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.


Read Amoris Laetitia Summary of Amoris Laetitia press



1 Comment. Leave new

Harold M. Frost, III, Ph.D.
April 12, 2016 11:56 am

Thank you so much, Bishop Coyne, for adding the “Press Conference” and “Summary” links to make more accessible the document itself, “Amoris Laetitia,” the first two documents so linked much briefer than the 261 pages or so of the third (“Read”). Nonetheless, as a person at age 73 with histories of chronic mental illness and workplace disability and consequent impairment of cognitive and emotional function, I was more than challenged to absorb the content of just the first two of these documents. I could only say “Aha!” to myself when come upon a particular statement in any of the three documents that really resonated with my own situations of family of origin and (as father and husband) of my own. Perhaps this is true for many others in my shoes, too – “many” possibly rising to the level of a significant demographic within our Diocese. So, in your reflections, when it comes to the ensuing programs you develop and guidance and training you eventually give to our priests and deacons for providing the gentle, merciful, and understanding pastoral care that the weak, vulnerable and even distressed human persons need in parish and other jurisdictions, I respectfully ask you to give us some hope who are seriously wounded that help is on the way. In that vein, is it possible to consider the notion of reverse engineering (to doctrinal origins) the constructive elements such as significant anniversaries, public service recognition and evident ‘caritas’ that do appear in the behaviors of parents of wounded families that are worthy of emulation by healthy others? For I envision the need for a kind of ‘rosetta stone’ for translating the otherwise incomprehensible hieroglyphics of personal experiences of lay persons in complex and even disordered situations into the characters and words of two ancient languages – one involving the categories of Catholic Catechism, the other the doctrinal or even dogmatic premises that philosophically and theologically trained persons (such as yourself) use to start their chains of propositional reasoning for arriving at sound conclusions adhering to the nonjudgmental and efficacious action of mercy as the highest form of justice. — My apologies for any lack of clarity and conciseness in this comment, but thanks for this electronic chance to add a tiny little bit to the discussion.