Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pope Francis Marries 20 Couples

Headlines Go Rapid Over Pope Marrying 20 Couples

I am sure you have seen the headlines by now about Pope Francis marrying 20 couples at the Vatican. Some of the popular headlines found from a simple Google Search lead me to the alike: "No Scandal Here: The 20 Couples Married by Pope Francis were Legit", "Pope Francis Turns Heads After Marrying 20 Couples Despite Cohabitation", Pope Francis Marries 20 Couples at Vatican: Why It's Important", "At Wedding, Pope Says Spouses Make Each Other Better Men and Women", 40 'I' do's' at Vatican as Pope Marries 20 Couples" and so on they read.

Don't jump to conclusions, like any good academic will say, 'consider the source!' 

Many people are jumping to conclusions way too quickly these days, especially as they see Pope Francis doing things a bit differently from his more recent predecessors. For example instead of living inside the Vatican in fancy housing, Pope Francis lives in a modest apartment. We do not see the Pope driving around in the fancy cars with bulletproof windows, and surrounded by security guards either, rather he takes public transportation, the busing system. Francis does not even wear a fancy cross, rather he wears a simple, but elegant, Jesuit crucifix.

An example of Pope Francis' Crucifix 
Francis is a not showy, rather he is very simple, as these examples above prove. Based on the examples above, we cannot jump to conclusions and assume big changes are coming. Francis is just living a bit more modest! Many people are quickly assuming he is going to jump right in and make radical changes during his Pontificate. Error, wrong answer, try again!

Many of the Churches teachings are hundreds of years old. Francis, yet alone any Pope, is not going to come in and change things in a radical fashion. This is not good policy for anyone's business or organization no matter how big or small and whether you are running a parish or an entire Church! It is my belief however, that it is necessary on our part to have hope for our near future as I believe Francis is going to continue to slowly implement positive changes for our Church in the world today as he continues to be our fearless leader in these troubling times. (Please do not misinterpret what I mean. I do not believe Pope Francis is going to permit gay marriage, or even married priests. As such examples would go against age-old Doctrines). Perhaps such topics may be explored at another time.  

It need not be ignored that Pope Francis followed all proper procedures and policies to marry these 20 couples in the Vatican. Namely, they certainly had gone through the Churches process of an annulment prior to saying their 'I do's'.
 Annulment: unlike a divorce is usually retroactive, which means that the marriage was invalid in the first place.
 Unfortunately annulments can take time and can cause many unwanted emotions to be stirred up. Many people do not like to share their intimate details of their love life and past with clergy either, which can make annulments difficult for some individuals. Note: Please be assured the clergy has heard it all before, a good priest will be compassionate and will not look down on you for your sinful past. At this I am reminded by what the great Saint Pope John Paul II said readily, "Do not be afraid."  

Have you ever noticed that anytime something even possibly scandalous in the Catholic Church happens, the media gets a hold of it and blows it out of proportion? 

 As my professors always told me, check and double check your sources and never use a source that is not academic one! This holds especially true for anything the media tries to convey to us. Especially in regards to anything that happens in the Catholic Church, as she has had a target on her back for a long time. The media is always trying to create or make some "scandal" in the Catholic Church larger than life.

To us as Catholics this happening is more than a story it is an event. These couples deserve an applause for what they have done. At one time they had turned away from the Church in some way or another, but they all share one major commonality, they were all living in some kind of state of sin (i.e.. Some we know had children out of wedlock, some were living together before they were married).


now they have turned back to the Church through the process of annulment and the Sacrament of Reconciliation (prior to entering into the Sacrament of Marriage). The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a sacrament of healing. The beautiful thing is this, Pope Francis has helped these couples become reunited with Jesus so that they are now able to join us at Mass and fully and actively participate in the Holy Mass!    

Despite the possible scandal in the Catholic Church the media has directed its attention, these 20 couples being married in the Church has more to say than the media's hoopla. As the media focuses on the "sin" Pope Francis focuses on the "sinners."  

Lead By Example, Lead By Faith

Unlike the media, Pope Francis did not focus on the couple's sins, rather he focused on their humanness. As humans we have free-will, our free-will allows us to make mistakes and therefore our free-will allows us to commit sin. Guess what? None of us are perfect, we all sin. Imagine that! The Church has always preached about forgiveness of sins; the Church has always been forgiving. Therefore, as Pope Francis has done time and time again, he has preached about God's forgiveness and God's mercy!

Based on how I have perceived Pope Francis, I think it is safe for me to say that Pope Francis accepts these 20 couples as they are, as sinners, because Jesus accepts them too. We are all called to this mission that Pope Francis is graciously and continuously leading us too, Discipleship--Disciples of Christ. We are all called to this mission. Jesus has given us many wonderful sacraments to help us live by faith, to help us become his disciples. There are Seven Sacraments they are Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Holy Orders and Matrimony.

The Priest is Jesus' Interceptor 
I have alluded to the Sacrament of Reconciliation above, and I believe it is proper that I mention this sacrament again. Sin causes us to turn our backs on Christ. We need the Sacrament of Reconciliation to help us face forward, so that we can face Christ again with a clean slate.

Pope Francis focuses on the fact that these couples faced towards Christ again, as they have completed their penance, after they had turned their back on Christ, and after they have gone to reconciliation and asked and was granted God's mercy and forgiveness, through the priest, for their sin and they come out of the confessional with a completely new, clean slate.

During the ceremony, Pope Francis' homily was truly heartfelt, in which he told the couples that Jesus Christ, "will bring them healing by the merciful love which pours forth from the cross, with the strength of his grace that renews and sets married couples and families once again on the right path." This is certainly in line with Pope Francis' belief that God is merciful, which he continuously reminds us since he has been elected pope.

Based upon the actions and words of Pope Francis, I believe Pope Francis is a modern day example of someone who is Christ-like. I do not think that Pope Francis' actions or words are far from Jesus'. Pope Francis is leading by example. He is leading us by his faith which is exemplifying how we are all called to be Disciples of Christ.


     A Piece and Part Pope Francis' Message

We pray that the positive momentum that is happening in the Church continues. We pray that we are not obstacles to such a movement, and we pray that we do not not let the medias pettiness turn us away from Christ or the Church. May Pope Francis continue to guide us as a true and faithful servant, as his warm heart penetrates new believers daily, and may he continue to remind us and show us that God is a merciful God who is ever forgiving. And may we ever be Christ-like. Amen.

Remember, you are loved.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave me your comments, suggestions and questions and I may answer them in future Bloggs or Vlogs!