Amoris Laetitia 34: Responsibilities With Rights

amoris laetitia memeRemember that Amoris Laetitia is online in pdf format here. Review or read ahead, as you wish.

Pope Francis hits on one of my favorite memes: that with rights, God also provides us with responsibilities. I recall from my experience with the Spiritual Exercises that God roots our aspirations in context of our life’s responsibilities. Things like family, work, relationships, professional ethics. Individual freedom is not an absolute value that permits a person to run rouoghshod over others and abandon previously discerned commitments. Let’s read:

34. When these factors affect our understanding of the family, it can come to be seen as a way station, helpful when convenient, or a setting in which rights can be asserted while relationships are left to the changing winds of personal desire and circumstances. Ultimately, it is easy nowadays to confuse genuine freedom with the idea that each individual can act arbitrarily, as if there were no truths, values and principles to provide guidance, and everything were possible and permissible. The ideal of marriage, marked by a commitment to exclusivity and stability, is swept aside whenever it proves inconvenient or tiresome. The fear of loneliness and the desire for stability and fidelity exist side by side with a growing fear of entrapment in a relationship that could hamper the achievement of one’s personal goals.

How does such a situation get resolved? That is why people don’t exist in some idealized libertarian isolation. We have friends, mentors, and loved ones with whom to consult, to give us perspective. This doesn’t mean we go looking for someone to tell us what to do. Far from it. Good counsel is not the same as good orders. We talk things out with a trusted companion. We strive for honesty, especially with ourselves. And when we are full of spit, we have someone who can tell us so.


About catholicsensibility

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