Rorate Caeli

IMPORTANT: POPE - Couples who are "in a second union" are "part of the Church" - but the Pope also mentions Familiaris Consortio 84

What does this signal for the October "Family Synod"? We shall see. From Vatican Radio (we shall add the full English text of the audience following official translation):

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis resumed his General Audiences on Wednesday, following the summer holiday. In his catechesis, the Holy Father continued his teaching on the family, reflecting on the situation of those who have divorced and entered into a second union.

“The Church knows well,” he said, “that such a situation contradicts the Christian Sacrament.” However, he continued, the Church, as a Mother, always seeks the good and salvation of all her children. The Pope said it is important for the Church to foster a true welcome for these families in our communities. The Church must always show her pastoral care for those in such situations, especially the children.

However, it should be noted with care that the Pope, apparently for the first time in these discussions initiated by himself, expressly mentioned in the Italian text of the Audience, an open reference to John Paul II's Familiaris Consortio 84. It is precisely FC 84 that includes the essential teaching on the matter, following unchanging Catholic doctrine:

However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they "take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples."

So it does seem that the Pope might be preparing the ground for a turnaround on expectations on what is actually possible: that is, welcoming couples, but not changing doctrine at all, and certainly not regarding the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist.