For the popular Catholic media personality, Bishop Robert Barron, a Los Angeles assistant official, when Pope Francis opened a cautious door for divorced and citizen remarried Catholics to receive Communion in Amoris Laetitiahe did not "sink" the Catholic doctrine, but illustrates how to react when people fail to live the ideal.
In a keynote address for the International Family Meeting on 22 and 26 August in Dublin, titled Pope Francis and the Gospel of the Family: What does Jesus call our family? & # 39 ;, In which chapters 7-9 of AmorisBarron said that instead of fearing the fact that he had to deal with chapter eight, including the controversial footnote on communion, he was happy to get the job.
"Everyone and his brother and sister talked about chapter eight of it Amoris Laetitia because of the controversy, and the result is that we often overlook these very interesting, very useful parts of the letter, "he said, referring to chapters seven and nine.
Barron said that the way chapter eight and even the text as a whole is portrayed from the beginning, as if it were a "struggle between absolutism and relativism." is, does not help.
He said the chapter is about 'formation in moral life & # 39; and should be read in continuity with chapter seven, which deals with the growth process of virtue and the balance between a person's use of digital communication.
Francis, he said, "is acutely aware of the challenges and difficulties in attaining the fullness of the Church's teaching on sexuality, [but] it does not mean that he gives up or ignores this big question. & # 39;
Loudly reading a quote from chapter eight, Barron said: "The Christian marriage is fully realized in the union between a man and a woman who give themselves to each other in a free, faithful and exclusive love, and belong to each other until death, and are open to the transfer of life. "
"Can John Paul II have said that more emphatically?" He said, adding that the church is "not interested in spiritual mediocrity," but rather, people are calling to be holy and to live heroic virtue, which is being taught for the first time in family life.
"We are not interested in a folded, twisted ideal," he said, but at the same time, given Francis' pastoral experience, the Pope is acutely aware that many people are struggling to live to the sacred ideal that was previously asked them.
As to what to do when the church meets people struggling or in trouble, Barron said there are two ways that return in the history of the Church: "Shedding and Restoring."
From the time of the Council of Jerusalem, held around 50 AD, the Church followed the way of Jesus, which, Barron said, is "the way of grace and restoration."
According to him, this is "the heart of chapter eight," Barron said, adding that "it is not denying, dial-down, denies the ideal, it is not relativism with regard to the sexual doctrine of the Church," but sensitivity to vulnerability.
"What do you do if someone does not live at the highest level of holiness? You turn off! The law says this!" Okay, there is that path, but the pope says that the way of the Church has been the way of grace and recovery. I think that is what he is interested in in chapter eight, our pastoral sensitivity to those in these situations. & # 39;
Referring to his own pastoral experience as rector of the Mundelein seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Barron said he taught many John Paul II generation men, that is, people who grew up during the pontificate of the Polish saint who entered the priesthood because they were inspired by his "Heroic ideal."
But the "shadowy side" of this generation's seminarians, he said, is that, according to his experience, "they often became deeply frustrated when they failed the ideal, because he was such a heroic figure."
"Indeed he was, and he uttered such a heroic ideal, and they were properly called to follow it, but what do you do if you fail?" He said, expressing his conviction that Francis is "sensitive to that fact, that part of our pastoral experience, what we do when people fail, and he prefers the path of grace and restoration of the path of exclusion." # 39;
What Amoris describes, Barron said, that "the family is pre-eminently the place of formation in virtue", which is built up by a slow, daily process of practice and refinement.
Using his childhood experience with baseball as an example, Barron said he started playing at age seven. In the beginning "no one laid down the rules of the game", but he had coaches who took him to the field and smelled him the grass, felt it dirty and went through the movements of hitting and catching during the exercises.
After a while, Barron said he started "internalizing the rules of baseball" and eventually became a player. And as a player he learned the rules along the way, but this is not how it started.
For Francis he said, building virtue works the same way.
Barron also spoke about the overuse of technology, referring to a study by a psychologist stating that the amount of screen time that young people have left them in a state of adolescence longer, making it more difficult to mature because of a lack of interpersonal social interaction.
Although new media offer an abundance of benefits, it can never replace the need "for more personal and direct dialogue," he said, adding that "if we lose that, we'll lose a lot."