Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortations on the Family By Two Popes

Defend PF Pope JPII and Pope Francis

Amoris Laetitia, Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Francis, 2016.

“The divorced who have entered a new union, for example, can find themselves in a variety of situations, which should not be pigeonholed or fit into overly rigid classifications leaving no room for a suitable personal and pastoral discernment. One thing is a second union consolidated over time, with new children, proven fidelity, generous self giving, Christian commitment, a consciousness of its irregularity and of the great difficulty of going back without feeling in conscience that one would fall into new sins. The Church acknowledges situations “where, for serious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate.” There are also the cases of those who made every effort to save their first marriage and were unjustly abandoned, or of “those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children’s upbringing, and are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably broken marriage had never been valid”. Another thing is a new union arising from a recent divorce, with all the suffering and confusion which this entails for children and entire families, or the case of someone who has consistently failed in his obligations to the family. It must remain clear that this is not the ideal which the Gospel proposes for marriage and the family. The Synod Fathers stated that the discernment of pastors must always take place “by adequately distinguishing,” with an approach which “carefully discerns situations”. We know that no “easy recipes” exist.”

Familiaris Consortio 84. FC was, like Amoris, a post-synodal apostolic exhortation on the family. Pope St. John Paul II called together a synod on the family in 1980, thirty six years before Pope Francis would do the same.

“Pastors must know that, for the sake of truth, they are obliged to exercise careful discernment of situations. There is in fact a difference between those who have sincerely tried to save their first marriage and have been unjustly abandoned, and those who through their own grave fault have destroyed a canonically valid marriage. Finally, there are those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children’s upbringing, and who are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably destroyed marriage had never been valid.”

4 thoughts on “Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortations on the Family By Two Popes”

  1. Um, you left out this paragraph that follows the above in Familiaris Cconsortio:

    However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

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  2. The above was to show the similarity in the writings. “Pastors must know that, for the sake of truth, they are obliged to exercise careful discernment of situations.” St. John Paul II

    “The Synod Fathers stated that the discernment of pastors must always take place “by adequately distinguishing,” with an approach which “carefully discerns situations”. We know that no “easy recipes” exist.” Pope Francis

    They are both talking about the internal forum, whereby a spiritual director will ‘walk’ with the divorced persons exercising careful discernment of the situations.

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  3. As we can see the internal forum is not a new invention. Those who are unable to go down the external route, due to a lack of witnesses etc, who are convinced that their first union was invalid, can seek the help of a good priest, who will examine their actual situation in order to discern whether or not the first union was valid or not..keeping in mind always the teachings of the Church that a true marriage is indissoluble.

    ” What we are speaking of is a process of accompaniment and discernment which “guides the faithful to an awareness of their situation before God. Conversation with the priest, in the internal forum, contributes to the formation of a correct judgment on what hinders the possibility of a fuller participation in the life of the Church and on what steps can foster it and make it grow. …”
    — Amoris Laetitia, No. 300.

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