Hopeful News for Divorced Catholics

Read my remarks and insights in CNN's extensive coverage of Pope Francis's Exhortation "On Love in the Family"

I assumed that Friday, April 8, 2016, would start out like every other day that week. It was Spring Break and I had spent the week sharing some major quality time with my 6-year-old son while my wife was in Florida relaxing with some of our other kids. I was wrong. The pope had published his post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, “On Love in the Family,” in Rome while I slept. This document contained his recommendations on how to address the needs of divorced Catholics, and was based on the feedback from the previous two synods held in 2014 and 2015.

I awoke to a barrage of requests from the media to give my thoughts and impressions on what the pope had written. Well, first I had to read it. That was no small feat as it over 230 pages. Knowing that they were asking for my views regarding anything the pope had written regarding divorced Catholics, I quickly scanned the document to find where this topic is addressed. I found it in Chapter 8. What I read I found very encouraging.

In this chapter, our pope goes into detail on how divorced Catholics have long been underserved by the Church, and he offers specific recommendations on how to help as many as possible. If you are a divorced Catholic, you have every reason to be very hopeful. Your pope is issuing a rallying cry to every parish, priest, and lay minister to work hard to help divorced Catholics feel welcomed, wanted, and included.

I shared these sentiments with several news outlets on Friday. Here is an article that CNN wrote after interviewing me. All-in-all, I think they did a really good job of accurately reflecting my views. Let me know what you think.

Read the CNN article.

Originally posted 2016-04-12 09:38:43.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Hopeful News for Divorced Catholics

  1. I lead a support group for 8 years (up until about 6 years ago). We upheld the teachings of the Catholic Church. The pope is suggesting that divorced Catholics who are not annulled and spiritually still married to their spouse can receive communion. No. You can’t make up the rules as you go. Our truths are based in Scripture and Sacred Tradition. If you are going to be “an expert” for the media, it would probably be a good idea if you got educated on the facts. Fact #1) Scripture says you can’t dissolve a valid marriage union/ covenant created by God, #2) Scripture and Sacred Tradition states you can’t be married to more than one person. #3) You have to be in the state of grace to receive the actual body and blood of Christ otherwise it cheapens the sacrament and the very words of God (Scripture says to receive communion not in the state of grace is to suffer the wrath of condemnation).

    So we need annulments to show that the marriage was never valid in the first place to be freed from that burden. We need to without mortal sin to receive communion. We need to end one marriage so that we are not married to two people in the eyes of God.

    As leaders, we held to a higher standard. It takes more than a book to be an authority. I appreciate your efforts, but make sure that the media contacts don’t go to your head. Please get the facts. This pope is misleading his flock. I respect the office of the pope but you should be aware of the turmoil his disinformation is causing. God Bless.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree that those of us with a higher profile have a responsibility to teach and uphold the truth. For that reason, I have read Pope Francis encyclical, Amoris Laetitia. While I do find some of what he has written regarding divorced Catholics and the sacraments, one the whole it is very sound. I do wish he would clarify his position as I know it has caused a lot of questions. You may be encouraged to know that the pope does greatly limit his advice to only those cases which there are no other alternatives. Overall, it is not a mandate, it is a suggestion. He is not changing doctrine. Having said that, I too wish he would clarify his suggestions.

      Live Abundantly,