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  • 307 Kingston Road
  • Ewell
  • Surrey
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Amoris LaetitIA  and Family Life

After the Synod on Family Life in 2015
Pope Francis produced a "Post Synodal Exhortation".

Called "Amoris Laetitia" and
published on 19th March 2016, the Feast of St Joseph,

it is designed to reflect on  and explore the issues raised in the Synod.

Pope Francis asks that it be read patiently and carefully.


AMORIS LAETITIA is available as a pdf download from the Vatican website : see link after chapter summary.


The document comprises nine chapters

which are summarised below.

1. In the Light of the Word

 Explores the scriptural themes related to marriage and family life.

2. The Experiences and Challenges of Families

Contemporary realities of family life are addressed including phenomena like migration, lack of housing, inattention to persons with disabilities, lack of respect for the elderly, and "the ideological denial of differences between the sexes." Seeks to avoid an abstract and artificial notion of marriage which has little to do with the lived experiences of families in today's world.

3. Looking to Jesus, The Vocation of the Family

The vocation of the family presented in the light of Catholic tradition and the Gospels. It stresses the sacramental nature of marriage, its indissolubility, and its role in the transmission of life. 
Family as an image of the Trinity, of Christ's love for the Church, and "the espousal of our human nature by the Son of God." 
This chapter touches on "imperfect situations" and "wounded families" and calls pastors "to exercise careful discernment of situations." 

4. Love in Marriage

Pope Francis examines St Paul's passage on love in 1 Cor 13:4-7 phrase by phrase. He traces the progressive "transformation of love" that takes place throughout the marriage: the ideal represented by the union cannot happen instantly, and it is observed that longer lifespans necessitate an ongoing renewal of commitment.

5. Love Made Fruitful

Devoted to the procreative aspect of marriage. Pope Francis discusses the spiritual and psychological issues at play when welcoming new life. Adoption and the role of the extended family are touched on. Family now has a wider context than the strictly "nuclear"

6. Some Pastoral Perspectives

Addresses the role of the ordained who will have to accompany couples in the early high risk years of marriage. It moves on to ministry to abandoned, separated, or divorced persons. The annulment process(reformed), same-sex attraction, death and widowhood are also areas for sensitive pastoral involvement.

7. Towards a Better Education of Children

Francis encourages ethical formation, self discipline, prudent punishment, patient realism, and sex education. He warns seeking to control every experience of children, with its potential for domination. Parents are asked to lovingly help children grow in freedom within the family as education centre, from which real autonomy can be achieved.

8. Accompanying, Discerning and Integrating Weakness

Here the focus moves to the pastoral care of church members who have been divorced, have entered new unions or are affected by "irregular unions".
Rather than going for universally applicable rules this chapter  encourages "a responsible personal and pastoral discernment of particular cases.." recognizing that as 'the degree of responsibility is not equal in all cases', the consequences need not always be the same.
Pope Francis brings the pastoral considerations already used within the sacrament of reconciliation to this particular area. Human behaviour is intrinsically complex.
Moving individuals forward from their present situations requires honesty and discernment, with pastoral assistance. A shift from condemnation to encouragement. This chapter has attracted much debate. Perhaps anticipating reaction the chapter concludes with a call to continue promoting the full ideal of marriage.   'Young people who are baptized should be encouraged to understand that the sacrament of marriage can enrich their prospects of love and that they can be sustained by the grace of Christ in the sacrament and by the possibility of participating fully in the life of the Church'". (para 307)

9. The Spirituality of Marriage and the Family

This chapter reassures  those called to family life  that family life does not detract from their spiritual growth or potential. The vocation of marriage should be seen as their own path to mystical union.
Families must themselves be  places of mercy. All are called to grow, develop, and mature, helping one another in spite of weaknesses and limitations.


Full text Amoris Laetitia 

Available to download as pdf file



The World Meeting of Families began in 1994 when the then Pope John Paul II

asked for an international gathering to offer prayer, teaching and celebration of

family life and marriage. The next such event takes place in DUBLIN, Ireland.



Click Link to WMOF2018 web site: