Card. Schönborn: Reconciliation key to 'accompaniment'
Cardinal Schönborn spoke exclusively with Vatican Radio ahead of the press conference, saying that the Holy Father’s desire in writing the exhortation was to give expression to the Church’s confidence in the family as intended by God in his design for humanity.
“I think the key message is: ‘Don’t speak first about problems, speak first about the achievement of the family,’ [and] I would like to [shout it] out. The Church has been seen as a ‘warner’ – everywhere warnings and dangers and crises and problems. I think Pope Francis wants us to say, ‘Please, just look first at the enormous gift that is marriage and family,’” he said.
The Cardinal-Archbishop of also discussed the concerns expressed by observers and not a few Synod Fathers over matters of process, direction, and content during the Assemblies themselves.
“The diversity of critiques that has been expressed during the Synod is quite large, and I am sure that not everybody will be satisfied with this document. It was never the case – I can’t remember any post-Synodal Exhortation that received applause from everybody. The fact is, Pope Francis has based his Exhortation largely on the results of the two Synods, and the texts he used for [the basis of] his own writing were voted on by an over 2/3 majority of the Synod Fathers, so there is a large consensus behind it,” said Cardinal Schönborn.
On one point, in particular, Cardinal Schönborn offered significant clarification, explaining that, when Pope Francis discusses the possibility of admitting people in irregular marital situations “to the sacraments,” the Holy Father is speaking first and foremost of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
“I think it is very clear,” said Card. Schönborn, “there are circumstances in which people in irregular situations may really need sacramental absolution, even if their general situation cannot be clarified.”
Below, please find a full transcript of Cardinal Schonborn’s English-language remarks to Vatican Radio
CRA: Amoris laetitia is an “exhortation”: to what is Pope Francis exhorting the Church?
Card. Schönborn: To the joy of love. Yes, it’s really that: rejoice in the joy of familial and marital love – and he speaks about marital love, not in a romantic way, not in an abstract way, it is very realistic – it is close to life, close to daily life, with all the worries and sorrows and joys of daily life. You can feel that he is a shepherd, a pastor, who has been always very close to the people, to the families, to their daily sorrows and joys. So, I think the key message is: “Don’t speak first about problems, speak first about the achievement of the family,” [and] I would like to [shout it] out. The Church has been seen as a “warner” – everywhere warnings and dangers and crises and problems. I think Pope Francis wants us to say, “Please, just look first at the enormous gift that is marriage and family.”
CRA: The Holy Father does seem to have the idea that the family is an asset?
Card. Schönborn: Absolutely. I would say it is the asset.
CRA: And yet, one not without its difficulties. The Holy Father is not without encouragement for people facing difficulties, and even for people who have to deal with the dissolution, the disintegration of family life…
Card. Schönborn: Yes, but there is an important pedagogical point [regarding] the whole document: it is not just for people who have visible problems in their marriage and family, but everybody – even, so to say, the “best” family, even the exemplary family; they all need God’s mercy, they all need conversion, they all need the help of grace – and the distinction is not so much between those who are successful in their marriages and those who are less successful in their marriage and family, but [the question is], “How do we accept God’s mercy, God’s help? The Church’s fellowship? The Church’s aid? How do we help each other on this way?” The key word is “inclusion”: we are all included under sin, and we are all included under God’s mercy. So, include people in difficulty, and help them.
CRA: Observers and some Synod Fathers expressed concern during the two Assemblies regarding process, direction and content: to the extent that those concerns were legitimate, can those who voiced them be satisfied with the document?
Card. Schönborn: The diversity of critiques that has been expressed during the Synod is quite large, and I am sure that not everybody will be satisfied with this document. It was never the case – I can’t remember any post-Synodal Exhortation that received applause from everybody. The fact is, Pope Francis has based his Exhortation largely on the results of the two Synods, and the texts he used for [the basis of] his own writing were voted on by an over 2/3 majority of the Synod Fathers, so there is a large consensus behind it. He is not innovating: he is continuing with what the Synod had already prepared and offered him.
CRA: You have said that the continuity runs also between this document and another, specifically, St. John Paul II’s Familiaris consortio…
Card. Schönborn: I am profoundly convinced that, 35 years after Familiaris consortio, Pope Francis has given us a beautiful example of what [Bl.] John Henry Newman calls, “the organic development of teaching.” [St.] John Paul II has already innovated in some points: not a break with tradition, but his “Theology of the Body” was something very new; his words on graduality in Familiaris consortio were rather unusual; his words on “discernment” in Familiaris consortio #84 were quite surprising – his strong invitation to discern different situations. Pope Francis is very much in continuity with this, and the Synod was – the two Synods were [as well]. Discernment was a key word in Pope Francis’ Exhortation. It is very “Jesuitical” – discernment of spirits – and that leads him to an attitude that was already present in Pope Benedict’s teaching, in Pope [St.] John Paul II’s teaching, that the Church offers help to those who are in so-called “irregular situations”. He adds a little note, where he says, “In certain cases, also, the aid, the help of the sacraments.” That’s all he said.
CRA: That brings us nicely to the point, because, when we are talking about discernment, we are inevitably also must discuss conscience – but we must let Mother Church form our consciences – and Pope Francis certainly knows this, though it does bear mention. The sacraments: which ones, and in what order?
Card. Schönborn: I think it is fairly clear: there are circumstances in which people in irregular situations may really need sacramental absolution, even if their general situation cannot be clarified. Pope Francis has himself given an example: when a woman [in an irregular marital situation] comes to confess her abortion – the sin, the grave sin of abortion – not to relieve her, even if her situation is irregular – the discernment of the shepherd can be, and I would say, “must be”: you have to help this person to be freed from her burden, even if you cannot tell her that her marital situation has been regularized by this absolution – but you cannot [let her leave] the confessional with the burden of her grave sin she finally had the courage to come to confess. That was the example he had given, and I think it is a very good example for what this little note could mean in certain cases: i.e. “[…]even the help of sacraments.”
Pope Francis' massive 260-page document is simply too long to be read by the majority of Catholics. Therefore, as usual in such cases, the news media (via its spin) will inform Catholics (and non-Catholics) as to what the Pope said.
Here is what the majority of Catholics will believe that Pope Francis has said:
Pope Francis, Urging Less Judgment, Signals Path for Divorced on Communion
New York Times - 1 hour ago
ROME — In a broad proclamation on family life, Pope Francis on Friday called for the Roman Catholic Church to be more welcoming and less judgmental, and he seemingly signaled a pastoral path for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive holy ...
Pope Francis urges acceptance of gays, lesbians, nontraditional families
CNN - 49 minutes ago
Pope Francis Pushes Church to be More Open to the Divorced
TIME - 1 hour ago
Pope Francis offers hope to divorced Catholics, says no to gay marriage
Washington Post - 1 hour ago
He called for divorced and remarried Catholics to participate more fully in church life. But he closed the door on gay marriage. He quotes Jorge Luis Borges and Jesus Christ. There is an entire chapter on Love. But more than anything, Pope Francis's ...
Pope Francis Softens Communion Ban for Divorcees, Shifts Tone on Family
NBCNews.com - 1 hour ago
Pope Francis urges relaxation of divorce rules for Catholics
USA TODAY - 1 hour ago
ROME — Pope Francis released a document Friday that paves the way for new integration into the Roman Catholic Church for divorced Catholics, but does little to soften the church's strict views on hot-button topics like gay marriage, abortion and ...
Pope Francis Calls for Leniency Toward Divorced Catholics
Wall Street Journal - 1 hour ago
Pope Francis says conscience, not dogma, must guide Catholics in family life
Fox News - 1 hour ago
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis insisted that individual conscience be the guiding principle for Catholics negotiating the complexities of sex, marriage and family life in a major document released Friday that rejects the emphasis on black and white rules ...
Pope Francis Relaxes Church Rules On Divorce
Huffington Post - 1 hour ago
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Friday called for a Church that was less strict and more compassionate towards “imperfect” Catholics, such as those who divorced and remarried, saying “no one can be condemned forever”. Francis said gays ...
Pope Francis' Long-Awaited Document 'Joy Of Love' May Open Doors For Communion To Remarried Divorcees
International Business Times - 35 minutes ago
UPDATE: 6:38 a.m. EDT — Pope Francis urged Friday that Catholics must follow the guiding principle of individual conscience and called for the Church to be less strict. A document “Amoris Laetitia,” or “Joy of Love,” detailed the pope's views about ...
We live in an instant communication and miscommunication world that enlightens and manipulates. What we are hearing from the secular media is demonic and so misrepresents the facts of the exhortation it is stunning in scope. READ THE DOCUMENT. I've down loaded it and hopefully will have time tonight to read it.
The evil,corrupt, left-wing media aka Voice of Satan, is trying to destroy the unity of the Catholic Church. I recall that the press releases coming from Rome during Vatican II bore no relationship to the documents nor the discussions within the Council. The Father of Lies was working hard then through the media, and is doing so again.
I'm about a third of the way through the document so far and I have to say, when you read the paragraphs in context they're not ambiguous AT ALL.... so far it's a tour de force in rock solid Catholic orthodoxis and orthopraxis.
He clearly and unequivocally declares contraception, abortion, fornication, living together, concubinage, same-sex unions, and adultery to be wrong. But the 'spin' is that they're wrong because the beauty of heterosexual, exclusive, and permanent marriage is such a glorious thing that we should all cringe at the self-destructive if deluded behavior of people who don't grasp what they're missing or who despair of its reality.
So far this is by far the most readable and 'fluid' document I've read from Pope Francis.
For example here's paragraph 60:
The Synod Fathers noted that Jesus, “in speaking of God’s original plan for man and woman, reaffirmed the indissoluble union between them, even stating that ‘it was for your hardness of heart that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so’ (Mt 19:8). The indissolubility of marriage – ‘what God has joined together, let no man put asunder’ (Mt 19:6) – should not be viewed as a ‘yoke’ imposed on humanity, but as a ‘gift’ granted to those who are joined in marriage… God’s indulgent love always accompanies our human journey; through grace, it heals and transforms hardened hearts, leading them back to the beginning through the way of the cross. The Gospels clearly present the example of Jesus who… proclaimed the meaning of marriage as the fullness of revelation that restores God’s original plan (cf. Mt 19:3)”.55
So why we can gently accompany some couple in an adulterous union, we can't treat them as though their union is anything other than a deplorable and unfortunate stumble to be repaired or if that's somehow impossible, to help them with an evident wound that can't be treated as though it was just an "alternative form of health".
Oops, the above quote was from paragraph 62.
Here's another utterly clear and challenging paragraph:
The sacrament of marriage is not a social convention, an empty ritual or merely the outward sign of a commitment. The sacrament is a gift given for the sanctification and salvation of the spouses, since “their mutual belonging is a real representation, through the sacramental sign, of the same relationship between Christ and the Church. The married couple are therefore a permanent reminder for the Church of what took place on the cross; they are for one another and for their children witnesses of the salvation in which they share through the
63 Relatio Finalis 2015, 38. 56 sacrament”.64 Marriage is a vocation, inasmuch as it is a response to a specific call to experience conjugal love as an imperfect sign of the love between Christ and the Church. Consequently, the decision to marry and to have a family ought to be the fruit of a process of vocational discernment."
How do we help religious or seminarian candidates 'discern' for their religious vows or ordination? Isn't it at a minimum that we provide them with spiritual direction to help them discern? Why shouldn't we provide similar person to person attention to couples or better, young people before they seek a potential mate to consider marriage this way?
Number 80 spells out in so many words why masturbation is wrong - inasmuch as it divorces genital action from the unitive requirement of matrimony. IVF and other 'fertility treatments' that separate procreation from the marital embrace are also condemned....
I mean really, I've been terrified by the prospect of this document for 1 year but now that I'm reading it, I'm blown away by how clear, unambiguous, UNEQUIVOCAL these paragraphs are. I really can't see how you can read this in context and finangle some "loosening" of morals. Being kind and tender to a couple in an adulterous union is not the same thing as telling them that that union is a positive good.
That two gay guys can be polite and even nice to each other doesn't mean their union is a good thing anymore than a john and a prostitute's union is good even though they may individually or collectively be 'nice' to each other. The way this is set up from the start, there's just no comparison between heterosexual marriage and any other coupling.
Here's 83: 83.
Here I feel it urgent to state that, if the family is the sanctuary of life, the place where life is conceived and cared for, it is a horrendous contradiction when it becomes a place where life is rejected and destroyed. So great is the value of a human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right to one’s own body can justify a decision to terminate that life, which is an end in itself and which can never be considered the “property” of another human being. The family protects human life in all its stages, including its last. Consequently, “those who work in healthcare facilities are reminded of the moral duty of conscientious objection. Similarly, the Church not only feels the urgency to assert the right to a natural death, without aggressive treatment and euthanasia”, but likewise “firmly rejects the death penalty”.93
BOOYAH as the kids say.
He segues into re-affirming the sovereign right of parents to educate their children -which includes to homeschool them....
I mean, this is getting ridiculous. This document is like manna from heaven folks.
Thjs Pope will always appear to support orthodoxy in writing. But, he encourages practices that are relativistic and subjectivistic. He says that conscience trumps "rules." I am sure that by rules he means dogma. There is absolutely nothing to rejoice about here. Ya'll are grasping.
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