Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Ecumenical Patriarch backs Francis’ eucharistic discipline reforms

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano Bartholomew argues: “What has undoubtedly smothered and hampered people in the past is the fear that a “heavenly father” somehow dictates human conduct and prescribes human custom. The truth is quite the opposite, and religious leaders are called themselves to remember and in turn to remind that God is life and love and light”

When speaking of God, the descriptive language that we adopt is love. And when speaking of love, the fundamental dimension that we attribute is divine. This is why the Apostle of Love defines God as love. (1 John 4.8)

When our dear brother and Bishop of Rome, His Holiness Francis, issued his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia earlier this year, it was around the time that we jointly travelled to the island of Lesbos in Greece, in order to express our solidarity with persecuted refugees from the Middle East. Although the Papal Encyclical “on the joy of love” is concerned with issues pertaining to family life and love, we believe that it is not unrelated to that historical visit to the refugee camps. For what became immediately clear to both of us, as we gazed into the sorrowful faces of the wounded victims of war, was that all of these people were individual members of families — of families broken and torn apart by hostility and violence. But, as our Lord explicitly told us about the relationship between power and service, it should not be so among us! (Matt. 20.26) Immigration is nothing but the other side of the same coin of integration, which is surely the responsibility of every sincere believer.

Of course, Amoris Laetitia touches the very heart of love and family, just as it touches the heart of every living person born into this world. This is because the most sensitive issues of family life reflect the most vital questions of belonging and communion. Whether they concern the challenges of marriage and divorce, or even of sexuality and childrearing, they are all delicate and precious pieces of the sacred mystery that we call life.

Read it all at L’Osservatore Romano

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