Bishops of Canada Welcome Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops joyfully welcomes the Holy Father’s Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia: On Love in the Family. As the national assembly of the Catholic Bishops of this country, we encourage its prayerful reception among all the faithful, and recommend its careful study to married couples and families, and to those agencies and organizations working with them, as well as to pastors and those in consecrated life who are called to be at the service of family life.
Bishops across Canada will be issuing their own statements of welcome, and engaging in discussions and conversations on the Exhortation with the members of their diocesan and eparchial churches. For its part, this Conference will assist the Bishops in their reflections and discussions on the Exhortation, in view of integrating and implementing its insights and teachings into the pastoral life of the Church.
The Apostolic Exhortation reminds us that “the desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people,” and that “the Christian proclamation on the family is good news indeed” (no. 1). At the same time, the Exhortation reflects on the “crises, worries and difficulties” which face family life (no. 231), and reminds pastors and communities of faith to prepare couples for marriage (no. 205) and accompany them in the first years of married life (no. 217). Likewise, Amoris Laetitia challenges all the faithful to do more in accompanying, discerning and integrating those family situations which “radically contradict” the ideal of Christian marriage or “realize it in at least a partial and analogous way” (n. 292).
Amoris Laetitia reiterates the necessity of protecting human life from beginning to its natural end. In the section entitled “The Transmission of Life and the Rearing of Children”, the Holy Father points out that “if the family is the sanctuary of life, the place where life is conceived and cared for, it is a horrendous contradiction when it becomes a place where life is rejected and destroyed.” Citing the Relatio Finalis of the 2015 Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis affirms: “The family protects human life in all its stages… Consequently, ‘those who work in healthcare facilities are reminded of the moral duty of conscientious objection. Similarly, the Church not only feels the urgency to assert the right to a natural death, without aggressive treatment and euthanasia’, but likewise ‘firmly rejects the death penalty'” (no. 83).
The Bishops of Canada are deeply thankful to Pope Francis for focusing the attention of the Universal Church on the importance of marriage and family, for reminding all the faithful of the urgent priority of accompanying families in hope and mercy, and for inviting Christian families to “value the gifts of marriage and the family” (no. 5).
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Ottawa, April 8, 2016