Pope Reflects on Amoris Laetitia: Respect, Conversion, and Witness
On Thursday, June 16, 2016, Pope Francis addressed those attending the Ecclesial Congress of the Diocese of Rome, calling to mind three themes from his recent apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. The Holy Father used Scripture to highlight each of the three points.
First, the pope noted the necessity of recognizing, respecting, and addressing the situations of real people. He quoted Exodus chapter 3, which says, “Put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” The family is worthy of this kind of awe and respect. “To reflect on the life of our families, as they are and as they find themselves, calls us to take off our shoes to discover God’s presence,” he explained.
Pope Francis warned those gathered not to have a “separatist logic”: like the Pharisee who prayed, “God, I thank Thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector” (Lk 18:11). Rather, he reminded them, “We are all in need of conversion; we are all in need of putting ourselves before the Lord and of renewing every time our covenant with Him and of saying, together with the tax collector: My God, have mercy on me who am a sinner!” Those who work for the Church must always avoid separating themselves from others in an artificial way. The pope spoke about this at length in his first apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium.
Finally, Pope Francis referenced Joel’s prophecy that “Old men shall dream dreams” (Joel 2:28) and called attention to the witness of the love of elderly married couples. He said that enduring marriages give young people a vision, or a dream, of marriage in which they “continue to seek one another, to look at one another; they continue to love one another and to choose each other.” Young people are greatly in need of these witnesses to marital love and fidelity.
In closing, the Holy Father encouraged those present to develop a pastoral ministry that is “capable of receiving, accompanying, discerning and integrating” others, inviting them to share in the joy of love in the family.
The pope’s full address can be found here.