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Document Details :
Title: Eheliche Liebe als 'größte Freundschaft' (AL 123)
Subtitle: Die Vielfalt heutiger Partnerschafts- und Lebensformen und die neue Perspektive einer Gradualität in der Seelsorge
Author(s): DÖRNEMANN, Holger
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 23 Issue: 2 Date: 2017
To see marriage as a particular exercise of friendship is a very important insight. In the current article, the author returns to his previous reflections on marriage and friendship and applies them to the results of the synods on the family of 2014 and 2015 and the culminating Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia. The article begins with an overview of the issues surrounding marriage discussed at the synods. It then moves to a reflection on the significance of linking friendship with marriage. It explores the parallels between AL and the writings of Thomas Aquinas on friendship. It then argues that by seeing marriage as a 'special form of friendship' (AL 207), Francis is able to give a new impetus to pastoral care for those whose relationships are not easily categorized according to the ideals of marriage. For this places marriage at the apex of a continuum that begins in ordinary friendship, with all the various relationships and loving partnerships falling somewhere in between. These other relationships can now be evaluated from the perspective of their positive qualities, and it can be these positive qualities that can be praised and accentuated through the Church’s pastoral care. An approach of graduality opens up that was not possible before.