Devout Catholics have been divided over how the faith addresses divorce and remarriage for decades, at least. On one side of the issue, many believe that original doctrines must be deliberately followed, which is to say that after a divorce, there should be no remarriage and can be no Communion for the divorced. On the other, they see that times are changing and believe that divorce should not keep members of their faith and communities from seeking happiness and fulfillment. As with many divided issues in Catholicism, people are turning to Pope Francis for a conclusion. But will they like what he says?
Pope Francis has been fairly controversial already in his three-year appointment to what can be described as arguably the most important religious position in the world. With a reputation for absolute strictness – Catholic nuns with yardsticks in hand for doling out punishment to rowdy students may come to mind – the Catholic Church has repeatedly been surprised by Pope Francis’s apparent leniency and liberal nature. On many issues, including divorce, he has been quoted as promoting “mercy” rather than severity. His reputation is predicted to grow stronger after he gives his official word on remarriage, divorce, and Communion in the near future.
Perhaps in his own defense, Pope Francis has stated in the past that he does not wish to see the church’s teaching that marriage is not dissolvable changed or removed; he merely wants to promote the belief that those who have divorced and remarried be capable of receiving Communion. German Cardinal Walter Kasper had been invited to speak on the matter by Pope Francis back in 2014, where he declared that sufficient repent for their divorce should allow the remarried to receive Communion. After a Bishop’s debate closed in 2015 with no ground made on the issue of Communion, Pope Francis voiced his disapproval and claimed that “closed hearts” were guiding them.
[A full article published by The Wall Street Journal may be viewed here.]
What Does This Mean for Catholic Couples?
It is no secret that there are many devout Catholic couples who are considering divorce but hesitate out of fear of judgement and prosecution from their faith. Pope Francis’s upcoming official statement, if it follows his liberal trend, could spell an end to their reluctance, reassuring them that they can continue to lead a faithful life after divorcing and remarrying.
Our Long Island family law attorneys from Hedayati Law Group P.C. will be following relevant news stories and listening for the Pope’s decision, as it could be of utmost importance to some of our clients. Be sure check our blog feed frequently for updates. You can also contact us for information about divorce law, or representation for your own divorce, on Long Island.