Amoris Laetitia 113: How Spouses Speak Of One Another

amoris laetitia memeMuch is made of the importance of speaking out, pointing out the faults of others. Too often done publicly, Pope Francis suggests we miss the bigger picture:

113. Married couples joined by love speak well of each other; they try to show their spouse’s good side, not their weakness and faults. In any event, they keep silent rather than speak ill of them. This is not merely a way of acting in front of others; it springs from an interior attitude. Far from ingenuously claiming not to see the problems and weaknesses of others, it sees those weaknesses and faults in a wider context. It recognizes that these failings are a part of a bigger picture.

What is the point, then, of offering correction to sinners? Do we avoid the difficult talk because we want to shun conflict? I don’t think one can approach this matter with a literalist or fundamentalist viewpoint.

We have to realize that all of us are a complex mixture of light and shadows. The other person is much more than the sum of the little things that annoy me. Love does not have to be perfect for us to value it. The other person loves me as best they can, with all their limits, but the fact that love is imperfect does not mean that it is untrue or unreal. It is real, albeit limited and earthly. If I expect too much, the other person will let me know, for he or she can neither play God nor serve all my needs. Love coexists with imperfection. It “bears all things” and can hold its peace before the limitations of the loved one.

This does not discount the extreme examples when a beloved spouse falls into mental illness, or outright violence to the marriage bond. What accomplishes safety? Posting on facebook “My spouse is an abusive alcoholic,” or just packing up and leaving a home the partner, by her or his addiction, has already abandoned?

For your reference, Amoris Laetitia is online here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Amoris Laetitia. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s