SUPPORT FAMILIES’ INITIATIVE:
SUMMARY OF THE FAMILIES’ LETTER
Families’ Doubts letter is addressed to the Holy Father Francis as well as to all bishops and cardinals of the Catholic Church. This letter was initiated by lay people who emphasize the beauty of the Amoris laetitia apostolic exhortation, but who also express their fears about the liberal interpretation of this document. The guidelines of bishops of the Buenos Aires region admitted absolution and Holy Communion for persons divorced who live in new relationships with the rejection of the decision of living in chastity.
A great number of believers are of the opinion that this idea weakens the motivation to overcome marital difficulties by other married couples, it can also encourage divorce and speed up the process of family breakup.
The letter also discusses some practical consequences of asymmetric treatment of both sacramental spouses. According to the changed rules, the affirmation of infidelity is to be given to one of the sacramental spouses, while maintaining the other’s obligation of fidelity. The situation of the abandoned spouse becomes very complicated, often even dramatic. One’s affirmation of infidelity is done in the secrecy of confession, and therefore, without any participation of the abandoned sacramental spouse and the possibility to appeal. One of the spouses is secretly released from the mutual commitment and the other one does not have any opportunity to defend himself/herself.
Including the moment of one’s releasing from the sacramental marriage obligations in the secrecy of confession also means in practice that bishops do not have the tools to verify whether such release has been used properly, to protect people who are harmed and to guarantee that they only work in exceptional situations, as it is suggested to the believers.
Families also convey fears expressed by many priests. The new rules are a tragedy for many priests and bishops who feel intimidated and forced to commit grave sins.
The authors of the initiative emphasize that they support the process of seeking help for and accompanying the divorced people. Nevertheless, they ask for the proposed rules to be corrected so as to protect families and priests at the same time. They assure about their prayer for the Holy Father and the Church.