Thursday, February 2, 2017

Pope Francis' Teaching On Marriage

Image result for Pope FrancisSome may wonder about Pope Francis' teaching on marriage in view of the dubbia emanating from Amoris Laetitia.

I encourage you to read in its entirety the speech given by Pope Francis here in Rome this past Saturday to the Sacred Rota, an abridged version in English of which I have appended below with the full Italian script following.
Apart from indicating with clarity the Holy Father's total adhesion to the Church's Tradition and Magisterium, it indicates his response to the current crisis in marriage: a "new catechumenate" (which "should become an integral part of all the sacramental preparation of marriage"), both before and after, allowing for a "gradual maturation in faith, through the announcement of the Word of God ..." and given not only by the priest but a "timely synergy of priests and couples."

Some of these elements will sound familiar ...

"Today I would like to return to the theme of the relationship between faith and marriage, in particular on the prospects of faith inherent in the human and cultural context in which the matrimonial institution is formed. St. John Paul II showed, based on the teaching of the Sacred Scripture, “how deeply related are the knowledge conferred by faith and the knowledge conferred by reason. … What is distinctive in the biblical text is the conviction that there is a profound and indissoluble unity between the knowledge of reason and the knowledge of faith” (Encyclical Fides et ratio, 16). Therefore, the farther one drifts from the perspective of faith, the more “the human being runs the risk of failure and ends up in the condition of ‘the fool’”’. For the Bible, in this foolishness, a threat to life is inherent. “The fool thinks that he knows many things, but really he is incapable of fixing his gaze on the things that truly matter. Therefore he can neither order his mind nor assume a correct attitude to himself or to the world around him. And so when he claims that ‘God does not exist’, he shows with absolute clarity just how deficient his knowledge is and just how far he is from the full truth of things, their origin and their destiny”.

For his part, Pope Benedict XVI, in his final address to you, recalled that “It is only in opening oneself to God’s truth … that it is possible to understand and achieve in the concrete reality of both conjugal and family life the truth of men and women as his children, regenerated by Baptism. … The rejection of the divine proposal, in fact, leads to a profound imbalance in all human relations … including matrimonial relations” (26 January 2013). It is more necessary than ever to delve in to the relationship between love and truth. “Love requires truth. Only to the extent that love is grounded in truth can it endure over time, can it transcend the passing moment and be sufficiently solid to sustain a shared journey. If love is not tied to truth, it falls prey to fickle emotions and cannot stand the test of time. True love, on the other hand, unifies all the elements of our person and becomes a new light pointing the way to a great and fulfilled life. Without truth, love is incapable of establishing a firm bond; it cannot liberate our isolated ego or redeem it from the fleeting moment in order to create life and bear fruit”.

I cannot conceal from you that a widespread mentality tends to obscure access to eternal truths. A mentality that involves, often in a vast and capillary fashion, the attitudes and behaviour of Christians themselves, whose faith is weakened and loses the originality of its interpretative and working criteria for personal, family and social existence. Such a context, lacking in religious values and faith, cannot but condition matrimonial consent. The experience of faith of those who require Christian marriage are very diverse. Some participate actively in the life of the parish; others encounter it for the first time; others have an intense life of prayer; and others are, instead, guided by a more generic religious feeling; at times they are people far from faith or lacking in faith.

Faced with this situation, it is necessary to find valid remedies. I indicate a first remedy in the formation of the young through an adequate process of preparation aimed at rediscovering marriage and the family according to God’s plan. It means helping future spouses to grasp and savour the grace, beauty and joy of true love, saved and redeemed by Jesus. The Christian community to which engaged couples turn is called to announce cordially the Gospel to these people, so that their experience of love may become a sacrament, an effective sign of salvation. In this circumstance, the redeeming mission of Jesus reaches man and women in the concrete domain of their love life. This moment becomes, for all the community, an extraordinary occasion for mission. Today more than ever, this preparation is presented as a real opportunity for the evangelisation of adults and, often, for those who have drifted away. Indeed, there are many young people for whom the proximity of marriage constitutes the opportunity to encounter anew the faith long relegated to the margins of their lives; moreover, they are at a particular moment in their lives, often characterised by the willingness to review and change the orientation of their existence. It may be, therefore, a favourable time to renew their encounter with the figure of Jesus Christ, with the message of the Gospel and the doctrine of the Church.

Therefore, workers and entities engaged in family pastoral care must be inspired by a strong concern to make paths for preparation for the sacrament of marriage increasingly effective, not only for human growth but above all for the faith of engaged couples. A fundamental aim of these meetings is that of helping engaged couples to achieve a gradual integration into the mystery of Christ, in the Church and with the Church. This requires a gradual maturation in faith, through the announcement of the Word of God, joining and generously following Christ. The objective of this preparation thus consists in helping engaged couples to know and experience the reality of the marriage they intend to celebrate, so that they can do so not only in a valid and legitimate way, but also fruitfully, and so that they may be available to make this celebration a phase in their journey of faith. To achieve all this, there is a need for people with specific skill, suitably prepared for this service, in a timely synergy between priests and couples.

In this spirit, I must repeat the need for a “new catechumenate” in preparation for marriage. Welcoming the hopes expressed by the Fathers during the last Ordinary Synod, it is urgent to implement practically what was proposed in Familiaris Consortio (No. 66), that is, just as for the baptism of adults the catechumenate is part of the sacramental process, also the preparation for marriage should become an integral part of all the sacramental procedure of marriage, as an antidote that prevents the proliferation of null or inconsistent marriage celebrations.

A second remedy is that of helping newly-weds to follow the path of faith and in the Church also after the celebration of marriage. It is necessary to identify, with courage and creativity, a project of formation for young couples, with initiatives aimed at a growing awareness of the sacrament received. This involves encouraging them to consider the various aspects of their daily life as a couple, which is a sign and instrument of God’s love, incarnate in the story of man. Let me give two examples. First and foremost, the love in which the new family lives has its roots and ultimate wellspring in the mystery of the Trinity, for which it bears this seal despite the hardships and poverties it must be measured against in daily life. Another example: the love story of the Christian couple is part of sacred history, as God abides in it, and because God never fails in the commitment He makes with couples on their wedding day. Indeed, He “remains faithful – for He cannot deny Himself”.

The Christian community is called to welcome, accompany and help young couples, offering them suitable opportunities and tools – starting with participation in Sunday Mass - to care for their spiritual life both within family life and in the realm of pastoral planning in the parish or in groups. Often young couples are left to their own devices, perhaps for the simple fact of being seen less in the parish. This happens in particular with the birth of children. But it is precisely in those first moments of family life that there is a need to guarantee greater closeness and strong spiritual support, also in the work of educating their children, for whom they are the first witnesses and bearers of the gift of faith. In the path of the human and spiritual growth of newly-weds, it is to be hope that there are groups of reference in which they are able to undertake a process of continuing formation: by listening to the Word, discussion on themes relating to family life, prayer and fraternal sharing.

These two remedies that I have indicated are aimed at favouring a suitable context of faith in which to celebrate and live marriage. Such a crucial aspect for the solidity and truth of the marriage sacrament requires parish priests to be increasingly aware of the delicate task entrusted to them in managing the sacramental path of future spouses, making the synergy between foedus and fides more intelligible and real in them. This means passing from a strictly legal and formal vision in the preparation of future spouses, to an ab initio sacramental foundation, that is, starting from the process towards the fullness of their foedus-consent elevated by Christ to sacrament. This will demand a generous contribution from adult Christians, men and women, who assist the priest in his family pastoral ministry to construct the “masterpiece of society, the family, the man and women who love each other … God’s luminous plan” (homily at Vespers on the eve of the opening if the Ordinary Synod, 3 October 2015).

May the Holy Spirit, Who always guides the holy People of God in everything, assist and support those, priests and laypeople, who are and will be occupied in this field, so that they never lose the zeal and courage to work for the beauty of Christian families, despite the ruinous pitfalls of the dominant culture of the ephemeral and the provisional.

Dear brothers, as I have said to you many times, it takes great courage to marry in the times in which we live. And those who have the strength and the joy to take this important step must feel the affection and the concrete closeness of the Church next to them. With this hope, I renew my wishes for your good work in this new year that the Lord gives us. I assure you of my prayer and also count on yours, and I impart to you my heartfelt apostolic blessing." 


  1. What you point Diana? Are you suggesting the pope is referring to the NCW? I think not. Are you suggesting that the pope is answering the substance of the dubia? You'll have to help me there, as I can't see that. (Its not "dubbia" by the way - I think that name refers to a former president).

    If this was all the pope had written on the subject of marriage, I'm sure there would be less clamor. Unfortunately, he also wrote Amoris, which in its ordinary reading cannot possibly be said to be in "total adhesion to the Church's Tradition and Magisterium".

    1. Dear Anonymous at 4:35 pm,

      The pope never said that divorced people can receive Holy Communion. He pointed out that one cannot treat all separated and divorce people the same. They have to be treated on a case by case basis. For example, Divorcee number one may need to get an annulment in order to receive Holy communion while Divorcee number two may need to work out the problems in their marriage in order for reconciliation to occur. The Church is not stooping low. Rather, she is involved in helping troubled couples rise up to meet the expectations of the Church......something that the Neocatechumenal Way is doing. This is why many couples in the Way are open to life. They rose to the expectations of the Church by being open to life and not practicing contraceptives. Couples who were married in a civil court do not receive Holy Communion. Rather, the priest and the community helps them and encourage them to marry in Church. The community and thepriests helps the married couple in their walk to keep their marriage sacred and strong. Married couples in the Way are encouraged to pray together and to go on dates with their spouse every month. As Pope Francis pointed out in his speech, the Christian COMMUNITY is called to welcome, accompany, and help young couples. This is already being done in the Way.

    2. Dear anon, you are bad mouthing Pope Francis based on the Dubia rebels who want to hold him accountable for Amoris Laetitia. This is pretty laughable, because Amoris Laetitia is reflecting the Synod's, rather than the Pope's view. The Dubia rebels will very soon be asked to keep their mouth shut from the media, because it is not media business.

      You are coming out of the dark now by the encouragement of the likes as bishop Athanasius Schneider who is ministering to the lost souls on the vast Kazah steppe and Cardinal Raymond Burke who would be better off taking care of his unruly Knights of Columbus!

    3. "The pope never said that divorced people can receive Holy Communion."

      So says you. The problem is that the Bishops of Argentina said exactly that, and the pope replied that "there is no other interpretation".

      In any case, whatever good may be claimed by divorced and/or married people in the NCW, it comes at the expense of doctrinal heterodoxy, liturgical abuse, persecution and destruction of the individual, damage to families, secrets and lies, and arrogance and pride.

    4. Dear anon 8:16 pm
      In canon law, the last law is that all can be omitted for the sake and love of the sheep and for the purpose of saving their souls. When looking at Amoris l. as law then it is easy to misinterpret what it says. Fortunately the bishops of argentina made a great interpretation. Maybe the issue is you haven't read it and instead are taking Rohr's interpretation. I read all 10 guidelines, which you can find here No where does it mention that a person in mortal sin has access to communion. It only states different cases and how to handle them properly and with love and charity. Giving access to the sacrament always in cases where no mortal sin is being committed.
      These concepts are easy to understand for the NCW because we don't deal in juridical laws, as if one law fits all. That is always the opposite of love and charity, because each person has different situations. One person might be divorced, but currently not living in sin, but only divorced because the opposite spouse refuses to be united etc.
      Again the bishops never mention unlimited access to the sacrament, but actually warn against it. Diana, maybe it would be good to debunk what the bishops say. Since again there is no such mention as anon 8:16 pm seems to think.

    5. Dear Anon at 11.23PM

      I am not sure what you were reading but there is no reference to "mortal sin" in the Argentinian bishops guidelines.

      Rather, there is this following statement that appears to condone giving sacraments to those who decide not to live in continence and hence are in a state of objective mortal sin (ie adultery):

      "6) In other, more complex cases, and when a declaration of nullity has not been obtained, the above mentioned option may not, in fact, be feasible. Nonetheless, a path of discernment is still possible. If it comes to be recognized that, in a specific case, there are limitations that mitigate responsibility and culpability (cf. 301-302), especially when a person believes they would incur a subsequent wrong by harming the children of the new union, Amoris Laetitia offers the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist (cf. footnotes 336 and 351)."

      In other words, a "remarried couple" who have decided to continue to live as husband and wife, perhaps because they believe it is better for the children, or too hard to live in continence, are permitted by Amoris to receive the sacraments.

      That's pretty clear. Again, I'm not sure what you were reading.

      "These concepts are easy to understand for the NCW because we don't deal in juridical laws, as if one law fits all. "

      This is a ridiculous statement, and shows your divorce from the Catholic Church. Like it or not, the Church issues "juridical" laws which become the duty of Catholics to follow - "what you bind on earth.."etc

      The irony is that you will not find a more "juridical" organisation than the NCW. Although you might claim otherwise, every behavior of the NCW is regulated, stipulated, and scrutinized by the catechists and others. However, these "laws" come from Kiko, not the Church.

      For example, you cannot receive communion on the tongue in a NCW mass, because of a decision Kiko has made, not the Church. If you dared to question or do otherwise, there'd be trouble. Its Kiko's law or nothing.

    6. Dear anon at 11:41 am, you know nothing about the communities. When you face people in a small community, you don't start to preach about juridical laws. A juridical law is a mass phenomenon of civil society, you need a large number of people to apply it. In a small community the law is individual attention and compassion. We look at each other as we are, not as we should be by law. This is called compassion. Please, learn the basic teaching on compassion by Catholic faith before you make uniform accusation against your sisters and brothers in Christ and you condemn your bishops and the Pope!

      The only way to have compassion is individual attention. Jesus looked at the thief and understood his repentance before He told him" "today you'll be with me in Paradise!" You also have to look at the eye of your sister and brother before you try to make judgment. Only if you are able to see the one, unique, single person among the thousand, when you are able for compassion. Otherwise you cannot send anyone to Paradise, only to hell. Your compassion is eaten up by the devil who rules the hell!

    7. Dear Anon at 12.47. Your comment is enlightening. You move so swiftly from the matter at hand to an utter, extreme defense of the NCW - but I don't really mind. I am confused though that you haven't continued to argue your point regarding your understanding of Amoris, the Argentinian bishops' guidelines and the Pope's apparent leanings. Maybe you have changed your mind?

      In any case, what you say about "small communities" versus the "masses" sounds wonderful - except that you should know, that every community is a replica of the next; that every person in the NCW is a mirror image of the next; that the testimony of one NCW member is almost identical to the next; and that the practices and teachings of the NCW are cloned in every place they exist. This is not surprising of course, as Kiko tells you what to think, forms you as one of his clones, makes you buy his stuff and sing his songs - but what is surprising is that you can't see that this is exactly the same as your description of a "mass phenomenon of (..) society", where you need "a large number of people to apply it"

      One day perhaps, you will see that the individual attention given in the NCW, that which you call compassion, is in fact a means to re-make the individual according to the existential moment that Kiko supposedly experienced, and that in the NCW the individual only matters to the extent that they edify and build up the community. It is not compassion, for example to cause a person to be subject to very personal and yet public scrutiny, or to hate their family, or to ignore the lawful authority of the Church in preference to the particular whims of a layman.

      Now, what you imply about seeing the individual is absolutely right - we are not to treat people as statistics, or as mere numbers, or as if they are not truly individual souls loved by God and created to love Him. Of course, the Church has always upheld this sense in everything it does, but this does not preclude the existence of Divine Law that applies to all people, and the revelation of Divine Law that has been entrusted to the Church to teach and propagate throughout the world and history.

      They are not mutually exclusive ideas, and in fact one ought to be visible in the other. The Divine Law is given for the salvation of souls and each soul is made to conform to the Divine Law.

      By all means, acquiesce to the promptings and teachings of the Holy Spirit, but abandon the law of God at your peril.

    8. Dear Anonymous at 1:50 pm,

      I can say the same thing about the Parish Mass you attend. Every Mass is cloned all over the world in every Roman Catholic Church. All the readings are exactly the same. And all the songs come from the same book.

      If you had come to know humanity and compassion, you would find that the problems we all face in society are not any different. Did you really expect to hear a testimony to be so out of this world in order for you to believe? I would believe the person who came with a testimony saying that he committed fornication when he was in college than a testimony saying that the world is going to end tomorrow because our Galaxy is going to explode. Which one is more believable?

    9. Dear Diana,

      "I can say the same thing about the Parish Mass you attend"

      This is precisely my point. Anon was arguing that these phenomenon of mass society somehow contradict the recognition and compassionate treatment of the individual, and I was pointing out that the NCW is no different, except that it follows the directions of a layman instead of the Church, but otherwise is a "mass " phenomenon.

      "Did you really expect to hear a testimony to be so out of this world in order for you to believe? "

      No. Why would you expect that - I said nothing of the sort. I merely remarked that the testimonies are the same because the structure of the community demands it. Kiko wants each member to imitate his own existential moment, and so constructs a method to break down the person and rebuild them in his image. The fact they share the same testimony is no surprise then.

      My argument is that it is an error to oppose "law" with "compassion", as if you can't hold both at the same time, and this is the view taught in the NCW. The irony is that the NCW has more law than most other entities in the Church, despite those "laws" being invented by a man.

    10. Also, it is ironic that you say that every parish mass is the same in the Roman Catholic tradition. The NCW mass is not the same as the "ordinary" parish mass, is it?

      And which song book is used universally in the Roman Catholic Church? I would be interested to know, as I've personally seen many tens of different hymn books.

    11. Dear Anonymous at 3:10 pm,

      The NCW is a result of the Vatican II; therefore, it came from the Church. Also, no one is in the image of Kiko. I do not know how you came to that conclusion. The testimonies are not the same, but they are similar because the human family face the same struggles and temptation. I heard Dr. Eusebio speak of how he and his wife were on the verge of divorce. How many couples today face the same problems. I heard Gabe speak of how he lusted after many women. You do not think that men his age go through the same thing? These testimonies did not come from Kiko.

      How is it man's law when it was approved by God's Church?

    12. "These testimonies did not come from Kiko."

      Yes they did, you just fail to see. Let me remind you of the questionnaire on the Exodus from the initial catechesis. Kiko asks (through the catechists who parrot every word he says)- "Where are you?"

      And the correct answer is "In Egypt". If you say you are in the wilderness (but have only just began the NCW, you will be told you are wrong. You are a slave in Egypt. Got it?)

      What is your slavery?
      What is your Pharoah?
      Who is your Moses?

      All of this is to establish that everything before the NCW was slavery, not real faith, you were mistaken in your views of God etc.

      But once you have joined the NCW you can answer these questions:

      When did you leave slavery?
      Who is your liberator?
      When did you cross the Red Sea? etc

      If you get ahead of yourself, and claim to be crossing the Red Sea, or already in the Wilderness, or, God forbid, a child of the wandering people, you will be told to sit down and be quiet. There is only one correct answer, and it forms you in a certain way, so that in the end all members will say the same things..

      Before I joined the Way....
      Since joining the Way...

      Even a baptised, practicing Catholic, well formed in faith, in a state of grace, totally in love with Christ and his Church will be directed and formed the same way.

      If you are honest, you will know I speak the truth. And if you are fair-minded and gracious, you will let the comment through.

      I won't hold my breath.

    13. Dear Anonymous at 4:18 pm,

      Those are not testimonies. That is part of the Catechesis, and there is no correct answer. Some will say in Egypt. Some will say on the desert. It depends on the person. If a person feels he/she is a saint, he/she will be humble enough to say they are in the desert because they still struggle against sin simply because that is the truth. As long as we are here on earth, we struggle against the and will always need God's grace to reach the promised land. We cannot go to Heaven on our own.

    14. You miss the point. The catechesis is designed to encourage certain answers. Its a reward response - a type of conditioning that means that each person that goes through it is trained to give a certain answer. If you know the part I mentioned in the previous post, you will know what Kiko says to the woman who claims to have been born in the wilderness.

      This is simple an example of what occurs over many years and many steps. Each person is unmade, and remade in the image of Kiko and his psychology (this is symbolized in the image of the descent into the font and the steps leading out).

      But all this is done to convince the member that Kiko's personal existential experience is the only valid one, and that if they are to be true Christians, they must be brought to the same existential moment. That is how the testimonies are formed. I've heard enough of them by now. They are utterly predictable, uniform in content and totally unconvincing because they fabricated and not truly sincere - although even the member thinks they are being sincere.

      The error in the testimony should be visible to you by the use of those phrases:

      Before I joined the Way...
      After joining the Way...

      as if it is the NCW that holds the truly true, and the rest of the Church is at least a little bit ignorant of the truth.

      Because you have gone through it, because you are a self-proclaimed spokeperson, you cannot admit that this is the case, but we see it every time one of you speaks or writes.

      It is unconvincing and sad, because although you claim to have found a means of freedom, you only demonstrate a greater slavery in the name of freedom, and under the direction of an egoist.

      Its what is known as the "willing victim" syndrome. And its very sad.

    15. You are wrong, my friend. You may have access to educational material, but you don't know how to use it properly. You'd be surprised but there is always more than one good answer. There are, actually, many-many good answers but only one solution, Jesus Christ!

    16. Compassion is not the teaching of the NCW, it is the teaching of the Catholic Church taken directly from Jesus Christ.

    17. My friend at 1:50 pm, please re-read carefully what I said. I did not talk about the NCW. Why are you talking about the NCW all the time? Don't you have a fixation problem, my friend? I talked about community and compassion. You are right that Divine Mercy and Divine Law are not supposed to be in conflict. So if there is a conflict, you have to resolve it. That is exactly what Pope Francis talks about in Amoris Laetitia.

    18. Dear Anon at 1:50 PM, which NCW are you talking about?! Not ours, for sure. Our NCW does not resemble your cliche. That NCW you talk about simply does not exist!

      It is like the case with the boo-boo monkey. You create the image of a boo-boo monkey in your mind, so that you can scare yourself. Then you become scared and yell at everybody you meet "boo-boo monkey, boo-boo monkey, go away!"

      But where is the boo-boo monkey? It is in your mind only. No boo-boo monkey exists in the real world we live in.

    19. Dear Anonymous at 4:52 pm,

      First of all, please distinguish the difference between a testimony and a Catechesis. Also, I did not get any reward or punishment when I answered that I was in the desert.

    20. Dear Anonymous at 5:09 pm,

      The fact that we teach compassion is all the more that we are Catholic. Catholics are supposed to teach what is Catholic.

  2. Diana, Will you be posting a segment on the interview with the Archbishop and Kuam?

    1. Dear Anonymous at 10:49 pm,

      I will not post a segment on the interview but I will publish my own opinion of the interview sometime tomorrow.