL STATEMENT ON TEMPORARY LITURGICAL CHANGES AS A RESULT OF THE CORONAVIRUS 4 March 2020 My dear Brothers and Sisters As you would be aware, the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is presenting many serious challenges to people, authorities and Gover...

Read Full Article
More Links in this section