Having served at both Synods of 2014 and 2015 in an official capacity, the Apostolic Exhortation is a very comprehensive, accurate portrait of what both intense Synods discussed and studied. The exhortation is striking for its breadth and detail. Amoris Laetitia
(The Joy of Love) is a rich, bold, courageous pastoral document that reflects the very positive and encouraging direction that Pope Francis sets for the Church. Firmly rooted in the Catholic Tradition, this major teaching document offers the Church and the world many concrete reminders of the beauty of family life, despite all the challenges this life entails. Readers of this document will be pleasantly surprised at how vivid, concrete and personal this major document is. We have a Pope with a deeply pastoral heart who enters into the everyday realities of family life.
Pope Francis cautions that “not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium”. Indeed, for some questions, “each country or region … can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs. For ‘cultures are in fact quite diverse and every general principle… needs to be inculturated, if it is to be respected and applied’” (AL 3).
In the final paragraph of the Exhortation, the Pope affirms: “No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed; families need constantly to grow and mature in the ability to love …All of us are called to keep striving towards something greater than ourselves and our families, and every family must feel this constant impulse. Let us make this journey as families, let us keep walking together.” The Exhortation is positive, hopeful, realistic, encouraging, inspiring and deeply edifying. What a great gift to us all during the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
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