Amoris Laetitia 32: The Current Reality of the Family

amoris laetitia memeAmoris Laetitia addresses “current reality” in this section and those that follow. Pope Francis cites bishops; first, the 2014 synod:

32. “Faithful to Christ’s teaching we look to the reality of the family today in all its complexity, with both its lights and shadows… Anthropological and cultural changes in our times influence all aspects of life and call for an analytic and diversified approach”. (Relatio Synodi 2014, 5)

Makes great sense. Families are churches, but they are also biological, cultural, and social realities. We cannot avoid analysis on these fronts if we are to gather all the needed info or explore all the possible solutions we may need.

Several decades ago, the Spanish bishops noted that families have come to enjoy greater freedom “through an equitable distribution of duties, responsibilities and tasks”; indeed, “a greater emphasis on personal communication between the spouses helps to make family life more humane”, while “neither today’s society nor that to which we are progressing allow an uncritical survival of older forms and models”. (Spanish Bishops’ Conference, Matrimonio y familia (6 July 1979), 3, 16, 23)

To be sure, analysis like this is a factual tidbit: it states a reality for most families. It doesn’t affirm or condemn. It is just information. As ministers and familoy members, we work with such information to guide us in diagnosis.

The world’s bishops also noted this:

It is also evident that “the principal tendencies in anthropological-cultural changes” are leading “individuals, in personal and family life, to receive less and less support from social structures than in the past”. (Relatio Finalis 2015, 5)

Aside from whether or not this is a good development (depending if one has libertarian or socialist tendencies) this piece of information may point to possible openings for ministry, or possible understandings for harmful situations that didn’t exist as often in previous generations.



About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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