Christendom College president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell was interviewed about Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, on Vatican Radio today, giving an exclusive interview to the English Section’s Daily News. Calling the exhortation a “real gold mine,” O’Donnell touched upon the key points made by Pope Francis in the lengthy document, and explained how his challenge to grow in love can help strengthen families across the globe.
Speaking with broadcast journalist Christopher Wells, a Christendom alumnus, O’Donnell began discussing Amoris Laetitia, which means ”The Joy of Love,” by emphasizing the beautiful words of Pope Francis on love seen throughout the 261-page document, especially his thoughts on spousal and familial love.
“There are so many challenges that are found in [the exhortation]. I think probably the most fundamental challenge, and the thing that he really communicates in a very effective way, is the importance of love, as a husband or as a father, or as a wife or as a mother, or even as children. Love has to grow. You can never be complacent in love,” said O’Donnell.
For O’Donnell, one of the most important passages in the document on familial love concerns the role of the father in the family — a role often forgotten in today’s society. Re-emphasizing his importance in the family unit, Pope Francis calls all people to be “merciful like the father,” according to O’Donnell, in order to communicate love and forgiveness to the younger generations.
“Pope Francis really manifests that he has the heart of a pastor, and it’s very clear, in some of the practical suggestions that he has a deep and abiding love for family life and wants to share that,” said O’Donnell. “Part of that love is the exercise of mercy. To make any relationship grow and thrive — that has to be a part of that, just as Christ is merciful to us.”
O’Donnell emphasized the need to read Pope Francis’ exhortation slowly and prayerfully, rather than jumping to conclusions based on media headlines. Contrary to some reports, Pope Francis upholds the fullness and beauty of Catholic tradition in the exhortation, according to O’Donnell, truly revealing the mind of Pope Francis in the process — a mind “that is of the man of the Church.”
“It is placed within the context of the richness of the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family. That’s why, a number of times, Casti Connubi, of Pius XI, is cited, Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, John Paul’s Theology of the Body, as well as Familiaris Consortio,” said O’Donnell. “Any couple that is contemplating marriage or is already married, that would like to do everything they can to continue to strengthen that bond, in this beautiful witness to a permanent and exclusive relationship, would benefit greatly from reading [Amoris Laetitia].”
To hear the entirety of O’Donnell’s thoughts on Amoris Laetitia, please click here.