Saturday, October 25, 2014


Pope Francis to Schoenstatt movement: Marriage never been attacked so much as now

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis said the institution of Christian marriage has never been under so much attack as nowadays where a temporary or throw-away culture has become widespread. He said marriage should not be seen just a social rite  and urged priests to stay close to couples and especially children experiencing the trauma of a family break-up. The Pope was replying to questions put to him on a range of topics during an audience with more 7000 pilgrims belonging to the Schoenstatt movement, an international Marian and apostolic organization that is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding in Germany.  The movement now embraces members, both lay and clerics, from dozens of nations around the world.  

Mistaken views about marriage and its true meaning, our temporary or throw-away culture, the need to be courageous and daring, Mary’s missionary role, the disunity of the Devil and why the concept of solidarity is under attack.  These were just some of the wide-ranging issues which Pope Francis spoke about in his off the cuff remarks during the question and answer session with the Schoenstatt pilgrims held in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall on Saturday.

Asked about marriage and what advice he can offer to those who don’t feel welcome in the Church, Pope Francis stressed the need for priests to stay close to each one of their flock without becoming scandalized over what takes place within the family.   He said a bishop during the recent Synod on the family asked whether priests are aware of what children feel and the psychological damage caused when their parents separate? The Pope noted how sometimes in these cases the parent who is separating ends up living at home only part-time with the children which he described as a “new and totally destructive” form of co-habitation.

He said the Christian family and marriage have never been so attacked as they are nowadays because of growing relativism over the concept of the sacrament of marriage.  When it comes to preparing for marriage, Pope Francis said all too often there is a misunderstanding over the difference between the sacrament of marriage and the social rite. Marriage is for ever, he said, but in our present society there is a temporary or throw-away culture that has become widespread. 

Turning to the missionary role of Mary, the Pope reminded people that nobody can search for faith without the help of Mary, the Mother of God, saying a Church without Mary is like an orphanage. When questioned as to how he maintains a sense of joy and hope despite the many problems and wars in our world, Pope Francis replied that he uses prayer, trust, courage and daring.
 To dare is a grace, he said, and a prayer without courage or daring is a prayer that doesn’t work.
(Here His Holiness slips back into ambiguity and I really can't say I understand what he means for it can be taken more than one way): Asked about reform of the Church, the Pope said people describe him as a revolutionary but went on to point out that the Church has always been that way and is constantly reforming itself.  He stressed that the first revolution or way of renewing the Church is through inner holiness and that counts far more than more external ways such as reforming the Curia and the Vatican bank. Pope Francis also spoke about the importance of having a freedom of spirit and warned against closing ourselves up in a mass of rules and regulations, thus becoming a caricature of the doctors of law.  ( My comment: Yes inner renewal in what holiness is all about and if one is inner-renewed, one would never receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin or deny the teachings of the Church)

The theme of our throw-away society was also touched on again by the Pope in another reply when he said our present-day culture is one that destroys the human bonds that bind us together. And in this context, he continued, one word that is at risk of dying in our society is 'solidarity' and this is also a symptom of our inability to forge alliances. Pope Francis also warned about the Devil, stressing that he exists and that his first weapon is disunity.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how you can trust him. About half the time he stumbles into the truth and the other half he enjoys to shock. His actions are more important. If he likes Kasper and Co. then that pretty much tells us what we need to know. What he writes isn't much better either. The Exhortation was a lot of empty words with a dose of some old fashion Democrat/Socialist style spankings for those rascally free marketeers. I know we've argued that before, but the same garbage came from the 1980s USCCB. I suspect Francis will leave his legacy with a new group of bishops that might make that group look holy. Mike

Anonymous said...


Frankly there isn't any hope while he is pope. He showed his true colors during that synod and to deny it is denying the truth and being complicit in his actions.

Francis either needs to teach the Faith clearly and without compromise or he needs to resign.

Православный физик said...

I'll believe it when I see it...Anon's are right

Rood Screen said...

Read Kasper's book/speech, and you'll see clearly the verbal "tension" between asserting the truth and bypassing the truth. It's very reminiscent of the Vatican II documents, which simultaneously confirm and deny our spiritual heritage. It's like me saying, "everyone should read Southern Orders, because it's the very best blog, unless you prefer to only read other blogs instead".

MR said...

A year ago, this is the kind of statement that would have made me very happy. By now, I have given up on his orthodoxy and don't care what he says. I'm just keeping track of his actions to see how bad things are going to get.

Anonymous said...

How many believe that the Communists have infiltrated the Catholic clergy? It started to discredit Pope Pius XII.

Anonymous said...

" . . . warned against closing ourselves up in a mass of rules and regulations,"

That he would think this worth saying is puzzling, since the predominant fault of Catholics in recent decades has been ignoring "rules and regulations" of the Church. Would that the Pope would never ever say anything whatsoever unless it's clear and unambiguous.

rcg said...

That part about the feelings of children puzzles me. Of course the children are hurt, they understand the nature of marriage as part of their existence and have not yet been taunt to think otherwise. We should notice their hurt and focus on it and let it shake us and our selfishness. We should not be looking for ways to make them feel better about the divorce, nor should we be making their parents feel better, either.

Anonymous said...

Eternity is for ever. Marriage is until death.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, that was a glaring error. Might have been the English translation from Italian, but the consistent danger of the pope speaking off-the-cuff. More than ever we have to distinguish with this pope what is opinion or simply error when speaking off-the-cuff and what is more formal in his teachings. Written exhortations and written homilies carry more weight, except he speaks off-the-cuff in his homilies too which then has to be taken into account.

Anonymous said...

I´ve seen the video and I can tell you that´s what he´s been saying all along about marriage. Even the little story about the mother has been told before. I think in Assisi last year.
There´s so much hysteria about this man that´s even funny.

JusadBellum said...

I must say it's an interesting dynamic to be living in times like this. Throughout the 1980s I remember prominent local clergy and religious growling their dislike of Pope John Paul II and gritting their teeth when he would come out with a new encyclical. They wouldn't disobey openly, but they made their displeasure known and would 'soft peddle' any Papal initiative.

I was always chagrined that we couldn't make better use of the WYDs or other initiatives and the local church never seemed to jump on the Papal bandwagon. It was as if their heart just wasn't in it.

Now the shoe is on the other foot so to speak and people who spent 30 years reading everything the Pope says and trying to adjust their lives to his magisterium are being told to NOT pay attention to things, to not worry, that it's all going to be OK now that the cool kids are finally sitting at the big kid's table of power.

But how can one change 30 years of habitual deference and solicitude for Papal authority? It feels unnatural and a betrayal to suddenly not care what the Pope says, does, writes, etc.

Of course for 30 years the usual suspects pooh poohed the Pope's magisterium and highlighted the importance of 'dissent' and promoted their schools of thought without concern for fidelity to Papal or any other magisterium... and now it seems (SEEMS is the key word) that they are not invited to Rome and given pride of place.

But I suspect while flattered and encouraged, they don't put as much stock in the Church as they do the secular world to 'get things done'.

This is the situation; people who care about the Papacy are full of anxiety and worry because they by and large didn't spend the last 30 years building up a parallel Church structure in deep alliance with the secular world.

For all the hype, 'conservative' Catholics are not in the main enjoying strong alliances with the GOP or other secular fonts of power and influence like liberal/progressives have on the other side via universities, colleges, media empires, foundations, NGOs etc.

The GOP doesn't court conservative Catholics in direct alliances nearly as much as the DNC coordinates with the 'liberal' Catholic side from GOTV to lobbying efforts. The symbiosis and thus cultural alliances are much stronger on that side.

Thus humanly at least a progressive Catholic has got to be feeling pretty good these days; by secular measures and now ecclesial ones, it looks like their 'side' is the 'inevitable wave of the future against which resistance is futile'.

The conservative does not enjoy this sort of psychological support system and echo chamber. Yes it makes for greater virtue and heroism but it's much harder to fight anxiety and worry when the human means by which to advance the values and virtues one feels called by have fewer and fewer outlets.

Gene said...

Bellum, you are correct, of course, but it goes even further. We are dealing with foes who are literally willing to die (and kill us in there bargain) from Ebola to prove they are "open-minded"…foes who are willing to die from AIDS to prove they are not "homophobic"…enemies who were willing to destroy the country by voting for an incompetent poseur simply because he is black to prove they are not "racist"…foes who will murder their own children in utero to prove they support women's rights…foes who would destroy the family and all Christian values in order to prove they support gay marriage…the good people have not begun to properly assess these foes and the ruthlessness with which they are willing to continue their attacks. We have got to learn to be as ruthless and aggressive…no, more so…than our enemies. They will stop at nothing…neither should we.

JusadBellum said...

Gene, one must never become a monster to fight monsters.

The Lord gave man dominion over all the animals of the earth. So we must exercise dominion, not brute force.

Virtue and values and superior intellectual effort (i.e. strategy) and now savagery.

Do not underestimate the number of people who right now are "on the other side" but who would leap at the chance to switch sides if given half an invite.

Do not underestimate the suffering and sorrow of the untold millions who you might lump in 'the other side' but who are not loyal out of love but out of fear.

Think of how much we feared the Warsaw pact and were preparing to nuke half of Europe to keep them from pouring through the Fulda Gap. As it turned out, most of those troops didn't want to be there. They weren't convinced commies. Given half a chance they shed their uniforms and abandoned their posts.

You think the forces of ISIS or the LGBTQ are super-men? Hardly. They hide their interior sorrows and conflicts but they exist and are growing. The utopian bill of goods is that seizing political and social power will eliminate their suffering. But it won't. When utopia doesn't come these millions aren't going to be patient.

When 'homophobia' is eliminated in all practical circles of life but the suicidal ideations, self-abuse, disease, and domestic violence rates don't decline....people are going to look around for alternatives. If traditional Catholics are around with Courage and EnCourage and ministries of healing for their emotional and spiritual voids, they will begin a stampede for the exits.

Our enemies are principalities and powers. Our human opponents are neither intellectually nor morally superior. They may be dangerous but they've the danger of beasts not men.

Gene said...

Bellum, I certainly do not view our enemies as "supermen," but they are real enemies and ruthless. The dilemma with which Churchill struggled in WW II when deciding to bomb civilian targets is always with us…we do not want to lose the very values we are fighting to preserve. But, I am willing to risk them to regain some of what was lost. I believe far more drastic measures will be necessary than the ones you envision…but, I appreciate your idealism.