In this bulletin you will find the full text of Bishop Thomas’ statement regarding the recent apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis. The exhortation was published on Friday, April 8th. The title of the Pope’s document is Amoris laetitia (“the joy of love”), and it is a teaching reflection of the Pope, based on the two synods of bishops that were held in Rome on the topic of family life. The most significant thing Bishop Thomas writes is that the Pope’s document does not change any of the Church’s doctrinal or moral teaching regarding the family.
Why is it important to say this? Because already I have heard the media suggest that the Church is changing her approach to marriage and family life by this new document. That is exactly what I heard from a Fort Wayne news program only two nights ago. But in fact, nothing is changing about the Church’s teaching regarding marriage and family. But the Pope is stressing more fully the need for mercy and reaching out to families in various difficult scenarios.
Take the example of those people who are in irregular marriages, people divorced and remarried without any statement of nullity from the Church. The Pope calls for pastors to accompany such people on a journey to bring their lives as fully as possible into line with the Lord. Allow them to be part of the community as fully as possible, even if they are not able to approach the Eucharist. That is nothing new! That is what I have seen pastors do my entire life, and it is what I have experienced even here in Paulding County.
So the document encourages this type of positive pastoral approach, over and over again. It is certainly helpful for us to hear such an exhortation to mercy over and again! But, truly, it is not new.
On another note, I received a call from the Vocation Director last week asking us to take a seminarian for the summer. Of course, I said yes. I know who it will be, but I am not allowed to reveal that yet. We will set up a summer program for this seminarian, allowing him to experience various facets of our parish life, and certainly even to step into some leadership roles. I am sure that all of you will be significant in his formation; and I am confident that he will be a great blessing to us as well.
On yet another note, I learned that the craft show at Antwerp was a great success. Unfortunately, I was not able to show up, because the weekend was packed for me with other obligations. Many thanks to everybody who once again made the craft show such a success!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,