Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia)
The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia) is the post-synodal apostolic exhortation on love in the family by Pope Francis. It is the conclusion of a two-year process discussing both the beauty and the challenges of family life, and a springboard for every member of the Church to discover anew what it means to live and truly love as the family of God in the world today.
Called a "love letter to the church," it invites everyone, especially married couples and families, to continual growth in their response to Christ and to one another. Coming from the heart of a pastor unafraid to focus on how to accompany families on their blessed and yet challenging journey of married life, it emphasizes a need for compassion and for examining the context of a person's situation rather than applying doctrine in the abstract. While it offers no change in official Church teaching, it encourages pastors to walk among their people, listening to their stories and their hearts to offer guidance, support, and prayer.
Supportive to both laity and clergy alike, it can be considered everyone's handbook on the family. It offers words of encouragement and practical guidance to all who find themselves amid the myriad challenges facing families around the world, including unemployment, migration, poverty, addictions, polygamy, and societal norms that pressure longstanding Catholic teachings on marriage.
In this document Pope Francis continues to tap on the pastoral experience and wisdom of bishops throughout the world, often referencing bishops' conferences, including those in Spain, Korea, Mexico, Colombia, and Kenya. Expansive in its approach, not limited to a subset in a specific country, Amoris Laetitia offers guidelines for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics and the document emphasizes that local answers to questions must always be sought.
The Joy of Love guides the faithful through scripture, tradition, ministry, love, and spirituality, all of it addressing these areas through the perspective of the realities of life in the 21st century.