Chicago Archbishop: Pope’s document on families ‘accessible’

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CHICAGO — Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich says Pope Francis' new document about families demonstrates the pontiff's closeness to people's real lives.

Pope Francis on Friday issued "The Joy of Love" in which he emphasizes mercy over church rules for Catholics whose family relationships don't meet church ideals.

Archbishop Cupich was among those attending a meeting of bishops last fall whose opinions helped shape the document that was unveiled this morning. He says the message is clear and he fully supports it.

Cupich said the pope's statements were "very readable and accessible." The archbishop said the pope included a "healthy dose of self-criticism" and noted that the pope said clergy often "speak in a way that is far too abstract." Cupich also highlighted that Francis said doctrines should serve the pastoral mission.

The archbishop says there are complex family dynamics, including homosexual members and divorced members, that the church and it's pastors need to address.

In the document Pope Francis told priests and bishops to look at situations facing parishioners and help them find ways to more fully participate in the church. Francis makes no explicit changes to doctrine.

READ THE FULL DOCUMENT HERE (pdf)