From America magazine, part of an interview conducted recently:
Two issues at the present synod are divorced and remarried Catholics and gay Catholics, especially those in relationships. Do you have opportunities to listen directly to these Catholics in your present ministry?
I have been a priest for 35 years. This problem is not new. I have the impression that we have a lot of work to do in the theological field, not only related to the question of divorce, but also the theology of marriage. I am astonished that some can say, “Everything is clear” on this topic. Things are not clear. It is not about church doctrine being determined by modern times. It is a question of aggiornamento, to say it in a way that the people can understand, and to always adapt our doctrine to the Gospel, to theology, in order to find in a new way the sense of what Jesus said, the meaning of the tradition of the church and of theology and so on. There is a lot to do.
I speak with many experts—canon lawyers and theologians—who recognize many questions related to the sacramentality and validity of marriages. One question is: What can we do when a person marries, divorces and later finds a new partner? There are different positions. Some bishops at the synod said, “They are living in sin.” But others said, “You cannot say that somebody is in sin every day. That is not possible.” You see, there are questions we must speak about. We opened a discussion on this topic in the German bishops’ conference. Now the text is published. I think it is a very good text and a good contribution for the discussion of the synod.
It is very important that the synod does not have the spirit of “all or nothing.” It is not a good way. The synod cannot have winners and losers. That is not the spirit of the synod. The spirit of the synod is to find a way together, not to say, “How can I find a way to bring my position through?” Rather: “How can I understand the other position, and how can we together find a new position?” That is the spirit of the synod…
…The Eucharist and reconciliation are necessary for people. We say to some people, “You will never be reconciled until your death.” That is impossible to believe when you see the situations. I could give examples. In the spirit of “Evangelii Gaudium,” we have to see how the Eucharist is medicine for the people, to help the people. We must look for ways for people to receive the Eucharist. It is not about finding ways to keep them out! We must find ways to welcome them. We have to use our imagination in asking, “Can we do something?” Perhaps it is not possible in some situations. That is not the question. The focus must be on how to welcome people.
There’s much more about Francis, the Synod, gays and more. Read it all.
Photo: Cardinal Reindhard Marx in 2010, by Wolfgang Roucka via Wikipedia