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(Part 85)


August 6, 2015

We as Christians should always look to everyone, including and perhaps especially sinners, with compassion. In relation to those in irregular unions (divorced and remarried), we in CFC came up with Jacob’s Well way back in 1999, a special ministry by which we could accommodate such couples without compromising our stand on the indissolubility of Catholic marriage.

So the compassion and welcome for those outside the sacramental life of the Church is always there. We hate the sin but love the sinner. However, in standing up for the truth of the gospel and the sanctity of marriage according to God’s design, we must not water down the high ideals and demands of Christian sacramental marriage. Once we do so, then that will be the slippery slope that leads to divorce, cohabitation and inevitable breakdown of marriage and family.

Thus those in irregular unions are welcome in our churches, to celebrate the Eucharist with us, to be part of communities, to serve in parishes, and so on. However, to receive holy Communion is another matter. This is reserved for those who are not in situations of serious sin.

How about the grace needed in order to live a truly Christian life of holiness? Such grace is already abundant in the Eucharistic celebration. And even the withholding of Communion is a prod to achieving greater holiness of life, as one continues to look to God’s mercy, as one is humbled by one’s difficult circumstances, as one looks to trusting in the God who works for the good of His beloved children.

Pope Francis: welcome with compassion those who have remarried outside the Church

Catholic World News - August 05, 2015

Following a month-long hiatus, Pope Francis resumed his Wednesday general audience on August 5 and called for a compassionate welcome to those who have remarried outside the Church.

In doing so, he made no mention of the upcoming Synod of Bishops nor of the controversial proposal to admit those in such situations to Holy Communion.

Citing statements on the same topic by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father said that the Church should reach out to help those who are in irregular marital situations, aware that there are no "simple solutions" to their problems. Although the Church cannot approve of their marriages, they are "not excommunicated, by any means," he said, and the Church must help them.

“The Church knows well that such a situation contradicts the Christian sacrament,” Pope Francis told those assembled in Paul VI Audience Hall. The Church, he said, looks upon those in such situations with a maternal heart and “always looks for the good and the salvation of persons.”

Citing St. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio (no. 84), Pope Francis said that the Church must distinguish between those who caused the breakup of the initial marriage and those who endured it.

Looking at the situation through the eyes of the young children of the new union, Pope Francis spoke of the “urgency of developing in our community a real welcome toward the persons who are living in such situations,” with a careful attention to “language” and “attitudes.”

If we “hold them at a distance from the life of the community, as if they were excommunicated,” the Pope added, how will the children be raised in the faith?

Pope Francis praised his predecessors’ efforts to reach out to those in such situations and cited a growing awareness that “we need a fraternal and attentive hospitality, in love and in truth, towards the baptized” who have established a new union.

Calling upon all members of the Church to manifest the attitude of the Good Shepherd, Pope Francis said pastors should “manifest openly and consistently the community's willingness to welcome” those in such unions, “that they may live and develop more” in their “belonging to Christ and the Church through prayer, through listening to the Word of God, through frequenting the liturgy, through the Christian education of children, through love and service to the poor, through the commitment to justice and peace.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

  • L’Udienza Generale, 05.08.2015 (Holy See Press Office)
  • Pope Francis General Audience 2015.08.05 (YouTube, Vatican)
  • Pope: divorced and remarried people not excommunicated (Vatican Radio)
  • Pope St. John Paul II: Familiaris Consortio (1981)

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