“The Joy of Love”

“The Joy of Love” is the long awaited encyclical of Pope Francis. While it does not change Roman Catholic Church doctrine, it allows interpretation of that doctrine, especially regarding divorced Catholics, by local priests and bishops within the culture of each parish. Pope Francis believes that rules matter, but so does individual conscience. Believe it or not, that concept is as old as the Church itself.

Personally, I will not attempt to interpret the details of the message. I believe that the Holy Father is trying to make the grace of the sacraments available to all baptized Catholics who want to participate in them. While this opportunity will be a boon to the marginalized, I know many, many baptized Catholics who have no impediments to participating in the sacramental system who do not do so. In the US today, there are more baptized Catholics that do not receive the Eucharist than those who do. Indeed, I hope that “The Joy of Love” will provide comfort and hope to all Catholics. And, that the increased use of the sacraments will help to bring the grace of peace to all of human kind.

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