Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

The words of the Holy Father Francis on his flight back to Rome after his apostolic trip to Cuba and the United States can help, in line with the Liturgy of the Word, to tidy up our ideas.

Jean Marie Guenois, Le FigaroThe question was on the notion of Catholic divorce, if the motu proprio has closed the debate before the synod on this theme?

Pope Francis: This was called for by the majority of the Synod fathers in the synod last year: streamline the process because there are cases that last 10-15 years, no? There’s one sentence, then another sentence, and after there's an appeal, there's the appeal then another appeal. It never ends. The double sentence, when it was valid that there was an appeal, was introduced by Papa Lambertini, Benedict XIV, because in central Europe, I won’t say which country, there were some abuses, and to stop it he introduced this but it's not something essential to the process. The procedure changes, jurisprudence changes, it gets better. At that time it was urgent to do this, then Pius X wanted to streamline and made some changes but he didn’t have the time or the possibility to do it. The Synod fathers asked for it, the speeding up of the annulment processes. And I stop there. This document, this ‘motu proprio’ facilitates the processes and the timing, but it is not divorce because marriage is indissoluble when it is a sacrament. And this the Church cannot change. It's doctrine. It’s an indissoluble sacrament. The legal trial is to prove that what seemed to be a sacrament wasn't a sacrament, for lack of freedom for example, or for lack of maturity, or for mental illness. There are so many reasons that bring about (an annulment), after a study, an investigation. That there was no sacrament. For example, that the person wasn't free.  Another example: now it’s not so common but in some sectors of common society at least in Buenos Aires, there were weddings when the woman got pregnant: “you have to get married.” In Buenos Aires, I counselled my priests, strongly, I almost prohibited them to celebrate weddings in these conditions. We called them “speedy weddings”, eh? (They were) to cover up appearances. And the babies are born, and some work out but there's no freedom and then things go wrong little by little they separate (and say) “I was forced to get married because we had to cover up this situation” and this is a reason for nullity. So many of them.

Cases of nullity, you have, you can find them (the reasons) on the Internet, there are many, eh? Then, the issue of the second weddings, the divorcees, who make a new union. You read what, you have the “instrumentum laboris.” What is put in discussion seems a bit simplistic to me to say that the Synod is the solution for these people and that they can have communion. That's not the only solution. No, what the “Instrumentum laboris” proposes is a lot more, and also the problem of the new unions of divorcees isn't the only problem. In the “Instrumentum laboris” there are many. For example, young people don’t get married. They don’t want to get married. It's a pastoral problem for the Church. Another problem: the affective maturity for a marriage. Another problem: faith. “Do I believe that this is forever? Yes, yes, yes, I believe.” “But do you believe it?” the preparation for a wedding: I think so often that to become a priest there's a preparation for 8 years, and then, it’s not definite, the Church can take the clerical state away from you. But, for something lifelong, they do four courses! Four times… Something isn't right. It’s something the Synod has to deal with: how to do preparation for marriage. It’s one of the most difficult things.

There are many problems, they're all are listed in the “Instrumentum laboris.” But, I like that you asked the question about “Catholic divorce.” That doesn't exist. Either it wasn't a marriage, and this is nullity -- it didn't exist. And if it did, it's indissoluble. This is clear. Thank you 

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris