Archbishop Charles Chaput will chair a working group of American bishops who will study implementation of Pope Francis’ document “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”), released in April.

The document describes the church’s vision for marriage and family life with emphasis on mercy and pastoral sensitivity by the church for struggling families.


Described as a “post-synodal apostolic exhortation,” “The Joy of Love” was the result of sometimes tense discussions by bishops representing the global church at a synod last October in the Vatican and a previous one in 2014.

The vision of Pope Francis called for the church to balance proclaiming the truth of church doctrine regarding the permanence of marriage and the ideal of family life with pastoral outreach to couples and family members experiencing the reality of painful relationships, and to offer paths toward healing.

Implementing that vision with concrete steps will be the task of individual national bishops’ conferences around the world.

In America, Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has appointed Archbishop Chaput to lead the working group on the topic.

Archbishop Chaput was elected by the bishops as a delegate to the October Synod of Bishops. He also is chairman-elect of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

The other members of the working group include: Bishop Michael Burbidge of Raleigh, chairman of the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, and a former auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia; Archbishop Bernard Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis, chairman of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance; Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; and Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, chairman of the Committee on Doctrine.

The working group will have three goals. It will assist local bishops with the ongoing implementation of “Amoris Laetitia,” learn about local diocesan initiatives regarding marriage and family life, and update the pope on some of those initiatives “at the time of the annual curial visits,” according to a statement by the USCCB June 1 announcing the working group.

“The hope is that the working group would have a fuller understanding of the range of positive efforts by mid-September of this year,” the statement read.