As many of you may know, yesterday saw the release of a new apostolic exhortation from the Holy Father, Pope Francis, called Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad!).
The document is subtitled “On the call to holiness in today’s world,” and that is certainly the crux of the matter. The Church teaches a universal call to holiness, and this is expounded upon in the Holy Father’s exhortation.
Many of the commentaries which have been published in the last couple of days give focus to a couple of points that are more “newsworthy” or controversial. For example, in light of the pope’s recent interview with Eugenio Scalfari wherein he purportedly denied the existence of hell (he did not, in fact, do any such thing), the document explicitly affirms the existence of hell and of the devil as not merely symbolic images, but realities we must face. It certainly makes sense that a document on the pursuit of holiness would address the diabolic forces that strive to keep us from being holy!
Jesus “wants us to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence,” the pope writes. He continues that the document is not meant to be a treatise on holiness, containing definitions and the like, but rather his goal is to “repropose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges, and opportunities.”
Here is the text of the document: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20180319_gaudete-et-exsultate.html
And here are several commentaries on the document:
A collection of “key quotes” compiled by the UK’s Catholic Herald: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2018/04/09/gaudete-et-exsultate-key-quotes/
Christopher Altieri on what Gaudete et Exsultate means for the Church: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2018/04/09/what-does-gaudete-et-exsultate-mean-for-the-church/
JD Flynn, Editor-in-Chief of Catholic News Agency, on “Reading Pope Francis in love”: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/commentary-reading-pope-francis-in-love-67644
Catholic World Report‘s Carl Olson’s take on the document: http://www.catholicworldreport.com/2018/04/09/pope-francis-takes-aim-in-gaudete-et-exsultate-and-misses/
A Zenit report on Cardinal Daniel DiNardo’s assessment of the document: https://zenit.org/articles/us-bishops-president-lauds-gaudete-et-exsultate/ (Cardinal DiNardo is Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, and the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)
Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/pope-francis-issues-lengthy-apostolic-letter-on-universal-call-to-holiness
And lastly, from the great Italian vaticanista, Sandro Magister: http://magister.blogautore.espresso.repubblica.it/2018/04/09/little-joy-and-great-invective-francis-explained-by-fr-spadaro/?refresh_ce
These commentaries bring out a lot of the more salient points of the apostolic exhortation, but as in all things, the best way to familiarize yourself with a document is to sit down and read it. It will be well worth your time!
Gaudete et Exsultate is a reminder, in the truest sense of an exhortation, that we are all called to holiness.