Mary Hunt sees Pope Francis’s document on family love as “a lost opportunity”

April 18, 2016

Dr. Mary E. Hunt, a Roman Catholic feminist theologian and co-director of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (W.A.T.E.R), says Pope Francis could have gone so much further in his recent apostolic exhortation, Amoris Licietia [“The Joy of Love”]: On Love in the Family. Although many in the media have praised the document as a sign of the pope’s recognition that modern families are changing and that a compassionate, pastoral approach is necessary, Dr. Hunt is disappointed. She says that “the veneer of change and the reality of stagnation are disheartening.” She points out that ‘Words like ‘mercy” and ‘tenderness’ do not in and of themselves change much on the ground if the paradigm does not shift.” She writes:

“The problem is that this document is based on the notion of a patriarchal ideal family: Mom, Dad and as many children as the Lord sends, with everything else referred to as ‘complex’ or ‘irregular’, ‘imperfect’ or the result of ‘human weakness’. At its best, an intact same-sex family is defined out; a divorced and remarried couple of any sexual orientation is an ethical also-ran.”

Read Mary Hunt’s entire post, “Pope Francis’ Love Letter Is An Opportunity Lost,” on the Religion Dispatches website.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.