Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, has just confirmed that a Roman document to deal with the pastoral care of “divorced-remarried” couples is in preparation, at the request of Pope Francis.
Trouble was in the air on April 22, 2023, the day the plenary assembly of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life opened in the Vatican.
In his introductory speech delivered in the presence of Pope Francis, Cardinal Kevin Farrell indeed indicated the double roadmap followed by the dicastery he presides.
“The Dicastery is first of all in a preliminary phase of reflection on the elaboration of specific pastoral care for married couples in crisis who are experiencing marital crises of all kinds,” declared the high prelate.
A phase which should lead, in a second stage, to “the preparation of a text that will specifically concern concern - as you wished, Your Holiness - men and women who, having a failed marriage behind them, live in new unions.”
It should be noted that the high prelate did not specify when the document would be published, nor did he give any details as to its content. At the end of an announcement that does not seem to bode well, the Argentine pontiff addressed his greetings to those present in these terms:
“I thank you for the work accomplished in recent years and for your commitment to the daily life of many people: families, young people, the elderly, associated groups of the faithful and, more generally, lay people. who live in the world with their joys and sorrows.”
“You are a dicastery that I would define as 'popular,' and that's good! I insist: never lose this character of proximity – proximity, I underline it – with the women and men of our time.” Remarks that can be compared to an interview that the sovereign pontiff granted last March 10. Responding to a question on the possibility for divorced Catholics who have entered into a new civil union that is invalid in the eyes of the Church, to receive the Holy Eucharist, Pope Francis declared:
“We cannot reduce a human situation to a question of norms,” adding, referring to his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, “that a large part of the marriages celebrated in the Church are invalid for lack of faith.”
And the Pope concluded: “Sometimes you attend a wedding and you have the impression that it is a social reception, not a sacrament. When young people say forever, who knows what they mean by forever?”
Complex situations which do indeed exist, but it is up to a canonical trial in good and due form, carried out with the required diligence, to clarify the situation in order to conclude, if necessary, with a declaration of nullity of the matrimonial contract at the time of the exchange of consents.