‘Systematic reflection’ needed on Pope’s family document

A leading theologian has called for “systematic reflection” on the implications of the Pope’s ground-breaking document on the family, insisting that there is no need for further guidelines on the subject.

Prof. Eamon Conway of Mary Immaculate College in Limerick told The Irish Catholic that “there is a need for systematic reflection on the pastoral implications” of Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) for all those involved in family ministry. 

“What we need is careful guided reflection on that document by all those involved in ministry, by those involved in family ministry and then particularly, given the emphasis on the celebration of the Sacraments in particular the Sacrament of Reconciliation, for priests to be involved in the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation,” he said.

Speaking to this newspaper after the Archdiocese of Philadelphia released pastoral guidelines for implementing Amoris Laetitia, Prof. Conway said he thought the document was “itself a guideline that needs careful discussion and reflection and integration into the pastoral life of the Church”.


“What we need to do with Amoris Laetitia is what Pope Francis himself is talking about in the document in terms of discernment and integration of the conversation that’s taking place into the life of the Church.

“I’m not calling for more guidelines. I’m calling for continuing professional development and continuing formation of all of those involved where they think carefully on what Pope Francis is saying in Amoris Laetitia and engaging in the kind of discernment that he’s calling us to,” he said.

Prof. Conway’s remarks chime with comments made by Archbishop Eamon Martin to The Irish Catholic following the Synod of Bishops on the Family last year.

Dismissing the need for further consultation within Irish dioceses and parishes, Archbishop Eamon Martin said he would be “disappointed” to return to Ireland from Rome for another series of “talking shops”.


“I think there is enough in this synod to be establishing family support systems, support structures for marriage preparation, for the initial years of marriage and for families in difficulty.

“I see a very joined up thinking of family catechesis, family support, the new evangelisation and the establishment of parish pastoral councils throughout Ireland which are actively involved in pastoral ministry to other families,” he said.