Amoris Laetitia 308: Doing Our Best

amoris laetitia memeA facebook friend recently mused about the “enabling” or “sinful” matter of giving an alcoholic money for food so that she or he could spend her or his own money on booze. The question seems to avoid the notion that one might make a real friend and attempt to deepen one’s influence. Even if we also realize we have no power to change anyone else, Pope Francis still talks “accompaniment,” as you can read:

308. At the same time, from our awareness of the weight of mitigating circumstances – psychological, historical and even biological – it follows that “without detracting from the evangelical ideal, there is a need to accompany with mercy and patience the eventual stages of personal growth as these progressively appear”, making room for “the Lord’s mercy, which spurs us on to do our best”.(Evangelii Gaudium 44)

On the notion that such practices sow “confusion,” he cites EG again:

I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion. But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a Church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness, a Mother who, while clearly expressing her objective teaching, “always does what good she can, even if in the process, her shoes get soiled by the mud of the street”.(Evangelii Gaudium 45) The Church’s pastors, in proposing to the faithful the full ideal of the Gospel and the Church’s teaching, must also help them to treat the weak with compassion, avoiding aggravation or unduly harsh or hasty judgements. The Gospel itself tells us not to judge or condemn (cf. Mt 7:1; Lk 6:37). Jesus “expects us to stop looking for those personal or communal niches which shelter us from the maelstrom of human misfortune, and instead to enter into the reality of other people’s lives and to know the power of tenderness. Whenever we do so, our lives become wonderfully complicated”.(Evangelii Gaudium 270)

Which draws us back to the alcoholic: friend or NGO client?

For your reference Amoris Laetitia is online here.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Amoris Laetitia 308: Doing Our Best

  1. FrMichael says:

    Ah, the pope drawing up yet another straw man– “I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion”– again in AL, along with the endless self-citation he is apt to do. What a weird way to describe his critics.

    • Todd says:

      Quite a bit of the last three popes get cited in this work. Maybe it stings to see the ghostwriter thing get skewered with real academic citations.

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