Cardinal Scola: Pope Francis will stand with tradition on marriage

Vatican City, Dec 3, 2014 / 12:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In an interview with an Italian paper published on Tuesday, Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan stated that Pope Francis will not push the Church away from the understanding of marriage’s indissolubility.

“During the synod, I thoroughly discussed with Cardinals Marx, Daneels, and Schoenborn in my ‘minor circle’ about the possible access to communion for the divorced and remarried, but I cannot see how to combine on one side the indissolubility of the marriage, and on the other seeming to deny de facto the same principle,” the cardinal told Corriere della Sera Dec. 2.

This way of thinking would end in “a separation between doctrine and pastoral care and discipline,” he said, and “indissolubility would be almost reduced to a Platonic idea which is not reflected in real life.”

This is a very deceptive statement, since nowhere in the article does Pope Francis make that assertion. I presume headlines sell better, even if they are not true.

The article states: Cardinal Scola said “the Pope will not likely take” any stance that he himself would not share – that is, one not in accord with the Church’s tradition.
Purely his personal assumption.

Well, I read the title: “Cardinal Scola: Pope Francis will stand with tradition on marriage”
and don’t see anything deceptive about it. It’s basically says, “Cardinal Scola sez…” and goes from there. To cite the “will not likely” is caviling.

i wonder how the mainstream media will portray this one…

"Cardinal Scola said “the Pope will not likely take” any stance that he himself would not share – that is, one not in accord with the Church’s tradition.

He emphasized that “the majority” of synod fathers supported the indissolubility of marriage."

This is great to read!


And Pope Emeritus Benedict has also spoken up:

In the Synod on the Family Even the Pope Emeritus Is Speaking Out

“He has rewritten the conclusion of one of his articles from 1972 that Cardinal Kasper had cited in his own support. Here is the complete text of his “retractatio,” in which he reiterates and explains the ban on communion for the divorced and remarried…”

I read and re-read the rewritten conclusion and it didn’t “reiterate and explain the ban on communion for the divorced and remarried”. For one he was raising the phenomenon of ‘baptized pagans’ and their later conversion to faith and what that meant of the first marriage. He was pondering on the problems and suffering of particular people experiencing this conundrum and leaving open the door for further exploration. That’s what Pope Francis was doing.

“Today there is another question that imposes itself with great seriousness. Currently there are more and more baptized pagans, meaning persons who have become Christian by means of baptism but do not believe and have never known the faith. This is a paradoxical situation: baptism makes the person Christian, but without faith he remains nonetheless just a baptized pagan. Can. 1055 § 2 says that “between baptized persons there cannot exist a valid marriage contract that is not for that very reason a sacrament.” But what happens if a baptized unbeliever knows nothing at all about the sacraments? He might even have the intention of indissolubility, but he does not see the uniqueness of the Christian faith. The tragic aspect of this situation appears evident above all when baptized pagans convert to the faith and begin a completely new life. This brings up questions for which we still do not have answers. And therefore it is even more urgent to explore them."

I’m forming a very strong aversion indeed to the deceptions and illusions being perpetrated by certain people regarding what our Popes say.

Perhaps a more clear indication that Pope Francis intends to maintain the Church’s tradition on this is his answer to a question about it on August 5th:About the problem of Communion to those persons in a second union, that the divorced might participate in Communion, there is no problem. When they are in a second union, they can’t.

I believe that it is necessary to keep this within the entirety of pastoral care of marriage. -Pope Francis (source)

But that has never been at issue in the first place. Right from the beginning the Pope has said their will be no change to a general rule regarding marriage. This issue is one that can’t be encapsulated by a general rule. It can only be known in the fruits of the existing family and faith life. It involves people already living and practicing faith in every way with the only difference being they hold themselves back from Holy Communion at Mass. Whether there is some way discovered to help them or not, they will still be there doing the same thing they are doing now. If the Church does discover some unique solution provided by the Holy Spirit, the only change in the pews will be the departure of half the people in this section who could not abide the Church doing anything they didn’t personally agree with.

Good observation. :thumbsup:

I noted another thread in which the Pope said, “it isn’t over.”

This is fantastic!


I did not quote this perfectly, but this is what Fr Robert Dodaro said in an interview:

If people are told divorced and civilly remarried Catholics will be admitted to Holy Communion then this is how its going to play out; a young couple will go to their Parish Priest and say well we want to be married. ‘Well that’s great, we have to do some marriage preparation but that’s great.’ And he gets somebody in his Parish to organise something, and they are to told during this, very sincerely they are told, now remember, marriage us pet ant, it’s firever, it’s till death do we part, and you have to mean those words. You can never… Marriage will be tough, you’ll have difficulties, you’ll have struggles, but you never divorce because your marriage takes place in Christ, your bond is in Christ, so you can’t ever renounce it, you can’t ever leave behind and marry another person. Alright, the couple are stunned by this, they listen carefully, ‘Yes Father, yes Father.’ On the way home the young man says to his girlfriend, ‘my parents are divorced and remarried and receive Communion, what’s the big deal?’ The indissoubility of marriage is over.

If somebody looks at pornography for example, and feels sorry for what they have done, and go to Confession, they can be forgiven and ‘sin no more,’ so to speak, that is what Jesus told the adultrous woman. But if you allow the divorced and civilly remarried to Communion while in that relationship, could they receive Communion without confessing their sin of remarriage? A divorced and civilly remarried couple can’t ‘sin no more’ if they plan to continue to be part of that civil remarriage and presumably continue to also have sexual relations with their parter? Or would they be allowed to confess regarding their remarriage but still be allowed to receive Communion? What about if they didn’t feel sorry for getting remarried? It doesn’t add up that you can keep how the Church views the indissoubility of marriage and divorce and allow the divorced and civilly remarried to receive Communion?

I’m not sure how the Holy Father abiding by the teachings of the Church is a shock to people.

I think the Catechism encapsulates it in a general rule in CCC 1650. What are your thoughts on that paragraph?

It can only be known in the fruits of the existing family and faith life. It involves people already living and practicing faith in every way with the only difference being they hold themselves back from Holy Communion at Mass.

My understanding is that there is another major difference: it involves people living in a situation that the Catechism says “objectively contravenes God’s law.” (CCC 1650) From your response so far, I’m getting the impression that we must be talking about two different situations. What do you think?

Whether there is some way discovered to help them or not, they will still be there doing the same thing they are doing now.

I don’t see how that is likely, given that Pope Francis has said he does not want to change the Church’s pastoral practice on this point. (See my previous post.) If Pope Francis doesn’t want the Church’s practice to change, then how would the practice get changed?

If the Church does discover some unique solution provided by the Holy Spirit, the only change in the pews will be the departure of half the people in this section who could not abide the Church doing anything they didn’t personally agree with.

When Peter was faced with some statements that he didn’t like, he said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life.” I don’t see why anybody would leave the Church unless it changed its teachings, and from what I can see, nobody is discussing any change in Church teaching. Anyway that’s what I think. What do you think?

No one is saying “let’s change the teaching”. The problem is that, like Card Scola said, the proposed change to practice would “deny de facto” the teaching.

I don’t see how allowing divorced and remarried persons to receive Eucharist would “de facto” change Church teaching.

The Church teaches that valid Sacramental marriages are indissoluble. However, an awful lot of catholics and converts were never in valid Sacramental marriages. The annulment process is long and very trying mentally and spiritually. This is a time when graces are needed desperately.

From a pastoral care standpoint, I don’t see why divorced and remarried people shouldn’t have their ability to receive taken on a case by case basis while they await annulment. Their pastor and/or Bishop could review their annulment papers and/or simply thoroughly interview them to discern if they are indeed validly married to a first spouse or if that “marriage” was invalid and they are being barred from receiving Communion due to nothing more than Church bureaucracy.

Allowing those who weren’t validly married in the first place to receive doesn’t change Church teaching on marriage one bit.

Yes, I realize the Church is talking seriously overhauling the annulment process. But that does not help the thousands suffering needlessly right now. I, myself, am coming up on a year and a half since my annulment case was accepted by the Tribunal. I have yet to receive a First Instance decision, much less a Second Instance decision and declaration of freedom to marry in the Church. That’s 18 months of RCIA, weekly Masses, Holy Days of Obligation, and intense pain as I cannot receive the Body and Blood of Christ and all the graces conferred. I know my first “marriage” wasn’t valid for numerous provable reasons. My priest has stated numerous times that he also believes that “marriage” to have been invalid. And, the kicker, when 2 Witnesses failed to return their questionnaires to the Tribunal, I was left with 3 Witnesses who did. The Judge in my case had to pull my file, read everything, and decide if there was enough evidence to proceed or not. He decided there was ample evidence to proceed and my case moved forward. However, because of the backlog of cases, I still have no decision. My case is still “in line to be judged”. Because, due to procedure, the Judge wasn’t allowed to make a determination when he had my file in his hands!

Yes, but what you’re talking about here isn’t what is being proposed (though what actually is being proposed keeps shifting around so who knows what it will end up being).

You’re talking about people during the annulment process etc. The proposal (at least as it started out) was about a situation where it has already been determined by the annulment process that the person has a valid previous marriage. So, that person undergoes a penitential process, then they could receive communion, despite it already being established that they still have a previous valid marriage. That is the problem.

The difference is that you’re referring to changes in the bureaucratic process of annulments, while the proposal is referring to changes to what would be allowed after validity has already been determined.

If that’s what some people want they can go to the Orthodox churches where second marriages after penitence is allowed.

People who have been denied annulment are relatively rare. And even then, at least in the US, a big problem is lack of evidence or access to the paperwork required to file due to many factors such as Witnesses dying or losing touch and being unable to gather documents as the marriage happened in another country or in a place where records were lost due to natural disaster/fire. The majority of annulment seekers seem to have either started the annulment process and have hit snags such as lack of Witnesses or documentation or are those who are waiting ( and waiting and waiting and waiting…) on local Tribunals to render decisions. Which is why I said case by case basis.

If you’re in the process or are beginning the process and are likely to receive an annulment the local priest or Bishop should be able to take into account the persons absolute belief that their former marriage was invalid along with whatever evidence exists in the case file. Which isn’t hard for the priest or Bishop to do since copies, both on disk or drive and on paper, are given to the Petitioner and Respondent. Father X and Bishop Y wouldn’t even have to wait on paperwork to be delivered to them.

According to research by CARA, their estimates are that 85% of divorced Catholics have not even started the process of preparing a case for the Tribunal.

Out of the remaining 15%, almost half (7%) have received a decree of nullity, leaving a bit over half (8%) not receiving one. And of that 8%, some have had a decision from the tribunal that there is insufficient evidence to grant a declaration of nullity; others have stopped the process short of that decision - which could be withdrawl of the case, or somewhere in the preparation stage - which may not have formal steps,. but starts with a meeting with either a pastor or advocate, who might say “You don’t appear to have a case”, or could be receiving the forms and not filling them out, or filling them out and not submitting, or not being able to find witnesses, or simply doing all and not filing.

Particularly from those who oppose decrees of nullity, it is often cited that very few cases or no cases 'lose"; but that presumes that the tribunals publish the “no decree” numbers, and I don’t believe they do; in any event, the tribunals have no idea how many are not filed - and the normal cause of that seems to be a decision that there is insufficient evidence.

I would suspect that there would be no decision to have the bishop review the case, if for no other reason that it would appear to set up a tribunal outside the tribunal.

You and me both.

However, the level of understanding the Faith has a seriously wide swing from little or no knowledge, to certified theologians following the Magisterium, and from “baptized pagans” to saints.

Coupled with that is that altogether too much information is obtained through the secular media, or through allegedly Catholic media with a bias (I have often said I would not wrap a dead fish in either the Wanderer or the National Catholic Reporter, as I have too much respect for the fish). The only two newspapers I trust to get accurate information from are Our Sunday Visitor and the National Catholic Register. And I have predominately removed myself from the secular media.

Maybe it is just that I spent my grade school years memorizing the Baltimore Catechism decades ago, but I was taught that the Holy Spirit will protect the Church from error in matters of Faith and Morals. I have been dismayed at the panic expressed by so many who view themselves as Catholic, and have been so vocal that the Pope is going to commit heresy, and centuries of moral theology are going to be simply turned upside down.

I have come to the conclusion that the hysteria is either due to people either not being as well catechized on that belief, or simply not understanding it. I can’t think of any other cause.

Before the Synod, check out what this Spanish Bishop said:

In an interview with the newspaper Diario Cordoba, Bishop Fernandez said, “We asked the Pope himself, and he responded that a person married in the Church who has divorced and entered into a new civil marriage cannot approach the sacraments.”

“The Pope said that ‘this was established by Jesus Christ and the Pope cannot change it’,” he added.

With this, and the quotes from what the Holy Father said on the plane from Rio de Janeiro to Rome, quoted by dmar98, these are two times when actually speaking on the subject, although Bishop Fernandez is saying what the Holy Father said on Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried, the Holy Father has not spoken favourably on allowing Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried.

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