Monday, April 11, 2016

CHURCH AND FAMILY - Pope's Manifesto

"Will Pope Francis' manifesto on family bring change to the church?" PBS NewsHour 4/8/2016


SUMMARY:  In a landmark manifesto on family life, Pope Francis called for Catholics to put conscience over dogma on critical moral issues.  His statement also suggested a possible relaxing of the ban on divorced Catholics taking communion.  Judy Woodruff gets reactions from Gloria Purvis of Global Catholic Network, Amanda June Gargus of Georgetown University and Marianne Duddy-Burke of DignityUSA.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Today's pronouncement from the Pope on family life was two years in the making.  Pope Francis explicitly called for the church to be less judgmental.

Instead, he said more support is needed for single and unmarried parents, as well as same-sex couples.  Divorced or remarried Catholics shouldn't be judged or discriminated against in church life.  Priests can be merciful when it comes to delivering communion.  But he didn't change doctrine on same-sex marriage or on the role of contraception.

We sample some of the reaction now with Amanda June Gargus.  She is the student administrator at campus ministry at Georgetown University's Law Center.  Gloria Purvis is the host of a radio show on the EWTN's Catholic Television Network called “Morning Glory.”  And Marianne Duddy-Burke is the executive director of Dignity USA, which works on support changes for the LGBT community in the Catholic Church.

And we welcome all three of you to the program.

So, let's begin by — I just want to ask each one of you, what do you think of this latest statement by Pope Francis?

Let me start with you, Ms. Gargus.

AMANDA JUNE GARGUS, Georgetown University:  I think it's a great thing.

I think it falls well within what the Pope has been saying all year in this year of mercy of being in love with our neighbors and how we show mercy towards the people around us, so, the saints and the sinners, those that conform with how we see God's love and those who may not necessarily be acting in the way that maybe traditional Catholics tend to think of the church acting.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Gloria Purvis, what about you? What was your reaction?

GLORIA PURVIS, Global Catholic Network:  My reaction was, this is quite a merciful message.  It had a lot for everyone.

I think it was a challenge for everyone.  He clearly speaks within the confines of the church's understanding of marriage, faithful, fruitful, faithful forever, and yet, at the same time, he says we need to be merciful to everyone, walk with them.

And one of favorite lines in the exhortation is where he says love coexists with imperfection.  And so I think there is a hopeful message for all of us.  We all fall short of perfection.  But if we're willing to listen and think with the mind of the church and try to form our consciences properly, the church is there with us.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Marianne Duddy-Burke, what about you?  What did you think when you read this?

MARIANNE DUDDY-BURKE, DignityUSA:  Yes, I find it to be a very uneven document.  There are certainly places where it soars.  I love the emphasis on respecting the formed consciences of so many of us and pastoral care, starting from the needs of the person.

I think those are fantastic and really consistent with a lot of what Pope Francis has been about.  And then there are areas where it really falls short of what I think people were hoping for, and that's certainly true on the issue of LGBT people, where there really isn't a lot of progress in this piece.

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