If Pope Francis had his druthers, the Church would open wide its doors to those who divorce and remarry

AP photo
AP photo

If Pope Francis had his druthers, the Church would change its treatment of those who are divorced and remarried.  On August 5, 2015 he shot a warning to pastors — don’t treat them like they are excommunicated. Do just the opposite.

The church, must be one of ‘’open doors,” he said during a general audience with newlyweds present.  It seems like an unlikely place for a pastor talk about the plight of those divorced and remarried, yet, Pope Francis saw it as the perfect opportunity to raise the issue by asking,  “How do we take care of those who, following the irreversible failing of their family bond made a new union?”

Reminding pastors and people alike, “People who started a new union after the defeat of their sacramental marriage are not at all excommunicated.” And he urged, “they absolutely must not be treated that way.”

As the Pope who leads in the way of compassion, he exhorted, “They always belong to the church.”

According to Francis, even the sacraments are meant to serve, inspire and invite rather than exclude.

“The church knows well that such a situation (divorce and remarriage) contradicts the Christian sacrament,”  but Francis maintained that the church must always “seek the well-being and salvation of persons.”

When it comes to children, the illogic of trying to bring them up in the faith that excludes their parents does not escape him.

He asked how the church can insist that the children of failed marriage be raised by their parents “with an example of convinced and practiced faith, if we keep them (the parents) far from the community life as if they were excommunicated?”

Like a parent or grandparent, he exhorted pastors “not to add additional weight beyond what the children in this situation have to bear. Unfortunately the numbers of these children and young people are truly great.”

With his usual wisdom, he reminded all to look through the eyes of those who are affected saying, “If we look at these new ties with the eyes of young children … we see ever more the urgency to develop in our community true welcome toward people living in these situations.”

How far can the Church go in engendering a new pastoral spirit of compassion, love and openness?  There is real hope for change as we head toward the October meeting.  Pope Francis is not just waiting for the Holy Spirit to act alone, nor is he taking lightly the actions of those like Augustinian Father Robert Dodaro who are highly motivated to maintain the status quo.   He is setting the stage for change with his words and his chess-like actions.





3 thoughts on “If Pope Francis had his druthers, the Church would open wide its doors to those who divorce and remarry”

  1. I applaud the Pope for his campaign to open the doors to the divorced but the open doors are limited in New York City by the number of churches that are scheduled to be merged or closed. My neighborhood is one of the poorest districts in the South Bronx where the presence of the catholic church is so much needed. Our church is scheduled to be closed leaving our community “homeless” . The Cardinal have no idea of the impact of his actions. I pray for him , with this decision he is making himself responsable for the lost of souls cause by his decision .

    1. To point out the obvious, the possibility suggested above is not possible if one were to remain Catholic. The Catechism of the Church is very clear on this point So why do people wonder when upon looking away from a mirror they no longer see their face there? The Catechism says, “…if a man or (or woman) divorces his (or her) mate, and marries another, He (or she) commits adultery”. The Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first union was. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. Reconciliation is of course available to those who desire fidelity to Christ through the Sacrament of Penance and who commit themselves to complete ‘continence’.

      1. We all know what the Catechism says.
        Those of us who were treated violently in our marriage and it ended, and who still are devoted to the Eucharist, refuse to stop receiving Christ.
        If Jesus were here, what would he say? Would he exclude those whose marriages failed? People who left a marriage or be killed, or permanently and emotionally scarred for life?
        I believe not.
        You must realize when the Catechism of our Church was written and by whom.
        I know in my heart that God had His hand in my husband and I finding each other. No human rule can tell us different.

        Time for the Church members who have no idea what someone like me survived to even contribute these thoughts to get off his/her high horse and take a long look in the mirror.

        Reconciliation provides what we need to continue in the Eucharist with Jesus’ approval.

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