AT NOON today, a long-awaited document was released by the Vatican, written by Pope Francis, on ‘The Joy of Love.’
Its official title is the “post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Lætitia of the Holy Father Francis to Bishops, Priests and Deacons, consecrated persons, Christian married couples and all the lay faithful on love in the family”.
The document, which was three years in the making, runs to 263 pages, so since you may not have time to read it all here are a few of the top talking points made by the first ever Jesuit Pope.
1. No way to same-sex marriage
No big surprise from the leader of the Catholic Church here. The Pope writes “as for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”. He adds that it is unacceptable “that local Churches should be subjected to pressure in this matter”.
2. Gay or straight, all should be ‘respected’
Pope Francis writes that he wants “to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence”.
3. Absolutely no to abortion too
“No alleged right to one’s own body can justify a decision to terminate that life,” claims the Pope, who goes on to encourage couples to adopt children “in order to prevent their abortion or abandonment”.
4. Divorce is evil
“Divorce is an evil and the increasing number of divorces is very troubling. Hence, our most important pastoral task with regard to families is to strengthen their love, helping to heal wounds and working to prevent the spread of this drama of our times.”
On this matter, he also writes: “The divorced and remarried should ask themselves: how did they act towards their children when the conjugal union entered into crisis; whether or not they made attempts at reconciliation; what has become of the abandoned party….”
5. His Holiness doesn’t seem to think ‘safe sex’ is a good teaching
“Frequently,” the Pope writes, “sex education deals primarily with ‘protection’ through the practice of ‘safe sex”. According to His Holiness the terms safe sex and protection “convey a negative attitude towards the natural procreative finality of sexuality, as if an eventual child were an enemy to be protected against”.
6. But he cut single parents some slack
“Single parents must receive encouragement and support from other families in the Christian community, and from the parish’s pastoral outreach. Often these families endure other hardships, such as economic difficulties, uncertain employment prospects, problems with child support and lack of housing.”
7. Young married couples should share housework
“Young married couples should be encouraged to develop a routine that gives a healthy sense of closeness and stability through shared daily rituals. These could include a morning kiss, an evening blessing, waiting at the door to welcome each other home, taking trips together and sharing household chores.”
8. And he knows how to block someone on Facebook
The Pope talks about “the speed” we date at today. “They believe, along the lines of social networks, that love can be connected or disconnected at the whim of the consumer, and the relationship quickly ‘blocked’,” he writes.