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.