THE SERVANT GENERAL
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
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.
Generale, 05.08.2015 (Holy See Press Office)
Francis General Audience 2015.08.05 (YouTube, Vatican)
divorced and remarried people not excommunicated (Vatican
St. John Paul II: Familiaris Consortio (1981)