CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 September 2018

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The power of mercy

No one would disagree that moral issues have become a great tension between the Church and the secular world. Controversial issues ranging from divorce to abortion, from anti-discrimination laws to same-sex marriage have left many Catholics perplexed and those who uphold the Church teaching wearied.

In the face of these conflicts, the smallest of our brothers and sisters in the Church; the unmarried, couples struggling in difficult relationships, divorcees and the remarried, as well as the same-sex attracted feel more helpless as they face a more complex arena of struggle.

The opening of the Jubilee of Mercy certainly responded to the signs of the times, helping people to look at family problems from a different perspective. In the face of the moral issues today’s families face, papal teaching is now calling for mercy in dealing with them.

This puts the focus on the urgent needs of individuals, regardless of gender, identity or class. The Good Samaritan does not ask about the identity of the badly injured traveller, he is just a suffering man before his eyes.

Through mercy, we are touched at the depth of our hearts, delighted when others are joyful and sad when they suffer. Putting ourselves in their shoes, we are willing to contribute to assist.

The pope, in his apostolic exhortation, The Joy of Love, does not negate the consistency Church teaching on moral issues, as he does point out that in all of this, the truth of Christian faith, should not be abandoned.

However, Pope Francis also urges us not to look at principles in isolation to the detriment of the real people we meet in daily life. While we may not be able to fully understand a lot of Church doctrine, we can realise deep in our hearts the dynamism of the gift of mercy from the Holy Spirit.

The Joy of Love says we should show concern for the unfortunate, particularly families. If we open our eyes, the first people we see are our family. Wives in the eyes of husbands, parents in the eyes of children; these are the people who need our embrace.

Today, the Church needs to confront misconceptions which have done great damage to family cohesion. However, all confrontation must be constructive. Happy families are a sign of hope that faith can have a positive impact on this world.

Pope Francis points out that the sacrament of matrimony is not a static state. Rather, it is a dynamic and growing relationship, which is a key to the transformation of society.

The Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and the Family has launched a number of activities around the theme of mercy and the family in response to the spirit of The Joy of Love, to develop a positive, constructive spirit to reinforce family life and make it a source of true mercy in our society. SE