After years of preparation and a two-part Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis has released an Apostolic Exhortation entitled "The Joy of Love."
During this Holy Year, the Jubilee of Mercy, the Holy Father challenges us to seek and share God's Mercy for ourselves and others. As part of this effort, there will be much conversation and comment over the next weeks and months as this very long, yet important document is studied.
To find links to the document and some initial reaction, follow this link: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/amoris-laetitia.cfm
Also, Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., a former member of our Province who now serves as Bishop of the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky, has issued a statement:
“The Church has been anxiously awaiting Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation following two sessions of the Synod of Bishops treating the issues of the contemporary family. At the sessions, the pope encouraged open and bold dialogue and that occurred. Especially as the situations of the divorced and civilly remarried were discussed, there was lively discussion about how the Church should best uphold the permanence and indissolubility of marriage and be pastorally inclusive to those in situations deemed ‘irregular.’ In Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”), the pope does not create new rules nor a universal solution, but rather a path of discernment for those in irregular circumstances with the pastoral accompaniment of a priest. The apostolic exhortation goes through Scripture and the Tradition of the Church to both uphold the theology of marriage and simultaneously encourage the exercise of Christ-like mercy towards those who fall short of the ideal. It requires close and careful reading and offers material for reflection and prayer for all members of the Church.”
Please check back as other members of our Province offer their reflections on the Exhortation. And may the Joy of God's overwhelming love fill your lives.