Tuesday, May 27, 2014
ANOTHER JET-SETTING INTERVIEW BY THE POPE
Emer McCarthy reports:
Responding to a question on the Churches handling of the abuse crisis, Pope Francis stated that there will be no preferential treatment when it comes to child abuse. That three bishops are currently under investigation for and one has been convicted with punishment pending. Such abuse is a betrayal of the Lord’s body, he said. He then announced that next week he will hold a two day meeting with survivors of abuse and celebrate mass with them at his residence in Casa Santa Marta.
Responding to a question on the issue of communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, which has arisen ahead of next October’s Synod on the Family, Pope Francis lamented that the entire Synod should be boiled down to this one issue. He noted the real issue is the crisis that the family is undergoing today with a drop in the number of young people choosing to marry.
However, the Pope did add that the procedure of preparation for marriage and annulments of marriage needed further reflection. He also concluded that divorced Catholics must not be treated as if they had been excommunicated.
He also answered a question on priestly celibacy, noting that the Catholic Church has married priests in the Eastern rites, that celibacy is not a dogma of faith but a rule of life that he appreciate a great deal and believes is a gift for the Church.
Regarding the reform of the Curia, Pope Francis laughingly confessed that he himself is perhaps the greatest obstacle to it. The Pope revealed that the organization will be made lighter, by merging dicasteries.
He also revealed that there are two Asian trips planned: one to South Korea and then next January, a trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
Finally, answering a question as to whether he too – like Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI – will choose to resign from the papacy, Pope Francis stated that his predecessor had “opened the door” to such a possibility, but that he will do what the Lord tells him to do.
My Comments: Catholics who are divorced but remain unmarried have no censure against them. They may receive the Sacraments of the Church. Those who are in sacramental, i.e. lawful, marriage in the eyes of the Church, but obtain a civil divorce for legal purposes, but then marry again outside the Church, are not excommunicated, but a censure is placed against them--they may not receive the Sacraments of the Church except in a life/death emergency. This is an "interdict" of sorts and as with excommunication a clarion call to rectify the situation that has brought about the censure and to be once again fully reconciled with the Church and thus with Christ since the two cannot be separated as some heterodox Catholics are wont to do.
Also, as I have written time and time again, the synod on the family isn't going to issue heretical statements about marriage. But it will look at the annulment procedures, and this is where I am clairvoyant, it will look at both the internal and external forum and clarify both and add grounds for annulment. It will clarify the canonical process, streamline it especially in countries where there may not be adequate tribunals in diocesan offices and encourage lay Catholics to use this process and not make it up as they go (such as receiving Holy Communion on one's own authority because one doesn't believe in the annulment process--a form of the heresy of gnosticism).