“What is new about this exhortation is its tone,” Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban, South Africa, told Catholic News Service after the document’s release on April 8. He said it calls on all ministers “to be warm and caring in the way they deal with people in difficult circumstances.”
“There is no one-size-fits-all” approach and “local churches are urged to adapt Church teachings from the synod to their particular circumstances,” he said.
He also noted, for example, that “different cultural understandings of marriage within South Africa would give the Church here different challenges to those faced by churches in other parts of the world.”
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin called Amoris Laetitia an “encyclopaedic document and, like all encyclopaedic documents, much of its most valuable content runs the risk of being bypassed by a preoccupation with one or two of its aspects.”
“It is not just a collection of separated chapters,” Archbishop Martin said in a statement. “There is a unifying thread: The Gospel of the family is challenging and demanding, but … with the grace of God and his mercy, is attainable and fulfilling, enriching and worthwhile.”