Pope Francis advises compassion for all in landmark statement on family values

4 months, 17 days ago

Papel document calls for Catholic church to revamp its response to modern family life, but remains firmly anti-abortion

Pope Francis has called for the Catholic church to revamp its response to modern family life, striking a delicate balance between a more accepting tone towards gay people and defense of traditional church teachings on issues such as abortion.

In a landmark papal document entitled Amoris Laetitia ( Joy of Love ), Francis outlined his vision for the church on household issues, recommending priests to respond to their communities without mercilessly enforcing church rules: Each regions and countries, furthermore, are able to obtain answers better are in accordance with its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs, he wrote.

The apostolic exhortation concludes a two-year consultation that ensure bishops twice gather in Rome to debate issues affecting the worlds 1.2 billion Catholic.

In commentaries likely to be welcomed by some LGBT organisations, Francis urged the church to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while every sign of unjust discrimination is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggressivenes and violence.

But the pope stopped short of pushing for a altered in church doctrine. De facto or same-sex unions, for example, may not simply be equated with wedding, he said.

Such families should be given respectful pastoral guidance, so that the individuals who manifest a lesbian orientation can receive the aid they need to understand and fully to be implemented by Gods will in “peoples lives”, wrote the pontiff. The church defines same-sex relationships as intrinsically ailment, although this phrase was absent from the exhortation.

Following lengthy debate about the role in the church for remarried divorcees, who are not allowed to take holy communion, Francis did not call for the rules to be changed but said such parishioners must be made to feel part of the church.

[ They] should not be pigeonholed or fit into overly rigid categories leaving no room for a suitable personal and pastoral discernment, he said. Divorce was described as an evil that priests should help Catholics avoid, while being understanding towards those whose marriages have broken down.

Progressives have proposed the use of an internal forum in which a priest or bishop work with a Catholic who has divorced and remarried to decide collectively, privately and on a case-by-case basis if he or she can be fully re-integrated and receive communion.

Francis hinted his support for this, went on to say that although he could not provide a new define of general rules … applicable to all cases, he called for responsible, personal and pastoral discernment of particular cases.

The position of remarried divorcees was a focal point of the Vaticans presentation of Amoris Laetitia on Friday, with Cardinal Christoph Schnborn, the archbishop of Vienna, stating the document contained huge novelties but not transgress with doctrine.

Schnborn recognised that some Catholics would be disappointed that the pope had not a new set of rules to govern the churchs reaction on the matter. The cardinal, who is viewed as a progressive within the Vatican hierarchy, said the popes answer demonstrated advance was being attained on church teaches and the document would offer material for further discussion.

Schnborn said the document demonstrated something had changed in the church discourse. Pope Francis speaks about households with a lucidity that is not easy to find in the magisterial documents on the church, he said.

Pope Francis has succeeded in speaking about all situations without cataloguing them, without categorising, with that outlook of fundamental kindnes that is associated with the heart of God, the cardinal added.

He was joined at the Holy See by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the synod of bishops, who praised the popes intervention: In an era of global crisis in which families often suffer, the exhortation takes a positive look at the beauty of married love and the family.

The Italian prelate lauded Francis for recognising the need for priests to help families experiencing difficulty. To accompany and integrate people who live in these so-called irregular situations, pastors need to look them in the face one by one, Baldisseri said.

In the document, reflecting the hands-on approach ensure throughout Francis three-year papacy, the pope emphasised the need for clergymen to reach out to members of their communities and present the church as a field hospital.

Baldisseri envisaged a difficult road ahead for priests, as they tried to follow the pontiffs guidance. We are not used to such a run, he said. Everything was imposed from above and now we have to apply discernment, as Cardinal Schnborn explained. We have to apply it to each and every situation. So we have to keep the doctrine of religion very clear.

Francesco Tommasi, an assistant professor of religious doctrine at La Sapienza University in Rome, said the document represented the popes pragmatic and positive approach, reflecting the churchs gradual and slow pace of change. He suggested that criticism would come largely from conservatives, who may seek to play down the impact of Francis agenda.

The theory thats nothing changed, that its all the same, is that of the conservatives. Each period( a document is released) they want to say that nothing has changed, Tommasi told the Guardian.

The broader document considered Francis recognise the Catholic churchs waning appeal to young person, exhorting churchmen to present a more appealing view of matrimony. I think of Saint Valentines Day; in some countries, commercial interests are quicker to see the health risks of this gala than are we in the church, he wrote during a segment on marriage preparation.

The pontiff also dedicated two pages to the erotic dimension of love within matrimony, promoting a positive vision of sexuality.[ This] must be seen as a gift from God that enriches the relationship of the spouses, he said.

Formal sex education in schools, however, was decried as promoting narcissism through their consideration of safe sexuality. Such express give a negative position towards the natural procreative finality of sexuality, as if an eventual child were an foe to be protected from, wrote Francis, asserting the churchs opposition to contraception.

In discussing reproduction, the pope voiced the Vaticans opposition to abortion in all circumstances: No alleged right to ones own body can justify a decision to terminate that life.

The pope also showed no opening towards fertility treatment, describing creation as something which must be received as a gift and suggested infertile couples adopt.

Although the apostolic exhortation continues church regulations that have remained in place for generations, the document also contains clues of the perceptiveness that has attained the pope a popular figure globally.

Much hurt and many problems outcome when we stop looking at one another, he wrote, listing a string of common complains of family members feeling invisible or uncared for.

Childish behaviour was another problem the pontiff considered afflicting marriages. Only in their forties do some people achieve a maturity that should have come at the end of adolescence, he remarked.

The 79 -year-old pontiff also investigated the way technology affects relationships, such as when people stay on their mobile phones during meal hours. He considered the fast pace of the online world impacting peoples approach to relationships: They believe, along the lines of social networks, that love can be connected or disconnected at the caprice of the consumer, and the relationship rapidly blocked.

In addition to drawing on the challenges of the internet, the papal document also touched upon a number of other issues affecting families, such as abuse, migration and unemployment.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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