Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin has given his initial response to Amoris Laetitia, the Apostolic Exhortation from Pope Francis which was published on 8 April. Bishop Nulty was speaking in an interview for Religion Matters, the weekly, religion, reflection and social issues programme on Kfm Radio in Kildare.
In his interview Bishop Nulty said that he has obeyed the request from Pope Francis on page six of the document when he said “I do not recommend a rushed reading of the text”. Bishop Nulty said there is no point in any of us rushing the reading of the text. “We must take time and reflect on this powerful text from Pope Francis”, he said.
Bishop Nulty goes on to say he has not doubt that this will be a bestseller for Veritas who will have hard copies available this week.
Bishop Nulty said: “There are nine chapter, 261 pages. It is a huge manual. I have just glanced at bits of it, sections of it. I am taking it bit by bit. Tenderness is the key that opens this text. Mercy is the binder that keeps it together. This is an absolutely beautiful piece of work and I am just so excited by it as a bishop. I think this will form the agenda for us in our diocese and in every diocese because what the Pope is saying is get back to your local church, get on with your business of evangelisation. And evangelisation begins at home in the family and the wonderful thing folks about family is Pope Francis isn’t talking about the Waltons, it’s the Simpsons, it’s me and you, it’s ordinary life”.
Bishop Nulty has likened Amoris Laetitia and the words of Pope Francis as being like a grandfather writing out of love for his grandchildren and wanting the best for them.
Bishop Nulty who is also President of Accord Catholic Marriage Care said has also looked briefly at the document in the context of marriage preparation. Bishop Nulty said that it is clear that Pope Francis is aware of the brokenness of life but that he doesn’t give simple pat answers in Amoris Laetitia. He said: “I enjoy my role in Accord and my fondest memories are accompanying young couples preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage”.
“Pope Francis has great colour in his language when he speaks about marriage preparation. The Pope says that couples don’t need to be taught the entire Catechism or overwhelmed with too much information – it’s quality not quantity of preparation. Marriage support is longer than simply a marriage preparation course. I think for too often we have heard couples saying we have done the marriage preparation course and I would love to hear them saying we are continuing our marriage preparation, we are continuing to reflect on our journey together as a couple”, Bishop Nulty said.
Bishop Nulty also spoke about his wish for another option for young couples who wish to have a more affordable wedding. He said that many couples have to put off getting married because the costs are prohibitive. He said he would love to see parishes offering an alternative to this.
Bishop Nulty concluded his interview by extending an invitation to people in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin who are interested in getting more actively involved in supporting marriage and family life in the diocese. He said he is doing this because he does not want the response to Amoris Laetitia in the Diocese to be solely from the bishop. He has invited those interested to contact him at Bishops’ House, Carlow or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listen to the full interview here.