By Vatican News
Greeting course participants on Saturday, Pope Francis got straight to the heart of the argument, saying the theme of this course has combined two crucial aspects: the protection of marriage and the pastoral care of couples in crisis.
The difficulties of marriage today, he said “come from many different causes: psychological, physical, environmental, cultural...; sometimes they are caused by the closure of the human heart to love, by the sin that touches us all.”
That is why, the Pope continued, the Church, when she encounters these realities of couples facing difficulties, first of all weeps and suffers with them.
The Pope noted that the Church is never “impersonal or cold in the face of these sad and troubled stories of life. For this reason, even in her canonical and jurisprudential procedures, the Church always and only seeks the good of those facing marriage difficulties”.
The Pontiff continued by saying, that is why every ecclesiastical body, that faces a marriage that is suffering, “must always first of all entrust themselves to the Holy Spirit, so that, guided by Him, they may listen with the right criteria, and be able to examine, discern and judge.”
The Sacrament of marriage “cannot be improvised”, the Pope pointed out.
He went on to says that Christian couples preparing for marriage must “nourish and progressively increase within themselves that specific call to model themselves as Christian spouses.”
But the Pope also emphasized, that the bishop, or parish priest, who prepare engaged couples for this sacrament, “must help them to be living and apostolic cells of parish communities”
The Pope commented that “the married saints Aquila and Priscilla, friends and collaborators of Saint Paul, are a beautiful example of this vocation to the conjugal apostolate.
The Church, in its parish structure, he concluded, “is concretely a community of families, called to become, like Aquila and Priscilla, witnesses of the Gospel in that territory.”