Pope Francis’ pastoral exhortation on marriage and family life is written as a guide for both families and their pastors, and intended to address the unique challenges of family life in the modern world.
The document has proven controversial, however, and the debate has framed much of the dialogue regarding the pontificate of Francis. Critics say the document is ambiguous regarding some aspects of sacramental discipline and the theology of the conscience, and episcopal conferences have disagreed regarding its interpretation.
In 2016, a group of cardinals presented questions to the pope about the document’s theological meaning, and some Catholics have raised concerns that those questions have not yet been answered.
Mother Teresa canonized
Among the most well-known Catholic figures of the 20th century, Mother Teresa of Calcutta died in 1997 after decades of service among the poor in India and around the world, with her religious order, the Missionaries of Charity. She was named a saint by Pope Francis in September 2016.
Theodore McCarrick laicized
In 2018, revelations about the sexual abuse and coercion of then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick amplified a global crisis regarding clerical sexual abuse and misconduct.
Before the McCarrick scandal emerged, Pope Francis had already faced a crisis in Chile, which led to mass protests during his January 2018 visit to Latin America, and eventually culminated in every Chilean bishop submitting his resignation to the pope.
The McCarrick scandal, however, caught the attention of the globe, and led to a raft of charges from Archbishop Carlo Vigano, to the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and to the eventual laicization of McCarrick.
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The McCarrick scandal also led to new norms from Pope Francis on investigating allegations of abuse or misconduct by bishops, and has led to the emergence of several other scandals regarding bishops.