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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mary E. Hunt on the Pope's exhortation

As I mentioned in my last post about the Pope's recent exhortation on marriage and family, Amoris Laetitia (the Joy of Love), while both the secular and the Catholic press seem to see it as a wonderful reform for divorced/remarrieds, the truth is that there is no actual new reform to be found in Amoris Laetitia, and additionally, the exhortation is also quite negative for both women and LGBT Catholics. Here's the beginning of an article to that effect from Mary E. Hunt at Religion Dispatches ...

Pope Francis’ Love Letter is an Opportunity Lost

Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on Love in the Family, leaves much to be desired—pun intended.

If you are heterosexual, married, divorced, and remarried with an understanding parish priest, you have reason to be hopeful that your “irregular situation” can be fixed. If you use most forms of effective birth control, have an abortion, or are a sexually active LGBTIQ Catholic, you might as well read Dante and/or seek another denomination if you expect to be treated with equality, dignity, and respect.

The “Joy Love Club” is members-only.

The document reflects the papal conundrum of pastoring realistically in the contemporary world without changing any church doctrine or major teaching. The result is unequal opportunity ambiguity. Some things can be parsed—as in the communion debate—while other things are off the table, such as same-sex marriage. Rationales for such decisions are lacking other than wan references to previous church teachings. It reminds this reader of Francis’ openness to gay priests (“Who am I to judge?”) and his claim that the ordination of women is a settled matter. Settled by and for whom? Once again the patriarchal power paradigm is shored up by a pope who likes to have it both ways. Certain pastoral decision-making is kicked downstairs to priests and bishops, but that is effectively how things work now. Theology follows practice ...

I get that Pope Francis is popular, both with Catholics and non-Catholics. How could he not be when you compare him to the little tin gods who were the popes before him. But that comparison doesn't make him a liberal or a feminist. Try to keep in mind, this is the man who believes the marriages of LGBT people is the work of the devil, this is the man who will not allow women to be priests in his church.


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