Irish News

Church needs to listen to more complex Irish families, cardinal says

The Church needs to show mercy in the context of new and more complex family narratives in modern Ireland, the cardinal tapped by Pope Francis to launch his major document on marriage and the family has said.

Speaking ahead of his visit to Ireland this week to address Thursday’s ‘Let’s Talk Family: Let’s Be Family’ conference in Limerick’s Mary Immaculate College, Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn said reinvigorating the family is the great mission of the modern Church.

The cardinal, who publicly presented Amoris Laetitia (‘The Joy of Love’) last year and is the son of a divorced couple, said the Church needs to listen to couples in all sorts of relationships in ways it never previously has. 


“Ireland is synonymous with family, a country that traditionally has had family at its core,” he said, pointing out that matters are not as simple in modern Ireland as they once appeared. 

“Second unions, divorce, same-sex unions; these are all part of a new narrative around the family in Ireland. So there is a lot of change and the Church must show mercy in the context of that change; it must be willing to meet families where they are today,” he said, adding that while Amoris Laetitia “does not herald doctrinal change, it most definitely encourages greater discernment on the part of the Church when it comes to sensitivities around family today”.