The Pope wants the Catholic Church to establish “accompaniment itineraries” in a specific pastoral for the divorced and remarried and for couples who already live together before marriage. This has been made clear in the prologue to the Catechumenal itinerary for married life of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life published this Wednesday in the Vatican.
“It is my fervent wish that this first Document be followed as soon as possible by another, in which concrete pastoral methods and possible accompaniment itineraries are indicated, specifically dedicated to those couples who have experienced the failure of their marriage and live in a new union or have remarried civilly”, explains the Pope Francisco.
And the importance of chastity occupies a few paragraphs in this document. He says that “the Church must never lack the courage to propose the precious virtue of chastity, however much it is now in stark contrast to the common mentality. Chastity must be presented as an authentic ‘ally of love’, not as its negation. It is, in fact, the privileged way of learning to respect the individuality and dignity of the other, without subordinating it to one’s own wishes.. Chastity teaches newlyweds the times and ways of true love, delicate and generous, and prepares them for the authentic gift of themselves that will be lived later throughout life in marriage”.
He argues that It is necessary to “show that the virtue of chastity not only has a negative dimension that asks each one, according to their state of life, to refrain from a disorderly use of sexuality, but also has a very important positive dimension of freedom of the possession of the other – in physical, moral and spiritual terms – which, in the case of the call to marriage, is of fundamental importance in guiding and nurturing conjugal love, preserving it from any manipulation. Chastity, in short, teaches, in any state of life, to be faithful to the truth of one’s own love. This will mean, for the couple, to live chastity in continence and, once married, to live conjugal intimacy with moral rectitude”.
And he continues: “Chastity lived in continence allows the relationship to mature gradually and in depth. When, in fact, as often happens, the sexual-genital dimension becomes the main element, if not the only one, that holds a couple together, all other aspects inevitably take a backseat or are obscured and the relationship does not progress. Chastity lived in continence, on the contrary, facilitates reciprocal knowledge between the couple, because by preventing the relationship from focusing on the physical instrumentalization of the other, it allows a deeper dialogue”.
“It is never useless to speak of the virtue of chastity, not even when speaking to couples who live together, analyze. “This virtue teaches every baptized person, in any condition of life, the correct use of their sexuality, and therefore, even in married life, it is of supreme use. As spouses, in fact, the importance of those values and attentions taught by the virtue of chastity emerges even more clearly: respect for the other, care never to submit to one’s own desires, patience and delicacy with the spouse in moments of difficulty, physical and spiritual, the strength and self-control necessary in times of absence or illness of one of the spouses, etc. Also in this context, the experience of Christian spouses will be important to explain the importance of this virtue within marriage and the family.
The document stresses that the Church wants to be close to divorced and remarried couples and those who already live together before marriage and also walk with them so that they do not feel abandoned and they can find in the communities accessible and fraternal places of welcome, of help to discernment and of participation.
On the other hand, it stands out the need to avoid breakups and has highlighted marriage preparation as an “antidote” to prevent the proliferation of null or inconsistent marriage celebrations.
“Preventing ruptures, in fact, is a decisive factor today to avoid separations, which can deteriorate and irreparably damage the bond”, Explain.
In this sense, he warns of the “serious concern” that causes him that with too superficial a preparation, couples run the real risk of celebrate a null marriage or one with such weak foundations that it “falls apart” in a short time and cannot withstand even the first inevitable crises.
Francis also refers to the situation of families with problems that leave deep wounds in people. In this sense, he recalls that the Church is a mother and that “a mother has no preferences among her children” but must give them all the same care, the same attention and the same time.
“Like priests and consecrated people, couples are also children of the mother Church, and such a big difference in treatment is not fair,” he warns.
It also recalls that vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life arise precisely from families, which are the ones that make up the fabric of society and “they mend their tears with patience and daily sacrifices”. “It is a duty of justice for the mother Church to dedicate time and energy to preparing those whom the Lord calls to a mission as great as the family,” he stresses.
Francis thus asks that the parish or the community have a pastoral service to accompany couples in crisis, to which those who perceive that they are in this particular situation can go.
In this sense, the Vatican suggests that it be the spouses, especially those who have experienced a crisis after having overcome it, who become “companions” of couples in difficulty or already divided.
In the same way, the document Catechumenal Itinerary for married life of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life points out that “it is urgent to launch formation projects aimed at couples who accompany both those who are in crisis and those who are separated, in order to create the conditions for a pastoral service that responds to the needs of families and, also, of children.”
With everything, the Vatican recognizes that there are situations in which separation is inevitable and, citing the Pope’s encyclical Amoris Laetitiait is claimed that sometimes it may even become “morally necessary”, when it is precisely a matter of removing the weakest spouse, or the young children, from the most serious wounds caused by arrogance and violence, discouragement and exploitation, alienation and indifference.
For the Vatican, it is important to “accompany [también] pastorally to the separated, the divorced and the abandoned”. In addition, it pays special attention to the need to “welcome and especially value the pain of those who have suffered unjustly separation, divorce or abandonment, or have been forced to break the coexistence due to mistreatment of the spouse.”
Finally, the document defends that Divorced and never-remarried persons, who are often witnesses to marital fidelity, should be encouraged to find in the Eucharist the nourishment that sustains them in their state.
(With information from Europe Press)
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