Do not let legalism block access to salvation, Pope tells tribunal judges [CWN]

In a January 23 address to officials of the Roman Rota, Pope Francis reminded the judges and advocates that the highest priority of canon law is the salvation of souls.As is customary, …



This may not sit well with some of our regulars here, but, I for one applaud the Pope for confirming what many of us have contended for a long time; that the graces and mercy of God are not tied to an absolute black and white set of rules. Jesus told the Pharisees as much, and now his Vicar seems to be telling his Church.


I think the pope clarified what he meant by means of that helpful little tool called context: “a great number of faithful [are] in irregular situations, whose histories have been strongly influenced by the widespread worldly mentality.” According to the article, he said that tribunal judges must take these problems into account as they assess the validity of a marital bond.

In light of that, it seems that, at least by his own remarks, he isn’t saying that the tribunal judges shouldn’t follow the rules, but that they should recognize that very many marriages are null because very many couples don’t know what they are getting into. Legalists might say, “Well you should have thought about what marriage is more carefully, so you have no excuse and you get no annulment.” But that would be a dereliction of tribunals’ duty, which s not to punish people for doing marriage wrong, but to recognize that if they did the marriage wrong, that can make it invalid.

Does that make sense?

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

Yes, but I would add that in deference to your constraints on context, the Holy Father was speaking also in generalities of legalism and not just the issue of marriage.

In illo tempore abiit Jesus per sata sabbato: discipuli autem ejus esurientes cœperunt vellere spicas, et manducare. Pharisæi autem videntes, dixerunt ei: Ecce discipuli tui faciunt quod non licet facere sabbatis. At ille dixit eis: Non legistis quid fecerit David, quando esuriit, et qui cum eo erant: quomodo intravit in domum Dei, et panes propositionis comedit, quos non licebat ei edere, neque his qui cum eo erant, nisi solis sacerdotibus? *** aut non legistis in lege quia sabbatis sacerdotes in templo sabbatum violant, et sine crimine sunt? Dico autem vobis, quia templo major est hic. Si autem sciretis, quid est: Misericordiam volo, et non sacrificium: numquam condemnassetis innocentes:*** dominus enim est Filius hominis etiam sabbati.

What is your point in speaking another language, here?

I wish this referenced article would be clarified and discussed by a highly published and reputable source. It is very vague, to me.

Huh? Are you pronouncing this is, or should be, an English only website? And, does quotations from the Latin Vulgate offend you? :shrug:

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