We continue the synopsis of Pope Francis new document by Fr. James Martin, S.J. If you are interested in reading the document itself, you can go to our parish web site – www.holyspiritmo.org and find it there. —Fr. Mike
Top Ten Takeaways from “Amoris Laetitia” Synod on the Family – April 8 2016 – James Martin, S.J.
- Traditional teachings on marriage are affirmed, but the church should not burden people with unrealistic expectations. Marriage is between one man and one woman and is indissoluble; and same-sex marriage is not considered marriage. The church continues to hold out an invitation to healthy marriages. At the same time, the church has often foisted upon people an “artificial theological ideal of marriage” removed from people’s everyday lives (36). At times these ideals have been a “tremendous burden” (122). To that end, seminarians and priests need to be better trained to understand the complexities of people’s married lives. “Ordained ministers often lack the training needed to deal with the complex problems currently facing families” (202).
- Children must be educated in sex and sexuality. In a culture that often commodifies and cheapens sexual expression, children need to understand sex within the “broader framework of an education for love and mutual self-giving” (280). Sadly, the body is often seen as simply “an object to be used” (153). Sex always has to be understood as being open to the gift of new life.
- Gay men and women should be respected. While same-sex marriage is not permitted, the pope says that he wants to reaffirm “before all else” that the homosexual person needs to be “respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, and ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression or violence.” Families with LGBT members need “respectful pastoral guidance” from the church and its pastors so that gays and lesbians can fully carry out God’s will in their lives (250).
- All are welcome. The church must help families of every sort, and people in every state of life, know that, even in their imperfections, they are loved by God and can help others experience that love. Likewise, pastors must work to make people feel welcome in the church. “Amoris Laetitia” offers the vision of a pastoral and merciful church that encourages people to experience the “joy of love.” The family is an absolutely essential part of the church, because after all, the church is a “family of families” (80).
May 8th is Mother’s Day. We will have a blessing for all mothers at masses next weekend. The Knights of Columbus will have carnations that are available for mothers.