Commentary on Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love)


Here are a number of articles from millennial Catholics on Pope Francis’ recent post-synodal apostolic exhortation:

Look to the Margins by Meghan Clark: “Pope Francis offers what we have come to expect from him—a thoughtful, nuanced and substantial text that defies easy interpretation. It is also a text that looks to the margins, something else that is a clear Pope Francis trademark. He is attentive to the pressures and struggles of families living in poverty, but he also highlights another group on the margins: victims of domestic violence.”

Pope Francis’ new ‘Joy of Love’ precept offers no major overhaul of church doctrine, but urges a warmer approach toward ‘irregular’ couples by Christopher White: “This street level focus is why Francis dedicates the majority of this sweeping document not just to the issue of communion but the practical and concrete realities that often serve as an impediment to family life today. Within the document, he calls for the improvement of education for children as a primary means for passing on the faith, greater access to affordable housing, noting that “families and homes go together,” a rejection of pornography and “the commercialization of the body,” and pleas for us to show greater attention toward the elderly, the disabled, and migrants, as “they serve as a test of our commitment to show mercy in welcoming others and to help the vulnerable to be fully a part of our communities.”

Throughout his papacy, mercy has been the primary theme that has motivated Francis. Mercy, as understood by Francis does not come in the form of doctrinal change, but in greater pastoral care to the needs of those seeking to live out the faith in their everyday lives. The release of Amoris Laetitia reminds us that Francis is, indeed, asking that the Church reform its attitude toward modern family life. But his reform takes us back to the roots and serves as an invitation for us to recover the true meaning of marriage and family that is in danger of being lost.”

Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia: The Eucharist Calls Our Families to Transform the World by Michael Jordan Laskey: “Why does Pope Francis talk about the connection between the Eucharist and working for a more just world in a document about the family?The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. It is the celebration of Christ’s self-giving love and sacrifice for us, his brothers and sisters. We are meant to emulate this Eucharistic, others-centered love in our family lives – directed toward our own blood relatives, surely, but also reaching outward to all of God’s children, especially those who are hurting.”

The Joy of Love: 9 Moments to Savor in Amoris Laetitia by Timothy O’Malley: “The reader will discover anew the gift of marriage, the manner in which the world is humanely cultivated through the sacramental love of man and woman across the generations. He or she will think anew about the gift of children, not as “objects” to be cared for, not as an extension of parental identity, but as gifts from God, who form us to care for the least among us. He or she will be inspired to consider that the family is the source of missionary engagement with the Church and the world; the family is not simply the object of evangelization. Rather, the family is the subject of this renewal of the world in Christ–the place where the Eucharistic vocation of the Church toward self-giving love takes flesh.”

10 Inspiring Quotes from Amoris Laetitia by Michael Rossmann, SJ: “I think, for example, of the speed with which people move from one affective relationship to another. They believe, along the lines of social networks, that love can be connected or disconnected at a whim of the consumer, and the relationship quickly ‘blocked’… We treat affective relationships the way we treat material objects and the environment: everything is disposable; everyone uses and throws away, takes and breaks, exploits and squeezes to the last drop. Then, goodbye.” [39]

Amoris Laetitia: Deciding to Love by Danny Gustafson, SJ: “As he discusses the myriad ways in which family life can manifest the great gift of love that God offers us, Francis draws our attention again and again to what love really means.  Love means making a decision to love and to keep loving, day-in and day-out, moment by moment.”

Francis, Family and Feminism by Megan McCabe: “While Pope Francis does not reject complementarity, he begins to move this conversation in a new direction. Francis clearly states the important contribution of feminism to the world and church. He sharply condemns any view that would blame “women’s emancipation” for the many ways in which women’s bodies are reduced to objects, including surrogacy and commercialization and sexualization in the media.”

And here are some of the other interesting articles from around the web on Amoris Laetitia:

Pope’s family manifesto offers cautious opening on Communion by Ines San Martin: “On the hot-button question of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, Francis does not create any new Church law, but he does appear to encourage priests and bishops to be open to allowing at least some people in that situation to return to the sacrament after a period of discernment.”

Pope Francis’ Exhortation on the Family an ‘Organic Development of Doctrine’ by Gerard O’Connell : “At a Vatican press conference to present Pope Francis’ new exhortation on the family, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn said there is “an organic development of doctrine” in “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”) when compared to a similar text, “Familiaris Consortio,” written by St. John Paul II after the 1980 Synod on the Family.”

Interview: Cardinal Schönborn on ‘Amoris Laetitia’: Pope Francis Knows What He Is Talking About: “I am convinced Pope Francis’ Exhortation can help. The effort must be made to read it because an exhortation can only help if you know it. It is valuable to know the work. It is so rich and I can only encourage our pastors and our communities to work on it, study it, read it, and taste the joy of this beautiful document.”

‘Amoris Laetitia’: Francis challenges the church by Michael Sean Winters: “In this document, as in his entire pontificate, he wants a Church in mission, on the road, getting bruised and bloodied, accompanying people in their lives, especially in those moments of difficulty and incompleteness where God’s grace can be grasped especially.”

Pope Francis in epic bid to save the family, convert the Church by Austen Ivereigh: “Amoris Laetitia is an unusually grounded document — rich in insight, practical, and comprehensive, a “how-to-restore-marriage” manual that cries out to be implemented.”

Top Ten Takeaways from “Amoris Laetitia” by Fr. James Martin: “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).”

Pope Francis lets the world in on the Church’s best-kept secret by John Allen: “In other words, what Pope Francis has done is let the rest of the world in on one of the best-kept secrets about the Catholic Church: Yes, the Church has laws, and it takes them very seriously. But even more than law it has flesh-and-blood people, and it takes their circumstances and struggles seriously too.”

First Thoughts on “Amoris Laetitia” by Bishop Robert Barron: “If I might make bold to summarize a complex 264-page document, I would say that Pope Francis wants the truths regarding marriage, sexuality, and family to be unambiguously declared, but that he also wants the Church’s ministers to reach out in mercy and compassion to those who struggle to incarnate those truths in their lives.”

The Hardened Hearts of the Catholic Right by Michael Sean Winters: “Peters does not reserve his nastiness for the Supreme Pontiff. While Pope Francis calls upon the Church to be more welcoming and compassionate towards those in irregular marriages, such as those who have been divorced and remarried civilly, Peters refers to such unions as “objectively adulterous post-divorce pseudo-marriages.” How is that for welcoming?”