Church must support married couples in crisis: Pope

Helping couples can never be an impersonal and bureaucratic process, the Pope said  (Pexels)

The sacrament of marriage cannot be “improvised” but must be prepared for, nourished and supported throughout the couple’s journey, Pope Francis said on Saturday. Source: CNS.

Christian couples also must be helped to pursue their “particular vocation to become missionary disciples as spouses, witnesses of the Gospel in family life, at work, in society, wherever the Lord calls them”, he said. And they must be given the space in parish ministries to fulfil that call.

The Pope made his remarks in a meeting with men and women enrolled in a course offered by the Roman Rota, the Vatican tribunal primarily responsible for hearing requests for marriage annulments. The course, held last week, was on safeguarding marriage and on the pastoral care of “wounded couples”.

“The Church will never be able to go on its way, turning its head away” from those couples facing crisis, he said.

“The Church, when it encounters the reality of wounded couples, first of all cries and suffers with them,” the Pope said. “It draws near to them with the oil of consolation to sooth and to heal. It wants to take upon itself all the pain it encounters.”

Helping those couples and dealing with their marriage cases can never be a merely impersonal and “bureaucratic” process, the Pope said; rather, it involves “entering into” their lived experience and offering compassion.

The Church’s canonical and juridical processes are part of its mission “always and only to seek the good of those who are wounded, seek the truth of their love,” he said.

The Church has no other intention than “to support their just and desired happiness, which, before it being a personal good to which we all humanly aspire, is a gift that God sets aside for his children and that comes from him”, the Pope said.

The Church, he said, must prepare and support couples so that marriage be “that which the Lord Jesus wanted it to be”, a vocation and sacrament that fills both spouses with joy and with spiritual and human fulfilment.

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Church seeks what is best for those who are wounded, Pope says (CNS

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