Not every Catholic who searches for a Virginia divorce law firm is necessarily interested in The Vatican’s shifting stance on marriage, divorce, and other family matters. But the world collectively has been riveted by what the New York Times is calling Pope Francis’ “marked shift in tone” regarding unmarried couples, divorce, gay people, and children born into “non-traditional” families, as judged by Church standards.
Together with a group of Roman Catholic bishops, Pope Francis recently issued a document that could have profound ramifications for the Catholic Church and for all the institutions it touches. In a New York Times story about the Pope’s report, Elisabetta Povoledo and Laurie Goodstein wrote “[this document] is the first signal that the institutional church may follow the direction Francis has set in the first 18 months of his papacy, away from condemnation of unconventional family situations and toward understanding, openness and mercy.”
Many have called the current Synod revolutionary, comparing it to the Second Vatican Council, which took place half a century ago and radically changed how the Church related to other religions, engaged in its liturgy, and conceptualized the roles of priests and parishioners.
The New York Times noted “The 12-page report, written by a committee picked by Francis, says that without abandoning church teaching on the sacrament of marriage, pastors should recognize that there are ‘positive aspects of civil unions and cohabitation’… [marking] a striking departure from traditional Catholic preaching that such couples are ‘living in sin.'”
Conservative bishops, such as cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, have sharply criticized the report. One major debate will be over whether Catholics who have gotten divorced and remarried can be given the sacrament of communion.
On a broader note, the changes rippling through the Catholic Church parallel changes in the United States regarding the institution of marriage. This debate is effervescent, and it will certainly have broad ramifications for our culture in the coming years.
If you need a Northern Virginia divorce law firm to help you understand your rights and potential options regarding your case, please call DiPietro Law Group, PLLC at (888) 530-4374 immediately to schedule a confidential consultation with our team.