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April 17, 2016

A statement from Bishop Timothy L. Doherty on ‘Amoris Laetitia’

I am grateful to Pope Francis for publishing a substantial treatment of marriage and family life. It is a summary of global survey results, formal discussions and the pope’s own thinking. In order to understand it, it helps to be open to the idea that God wills true human freedom and happiness. More than this, the document seeks a renewal of our appreciation of the marriage relationship in light of our covenant with Christ.

It is typical of Pope Francis that he also speaks fraternally to the concerns of people who do not share his religious viewpoint, or any religion at all.

As always, I recommend that we read the pope’s own words rather than simple reports or summaries. I strongly disagree with anyone who says “there is nothing new in ‘The Joy of Love.’” Such a comment is a dishonest excuse to avoid encountering a substantial document, the encouragements of Christian living, and the sufferings caused by unreasonable expectations.

I would like to think that I am well informed after 40 years of preparing couples for their weddings. I have taught courses on the sacrament of matrimony and some elements of married life. The pope’s latest exhortation offers me the chance to be a better priest, pastor and teacher. And not by a little.

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