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Extent: Paperback

Pages: 120

Publisher: Veritas Publications (21st March 2018 )

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As appeared in Intercom, July/August 2018, 10th Jan 2019

Reviewer: Veritas Publishing

When my tenure as editor of Intercom concluded in 2017, I was quite willing to accept a request to prepare a publication commemorating Pope Francis’ exhortation on love in the family, Amoris Laetitia, and the World Meeting of Families in Dublin this year. In addition to the Holy Father’s own inclusive vision of family life contained in Amoris Laetitia, where better to begin, I thought, than with the families of the Bible to whose stories the Pope referred frequently throughout his letter?
Apart from the words and deeds of Jesus himself, the scriptures spring most vividly to life for many of us whenever the story of a family is told. Whether it’s the tale of Adam and Eve and their tragic sons Cain and Abel, or the extraordinary couple, Sarah and Abraham, whose surrogacy arrangements continue to impact on the Middle East today, or the poignant scene on Calvary where Jesus commends his mother to the care of his beloved disciple John; all of these family episodes – and the countless others glimpsed through the scriptures – touch upon our own experience of family life as well as offering encouragement and guidance for families today.
I’ve always been fascinated by the dramatic and colourful events of family lives in the scriptures whose relationships of loves and hates, deceptions and sacrifices, forgiveness and betrayal can, even when shorn of their historical context, frequently seem strikingly relevant and reflective of contemporary family life. These ‘Middle-Eastenders,’ as I sometimes think of them, make the plots of popular soap operas seem very tame by comparison.

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Veritas Publications

In the Light of the Word: Family Life through the Lens of Scripture

by Paul Clayton-Lea


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In an era of unprecedented social, cultural and technological change, the family remains the cornerstone of community and the locus of religious faith around the globe. In In the Light of the Word, Paul Clayton-Lea explores the inclusive vision of family life contained in Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on ‘love in the family’, Amoris Laetitia. Comprising a selection of fifty-two biblical stories, reflections and prayers, alongside relevant phrases from the exhortation, this thought-provoking book makes a perfect prayer, liturgical and communications resource.


Paul Clayton-Lea is a priest of the Archdiocese of Armagh, and parish priest of Tallanstown, Co. Louth. Following his post-graduate studies at Fordham University NY, in Education and Family Ministry in 1988, he has served as a teacher, college chaplain and parish priest. He is a former editor of Intercom, the monthly pastoral magazine of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

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