Pope Francis continued his catechesis about the family during his Wednesday general audience. This time, he discussed divorced Catholics who remarry. It's a topic that has generated plenty of interest, especially with the upcoming Synod on the Family.
It was the first general audience of the summer after a break in July, and the Pope spoke frankly about the issue.
"The Church knows well that these situations contradict the Christian Sacrament. Without a doubt, the Church has a teacher's gaze but supports with a mother's heart. A heart that, encouraged by the Holy Spirit, always looks out for the well-being and salvation of people.”
Fraternity and a sincere appreciation of the love and the truth are necessary for these couples, the Pope explained. Despite what many people think, the Pope clarified that divorced people who remarry are not excommunicated. The statement caused the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall to break out with applause.
"These people are not excommunicated. They are not excommunicated! And they should never be treated as such. They are always part of the Church.”
He also spoke about children. The Pope said that they suffer the most in these situations and for that reason, Christian communities, he said, must be especially careful about how they treat their parents.
"Besides, how can we recommend these parents do everything to educate their children in the Christian life, giving example of a committed and practiced faith, if we distance them from community life?”
To conclude, Pope Francis recalled that there are no simple solutions to apply in all of these cases. He added that communities must support these couples and help them on their faith journey with prayer and charity. Listening to the Word of God and providing a Christian education for their children is also crucial.