Many of us will be inclined to skim through a reading of Amoris Laetitia and may rush to a quick conclusion. Some media outlets have already done so—adding another layer of rapid interpretation to a document that was inspired by a lengthy process of discernment by Catholic bishops, and ultimately, our Holy Father.
The apostolic exhortation issued by Pope Francis is filled with words of love, mercy, and pastoral guidance. It confronts complex issues faced by families living in these challenging modern times. While addressing these issues, throughout the document, Pope Francis also reaffirms an unmistakable commitment to our long-standing Catholic teachings and traditions. “With inner joy and deep comfort, the Church looks to the families who remain faithful to the teachings of the Gospel, encouraging them and thanking them for the testimony they offer,” Pope Francis wrote.
I share in the Pope’s desire to be a pastoral Church, filled with love and mercy, and I welcome the guidance the Holy Father has offered in this richly detailed 260- page document. I have encouraged all of our priests, deacons, and religious to read the entire document before rushing to hasty conclusions—and I invite you to do the same.