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Holy See

Angelus Address: On the Indissolubility of Marriage as the Creator’s Original Intention

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave October 7, 2018, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square. The crowd was estimated to be 25,000 by Vatican Police.

* * *

Before the Angelus:

 Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

This Sunday’s Gospel (Cf. Mark 10:2-16) offers us Jesus’ word on marriage. The account opens with a provocation of the Pharisees who ask Jesus if it is lawful for a man to repudiate his wife as Moses’ law provided (Cf. vv. 2-4). With the wisdom and authority that came to Him from the Father, Jesus, first of all, resizes the Mosaic prescription saying: “For your hardness of heart he — namely the former lawgiver —  wrote for you this commandment” (v. 5). It is, namely, a concession that serves to close the failures of our egoism, but it doesn’t correspond to the Creator’s original intention.

And here Jesus takes up the book of Genesis: “From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one” (vv.6-7). And He ends: “What, therefore, God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (v. 9). In the Creator’s original plan, there wasn’t a man who married a woman and, if things didn’t go well, repudiated her. No. Instead, man and woman are called to recognize one another, to complete one another, to help one another in marriage.

This teaching of Jesus is very clear and it defends the dignity of marriage, as a union of love that implies fidelity. What enables spouses to remain united in marriage is a love of mutual giving sustained by Christ’s grace. If instead, individual interests prevail in the spouses, their own satisfaction, then their union won’t be able to endure.

And it’s the same Gospel page that reminds us, with great realism, that the man and the woman called to live the experience of relationship and love, can sadly carry out gestures that put it in crisis. Jesus doesn’t admit all that can lead to the wrecking of the relationship. He does so to confirm God’s plan, in which the strength and beauty of the human relationship stand out. The Church, on one hand, doesn’t tire of confirming the beauty of the family as given to us by Scripture and by Tradition. At the same time, she makes an effort to have her maternal closeness felt by all those that live the experience of broken relationships or carried on in a painful and tiring way.

The way of acting of God Himself with His unfaithful people — namely, with us — teaches us that God can heal wounded love through mercy and forgiveness. Therefore, in such situations, the Church is not asked immediately and only for condemnation. On the contrary, in face of so many painful conjugal failures, she feels called to live her presence of love, of charity and mercy, to lead wounded and lost hearts back to God.

Let us invoke the Virgin Mary, may she help spouses to live and ever renew their union from God’s original gift.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

After the Angelus:

 Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Next Saturday the 1st Day of the Catacombs will take place in Rome. Many sites will be open to the public, with didactic laboratories and cultural events. I thank the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology for this initiative and I wish it every success.

I greet you all affectionately, Romans and pilgrims, especially the families and parish groups from Italy and from various parts of the world. I greet the Greek-Catholic pilgrims of Slovakia, the faithful of Poznan, and of Fortaleza (Brazil); the grandparents of Malta and the students of Neuilly (France); and the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres from Australia.

I greet the pilgrimage organized by the Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the “Calliope” chorus of Gussago (Brescia), the “Student Youth “ youngsters of Lazio and the faithful from Abbiategrasso.

I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye!

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
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