PopeWatch: Yet Another Interview

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Well, PopeWatch guesses things were just too quiet.  The Pope has given yet another interview:

“Matrimony is between a man and a woman,” the pope said, but moves to “regulate diverse situations of cohabitation (are) driven by the need to regulate economic aspects among persons, as for instance to assure medical care.” Asked to what extent the church could understand this trend, he replied: “It is necessary to look at the diverse cases and evaluate them in their variety.”

Bishops around the world have differed in their responses to civil recognition of nonmarital unions. The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family said in February 2013 that some legal arrangements are justifiable to protect the inheritance rights of nonmarried couples. But until now, no pope has indicated even tentative acceptance of civil unions.

In the interview, Pope Francis praised Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” which prohibited the use of contraception.

In contradicting contemporary pressures for population control, Pope Paul’s “genius was prophetic, he had the courage to side against the majority, defend moral discipline, put a brake on the culture, oppose neo-Malthusianism, present and future,” Pope Francis said.

But he also noted that Pope Paul had instructed confessors to interpret his encyclical with “much mercy, attention to concrete situations.”

“The question is not whether to change the doctrine, but to go deeper and make sure that pastoral care takes account of situations and of what each person is able to do,” Pope Francis said.

The pope said birth control, like the predicament of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, would be a topic of discussion at the Vatican in October at an extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family. He said the synod would approach all such problems “in the light of profound reflection,” rather than casuistry, which he described as a superficial, pharisaical theology focused exclusively on particular cases.

The pope said he had welcomed the “intense discussion” at a February gathering of cardinals, where German Cardinal Walter Kasper gave a talk suggesting divorced and civilly remarried Catholics might sometimes be allowed to receive Communion even without an annulment of their first, sacramental marriages.

“Fraternal and open confrontations foster the growth of theological and pastoral thought,” he said. “I’m not afraid of this; on the contrary, I seek it.”

Asked if the church’s teachings on sexual and medical ethics represented “non-negotiable values,” a formulation used by Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis said he had “never understood the expression ‘non-negotiable values.'”

“Values are values, period,” he said. “I cannot say that, among the fingers of a hand, there is one less useful than another. That is why I cannot understand in what sense there could be negotiable values.”

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch would comment, but why bother?  PopeWatch assumes that soon the hapless Vatican press flack  Father Lombardi will be trotted out to say that the Pope was misinterpreted, and bloggers around Saint Blogs will explain how anyone who thinks that the Pope said what he seems to have said is an obvious dunce and, that buzz word so beloved these days on certain Catholic blogs, a reactionary.  Who are you going to believe, your lying eyes or them?

Update:  Well, that didn’t take long:

On behalf of the Vatican, Fr. Thomas Rosica released the following statement regarding certain interpretations of the interview:

“There have been numerous questions, calls and messages throughout the day today regarding Pope Francis’ recent interview in the Italian daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera, particularly referring to the section on marriage and civil unions.  Some journalists have interpreted the Pope’s words in the interview to reflect an openness on the part of the Church to civil unions. Others have interpreted his words to be addressing the question of same-sex marriage. I have consulted with Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, throughout the afternoon and have prepared the following notes on Pope Francis’ interview.

Asked specifically about “unioni civili,” (civil unions), Pope Francis responded:

“Il matrimonio e’ fra un uomo e una donna.  Gli Stati laici vogliono giustificare le unioni civili per regolare diverse situazioni di convivenza, spinti dall’esigenza di regolare aspetti economici fra le persone, come ad esempio assicurare l’assistenza sanitaria.  Si tratta di patti di convivenza di varia natura, di cui non saprei elencare le diverse forme.  Bisogna vedere i diversi casi e valutarli nella loro varieta’.”

My translation:

“Marriage (matrimony) is between a man and a woman. Civil states want to justify civil unions in order to regulate (normalize) different arrangements of cohabitation; – prompted by the necessity of regulating (normalizing) economic aspects among people, for example in providing health insurance or benefits. This consists of different kinds of living arrangements which I wouldn’t know how to enumerate with precision. We must consider different cases and evaluate each particular case.”

[It is important to understand here that “civil unions” in Italy refer to people who are married by the state, outside of a religious context.]

Journalists have asked if the Pope was referring specifically to gay civil unions in the above response. The Pope did not choose to enter into debates about the delicate matter of gay civil unions. In his response to the interviewer, he emphasized the natural characteristic of marriage between one man and one woman, and on the other hand, he also spoke about the obligation of the state to fulfill its responsibilities towards its citizens.

By responding in this way, Pope Francis spoke in very general terms, and did not specifically refer to same-sex marriage as a civil union. Pope Francis simply stated the issues and did not interfere with positions held by Episcopal Conferences in various countries dealing with the question of civil unions and same sex marriage.

We should not try to read more into the Pope’s words that what has been stated in very general terms.”

 

113 Responses to PopeWatch: Yet Another Interview

  • So what?

    Are Catholics going to get disappointed because the Pope didnt re-iterate the comfortable statements of “The Pill is a sin” and “divorce is a sin”.

    We know they are sinful. Pope after Pope have reminded us. And reminded and reminded, and reminded….and reminded some more.

    But still millions get divorced and use the Pill. Doesn’t look like the message got through. And that’s a whole population of people cut away from the Church. Permanently, if you beleive the hard-nuts in the Church.

    So how do you get them back? Remind them its a sin? Well, didnt work first time, won’t work second, third or fourth. It just won’t work. Basically, its asking yourself, how do you get your stubborn, know-it-all teenager to “get” what you’re saying?

    I think the Pope wants to unplug their ears, and defrost their hearts with open arms, and work backwards from there.

    And bugger the fools who misinterpret him. It’ll be the left side of the media and the right side of the blogosphere; not you Don…;) (I hope)

  • “Remind them its a sin?”

    Well yes, actually. Church teaching on sex has never been popular. When Christ promulgated the teaching on no divorce the reaction of the Apostles was that then it was better to never marry at all. The duty of the Church is to proclaim the Truth. That people reject the Truth and doubtless go to Hell as a result is a sad fact of life. A much sadder fact would be if the Church were to abandon the Truth, or water it down sufficiently to be in de facto abandonment of the Truth. People come historically to embrace the Church not because she gives an easy path through this Vale of Tears, but because she presents the Gospels in all their unvarnished splendor. Many of the fans of Pope Francis among the enemies of Truth hope that he is the Pope they have not prayed for: a Pope who will abandon the Truth. I think they are mistaken, but the Pope’s misbegotten and ill thought out interviews give them hope.

  • The state has laws regulating “common law marriage”. If a couple has co-habitated for more than seven years their living arrangement is called common law marriage. It is like squatters’ rights. A person moves onto land and after seven years, that person may claim the land as his own. In the Homestead Act it is only five years.
    .
    Civil unions are marriages outside the church, legal marriage as opposed to Sacramental Marriage, Holy Matrimony. Civil unions are regulated by state laws. Holy Matrimony is regulated by Church law.
    .
    Unnatural marriage or so called gay marriage is being demanded by the militant gay agenda to force the church and the state to legalize sodomy because of sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is an act of God. Homosexual behavior is a free will act of the homosexual and neither God, nor the church, nor the state may be held to blame for the free will act of another person. (The devil made me do it…maybe)
    .
    Common law marriage and the laws that govern common law marriage is all that the state may permit for unnatural gay marriage. That the militant gay agenda is demanding Holy Matrimony goes hand in hand with blaming God for their own personal denial of the human soul and to retain their moral innocence (of sodomy).
    .
    Civil unions are governed by the state and may be blessed by the Church. Holy Matrimony is a Sacrament impossible to be efficacious upon individuals who cannot complete the marital act, either through the fault of nature or through the fault of improper consent or through irreconcilable actions.
    .
    If Pope Francis continues this thread, He will be making the Sacraments conditional, contingent upon the individual: If you are not baptized…if you can be married, if you can be forgiven, if you can be ordained. Perhaps this is why in the Greek rite all three Sacraments are given at once to a child, Baptism, Holy Eucharist and Confirmation. Marriage is not one of these Sacraments.

  • A traditionalist priest of my acquaintance told me about a dozen years ago, “The Pope’s not supposed to say too much”. This Pope illustrates the point.

  • Ez,

    Pacem. I think “They” do not return (repent, confess, do penance, amend their lives, do good works to glorify God) because of insufficient concern for the salvation of their souls.

    Apparently, being happy in the here-and-now is more important than being happy in the here-after. In confess. I’ve been there; done that.

    Who/what is responsible for that widespread attitude? Who is trying to convert us?

    St. John the Baptist preached repentence and amendment of life. Jesus descended from Heaven to convert us. I read the Gospels. I don’t see much “There, there it’s all right.”

    We must deny the World (Jesus to the rich man: sell everything); take up our crosses; and follow Christ. But (the Apostles ask), who can be saved? Jesus teaches that with God all things are possible.

  • Pope Francis is making people look at their own souls and take responsibility for their soul.

  • Sir Thomas Mores defence of Marriage from “A Man for all Seasons”:

    Sir Thomas More: [More has been condemned to death, and now for the first time breaks his years-long adamant silence on Henry VIII's divorce of Queen Catherine to marry Ann Boleyn] Since the Court has determined to condemn me, God knoweth how, I will now discharge my mind concerning the indictment and the King’s title. The indictment is grounded in an act of Parliament which is directly repugnant to the law of God, and his Holy Church, the Supreme Government of which no temporal person may by any law presume to take upon him. This was granted by the mouth of our Savior, Christ himself, to Saint Peter and the Bishops of Rome whilst He lived and was personally present here on earth. It is, therefore, insufficient in law to charge any Christian to obey it. And more to this, the immunity of the Church is promised both in Magna Carta and in the king’s own coronation oath

    [Cromwell calls More 'malicious']

    Sir Thomas More: … Not so. I am the king’s true subject, and I pray for him and all the realm. I do none harm. I say none harm. I think none harm. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, then in good faith, I long not to live. Nevertheless, it is not for the Supremacy that you have sought my blood, but because I would not bend to the marriage!

    Sir Thomas More: When a man takes an oath, he’s holding his own self in his own hands like water, and if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t hope to find himself again.

    The Duke of Norfolk: Oh confound all this. I’m not a scholar, I don’t know whether the marriage was lawful or not but dammit, Thomas, look at these names! Why can’t you do as I did and come with us, for fellowship!

    Sir Thomas More: And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?

  • “Common Law Marriage” a misnomer. The doctrine of irregular marriage, as we call it in Scotland is derived from the Civil and Canon laws and they have nothing to do with civil unions

    As an eminent Scottish judge, Lord Curriehill put it, “A woman cannot grow insensibly from a concubine into a married wife by any natural process of accretion or of accession. Such a metamorphosis cannot be legally effected by such means. Marriage is a consensual contract; and although there are different ways of proving that such a contract is entered into, yet the thing to be proved, whatever be the nature of the evidence, is that the parties entered into a mutual contract accepting of each other as spouses.”

    When a man and woman live together as man and wife, “cohabit at bed and board,” the man according to the woman the respect due to a wife and not a mistress and they are regarded in the society in which they move as married persons – what the lawyers call “cohabitation with habit and repute – it is a reasonable and right presumption that they meant marriage and not concubinage. Such a course of life is a continual declaration that they take each other as husband and wife.

    Until the Tametsi decree of the Council of Trent, the Church applied exactly the same principles and treated them as valid sacramental marriages..

  • Thank you, Trebuchet, for Thomas More’s words. I find them very consoling.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “Common Law Marriage” a misnomer. The doctrine of irregular marriage, as we call it in Scotland is derived from the Civil and Canon laws and they have nothing to do with civil unions ”
    .
    I am aware of this fact, MichaeI, marriage makes a husband of a man and a wife of a woman and this does not happen in a same-sex union. Marriage is an office, a vocation to which a man and a woman aspire. Civil unions are rejected by those individuals demanding the recognition of their homosexual behavior as a marital act. It ought to be avoided. Thank you for the finger in the dike.

  • Mary De Voe

    Many jurisdictions in Europe have civil unions for opposite-sex, as well as same-sex, couples.

    In France, for example, in 2010, there were 250,000 marriages and 200,000 civil unions or PACSs [Le pacte civil de solidarité] almost all of them between opposite-sex couples. Compare this with 300,000 marriages in 2000, before the PACS was introduced.

    The jurist Alain Bénabent has noted that the PACS “entails some mutual commitments copied from those of marriage – the duty of solidarity, the duty of cohabitation – but it entails neither a duty of fidelity (hence no presumption of paternity in a PACS) nor a scheme of inheritance.” Nor are there any mutual rights and obligations of financial support between one of the parties and the ascendants of the other; unlike marriage, it unites the couple, not their families.

  • Thank you Michael Paterson-Seymour. “Nor are there any mutual rights and obligations of financial support between one of the parties and the ascendants of the other; unlike marriage, it unites the couple, not their families.” Very well explained.

  • Maybe the Church should get out of the whole civil union matter altogether and recognize only Roman Catholic marriages. Heterosexual unions by Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, etc churches would be regarded as invalid and wrong as homosexual ones. Dispensation can be granted for Orthodox in schism.

    I write that with a sense of sarcasm. How far do we want to go? I do not care what contracts gays in a civil union have. It is not marriage but it equally is not my business except when they force their views on the rest of society.

  • Paul W Primavera

    But the vast majority of civil unions are between opposite-sex couples,

    If you take the French figures 44% of such couples are opting for civil unions, rather than marriage. In other words, they are rejecting unregulated cohabitation, they are making a form of public commitment, but they are also rejecting the status of marriage and its incidents, as laid down in the Code Civil.

    There might well be a fruitful field for evangelization here.

  • Paul: You have spoken well. The militant gay agenda is using the force of law and the power of the courts to indoctrinate our constitutional posterity to normalize the vice of lust and the sin of sodomy. The gay agenda has succeeded to some degree with removing the social sanctions from sodomy and demanding “equality” Many people have fallen for their swindle and fraud and are afraid of being bullied by them.
    .
    We could tolerate the sodomist but not sodomy. We could tolerate the atheist, but not atheism. The devil is using the atheist and the sodomist to enter into the public square disguised as “JUSTICE”
    .
    Ignoring God and disregarding the innocence and virginity of our constitutional posterity, homosexual practitioners have inflicted their perversions on the people. The atheist applauds their success.

  • “. This consists of different kinds of living arrangements which I wouldn’t know how to enumerate with precision. We must consider different cases and evaluate each particular case.”
    And
    ” He said the synod would approach all such problems “in the light of profound reflection,” rather than casuistry, which he described as a superficial, pharisaical theology focused exclusively on particular cases.”

  • Zenit is marketing a book titled A Cyclone Named Francis. Seems apt.

  • So much of these quotes strike me as a product of the Jesuit tendencies toward debate and intellectual achievement. For the Pope these are skills that are years and decades in the making. In the end he may wish that he hadn’t said some things, but he will find that he probably cannot help himself. Promethean indeed.

  • So much of these quotes strike me as a product of the Jesuit tendencies toward debate and intellectual achievement.

    It has been remarked that his measurable achievement in the intellectual realm are outclassed by every one of his predecessors over the last century.

  • From Michael P-S
    “…In France, for example, in 2010, there were 250,000 marriages and 200,000 civil unions or PACSs [Le pacte civil de solidarité] almost all of them between opposite-sex couples. Compare this with 300,000 marriages in 2000, before the PACS was introduced.
    … the PACS “entails some mutual commitments copied from those of marriage – the duty of solidarity, the duty of cohabitation – but it entails neither a duty of fidelity (hence no presumption of paternity in a PACS) nor a scheme of inheritance.”
    This then is the real War on Women and children . .. A diabolical war on society.

  • MPS,

    What makes a marriage valid? Are Baptist, Methodist, and Pentecostal heterosexual marriages valid? Or does the Church consider them civil unions? Are Justice of the Peace heterosexual marriages valid? Are Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhist heterosexual marriages valid? Are Eastern Orthodox and Orthodox Anglican heterosexual marriages valid?

    The question is this: are only Roman Catholic marriages valid?

    I oppose homosexual marriage. And cohabitating heterosexual couples should marry or live apart. But what is the real definition of a valid marriage? Is only Rome’s marriage the valid one?

  • Art, I was thinking of process rather than outcome. The Jesuits are known for education, and in education not everyone gets an ‘A’. I would imagine that a Jesuit who expects brilliance from every student would be a frustrated man indeed, and so the tendency in Jesuit culture would be to concentrate on the process. This might explain a lot about Pope Francis.

  • Maybe I’m misfiring, but my first thought when I read the quote from the Pope was the idea of forming a “household”– I think I first proposed it when I was a teenager, I think because a family friend had died and their housemate– who they’d had a household with since before I was born– was having issues with the children who couldn’t have cared less about their parent, but sure wanted the money from the house.

    No sex involved, just a way of recognizing those situations that are coming up more and more these days.

  • Pope Francis may welcome same sex practitioners into the Catholic Church but that will not make them Catholic. If Pope Francis recognizes Protestant marriages as Protestant marriages, that does not make them Catholic. Pope Francis does not have the power nor the authority to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. It is what it is.
    .
    Not all the sinners Jesus dined with converted, some, as Judas, went their own way.

  • Donald, does the Pope to you, look like he is abandoning the Truth?

    I was always taught, that you adapt your approach to achieve the best possible outcome. My husband always tells me when I get frustrated telling the children something, to change my approach. Stop talking AT them, to talk WITH them.

    I get that its frustrating for Catholics with good formation, that other “bad” Catholics don’t get it.

    But do you remember the parable of the Prodigal son? The wayward son was welcomed back with celebration. The Father didnt even ask him of he had changed his ways.

    So what some have a problem with is the Popes approach. No different than the prodigal son parable.

    And really, who cares how the media is twisting it.

    On one hand Catholics poopoo the media and its liberal views, and on the hand, they put so much importance on what this one-dimensional liberal media think.

    Why would anyone in their right mind care how and why the media is portraying the Pope.

    Do you not forget the horrid things they said about PJPII, and PB? We know they were twisted lies.

    I’m still having a problem with the criticism by Catholics, of our Pope. I have a real problem with it, because he upholds the truth, and its still not good enough, because he’s a dreaded Jesuit.

  • @ Art Deco, I’d rather get bitten by an Inland Northern Taipan than be at the receiving end of your criticism

    “It has been remarked that his measurable achievement in the intellectual realm are outclassed by every one of his predecessors over the last century.”

    Ouch.

    And accotding to you an acid-tongue Catholic has a better Christain heart (and tongue) than a divorcee…

  • “Donald, does the Pope to you, look like he is abandoning the Truth?”

    He does a very poor job EZ in articulating the Truth in his off the cuff interviews and he does not seem to be bothered by the use the enemies of the Truth taught by the Church make of these interviews. I believe that the Pope is a loyal son of the Church as he has asserted, but merely being a loyal son of the Church is insufficient for a Pope who must be a champion of what the Church teaches.

  • “If Pope Francis recognizes Protestant marriages as Protestant marriages, that does not make them Catholic.”

    Absolutely true. However, are Protestant marriages even marriages? or are the only valid marriages Roman Catholic ones? And then what about Eastern Orthodox marriages? What marriage rite ensure the transfer / dispensation of the Sacrament of Marriage? Is it only the Roman one? Or Eastern too? And are Protestants excluded, which means that Protestant marriages are really civil unions in an ecclesial structure? And thus all Protestants living in a Protestant marriage are really living in a civil union and hence are in fornication?

    My deceased Pentecostal father and my yet living mother would object strenuously.

  • Paul-
    Marriage is something the Church recognizes; that doesn’t mean that the gov’t can pretend something that is not marriage really is, and then demand we all play along.

    If you’re interested in the background, this is a really good writeup:
    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-permanence-of-matrimony

  • Thanks, Foxfire! That’s a good article from the Catholic Answers web site. It is correct. But it does not answer the question of whether or not only Roman Catholic marriages are valid. What about Protestant ones? Or Hindu, or Buddhist, or Jewish or Islamic? Is Matrimony a Sacrament – does it become a Sacrament – only in the Roman Catholic context? What about Eastern Orthodoxy? Or are all non-Roman Catholic unions simply civil ones?

  • This is why the question I ask is important. If the Church says that a marriage is valid only for two baptized couples in a Roman Catholic rite (or even broaden that to a Christian rite), then the Church is saying that all other unions – civil or religious – are not and have never been marriages. That may be the case. And it would mean that the Church essentially condemns the vast majority of human unions, and the overwhelming majority of human children are born illegitimate. There is a word for that not printable at a public forum.

  • Mr. McClarey and Ar Deco’s traditionalist priest friend put it better than I can. Pope Francis talks and talks and talks and the enemies of the Church take things he says and twist them around. After a year, Pope Francis is oblivious to what goes on in the Western World – except when some “rad trad” has a hissy fit about the Second Vatican Council. Anyone who is accused of criticizing the greatest, most wonderful, bestest thing EVAH will get busted by the Committee for the Defense of Vatican II. This is why the LCWR, Rembert Weakland and Roger Mahony never get ripped to shreds like Fisher More and the FFI.

  • Paul,
    I’ll take a guess. Protestant marriages are valid because even in the Catholic Church, the spouses are the ministers of the sacrament and the priest is the official witness of the Church. So if the baptism of that Protestant group is valid per the wording, the marriage would be also because the spouses are the essential ministers of the marriage. Thus to marry a divorced Protestant from a two Protestant marriage, I believe they must get an annullment whereas if you marry a Protestant who was married to a Hindu, they need only a Petrine privilege as it used to be called and it involved Rome but required no intimate examination but only the permission of the eg Hindu spous which is presumed if he or she married after the civil divorce.

  • Paul-
    I think you missed the part:
    Thus, any valid marriage between two baptized people is a sacramental marriage and, once consummated, cannot be dissolved.

    There’s sacramental and natural marriage.
    http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/are-non-catholic-marriages-valid-in-the-eyes-of-the-catholic-church-what-if-a-catholi
    In general, marriages between non-Catholics, of whatever religion, are considered valid, but the situation is not as simple as it sounds because there are two kinds of marriage: natural (ordinary) marriage and supernatural (sacramental) marriage. Supernatural marriages exist only between baptized people, so marriages between two Jews or two Muslims are only natural marriages. Assuming no impediments, marriages between Jews or Muslims would be valid natural marriages. Marriages between two Protestants or two Eastern Orthodox also would be valid, presuming no impediments, but these would be supernatural (sacramental) marriages and thus indissoluble.

    When one spouse is a Catholic and the other is a non-Catholic–this is commonly termed a “mixed marriage”–the situation changes. Just as the state has the power to regulate marriages of its citizens by requiring them to get a blood test or to marry in front of a competent authority, so the Church has the right to regulate the marriages of its “citizens.”

    If one participant is a Catholic who has not left the Church by a formal act, such as by officially joining another church, he must obtain a dispensation for the marriage, which would otherwise be blocked by the mixed-marriage impediment or by the disparity of cult impediment. A Catholic who has not left the Church by a formal act also must obtain a dispensation to be married in front of a non-Catholic minister. If either of these dispensations is not obtained, the marriage will be invalid.

  • It’s not a matter of the Church having some sort of rubber stamp– it’s a matter of the Church having described what is there.

    It’s like talking about getting Westminster out of the pet business, so a gov’t can count iguanas as a breed of dog.

  • EZ I think we all want to be supportive of our pope and we all want him to be a wonderful Holy Father to us all. His approach does not bother me.
    But the content of what I have understood him to say does bother me. Not the approach- the content. I always have to wonder about the content of what he said.

  • Its funny, wasnt the Church being dubbed “out-dated” and “irrelevant” a year ago? According to the same media, the same Church has a leader whose now in their eyes a poster boy.

    In not sure anything is being watered down. I think there is an attempt at dialogue. Nothing has or will change in terms of teaching.

    Ill agree to disagree with you on the approach.

    I was educated at the Opus Dei’s, and although I beleive there is a tension between them and the Jesuits, I have no pre-conceived prejudices against the Pope, who some (evident in some of these comments), regard him as “unintelligent”. I really hope the same people aren’t receiving communion whilst they sprout this sort of snark.

  • I don’t understand Pope Francis’ position on civil unions,
    since civil unions, which are two or more persons, gay or
    straight, intimately living together, are a grave sin. Pope
    Francis seems to have embraced the sin of civil unions,
    which gives me the impression that, perhaps, Pope Francis
    wishes to abolish the traditional or biblical concept of sin.

    I don’t know how Pope Francis intends to bring the Church
    into the modern era of pagan degenerates without comprising
    the teachings of the Church. Consider certain prelates who,
    after Vatican II, rushed to bring the Church out of the Dark Ages
    and into the gleaming light of the gay liberation movement, which
    cost certain dioceses their reputation and hundreds of millions of dollars
    donated by faithful Catholics.

  • Paul W Primavera, Bill Bannon and Foxfier

    There is a very interesting letter, written in 866 by Pope St Nicholas I (858–67), in response to a series of enquiries he had received from Boris I, Prince of Bulgaria, regarding Catholic practices..
    After setting out the rituals customary in Rome, including the bestowal of a ring, the giving of dowry and dower by father and husband, and priestly blessing, he explained that he was not saying that it was sinful (peccatum esse) to omit any of these customs, especially since some people could not afford them. ‘On this account,” Nicholas concludes, “according to the laws (leges), the consent of those whose union is arranged should be sufficient. If that alone is absent, all the other solemnities, even including coition, are in vain, as the great teacher John Chrysostom attests, who says: ‘Not intercourse but will makes marriage’” (Homilies on Matthew 32) [PL 119, no. 97, pp. 978–1016 at 980]
    St John Chrysostom (347-407) is here simply repeating the words of the great Roman jurist, Ulpian (170 – 228) “Nuptias non concubitus, sed consensus facit” – It is not sleeping together, but agreement that makes marriage. [Dig. 50.17.30 Ulpianus 36 ad sab]. On this subject, the law of the Church and of the Empire was the same.
    That was the law of the Latin Church until 1563, although legislation forbidding (but not invalidating) clandestine marriages goes back to the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215.

  • Franco,
    Maybe Francis sees permanent unions with health benefits between gays as a lesser mortal evil BUT MORTAL than their living promiscuously with a different partner every month with no thoughts of health insurance etc….much like Benedict seeing condom use between gays as a lesser mortal sin overall state than the mortal sin of endangering each other with disease plus the inchastity. If you can get a serial murderer to switch to simple assaults, you’ve made progress although it’s odd progress …nevertheless it’s an improvement.

    Michael PS,
    Yes and that letter by Nicholas I even addressed the women wearing pants issue that raged on the net once or twice…he said whether they wore them or not made no difference…which didn’t help Joan of Arc later on however.

  • 1. What pastoral advice does a Preist meant to give to divorcees who have remarried and had children and decided to return back to the Faith, ie. start at the basics by going back to Church?
    What is the correct pastoral advice to those baptised lapsed Catholics who are in stable second “marriages” with children?

    2. What pastoral advice should be given to people co-habiting, but who have had children, but want to attend Church?

    3. What pastoral advice should be given to a gay couple who have either adopted children or had them through a surrogate, but want to go back to going to Church? Their children know nothing but these same-sex “couple” as parents…?

    I understand these are sinful “lifestyles”, so spare the sermons. I’m curious as to the correct instructions that should be given to significant sectors of the Catholic baptised population who have lapsed, and live in sin, where some have a desire to start going back to Church.

    Has the ship sailed for them?

  • EZ,

    The advice would be to live as brothers and sisters (or if gay, brothers or sisters) and thus not engage in sexual relations. There would be no problem if they live chastity while under the same roof and could then receive communion after confession for any sins of the past.

  • But if they are very immature in their faith, telling them that upfront may frighten them completely away.

    Wouldn’t it be better gain the trust of the Church and Priests and over time learn this?

  • Also, you are saying that it would be ok for them to co-habit as long as they didn’t engage in sexual activity.

    So how is the Church community, an outsider in their relationship, to know that they are either living as brother and sister, or engaging on sexual relations?

    Would then it be ok if they still lived as a family, behaved as a family, but didnt engage in sex, for them to receive Holy Communion?

    Isnt the Pope saying, it is better to deal with each situation case by case. After all, you essentially have a family unit involved, if children are present.

    So why is the Pope being scrutinised when he is taking into consideration the practicalities of the situations?

  • If the criteria for marriage is heterosexuality and “Nuptias non concubitus, sed consensus facit,” then civil unions are valid, and so is mere cohabitation because of its consensuality.

  • “But if they are very immature in their faith, telling them that upfront may frighten them completely away.

    Wouldn’t it be better gain the trust of the Church and Priests and over time learn this?”

    Perhaps it would be prudent to bring them to this point over time. Nonetheless, that would be the truly pastoral thing to do – to bring them to the fullness of Christ. Remember, Christ said to the woman not “Go and find what is economically and socially beneficial” but rather, “Go and sin no more.”

    I must also say that this approach was taught to me by priest of Opus Dei. It seems we have similar teachers.

    “Also, you are saying that it would be ok for them to co-habit as long as they didn’t engage in sexual activity.”

    Cohabiting in fact would be hard as there would be the constant temptation to engage in sexual activity. However, all things are possible in faith and grace. In fact, this would be a wonderful opportunity to teach their children that true love is not sex, but rather self-sacrifice.

    “So how is the Church community, an outsider in their relationship, to know that they are either living as brother and sister, or engaging on sexual relations?”

    Who knows who approaches communion is in the state of grace. That is to the conscience (properly formed) of the individual.)

    “Would then it be ok if they still lived as a family, behaved as a family, but didnt engage in sex, for them to receive Holy Communion?

    Isnt the Pope saying, it is better to deal with each situation case by case. After all, you essentially have a family unit involved, if children are present.”

    That in fact is what I said. It would be a family not of spouses but of brothers and/or sisters raising their children. Just as if there was a family where the parents died and the older siblings raised their younger one’s. It would be not the family properly understood as one of spouses and children, but of self-sacrificing persons giving themselves to those they have brought to life or adopted.

    “So why is the Pope being scrutinised when he is taking into consideration the practicalities of the situations?”

    Practical considerations must always take into account principles. If not, then one will choose to act based upon outcomes and not on the means used. I could do action X, even if it is wrong, in order to achieve end Y which is a good that I seek. This would be consequetialism – which has been clearly denounced by the Church.

  • Aquinas held that the OT death penalties for sin (not crimes) are no longer used but such penalties continue to teach us which sins are mortal sins. Premarital sex however wasn’t given a death penalty when the female was not engaged. Oddly the punishment was a better marriage than other Jews had ( the couple could not divorce)…her not crying out below means she was not raped but consented….Deuteronomy 22:28

    28 “If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, who is not espoused, and taking her, lie with her, and the matter come to judgment : 29He that lay with her shall give to the father of the maid fifty sides of silver, and shall have her to wife, because he hath humbled her: he may not put her away all the days of his life.”

    This was a partial hidden prediction of Catholic Matrimony wherein also there would be no divorce. Now if the young man didn’t have 50 sides of silver then Scripture is silent but….later on Proverbs 20:30 says,
    ” evil is driven out by bloody lashes and a scourging to the inmost being.” So it paid to have a silver stash.
    Later David was to pay 200 Phillistine foreskins to Saul for Michal who dissed him when he danced before the Lord with all his might in a linen ephod 2 Sam.6:14. so when you young guys think a woman is worth extra Phillistine foreskins ( Saul only wanted one hundred), check your motives…is it her virtues or her silhouette only….just sayin’….just sayin’.

  • Paul W Primavera wrote, “Civil unions are valid, and so is mere cohabitation because of its consensuality.”

    But consent to what? To marriage, or to mere concubinage? However, If what the parties intend is a faithful lifelong union, open to children, then, in the absence of impediment or requirements of form, I would agree that that is a marriage. The Canonists are not particularly helpful here, for what they are concerned with is not so much intention as proof of intention.

    In his Literal Commentary on Genesis, St Augustine says that the good of marriage is threefold, “fidelity, offspring, “sacramentum.” Fidelity means that one avoids all sexual activity apart from one’s marriage. Offspring means that the child is accepted in love, is nurtured in affection, and is brought up in religion. The “sacramentum” means that the marriage is not severed nor the spouse abandoned…. This is a kind of rule set for marriage, by which nature’s fruitfulness is honoured and vicious sexual vagrancy is restrained.”

    Clearly, both here and in similar remarks on marriage (De nupt. et conc. I, c. 17, n. 19; De pecc. orig., c. 37, n. 42), St Augustine is using “sacramentum” in its ordinary Latin sense, rather than its theological one, especially as he is discussing the institution of marriage before the Christian dispensation. The ordinary Roman meaning is the military oath of faithful service and it is sometimes used figuratively for other pledges of loyalty, so St Augustine’s use of it here is apt enough.

  • Ez: “But do you remember the parable of the Prodigal son? The wayward son was welcomed back with celebration. The Father didnt even ask him of he had changed his ways.”
    .
    The parable of the Prodigal Son is a story of returning to the Father (in heaven) with sincere contrition. The parable is about contrition and embracing the contrite, not about ignoring and embracing the waywardness. Just sayin’.

  • If the criteria for marriage is heterosexuality and “Nuptias non concubitus, sed consensus facit,” then civil unions are valid, and so is mere cohabitation because of its consensuality.

    They’re called “common law marriages” for a reason, Paul. I would say “I can’t imagine where you got the idea” for anything else, but I can remember major “historic” books where a major plot-point was that, supposedly, the Evil Religious Group ™ didn’t recognize the Poor Oppressed (whatevers) marriage as existing.

    Marriage is an inherent-to-humans thing– it’s the word for life-mate-pairs in humans. It’s natural, as natural as us having two sexes; just like us having two sexes, and just as unmalleable. Being humans, though, we keep trying.

    Sacramental marriage– I’m assuming your mom is baptized, and you mentioned your dad was in the Pentecostal church, and you’re here, so obviously they had one; valid joining of two baptized.

    Why all the extra stuff for Catholics? Look at the common law marriages– notice how they are, as Michael points out, frequently little more than concubinage? The immense spiritual damage to everybody involved (including the kids). Marriage is special.

    Which is all a pretty big digression from “civil unions,” which tends to be used when someone is proposing a non-marriage (sometimes with intent to try to act like it is a marriage) because we already have civil marriages.

  • Relevant to SSM is the denial of the partner’s immortal soul. Only an infinite God can endow unalienable human civil rights. Into whose soul does God endow unalienable human rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness? Atheism denies God, the human soul and therefore any and all unalienable human freedom.
    .
    True love will see to one’s beloved in heaven. The other place is too hot.
    .
    There is no kind of cohabitation that can justify sodomy. Equal Justice excludes sodomy. Justice cannot condone sodomy. If civil social unions, such as friendship, require certification, then, all persons might be qualified to receive certification, tax benefits and the like. And why not?

  • But do you remember the parable of the Prodigal son? The wayward son was welcomed back with celebration. The Father didnt even ask him of he had changed his ways.

    The “please, please give me a job so I don’t die” part covered that part pretty well. It’s rude to ask someone if they’ve changed their ways when they are currently throwing themselves at your feet apologizing for their past wrongs and begging for a scrap of bread.

  • Foxfier

    The danger of common law marriages is obvious enough, as this simple example will show.

    On 2 June 1808, a splendid society wedding took place at the church of St Mary-le-bone in London, between John William Henry Dalrymple, aged 24, (son of General William Dalrymple and grandson of the Earl of Stair) and Lady Laura Manners, aged 28, sister of the Duchess of St Albans and daughter of John Manners and Louisa Tollemache, Countess of Dysart suo jure.

    Alas for Lady Laura and her noble family, in 1811, one Johanna Gordon of Edinburgh, where Dalrymple had been stationed with his regiment in 1804, produced a number of papers,
    (1) A paper without date, contained a mutual promise of marriage, superscribed “a sacreed (sic) promise.”
    (2) A second paper, dated May 28, 1804, contained a mutual declaration and acknowledgment of a marriage. “I hereby declare that Johanna Gordon is my lawful wife” and “And I hereby acknowledge John Dalrymple as my lawful husband.”
    (3) A third paper, dated July 11, 1804, contained a renewed declaration of marriage made by him, and accompanied by a promise of acknowledging her the moment he has it in his power, and an engagement on her part that nothing but the greatest necessity (“necessity which . . . situation alone can justify” – pregnancy, perhaps?) shall compel her to “deelate” (sic) this marriage

    Inartful, not to say illiterate, as the drafting was, the court found a valid common law marriage, meaning that Dalrymple’s pretended marriage to Lady Laura was a mere nullity. There were no children. She was compelled to withdraw from society and died in 1834, leaving a legacy of £50 a year to her parrot.

  • Am I one of the few who read PF points and take away:
    1. His support for Humanae Vitae
    2. Recognition of today’s troubling decline of marriage
    3. The need for improved pastoral care to these civil arrangements.
    And the problem is??

  • Dave W

    No, I believe there are far more of us who understand what Pope Francis is doing. However, sometimes the discussions use an original post such as this one like a diving board, spring off and jump into waters that are actually far more complicated than people realize, such as valid and sacramental marriages.

    Pope Francis is speaking the truth and acting with mercy (charity)

  • - and what is meant by improved pastoral approach?

  • Anzlyne, my point here is to assume that our church and clergy would reach out evern more, be more proactive in approaching their parishioners and society about non-marriage cohabitation issues for the purpose of creating a loving dialogue that brings some more fully in union with each other and the church. Agreed?

  • “improved pastoral care” and “acting with mercy (charity)”

    Does that entail admonishing the sinner; intsructing the ignorant; counseling the doubtful?

    That is from the Spiritual Works of Mercy.

    This stuff is highly valued by pro-abortion/pro-sodomy, post-christian liberals.

  • Phillip, I understand it is better that a person is given guidance with the full Truth.

    They may not accept it initially, and through further patient guidance will come to understand and live accordingly. In the meantime, they must still be embraced into the Church community.

    So this brings me to the idea that there must be another category whereby the Church recognises families made up of divorcees who live celibate lives. A tough one.

    And as you mention, being difficult to remain chaste whilst living under the same roof, the consequence if they split up the family unit, on the children they have created or adopted together, is heartbreaking. Children of remarried divorcees, need both parents, just as much as children of regular families do.

    This is what the Pope means when he stated:

    “The question is not whether to change the doctrine, but to go deeper and make sure that pastoral care takes account of situations and of what each person is able to do”

    In other words, its futile to keep condemning the current lifestyles and family choices that exist, when it is far more effective to bring these people back to God, by addressing their circumstances along the way.

    Priests and Bishops pontificate detached from reality, in an attempt to uphold Church Teaching.

    In other words they just bury their head in the sand, too lazy to address difficult situations with practical solutions, that would still uphold Church Teaching.

  • Mary, it seems to me that alot of Catholics act like the good son who sulks and objects and gets cranky with the father, when the father embraces his brother upon his return. Just sayin’.

    The Prodigal son returned back to his Father, broken, with the desire to please his father under his guidance. He wasn’t magically changed and came back all shiny and new. Its a parable, not a fairy tale.

  • Foxfier, you’re funny.

    I would be interested to see you walk up to a remarried divorcee from your Church Parish and tell them they are going to hell because of their sinful lifestyle. Or better yet, egg your parish priest to.

    Tact.

    You exercise it daily, I hope.

  • Ez: “The Father didn’t even ask him of he had changed his ways.”
    .
    Did the father need to ask the son, who returned a broken man, if he had changed his ways?
    .
    “He wasn’t magically changed and came back all shiny and new. Its a parable, not a fairy tale.”
    .
    Myths and fairy tales carry morals.
    .
    The good son never asked his father for a goat or a sheep. Had the good son assumed that it was all his anyway? Was the good son jealous of the celebration for his brother and why didn’t he rejoice for his father’s happiness? Vinegar.

  • “In the meantime, they must still be embraced into the Church community.” Embraced yes. But at some point they must be told to “Go and sin no more” as this is not only their souls at risk but also those of the children. From a pastoral approach, the example given from a divorced family or a homosexual relationship is tangible.

    “In other words, its futile to keep condemning the current lifestyles and family choices that exist, when it is far more effective to bring these people back to God, by addressing their circumstances along the way.”

    And one way to address their circumstances is with the proper medicine. It may be bitter but it must be given. This medicine is to teach that they are not living the life Christ has called them to. That while they are engaged in sexual relations outside of a licit marriage, they must refrain from communion as a recognition that communion is not a right, but a privilege for those who live, however imperfectly, that union in Christ.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “John William Henry Dalrymple,” was a reprobate and both women are better off without him. Dalrymple’s immaturity precluded his making any marriage valid.

  • “Did the father need to ask the son, who returned a broken man, if he had changed his ways?”

    The Father would have accepted him if he had changed his way. Isn’t that what some are asking of sinners returning to the Church?

    “Myths and fairy tales carry morals”

    Yes, but they are typically one-dimensional. With no room for the sticky and difficult issues. Parables, are analogies of real life, with no frilly sugary bits. They can taste a little sour if you don’t fully grasp them.

    The good son did all the right things. The only thing he failed to do, was rejoice with his father when his brother returned. He should have been happy also, rather than bitter and jealous.

    So should we, I guess.

  • I agree Phillip. That’s a prudent approach.

    But, people will accept the teachings on their time. Not on ours. That’s the difficult bit.

    It still doesn’t address the issue of children in that family unit. Children should be raised by a unified parental unit. You can’t possibly expect a child to understand the immoral actions of their parents as a reason for a broken family unit.

    It’s just such a difficult issue.

  • Ez: “The good son did all the right things. The only thing he failed to do, was rejoice with his father when his brother returned. He should have been happy also, rather than bitter and jealous. So should we, I guess.”
    .
    The good son’s reaction to his prodigal brother’s return evidenced that he did not pray for his brother’s redemption or conversion or he too, would have rejoiced. The father said: “Everything I have is yours”. The good son was an ingrate.

  • “He should have been happy also,”

    Yeah, because his brother had repented. If his brother hadn’t repented, but Dad was still wasting his money on funding younger son’s debauchery, elder brother should have slugged younger brother, and then begun legal proceedings to have prodigal dad declared mentally incompetent and responsible elder brother placed in charge. Without the younger brother’s repentance the parable is meaningless.

  • The father’s love made the younger son’s repentance possible. The older son never got that. In the end he was just as clueless about the father as the younger son had been, even though he had stayed home apparently very angry at father and brother all along.

  • I would be interested to see you walk up to a remarried divorcee from your Church Parish and tell them they are going to hell because of their sinful lifestyle.

    I would be interested to see you respond to arguments, instead of mischaracterizing what those you oppose actually do. It’s a repeating pattern– when you meet resistance, you start going offensive, generally against the person instead of the argument, and failing to support your claims. Then again, you might think you are responding to arguments by making accusations that others are lacking in tact.
    ****
    The parable of the Prodigal Son has the loyal brother asking his father those questions because it drives the point home. It’s like the villain in a play stopping to tell the hero all of his dastardly plots before killing him; without the conversation, the moral might be “don’t be an idiot and hang around doing what you’re supposed to– have your fill of fun until you burn out, then come back and get a great big party!”

  • “The father’s love made the younger son’s repentance possible.”

    And made the younger son’s debauchery possible. Allowing the younger son to take his half of the inheritance and waste it on wine, women and song would rightfully have been seen as an act of madness by the elder brother, since it diminished the farm on which every member of the extended family depended, a literal life and death matter in the time of Christ. The whole purpose of this parable told by Christ was to highlight His call to the Gentiles and the necessity of welcoming repentant sinners. It was not meant to serve as a guide for raising kids, because obviously prodigal dad did a lousy job raising prodigal son.

  • Oh my goodness Donald, of course it was not a lesson in parenting. lol It was however one of the most succinct and clear presentations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In its context, the Lord was speaking about His ministry to sinners. As the first verse in Luke 15 points out, the tax collectors and prostitutes (the most rejected of the sinners within Judaism) were drawing near to listen to Jesus. The Pharisees were complaining about this. So Jesus launches into three parables: shepherd looking for lost sheep, woman looking for lost coin and father looking for lost son(s).

    The thing is both sons were lost. Neither understood the father or his love. The difference was that one was more obvious-the younger son/brother. The older son felt he did everything according to the book and judged (condemned) his brother and really savagely critiqued his father. Who was the younger son? The sinners from among the People of God. Who was the older son? The members of the People of God who follow all the commandments and rules but still do not ‘get’ the Father’s love revealed in and through the Son.

  • “Neither understood the father or his love.”
    Nor do most modern Christians who are world beaters on forgiveness and not so hot on repentance and amendment. Christ called for forgiveness of repentant sinners and His forgiveness was granted only with a command for amendment. In regard to Catholics in adulterous second marriages the application of this teaching of Christ is clear and completely unpalatable to many Catholics in our time of cheap grace and no amendment of life.

  • Donald the Lord is constantly call in us all to ongoing conversion. There is no moment on this side of the grace when we can say, “I have done enough repenting, conversion’. That what the call to holiness is all about.

    To your point however, there will be no change in doctrine on marriage which is from the Lord Himself. As you state, many do and will find this ‘too hard to take’ [just as the teaching on the Eucharist was for many in John 6]. However, what is it that we are offering? We are a hospital of sinners not a museum of saints. We have for all who hear, the mercy of God that is meant for all but accepted by those who are repentant and desire to ‘return to the Lord and the Church’.

    While I do not prognosticate, I believe what we are going to see is not a change of doctrine on marriage or ‘birth control’ but instead an emphasis on a penitential way back home. I don’t mean ‘just confession’. In the early Church there was what was called a Order of Penitents just as there was an Order of Catechumens. As the Catechumens were preparing to enter the Church by means of the Sacraments of Initiation, so the Penitents would prepare (doing penance) for the Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation). After a period of time they would be reconciled. Now how this will play out and what the specifics are is way beyond my pay scaled (and frankly any of us on this blog lol). But I sense, from reading that this will be coming in some form.

    In a sense this Order of Penitents will address not only the ‘mercy’ element of the pastoral care of the Church but ‘toughen up’ on Catholics just doing their own thing and thinking they are just as good as anyone else.

    The fundamental questions arising in the Medieval era of the Church concerning Penance and reconciliation were only partially answered at Trent [responding to the Reformers' rejection of the sacrament. Christ did indeed give us a sacrament of penance] but the necessity of conversion accompanying the sacrament has not been fully dealt with. Which if you think about it, is exactly what people are saying here on the blog. The sacrament is not simply a quick release from guilt feelings as long as one does the ‘confession’ correctly. Much much more is actually needed. Which you have intuitively picked up.

    However, it is still all based on the Father’s love and mercy revealed in and through Jesus Christ and made present in the Church. If this is not the center and foundation we all ought to go back ‘fishing’ lol

  • “After a period of time they would be reconciled.”

    Unless they put the adulterous marriage behind them such reconciliation would be impossible since they would be committing an on-going sin. I guess they could say they are now living as brother and sister. Leaving aside the extreme unlikelihood of such a statement being true, I doubt if that is what Cardinal Kaspar has in mind.

  • Cardinal Kaspar’s speech is not the last word. It’s purpose was to begin t he process of the Cardinals to really begin reflecting, debating etc. This is going to be a “long” process beginning with the Extraordinary Synod in October and then the Synod in October of 2015

  • Bill Bannon,

    Pope Benedict was encouraging the lawless pagan to seek
    good hygiene. He was not promoting immoral behavior.
    Today’s modern pagan is a determined degenerate who
    comes from a Christian background, the moral teachings
    of which he has completely rejected, which poses a serious
    problem for the Church in the modern era. Also, Pope Benedict
    has the reputation of being a no-nonsense traditional Catholic,
    who is faithful to the teachings of the Church. Pope Francis is
    not interested in traditional Catholicism.

    Unfortunately, our modern Catholic has embraced the old axiom:
    if you can’t beat them, join them. However, we know God will
    bring great suffering to the debauched masses to correct their
    bad behavior. During the 20th Century, God punished the lawless
    pagans with two horrific world wars. The prodigal son became
    keenly aware of his terrible suffering for his selfish spree with his
    father’s inheritance. But the modern day Catholic believes the best
    approach to bring the debauched son back to God is to jump into
    the pigsty with him or to wallow with him at the local bathhouse or
    whorehouse to express his Christian love.

  • Foxfier, thank you for proving my point about tact.

  • ” after a period of time they would be reconciled”

    Beautifully put.

    True reconciliation is never instant. It’s a process.

    When there are innocent individuals involved, like children, the situation is much more complicated. Hence, Pooe Francis wanting to assess each situation.

    Sexual relations should cease- yes most definitely.
    But I don’t see the Church telling second-timers to separate when they are raising children together. Ever.

  • “But I don’t see the Church telling second-timers to separate when they are raising children together. Ever.”

    But I’m not sure that the Church has been telling them that. Like I said, the Church has pastorally dictated that, when necessary, the remarried couple live as brother and sister. This is not an approach that came up over the past couple of years. It was taught to me over thirty years ago by priests that were trained in the 50’s. It may be, like many things, that it has not been taught to newer priests. But that would be a recent development that the Pope is trying to address and not a flaw in pastoral approaches from the past. Hopefully he will begin to address other deficits in teaching.

    However, the sticking point is not receiving communion as long as the couple are sexually active. This is a teaching as old as the New Testament as Paul states that receiving communion when not worthy condemns us to death. This is just as it is. As Don alludes to, the prohibition of reception of communion is likely to be easier for a large number of couples than living as brothers and sisters. But grace is always there for the couple to do so.

  • I guess I was referring to the “putting the marriage behind them” part in Dons comment, in that it may not be possible if children are involved.

    I didn’t know that Church teaching was what you say, I guess you are right when you say the more recent generation of Priests probably have to be reminded, as do Catholics in general, what the Church Teaching is.

    It just goes to show that if good Catholic education ensured that children were well formed from a young age, they will always be well-equipped for the future decisions they will make throughout their life. Prevention is always better than a cure. I guess that is where the Pope should focus his attention.

  • Foxfier:

    I don’t for one minute believe you go up to anyone in your Parish and remind them of their sin. My comment was a response to your comment which I read to be a little tongue-in-cheek:

    “It’s rude to ask someone if they’ve changed their ways when they are currently throwing themselves at your feet apologizing for their past wrongs and begging for a scrap of bread.”

    I read it to mean, as a sarcastic response to those that walk on egg-shells around sinners. Which is why I brought up – tact.

    Tactfulness can make all the difference when giving pastoral advice or spiritual direction.

    I guess my comment to you Foxfier, was trading sarcasm for sarcasm.

    Sorry.

  • St Augustine is (as usual) very good on the subject of the effectual calling of sinners: “Here someone will say, why not Esau was called in such a way that he would be willing to obey? We see that people are variously moved to believe when the same facts are shown or explained to them. For example, Simeon believed in our Lord Jesus Christ when He was still a little child, for the Spirit revealed the truth to him. Nathanael heard but one sentence from Him, “Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree I saw thee” (John 1:48); and he replied, “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.” Long after, Peter made the same confession, and for that merit heard himself pronounced blessed, and that the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven were to be given to him. His disciples believed on Him when by a miracle in Cana of Galilee water was turned into wine, which the evangelist John records as the beginning of the signs of Jesus. He stirred many to believe by His words, but many did not believe though the dead were raised. Even His disciples were terrified and shattered by His cross and death, but the thief believed at the very moment when he saw Him not highly exalted but his own equal in sharing in crucifixion. One of His disciples after His resurrection believed, not so much because His body was alive again, as because of His recent wounds. Many of those who crucified Him, who had despised Him while He was working His miracles, believed when His disciples preached Him and did similar miracles in His name. Since, then, people are brought to faith in such different ways, and the same thing spoken in one way has power to move and has no such power when spoken in another way, or may move one man and not another, who would dare to affirm that God has no method of calling whereby even Esau might have applied his mind and yoked his will to the faith in which Jacob was justified?”

  • Ez-
    I was not being sarcastic, and even in light of your projection of ‘sarcasm’ on to a whimsical reminder of the situation in the story (it wouldn’t just be ‘rude,’ given the setting of the parable it would radically alter the meaning of the story– the father saw him far off and ran to the lost son in joy), your comment about tact was in the get-the-log-out-of-your-own-eye-first zone.
    .
    That was tact; you didn’t like the content, so you decided to attack the format.
    A similar– but, obviously, MUCH bigger– reaction is to be expected from people who don’t like the factual statement of this thing you are doing is wrong. No amount of ‘tact’ is going to change “look, you have to stop sinning” into something that is appealing to those who are deeply attached to their sin.

  • “No amount of ‘tact’ is going to change “look, you have to stop sinning” into something that is appealing to those who are deeply attached to their sin.”
    .
    Very well said, Foxfier.

  • “”Many of those who crucified Him, who had despised Him while He was working His miracles, believed when His disciples preached Him and did similar miracles in His name. Since, then, people are brought to faith in such different ways, and the same thing spoken in one way has power to move and has no such power when spoken in another way, or may move one man and not another, who would dare to affirm that God has no method of calling whereby even Esau might have applied his mind and yoked his will to the faith in which Jacob was justified?”” .
    .
    Make me as holy as I am to be holy. Cardinal Merri del Val

  • My sense in reading many of the posts are that several responders want the repentance to occur before the pastoral care. I think that is a gross misplacement of the charity, love and teaching that needs to occur to bring some of these souls back into alignment. The activities around care can occur in many ways … you and I, church sponsored seminars and classes, 1:1 counseling, etc. Granted, the path for the unmarried is an easier one to navigate, but the annulment process has adapted over the decades without losing the central doctrinal teaching. I’d expect closer theological scrutiny will occur here.

  • Dave W.

    You are correct. There are some (and many many more in the wider Church) who do want conversion before the pastoral care. You cannot fault the people on this blog however. There was a whole segment of the Church since before the Reformation which has seen follow the commandments, then when you sin, repent and then experience mercy (and pastoral care of the Church). It is very old and very much contrary to the actual teaching of the Church.

    The real issue at hand is this: what is the center of the Church’s teaching: Redemption/salvation in and through Jesus Christ or sin? The roots of the problem go back into misunderstandings etc in the later Middle Ages, that simply continued through the Reformation/Counter Reformation and still is present today-as you see. Now before anyone jumps to the conclusion that ‘we’ have done away with sin, ask yourselves: what is it that Christ is redeeming/saving us from? Of course sin exists, it is mortally serious, yet ‘sin’ is not the center of the Gospel or the teachings of the Church.

    Now what the Church is called to do is how it is being expressed here and elsewhere: Are we to simply teach ethics?{as serious an issue as this is] or are we to proclaim and teach Jesus Christ? In proclaiming and teaching Jesus Christ we have the proper foundation from which to proceed to the heavy issues we face today. If we are simply teaching and reteaching moral issues-as indeed important as these are-where do we go from there? Where are we coming from, what hope or solution are we offering humanity that is indeed lost in the false self, the addiction to control and dominate, and sin and death?

    The problem is when people take up a dialetical position. In this view it is either this or that. You hear it all the time: So you mean to proclaim Christ and His mercy and forget sin huh? No! First the Church is not saying this nor am I saying this. While it might be nice and neat for a debate, we are not really debating here. We are speaking about God’s mercy in Christ being offered in and through the Church to everyone who will accept it in faith AND conversion. The Catholic vision is always ‘both/and’. So I am not saying let’s proclaim Christ and His mercy and that’s the end of it. What I am saying is proclaim Christ and His mercy first-for it is then and only then that mankind’s real (wretched) condition can be recognized but also find the ‘courage’, accompanied by fellow sinners in the Church, to return “home”

  • Botolph

    I entirely agree.

    St Augustine says in his Commentary on John’s Gospel 26.4 – my translation, so I add the original:
    “If it be allowable to the poet [Vergil, Eclogues 2.65] to say “his own pleasure draws each man,” not need, but pleasure, not obligation but delight, how much more ought we to say that a man is drawn to Christ, who delights in the truth, who delights in happiness who delights in justice, who delights in eternal life and all this is Christ?” [Porro si poëtae dicere licuit, Trahit sua quemque voluptas; non necessitas, sed voluptas; non obligatio, sed delectatio; quanto fortius nos dicere debemus, trahi hominem ad Christum, qui delectatur veritate, delectatur beatitudine, delectatur justitiâ, delectatur sempiternâ vitâ, quod totum Christus est?’]
    http://www.augustinus.it/latino/commento_vsg/index2.htm

    Again he says in On the Merits and Remission of Sins 2, 17, 26: “Men are not willing to do what is right either because the fact that it is right is hidden from them, or because it does not please them… It is from the grace of God, which helps the wills of man, that that which was hidden becomes known, and that which did not please become sweet.” [Nolunt homines tacere quod iustum est, sive quia latet an iustum sit sive quia non delectat... Ut autem innotescat quod latebat et suave fiat quod non delectabat, gratiae Dei est”]
    http://www.augustinus.it/latino/castigo_perdono/index2.htm

    For the Doctor of Grace, the whole paradox of grace and free will is explained by this: free will consists in doing what we want to do. Grace does not, and has no need, to interfere with our power of choice; rather, it affects what we want; free will requires freedom of choice, but not freedom to determine our own likes and dislikes. The delectatio coelestris victrix, the victorious love of heavenly things is wholly God’s gift, which alone overcomes the delectatio terrena or love of worldly things.

    Pascal, the faithful disciple of St Augustine says, “Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true. The cure for this is first to show that religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect. Next, make it attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is. Worthy of reverence because it really understands human nature. Attractive because it promises true good.”

    I believe this is the Pope’s message, too and why, like them, he regards Pelagianism as such a pestilential heresy.

  • 982 There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive. “There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest. Christ who died for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a10.htm

  • Foxfier you can’t generalise.

    Yes, of course some will hold stubbornly to their lifestyle because they don’t see the sin or perhaps because the situation is difficult for them to change. These wont choose to return to the Church. God still waits for these.

    But others that have fallen away have done so because of a lack of understanding of the teaching in the first place. The fact that they have come back to the Church means they are searching for the Truth. You can teach them the message by coming at them like a bulldozer.

    A Priest once told me that I HAD to partake in a ceremony, to bring me fully into the Catholic Church because although I did my Holy communion in Catholic Church I was actually baptised in the Eastern Orthodox Church as an infant. He came at me with the “facts” like a bull with horns. I felt sick at the thought of offending my father who never objected to our Catholic upbringing, but who held a cultural importance in his heart to his Christian Orthodox roots. I ignored the Priests advice for years.

    Years later I questioned another Priest who understood the cultural background and delivered it to me with greater TACT, more understanding and at my own pace.

    Guess which Priest produced better results?

    Similarly, another situation occurred where by a Priest of a similar cultural background to us abruptly terminated by brothers confession because my brother was talking to him about his Orthodox baptism in the Confessional. My brother came home distraught. He was 12 years old! My parents had to invite the Priest over and explain the situation, of which he should have known better. My brother has never forgotten that priest and his tactlessness in that Confessional.

    Approach makes all the difference, and if the advice is delivered where the advisor works with the person, the outcome is better.

    You’re talking about people who WANT to seek God but are trapped in a sinful lifestyle. You aren’t dealing with those that have fallen away and have no desire to return. Don’t mix the two.

    I’m happy to agree to disagree with you about the approach. It’s the way I see it from my own experiences.

  • Dave W- thank you for the background. You articulated my point-of-view better than I could in my long roll of comments. Brilliant. Well done.

  • Ez on Saturday, March 8, A.D. 2014 at 12:35pm (Edit)
    Foxfier you can’t generalise.

    EZ-
    Those who love their sin more than the Truth won’t accept the Truth.
    .
    There’s a definite irony in you urging that we withhold the Truth from those who left because they weren’t taught it in the first place.
    .
    And, again, you don’t respond to the arguments, but instead must pretend that anyone who doesn’t agree with you misleading people about them living in mortal sin being just fine is walking up yelling “you’re going to hell, sinner” or similar false notions; stories of false steps in your history is not relevant to your idea that willfully misleading people is a better idea than telling them the truth.
    .
    And, again, you conflate tact with saying what someone wants to hear.

  • Bill Bannon and Franco
    Just to remember our good pope Emeritous in the light he deserves, the possibility of condom use for gay men was Not obviously for birth control, but to protect against disease. The use of the condom for birth control is sinful. I think the pope was seeking a charitable answer when saying there might be room to consider its use for another purpose. There might have been a way even though there is still the sin of sodomy, the purpose of the condom use itself would not necessarily be sinful.
    :)

  • Calm down.

    No one is withholding the Truth. Nobody is saying that, not me and not anyone on this blog comment role.

    Please don’t put words in my mouth.

    Im talking about how you deliver it. You can’t always talk to people how you do in the army.

    If you dont like how I adress my comments, you dont have to address me.

  • Ez-
    You do not think of it that way, but that is what your “wait until they are ready to be told the truth” proposal functionally is; I did not put words in your mouth, though you’ve been quite free in doing so for others. I am pointing out what you are actually proposing, without the emotional cover.
    ***
    Odd, that’s three different accusations you’ve made that match up with what you are actually doing– lack of tact, generalizing (you are wrong because I was told something I didn’t want to hear in a way I didn’t like!) and now putting words in the mouths of others.

  • Anzlyne,

    I think you’re right.

    Also, I was told condom use is not a sin if used during medical treatment, where a wife, say, who is undergoing chemotherapy, does not want to contaminate her husband. Just as long as NFP is being used, simultaneously, to monitor her cycle, and the condom use does not happen during the fertile periods.

    I think the same would be said if one of the spouses was ill, and wanted to protect the other from getting infected. Again, only if it is not used during the fertile periods of a woman’s cycle- to avoid it becoming a form of contraception.

  • Extrapolating from the extension of an idea to its ” logical conclusion” can lead to “logical confusion”
    The pope’s rumination on this was quickly dropped. Glory be to God.

  • And, again, the attempt to attack the person– in this case, conflating services and misspelling ranks in an attempt to change the subject– rather than dealing with the problems of the solution you wish to push.
    .
    Getting the other person to be quiet doesn’t change a thing; your idea of “tactfully” refraining from being truthful to those whose immortal souls are in deathly danger until you think they’ve been lured in means withholding the Truth.
    It’s definitely manipulating them, and could easily become actively lying– although the person doing it would never agree that is what claiming that binding teachings say something other than what they do consists of.
    ***
    I was the only active Catholic on my ship of my age. Because of this same kind of “for your own good” misrepresentation of the Church’s binding teaching, in every case I could get a reason– someone who was supposed to be teaching my fellow young Catholics instead told them a “helpful” falsehood, and most of them were less important than you are committing adultery, it is wrong.
    Some of those may have fallen away anyways, but at least they would have fallen away from an actual teaching rather than running from a lie delivered from those whose who owe them the truth.

  • Oh, I thought the conversation was over. I thought we agree to disagree…

    Well then, real life is not the military. Or the Navy. Im sure you were a fine Marine though.

    “Emotional cover”? -People have emotions. Whether you think they should or not, and frankly many think with their emotions. Whether you agree they should or not. This is society today. So, I don’t know why you equate gaining the trust of the person and leading them to the Truth, as lying to them. As I said before, some of these people made the horrible mistake of having children in their second marriage. What do you suppose they be told Foxfier- “behold, the brimstone and fire that will come on you if you don’t separate this instant and renounce your sinful life”, buggar the effect on the innocent children in the affair, who don’t know better…I would prefer if the pastoral advice was frank, but worked with the person to remove them from their sinful life and those innocent children involved. They may or may not change their lifestyle over-night, even if you served it to them upfront.

    Have you heard of the saying: “you attract more bees with honey than you do with vinegar”.

    And excuse me for a second whilst I remove this whoppa of a log from my eye…funny how I keep having to do that.

    I champion the Church to withhold the Truth from its parishioners, so not to offend them. Seriously? That is not my view. People should be taught the proper CatholicTeaching. Period. Delivery and tact is key.

    Stop with the belittling Foxfier. I’ve frankly had enough of it. I don’t hold your opinion on this particular blog post. That’s based on my experiences with Pastoral advice given to me in the Faith. Respect me enough to just accept that.

  • Anzlyne, that was the advice I was given during my chemo treatment, when I sought advice from a Catholic Theologian Priest.

    But I guess the advice would be obsolete, for people engaging in sodomy. The sin is still a sin, even if the “good” intention was that one person wanted to protect another person from contracting a disease.

  • Ez-
    it’s nice of you to keep proving my point about manipulating people (especially by trying to make them feel bad) into doing what you want. Not pleasant to consider, but well illustrated.
    You still have not dealt with the problem that you proposed, here, not telling people the whole truth until they’ve been lured “back” into a situation where you think they can be trusted.
    Ez on Friday, March 7, A.D. 2014 at 6:55am
    But if they are very immature in their faith, telling them that upfront may frighten them completely away.
    Wouldn’t it be better gain the trust of the Church and Priests and over time learn this?

    You keep wanting to dress it up in pretty garb, but just like calling murder “death with dignity” and “choice,” or calling the sexual use of young folks “free love,” what it actually entails is far from pretty.
    “Gaining their trust” by hiding anything you think they are too immature to deal with is hiding the Truth.
    Nobody is insisting on a uniform code of being an idiot except for you, and you want to insist those who disagree with you abide by it.
    ****
    What should priests do? Tell the Truth with love and respect for those who have done wrong– respect for them as human beings made in God’s image, not mindless children who must be lied to by those gaining their trust until they can be trusted to handle the truth.
    Not manipulate their trust to try to make them do what someone else wants.

  • Yes sodomy is a sin.
    the use of the condom in sodomy is not the sin of contraception. The sin of sodomy remains. That discussion could be an endless string of “yah-buts”. Thank goodness it is done.

  • “The pope’s rumination on this was quickly dropped. Glory be to God.”
    .
    “yah-buts” Condoms do not prevent the spread of HIV?aids or any virus. Completely useless to stop viruses.

  • “Nobody is insisting on a uniform code of being an idiot except for you, and you want to insist those who disagree with you abide by it.”

    I couldn’t care less how you help a convert. I wouldn’t in a million years use your tone, but if they work for you all the best to you. Who am I to insist on anything. I don’t insist anyone abide by anything I believe in. It’s a blog. I’m giving my opinion, if its worth anything.

    I said comment after comment, the sin should stop. The Truth be told. Always.

    The number of families who have produced children from adulterous relationships is great in numbers. The cookie cutter mould doesn’t work when the numbers are great.

    You can’t scare people into conversion. True conversion is a journey, and the convert is fully in union with God only if he/she understands what they are converting to. We are not Muslims! Or idiots. Thank The Lord, Gods patience is greater than ours.

    You talk about respect? There isn’t an ounce of respect in your tone to me. But I’ve gathered by now, you couldn’t care less. I’m just a commenter on a blog.

    If you were trying to convert me by twisting my words, with your terms of “idiot”, “lying”, “manipulate” “lure”, I would wander what Church you belong to. And then run fast.

    Thank goodness we can now get to a point where we can agree to disagree. I feel like Im wasting my time going round in circle with you Foxfier. Have a good day.

    .

  • Ez-
    What you are saying you have said, and what you have objectively said right here– including the quote directly above your comment– do not align.
    ***
    Of course you believe you are disrespected, just as you believed I was being “sarcastic” when I pointed out that you’d missed a major part of the Lost Son’s story and thus the conclusion you wanted to draw was flawed.
    .
    It is easier, safer for your emotions, if you can frame everything as you being a victim, and the other person being a big meanie.
    After all, if you don’t like what they say, it must be something they did wrong– not because you don’t like the points they made, or because they disagree with you.
    .
    We cannot agree to disagree, because you wish to try to control people so they do what you think is right, and when someone points out that is what you are suggesting, you start trying to manipulate them. It might work on children, or on those who never had to deal with female bullies in high school, but for those who are familiar with emotional manipulation it will just drive them even further away as they identify you and your tactics. If you try that on a woman who got out of an abusive relationship, you will probably drive her away from Christ entirely.
    (Possibly the same for men, but I haven’t had enough interaction with abused men to know; the system of setting up a victim may be different.)

  • Yes Mary you are right, condoms do not prevent AIDS or viruses, though they reduce the chance. I think the pope was trying to think of ways to be helpful but quickly dropped that line of thinking. I am not in any way advocating the use of condoms. .

    My response was to bill bannon comment about B16 ” much like Benedict seeing condom use between gays as a lesser mortal sin overall state than the mortal sin of endangering each other with disease plus the inchastity”.
    Unhappy with the use of the terms implying greater and lesser mortal sin, I was trying to say the use of a condom is a mortal sin because it is contraceptive, when it is not contraceptive, as it is not contraceptive in sex between two men, it’s use is not the mortal sin, but the sodomy is still the mortal sin.
    i apologize

  • Don’t apologize Anzlyne, Yours is a fine distinction. I appreciate it. It is just that Pope Benedict XVI was savaged by the media for not allowing condoms to prevent HIV/aids and condoms don’t.

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