VATICAN CITY - The Vatican has set April 8 for the release of
"Amoris Laetitia" ("The Joy of Love"), Pope Francis'
reflection on the family and family life.
The document, subtitled "On Love in the Family," will be
released at a Vatican news conference with Cardinal Lorenzo
Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops,
Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna and
Giuseppina and Francesco Miano, a married couple who
participated in both the 2014 and 2015 synods of bishops on
"Amoris Laetitia" is what is known as a "postsynodal
apostolic exhortation," a document addressed to the whole
church reflecting on themes of church life and faith that
have been discussed at a gathering of the Synod of Bishops.
According to a variety of reports, the document will be long
- perhaps as many as 200 pages.
Speaking to reporters flying with him from Mexico to Rome in
late February, Pope Francis said the document "will summarize
all that the synod said," including about broken families,
the importance of serious marriage preparation programs,
raising and educating children, and "integrating" divorced
and civilly remarried Catholics into active parish life even
if they cannot receive Communion.
"The key word that the synod used - and I will refer back to
it - is to 'integrate' wounded families, families with
remarried spouses, and all this, into the life of the
church," the pope said on the plane Feb. 17.
However, he said, "being integrated into the church does not
mean 'taking Communion.' I know remarried Catholics who go to
church once or twice a year" and say, "'I want to receive
Communion,' as if Communion were a prize."
"It is a matter of integration ... the doors are all open.
But one cannot just say: From now on 'they can take
Communion.' This would also wound the spouses, the couple,
because it won't help them on the path to integration," the
pope said. Receiving Communion eventually could be possible,
he indicated, but integration is "a journey, it is a path."