Bishop Johan Bonny, Roger Burggraeve & Ilse Van Halst

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Five years since the apostolic exhortation on love in the family – Amoris Laetitia – first appeared, it has lost none of its relevance and urgency. For Pope Francis this anniversary offers “an opportunity to focus more closely on the contents of the document”.

In an open and frank dialogue, the authors of this book accept the challenge to explore and develop insights and paths for theological ethics, pastoral theology and ministry, counseling, education and spirituality as drawn out in the exhortation.

They focus particularly on the conjugal covenant as a “unique love of friendship” and as the basis for family life, one where the upbringing of children is geared to “growing in love”. From this perspective, topics such as responsible parenthood, indissolubility, separation and divorce receive rightful consideration. Other intimate relationships and modes of living together are discussed critically and qualitatively. Inspired by the “logic of mercy and discernment” in Amoris Laetitia, stepping stones for a pastoral ethics of growth towards “enduring love”, that do not circumvent the differences with marriage, are laid down.

This book arose out of numerous and extensive conversations between bishop Johan Bonny, professor Roger Burggraeve SDB and journalist Ilse Van Halst. Sprung out of dialogue, it desires to continue the dialogue and process of discernment.

It invites to participate all who are involved in theological ethics and pastoral theology, sexuality and family studies, religious education and youth catechesis, marriage and family life ministry, couple therapy, training programs for parents on love and sex education, support groups for separated and divorced… and all those in Church and society looking for sustainable love.

Johan Bonny is bishop of Antwerp (Belgium) since 2008. Representing the Belgian bishops, he participated in the second Synod on the Family in Rome in October 2015.

Roger Burggraeve SDB is a moral theologian, Levinas scholar, and Bible philosopher. He taught and published on ‘Christian sexuality, marriage and family ethics’ and on ‘Ethics of growth in difficult pastoral and educational situations’. For 37 years he was part-time collaborator and team member of the Salesian pastoral Center ‘Youth Today’ in Dilbeek, Brussels.

Ilse Van Halst is a journalist. She is editor-in-chief of ‘Relevant’, the magazine of the Diocese of Antwerp, and editor at the parish magazine ‘Church & Life’ (Flanders, Belgium).


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