For Immediate Release
Contact: Rene Reid
Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI) is both hopeful and disappointed in what Pope Francis has said in his Apostolic Exhortation, but in the end finds encouragement for current efforts to promote more participation by the grass roots in the governance of the Church.
There are many signs of hope in the document, which (1) urges church leaders to move away from being rigid enforcers of doctrine to become nurturing pastors (##305-312); elevates transformative love and tenderness over “dry and lifeless doctrine” (#59) and recognizes that “a general law or rule … is not enough to discern and ensure full fidelity to God … as to matters of detail” (#304) (2) reaffirms that “every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration” (#250); (3) recognizes that “a negative judgment about an objective situation does not imply a judgment about … the culpability of the person involved (#302) and that “individual conscience needs to be better incorporated into the Church’s praxis in certain situations which do not objectively embody our understanding of marriage” (#303); exhorts the clergy to accompany people and dialogue with them, most especially with those who do not live the reality of an ideal marriage (#293); (4) acknowledges that we could draw from the experience of the broad oriental tradition of a married clergy (#202); and (5) reinforces the sanctity of personal conscience (#222) and the obligation of pastors “to encourage an ever greater trust in God’s grace” (#303) and “to form consciences, not to replace them” (#37).
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