Catholics react to Pope Francis' document on family life

AP News
|
Posted: Apr 08, 2016 3:59 PM
Catholics react to Pope Francis' document on family life

Around the world, Catholics reacted Friday to a sweeping document in which Pope Francis said they must be guided by their own informed consciences and not rely exclusively on church doctrine to negotiate the complexities of sex, marriage and family life. Here's what some of them had to say:

"Obviously we should be opening our hearts, opening the doors of our churches. If the church isn't open to people with flaws, it's not open to anyone."

— Samuel Cler, 19, freshman at the University of Illinois

"If the church will really be strict and tell us every time, 'Don't do this, don't do that' and 'This is wrong and that is right,' it'll be confusing and may drive away many Catholics from the church. With these teachings, Pope Francis again makes us feel his loving presence and his mercy and compassion."

— Agatha Capalad, 22, in Manila, Philippines. The nurse works in slum communities, where she said jobless parents sometimes rear as many as a dozen children. While she's mindful of the church's position against contraceptives, she said she has helped distribute contraceptives to poor couples and hopes the church understands.

"I totally agree with the pope. This is the core value of Christ and he is reminding us as a servant of God. If you follow your conscience you will be self-driven in your faith. You cannot love when you are not willing to love. For me to achieve the sacrament I have to be willing to do it without coercion."

— Irene Ndunge, 42, in Nairobi, Kenya

___

"I am in favor of compassion and meeting people where they are, but I am must say I am little bit worried that people must decide themselves what they want to do."

— Bernadette Huelsenbeck, 78, in Johannesburg

___

"He's communicating with the people as they live their lives. Coming from South America, he understands what it's like living in a poor country."

— Lawrence Finnegan, 68, speaking outside Philadelphia's Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul

___

"He is showing that mercifulness that he always conveys to the people, and I think the church really welcomes such a statement because it is to embrace more people and not to be judgmental, but to treat each other with more love."

— Daveyrosa Ralephenya, 44, in Johannesburg

___

"Church should be more strict, because, for example, the pope shouldn't say something like this because then other Catholics will think that they can actually not be afraid of God and our church and I think this is the point of our whole religion."

— Hanna Salska, 16, speaking in Savior Square in downtown Warsaw, Poland

___

"I think Pope Francis is doing the right thing, trying to revolutionize the church. The church needs a lot of changes. It's celibate, and gay marriage, people who are divorced not being able to take Holy Communion. It's wrong, it's just wrong. The church has to change. It's very important for the church to keep up with the evolution. ... Everyone's moving forward ..."

— Vincenzo San Lorenzo, 43, speaking in the back of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York

___

"I do agree (with the pope) because in the contemporary world very often, very strict rules and regulations from the church do not apply sometimes to the realities of everyday life, of every single family."

— Grzegorz Mika, 31, speaking in Savior Square in downtown Warsaw, Poland

___

"If you know the rules, using your conscience as a guide can be a valid method. But many Catholics, even if they to go Mass, need guidance because they are not sure what the rules are. Life is complicated and the Ten Commandments could be about 500 by now."

— Krisztina Sallai, 34, in Budapest, Hungary

___

Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines; Tom Odula in Nairobi; Farai Mutsaka and Renee de Villiers-Graham in Johannesburg; Ben Finley in Philadelphia; Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland; Ula Ilnytzky in New York; and Pablo Gorondi in Budapest, Hungary, contributed to this report.