On April 8, Pope Francis's Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia was released for all to see.
Bishop Michael Barber, SJ, welcomed Pope Francis’ latest apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, “The Joy of Love,” as an important teaching that encourages Catholics to renew their support of married couples and families.
At the core of the document is a theme we've grown more intimate with this year: God's Mercy.
“Both the style and the substance of Pope Francis’ message is about accompanying people on their journey of faith,” Bishop Barber said. “’The Joy of Love’ continues his themes of encouraging dialogue and companionship for Catholics. We are being asked to think of ourselves not as gatekeepers or protectors of rules, but as encouraging and supporting people in realizing and living up to God’s desires and love for them.”
Amoris Laetitia addresses the key topics about marriage and family life from the 2014 and 2015 synods while providing opportunities for readers to reflect on God's mercy in relation. Pope Francis writes, "The way of the Church is not to condemn anyone forever; it is to pour out the balm of God's mercy on all those who ask for it with a sincere heart" (AL 295).
Some readers may be intimidated by Amoris Laetitia's length; however, the document is segmented into chapters so that Catholics around the world can read the segments most relevant to their lives.
If you're not planning on reading Amoris Laetitia from cover to cover, you can read the Vatican Synthesis of Amoris Laetitia first to select which sections you want to read before tackling the full text of Amoris Laetitia.