Statement of The Most Reverend Christopher J. Coyne, Bishop of Burlington: On Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love)
Post-Synodal Exhortation of the Holy Father Francis
In his Apostolic Exhortation, Pope Francis gives both the believer and non-believer much to consider about the nature of marriage and the family within our culture and society. I, like all of you, have only received the document this morning and have only begun to read the text with the attention it deserves. While it is a lengthy document, it is rich in meaning and will require a great deal of time, pondering, and prayer to fully open up the depth of the wisdom found within it.
What initially strikes me is that Pope Francis has woven a beautiful portrait of the Church’s vision for marriage and family life. He has also recognized that many people are living in relationships and situations in their lives that do not correspond to the traditional definition of a marriage or family. Pope Francis responds to these situations with a pastor’s heart, giving latitude to pastors to work with all kinds of people in these complicated, difficult situations to integrate them further into the life of the Church, the Body of Christ. He also reminds us that we are all in need of lifelong conversion and growth in our lives and that we shouldn’t feel discouraged in our weakness or think we’re not part of the Church.
I encourage all to read this Exhortation with an open mind and heart, interpreting it within the fullness of the text and the Church’s teachings on these matters.