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ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis' long awaited apostolic exhortation on the 2015 Synod on the Family has arrived. His Holiness entitled the work "Amoris Laetitia" or "the Joy of Love."
The 256-page document affirms Church teaching on homosexuality, marriage and divorce, the Eucharist and discusses many pastoral issues at length, such as the education of children and marriage preparation for young people.
Pope Francis affirms that Church teaching must be clearly stated . He also reiterated that marriage is between one man and one woman .
Paragraphs 172-176 discuss the unique roles of mothers and fathers, addressing multiple challenges facing parents today. Pope Francis encourages women to remember their unique role as mothers and the responsibility they have to their children, saying "I certainly value feminism, but one that does not demand uniformity or negate motherhood." 
The pope affirmed multiple times that the elderly must be looked after, adding that a society which ignores the wisdom of the elders is "immature" and "already in decline." 
Pope Francis says that while divorced and civilly remarried Catholics must be welcomed, this welcoming is "not to be considered a weakening of its faith and testimony to the indissolubility of marriage."  He adds that their participation in the Church must be expressed in ecclesiastic services which avoid any occasion of scandal. 
Paragraphs 246 and 298 stress that special care must be given to the children of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. His Holiness also says that all children must be embraced by their parents, and that no child should ever feel unwanted. 
Pope Francis echoed the current norms for the reception of Holy Communion by non-Catholics as laid out by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. 
The Holy Father reiterated that there are "absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family." 
His Holiness reaffirmed the Church's teaching that virtue is not merely judging what seems best, but that desiring good must become second nature to us and good habits must be instilled .
In paragraph 273, Pope Francis, speaking of persons struggling with addictions, distinguished between a moral action which is freely willed and one which is voluntary, i.e. willed but not free due to some compulsory inclination.
Paragraphs 280-286 discuss the need for sex education that accords with Church teaching.
The Holy Father declared that anyone who "flaunts an objective sin" must heed the Gospel and convert to the Faith. 
The pope also clarified that while the faithful must show mercy to all, mercy "does not exclude justice and truth." 
Pope Francis fittingly concluded his Apostolic Exhortation with a prayer to the Holy Family:
Prayer to the Holy Family
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendor of true love; to you we turn with trust. Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic churches. Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again experience violence, rejection and division; may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing. Holy Family of Nazareth, make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Graciously hear our prayer. Amen.
Stay tuned as ChurchMilitant.com continues to cover Pope Francis' final words on the Synod in the coming weeks.
The full text of Amoris Laetitia can be read here.
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