The true jewel of Amoris Laetitia is about married love

Francis finds his voice

In chapter four of The Joy of Love, Francis seems to find his own voice with a moving reflection on the beauty of marriage. I would dare suggest that this chapter will constitute the enduring legacy of the exhortation, writes Thomas Williams.

- Crux

Papal pundits are already entertaining themselves endlessly with the Pope’s new letter on marriage and family, Amoris Laetitia, parsing each paragraph that touches on vexed questions and struggling to determine what, if anything, has changed as a result.

The danger, of course, is that bloggers will hungrily scour the document looking for declarations to support their favourite causes, and that married couples will only read filtered commentaries on the letter rather than the text itself. This would be a true pity.

I confess that I began reading the letter that way myself, yet was caught up short when I hit chapter four. Suddenly, the endless citations from the synod discussions cease, and Pope Francis seems to find his own voice. What follows is a moving reflection on the beauty of marriage and the practical ways to keep love alive, and indeed make it grow.

The chapter begins as an extended, line-by-line meditation on St Paul’s hymn to charity in the context of married love. While the Pope clearly had help in drafting this chapter (he has no pretensions to the sort of Greek philology that peppers his interpretation of 1 Cor 13), this is vintage Francis, where he shines brightest as a witness to God’s word, a preacher who knows how to connect to his audience with simplicity and candour.

As I began reading through his pointed reflections on each one of Paul’s descriptors of love — patient, at the service of others, not jealous, not boastful — I suddenly found a letter that was written to me and for me, and I cannot help but think that many others will have a similar experience.

Photo: Whispers in the Loggia

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FULL STORY Real jewel in Pope’s exhortation comes on married love

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Thomas Reese: 'Amoris Laetitia': Start with Chapter 4 (NCR)

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