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An Evaluation of the Family Life Programs and Pastoral Approaches to Irregular Unions in the Diocese of Tagum in the Light of Amoris Laetitia

Novie Fernand L. Bagnaan (Philippines)

Master of Arts in Theological Studies with a field of specialization in Moral Theology
Fr. Eric Marcelo Genilo (Adviser)


The post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) of the Holy Father Francis which was promulgated on the 19th day of March 2016, calls for the encouragement of the faithful to accompany and care for families in irregular unions. Pope Francis invites the Church to exercise her moral and pastoral care in the lived experiences of families today. It highlights marriage as a vocation to grow in love by becoming a gift of love to one’s spouse and children. Correspondingly, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) promised to develop more concrete guidelines on the implementation of the Apostolic Exhortation. However, a serious attempt to produce concrete guidelines has not been made so far.

This study presents an initial contribution towards applying the apostolic exhortation in the service of the Church’s pastoral mission. To actualize this endeavor, the researcher presented using the following steps: (i) present the current sociological landscape of marriages in the chosen local parishes, (ii) examine Church teachings on irregular family situations before Amoris Laetitia, (iii) evaluate the teachings of Amoris Laetitia regarding pastoral care for families with irregular situations, (iv) examine and evaluate the moral and pastoral programs implemented by the Diocese of Tagum to address irregular family situations both in the diocesan and parish levels.

The results of the study identify the various areas of strength and areas for growth of the respective pastoral programs in the chosen local parishes. These have been influenced by the following interconnected factors: (i) cultural reasons, (ii) economic factors, (iii) functional illiteracy, (iv) domestic violence, and (v) lack of diocesan pastoral programs that focus on problematic marital situations. While Amoris Laetitia upholds the doctrine of marriage, it also recognizes the complexities of real-life undertakings of those in irregular unions, the results of this case study highlight the importance of adopting a consistent pastoral approach and standard policy—a shift towards a more inclusive and compassionate pastoral approach. Concretely, this led to the implementation of pastoral programs that effectively assist individuals in irregular situations.

Final Defense:

19 March 2024, Tuesday, 3:00 p.m., online

Board of Examiners:

  1. Fr. Abundio Babor, Jr., M.S.C., S.T.D. (Second Reader/Principal Examiner),
  2. Fr. Enrico Eusebio, Jr., S.J., J.C.D.
  3. Anatoly Angelo Aseneta, Ph.D.

Proposal Defense:

Date: 30 April 2020 (Thursday)

Board of Examiners:

  1. Fr. Eric Marcelo Genilo, S.J., S.T.D. (Adviser)
  2. Fr. Enrico Eusebio, Jr., S.J., J.C.D.
  3. Fr. Abundio Babor, Jr., M.S.C., S.T.D.
Home » Academic Programs » Theses and Dissertations » Novie Fernand L. Bagnaan (Philippines)
Loyola School of Theology