23 August 2018
World Meeting of Families

Card. Tobin (Newark), “The family is not an abstract ideal. Listening to the reality of individuals and of couples”

“La famiglia non è un ideale astratto”, premette il card. Joseph W. Tobin, arcivescovo di Newark (Usa), introducendo questa mattina il panel dedicato all’amore nell’esperienza quotidiana delle famiglie nell’ambito del Congresso pastorale promosso all’interno “The family is not an abstract ideal.” Card. Joseph W. Tobin, Archbishop of Newark (USA), underscored this in his introduction to this morning’s panel discussion on love in the daily experience of families, at Pastoral Congress of the Dublin World Meeting. The Scriptures, he observes, are not “a series of abstract ideas but rather a source of comfort and companionship for every family that has difficulties or suffers, because they show them the goal of their journey...” “If we are incapable of listening to reality, we cannot understand the needs of the present moment,” says the cardinal, emphasizing that “the humility of realism” helps us avoid presenting “an excessively abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage,” that is far from the concrete situations and practical possibilities of real families. Accentuating “doctrinal, bioethical, and moral questions without encouraging openness to grace [leads] to idealism. We, however, are called to ‘form consciences, not to replace them’”, he stressed, recalling Amoris Laetitia. With awareness of the difficulties, he concluded, “our pastoral approach, which must be merciful and continuously promote integration, also has to bear in mind the concrete reality of every person or couple, as Jesus did with the Samaritan woman or with the woman caught in adultery.”