Franciscan

Fr. Tom Richstatter on Amoris Laetitia

I felt a deep sympathy with the tone of this document; many articles touched me personally. Paragraph 298 describes my sister’s marriage: "...unjustly abandoned...entered into a second union for the sake of the children’s upbringing." If this document appeared 50 years ago her children (grandchildren and great-grandchildren) would have been raised Catholic. But my sister had been told that she was "living in sin" and that nothing could be done for her. I remember her first words to me after the funeral of her "second" husband: "Tom, now can I go to Communion again?"

Some years ago I was forced to remove the explanation of the "internal forum solution" from my website; perhaps I might be allowed to post it once again. (It was one of the most frequently visited pages.)

My doctoral thesis, "Obedience to Liturgical Law," was basically a historical and canonical examination of paragraph 11 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy: "Pastors of souls must realize that, when the liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the mere observation of the laws governing valid and licit celebration..." Pope Francis makes a very similar statement with regard to marriage: "A pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in ‘irregular’ situations." (305) In my 50 years of pastoral practice I have found that when we enter into the reality of other people’s lives, "our lives" as Pope Francis says, "become wonderfully complicated." (308)

Fr. Tom Richstattler, OFM

(Read "Amoris Laetitia" at: http://w2.vatican.va/content/dam/francesco/pdf/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20160319_amoris-laetitia_en.pdf).

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