Pope proclaims years of families, advises to keep peace

ROME (AP) – Pope Francis on Sunday proclaimed a coming year dedicated to the family when he doubled one of his papal priorities and re-addressed his controversial 2016 document on family life.

Francis announced that the next year on the family would begin on March 19, the fifth anniversary of his document “The Joy of Love”. Among other things, the document opened the door for communion between divorced and remarried couples, which provoked criticism and even allegations of heresy from conservative Catholics.

Francis penned the document after calling on bishops from around the world to debate how the Catholic Church can better serve families. While the divorce remarriage dominated the headlines during the back-to-back synods, the discussion also concerned the ministry of gay people and other ‘non-traditional’ families.

Francis made the remarks during his blessing on Sunday afternoon, which he delivered inside his studio to prevent people from gathering in St. Peter’s Square down there as part of the Vatican’s precautions.

With the announcement, Francis gave friendly papal advice to two-headed families, reminding them to say, “forgive me, thank you and sorry” and never end the day without making peace.

“Because the Cold War is dangerous the next day,” he said.