Share Truth of Family with Mercy
Share truth of family with mercy, help those struggling, pope says in "Amoris Laetitia" ("The Joy of Love") apostolic exhortation
VATICAN CITY — The same mercy and patience that are essential for building a strong family must be shown to those whose families are in trouble or have broken up, Pope Francis said in his highly anticipated postsynodal apostolic exhortation.
The document, "'Amoris Laetitia' (The Joy of Love), on Love in the Family," released April 8, contains no new rules or norms. However, it encourages careful review of everything related to family ministry and, particularly, much greater attention to the language and attitude used when explaining church teaching and ministering to those who do not fully live that teaching.
"No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed; families need constantly to grow and mature in the ability to love," Pope Francis wrote. People grow in holiness, and the church must be there to give them a helping hand rather than turn them away because they have not attained some degree of perfection.
St. Louis Auxilliary Bishop Edward Rice said "I think the Holy Father is very pastoral in using some of his terms and acknowledging some of the brokenness that we all know exists but we don't have to wallow in that brokenness and we can move on."
The exhortation was Pope Francis' reflection on the discussion, debate and suggestions raised during the 2014 and 2015 meetings of the Synod of Bishops on the family. Like synod members did, the pope insisted that God's plan for the family is that it be built on the lifelong union of one man and one woman open to having children.
Synod members, including priests, religious and laypeople serving as experts and observers, talked about everything from varied cultural forms of courtship to marriage preparation and from the impact of migration on families to care for elderly parents.
Pope Francis' document touches on all the issues raised at the synods and gives practical advice on raising children, urges a revision of sex-education programs and decries the many ways the "disposable culture" has infiltrated family life and sexuality to the point that many people feel free to use and then walk away from others.
"Everyone uses and throws away, takes and breaks, exploits and squeezes to the last drop. Then, goodbye," he wrote.