Friday, March 31, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 243

243.  It is important that the divorced who have entered a new union should be made to feel part of the Church.  "They are not excommunicated" and they should not be treated as such, since they remain part of the ecclesial community.261  These situations "require careful discernment and respectful accompaniment.  Language or conduct that might lead them to feel discriminated against should be avoided, and they should be encouraged to participate in the life of the community.  The Christian community's care of such persons is not to be considered a weakening of its faith and testimony to the indissolubility of marriage; rather, such care is a particular expression of its charity".262

261 Catechesis (5 August 2015): L'Osservatore Romano, 6 August 2015, p.7.
262 Relatio Synodi 2014, 51; cf. Relatio Finalis 2015, 84.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 242

242.  The Synod Fathers noted that "special discernment is indispensable for the pastoral care of those who are separated, divorced or abandoned.  Respect needs to be shown especially for the sufferings of those who have unjustly endured separation, divorce or abandonment, or those who have been forced by maltreatment from a husband or a wife to interrupt their life together.  To forgive such an injustice that has been suffered is not easy, but grace makes this journey possible.  Pastoral care must necessarily include efforts at reconciliation and mediation, through the establishment of specialized counselling centres in dioceses".259  At the same time, "divorced people who have not remarried, and often bear witness to marital fidelity, ought to be encouraged to find in the Eucharist the nourishment they need to sustain them in their present state of life.  The local community and pastors should accompany these people with solicitude, particularly when children are involved or when they are in serious financial difficulty".260  Family breakdown becomes even more traumatic and painful in the case of the poor, since they have far fewer resources at hand for starting a new life. A poor person, once removed from a secure family environment, is doubly vulnerable to abandonment and possible harm.

259 Relatio Synodi 2014,47.
260 Ibid., 50.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 241

Accompaniment after breakdown and divorce

241.  In some cases, respect for one's own dignity and the good of the children requires not giving in to excessive demands or preventing a grave injustice, violence or chronic ill-treatment.  In such cases, "separation becomes inevitable.  At times it even becomes morally necessary, precisely when it is a matter of removing the more vulnerable spouse or young children from serious injury due to abuse and violence, from humiliation and exploitation, and from disregard and indifference".257  Even so, "separation must be considered as a last resort, after all other reasonable attempts at reconciliation have proved vain".258

257 Catechesis (24 June 2015): L'Osservatore Romano, 25 June 2015, p.8.
258 John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (22 November 1981), 83: AAS74 (1982), 184.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 240

240.  Many people leave childhood without ever having felt unconditional love.  This affects their ability to be trusting and open with others.  A poor relationship with one's parents and siblings, if left unhealed, can re-emerge and hurt a marriage.  Unresolved issues need to be dealt with and a process of liberation must take place.  When problems emerge in a marriage, before important decisions are made it is important to ensure that each spouse has come to grips with his or her own history.  This involves recognizing a need for hearing, insistent prayer for the grace to forgive and be forgiven, a willingness to accept help, and the determination not to give up but to keep trying.  A sincere self-examination will make it possible to see how one's own shortcomings and immaturity affect the relationship.  Even if it seems clear that the other person is at fault, a crisis will never be overcome simply expecting him or her to change.  We also have to ask what in our own life needs to grow or heal if the conflict is to be resolved.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 239

Old wounds

239.  Understandably, families often experience problems when one of their members is emotionally immature because he or she still bears the scars of earlier experiences.  An unhappy childhood or adolescence can breed personal crises that affect one's marriage.  Were everyone mature and normal, crises wouild be less frequent or less painful.  Yet the fact is that only in their forties do some people achieve a maturity that should have come at the end of adolescence.  Some love with the selfish, capricious and self-centered love of a child: an insatiable love that screams or cries when it fails to get what it wants.  Others love with an adolescent love marked by hostility, bitter criticism and the need to blame others; caught up in their own emotions and fantasies, such persons expect others to fill their emptiness and to satisfy their every desire.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 238

238.  In such situations, some have the maturity needed to reaffirm their choice of the other as their partner on life's journey, despite the limitations of the relationship.  They realistically accept that the other cannot fulfil all their cherished dreams.  Persons like this avoid thinking of themselves as martyrs; they make the most of whatever possibilities family life gives them and they work patiently at strengthening the marriage bond.  They realize, after all, that every crisis can be a new "yes", enabling love to be renewed, deepened and inwardly strengthened.  When crises come, they are unafraid to get to the root of it, to renegotiate basic terms, to achieve a new equilibrium and to move forward together.  With this kind of constant openness they are able to face any number of difficult situations.  In any event, while realizing that reconciliation is a possibility, we also see that "what is urgently needed today is a ministry to care for those whose marital relationship has broken down".256

256 Ibid., 78.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 237

237.  It is becoming more and more common to think that, when one or both partners no longer feel fulfilled, or things have not turned out the way they wanted, sufficient reason exists to end the marriage.  Were this the case, no marriage would last.  At times, all it takes to decide that everything is over in a single instance of dissatisfaction, the absence of the other when he or she was most needed, wounded pride, or a vague fear.  Inevitably, situations will arise involving human weakness and these can prove emotionally overwhelming.  On spouse may not feel fully appreciated, or may be attracted to another person.  Jealousy and tensions may emerge, or new interests that consume the other's time and attention.  Physical changes naturally occur in everyone.  These, and so many other things, rather than threatening love, are so many occasions for reviving and renewing it.


Click here for full text

Friday, March 24, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 236

236.  Then there are those personal crises that affect the life of couples, often involving finances, problems in the workplace, emotional, social and spiritual difficulties.  Unexpected situations present themselves, disrupting family life and requiring a process of forgiveness and reconciliation.  In resolving sincerely to forgive the other, each has to ask quietly and humbly if he or she has not somehow created the conditions that led to the other's mistakes.  Some families break up when spouses engage in mutual recrimination, but "experience shows that with proper assistance and acts of reconciliation, through grace, a great percentage of troubled marriages find a solution in a staisfying manner.  To know how to forgive and to feel forgiven is a basic experience in family life".254  "The arduous art of reconciliation, which requires the support of grace, needs the generous cooperation of relatives and friends, and sometimes even outside help and professional assistance".255

254 Relatio Synodi 2014, 44.
255 Relatio Finalis 2015, 81.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 235

235.  Some crises are typical of almost every marriage.  Newly married couples need to learn how to accept their differences and to disengage from their parents.  The arrival of a child presents new emotional challenges.  Raising small children necessitates a change of lifestyle, while the onset of adolescence causes strain, frustration and even tension between parents.  An "empty nest" obliges a couple to redefine their relationship, while the need to care for aging parents involves making difficult decisions in their regard.  All these are demanding situations that can cause apprehension, feelings of guilt, depression and fatigue, with serious repercussions on a marriage.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 234

234.  Crises need to be faced together.  This is hard, since persons sometimes withdraw in order to avoid saying what they feel; they retreat into a craven silence.  At these times, it becomes all the more important to create opportunities for speaking heart to heart.  Unless a couples learns to do this, they will find it harder and harder as time passes.  Communication is an art learned in moments of peace in order to be practised in moments of difficulty.  Spouses need help in discovering their deepest thoughts and feelings and expressing them.  Like childbirth, this is a painful process that brings forth a new treasure.  The answers given to the pre-synodal consultation showed that most people in difficult or critical situations do not seek pastoral assistance, since they do not find it sympathetic, realistic or concerned for individual cases.  This should spur us to try to approach marriage crises with greater sensitivity to their burden of hurt and anxiety.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 233

233.  Faced with a crisis, we tend first to react defensively, since we feel that we are losing control, or are somehow at fault, and this makes us uneasy.  We resort to denying the problem, hiding or downplaying it, and hoping that it will go away. But this does not help; it only makes things worse, wastes energy and delays a solution.  Couples grow apart and lose their ability to communicate. When problems are not dealt with, communication is the first thing to go.  Little by little, the "the person I love" slowly becomes "my mate", then just "the father or mother of my children", and finally a stranger.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 232

The challenge of a crises

232.  The life of every family is marked by all kinds of crises, yet these are also part of its dramatic beauty.  Couples should be helped to realize that surmounting a crisis need not weaken their relationship; instead, it can improve, settle and mature the wine of their union.  Life together should not diminish but increase their contentment; every new step along the way can help couples find new ways to happiness.  Each crisis becomes an apprenticeship in growing closer together or learning a little more about what it means to be married.  There is no need for couples to resign themselves to an inevitable downward spiral or a tolerable mediocrity.  On the contrary, when marriage is seen as a challenge that involves overcoming obstacles, each crisis becomes an opportunity to let the wine of their relationship age and improve.  Couples will gain from receiving help in facing crises, meeting challenges and acknowledging them as part of family life.  Experienced and trained couples should be open to offering guidance, so the couples will not be unnerved by these crises or tempted to hasty decisions.  Each crisis has a lesson to teach us; we need to learn how to listen for it with the ear of the heart.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 231

Casting Light on Crisis, Worries and Difficulties

231.  A word should also be said about those whose love, like a fine wine, has come into its own. Just as a good wine begins to "breathe" with time, so too the daily experience of fidelity gives married life richness and "body".  Fidelity has to do with patience and expectation.  Its joys and sacrifices bear fruit as the years go by and the couple rejoices to see their children's children.  The love present from the beginning becomes more conscious, settled and mature as the couple discover each other anew day after day, year after year.  Saint John of the Cross tells us that "old lovers are tried and true". They "are outwardly no longer afire with powerful emotions and impulses, but now taste the sweetness of the wine of love, well-aged and stored deep within their hearts".235  Such couples have successfully overcome crises and hardships without fleeing from challengers or concealing problems.

253 Cántico Espiritual B, XXV, 11.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 230

230.  It is true that many couples, once married, drop out of the Christian community.  Often, however, we ourselves do not take advantage of those occasions when they do return, to remind them of the beautiful ideal of Christian marriage and the support that our parishes can offer them.  I think, for example, of the Baptism and First Holy Communion of their children, or the funerals or weddings of their relatives or friends.  Almost all married couples reappear on these occasions, and we should take greater advantage of this.  Another way of growing closer is by blessing homes or by bringing a pilgrim image of Our Lady to houses in the neightbourhood; this provides an opportunity for a pastoral conversation about the family's situation.  It could also be helpful to ask older married couples to help younger couples in the neighbourhood by visiting them and offering guidance in the early years of marriage.  Given the pace of life today, most couples cannot attend frequent meetings; still, we cannot restrict our pastoral outreach to small and select groups.  Nowadays, pastoral care for families has to be fundamentally missionary, going out to where people are.  We can no longer be like a factory, churning out courses that for the most part are poorly attended.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 229

229.  Parishes, movements, schools and other Church institutions can help in a variety of ways to support families and help them grow.  These might include: meetings of couples living in the same neighbourhood, brief retreats for couples; talks by experts on concrete issues facing families, marriage counselling, home missionaries who help couples discuss their difficulties and desires, social services dealing with family problems like addiction, infidelity and domestic violence, programmes of spiritual growth, workshops for parents with troubled children and family meetings. The parish office should be prepared to deal helpfully and sensitively with family needs and be able to make referrals, when necessary, to those who can help.  There is also the contribution made by groups of married couples that provide assistance as part of their commitments to service, prayer, formation and mutual support.  Such groups enable couples to be generous, to assist other families and to share the faith; at the same time they strengthen marriages and help them to grow.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 228

228.  In some cases, one of the spouses is not baptized or does not want to practice the faith.  This can make the other's desire to live and grow in the Christian life difficult and at times painful.  Still, some common values can be found and these can be shared and relished.  In any event, showing love for a spouse who is not a believer, bestowing happiness, soothing hurts and sharing life together represents a true path of sanctification.  Love is always a gift of God.  Wherever it is poured out, it makes its transforming presence felt, often in mysterious ways, even to the point that "the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband" (1 Cor 7:14).


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 227

227.  We pastors have to encourage families to grow in faith.  This means encouraging frequent confession, spiritual direction and occasional retreats.  It also means encouraging family prayer during the week, since "the family that prays together stays together".  When visiting our people's homes, we should gather all the members of the family and briefly pray for one another, placing the family in the Lord's hands.  It is also helpful to encourage each of the spouses to find time for prayer alone with God, since each has his or her secret crosses to bear.  Why shouldn't we tell God our troubles and ask him to grant us the healing and help we need to remain faithful?  The Synod Fathers noted that "the word of God is the source of life and spirituality for the for the family.  All pastoral work on behalf of the family must allow people to be interiorly fashioned and formed as members of the domestic church through the Church's prayerful reading of sacred Scripture.  The word of God is not only good news in a person's private life but also a criterion of judgement and a light in discerning the various challenges that married couples and families encounter".252

252 Ibid., 34.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 226

226.  Young married couples should be encouraged to develop a routine that gives a healthy sense of closeness and stability through shared daily rituals.  These could include a morning kiss, and evening blessing, waiting at the door to welcome each other home, taking trips together and sharing household chores.  Yet it also helps to break the routine with a party, and to enjoy family celebrations of anniversaries and special events.  We need these moments of cherishing God's gifts and renewing our zest for life.  As long as we can celebrate, we are able to rekindle our love, to free it form monotony and to colour our daily routine with hope.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 225

225.  Couples who have learned how to do this well can share some practical suggestions which they have found useful:  planning free time together, moments of recreation with the children, different ways of celebrating important events, shared opportunities for spiritual growth.  They can also provide resources that help young married couples to make those moments meaningful and loving, and thus to improve their communication.  This is extremely important for the stage when the novelty of marriage has worn off.  Once a couple no longer knows how to spend time together, one or both of them will end up taking refuge in gadgets, finding other commitments, seeking the embrace of another, or simply looking for ways to flee what has become an uncomfortable closeness.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 224

224.  This process takes time.  Love needs time and space; everything else is secondary.  Time is needed to talk things over, to embrace leisurely, to share plans, to listen to one another and gaze in each other's eyes, to appreciate one another and to build a stronger relationship.  Sometimes the frenetic pace of our society and the pressures of the workplace create problems.  At other times, the problem is the lack of quality time together, sharing the same room without one even noticing the other.  Pastoral workers and groups of married people should think of ways to help young or vulnerable couples to make the most of those moments, to be present to one another, even by sharing moments of meaningful silence.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 223

Some Resources

223.  The Synod of Fathers observed that "the initial years of marriage are a vital and sensitive period during which couples become more aware of the challenges and meaning of married life. Consequently, pastoral accompaniment needs to go beyond the actual celebration of the sacrament (Familiaris Consortio, Part III).  In this regard, experienced couples have an important role to play. The parish is a place where such experienced couples can help younger couples, with the eventual cooperation of associations, ecclesial movements and new communities.  Young couples need to be encouraged to be essentially open to the great gift of children.  Emphasis should also be given to the importance of family spirituality, prayer and participation in the Sunday Eucharist, and couples encouraged to meet regularly to promote growth int heir spiritual life and solidarity in the concrete demands of life.  Liturgies, devotional practices and the Eucharist celebrated for families, especially on the wedding anniversary, were mentioned as vital factors in fostering evangelization through the family".251

251 Relatio Synodi 2014,40.


Friday, March 10, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 222

222.  The pastoral care of newly married couples must also involve encouraging them to be generous in bestowing life.  "in accord with the personal and fully human character of conjugal love, family planning fittingly takes place as the result a consensual dialogue between the spouses, respect for times and consideration of the dignity of the partner.  In this sense, the teaching of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae (cf. 1014) and the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (cf. 14; 2835) ought to be taken up anew, in order to counter a mentality that is often hostile to life.,.  Decisions involving responsible parenthood presupposes the formation of conscience which is 'the most secret core and sanctuary of a person.  There each one is alone with God, whose voice echoes in the depths of the heart' (Gaudium et Spes, 16).  The more the couple tries to listen in conscience to God and his commandments (cf. Rom 2:15), and is accompanied spiritually, the more their decision will be profoundly free of subjective caprice and accommodation to prevailing social mores".248  The clear teaching of the Second Vatican Council still holds:  "[The couple] will make decisions by common counsel and effort.  Let them thoughtfully take into account both their own welfare and that of their children, those already born and those which the future may bring.  For this accounting they need to reckon with both the material and the spiritual conditions of the times as well as of their state in life. Finally, they should consult the interests of the family group, of temporal society and of the Church herself.  The parent themselves and no one else should ultimately make this judgment in the sight of God".249  Moreover, "the use of methods based on the 'laws of nature and the incidence of fertility' (Humanae Vitae, 11) are to be promoted, since 'these methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them and favour the education of an authentic freedom' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2370).  Greater emphasis needs to be placed on the fact that children are a wonderful gift from God and a joy for parents and the Church.  Through them, the Lord renews the world".250

248 Ibid., 63.
249 Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 50.
250 Relatio Finalis 2015, 63.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 221

221.  Among the causes of broken marriages are unduly high expectations about conjugal life.  Once it becomes apparent that the reality is more limited and challenging than one imagined, the solution is not to think quickly and irresponsibly about separation, but to come to the sober realization that married life is a process of growth, in which each spouse is God's means of helping the other to mature.  Change, improvement, the flowering of the good qualities present in each person - all these are possible.  Each marriage is a kind of "salvation history", which from fragile beginning - thank to God's gift and creative and generous response on our part - grows over time into something precious and enduring.  Might we say that the greatest mission of two people in love is to help one another become, respectively, more a man and more a woman?  Fostering growth means helping a person to shape his or hew own identity.  Love is thus a kind of craftsmanship.  When we read the Bible about the creation of man and woman, we see God first forming Adam (cf. Gen 2:7); he realizes that something essential is lacking and so he forms Even and then hears the man exclaim in amazement, "Yes, this one is just right for me!"  We can almost hear the amazing dialogue that must have taken place when the man and the woman first encountered one another.  In the life of married couples, even at difficult moments, one person can always surprise the other, and new doors can open for their relationship, as if they were meeting for the first time.  At every new stage, they can keep "forming" one another.  Love makes each wait for the other with the patience of a craftsman, a patience which come from God.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 220

220.  This process occurs in various stages that call for generosity and sacrifice.  The first powerful feelings of attraction give way to the realization that the other is now a part of my life.  The pleasure of belonging to one another leads to seeing life as a common project, putting the other's happiness ahead of my own, and realizing with joy that this marriage enriches society.  As love matures, it also learns to "negotiate".  Far from anything selfish or calculating, such negotiation is an exercise of mutual love, an interplay of give and take, for the good of the family.  At each new stage of married life, there is a need to sit down and renegotiate agreements, so that there will be no winners and losers, but rather two winners.  In the home, decisions cannot be made unilaterally, since each spouse shares responsibility for the family; yet each home is unique and each marriage will find an arrangement that works best.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 219

219.  I recall an old saying:  still water becomes stagnant and good for nothing.  If, in the first years of marriage, a couple's experience of love grows stagnant, it loses the very excitement that should be its propelling force.  Young love needs to keep dancing towards the future with immense hope.  Hope is the leaven that, in those first years of engagement and marriage, makes is possible to look beyond arguments, conflicts and problems and to see things in a broader perspective.  It harnesses our uncertainties and concerns so that growth can take place.  Hope also bids us live fully in the present, giving our all to the life of the family, for the best way to prepare a solid future is to live well in the present.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 218

218.  Another great challenge of marriage preparation is to help couples realize that marriage is not something that happens once for all.  Their union is real and irrevocable, confirmed and consecrated by the sacrament of matrimony.  Yet in joining their lives, the spouses assume an active and creative role in a lifelong project.  Their gaze now has to be directed to the future that, with the help of God's grace, they are daily called to build.  For this very reason, neither spouse can expect the other to be perfect.  Each must set aside all illusions and accept the other as he or she actually is: an unfinished product, needing to grow, a work in progress.  A persistently critical attitude towards one's partner is a sign that marriage was not entered into as a project to be worked on together, with patience, understanding, tolerance and generosity.  Slowly but surely, love will then give way to constant questioning and criticism, dwelling on each other's good and bad points, issuing ultimatums and engaging in competition and self-justification.  The couple then prove incapable of helping one another build a mature union.  This fact needs to be realistically presented to newly married couples from the outset, so that they can grasp that the wedding is "just the beginning".  By saying "I do", they embark on a journey that requires them to overcome all obstacles standing in the way of their reaching the goal.  The nuptial blessing that they receive is a grace and an incentive for this journey. They can only benefit from sitting down and talking to one another about how, concretely, they plan to achieve their goal.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 217

Accompanying The First Years of Married Life

217.  It is important that marriage be seen as a matter of love, that only those who freely choose and love one another may marry.  When love is merely physical attraction or a vague affection, spouses become particularly vulnerable once this affection wanes or physical attraction diminishes.  Given the frequency with which this happens, it is all the more essential that couples be helped during the first years of their married life to enrich and deepen their conscious and free decision to have, hold and love one another for life.  Often the engagement period is not long enough, the decision is precipitated for various reasons and, what is even more problematic, the couple themselves are insufficiently mature.  As a result, the newly married couple need to complete a process that should have taken place during their engagement.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 216

216.  The couple can also meditate on the biblical readings and the meaningfulness of the rings they will exchange and the others signs that are part of the rite.  Nor would it be good for them to arrive at the wedding without ever having prayed together, one for the other, to seek God's help in remaining faithful and generous, to ask the Lord together what he wants of them, and to consecrate their love before an image of the Virgin Mary.  Those who help prepare them for marriage should help them experience these moments of prayer that can prove so beneficial.  "The marriage liturgy is a unique event, which is both a family and a community celebration.  The first signs of Jesus were performed at the wedding feast of Cana.  The good wine, resulting from the Lord's miracle that brought joy to the beginning of a new family, is the new wine of Christ's covenant with the men and women of every age...  Frequently, the celebrant speaks to a congregation that includes people who seldom participate in the life of the Church, or who are members of other Christian denominations or religious communities.  The occasion thus provides a valuable opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Christ".247

247 Relatio Finalis 2015, 59.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 215

215.  The Kenyan Bishops have observed that "many [young people] concentrate on their wedding day and forget the life-long commitment they are about to enter into".244  They need to be encouraged to see the sacrament not as a single moment that then becomes a part of the past and its memories, but rather as a reality that permanently influences the whole of married life.245  The procreative meaning of sexuality, the language of the body, and the signs of love shown throughout married life, all become an "uninterrupted continuity of liturgical language" and "conjugal life becomes in a certain sense liturgical".246

244 Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, Lenten Message (18 February 2015).
245 Cf. Pius XI, Encyclical Letter Casti Connubii (31 December 1930): AAS 22 (1930), 583.
246 John Paul II, Catechesis (4 July 1984), 3, 6: Insegnamenti VII/2 (1984), pp. 9, 10.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 214

214.  At times, the couple does not grasp the theological and spiritual import of the words of consent, which illuminate the meaning of all the signs that follow.  It needs to be stressed that these words cannot be reduced to the present; they involve a totality that includes the future:  "until death do us part".  The content of the words of consent makes it clear that "freedom and fidelity are not opposed to one another; rather, they are mutually supportive, both in interpersonal and social relationships. Indeed, let us consider the damage caused, in our culture of global communication, by the escalation of unkept promises... Honoring one's word, fidelity to one's promises: these things that cannot be brought and sold.  They cannot be compelled by force or maintained without sacrifice".243

243  Catechesis (21 October 2015): L'Osservatore Romano, 22 October 2015, p.12.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Amoris Laetitia - Par. 213

213.  In their preparation for marriage, the couple should be encouraged to make the liturgical celebration a profound personal experience and to appreciate the meaning of each of its signs.  In the case of two baptized persons, the commitment expressed by the words of consent and the bodily union that consummates the marriage can only be seen as signs of the covenantal love and union between the incarnate Son of God and his Church.  In the baptized, words and signs become an eloquent language of faith.  The body, created with a God-given meaning, "becomes the language of the ministers of the sacrament, aware that in the conjugal pact there is expressed and realized the mystery that has its origin in God himself".242

242  John Paul II, Catechesis (27 June 1984), 4: Insegnamenti VII/1 (1984), 1941.


Click here for full text