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