Pope Francis is pushing the envelope on conservative Catholicism again and calling on the church to be more tolerant of gays and lesbians, divorced Catholics and other people living in what the church considers “irregular” situations. “A pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws … as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives,” Francis writes in a sweeping paper outlining his positions on various family issues. “By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and growth,” he writes. The papers, entitled “On Love in the Family,” does not call for a change in Catholic doctrine. And, it doesn’t appear that the Pope intends to change the Roman Church’s overall position on these matters. Rather, he wants to see a more welcoming church culture. Francis urged priests to exercise careful discernment over “wounded families” and be merciful, rather than judgmental. The document also addresses divorcees remarrying, contraception, women and sex education.
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