Welcoming Those Who “Prefer” Fornication to Marriage
Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civilta Cattolica and close confidant of Pope Francis, was quick to Tweet today the latest insult to the Sacrament of Marriage:
“The welcoming of those young people who prefer to live together without getting married…”
Now it would seem that Rome is extending de facto recognition of cohabitation as simply a matter of preference (sin’s such an ugly word after all) and by no means something requiring (immediate) correction.
Apparently fornication doesn’t quite carry the stigma or baggage that it once did. Consider the words of St. Paul, that rigid apostle to the Gentiles. Admonishing the Corinthians he (infallibly) wrote:
Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:9-11).
For those today who consider straight talk to be unmerciful, it would seem that St. Paul’s words are best ignored.
Mind you, no one is opposed to “welcoming” those in a perpetual state of mortal sin. The Church has been doing that since day one. There would be no need for confessionals and confiteors if sinners weren’t welcome.
What is significantly different over the past couple years, however, is the desire to recognize-and thereby extend a level of acceptance to-certain sins, namely adultery and fornication.
If you don’t believe that, look to the other expression making an appearance in Fr. Spadaro’s article (he links to it in his Tweet). New on the scene is this post-synodal phrase the “fullness of marriage.”
Introduced in the final relatio of the 2015 Synod on the Family, it would appear that the “fullness of marriage” serves as a goal of sorts for those living in sin today. But, since language such as sin and grace is viewed as rigid and lacking mercy, we instead get welcoming of fornicators (with a big smile to boot). For priests like Fr. Spadaro, it would appear that sacramental marriage is simply an ideal that we aspire too, rather than God’s design for us. In his article he writes:
All these situations must be addressed in a constructive manner, trying to transform them into an opportunity to journey towards the fullness of marriage and family in the light of the Gospel.
One wonders why we don’t welcome others who simply prefer their favorite sins?
Maybe the Church should welcome those who prefer pederasty over marred, adult, sex.
How about those who prefer polygamy instead of traditional sacramental marriage? Where are they at on the “fullness of marriage” scale?
Finally, why aren’t we welcoming those who simply prefer stealing over legitimately earning a wage for a hard days work?
After all, if we have moved past pesky concepts such as mortal sin, presumption, judgement, and hell, then let’s not waste time. The direct language of St. Paul becomes a stumbling block to those who view clarity and absolute truth as being unmerciful. Why preach against sin and concern ourselves with the eternal soul when we can simply welcome the unrepentant.
It is important to shine a light on these rapidly progressing developments of language and practice in the Church. There is a sense of urgency among those looking to radically change the manner in which the Church defines family and marriage.
Don’t waste your time looking for doctrinal change; the Church cannot err on matters of faith and morals. She can, however, create confusion where there was once clarity through actions and word.
Continue to pray for those courageous priests and bishops who are holding to the immutable truths of the faith and valiantly defending marriage from the purveyors of false mercy.
Posted on February 26, 2017, in life and tagged family, Fornication, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, marriage, pope francis, synod on the family. Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.
Priests who wwlcome sexual sin, usually are also perpetuating sexual sin. Has anybody investigated Fr Sporado’s history? Perhaps his faith in the vow of celibacy has been equally sporadic.
This article completely misses the point.
Unlike in times past, most couples who cohabitate are not rejecting the idea of marriage. Instead, they do not see cohabitation as sinful nor do they see any benefit to marriage.
The couples’ situation can be resolved by separation, but it can also be resolved by marriage (assuming there are no impediments to marriage). The goal is to welcome these couples to Church and get them to the altar, not to chase them away.
There is never any message of actual Sacramental Marriage for these folks, which Fr. Sproado considers to be an “Impossible ideal” for most people.
You seem to be making a lot of assumptions. Have you even read the document?
Even after reafing the document, I see no mention of the spiritual works of mercy from.this priest, only an emptt mercy that leaves all in the same staye of sin they were in before. Including the “social stigma ” of a cheap wedding you list below, there is no reason for such stigma at all. It is a worthless affectation.
Did you even read the material and pray to understand it? What, would you just kick sinners who intend to repent and change out of the Church before the Church can help them obtain God’s Will? Then, there will be no one in the Church. That is Satan’s plan.
No one is kicking anybody out if the Church. We kick ourselves out by our own free will. However, the door is always open if we only repent. And we are not stopping anyone from attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, either. Although, we stop ourselves from partaking in the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ by choosing sin. All our excuses for our sins on earth will not help us at the Four Last Things.
What will help at the last four things, is being enough of a friend of God, Jesus, and Mary not to run screaming away to hell at the revelation of truth of our lives.
Not all who are in the Church Militant nor the Church Suffering are Catholic. But all who reach the Church Triumphant are Catholic.
True, but this article treats the cleric as if he is suggesting that we accept sin. The cleric is not. The cleric is saying we must accept the sinner where they are and help them move toward where they should be. If people are drawn to God, even in their sin, they should be embraced with the future state in mind, not the current state.
Where does it say that Fr. Sporado would require that they move forward to marriage?
Go to his post on Twitter and read the whole document in order to understand.
Even in that article that is linked to, I still see support of the utilitarian and modern secularist view of “wait for stability to get married” instead of “Get married to create financial stability”.
This secular utilitarian relativism that has entered the church, MUST be preached against in the strongest terms, in all cases.
That’s fine, but you should not be a pastor of souls.
Nah, my role is more prophet. In hopes that people will think I’m crazy and change their behavior to prove me wrong. The voice crying out in the wilderness praying that he is wrong, because if he’s right, we’re in much worse shape than even he can imagine.
I am very much hoping that I am wrong about Pope Francis. But every time I get a glimmer of the light at the end of my despair, another Fr. Sporado or Cardinal Kasper comes along to crush that hope into dust, supporting immorality, pride, and unrepenatance over The Way of Life.
But read the message. It is not an acceptance of sin; it is an acceptance of sinners. Jesus accepted all of us where we are and calls us to a metanoia which, by the way, takes time to build new habits. Think.
Making excuses isn’t acceptance of sinners. The spiritual works of mercy is acceptance of sinners. Remember those?
To instruct the ignorant;
To counsel the doubtful;
To admonish sinners;
To bear wrongs patiently;
To forgive offences willingly;
To comfort the afflicted;
To pray for the living and the dead.
I don’t see “waiting for existential security” in that list. I don’t see “The welcoming of those young people who prefer to live together without getting married…” in that list.
It is not merciful to pretend that “In many circumstances, the decision to live together is a sign of a relationship which wants, in reality, to lead to a stable union in the future.” Rather it is almost always a sign of a young man who is deathly afraid of the commitment that should be required for having sex- which when done properly takes 35 to 40 years.
Actually, the spiritual works of mercy reflects exactly what Fr. Spadaro intends. You don’t see that? How do you instruct the ignorant if you do not first invite them in to learn and, because of their charitable treatment, be open to accepting the teaching into their hearts?
I do not see that. I see only welcoming, with no mention of instruction, admonishment, counseling the doubtful.
Well, that’s what you see.
I wish it was just me. But a lot of people have this problem with Ignatian Spirituality. And it’s not just Fr. Sporado or Pope Francis either- the damage can be seen in Jesuit colleges and high schools all over Europe and North America. It’s far bigger than this one narrow question as well, as the Atlantic Conference of Canadian Catholic Bishops has shown in their “accompaniment” of people committing suicide, or with Bishop McElroy of San Diego who uses the same reasoning to support same-sex marriage.
It’s a loophole you can drive any sin through.
At Mass today, my pastor reminded all that ashes were for all Christians present, but that the Eucharist was only for Catholics in good standing.
My point here is that while the pastor is certainly willing to work with any habitual sinner who comes to him and discerns with him a path forward to a state of grace, he does not change doctrine to remove the state of grace as a prerequisite to receiving Holy Communion- neither does Pope Francis, me neither does Fr. Spadaro, IMHO. But lo, nevertheless, welcome sinners to come to them for discernment and for a reckoning of their true situations- that is – for spiritual direction.
Yes, they’ve been doing the same thing since the French Revolution- and how well has that worked out? 5/6 children who go through confirmation, are no longer Catholic 5 years later.
This methodology has been a dismal failure.
Well, the problem started with Adam and Eve, then Cain, then came stoning under Moses (which we now say is too harsh – but it was apparently thought appropriate at the time – under their particular conditions), with Moses being a murderer whom God took time to discern with and then David being an adulterer who procured murder of a subordinate, but with whom God discerned. I’m sorry, I digress.
Yes you do. But not quite far enough. The moral relativism in the Old Tesatament became the hypocrisy in the New Testament. The hypocrisy Jesus Christ came to free us from.
There is good reason to be far more rigid than we have been. Christiandom was built on it, and losing that, has lost us civilization itself.
Why would God choose a murderer to lead His people? Why would God allow David to continue to rule after is mortal sins? God took them both under His wing, discerned with their hearts and grew them in holiness. Is that not God’s Way, to acknowledge human weakness and human desire in the heart for goodness, and to help them to achieve goodness if they so desire, even beginning in a state of terrible sin? This is the discernment which the Holy Spirit is directing, like the Potter who reforms the clay to perfect each pot before it goes into the oven (earthly death).
God didn’t choose David. God was opposed to Israel having kings. Samuel chose both Saul and David, after the people rejected his prophecy.
You didn’t answer my question, and I did not state that God chose David (whether He personally caused the choice or it occurred via an agent of God is neither here nor there).
Your first premise is incorrect, thus the entire question is invalid. God didn’t choose David, the prophet Samuel did, and even then, only under force.
I don’t answer invalid questions coming from false premise.
In fairness, though, it is painful to read the tweets and not really know for sure what exactly this guy who speaks for the Holy Father is trying to communicate. It would be one thing if he gave a brief chat about how young people are actually terrified of the rending asunder of marriage and have therefore somehow bought into yet another lie of the devil that cohabiting is somehow less degraded and less damaging and has less detrimental potential if the relationship founders….but, no. He just makes it sound like this welcome somehow is preferable to the timeless truth about God’s best for these people- the sacred trust He gave to the Holy Father with the confidence that he would both protect and provide that trust for these souls in peril. Yeah, I get why people are miffed.
Many people who are cohabitating, do want marriage, but believe it is impossible for them at the current time.
It is not uncommon to hear things along the lines of “We want to get married some day, but we can’t afford a wedding.” This may seem odd to some, but there is often far more social stigma attached to a low budget wedding than to cohabitating.
The correct answer to thst is “You do not need money, invitations, or even the permission of the state. Let us go to the church right now, get you married, then we will work on the rest”.
That is the problem that the dubia was supposed to answer- is a firm commitment to change required? The entire question about AL revolves around this question- are the sinners willing to repent and change, or are they only willing to pridefully state that they are “At Peace with God” about their sinful situation, requiring God to convert to them?
The other day at his homily in Santa Marta Pope Francis criticized Catholics living a “double life” i.e paying an unjust wage and still going to Mass and participating in Church associations. Yet people can live a double life sexually and he invokes mercy, discernment, journeying, accompaniment etc. etc. One problem here is the focus on sex. It seems like an obsession, the kind of thing many people, and not just on the left, accuse the church of having. The other disturbing element is the lack of clear thinking, clear teaching and magisterium “off the top of one’s head.” Pray for the Church.
You know the truth, I know the truth- we don’t really have a question about what Jesus said, or what He meant. The Church lives within us as long as we hold fast to the heart and mind of God in that truth.
What actually is perhaps a question, however, is how well any of these ‘people’ – the folks in all these mangled relationships in question, really get that what they are doing or have done is wrong to the point that it has completely destroyed their potential relationships with themselves, with their neighbor, and with their Maker.
Clearly most of Christendom is apostate or steeped in heresy; and in spite of the internet, we, the faithful few- don’t live a compelling witness to compare with even the shadow of the martyrdom of our forebears- so, what’s a hierarchy to do? Certainly not try to revamp the essential skeleton of the truth as revealed by the mouth of Christ, Himself. There is a solution, and it is not to throw up our hands and declare ‘to hell with them all!’ however tempting that may be. Yet, I do not know what the solution is.
I’m going to begin borrowing a comment from Francis Philip, if he does not mind. “The cleric is saying we must accept the sinner where they are and help them move toward where they should be.” Generally I accept that. My pastoral approach has been to welcome people, no matter their situation, as a first step. Generally I believe that we priests should draw people to Jesus merciful heart rather than pushing them away, and a judgmental approach at the outset can do just that. These are all members of the flock, if some are wayward ones, or ones separated from the flock by sin. That said, up until now I could do that as a priest, knowing as I said to someone “The Pope (and the Bishops) had my back.” I could begin the process of drawing people to Christ and his truth, because I knew that there was a context of sound teaching within which to do that. The Pope (and the Bishops) was teaching clearly and surely the truth, i.e. “where they should be”. The problem I have as a priest now is that the teaching of the Pope is confused, unclear and divisive. As a result the Bishops are divided. There’s no teaching office providing the context of Truth for our ministry “in the trenches”. All we have is teaching by Twitter, footnote and whatever comes off the top of the Pope’s head. This is harming the Church. And as a speaker on a Podcast recently said, the damage is increasing exponentially. Lent is a good time to pray for the Pope and the universal Church. The Lord is faithful. he will lead us out of this quagmire. it may take a while. We’ll wonder what God is doing, but he is at work.
Thank you Father! Beautifully said.
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