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Pope Francis: be close to couples, announce that marriage is sign of love of Christ and the Church

February 27, 2017

Pope Francis told parish priests taking part in a course on the canonical annulment process that they “are called by every person and every situation to be traveling companions, to witness and to support.”

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The course was organized by the Roman Rota in the wake of the documents Mitis Iudex, Mitis et Misericors Iesus, and Amoris Laetitia.

“May your first concern be to bear witness to the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage and the primordial good of the family, the vital cell of the Church and society, by announcing that marriage between a man and a woman is a sign of the nuptial relationship between Christ and His Church,” the Pope told the priests.

“The love of the Triune God and the love between Christ and the Church, His bride, must be at the center of catechesis and matrimonial evangelization,” the Pope continued. Do not tire of showing everyone, especially married couples, this ‘great mystery’ (Eph. 5:32).”

The Pope added:

As you offer this testimony, be sure also to support those who have realized that their marriage is not a truly sacramental marriage, and want to come out of the situation. In this delicate and necessary task, may your faithful see you not only as experts of bureaucratic acts or legal norms, but as brothers who listen and understand them…

At the same time, be neighbors in the style proper to the Gospel, in encounter and welcome, to those young people who prefer to cohabit without getting married, because on a spiritual and moral level they are among the poorest and the least, for whom the Church, following in the footsteps of her Master and Lord, wishes to be a mother who does not abandon them, but rather who approaches and cares for them … This care for the least, precisely because it emanates from the Gospel, is an essential part of your task of promoting and defending the Sacrament of Marriage.

Pope Francis also encouraged the priests to establish a “true catechumenate” for marriage, including “the period of preparation for marriage, its celebration, and the years immediately afterwards.”


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