Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Pope on Divorce


In the name of clarity, while the CNS story posted earlier was a good brief, this might be a bit more helpful for everyone....

I've gotten a copy of the fulltext of the Pope's remarks on the topic, given in a Q&A session with priests at Aosta. Here's a working translation of the majority of the remarks, hope it helps... Will have the completed English of the question up soon, but this is about 80% of it.

Enjoy, comments welcome.


We all know that this is a particularly painful problem for those who are living in situations where they are excluded from Eucharistic communion, and naturally for the priests who wants to help these people to love the Church and love Christ. This presents a problem.

No one among us has a cure-all solution, because the situations are always different. For my part, I’d say that particularly painful is the situation of many married in the church who did not really believe and did it for reasons of tradition, then entered into a new, invalid marriage, found the faith and yet were excluded from the Sacraments. This is, in reality, a great suffering, and when I was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I invited the various Episcopal conferences and specialists to study this problem: a sacrament celebrated without faith. I won’t dare say if it’s really possible to find a moment of invalidity because of the lack of a fundamental dimension. I’ve personally thought that, but from my discussions I understood that the problem is extremely difficult and must be explored further. But given the situation of the suffering of these people, it becomes an even deeper question.

I won’t attempt to give a response now, but in each case two aspects seem very important. First: although they may not receive sacramental communion, they are not excluded from the love of the Church and the love of Christ. A Eucharist without immediate sacramental communion is certainly incomplete, lacking an essential element. Yet it’s also true that participating in the Eucharist without Eucharistic communion is better than doing nothing, as it is always linked to the mystery of the Cross and the resurrection of Christ. It is always a participation at the great Sacrament in the spiritual and pneumatic dimensions; in the ecclesial dimension and not strictly a sacramental one.

Given that it is the Sacrament of Christ’s Passion, the suffering Christ embraces these people in a particular way and communicates with them in another way, that they may feel embraced by the crucified Lord who came to earth and suffered and died for them, with them. It is necessary to make understood, therefore, that although they may lack a fundamental element, they are not excluded from the great mystery of the Eucharist, from the love of Christ here present. This is so important, and as it is important for the pastor and the parish community to, on the one part, respect the indissolubility of the Sacrament, on the other hand we must love these people who suffer also. And we must also suffer with them, because they give an important testimony, because we know that in the moment in which we give in out of love, the same Sacrament is twisted and its indissolubility appears less real, less true....



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