Amoris Laetitia

Discussion in 'General discussion' started by David, Jan 22, 2017.

  1. David

    David Well-Known Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2020
  2. David

    David Well-Known Member

    Vatican's top legal aide says divorced-and-remarried may receive Communion

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    By Elise Harris

    Vatican City, Feb 14, 2017 / 05:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The head of the Vatican office charged with interpreting Church law has said that divorced-and-remarried persons who want to change their situation but cannot, may be admitted to Communion without living in continence.

    “The Church could admit to Penance and to the Eucharist faithful who find themselves in an illegitimate union when two essential conditions occur: they want to change the situation, but they are unable to fulfill their desire,” Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, 78, wrote in his booklet Chapter Eight of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhoration Amoris laetitia, published last week.

    Cardinal Coccopalmerio is president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. His booklet, published by the Vatican Publishing House and presented Feb. 14 at a Vatican press confence, offers his own interpretation of Amoris laetitia. He said it is aimed at “grasping the rich doctrinal and pastoral message” of Pope Francis' 2016 apostolic exhortation.

    Part of the reason for writing it, he said, is because the exhortation's eighth chapter has “been judged with either negativity or with a certain reservation.”

    In the text, Cardinal Coccopalmerio extensively quotes Amoris laetitia, saying Chapter 8 illustrates both the clear doctrine of the Church on marriage, as well as the conditions in which, due to “serious” repercussions, couples living in irregular unions might be able to receive Communion.

    He reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, and stressed that the Church must in no way “renounce to proposing the full ideal of marriage, God’s plan in all its greatness.”

    “Any form of relativism, or an excessive respect in the moment of proposing it, would be a lack of fidelity to the Gospel and also a lack of love of the Church,” he said.

    However, he noted that, as said in Amoris laetitia, there are many complex factors contributing to why marriages fail and irregular unions are so common, such as abandonment by a spouse, cultural stigmas, or other “mitigating factors.”

    The cardinal pointed to paragraph 301 of Amoris laetitia, which reads: “it is can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.”

    By referring to “any irregular situation,” the exhortation, in his opinion, “intends to refer to all those who are married only civilly or only living in a de facto union or are bound by a previous canonical marriage,” the cardinal said.

    Further quoting that paragraph, the cardinal said, “a subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding ‘its inherent values,’ or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin … factors may exist which limit the ability to make a decision.”

    Offering an example of a situation in which a person might be fully aware of the irregularity of their situation yet faces great difficulty in changing it for fear of falling into greater sin, Cardinal Coccopalmerio pointed to couples in a new union who can’t separate due to “serious reasons” such as the education of their children.

    He also used the example of a woman cohabiting with a man and his three children, after they had been abandoned by his first wife.

    In the book, the cardinal said the woman had saved the man “from a state of deep despair, probably from the temptation of suicide.” The couple had been together for 10 years, adding another child to the mix, with the woman making considerable sacrifices to help raise the other three.

    While the woman in the hypothetical situation “is fully aware of being in an irregular situation” and would “honestly like to change her life, but evidently, she can't,” the cardinal said, explaining that if she left, “the man would turn back to the previous situation and the children would be left without a mother.”

    To leave, then, would mean the woman would fail to carry out her duties toward innocent people, namely, the children. Because of this, Cardinal Coccopalmerio said, “it's then evident that she couldn’t leave without new sin” occurring.

    Speaking on the point of continence, the cardinal pointed to St. John Paul II’s 1981 apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio.

    In the document, St. John Paul II taught that the divorced-and-remarried who for serious reasons cannot satisfy the obligation to separate may receive absolution which would open the way to Communion only if they take on the duty to live in complete continence – to live as brother and sister.

    However, for Cardinal Coccopalmerio, while the couples who are able to do this should, for others the temptation of infidelity increases the longer a couple refrains from sexual intimacy, potentially causing greater harm to the children.

    He referred to footnote 329 of Amoris laetitia. The footnote is a reference to the quoting of St. John Paul II's words in Familiaris consortio acknowledging that some of the divorced-and-remarried cannot, for serious reasons, separate. The footnote applies the words of Gaudium et spes that “where the intimacy of married life is broken off, its faithfulness can sometimes be imperiled and its quality of fruitfulness ruined” – in its context, speaking about married couples – to “the divorced who have entered a new union.”

    Cardinal Coccopalmerio stressed that while for him the desire to change one’s situation despite the inability to do so is enough to receive Communion, the conditions must be “carefully and authoritatively discerned” on the part of ecclesial authority, which would typically be the couple’s parish priest, who knows the couple “more directly” and can therefore offer adequate guidance.

    For the cardinal, the only instance in which a couple in an irregular situation could be barred from Communion is when, “knowing they are in grave sin and being able to change, they have no sincere desire” to do so.

    He also suggested that a diocesan office charged with advising on difficult marital situations could be “necessary, or at least useful.”

    Cardinal Coccopalmerio was absent from his book presentation, and it was presented instead by Orazio La Rocca; Fr. Maurizio Gronchi; Fr. Giuseppe Costa, SDB; and Alfonso Cuateruccio.

    Cardinal Coccopalmerio is the latest prelate to speak out on the question of Amoris laetitia and admission to Communion for the divorced-and-remarried. The exhortation has been met with a varied reception and intepretation within the Church.

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/n...ed-and-remarried-may-receive-communion-46257/
     
  3. David

    David Well-Known Member

    Coccopalmerio says there’s no doctrinal confusion over ‘Amoris’
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    Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts

    Italian Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, who heads a Vatican office for the interpretation of Church law, says that as far as he's concerned, there's no legal confusion about the meaning of Pope Francis's document 'Amoris Laetitia' and its implications for access to Communion.

    ROME- Since the release of Amoris Laetitia, bishops and cardinals around the world have offered their own guidelines and interpretations of Chapter Eight, which deals with what the Catholic Church calls “irregular” situations, particularly divorced and civilly remarried believers who want to access the sacraments of Confession and Communion.

    One of the latest voices to join the ongoing debate is Italian Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, head of a Vatican office that interprets Church law, who released a short book, in Italian only, called The Eighth Chapter of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia’.

    Speaking to Crux on February 17, Coccopalmerio, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 as President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, said the book was his idea, written last July and abandoned in a desk drawer until recently, when he decided to publish it because he thought “it could be useful as a reflection.”

    “Many speak about this argument, in favor or against [Communion for the divorced and remarried], and I thought it could be useful for common reflection,” he said.

    According to Coccopalmerio, the summary of the doctrine and pastoral praxis when it comes to Amoris Laetitia is the following: “A member of the faithful finds herself [or himself] in a non-legitimate situation, and the first marriage is valid and indissoluble. Yet the person is conscious of the wrongness of the situation, has the desire to change it but can’t because it would hurt innocent people, such as the children. It’s my belief that this situation, with these elements, allows access to the sacraments.”

    The presence of those elements has to be confirmed by a Church authority, he said, meaning a priest, “who knows well the life of these people.” Consulting with the local bishop, he added, is desirable, even if not strictly necessary, because the two should dialogue and have a “common solution.”

    Asked if this interpretation applies also to gay couples who live together, some civilly married too, Coccopalmerio said that it’s “clearly” not the same situation because for Church teaching and doctrine, “it’s not a natural condition. We can accept them, welcome them, accept their decision, but it’s not [the same].”

    Regarding the many interpretations Amoris has generated, the cardinal said that there’s no doctrinal confusion in the apostolic exhortation. If anything, the document is “too long,” which makes it hard for people to “want to read it.”

    The eight chapter, Coccopalmerio continued, has created “some confusion” because it includes many elements. “If you want to have every element present in the text, it necessarily becomes, I wouldn’t say confusing, but at least not so simple, not so clear.”

    With his 51-page long book, the cardinal wanted to offer “a simplification.”

    “Some people have spoken about doctrinal confusion, but no,” he insisted. “If we can speak of confusion, it’s due to the abundance of issues present.”

    Despite the fact that American Cardinal Raymond Burke, who like Coccopalmerio is an expert in Church law, is among those who have said Amoris is confusing and has threatened to “formally correct” the pope if he didn’t answer a set of yes or no questions he and three other cardinals presented, Coccopalmerio doesn’t believe there’s widespread confusion among Church law experts.

    “Cardinal [Lluís] Martínez Sistach has the same conclusions that I do. It’s a spiritual, psychological matter, a desire for more clarity. It’s not in the doctrine … it’s hard to explain. It’s a matter of a person’s structure, not scientific, legal preparation,” he said.

    Spaniard Martínez Sistach is the archbishop emeritus of Barcelona, Spain. He too has a short book on the papal document, How to Apply Amoris Laetitia, available in Spanish and Catalan.

    In his book, the Spaniard wrote that discernment in the cases of divorced and civilly remarried couples must consider aspects of the previous marriage and the new union.

    According to Martínez Sistach “if at some point, the interested, in conscience and before God,” finds that there is some circumstance that makes subjective imputability not applicable to the objective situation of sin, one can access the sacraments.

    Coccopalmerio and Martínez Sistach are in line with what the bishops of Malta, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, the German bishops and the bishops of Pope Francis’s Buenos Aires region have written in their guidelines for the pastoral application of Amoris Laetitia.

    Their reading is at odds with what Bishop Steven Lopes, head of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, and the bishops of Canada’s Alberta and the Northwest Territory, have written.


    In his interview with Crux, Coccopalmerio also spoke about the criticism of Pope Francis, which is getting more visible with posters plastered throughout Rome and spoof versions of the Vatican’s newspaper being distributed.

    “There’s always opposition … when there’s something new, those who think one way have a negative reaction,” he said. “If you live in a room with stuffy air and you open the window, some will appreciate the freshness of the new air, others will want the window closed because the air is cold.”

    Yet when it comes to Francis, Coccopalmerio said, “the air, his doctrine, is pure, without a doubt very good.”

    For those who are faithful to an archaic way of thinking or doing pastoral work, he said, “these novelties generate a reaction like the one to cold air.”

    https://cruxnow.com/interviews/2017/02/21/coccopalmerio-says-theres-no-doctrinal-confusion-amoris/
     
  4. David

    David Well-Known Member

    'Amoris Laetitia' Chap. 8
    explained by Cardinal Coccopalmerio


    14/02/2017 15:55

    (Vatican Radio) A newly published book dedicated to Chapter 8 of Pope Francis’s Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” was presented on Tuesday in the Vatican. Written by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, the 30-page booklet, is published by LEV, the Vatican publishing house.

    Presenting the book, Father Maurizio Gronchi, theologian, professor at Rome’s Pontifical Urbaniana University and consultant at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and veteran journalist Orazio La Rocca, expert in Vatican affairs.


    La Rocca explained the publication aims to provide clear and simple guidelines for all readers who are interested in better understanding the Apostolic Exhortation’s chapter dedicated to the Church’s ministry of those who find themselves living outside the traditional boundaries of marriage.

    “I had asked myself whether the doubts that had been raised regarding a possible violation of the Church’s doctrine could be founded; after reading this book it is clear that this is not so” he said.

    La Rocca pointed out that Chapter 8 offers us a new perspective on how the Church views society that changes, and that it is imbued in the Pope’s call for mercy and his appeal to reach out to those who are most wounded, most excluded, most in need of God’s message of love and salvation.

    He recalled some of the points of the original Papal document saying that Saint Pope John Paul II proposed the so-called “law of gradualness” in the knowledge that the human being “knows, loves and accomplishes moral good by different stages of growth”.

    La Rocca highlighted the document’s admonition to men of the Church not to condemn anyone forever, but to consider a pastoral approach towards people who have contracted a civil marriage, who are divorced and remarried, or simply living together but who are seeking to have their situation transformed into the full reality of marriage and family in conformity with the Gospel.

    And he quoted the Pope’s words “never to forget that the Church’s task is often like that of a field hospital”.

    All this, he said, is part of Pope Francis’ reiterated call to enter into dialogue with the other and to enter into other people’s lives with the power of tenderness.

    Coccopalmiero does this, La Rocca said, using a simple and direct language which is accessible to all, “so much so, he continued, I will personally give copies of it to two ‘good Catholic’ friends of mine who are suffering the consequences of “irregular” situations but would like to feel more included in the life of the Church.

    Father Gronchi observed that the backbone of Cardinal Coccopalmiero’s book is provided by excerpts from the Apostolic Exhortation itself that have been selected, introduced and eventually elaborated upon by the author himself.

    He pointed out that Coccopalmiero, who is a top Vatican canonist, has used a pastoral approach in the writing of this book, effectively breaking down any barriers that may exist between doctrine and pastoral ministry.

    http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/201...hap_8_explained_by_cardinal_coccopalm/1292483
     
  5. David

    David Well-Known Member

  6. David

    David Well-Known Member

    Cardinal Coccopalmerio has now given an interview to the journalist, Edward Pentin, who can be viewed as quite often critical of the approach of Pope Francis. So the Cardinal is presented with some tough questions on the matter of Holy Communion for the remarried. I believe the Cardinal's answers help to clarify the matter.

    Cardinal Coccopalmerio Explains His Positions on Catholics in Irregular Unions

    The senior Vatican official last month published a booklet supporting reception of Communion by some divorced-remarried Catholics and advocating support for positive aspects of cohabiting Catholics’ relationships.

    VATICAN | MAR. 1, 2017
    Edward Pentin

    Rather than admonish cohabiting Catholics as “public sinners,” the head of the Vatican department for interpreting Church law has said it’s more important to look “beneficently upon” the couple in the hope that through encouragement they will eventually marry.

    And in a Feb. 21 interview with the Register, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio also insisted his interpretation, published in a recent booklet, of Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis’ recent apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family, does not breach canon law or Church doctrine.

    He said allowing some remarried divorcees to receive the sacraments if they desire to change their sinful situation but cannot amend it because doing so would lead to further sin was fully in line with Church teaching.

    Cardinal Coccopalmerio, the president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, also spoke about a recent Vatican talk he gave in which he advocated for a “less rigid” understanding of the priesthood, one that essentially rejects an objective and metaphysical notion of priesthood in order to draw nearer to Protestants.


    Your Eminence, would you please help our readers understand your intention in writing this booklet?

    I wanted to understand exactly what the eighth chapter [on “Accompanying, Discerning and Integrating Weakness”] meant and then explain it to others. So I read these parts of the eighth chapter, reading but [also] to lead people to understand the sense and the logic of all the points, according to certain subjects which seemed to me more important. The most difficult is to see what the document says of the faithful who find themselves in irregular conditions — to see how is it possible, if it is possible, to admit these faithful to the sacraments, both confession and the Eucharist, and for what motives.

    So it interested me to see what the document says and then explain it to others — to make just a reading of the steps [this requires] to be a little clearer than the document. The document is very rich and puts together many things, which it is important to keep apart, to examine with more analysis, more analytically.


    Did the Pope review the publication before it was published?

    No, no, no. I gave the book to the Pope after its publication. But I spoke with the Pope at other times about these questions, and we always thought the same; also during the synods. I gave the Pope the book after its publication, as a gift.


    As you know, there has been a vast chasm in interpretations. We have the German and Maltese bishops in agreement on one side. On the other side, there is Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and also Bishop Steven Lopes of the Anglican ordinariate, among many others. How does your book clarify things in the face of these interpretations?

    We have to distinguish the cases quite precisely, those unions that are not legitimate, are not regularized, because marriage is indissoluble. There are faithful who find themselves in this situation. They are aware that this situation is not good. They want to change, but they cannot do it. Because if they did, if they were to leave these unions, innocent people would be hurt.

    Think of a woman who lives with a married man. She has three little children. She has already been with this man for 10 years. Now the children think of her as a mother. He, the partner, is very much anchored to this woman, as a lover, as a woman. If this woman were to say: “I am leaving this mistaken union because I want to correct my life, but if I did this, I would harm the children and the partner,” then she might say: “I would like to, but I cannot.” In precisely these cases, based on one’s intention to change and the impossibility of changing, I can give that person the sacraments, in the expectation that the situation is definitively clarified.


    But in such cases, in which you say it is better for a woman to continue in her sinful situation, how is that coherent with St. Paul and the Catechism? Both say it is never permissible to deliberately do evil for the sake of a greater good. How do you reconcile these things?

    Let us say, if you agree, that if she leaves this situation, it will harm people. And then to avoid this evil, I continue in this union in which I already find myself.


    But this union is a situation of sin.

    Yes, however …


    Isn’t it better to try to stop the situation of sin completely?

    How can you stop the whole thing if that will harm people? It is important that this person doesn’t want to be in this union, wants to leave this union, wants to leave, but cannot do it. There are two things to put together: I want to, but I cannot. And I cannot — not for my own sake, but for the sake of other people. I cannot for the sake of other people.

    If the two can live together as brother and sister, that’s great. But if they cannot because this would break up the union, which ought to be conserved for the good of these people, then they manage as best they can. Do you see? That’s it. And it seems this whole complicated thing has a logical explanation, motivation. If others depart from other points of view, they can also arrive at other conclusions. But I would say there would be something missing of the human person. I can’t damage a person to avoid a sin in a situation that I haven’t put myself into; I already find myself in it, one in which I, if I am this woman, have put myself into without a bad intention. On the contrary, I’m trying to do good, and, at that moment, I believed myself to be doing good, and certainly I did do good. But maybe if, already at the beginning I had known, if I knew with moral certitude that this is a sin, maybe I would not have put myself in that condition. But now I already find myself there: How can I go back? It is one thing to begin, another to interrupt. These are also different things, no?


    What is the situation with regard to the first marriage, which remains valid? Have you also thought about the situation of the other person and the validity of their first marriage, as it seems that is ignored in this discussion?

    He was abandoned by the wife, no? I use this example. He was abandoned by the wife, and then this woman came to his aid.


    Regarding cohabitating couples, do you believe they should be given Communion in some cases?

    No, I only say what is said in the document of the apostolic exhortation. We see this couple that is cohabitating or only civilly married — cohabitating, let’s say. It’s not the Christian ideal. Let’s admit that it’s not the ideal, a good thing, not a legitimate union. But let’s see also that there is good. They really love each other. They are not yet married because they don’t have sufficient means for the future. They are people who do good in the community in which they find themselves. All these things are positive.

    We have to recognize that and have a pastoral dialogue with these persons and say: Let’s reflect on this together. Wouldn’t it be better to marry? What are the obstacles? Can we help you as an ecclesial community? All this to bring them, step by step, to a canonical marriage. We can’t say: “You are public sinners. Shame on you.” Let’s begin by saying: “You love each other. You have reasons for not marrying; at least you feel these reasons are important for you. You are also good people, respected by everyone.” These things are important. Let’s say it. Let’s underline these things. Let’s have a discussion, in order to arrive at the maturation of a marriage in the Church.


    Isn’t it better to simply say this situation is sinful, that it is better to be married and not to continue living together?

    If these two love each other, they want to be married. They don’t do it now for reasons that, for them, seem important. Why do you have to tell them to separate? Rather, you should say: “Let’s go together toward a canonical marriage. It will be in a year? Okay. Let’s go.”


    Should they be able to receive the sacraments before they marry, in your view?

    I don’t necessarily have to give Communion to them. There may be particular cases. It’s not a case of permitting Communion. It’s only a case of looking beneficently upon them. The people who find themselves in these unions have positive elements.


    continued...
     
  7. David

    David Well-Known Member

    continued.....


    You say Communion can be given, despite living in situations not in line with traditional matrimonial canons, if they express the sincere desire to approach the sacraments after an appropriate period of discernment. But your pontifical council explained in a 2000 declaration why Canons 915 and 916 prevent the admission of such couples to holy Communion and makes the point, in legal language, that it can’t be changed because Jesus said so.

    I know the canons by heart. I know them very well. Who is in serious sin cannot receive the Eucharist without first going to confession or having the desire to confess if he is now unable to confess.


    But let me read part of this, because it is important. It says: “Any interpretation of Canon 915 that would set itself against the canon’s substantial content, as declared uninterruptedly by the magisterium and by the discipline of the Church throughout the centuries, is clearly misleading. One cannot confuse respect for the wording of the law (Canon 17) with the improper use of the very same wording as an instrument for relativizing the precepts or emptying them of their substance.”
    Is this declaration still in force, and, if not, why not declare it no longer in force?


    It is always in force. Who is in grave sin and says I have no intention to change: These are the Canons 915 and 916. But if someone says: “I want to change, but in this moment I cannot, because if I do it, I will kill people,” I can say to them, “Stop there. When you can, I will give you absolution and Communion.” Or also, I can insist on this intention of yours and say you are not in sin because you have the serious intention to change but at this moment you cannot do it. There are two things to put together. Understand? This person is already converted, is already detached from evil, but materially cannot do it. It’s a matter of caring for these situations. You rush to say it, but if a light doesn’t turn on, then you can understand the other interpretations. Don’t worry.


    Canonists say these rules, 915 and 916, were changed in certain interpretations of Amoris Laetitia.

    They haven’t changed. It hasn’t changed absolutely anything. I say this in the book to whom you cannot give absolution and Eucharist. Those are the canons. To the one who says, “I’m in grave sin, but I don’t want to change” [absolution is not possible]. When someone comes to confess and says to you, “I committed this sin. I want to change, but I know that I am not capable of changing, but I want to change,” what do you do? Do you send him away? No, you absolve him.


    So they can receive the sacraments?

    The sacraments are absolution and the Eucharist. The person does the same things, but he sincerely wants to change. Do you see there is an impossibility in this case? One cannot change immediately.


    Do they have to change their style of life before receiving Communion?

    No, they have to change their intention, not their style of life. If you wait until someone changes their style of life, you wouldn’t absolve anymore anyone at all. It’s the intention. I want to change even if I know I am not able. But I began to walk. I’ll take little steps. I will pray five minutes more so that I can. The important thing is take a step. If someone does nothing, I can’t absolve them. If someone says, “Yes, I want to. I will do what I can, the least thing,” then he is already on the road to conversion.


    The discipline is coherent with the doctrine, according to you?

    Perfectly. The doctrine says who is converted can receive the absolution of sins and the Eucharist. Absolution of sin means the Eucharist; the two go together. Who is truly penitent? Who undertakes to do all that they can? If someone does just one thing out of a hundred, that is already something important. This is the thing to understand.


    How do you recognize a true penitent?

    You have to pay attention to what the penitent says. If you know — you can tell if he is misleading you. But someone who comes to confession, already by the fact that he comes to confess, means he has the intention to change. In this moment, in this world, where confession is absolutely of one’s free will, if someone comes to confess, it doesn’t make any sense that he comes and doesn’t want to change — I come but I don’t want to change. If I come to confess, it’s because I have a positive intention, even a small one, but serious, to change. You have to put all your attention on this intention. I’ll do all that I can.


    For the divorced and remarried, their status and receiving Communion is very public, a possible source of scandal for others. What do you say to this point?

    I say in the book, it’s necessary to instruct the faithful that when they see two divorced and remarried that go to the Eucharist, they ought not to say the Church now says that condition is good, therefore marriage is no longer indissoluble. They ought to say these people will have reasons examined by the ecclesial authorities on account of which they cannot change their condition, and in the expectation that they change, the Church has placed importance on their desire, their intention to change with the impossibility of doing so. Therefore, it’s one of those cases in which it is possible that the Church says go to the Eucharist. Do you see? There it’s necessary to instruct the faithful. There ought not to be the possibility of, as is said, of scandal, of false judgment. It’s necessary to instruct the faithful. Do you see? I wrote all this.


    In these sinful situations, they can in certain cases receive the sacraments, but won’t the public read this as the Church condoning their adulterous situation?

    Not if you instruct the faithful and say it is not like that. Someone can think what they want. But if you stand by what the Church says, which explains it to you, you can’t anymore think differently. If you are a person who doesn’t understand, or sees only certain things and not others, okay.


    With regard to the indissolubility of marriage, to you, this remains the same?

    The same, even more so.


    Some divorced and remarried continue to live in sinful situations if they desire to do it, but some have given their lives for the indissolubility of marriage as Christ taught, like St. Thomas More. Was their martyrdom in vain?

    Let’s stop, because I know I won’t be able to explain it to you well. These people — take the women I spoke about in the book — say to everyone that marriage is indissoluble: “I am in a bad situation. But I would like to change it precisely because marriage is indissoluble. But at this moment I can’t do it.”

    If you continue to say that marriage is not indissoluble, it means we haven’t understood each other; but this woman continues to say that marriage is indissoluble. But how can she leave the union? He [her civilly married spouse] will kill himself. The children, who will take care of them? They will be without a mother. Therefore, she has to stay there.


    But these cases are very rare.

    That is great if they are rare, but they do exist. I have experienced them personally.


    But if they are so rare, why didn’t the Pope simply write a note to all the bishops saying in these cases to apply the Church’s doctrine differently?

    He’s written [about this].


    But there wouldn’t have been a need for the two synods.

    If I read the document to you, I would show you the various passages. I didn’t write all of this; it’s in the document. I have to go now. More than this, I can’t tell you. Don’t be anxious. Marriage is indissoluble. These persons are in irregular situations. They want to change, but they can’t.


    One last topic: At a recent plenary meeting with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, you reportedly encouraged the members to push for a less rigid understanding of the priesthood, essentially telling them to give up on an objective and metaphysical notion of priesthood. Your notion was that as we have an understanding of different levels of communion with the Church among the baptized, we should have different degrees of the fullness of priesthood, so as to permit Protestants to minister without being fully ordained. What exactly did you say, and why did you say it?

    I was saying we have to reflect on questions. We say, everything is valid; nothing is valid. Maybe we have to reflect on this concept of validity or invalidity. The Second Vatican Council said there is a true communion even if it is not yet definitive or full. You see, they made a concept not so decisive, either all or nothing. There’s a communion that is already good, but some elements are missing. But, if you say some things are missing and that therefore there is nothing, you err. There are pieces missing, but there is already a communion, but it is not full communion. The same thing can be said, or something similar, of the validity or invalidity of ordination. I said let’s think about it. It’s a hypothesis. Maybe there is something, or maybe there’s nothing — a study, a reflection.


    Is the goal intercommunion?

    No, it’s just a reflection that one might make. The consequences are not taken into consideration. It’s only a reflection.



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