Issue of the Day

Surprises from the Pope: divorce is all good, but gay marriage is not

pope francis

Pope Francis is known for his progressive views. (Aleteia Image Partners/Flickr)

Pope Francis just put out an Apostolic Exhortation called “The Joy of Love,” to the public today. Basically it's a proclamation about Catholic family life.

The document calls for tolerance and acceptance for divorced Catholics, but, surprisingly for some, gives little hope to supporters of gay marriage and contraception.

So, what does the document say, then?

The Exhortation is a product of two years of research, meeting with religious councils, gathering data from thousands of churches, and talking with countless Catholic individuals.

Typically, we’ve seen Pope Francis make most of his decisions on his own, but for one reason or another, he sought extra help for this one.

He expressed understanding of couples going through so much stress that they grow apart:

“In many cases, parents come home exhausted, not wanting to talk, and many families no longer even share a common meal.”

And he suggested that Catholics who are divorced, and even those who have gotten remarried, might be able to receive holy communion.

But people who were hoping for something big and liberal from the Pope on gay marriage are disappointed. He shut the door on the Catholic Church accepting same-sex marriages:

“Absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar … to God’s plan for marriage and family.”

The Exhortation also “strongly rejects” any form of contraception and pushes the option of adoption over abortion. Still pretty conservative there.

While some aren’t happy that the Pope didn’t go far enough in terms of his acceptance of all types of love, many think that this is a good move and already quite progressive.

Archbishop Blase Cupich said,

"It’s not a slippery slope but a pathway forward for people who have otherwise found themselves stuck. I have found, by and large, Catholics across the spectrum — however they identify themselves as liberals or conservatives — really live day-to-day with family members who are falling short, as they would say, of the ideal. We all fall short to some degree.”

We’ll see if this changes going forward:

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Surprises from the Pope: divorce is all good, but gay marriage is not

Samantha Rhodes

Samantha is a senior at Georgetown studying English and studio art. She has written for USA TODAY College, The Hoya, DC Life Magazine, and Smithsonian, among others, and is the current co-editor-in-chief of Georgetown campus publication Venture Capitol, which covers entrepreneurship and startups in DC. When not reporting or shooting with her Nikon, she's surrounded by books on Greek mythology and neuroscience or listening to tech podcasts on her way to Bikram yoga.

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