Following a cup of tea and a reading from Abbe Michael Quoist the meeting addressed the topic .
Amoris Laetitia – The Joy of Love
This recent 189 page publication of Pope Francis’ post-synodal commentary brought to life the issues addressed at the recent synod which was the third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome.
The publication is available from Veritas Publications in hard copy. It is also available on the Dublin Diocesan and other websites. It has been usefully reformatted by Padraig McCarthy on A4 pages on the ACP website as a printable and PDF file.
(i) By Archbishop Diarmuid Martin who says he broke the rules by reading it in a day and a half rather than slowly as recommended! He notes that it reflects on the current situations of families in different cultures and therefore the challenge to church teaching that brings. The reality of the world isn’t black and white and the church’s representation of marriage can be a too abstract and almost artificial ideal of marriage –far removed from the concrete and practical possibilities of a real marriage. The document talks of “love coexisting with imperfection”: of the secret of married love “is not what I want but rather realising one’s own limitations and not being judgemental of the other. It covers an encyclopaedic range –education, ageing, death, widowhood, erotic dimension of love, homelessness, unemployment and migrants.
(ii) By Aidan Hart on the ACP website on the document. The tone is Divine Mercy and the primacy of conscience is highlighted. God’s mercy and forgiveness above doctrine. The decentralisation of authority to take account of local culture and traditions. On the issue of civilly remarried Catholics and Communion it recommends that the particular circumstances be taken into account and particularly where a spouse has been physically or psychologically abused or abandoned and/or the care of the children is an issue.
Faith formation for parents is also identified as an important issue. Gay marriage is strongly resisted. This is a difficult area with for example the Kenyan and Indonesian bishops apparently recommending the jailing of practicing homosexuals.
3. General Comments:
It was generally agreed that the document marked a move towards a more merciful approach. It also marked a preparedness to address the experienced issues of family life. It makes a strong statement against a cold and harsh approach by church “Rather than offering the healing power of grace and the light of the Gospel message, some would ‘indoctrinate’ that message, turning it into ‘dead stones to be hurled at others.
The Limerick Synod
A short discussion took place on the Limerick Synod which was the first Irish synod in 50 years. It took eight months preparation and was attended by laity, priests, religious and bishop.
One of the most moving moments was when the priests received a standing ovation of affirmation from the laity for their work down through the years-the People of God in action!
There were 100 proposals and the establishment of a working group on the leadership role of women in the governance at diocesan and local level received the highest support with 90% in favour. Bishop Leahy sees it as the start of a process. The reports are on the diocesan website and it was agreed it would be a suitable topic for next month’s meeting and as to whether it should be repeated in other diocese.
Wednesday 25th 2016 at 8.00 in the Portacabin.