A Blog by a Catholic priest as the New Evangelisation begins.
Friday 4 June 2021
My notes on Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 6.
My notes on Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 6. Some pastoral perspectives.
This chapter presents a very full perspective of the Church’s role in nurturing marriage, from marriage preparation through to helping marriages and families to process the baggage that we can bring with us, as individuals, into marriage and family life. This last section is, I think, the first time that this dimension of marriage and family has been spoken of in a papal document. Pope Francis opens up the Church’s role in supporting marriage and the family. Although he does reference the sacramental dimension of marriage, his main focus is the human dimension. This is a shame, because both dimensions need to be opened up and better understood. It is God, not us, who creates something new in marriage. It is God, not us, who forms the covenant. But it is the choices that spouses make that shape their family.
The scope of the Pope’s treatment of the pastoral care of marriage and the family bespeaks a considerable infrastructure with much personnel. Presently in the UK, with the exception of some of the new ecclesial Movements, the clergy are the main agents of this pastoral work. If we were to really embrace what the Pope describes here, we would immediately need lots of gifted people involved. The clergy are not set up to do all that is needed.
This same scope of pastoral work, and need for staff, also presumes the capacity of the Church to process a proper human engagement with all these aspects of life. In the context of the UK, I don’t believe that we are ready to engage in this work. We don’t yet have the formed personnel, nor an adequate focus. We have not been developing and processing our life nor really engaging with the Teaching of the Church for many decades. Moreover, it is a very clericalised environment.
Reading this chapter, with its expansive panorama, made me think of the common assumption, made by many people in the UK, that the Catholic Church is a moralistic institution (an institution which tells you what you can do and what you can’t do), and perhaps in some cases people have indeed been led to make that conclusion. The Pope is right to point to the opening up of the pastoral scenario to a fuller vision, and to enable a fuller living out of the mystery of Christian marriage and the Christian family. In this vision, moralistic attitudes are inadequate. But to flesh out this vision will need concrete strategies and formed personnel.
May England once more be your dowry, O Holy Mother of God
Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix; nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo gloriosa et benedicta.
We fly to thy Patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
Ss Michael, Gabriel and Raphael
May the holy angels be our protection
Holy Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to hell Satan and all the evil spirits who wander the world for the ruin of souls.
Blessed John Paul II
Apostle of the New Evangelisation
Christ offers you his friendship. He gave his life so that those who wish to answer his call can indeed become his friends.
St Paul the Apostle
Fearless evangeliser of the nations
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. " Galatians 2.20
St Augustine of Hippo
Fecisti nos ad te et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in teYou have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts find no rest until they rest in you.
St John Mary Baptist Vianney
Role model of priesthood lived in its fulness
Le sacerdoce, c'est l'amour du coeur de Jésus.The priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus.
St Ignatius of Loyola
Taught the way to friendship with Christ through prayer
Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess You have given me: I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.
St Thomas More
Hero of the Catholic Faith in England
I die the king's faithful servant, but God's first.
St Maximilian Kolbe
A martyr for friendship
No one in the world can change truth. What we can and should do is seek truth and serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is within. Beyond the armies of occupation and the hectacombs of the extermination camps, two irreconcilable armies lie in the depth of every soul. And of what use are the victories of the battlefield if we are defeated in our innermost selves?
St Aelred of Rievaulx
Teacher in the ways of friendship
Friendship is a stage bordering upon that perfection which consists in that love and knowledge of God, so that man from a friend of his fellow man becomes a friend of God, according to the words of the Saviour in the Gospel: I will not now call you servants, but my friends.
St Justin, Martyr
Proto-Apologist for the Faith
"But straightaway a flame was kindled in my soul; and a love of the prophets, and of those men who are friends of Christ, possessed me...If, then, you have any concern for yourself, and if you are eagerly looking for salvation, and if you believe in God, you may-since you are not indifferent to the matter - become acquainted with the Christ of God, and, after being initiated, live a happy life."
St Margaret Clitherow
She died for the priesthood and the Mass together with her unborn child
I ground my faith upon Jesus Christ, and by Him I steadfastly believe to be saved, as is taught in the Catholic Church through all Christendom, and promised to remain with Her unto the world's end, and hell gates shall not prevail against it: and by God's assistance I mean to live and die in the same faith.
St Therese of Lisieux
The strong woman - spouse of Christ
Oh my God, You have surpassed all my expectations.
St John Henry Card Newman
Friendship with Christ means conversion and change of heart