8. april 2016
Pope Francis encourages marriage and family life, mindful of ideal and reality
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
In his papal document, Amoris Laetitia, ‘The Joy of Love: On Love in the Family’, Pope Francis has created a truly pastoral paper that moves between the ideal and the reality of marriage and family life today, said Archbishop Coleridge on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference today.
Launching the document at 8pm AEST in Rome, the Holy Father writes about marriage as a journey and how ‘the Synod process 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 away from key issues that we need to confront including sexual abuse, euthanasia, domestic violence, ‘same-sex’ marriage, sexual identity, accompanying the separated and divorced and care for the most vulnerable in society namely, the elderly, people with disabilities and migrants.
“He weaves all these thoughts into an inspiring call for a revitalisation of marriage and the family. His comments on political and philosophical issues are interspersed with practical discussion of how to listen and talk with one another and how to love,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
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, Francis 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)
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.
‘And 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.’