VATICAN CITY, FEB 25, 1997 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council for the Family held its 13th Plenary Assembly from January 22 to 25 in the Vatican, on the theme "The Pastoral Ministry of the Divorced and Remarried." Today the council published "'Recommendations', which briefly summarize the Church's orientation in this regard."

The "Recommendations" start with the statement: "We want to express our faith in the sacrament of marriage: the definitive union of a man and a woman baptized in Christ: a union ordered to the welcoming and education of children."

The document affirms that "the sacrament of matrimony is a treasure for the couple itself, for society and for the Church," but adds that today, divorce has become "a true social 'sore' in many countries." Listed among the causes of divorce: "disinterest by the State concerning the stability of marriage, permissive divorce legislation, the negative influence of the mass media, ... insufficient Christian formation of the faithful."

The council recalls the Holy Father's words to the plenary about divorced and remarried people: "May they know that the Church loves them, is not far from them and suffers for their situation. Divorced remarried people are and remain her members, because they have received baptism and preserve the Christian faith."

"The Catholic Church, at the same time," says the document, "cannot remain indifferent to the proliferation of such situations, nor yield in the face of a custom, the result of a mentality which underrates marriage as a single and indissoluble commitment, just as she cannot approve all that which attempts on the very nature of marriage itself."

The council has set forth its recommendations to bishops, "to help rediscover the value and meaning of Christian marriage and conjugal life." It proposes three objectives and relative pastoral methods, which are then developed in greater detail: fidelity to the sacrament of matrimony, support for families in difficulty and spiritual accompaniment.

The Recommendations conclude with seven suggestions for bishops and priests regarding the sacrament of matrimony, the pastoral ministry to those in failed marriages and how to help the faithful better understand the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation.

av Webmaster publisert 31.03.2006, sist endret 10.03.2011 - 02:40