Marriage, divorce and mercy

From the National Catholic Register.


I really like Pope Francis. He brings focus back to humanity and the basics; rather than focusing on legalism. I’m glad he’s our Pope. God Bless him!

I second that. Legalism is not what Christ was about.

I think it is important to remember what Christ says in Mathew 5:17. He says he did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. I do not think Pope Francis is talking about tossing the laws, but rather looking at how the law and mercy are bound together.

It is not merciful to ignore the laws of the Church as some might think. They exist for a reason and that reason is not to punish, but rather guide us. I believe we will see Pope Francis approaching if from a standpoint of how the law is applied from a point of love and mercy. I would not anticipate him making wholesale changes to canon law so much as pastoral recommendations on the application of the laws.

Can the posters above provide examples of what they feel is legalistic in current church practice that needs reform? Just charging legalism is a bit vague and hard to say if it’s a valid accusation without examples.

Right. Jesus didn’t say you don’t have to follow the Law. What Jesus was basically saying is “following the Law is not sufficient…you have to change your heart.” That is why, His statements on divorce, adultery, etc. were actually “harsh” compared to today’s Church’s supposed legalism. It isn’t enough just to avoid abortion because it is horrific sin. We actually have to love life. He also brought us forgiveness and mercy to the point that He actually died for our sins.

All Francis is saying, from what I can tell, is that we need to focus more on the latter. I don’t see where he has thrown out Christ’s teaching on the former. So, we still need to not only follow the Law, but also change our hearts. In the meantime, we need to be reaching out to others and sharing the very important message of forgiveness and mercy.

I think of it in terms of sins of commission, and sins of omission. That Pope Francis is reminding us that as Catholics our duty isn’t simply to avoid committing certain acts, or to keep others from committing them. It is also to do acts of charity, compassion, caring, as another poster said acts of love. Carrying out that duty of doing good in the world is more likely to gain the church converts, or at least respect for her message.

Absolutely, but we do all that, as well. It is sort of a walking and chewing gum at the same time sort of thing. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta was really good at it. She had no problem speaking the truth about things like abortion and other sins, and no one would say she was short in the “acts of charity, compassion, caring, as another poster said acts of love” department. That’s probably why she’s “Blessed.” :slight_smile:

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