For the second time of which The Motley Monk is aware, Pope Francis has expressed what may be some "new thinking" about the pastoral problem presented by the theological and canonical issues involved in the Church's teaching about divorce and remarriage, according to Zenit.
In a discussion with the seminarians of the Diocese of Rome on September 17, Pope Francis said:
The problem cannot be reduced merely to a matter of who can receive communion or not, because to pose the question in these terms does not enable an understanding of the real problem....It is a serious problem regarding the Church's responsibility towards families living in this situation....The Church must now do something to solve the problem of marriage annulment.
More importantly, the Pope called this discussion and study "a real existential periphery,' perhaps to suggest that this approach to the problem of marriage annulment will not be the "same old, same old" approach according priority to theological and canonical issues.
For sure, Pope Francis is radically refocusing the debate by suggesting the reception of Holy Communion is not the primary issue. But, this assertion isn't new. It was previously broached by Pope Benedict XVI in a learned article he wrote as Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.
Perhaps that article stimulated Pope Francis to think about a more pastoral solution to the problem of marriage annulment and now will provide the point of orientation as well as for theological and canonical reflection at the meeting of the group of eight cardinals as well as the next Synod of Bishops.
Who's to know?
That the Pope's thoughts are moving him in the direction of dealing with these important pastoral issues, The Motley Monk thinks, is important in terms of the signal it sends to divorced and remarried Catholics. Pope Francis is thinking about their difficulties as a pastor would.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the Pope's discussion with the seminarians of the Diocese of Rome, click on the following link: