The big news is that there has been no change in any of the core teachings of the Church. But yet news agencies are trying to create their own propaganda by creating sensational headlines, which actually have no base.
The document presents a balance of spiritual and practical wisdom, for any married couple that desires to build healthy families in the years to come.
Key Focus - Church & Family Life
The Apostolic Exhortation is one of the most powerful family oriented 'teachings' released.
Pope Francis teaches us that marriage is a commitment not only to express each other's love but also to be open to children. The document is clear that the sacrament of marriage is between a man and a woman.
Pope Francis encourages us to focus on the achievements of the family rather than condemnation. He also warns us of the threats to family life, which include euthanasia, assisted suicide, pornography etc.
He cites the teaching of Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae and Familiaris Consortio of John Paul II in reference to the procreation aspects of marriage. He stresses on the indissolubility of the sacramental nature of marriage, the vocation of family based on Gospel values and the teachings of Church, the conception of life, and upbringing of children. Make no mistake on his stand on marriage permanency. He says, "The indissolubility of marriage-'what God has joined together, let no man put asunder' (Mt 19:6) -should not be viewed as a 'yoke' imposed on humanity, but as a 'gift' granted to those who are joined in marriage..." (62).
Pope Francis focuses on the Apostle Paul's famous teaching on love in 1 Corinthians. He tells us that love is much deeper than a feeling because it is actually a commitment to a life of intense love and bearing with one another. And patience is an active key, especially when it comes to bearing one another and doing good:
Pope Francis encourages young couples that are entering into marriage to also look at matured couples as role models, especially during times of crisis and uncertainty where threats to the relationship prevails:
The love present from the beginning becomes more conscious, settled and mature as the couple discover each other anew day after day, year after year. Saint John of the Cross tells us "old lovers are tried and true". They "are outwardly no longer afire with powerful emotions and impulses, but now taste the sweetness of the wine of love, well-aged and stored deep within their hearts". Such couples have successfully overcome crises and hardships without fleeing from challenges or concealing problems. (231)
Children & Family Life
Pope Francis encourages young couples to be open to having children, who will bring changes to their lifestyle but it is much better than having an "empty nest" which could perhaps bring changes in the relationship of the couple:
Newly married couples need to learn how to accept their differences and to disengage from their parents. The arrival of a child presents new emotional challenges. Raising small children necessitates a change of lifestyle, while the onset of adolescence causes strain, frustration and even tension between parents. An "empty nest" obliges a couple to redefine their relationship, while the need to care for aging parents involves making difficult decisions in their regard. All these are demanding situations that can cause apprehension, feelings of guilt, depression and fatigue, with serious repercussions on a marriage. (235)
He also says that the Synod Fathers state that any threat to the bond of marriage is against God's will and has its own ramifications on children. (291)
While homosexual persons have to be respected and treated with dignity, Pope Francis makes it clear that that there is no ground to consider homosexual unions on the same level as marriage: The Synod Fathers observed that, "as for proposals to place unions between homo- sexual 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." (251)
He strongly condemns ideologies, which suggest that gender roles can be changed or manipulated whenever we want, and however we want. "This ideology leads to educational program and legislative enactments that promote a personal identity and emotional intimacy radically separated from the biological difference between male and female. Consequently, human identity becomes the choice of the individual, one which can also change over time." (56)
This document changes nothing but rather brings in ground breaking wisdom, which challenges families to detach from worldly ideologies and focus on living out the real family vocation based on Gospel values, just like the holy family of Nazareth.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Indian Currents.
Copyright [c] HT Media Ltd. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. ( Syndigate.info ).