Pope Francis: The Joy of Love


Shane LeRoy, Contributing Editor

Pope Francis recently released his Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), which is a statement regarding his current feelings over the issues of the Catholic Church as well as his own interpretation of the Bible. Each Pope issues one several years after their Papal election. Along with the issue of homosexuality, this article details marriage, specifically divorce, and education for the youth of the world.

Pope Francis recognizes that their should be a place in the Catholic Church’s teaching for divorced individuals. He describes how it often pains individuals to not be able to receive Communion because they are divorced, when in reality they simply have an irregular family situation.

He made it clear that he understands what the strain of modern life can put on families, and he has gone back to the roots of the Church to try and make people aware. However, one thing that is missing from Pope Francis’ document was a different role for women inside of the church community.

Not only is Pope Francis the first non-European pope in in over 1000 years, he is undoubtedly one of the most liberal Catholic leaders to date. Even being willing to discuss topics like divorce and homosexuality shows just how progressive he is. Pope Francis does not want to change the rules of the Catholic Church, but change the way the members of parish communities all over the world see the conditions set by the Church.

It is clear that Pope Francis is leaving priests more leeway to adapt their own opinions to the conditions set in place by the Vatican. In the case of divorced Catholics who would like to remarry, Pope Francis is now saying it is up to the leader of the parish to which the couple belongs to make the decision whether they should receive Communion. Previously, under no circumstances were divorced Catholics who remarried allowed to receive Communion. This allows Pope Francis to stick to the Catholic traditions and not “re-brand” the Church with new rules that many religious conservatives would not respect.

The Pope also vocalized his feelings about “living in sin,” or two people living together without getting married. He branched away from the Church’s original teaching and said this is okay, however an unmarried couple should still aim one day to have a celebratory experience to clarify their marriage with the Church. Pope Francis specifically explained this condition through financial obligations – how marriage can often be a stressful cost to place on newly-forming families.

One area where many members of the Church felt Pope Francis lacked liberality was on the topic of homosexuality. A quote from Pope Francis in The Joy of Love says “No union that is temporary or closed to the transmission of life can ensure the future of society.” He is saying that, because they cannot procreate, same-sex couples are not capable of producing children “of the Church.” This is an interesting take, since nearly three years ago he made his famous “Who am I to judge” remark about homosexual patrons. According to Vox Identities, Pope Francis does believe in showing support and acceptance towards the LGBTQ community, but he also contends that there are limits to this.

Pope Francis has definitely brought a new and inspiring perspective into the Catholic community by encouraging compassion and support for all.