In the combox of a previous post, Faz/Tony gave the link to this report on the BBC News Europe site. To Tony’s credit, he did say that “[the] secular media often screws up reports related to the church”. I’ll say. Let’s look at this report. My comments in brackets in bold.
Pope marries 20 cohabiting couples [really? They were ALL cohabiting?] in sign of papacy shift
14 September 2014
The wedding ceremony marks a shift in attitude, explains David Willey from Rome
Pope Francis has presided over the marriage of 20 couples at the Vatican, including some [some? NOT all 20 then?] who were cohabiting, one of them with a child.
Pope Francis had asked to marry 40 people from different social backgrounds who represented modern couples.
It was the first papal marriage ceremony of its kind in 14 years.
The pope has expressed greater tolerance than his predecessor on many issues, including family values. [And so we buy into the "Pope Francis more liberal than Pope Benedict" myth...]
Sunday’s ceremony at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome comes three weeks before a meeting of Catholic bishops from around the world to examine church teachings on family matters.
One of the couples married was a man whose previous marriage was annulled [good - then he was perfectly free to marry again. Who would disagree? Certainly not Pope Benedict] and a single mother with a daughter from a previous relationship. [Since when was having a child from a previous relationship any bar to receiving the sacrament of matrimony?]
Pope Francis has shown more openness than his predecessors on the subject of marriage [Really? Please tell me where in Pope Francis' magisterium we can find evidence of this?]. Pope Francis told the couples at the two-hour ceremony that marriage was “not an easy road, it’s sometimes a contentious trip, but that’s life,” AFP news agency reports. ["Pope says marriage can be difficult" - And this is news?]
Very slowly, the church under the guidance of Pope Francis is facing the fact that many Catholic couples cohabit before marriage, use contraception freely and divorce and remarry without seeking an annulment, says the BBC’s David Willey in Rome. [Now there is a statement that is REALLY "screwed up". No such changes are on the agenda, certainly not Pope Francis' agenda.]
He said in his homily that families are “bricks that build society”, but also believes that the church should forgive those who have sex outside marriage or who don’t obey church teaching to the letter. [A. The bit after "but..." in that sentence is the product of journalistic imagination; B. Even if the Pope did say that, who would be suprised? Parish priests forgive such sins whenever they hear confessions!]
It was the first marriage Pope Francis has conducted in his 18-month papacy. The last wedding to be presided over by a pope took place under John Paul II in 2000.
The world’s clergy will gather in Rome in October to discuss issues such as marriage, divorce and contraception.
They are expected to discuss the results of a worldwide survey launched by the Vatican last year to find out what Catholics really think about its teaching on marriage and family life.
Let’s make a couple of things quite clear:
1) Pope Francis did nothing that parish priests do not do regularly in their ministry
2) Pope Francis did nothing that was not completely in accord with canon law
3) Pope Francis did nothing that was at odds with the teaching or example of their predeccesors
4) Pope Francis sanctified by the sacrament of matrimony the lives and relationships of 20 couples, who will now benefit along the journey of married life from the grace of the sacrament.
It might be worth actually reading what Pope Francis said to the 20 couples in question. Please quote to me the bit where he shows a “shift in attitude” about, a “greater tolerance” for, or “more openness” toward the sins of cohabitation before marriage, divorce, use of contraception, divorce and remarriage, etc.?
Rather he says that “Whoever entrusts himself to Jesus crucified receives the mercy of God and finds healing from the deadly poison of sin.” Sin is a “deadly poison”, and
“the cure which God offers…to spouses who ‘have become impatient on the way’ and who succumb to the dangerous temptation of discouragement, infidelity, weakness, abandonment”
his Son Jesus, not to condemn them, but to save them: if they entrust themselves to him, he will bring them healing by the merciful love which pours forth from the Cross, with the strength of his grace that renews and sets married couples and families once again on the right path.
Amen to that.