April 15, 2016

George Weigel on Amoris Laetitia: “The Merciful Grace of the Truth”

The Fall and Expulsion of Adam and Eve

George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., is a leading observer of the Church. His commentary is indispensable to understanding Catholicism in the world today. His latest article, "The Merciful Grace of the Truth", considers Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, "The Joy of Love,". Weigel suggests the Church read and absorb Amoris Laetitia within that dyad of mercy and truth through which we strive to live in the imitation of Christ. He writes in part:
The Holy Father set in motion these past two years of contention and, one hopes, constructive dialogue in the Church because he knows that marriage and the family are in deep trouble throughout the world, just as he knows that marriage, rightly understood, and the family, rightly understood, are the basic building blocks of a humane society: the family is the first school of freedom, because it is there that we first learn that freedom is not mere willfulness; marriage, for its part, is the lifelong school in which we learn the full, challenging meaning of the law of self-giving built into the human heart.
Why are marriage and the family in trouble? Amoris Laetitia reviews a lot of the reasons, some of which go back to Adam and Eve, and some of which are contemporary expressions of that original sin of pride. The Holy Father also speaks with understanding and compassion of the difficulty that many young people have today in forming lifelong commitments. And he calls the Church to take the ministry of marriage preparation with ever greater seriousness... as an essential instrument of evangelization, especially for those who have trouble understanding that commitment is liberating.
Early in his commentary, Weigel notes that "At the Easter Vigil a few weeks ago, tens of thousands of men and women, mature adults, were baptized or entered into full communion with the Catholic Church." While their respective conversion stories were unique, "so there are no grand generalizations to be made about those who became Catholics at Easter," it's safe to assume that few had illusions about the Church's Creed, basic tenets and beliefs. Or as Weigel puts it, "it’s almost certainly the case that, for many of those who came into full communion with the Catholic Church from other Christian communities, it was the doctrinal and moral confusions in the community of their baptism that led them to seek a Church that knew what it believed, why (and Who) it worshipped, and how it proposed that we should live." Let us pray that the fruits of the Holy Father's exhortation will be mercy and charity, not acrimony, confusion and disunity.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

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