Author: Fr. James Kroeger

Authentic Education within the Family

“TOWARDS a Better Education of Children” is the title of chapter seven of Pope Francis’ The Joy of Love. The pope asserts that “parents always influence the moral development of their children, for better or for worse.” Thus, it follows that they “should take up this essential role and carry it out consciously, enthusiastically, reasonably and appropriately” (259), employing both traditional and newer methods to guide their children. One find an interesting and pedagogically insightful section in which Francis clearly states that “obsession, however, is not education. We cannot control every situation that a child may experience…. If parents...

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Family Joys and Challenges

Pope Francis devotes the entire fifth chapter of The Joy of Love to a reflection on love’s “fruitfulness” in the family; this certainly involves much more than questions of fertility.  Fruitfulness includes welcoming new life, manifesting love as father and mother, appreciating the extended family, fostering relationships between youth and the elderly, and maturing in social love and respectful relationships.  Genuine fruitfulness will also involve addressing challenges, problems, and uncertainties. For example, the pope’s words to pregnant “fruitful” mothers are poignant and tender!  “Expectant mothers need to ask God for the wisdom fully to know their children and to...

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Family as center of evangelization

In his The Joy of Love, Pope Francis focuses on a wide variety of pastoral challenges facing families in the contemporary world; the Pope admits that he does not have answers for every situation and is not presenting a comprehensive plan for all families. Yet, relying on the teaching of synods and recent popes, Francis emphasizes that families should not only be evangelized, but they should also evangelize. For Pope Francis, “Christian families, by the grace of the sacrament of matrimony, are the principle agents of the family apostolate, above all through ‘their joy-filled witness as domestic churches.’ Consequently,...

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Genuine Loving Brings True Joy

James H. Kroeger, M.M. LIVING MISSION   Pope Francis, as Filipinos witnessed during his 2015 pastoral visit, could rightfully be called “the pope of tenderness, mercy and joy.” This same message is revealed in his The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia) where Francis notes that “tenderness … is a sign of a love free from selfish possessiveness…. Loving another person involves the joy of contemplating and appreciating their innate beauty and sacredness, which is greater than my needs” (127). In a world that often focuses on external appearances, authentic love “contemplates other persons as ends in themselves, even if...

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Fostering Life-giving Authentic Love

Fr. James Kroeger, M.M. Living Mission   In The Joy of Love, Pope Francis meditates on genuine love in a prolonged reflection on Saint Paul’s Hymn to Love (I Cor. 13:4-7).  Francis’ inspired and poetic exegesis of the Pauline text extends for twenty pages in Amoris Laetitia (AL 89-119); this type of meditation is unprecedented in any previous papal document.     Some of Pope Francis’ insights follow.  Love is more than a passing emotion, it must be “experienced and nurtured in the daily life of couples and their children” (90).  “Love always has an aspect of deep compassion that...

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