04/11/2016, 18.08
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For Card Gracias, Amoris laetitia is a huge gift to the Church in Asia

by Nirmala Carvalho

The archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences told AsiaNews that the apostolic exhortation “endorses the social doctrine of the Church” in continuity with the teachings of his predecessors. It is an important invitation to the laity and consecrated persons, who must study it to get a positive impact for their ministry.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, spoke to AsiaNews about Amoris Laetitia.

For the prelate, the apostolic exhortation "is a precious gift for our Church, as well as families and society in Asia,” especially since it comes in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.

The document, which weaves together the deliberations of the two Synods on the family celebrated in 2014 and 2015, "endorses the social doctrine of the Church” in continuity with the “magisterium of John Paul II and Benedict XVI”. Under no circumstances does it represent a break with Catholic teaching.

It is also “an invitation to apply the medicine of mercy and tenderness,” by promoting an inclusive pastoral ministry that “seeks out those who live on the margins.”

For the cardinal, who holds a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Urbaniana University and a diploma in jurisprudence from the Pontifical Gregorian University, “Amoris laetitia outlines clearly that marriage is joy, and blessing, a gift from God.” Indeed, the Holy Father “speaks of the beauty and the integrity of this sacrament.

“Citing Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians, the pontiff notes that “love is more than a mere feeling’ (n. 94), but is instead a wilful commitment to embark on a definite path by addressing challenging things - being patient, putting aside envy and rivalry, caring about each other . . ."

In Asia, "families are traditionally very united. It is heartening that the pope connects family concerns with social concerns. He argues that families can only flourish if our societies are set up to support them.”

“It is essential that the Church in Asia get into the heart of this document. Bishops and priests can have a positive impact on our pastoral approach.”

“I would like to see our seminarians study this document, and undergo a change in mind-set and heart. Including rather than excluding is the heart of Jesus - a gift for Asia and India."

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“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”