Gaudete et Exsultate
Dr Pravin Thevathasan
I finished reading Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on holiness with a certain degree of relief. It had not left me in that state of dismay that was my first reaction to Amoris Laetitia. There is much to be commended here that it seems churlish to point out some negatives.
On abortion, Pope Francis is clear that it can never be justified. But then he muddies the waters by invoking the infamous seamless garment approach to life issues. Does this approach ever work? Let us take the example of a Catholic who has a choice of voting for two politicians. The first says that he is pro-life and would always vote that way. But he is for capital punishment, immigration control and is to some extent against welfare provision. The second is proudly pro-abortion. But he is against the death penalty, does not like border controls and favours welfare provision. The second candidate wins the Catholic vote every time if we follow the seamless garment approach.
Once again the Holy Father scolds those who are obsessed by the liturgy, who walk around churches with funereal faces and who are rigid and judgmental. I have been scouring churches looking for such people but have found none, apart from a handful of eccentrics. I am more aware of those clergy who rigidly follow a seventies style of "doing" liturgy, merely bowing before the Blessed Sacrament when they are capable of kneeling as they do on other occasions.
In summary, a useful read for the ordinary Catholic to a certain extent. A must read for seventeenth century Port Royal Jansenist nuns.