Fr. Dwight Longenecker: The Pope’s Exhortation—A Parish Priest’s Perspective

I don’t agree with a lot of this man’s thinking and consider him a bit bombastic about the Catholic Church at times. But he is spot on about this, especially in the scenarios he presents. See what you think.

In the wake of yesterday’s publication of Amoris Laetitia allow me to weigh in with a parish priest’s perspective. In the midst of a busy day in the parish I didn’t actually have time to read the exhortation. Neither did I have time last night or this morning. However, I have read some of the online commentary, and I have read the paragraphs deemed controversial and I will read the whole thing over the weekend.

Am I allowed, therefore, to be just a teeny bit annoyed at all the armchair experts, Facebook moral theologians and Monday morning priests who have felt it their moral duty and obligation to go online just as soon as possible to point out the Holy Father’s errors and correct the successor of Peter?

What strikes me about this document is that it is first and foremost a pastoral exhortation. While it fully affirms the traditional teaching of the church regarding marriage it also makes a valiant attempt to deal with the messiness of real life. With respect to all the dear laypeople, the armchair experts, the theoreticians, amateur theologians and experts in church law–it is we priests who actually deal with the real life situations of ordinary people. We’re the ones who have to help them match up their lives with the teachings of the church.

It was Jesus who knelt in the dust with the woman taken in adultery. It was the scribes and Pharisees who stood at a distance accusing her of breaking the law. His response to them and his response to her, it seems to me, is exactly what Amoris Laetitia is all about. I just wonder why the Holy Father didn’t simply refer all of us to that text and say. “There it is. Read it and weep.” Instead he took the trouble as a loving Father in God to lay out for the clergy and faithful some principles in helping to navigate the perfect storm that is modern marriage.

Read it all.