PHILADELPHIA (CNA/EWTN News) — True mercy and trust in the transformative power of God’s grace are key to helping divorced and remarried Catholics, Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., of Philadelphia has said in a critique of proposals to admit them to sacramental Communion without a change in their lives.
“Ironically, a pastoral strategy that minimizes sin in the name of mercy cannot be merciful, because it is dishonest,” the archbishop said in a December 2015 essay for the U.S. journal First Things.
Authentic mercy is evangelical and believes “God’s grace has the power to transform us.” This is relevant to the Church’s pastoral response to the divorced and remarried, he wrote.
“The divorced and civilly remarried remain welcome members of the believing community. But neither can the Church ignore the Word of God on the permanence of marriage, nor mitigate the consequences of the choices that grown people freely make,” Archbishop Chaput said.
He recounted the Gospel of John’s account of Christ and the woman caught in adultery, who was about to be stoned. All persons need God’s mercy, including those who consider themselves righteous, the archbishop explained.
“Only Jesus can free us. Only he could have justly cast the first stone. But he didn’t, saying instead, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again’.”
“God does not owe us forgiveness or redemption — or anything else. Nor does God’s mercy license us to continue in sin,” he said, repeating: “It demands a response to ‘go, and do not sin again’.” … Continue Reading