Amoris Laetitia is incomprehensible without the reference to what represents the fundamental heart of this pontificate. Not for nothing it was published in the year of Mercy and wants to be a milestone of it. If there’s a need of mercy in a human environment it is the one of the family:
“This exhortation capital is especially timely in this Jubilee Year of Mercy. First because it represents an invitation to Christian families to value the gifts of marriage and the family, and to preserve in a love strengthened by the virtues of generosity, commitment, fidelity and patience. Second, because it seeks to encourage everyone to be a sign of mercy and closeness wherever family life remains imperfect or lacks peace and joy” (AL 5).
It isn’t anyway a naïve document. It speaks up clearly about “…the cultural decadence that doesn’t promote love and dedication…” (AL 39). with its consequences on the family, and about all the ideologies that threaten it, as the gender ideology (AL 56) and the attempt to deny the sexual difference without considering the original design of the body with its language naturally oriented to the gift and to the reciprocity.
“…to respect the dignity of a child means to assert its need and its natural right to have a mother and a father…” states Francis (AL 172).
The concrete situation of families is dealt with extreme realism: “…The perfect families proposed by deceptive consumerists propaganda…It’s much healthier to be realistic about our limits, defects and imperfections and to respond to the call to grow together, to bring love to maturity and to strengthen the union, come what may” (AL 135),
And crises may reveal themselves as chances of growth: “The life of every family is marked by all kinds of crises, yet these are also part of its dramatic beauty. Couples should be helped to realize that surmounting a crisis need not weaken their relationship; instead, it can improve, settle and mature the wine of the union. Life together should not diminish but increase their contentment; every new step along the way can help couples find new ways to happiness” AL 232).
It is fundamental to sustain in the couple “the desire to grow old together” because in this way they reflect God’s own faithfulness” (AL 319).
Even in every day difficulties “…if the family is centered on Christ, He will unify and illumine its entire life. Moments of pain and difficulty will be experienced in union with the Lord’s Cross, and his closeness will make it possible to surmount them. In the darkest hours of a family’s life, union with Jesus in his abandonment can help avoid a breakup. Gradually with the grace of the Holy Spirit the spouses grow in holiness through married life, also by sharing in the mystery of Christ’s Cross, which transforms difficulties and sufferings into an offering of love” (AL 317).
(Comment by Jesus Moran at the meeting of the New Family Secretariats held in Castel Gandolfo from 3 to 6 November 2016)