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The mission of the Church is delicate and demanding regarding those who live in problematic marital or family situations. First are those who could be married in the Church but who are content with a civil marriage or simple cohabitation. If their attitude comes from a lack of faith or religious interest, it is truly a missionary situation. When, however, they have some relationship with the Church community, frequenting perhaps parish groups or ecclesial movements, a way is opened for their approach of sacramental marriage. The dynamics of pastoral relationships on a personal level can provide a solid basis for a sound teaching method which might foster the gradual opening of minds and hearts to the fullness of God's plan. Vgl. Bisschoppensynodes, De roeping en de missie van het gezin in de Kerk en de moderne wereld, Instrumentum Laboris voor de 14e Gewone Bisschoppensynode (2015) (23 juni 2015), 103

Regarding the separated and the divorced who have not remarried, the community of the Church can help those who live these situations in a path of pardon and possibly of reconciliation, and can help the children who are victims of these situations and may encourage those left alone after such a failure, to persevere in faith and in the Christian life and also “to find in the Eucharist the nourishment they need to sustain them in their present state of life”. Bisschoppensynodes, De roeping en de missie van het gezin in de Kerk en de moderne wereld, Instrumentum Laboris voor de 14e Gewone Bisschoppensynode (2015) (23 juni 2015), 118

It is important to have, at least at the diocesan level, listening centers which can in part help in moments of crisis, but also afterwards. Vgl. 2e Vaticaans Concilie, Constitutie, Over de heilige liturgie, Sacrosanctum Concilium (4 dec 1963), 117 Another kind of counseling, equally important, is offered to the divorced to help to clarify the possible invalidity of their failed marriage, as is previewed in the motu proprio Paus Franciscus - Motu Proprio
Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus
De Heer Jezus, barmhartige rechter - Enkele aanpassingen van het kerkelijk wetboek aangaande het huwelijksrecht
(15 augustus 2015)
.

Regarding the divorced-and-civilly-remarried, a merciful, pastoral accompaniment is only right – an accompaniment, however, which leaves no doubt about the truth of the indissolubility of marriage taught by Jesus Christ himself. The mercy of God offers to sinners pardon, but demands conversion. The sin in this case does not lie first and foremost in whatever comportment which may have led to the breakup of the first marriage. With regard to that failure it is possible that both parties were equally culpable, although very often both are to some extent responsible. It is therefore not the failure of the first marriage, but cohabiting in the second relationship that impedes access to the Eucharist. “Many parties request that the attention to and the accompaniment of persons who are divorced and civilly remarried take into account the diversity of situations and be geared towards a greater integration of them into the life of the Christian community”. Bisschoppensynodes, De roeping en de missie van het gezin in de Kerk en de moderne wereld, Instrumentum Laboris voor de 14e Gewone Bisschoppensynode (2015) (23 juni 2015), 121 What impedes some aspects of full integration does not consist in an arbitrary prohibition; it is rather an intrinsic demand of varied situations and relationships, in the context of ecclesial witness. All this requires, however, a profound reflection.

With respect to a way of penance, this expression is used in diverse ways. Vgl. Bisschoppensynodes, De roeping en de missie van het gezin in de Kerk en de moderne wereld, Instrumentum Laboris voor de 14e Gewone Bisschoppensynode (2015) (23 juni 2015), 122-123 These ways need to be deepened and specified. It can be understood in the sense of St. John Paul II's H. Paus Johannes Paulus II - Postsynodale Apostolische Exhortatie
Familiaris Consortio
Over de taken van het christelijk gezin in de wereld van deze tijd
(22 november 1981)
Vgl. H. Paus Johannes Paulus II, Postsynodale Apostolische Exhortatie, Over de taken van het christelijk gezin in de wereld van deze tijd, Familiaris Consortio (22 nov 1981), 84 and referred to those who are divorced-and-remarried, who because of the needs of their children cannot interrupt their common life, but who can practice continence by the strength of grace, living their relationship of mutual help and friendship. These faithful will also have access to the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, avoiding the provocation of scandal. Vgl. Bisschoppensynodes, De roeping en de missie van het gezin in de Kerk en de moderne wereld, Instrumentum Laboris voor de 14e Gewone Bisschoppensynode (2015) (23 juni 2015), 119 This possibility is far from being physicalist and does not reduce marriage to the exercise of sexuality, but recognizing its nature and purpose, is applied coherently in the life of the human person.

The integration of the divorced and remarried in the ecclesial community can be realized in various ways, apart from admission to the Eucharist, as already suggested in H. Paus Johannes Paulus II - Postsynodale Apostolische Exhortatie
Familiaris Consortio
Over de taken van het christelijk gezin in de wereld van deze tijd
(22 november 1981)
.

In the traditional practice of the Latin Church the penitential path could have signified for those who were not ready to change their living conditions, but who tried to communicate the desire for conversion, that confessors could hear their confession, giving them good advice and proposing penitential exercises, in order to direct them to conversion, but without giving them the absolution which was possible only for those who actually intended to change their lives (cf RI 5 in VI; F. A. Febeus, S. I., De regulisiuris canonici Liber unicus, Venetiis 1735, pp. 91-92).

True marriages among Christians of different confessions and those celebrated with the dispensation of the impediment from the disparity of worship, between a Catholic and a non-baptized individual, they are valid marriages, but present some pastoral challenges. “Consequently, dealing constructively with differences regarding the faith would necessitate paying particular attention to people who are actually living in these marriages and not simply to couples during the period of preparation before the wedding”. Bisschoppensynodes, De roeping en de missie van het gezin in de Kerk en de moderne wereld, Instrumentum Laboris voor de 14e Gewone Bisschoppensynode (2015) (23 juni 2015), 127

For what regards the reference to the pastoral practices of the Orthodox Churches, this cannot be properly evaluated using only the conceptual apparatus developed in the West in the second Millennium. It should be kept in mind (that there are) great institutional differences regarding the tribunals of the Church, as well as the special respect for the legislation of the States, which at times can become critical, if the laws of the State are detached from the truth of marriage according to the design of the Creator.

On the search for pastoral solutions for the difficulty of certain divorced and civilly remarried, it must be kept in mind that fidelity to the indissolubility of marriage cannot be linked to the practical recognition of the goodness of concrete situations that are opposite and therefore irreconcilable. Between true and false, between good and evil, in fact, there is no graduality, even if some forms of cohabitation bring in themselves certain positive aspects, this does not imply that they can be presented as good. However, that the objective truth of the moral good and the subjective responsibility of single persons stand out. There may be a difference between the disorder, ie. the objective sin, and the concrete sin realized in particular conduct that also implies, but not only, the subjective element. “The imputability and responsibility of an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, duress, violence, fear, habits, inordinate attachments and by other psychological or even social factors”. Catechismus-Compendium, Catechismus van de Katholieke Kerk (15 aug 1997), 1735 This means that in objective truth good and evil are not given gradually (gradualness of the law), while at the subjective level the law of graduality can take place, and therefore the education of conscience and in the same sense of responsibility. The human act, in fact, is good when it is in every aspect (ex integra causa).

Both in the last synodal assembly and during the preparation of the present general assembly the question of pastoral attention to persons with homosexual tendencies was treated. Even if the problem doesn’t directly affect the reality of the family, situations arise when such behavior influences the life of the family. In every case the Church teaches that “’There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family.’ Nevertheless, men and women with a homosexual tendency ought to be received with respect and sensitivity.’ Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided’". Congregatie voor de Geloofsleer, Overwegingen over voorstellen om wettelijke erkenning te geven aan verbintenissen tussen homoseksuele personen (3 juni 2003), 4 Bisschoppensynodes, De roeping en de missie van het gezin in de Kerk en de moderne wereld, Instrumentum Laboris voor de 14e Gewone Bisschoppensynode (2015) (23 juni 2015), 130

It reiterates that every person must be respected in their dignity independently of their sexual orientation. It would be desirable that dioceses devote special attention in their pastoral programs to the accompaniment of families where a member has a homosexual tendency and of homosexual persons themselves. Bisschoppensynodes, De roeping en de missie van het gezin in de Kerk en de moderne wereld, Instrumentum Laboris voor de 14e Gewone Bisschoppensynode (2015) (23 juni 2015), 131 Instead, “Exerting pressure in this regard on the Pastors of the Church is totally unacceptable: it is equally unacceptable for international organizations to link their financial assistance to poorer countries with the introduction of laws that establish ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex”. Bisschoppensynodes, De roeping en de missie van het gezin in de Kerk en de moderne wereld, Instrumentum Laboris voor de 14e Gewone Bisschoppensynode (2015) (23 juni 2015), 132

Document

Naam: INLEIDENDE RELATIO OP HET INSTRUMENTUM LABORIS VOOR DE 14 ALGEMENE GEWONE BISSCHOPPENSYNODE
1e plenaire vergadering - Nieuwe Synodehal
Soort: Bisschoppensynodes
Auteur: Peter Kardinaal Erdö
Datum: 5 oktober 2015
Copyrights: © 2015, Catholic News Agency
Voorlopig Engelse vertaling; alineaverdeling en -nummering: redactie
Bewerkt: 9 mei 2020

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