CT Catholics react to Pope's new guidelines - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT Catholics react to Pope's new guidelines

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Roman Catholics attended midday mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Norwich. (WFSB) Roman Catholics attended midday mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Norwich. (WFSB)

Connecticut Catholics reacted on Friday after Pope Francis said we should rely more on our conscience and not hard line rules.

The Holy Father offered new guidance to the world's Roman Catholics.   

Connecticut church leaders said the landmark document released Friday titled The Joy of Love is a guideline for priests to be less judgmental and more welcoming.  

It provides guidance to individuals and families, so they can make conscious decisions and not just follow mandated rules.

Pope Francis, in unveiling his long-awaited treatise on family life, called for the church to change its tone to be less judgmental and more welcoming. 

Inspired by his visit last September to the United States and his more common man approach to church teachings, many Roman Catholics attended midday mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Norwich and told Eyewitness News they embrace his philosophy.

"He had a comment about helicopter parents,” Norwich resident Betsy Pepin said. “To let children grow and learn by themselves doesn't do them any good.  So I heard that part and I thought, very good advice."

In his treatise on family life, Pope Francis warned parents that always knowing where their children are and controlling all their movements does not prepare kids to face life challenges.

"He's a good man, very kind man and so far so good,” Norwich resident Henry Bourgeois said.

According to Bishop Richard Malone, who is the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, "the new guidelines are a rich reflection on the mission of the family and how the church can equip couples to embrace god's vision for marriage and can offer healing for families who are struggling."

On the controversial issue of letting Catholics, who divorce and remarry receive communion, Pope Francis emphasized the need for pastors to help individual Catholics over the course of spiritual direction.

"He's definitely trying not to drive people away from the Church and that has happened for many years,” Norwich resident Gerri Leonard said.

Friday’s message though, rejects gay marriage and repeats the church's position that same-sex unions can in no way be equivalent to marriage between man and wife.

But overall the direction that Pope Francis is leading the church is welcomed.

"OH my gosh we all love him,” Leonard said. “He's a breath of fresh air!"

How local bishops interpret the Joy of Love will likely be shared soon with their parishes.

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