Pope Francis: those with pseudo-second-marriages ‘not excommunicated’ August 5, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Domestic Church, episcopate, error, Eucharist, family, General Catholic, Sacraments, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, SOD, the struggle for the Church.
Church doors remain open to those who remarry, Pope says
Holy Father stresses God’s infinite love, not excommunication, today at his first general audience after a July break
Pope Francis today renewed hope for Catholics who remarry by stressing that they are ‘not by any means excommunicated’ from the Church. [Did someone say they were? Remaining in public mortal sin/unable to receive the Blessed Sacrament validly and being excommunicated are two different things.]
The Pope said that while the Church knows well that such a situation—when a Catholic who is not a widow or widower remarries—contradicts the Christian Sacrament, there are no closed doors in the house of the father and that the Church is always looking with the ‘heart of a mother’ to seek out the good for people. [I still find this kind of language vague and disheartening, because it always puts the shoe on the wrong foot – it is not the Church that closes doors to Grace or God, but people do so by their very sins. Pretending that it is somehow the Church that is doing so sends completely the wrong message, and seems to argue that the sins themselves don’t matter, it’s the Church that must somehow find a way to accommodate the sinner, not the other way around]
The Pope made the comment when speaking at the Vatican during his first general audience since a summer break in July.
“How can we recommend to these parents to do all [they can] to educate their children in the Christian life, giving them the example of a sure and practiced faith, if we put them at a distance from the life of the community, as if they might have been excommunicated?” he reasoned. [Is this not a very leading statement? Does this not seem to say…..things are going to change!]
“These persons are not by any means excommunicated,” he said, ahead of the October Synod on the Family
The Church, the Pope said, is a place were no one is excluded from infinite love. [And they can still buy dishwashers. This kind of vague statement, again, in the present-day context, is easily interpreted to mean “things have changed, sin doesn’t count, all are welcome, etc” And we know how well that’s worked over the past 50 years]
Rorate finds in this statement something of a change, maybe even hopeful:
However, it should be noted with care that the Pope, apparently for the first time in these discussions initiated by himself, expressly mentioned in the Italian text of the Audience, an open reference to John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio84. It is precisely FC 84 that includes the essential teaching on the matter, following unchanging Catholic doctrine…….[follows excerpt that defines second marriages without annulment of the first as invalid and constituting adultery/fornication. Also makes clear that those who become involved in adulterous “unions” can only receive forgiveness and the Blessed Sacrament if they break off their adulterous union, first, or at least live in a chaste manner if children are involved]
So it does seem that the Pope might be preparing the ground for a turnaround on expectations on what is actually possible: that is, welcoming couples, but not changing doctrine at all, and certainly not regarding the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist.
Here is the statement touching on Familiaris Consortio:
The Church knows well that such a situation contradicts the Christian Sacrament. However, her look of teacher draws always from her heart of mother; a heart that, animated by the Holy Spirit, always seeks the good and salvation of persons. See why she feels the duty, “for the sake of truth,” to “exercise careful discernment.” Saint John Paul II expressed himself thus in the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio (n. 84), pointing out, for instance, the difference between one who has suffered the separation and one who has caused it. This discernment must be made.
To what end? Does it make a difference if the person who remarried civilly after a divorce was the one who was abandoned, or the abandoner? Will the former receive more special consideration than the latter? What if the latter repents, leaves his second “spouse,” and returns to the Sacraments? This opens a whole can of worms.
He then follows with an exhortation to be extra-charitable to the children of these failed unions. Certainly all should be treated with charity – is it common that people are just rejected wholesale and thown out of post-conciliar parishes?!? – but I don’t know that children of failed marriage should be given better treatment than those from stable marriages? That’s actually a difficult question – I’m not being obtuse – how to weigh that kind of pastoral treatment. Yes those children are very damaged and do need special consideration, but at the same time, that consideration should not come at the expense of children who are not so afflicted.
Pope Francis also says the Church has done a pretty good job of being “attentive” to these kinds of concerns in recent decades. So I’m not entirely certain what the point of bringing all this up is, except to say “keep doing a good job?” But has the Church done a good job on the subject of divorce, or has there been a great deal of go along to get along indifference?
More statements about not being excommunicated and “no closed doors, no closed doors!” follow. What never does get said, however, is that these souls are in very grave danger and that they must cease these adulterous post-marital “unions.” And I think that’s my big beef – all these feel good statements have the effect of not only sort of confirming them where they are at, but assuaging any guilt that may remain over their objectively immoral (sinful) actions. I don’t hear repentance, change of heart, or conversion being preached. I hear vague statements about welcoming and appreciating those persisting in manifest grave sin. A slight reference to Familiaris Consortio does not, to me, significantly alter the rhetorical arc this pontificate has followed since its inception.
But there’s even more – like so much conciliar and post-conciliar rhetoric, even the ostensibly strongly orthodox Familiaris Consortio #84 quoted shows elements of two different and competing visions, to wit:
Pastors must know that, for the sake of truth, they are obliged to exercise careful discernment of situations. There is in fact a difference between those who have sincerely tried to save their first marriage and have been unjustly abandoned, and those who through their own grave fault have destroyed a canonically valid marriage. Finally, there are those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children’s upbringing, and who are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid.
However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried………Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage.
So, the specific reference Pope Francis seems to be making is the first, much more nebulous paragraph. So long as an adulterous union remains, I’m not sure what the point of this “discernment” would be, especially with regard to the upcoming Synod. Adulterating because your spouse did so first does not excuse the sin, nor will it serve to reconstitute an abandoned marriage.
What do you think? Is this vague reference to Familiaris Consortio a hopeful sign, as Rorate maintains, or is it something else? If the former, the implications for the upcoming Synod would be quite significant, but at this point I’m fairly dubious that’s the case. I’m afraid I’d have to see much more concrete denunciations of the sin of adulterous “remarriage” before I could feel very hopeful regarding this Synod. But, it’s possible I’ve been scandalized to the point of cynicism. That may be something many of us need to guard against.
In which case – in any case! – pray for me.