(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican this morning. In remarks following the readings of the day, the Holy Father focused on the beauty of marriage and warned that the Church must accompany – not condemn – those who experience failure in married life. He explained that Christ is the Bridegroom of the Church, and therefore you cannot understand one without the Other.
The Holy Father also warned against giving in to the temptation to entertain “special pleading” in questions regarding marriage. The Pharisees, he noted, present Jesus with the problem of divorce. Their method, the Pope said, is always the same: “casuistry,” — “is this licit or not?”
“It is always the small case. And this is the trap, behind casuistry, behind casuistical thought, there is always a trap: against people, against us, and against God, always. ‘But is it licit to do this? To divorce his wife?’ And Jesus answered, asking them what the Law said, and explaining why Moses framed the Law as he did. But He doesn’t stop there. From [the study of the particular case], He goes to the heart of the problem, and here He goes straight to the days of Creation. That reference of the Lord is so beautiful: ‘But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh’.”
Pope Francis went on to say, “The Lord refers to the masterpiece of Creation,” which is precisely the human person, created as male and female. God said He “did not want man to be alone,” He wanted him to be with “his companion along the way.” The moment Adam meets Eve, he said, is a poetic moment: “It is the beginning of love: [a couple] going together as one flesh.” The Lord, he repeated, “always takes casuistic thought and brings it to the beginning of revelation.” On the other hand, he explained, “this masterpiece of the Lord is not finished there, in the days of Creation, because the Lord has chosen this icon to explain the love that He has for His people.” At the very point “when the people is unfaithful,” he said, God speaks to him with words of love”:
“The Lord takes this love of the masterpiece of Creation to explain the love He has for His people. And going further: when Paul needs to explain the mystery of Christ, he does it in a relationship, in reference to His Spouse: because Christ is married, Christ was married, He married the Church, His people. As the Father had married the People of Israel, Christ married His people. This is the love story, this is the history of the masterpiece of Creation – and before this path of love, this icon, casuistry falls and becomes sorrowful. When, however, this leaving one’s father and mother, and joining oneself to a woman, and going forward... when this love fails – because many times it fails – we have to feel the pain of the failure, [we must] accompany those people who have had this failure in their love. Do not condemn. Walk with them – and don’t practice casuistry on their situation.”
Pope Francis also said the Gospel episode encourages us to reflect “about this plan of love, this journey of love in Christian marriage, that God has blessed the masterpiece of His Creation,” a blessing, he said, “that has never been taken away. Not even original sin has destroyed it.” When we thinks of this, we can “see how beautiful love is, how beautiful marriage is, how beautiful the family is, how beautiful this journey is, and how much love we too [must have], how close we must be to our brothers and sisters who in life have had the misfortune of a failure in love.”
Turning again to Saint Paul, Pope Francis emphasized the beauty of “the love Christ has for His bride, the Church”:
“Here too, we must be careful that love should not fail: [it is dangerous] to speak about a bachelor-Christ (It. Cristo troppo scappolo): Christ married the Church. You can’t understand Christ without the Church, and you can’t understand the Church without Christ. This is the great mystery of the masterpiece of Creation. May the Lord give all of us the grace to understand it and also the grace to never fall into these casuistical attitudes of the Pharisees, of the teachers of the law.”
His Holiness's papal teaching on today's Gospel starts out from the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holiness is quick to tackle the 'casuistry' of the Pharisees concerning the issue of divorce. It is unfortunate at this particular moment in history that His Holiness feels unable to place his own emphasis upon the full message of Jesus, Our Lord, and steers clear from repeating what Christ has said concerning divorce, remarriage and adultery. His Holiness chooses to steer clear of Christ's controversial teaching for this age (and every age), concentrating rather on Christ's Bridegroom relationship to His Bride the Church. The words of Jesus on divorce ("What God has joined together, let no man put asunder") go unaddressed by Pope Francis. Similarly, the words of Jesus on remarriage ("Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.") go eerily unaddressed.
His Holiness, for reasons known only to himself, wants to talk about everything but what Jesus said on something so relevant to the Synod. Obviously, in the modern Church, Jesus Christ is a real problem rather than The Answer. His Holiness decides to meditate upon the beauty of Creation and marriage, Christ's relationship with His Church and - it looks like this is how the Synod on the Family will be framed - the importance of the Church not "condemning" those whose marriages experience "failure", instead, "accompanying" them along the way, while "feeling" the "pain of their failure". Jesus's Truth is here being obscured by, or even confused with, His mercy.
The full text of the Gospel for today is as below:
|1||And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again; and again, as his custom was, he taught them.|
|2||And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"|
|3||He answered them, "What did Moses command you?"|
|4||They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away."|
|5||But Jesus said to them, "For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.|
|6||But from the beginning of creation, `God made them male and female.'|
|7||`For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,|
|8||and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh.|
|9||What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."|
|10||And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter.|
|11||And he said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her;|
|12||and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."|
|Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich: That Synod moment...|
For this reason, and others, I make the sober prediction that the great schism in the Church predicted by various and many Saints and mystics is fast approaching, as an adulterous Church takes the great leap 'forward', leaving Jesus Christ and His faithful ones, behind. I pray that I am wrong, but if His Holiness seems averse to announcing the Truth today, there is little reason to think it will be announced tomorrow. We can 'accompany' people and 'feel' people's pain as much as we want but if even the Successor of St Peter does not call Christ's people to repentance, we may just as well be strangers. Repentance does not seem to be a word that belongs in the new 'dialogue' taking place in the Catholic Church.
And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter.
|What's at stake at the Synod on the Family?|
It has been promised that, in the end, the Immaculate's Heart will triumph in a manner that none of us could expect, but for the time being, Cardinal Kasper makes it clear that the target at the Synod on the Family is not just the Sacrament of Marriage, not just the Church's understanding of family, but the Sacrament of the Eucharist: Jesus Christ Himself...
Pray for Francis and for those who govern the Church of Rome, for one gets the distinct impression that in order for the reformers to succeed in officially admitting the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion, the 'Holy' in Holy Communion might just have to go. Just make Communion a 'symbolic' sign of fraternal communion and unity and the 'Problem' has gone away, has He not?