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Pope Francis: those with pseudo-second-marriages ‘not excommunicated’ August 5, 2015

Posted 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.

What do you make of this?

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.



1. Baseballmom - August 5, 2015

Prayers for you often – and for your wife. Hope all is still going well?

Tantumblogo - August 5, 2015

Yes. All is well. We’re still in the main danger zone and will be for some weeks. It seems the progesterone treatments are helping a lot, though. Please do keep us in your prayers, as you are in mine!

Thank you!

2. camper - August 5, 2015

The Pope is a heretic. Depose him.

3. tg - August 5, 2015

I thought every one knew that if you’re in a second marriage, you are not excommunicated from the Catholic Church. No one is keeping them from going to Mass. As one who was guilty of this sin but has repented, I can say that if you can’t receive the Eucharist, it does keep you away from Mass. It did me for years. It was the hunger for the Eucharist that brought me to led to my repentance. This happened only after I started attending Mass regularly. If the pope spoke more about repentance I wouldn’t have a problem with what he is saying.

Tantumblogo - August 5, 2015

You are a noble lady. God bless you for your sacrifice, I do not ever mean to make it sound trivial. It is anything but, it can be a heroic sacrifice.

4. Murray - August 5, 2015

Fear not, Jimmy Akin’s on the job! Pope Francis on the Divorced and Remarried: 10 things to know and share.

Of course, Jimmy’s commentary, as always, merely focuses on the strict accuracy of what the pope actually said, rather than what he left unsaid, or the obvious ramifications of a pope who speaks in such casual terms about a matter of grave import. In this respect, at least, you are far superior to a professional apologist!

Jimmy is not likely to approve my comment in response:

Of course, if the Holy Father DOES attempt to alter the Church’s previously unambiguous teaching on communion for the civilly remarried, it’s comforting to know that you’ll be right there to give us 10 Things to Know and Share about why it’s perfectly OK and in continuity with Catholic tradition, and how it was always evident that Familiaris Consortio needed to be updated in light of “new pastoral realities” as revealed by the God of Surprises to the Oracle of Santa Marta.

Yeoman’s work, Jimmy, yeoman’s work.

5. camper - August 6, 2015

Tantum, some sick ads are starting to appear at the bottom of your blog.

Tantumblogo - August 6, 2015

I have nothing to do with that. At work, they are so blocked I can’t even complain – the javacode is ripped completely off the page. I don’t see ads at home because of filters but I can see the script window. Can you right click and submit a complaint? Sometimes it lets folks do that.

Sorry people because of Covenant Eyes and other things I never see any ads so I have no idea what is going on.

camper - August 6, 2015

Thanks for the response. Maybe I’ll put Covenant Eyes on my machine too.

6. Baseballmom - August 6, 2015

Why does PF use the word “re-marry.” Only widows, widowers can re-marry.

7. Marguerite - August 6, 2015

One of the tactics of the evil one is to mix truth with error. It’s easier to swallow than speaking the truth plainly and simply. I notice this many times in homilies at Mass. A recent example, a priest said that Jesus is in the Bread. Does this leave room to believe that Jesus is floating around somewhere in the “Bread” and not that the bread has been totally changed in substance? Truth mixed with error. Truth will be mixed with error at the coming Synod so that those who want to drink the elixir of their lifestyles will hear only one aspect and not the whole truth.

c matt - August 6, 2015

I guess Jesus in the bread is what makes it “Wonder Bread” 🙂 I agree, this seems like more of the modernist double-speak: Nothing ever certain, mix in truth with some error, always on a path or journey but never getting anywhere. Treadmill theology.

Maybe some underling has been perusing the blogs, and suggested some crumbs need to be tossed to the pigeons to keep them off-guard (ht Mundabor)?

tg - August 6, 2015

Thanks for the chuckle – wonder bread.

8. Margaret Costello - August 6, 2015

“Finally, there are those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children’s upbringing”.

So the person commits adultery, in front of their kids, for their “sake?” So they are just using that second “spouse” as a moneymaker or emo support? How is it ever good to bring in an adulterous person into your children’s lives? I just see excuse after excuse after excuse for evil, lust, selfishness, immaturity etc. If priests, bishops and popes would teach the beauty of Catholicism, of the grace available to people going thru difficult times in their marriages, we wouldn’t be having this problem.

I don’t see any positives here, sadly. God bless~

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