Pursue truth with compassion in marriage tribunals, Pope tells bishops
November 18, 2016
Pope Francis spoke on November 18 to a group of bishops participating in a course on new procedures for marriage tribunals, and exhorted them to be compassionate to Catholics dealing with broken marriages.
The Church, the Pope said, is “embodied in the sad stories and sufferings of the people.” He urged the bishops to take a pastoral approach to “those who are far away from the ecclesial community or consider themselves outside of it due to their marital failure.” Whatever their difficulties, the Pope reminded the bishops, the faithful remain tied to the Church through Baptism.
The Pope spoke of the streamlined procedures for marriage tribunals, which he had issued nearly a year ago, and asked the bishops to ensure that they were carried out. He stressed that they should “decisively eliminate every impeident of a worldly nature which makes it difficult for a large number of the faithful to access ecclesiastical tribunals.” Financial shortages, he said, “cannot be an obstacle” to Catholics who approach the tribunal for a decision on the validity of their unions.
In closing his remarks, the Pope suggested that the bishops should pray that they, and he, would “respond with availability and humility to the cry for help of so many of our brothers and sisters who need to discover the truth about their marriage and their way of life.”