Amoris Laetitia Outline

amoris laetitia memeI’ve been avoiding the morning’s commentary on Amoris Laetitia. In searching for the link to the actual document, I did notice a few headlines and the usual google snippet (like from the NCRs) … “skip the first three chapters” … “puzzling” … and the like.

As with any church document, if there is sincere interest, take some time and read the whole thing. 100% understanding is irrelevant. See what strikes you: take the approach of Lectio Divina.

If you wish, you can do that here. I think I’ll begin up to 326 posts over the next several months. We’ll see where that goes. I might be doing it as much for my own discipline of reading and reflecting on the document as for anyone who might be lurking or commenting in the boxes.

I did copy out the table of contents, and interspersed, a few comments of mine.

The Joy of Love [1-7]

Chapter One IN THE LIGHT OF THE WORD [8]
You and your wife [9-13]
Your children are as the shoots of an olive tree [14-18]
A path of suffering and blood [19-22]
The work of your hands [23-26]
The tenderness of an embrace [27-30]

Psalm 128: I don’t know why there would be counsel to skip this. Biblical grounding is a hallmark of Church documents for at least the past fifty years.

Chapter Two THE EXPERIENCES AND CHALLENGES OF FAMILIES [31]
The current reality of the family [32-49]
Some challenges [50-57]

Chapter Three LOOKING TO JESUS: THE VOCATION OF THE FAMILY [58-60]
Jesus restores and fulfils God’s plan [61-66]
The family in the documents of the Church [67-70]
The sacrament of Matrimony [71-75]
Seeds of the Word and imperfect situations [76-79]
The transmission of life and the rearing of children [80-85]
The family and the Church [86-88]

The longest chapter includes a reflection on 1 Corinthians 13. Though not written in its day for married couples explicitly, it has become the go-to passage for more wedding couples than any other:

Chapter Four LOVE IN MARRIAGE [89]
Our daily love [90]
Love is patient [91-92]
Love is at the service of others [93-94]
Love is not jealous [95-96]
Love is not boastful [97-98]
Love is not rude [99-100]
Love is generous [101-102]
Love is not irritable or resentful [103-104]
Love forgives [105-108]
Love rejoices with others [109-110]
Love bears all things [111-113]
Love believes all things [114-115]
Love hopes all things [116-117]
Love endures all things [118-119]
Growing in conjugal love [120-122]
Lifelong sharing [123-125]
Joy and beauty [126-130]
Marrying for love [131-132]
A love that reveals itself and increases [133-135]
Dialogue [136-141]
Passionate love [142]
The world of emotions [143-146]
God loves the joy of his children [147-149]
The erotic dimension of love [150-152]
Violence and manipulation [153-157]
Marriage and virginity [158-162]
The transformation of love [163-164]

I notice that section that begins with AL 136: six numbered paragraphs on dialogue. Misunderstood by many to mean negotiation with an eye to agreement, dialogue is essential. “Two words” do not become one word, necessarily.

Chapter Five LOVE MADE FRUITFUL [165]
Welcoming a new life [166-167]
Love and pregnancy [168-171]
The love of a mother and a father [172-177]
An expanding fruitfulness [178-184]
Discerning the body [185-186]
Life in the wider family [187]
Being sons and daughters [188-190]
The elderly [191-193]
Being brothers and sisters [194-195]
A big heart [196-198]

This looks like a good chapter for clergy and other ministers:

Chapter Six SOME PASTORAL PERSPECTIVES [199]
Proclaiming the Gospel of the family today [200-204]
Preparing engaged couples for marriage [205-211]
The preparation of the celebration [212-216]
Accompanying the first years of married life [217-222]
Some resources [223-230]
Casting light on crises, worries and difficulties [231]
The challenge of crises [232-238]
Old wounds [239-240]
Accompaniment after breakdown and divorce [241-246]
Certain complex situations [247-252]
When death makes us feel its sting [253-258]

Note the first and last subheadings in chapter seven …

Chapter Seven TOWARDS A BETTER EDUCATION OF CHILDREN [259]
Where are our children? [260-262]
The ethical formation of children [263-267]
The value of correction as an incentive [268-270]
Patient realism [271-273]
Family life as an educational setting [274-279]
The need for sex education [280-286]
Passing on the faith [287-290]

I like the appearance of one of my favorite pastoral verbs, to accompany:

Chapter Eight ACCOMPANYING, DISCERNING AND INTEGRATING WEAKNESS [291-292]
Gradualness in pastoral care [293-295]
The discernment of “irregular” situations [296-300]
Mitigating factors in pastoral discernment [301-303]
Rules and discernment [304-306]
The logic of pastoral mercy [307-312]

Chapter Nine THE SPIRITUALITY OF MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY [313]
A spirituality of supernatural communion [314-316]
Gathered in prayer in the light of Easter [317-318]
A spirituality of exclusive and free love [319-320]
A spirituality of care, consolation and incentive [321-325]
Prayer to the Holy Family

A concluding prayer, just as we saw in Laudato Si’. How often does that conclude a Church document? Is it a peculiarity of Pope Francis, or a needed innovation for future documents to model?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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One Response to Amoris Laetitia Outline

  1. Pingback: Amoris Laetitia 6: Document Outlined | Catholic Sensibility

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