Saturday, April 9, 2016

Pope Francis Urges More Acceptance of Divorced Catholics

On Friday, April 8th, Pope Francis issued a document known as the "Amoris Laetitia," which is Latin for "The Joy of Love," where he called for priests to be less judgmental towards divorced Catholics, gays, and lesbians.
Source: New York Times
The document does not actually change any church laws or church doctrine on homosexuality, marriage, or birth control. In fact, the document still states that "the church cannot countenance same-sex marriages and unions" (New York Times), and that marriage between a man and a woman is still the Catholic ideal. However, it does urge more tolerance and acceptance. The Pope "emphasizes that "unjust discrimination" against gays and lesbians is unacceptable, downplays the idea of "living in sin" and suggests that priests should use their own discretion on whether divorced Catholics in new marriages can take Communion" (CNN).

This document comes after two synods, which are church councils of high-level bishops who come together to talk about these contentious issues. They discussed how the church should deal with people who are not living in accordance to the "Christian ideal of the intact, nuclear, family" (New York Times). The Pope has adopted some of the solutions discussed in these synods, including its solutions for divorced and remarried Catholics to be able to talk to priests in order to see how they can continue to participate in the Church.

Some believe that this is a good step in the right direction for the Church. However, some liberal Catholics do not believe that this has gone far enough, as the document still rejects same-sex marriages and unions. In addition, many conservative Catholics are concerned that this undermines Church values and could lead to a slippery slope.

Questions:
How do you think this will affect the lives of Catholics around the world?
Do you think this document was a good move for the Catholic Church, or did it go too far, or not far enough?

Sources: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/09/world/europe/pope-francis-amoris-laetitia.html
http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/08/europe/vatican-pope-family/index.html
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/04/08/pope-francis-releases-key-text-family-matters/82782602/
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/pope-francis-softens-communion-ban-divorcees-shifts-tone-family-n552811
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-long-awaited-document-on-the-family-pope-francis-offers-hope-to-divorced-catholics-says-no-to-gay-marriage/2016/04/07/87be6dae-fb42-11e5-813a-90ab563f0dde_story.html

6 comments:

Carolyn Ku said...

While I think that the Pope's statement is a step in the right direction, I don't think that it will affect many people very much, at least in the short term. Although the Pope preaches tolerance, nothing in church law is actually changed, so the people who think that the Pope's doctrine undermines the church's values do not have to listen. But the Pope's doctrine is a step in the right direction because it introduces the idea that the Catholic church should be more tolerant of same sex marriages and divorces.

Monica Mai said...

While this move was definitely not enough, I agree with Carolyn that this was a good step in the right direction. I do believe that this document will lead to more conservative Catholics being more open-minded to the idea of same sex marriages and divorce. It's great to have a priest being more supportive of what many conservative Catholics consider a "sin." I believe that this document may lead to a little more acceptance and a better mindset; however, without proper laws, Catholic people will continue to be denied of a basic right.

Tara Young said...

I agree that this is a step in the right direction. It is a compromise as the Pope is allowing for divorced people to have a place in church while not overturning anything in the religion. In a way, it is similar to the religious freedom declared in the Bill of Rights, but within the Catholic church. It is up to different priests' own discretion on how they act towards people who are considered in violation of the religion. I do not think it will affect overly many Catholics in the world as it may change nothing in some churches while changing lots in others. I think it was a good move. Tolerance of same sex marriages and divorces is good, but it is not acceptance. However, people should not be forced to accept anything that goes against their moral values and religion.

Danny Halawi said...

As everyone said, I believe that the Pope has made a good initiative in bringing tolerance to the church. I do think this will affect Catholics in the sense that it will bring to their attention that times are changing, and with that, so will the Christian faith change as well. I don't believe the document took it too far because it didn't rewrite the laws of Christianity. Divorce is still looked down upon, as well as same sex marriage. All it really did was ask the people for tolerance and acceptance, which in time will come.

Brianna Panozzo said...

I sincerely hope that this will encourage Catholics around the world to be more accepting of same-sex couples; however, I doubt that this will have much immediate effect. The standard of unacceptance has reached far beyond the grasp of this small step towards freedom, and if the pope wanted to really change that, he would have to make a clearer message. It is surprising that this was allowed at all due the history of hatred and I respect the pope for making any effort all all. I think this will be a good move for the catholic church since it may introduce a gradual acceptance. A small step may lead to a big change in the future, and let's hope that time will allow acceptance for all types of love.

Alex Binsacca said...

Continuing the flow of the conversation I also believe that this law enacted by the pope is a great step in the right direction. Personally I think this will have a big effect on how millions of people around the world treat homosexuals, and divorced couples. The reason that I think this is going to have a bigger effect than what other people believe, is because I think this is only the start. Meaning its possibly only the beginning of a new era, of tolerance. I think the pope made the right decision on how far this bill should go, because you cannot just force your ideas onto another person. Otherwise, they will just outright deny everything your argument could be. You have ease a person into certain beliefs, because it is a lot to take in for a person to just change what they have believed in for their whole lives. So it is either bit by bit, or nothing at all.