Archbishop Aquila: “The Joy of Love” is relevant, timely

Archbishop Aquila

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver is calling Pope Francis’ recent letter on marriage and family “both relevant and important for our time,” while also noting that it deserves careful study and reflection.

Titled Amoris Laetitia, or “The Joy of Love”, the 256-page document published April 8 is the conclusion of a two-year synod process that gathered hundreds of bishops together with the Pope to discuss issues surrounding marriage and the family. The document is referred to as a “post-synodal apostolic exhortation.”

“Pope Francis has provided the Church with an in-depth reflection on Christian marriage, the intricacies of relationships, and the struggles that people face in modern society,” commented Archbishop Aquila.

He also noted that “while many commentators and pundits will make their interpretations known in the media in the coming days,” the Holy Father’s advice to carefully read the exhortation is sound.” Archbishop Aquila said he plans to offer his own thoughts on the document “after careful reflection and consideration.”

The letter is “both relevant and important for our time,” the archbishop remarked, adding that he is “grateful for [the Pope’s] thoughts on love in the family.”

Full statement of Archbishop Aquila is below:

Archbishop’s statement on “The Joy of Love”

With Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”), Pope Francis has provided the Church with an in-depth reflection on Christian marriage, the intricacies of relationships, and the struggles that people face in modern society. Throughout the exhortation, the Holy Father repeatedly calls for extending mercy to those in difficult situations while also conveying to people the truth about marriage and family given to us by Jesus Christ through the teachings and tradition of the Church.

In the introduction of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis advises everyone to carefully read through the document because of its length and sometimes complex passages on matters of great significance. While many commentators and pundits will make their interpretations known in the media in the coming days, the Holy Father’s advice is sound. I will also follow this advice and will offer my own thoughts after careful reflection and consideration.

Pope St. John Paul II declared during his 1986 visit to Australia, “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” One doesn’t have to look very hard to see that families everywhere are experiencing the fallout from our culture’s confusion about sexuality and human relationships. For this reason, parishes in the Archdiocese of Denver offer support to those who are suffering from broken relationships, raising children as single parents, or have been harmed by the prevailing cultural ideas about sexuality.

Pope Francis’ exhortation is both relevant and important for our time, and I am grateful for his thoughts on love in the family as they call all societies and cultures to the gift and truth of married life.

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Denver Catholic syndicated columnist George Weigel is placing Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”) at the top of the list of longest papal documents in history, “by a good 10 percent or more.”

The 261-page letter released April 8 is a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, meaning it’s the concluding document that wraps up a two-year synod process that gathered hundreds of bishops together with the Pope to discuss issues surrounding marriage and the family.

“Its sheer size suggests the wisdom—although probably the futility, too—of Pope Francis’s plea that his apostolic exhortation ‘on love in the family’ be read ‘patiently and carefully,’ piece by piece, and then pondered as a whole,” Weigel wrote on National Review Online.

Weigel laments the probability that most Catholics “are simply not going to wade through a text of this length,” and he adds that this is unfortunate as the letter “says many important things about love, marriage, the family, and the current cultural crisis of a world in which the imperial autonomous Self is running roughshod over just about everything, leaving a lot of human unhappiness in its wake.”

That said, it didn’t stop him from putting together a comprehensive guide for anyone who wants to “take a cut” at reading “The Joy of Love”.

For those willing to take a deep dive into the exhortation, pay attention to two sentences that Weigel suggests form a framework for further discussions: “To show understanding in the face of exceptional situations never implies dimming the light of the fuller ideal, or proposing less than what Jesus offers to human beings. Today, more important than the pastoral care of failures is the pastoral effort to strengthen marriages and thus to prevent their breakdown” (Amoris Laeti, 307).

In his conclusion, Weigel suggests that the Pope’s letter on marriage and family could have a positive impact on a “world that badly needs to hear the truths the Pope teaches.” However, he cautions, that will only happen if the document is read in full, “with the care and patience its author requests.”

Read the full guide at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/433832/pope-francis-marriage-document-defends-catholic-teaching