Pope Francis seemed to justify divorce when he said that it is sometimes “morally necessary” to protect the children of the families that go through it.
It is well-known that divorce is an ugly state in the Catholic faith, but just as families from other walks of life suffer from the pain of divorce, it is not something that Catholics can avoid at times. However, the fact that Pope Francis has recognized it as a necessary evil is unprecedented and highly controversial.
We have all heard of cases where divorced couples are banned from receiving communion — the most important sacrament in Catholicism — by their local pastors after going through a divorce. Pope Francis appeared to be justifying some instances where parents have no other choice.
According to the Huffington Post, the shocking comments came as part of the Pontiff’s more general reflections on conflicts within families and the struggle of how to protect children from parents who constantly fight. Speaking to the crowds gathered at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, Pope Francis said, in some cases, “separation is inevitable” and “can even become morally necessary” at times.
Despite the seemingly lenient comments from Pope Francis about divorce, the Pontiff made it clear that he was only justifying the family breakdown in extreme cases.
“…when it comes to saving the weaker spouse, or young children, from more serious injuries caused by intimidation and violence, by humiliation and exploitation, by lack of involvement and indifference.
“When the father and mother harm each other, children’s souls suffer greatly, feeling a sense of desperation. And they are wounds that leave a lifelong mark.”
While referring to conflicts within families and more specifically, divorce, Pope Francis labeled domestic fights “the most ugly thing!” Additionally, the Pontiff warned parents that giving gifts to their children as an apology for fighting with their spouse would only scar them further.
The pope recognized that Catholics facing divorce have an extremely difficult time and urged all Catholics to offer their help.
“We find many families in irregular situations around us. And this poses many questions: How can we help them? How can we accompany them? How can we accompany them so the children do not become hostages to their father or mother?”
As the Catholic Church is set on a path of inclusion of those previously marginalized — such as divorcees and gays — Pope Francis’ comments on divorce come as a refreshing reminder that the Holy Father is trying to practice what he has preached since being elected in March of 2013. It is expected that the pope’s comments will bring heated debate with the more conservative wing of the Church at a synod in October.
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