Monday, May 22, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 295

295.  Along these lines, Saint John Paul II proposed the so-called "law of gradualness" in the knowledge that the human being "knows, loves and accomplishes moral good by different stages of growth".323  This is not a "gradualness of law" but rather a gradualness in the prudential exercise of free acts on the part of subjects who are not in a position to understand, appreciate, or fully carry out the objective demands of the law.  For the law is itself a gift of God which points out the way, a gift for everyone without exception; it can be followed with the help of grace, even though each human being "advances gradually with the progressive integration of the gifts of God and the demand of God's definitive and absolute love in his or her entire personal and social life".324

323 Apostolic Exhortation Familaris Consortio (22 November 1981), 34: AAS 74 (1982), 123.
324 Ibid., 9: AAS 74 (1982), 90.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 294

294.  "The choice of a civil marriage or, in many cases, of simple cohabitation, is often not motivated by prejudice or resistance to a sacramental union, but by cultural or contingent situations".319  In such cases, respect also can be shown for those signs of love which in some way reflect God's own love.320  We know that there is "a continual increase in the number of those who, after having lived together for a long period, request the celebration of marriage in Church.  Simply to live together is often a choice based on a general attitude opposed to anything institutional or definitive; it can also be done while awaiting more security in life (a steady job and steady income).  In some countries, de facto unions are very numerous, not only because celebrating a marriage is considered too expensive in the social circumstances.  As a result, material poverty drives people into de facto unions".321 Whatever the case, "all these situations require a constructive response seeking to transform them into opportunities that can lead to the full reality of marriage and family in conformity with the Gospel.  These couples need to be welcomed and guided patiently and discreetly".322  That is how Jesus treated the Samaritan woman (cf. Jn 4:1-26):  he addressed her desire for true love, in order to free her from the darkness in her life and to bring her to the full joy of the Gospel.

319 Relatio Finalis 2015, 71.
320 Cf. ibid.
321 Relatio Synodi 2014, 42.
322 Ibid., 43.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 293

Gradualness in Pastoral Care

293.  The Fathers also considered the specific situation of a merely civil marriage or, with due distinction, even simple cohabitation, noting that "when such unions attain a particular stability, legally recognized, are characterized by deep affection and responsibility for their offspring, and demonstrate an ability to overcome trials, they can provide occasions for pastoral care with a view to the eventual celebration of the sacrament of marriage".315  On the other hand, it is a source of concern that many young people today distrust marriage and live together, putting off indefinitely the commitment of marriage, while yet others break a commitment already made and immediately assume a new one.  "As members of the Church, they too need pastoral care that is merciful and helpful".316  For the Church's pastors are not only responsible for promoting Christian marriage, but also the "pastoral discernment of the situations of a great many who no longer live this reality. Entering into pastoral dialogue with these persons is needed to distinguish elements in their lives that can lead to a greater openness to the Gospel of marriage in its fullness".317  In this pastoral discernment, there is a need "to identify elements that can foster evangelization and human and spiritual growth".318

315 Ibid., 27.
316 Ibid., 26.
317 Ibid., 41.
318 Ibid.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 292

292.  Christian marriage, as a reflection of the union between Christ and his Church, is fully realized in the union between a man and a woman who give themselves to each other in a free, faithful and exclusive love, who belong to each other until death and are open to the transmission of life, and are consecrated by the sacrament, which grants them the grace to become a domestic church and a leaven of new life for society.  Some forms of union radically contradict this ideal, while others realize it in at least a partial and analogous way.  The Synod Fathers stated that the Church does not disregard the constructive elements in those situations which do not yet or no longer correspond to her teaching on marriage.314 

314 Cf. ibid., 41, 43; Relatio Finalis 2015,70.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 291

291.  They Synod Fathers stated that, although the Church realizes that any breach of the marriage bond "is against the will of God", she is also "conscious of the frailty of many of her children".311 Illumined by the gaze of Jesus Christ, "she turns with love to those who participate in her life in an incomplete manner, recognizing that the grace of God works also in their lives by giving them courage to do good, to care for one another in love and to be of service to the community in which they live and work".312  This approach is also confirmed by our celebration of this Jubilee Year devoted to mercy.  Although she constantly holds up the call to perfection as asks for a fuller response to God, "the Church must accompany with attention and care the weakest of her children, who show signs of a wounded and troubled love, by restoring in them hope and confidence, like the beacon of a lighthouse in a port or a torch carried among the people to enlighten those who have lost their way or who are in the midst of a storm".313  Let us not forget that the Church's task is often like that of a field hospital.

313 Ibid., 28.