Bishop Michael Kennedy with Aussie pilgrims during World Youth Day, 2016.
“No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed.” (325) This, I believe, was one of Pope Francis’ key messages in his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, The Joy of Love. It’s also one of the reasons the Catholic Bishops of Australia are calling all the faithful to a month of prayer and fasting for marriage and families during the month of October, and why many other Christians are joining in this effort too. Happy families require effort; happy families need prayer.
You see the Pope and the whole Church continue to present the beauty and perfection of God’s plan for marriage and family as a community of life and love that reflects the very life and love of God himself in the Blessed Trinity. But we also know that the everyday lives of families can be rather messy affairs. You don’t need me, or anybody for that matter, to name all the things that can make our family life bumpy and difficult. Each of us just has to think of our own family situation! Continue reading
Mercy: A Way of Being in the World. Photo from BBI.
With Pope Francis drawing crowds all over the world under his vision of Mercy, there is little wonder this year’s eConference hosted by BBI, in partnership with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, is drawing interest across the Asia-Pacific region.
Titled Mercy: A Way of Being in the World, this year BBI is calling on people from within the Catholic community to share, via a video submission, a time when they have experienced Mercy, with a number of these videos to be played during the eConference.
BBI’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Gerard Goldman, said creating a segment named Mercy Moments and inviting the public to submit videos was a natural progression of the eConference which is now in its twelfth series.
“We see the eConference as an extension of faith formation in contemporary times and in a contemporary setting.”
“As an educator in faith, theology and spirituality, we believe it is a part of our corporate social responsibility to provide a free resource for Catholics and all faith based communities,” Dr Goldman said. Continue reading
In a world witnessing changing trends in marriage, the true depth and breadth of Catholic marriage has become cutting-edge.
Thus Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia, with the world’s bishops, appealed for a renewed and revitalised approach to equipping young people for Catholic marriage and supporting married couples.
Marriage, he makes clear, is “more than a fleeting fashion; it is of enduring importance”.
The Church in Australia has heeded the Pope’s call, responding with a landmark initiative to bring together the best minds and hearts working in the area of marriage and family today.
More than 20 Australian and international speakers will share their expertise in the field of marriage and unpack the Pope’s exhortation with talks, workshops, and inspiring testimonials. Continue reading
Fr Sean Hall
“Pope confuses faithful with mixed messages on family life”.
“Conservatives will tut. Liberals will be equally disappointed. The rest of us will wonder why we are still worrying about such nonsense. “Individual conscience”? Yes, mine is telling right now that we don’t need to be listening to old men in fancy robes pontificating any longer.”
These are two quotes from the “I” newspaper. The first was the title given to a brief description of Amoris laetitia the day after its publication (10th April). The second is the closing section of an op-ed piece on the following Monday (12th April) by Stefano Hatfield who identifies himself as an atheist, having been brought up a catholic. The “I” prides itself on being a quality newspaper which gives brief, balanced accounts of news items. So much for the coverage of a “balanced”, “quality” newspaper! The fact that the papal letter was published in the same week as the “Panama Papers” almost certainly meant that it received less coverage than might have been the case in the secular press, but it is also an indication of the lack of wider interest of a church document in this age. Continue reading
Joy of the Family banner detail
It is with great joy that we receive Amoris Laetitia “The Joy of Love: On Love in the Family”, the Exhortation written by Pope Francis after the two Synods of Bishops on that topic in October 2014 and October 2015.
Pope Francis, who has often been embraced for his warmth, personal touch and authentic leadership style, calls for a pastoral and compassionate response to some of the most important questions being faced by families today.
The exhortation addresses several complex topics, including Holy Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried and marriage as a sacrament between one man and woman.
Pope Francis is known as a man with a deep compassion for people, especially those who are disadvantaged or suffering. He has constantly sought to be with people who are on the margins. After convoking two synods in consecutive years on the subject of the family, he has now released a document entitled, “The Joy of Love”.
The document is marked by Pope Francis’ awareness that human life has an incompleteness, a brokenness. He sees families more as works in progress than settled realities. He says, “No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed; families need constantly to grow and mature in the ability to love”. He knows well that families are imperfect and that they experience many sufferings as well as many joys.
He understands that family life is rich and complex. He speaks of the many and varied situations of families. He calls the family a “multifaceted gem”. He is aware that families are shaped by diverse cultural situations. There is not just one model for the way families operate.
In the course of the document he touches on a wide range of issues that affect family life: from migration to lack of housing; from lack of respect for elders to the special situation of persons with disability; from pornography to sexual abuse; from violence against women to the impact of biotechnology in the field of procreation. Continue reading