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Apr 8, 2016 10:10 PM

Manchester church reacts to Pope's newly released document

MANCHESTER - Pope Francis released a nearly 300- page document titled Amoris Laetitia or the “Joy of Love” Friday, calling for the church to approach issues of sex, marriage, divorce and family planning with less emphasis on Catholic law and more on individual conscience.

“Those are the very kinds of situations that sometimes can run afoul of church teachings or church law,” said Fr. Jerome Day of Saint Raphael’s Parish in Manchester.

Fr. Jerome says much of what's in the document reinforces the Catholic teaching of love and acceptance.

“We're all more than our individual acts of behavior, we're all more than our sins," Fr. Jerome said. "We're also vessels of God's grace and I think that Pope Francis wants us to see that.”

“We are trying to live in today's society that is ever-changing,” Director of Liturgy Kerri Stanley said.

The document urges acceptance of gays and lesbians, but makes no changes to the Catholic definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman. It does however seem to ease the restrictions against divorced or remarried Catholics receiving communion.

“I think that he is saying ‘I am not saying no, I am not saying go somewhere else, we want you, we need you we will receive you,’” Stanley said.

“There are behaviors that the church accepts and there are behaviors that the church doesn't accept but it doesn't mean she (the church) doesn't welcome those people,” Fr. Jerome said.

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