Pope Francis says church must welcome divorced, remarried Catholics

Pope Francis officiated at the weddings of 20 couples at St. Peter’s Basilica earlier this month. Religion News Service photo by Cathleen Falsani

Pope Francis officiated at the weddings of 20 couples at St. Peter’s Basilica earlier this month. Religion News Service photo by Cathleen Falsani

 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

(RNS) Speaking out on one of the most contentious issues of his papacy, Pope Francis on Wednesday (Aug. 5) issued a powerful call for the church to embrace Catholics who have divorced and remarried, telling a gathering at the Vatican that such couples “are not excommunicated, and they absolutely must not be treated that way!”

“They always belong to the church,” he added, calling on pastors to welcome Catholics who have remarried without an annulment, even though such Catholics are currently barred in most cases from receiving the Eucharist, the central sacrament of the faith.

“The church is called to be always the open house of the Father. ... No closed doors! No closed doors!” Francis told the crowd at his weekly public audience, which resumed after a monthlong summer break.

The pope's words were greeted with what was described as thunderous applause.

Since he was elected in 2013, Francis has said that the church must be more merciful and open, and he has encouraged debate on changing pastoral practices to allow, for example, divorced and remarried Catholics to take Communion.

Current teaching says such Catholics cannot receive communion unless they abstain from sexual relations because their first marriage is still valid in the eyes of the church.

The issue was one of several that inflamed unusually public debates at a major Vatican summit of bishops the pope convened last October, and the arguments -- including how to welcome gay couples and those who are cohabiting -- have continued to engage top churchmen in pointed exchanges ahead of a follow-up summit, called a synod, set for October.

Many Vatican observers believe Francis wants some concrete change, which his foes believe would be tantamount to heresy because it would undermine Jesus’ teaching on the indissolubility of marriage.

The issue of how to treat divorced and remarried Catholics is one of many the bishops will debate, but it is a widespread pastoral problem and has come to stand for the bigger question of how, and even whether, the Catholic Church can change.

Although Catholics divorce at somewhat lower rates than the general population, there are an estimated 4.5 million divorced and remarried Catholics in the U.S. who have not received an annulment.

Francis himself has not endorsed any particular proposal, and in focusing on the topic on Wednesday he reiterated that “there is no easy solution for these situations.”

But he made it clear that he wanted the Catholic Church to take a more open approach.

“For how can we encourage these parents to raise their children in the Christian life, to give them an example of Christian faith, if we keep them at arm’s length?

“If we look at these new bonds (of remarried Catholics) with the eyes of small children -- and the children do watch,” he said, “we see once again the urgency of developing in our communities a real welcome for people in such situations.”

The children are the ones who suffer most when their parents are shunned, Francis said.

How can the church “tell these parents to do everything to raise their children as Christians, giving them an example of a firm and practiced faith, if we keep them at arm’s length from the community, as if they were excommunicated?”

The church, he concluded, “must do everything not to add further burdens to those that children in these situations must already bear!”



  1. Flock was thinning and collection plate income was down…he had to do something. As usual, religion shifts its “rigid” doctrine to suit what its makers and promoters want.

  2. And so begins the PR build-up to the pope’s visit. No change in doctrine, but “mercy and compassion” for the divorced, and in the days to come, gays, on the use of contraception, co-habitation, more appointments for women, poverty, ecology, etc. Just like the Charles Koch saying “opportunity for all Americans especially the least advantaged,” and Jeb Bush “has made opportunity the centerpiece of his campaign.” The RCC/GOP alliance holds: Say nice stuff but don’t act on it.

  3. OK Catholic scholars, where in the bible is “Jesus’ teaching on the indissolubility of marriage”?

  4. Again, the Pope is instructing the Church to act as it always professes to do. Show mercy. Show understanding. Keep the doors open for people to embrace God and seek His Wisdom.
    The doctrine, I doubt, will not be changed concerning the reception of Communion because it is Doctrine. Catholics married in the Catholic Church knowingly violate the marriage vows when they remarry without an annulment. They remove themselves from the reception of Communion….and ignorance of this law is no excuse. They should not be angry at the Church for upholding the teachings of God, they should accept their consequences with humility.

  5. The Pope cannot change Doctrine to suit a sinful society…he is not even authorized to do so. The Catholic Church is the guardian of the Deposit of Faith, not the author.
    Your mockery is childish and showcases your ignorance of the Catholic Faith.

  6. The scriptural basis for the Church’s teaching is Matthew 19 in its entirety.

    It is important to note that for a Catholic nothing is believed “because the bible says so.” Rather a Catholic would say that the teaching on the indissolubility of marriage is “contained within the Faith.” Which is a significant difference from what a protestant would say.

  7. He didn’t teach that marriage was indissoluble. He taught that divorce was possible in only one situation, or two, depending on the translation: adultery or fornication.

    the church added a third possibility: annulment, which is pretending that a marriage never actually happened. It’s divorce lite.

  8. “The church is called to be always the open house of the Father. … No closed doors!” Francis told the crowd”

    Francis is free to make up his own religion.
    But there is a reason why Christians have murdered millions
    over these arguments.

    Heaven is not for the squeamish:

    “Execute them”- JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    “Hate Them” – JESUS (Luke 14:26)
    “Avoid Them” – ROMANS (16:17)
    “Do not associate with the GUILTY..” (1 Corinthians 5:11)
    “Bad company….” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
    “Do not even to eat with such a one.” (1 Corinthians 5:11)
    “Do not receive him…or greet him..” (2 John 1:10)
    “tell him his fault.” (Matthew 18:15)
    “Have nothing to do with him!” (Titus 3:9-11)
    “LET HIM BE REMOVED” (1 Corinthians 1:13)
    “In the name of Jesus..keep away from him!” (2 Thess 3:6)
    “CURSE HIM” – (1 Cor. 16:22)
    “Deem them unworthy” – JESUS (Matt 10:13)

    Bad ideas have no rights.

  9. to they can do what so many catholics do: ignore the church when it is convenient or moral to do so. That’s why 97% of American catholic women use contraception.

  10. Love his message and call for those who has to get divorce for scriptural reasons from Old and New Testament.Shalum.

  11. “such couples “are not excommunicated,
    and they absolutely must not be treated that way!” – Francis

    Too bad Jesus, the book’s character, disagrees:
    “He who is not with me is against me…” – JESUS (Matthew 12:30)

    Joseph Goebbels (the Nazi propagandist) was excommunicated from the Catholic Church not for his role in the murder of millions of people.
    Goebbels was excommunicated for marrying a Protestant!

    Not only is it unlikely a god exists. It is profoundly dangerous to grant people like Francis a role in the matter.
    Francis has no evidence superior to ours.

  12. I do not get your comment. You start out agreeing with the Pope’s plea to keep the church an open and inviting place. But you end with the very hard-nosed, punitive attitude the Pope is trying to overturn. You sound like more of the problem type than the solution type.

  13. It’s as if the body of Christ is once again in the garden of Gethsemane,
    “Stay awake….watch and pray”

  14. It’s a real tough sell trying to convince divorced and remarried Catholics that they’re not “excommunicated” when they are forbidden from taking part in the primary reason for the Sunday Mass, i.e., receiving the Holy Eucharist. That’s why the vast majority no longer attend. They’re living in a state of mortal sin, they can’t go to confession, and when they die they’re going to hell. So why bother? The pope’s message is hollow.

  15. Max,
    ” Francis has no evidence superior to ours. ”

    Of course. This is a church leader who is hyped-up over and above reality. He has become an overblown ‘idol’.

    But the Catholic ‘mind’, for the most part, is not discombobulated by frivolous scripture verse like the ones you listed.

    How else would’ve Anthony Kennedy or the Catholics in Ireland voted for ‘marriage equality’?

  16. That’s clearly not the point. If 100% of Catholics use contraceptives, 100% of them sin knowingly. Society does not, nor can not, teach the Church on matters of Faith or Morals. Votes are not taken on these matters.

  17. The doctrinal solution is already in place, so my hard nosed position is already law. The Pope can only remind Church members to end any shunning of the remarried… as if they’d been excommunicated. Their only penalty is the reception of Communion, nothing else. Catholics, and the world, should think more seriously about getting married and the vows they take before God. Our throwaway society cannot have everything it wants.

  18. Heaven is not for the squeamish, no, that’s why atheists pretend it doesn’t exist. Its existence would dampen their “freedoms” on earth.

  19. I married my high school sweetheart and was with her for 16 years. She left me because she came to the epiphany that she was a lesbian, and promptly moved in with her lover. This was beyond devastating to me and my two sons, who were quite young at the time. No one from my parish knew what to say to me, so they remained silent. I could have sought an annulment, but I was so wounded that I didn’t want to keep reliving it all. I also felt that the Church was somewhat culpable since I was dumb enough to follow the rules and not have premarital sex…sometimes people knowingly or unknowingly hide in the rules. I was lucky enough to meet a woman five years later with the same background of a gay ex-spouse (but he’s not out of the closet yet). We do not feel that we quit the Church, but the other way around. Our experiences forced us to grow spiritually and to understand God in a new way. I wish the Pope well in His work.

  20. Magda Goebbels converted to Protestantism to marry her 1st husband, divorced him and married Goebbels….a “Catholic”. No permission from the Church…..adios!

  21. You have perfect grounds for an annulment, since your wife held back a secret of her character, thus diminishing the validity of the marriage. You did nothing wrong, except place some blame on the Church. The Church offers you a way out, so I’m curious as to why you won’t take advantage of it.

  22. After 9 yrs of Catholic school I learned if you were not married in the church, the church did not recognize the marriage.

    Many years later i find the “BUT”. If you are not married in the church and get a divorce the church then recognizes the marriage and you can’t get remarried in the church

    How’s that doctrine balance out. Any why can a Kennedy or any one with the money for a Canon lawyer work all this out, but the rest of us can not?

  23. Doc Watson- The only way people go to hell is if they don’t Repent. If people
    Repent of their sins/trust Christ as Lord they go to heaven. We must Repent!
    1 Corinthians 5,6 and 7 show all sin is wrong plus in Luke 13/Matthew 7:13-23
    also Galations 5:12-26 plus in Romans 1:18-32 as well. We all must Repent!

  24. It came down to a question of who am I trying to prove anything to? I know the marriage wasn’t valid. You know the marriage wasn’t valid. God knows the marriage wasn’t valid. For years, going to Mass was a major panic attack trigger because my heart said there should be four of us there instead of three. After years of suffering I did heal, and God was the foundation of that healing. I came to understand that I could have a powerful personal relationship with Him that didn’t necessarily require the Church as an intercessory. I simply didn’t see the point of paying money and reliving something that everyone should be able to see and understand. The Church should make it easier for people like me, not harder. I do not blame the Church for that disaster that I was lucky to live through, but “the rules” were a contributing factor to my ex being able to hide until it was too late. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, but to just point out complexities of many…

  25. Paul C, I encourage you to speak to your pastor or to the diocesan office about your case. In my diocese, there are no fees for an annulment; it is the same for a Kennedy or for anyone else. It’s not true that the Catholic Church only recognizes Catholic marriages. Someone had a misunderstanding if they taught you that.

  26. Ben in Oakland, nowhere in the New Testament is permission given for divorce and remarriage, not even for adultery or fornication. At least, that is how the texts were always understood up until the time of the Protestant reformation.

  27. Oh, I understand completely, Andrew. The Church should make things easier in cases such as yours, and the annulment process has gotten a bad rep over the years with talk about money and long waits from Rome.
    Your ex dissolved the marriage, so penalizing you seems unfair. I am glad that you have retained your faith, and perhaps the Pope will solve the “red tape” of annulments to heal the faithful quicker.

  28. I understand you completely Andrew. My husband was a drug addict. I did everything in my power to help him. We went to counseling, I had him declared mental unstable to get him into a drug rehab. I tossed thousands of dollars worth of drugs into toilets ect. The final straw was when I got a phone call saying if my husband didn’t pay his drug bills, he had a wife and baby that would be used as collateral. I left with my year old daughter that day. As far as I was concerned, the Church is against suicide, and it would have been suicidal to stay there. I had to literally go into hiding and slept with a shotgun above my bed. Years later, 11 to be exact, I met and married my husband. We only went to church during the important days, Easter, Christmas, Good Friday ect. When I got ill, I asked our priest for prayers , he asked why he didn’t see us that often, we told him our story. He welcomed us with open arms and we are now full members. He gives us communion and brought us back to our…

  29. With all due respect,Brian,you would do well to re-think your position inre Holy Writ; your dig at Protestants is unwarranted and uncalled for.What,is it your opinion that The Word of God is somehow so unclear that it’s literally unbelievable unless The so-called”magisterium”interpret it for you word-for-word? I find that interesting given that Jesus Himself expected His hearers to have a working knowledge of what Scriptures teach,since He constantly queried them: “how readest thou?” “Have ye never read?”,or”you search the Scriptures”,etc.etc.When he related to Nicodemus the fact that…”you must be born again”…He obviously expected him (Nicodemus) to know what He,Jesus,was referring to:…”Are you a teacher of Israel and don’t know these things?”…So…your assessment of the relevance of God’s People knowing Scriptures is seriously flawed,to say the least.Perhaps if the Crusaders,the Inquisitors,and the pedophile priests had known what”Thus saith the Lord” in…

  30. Dominic,

    So tell me …..
    how many people are you prepared to kill for Jesus?

    Jesus made it very clear
    that the good servants (like yourself) will be expected to kill the bad servants (like atheists, Paul Newman & Jacques Cousteau)

    Jesus is clear he will return
    as the Nobleman does in the parable of the Minas.

    When Jesus tells you to gather up those “who would not have” Him for their King – are you prepared to perform those executions for him?

    “Bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me for their king, and execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    I hope you will be ready to kill for Jesus. Or no Heaven for you.

  31. “How else would Anthony Kennedy or the Catholics…have voted for ‘marriage equality?”

    They didn’t need the Bible. They didn’t need God. They didn’t need religion at all.

    All they needed was to care for equality.
    In fact, they needed to disregard the Bible, Jesus and their religion in order to vote for gays to marry in churches.

    “Kill homosexuals” – GOD (Leviticus 20:13)
    “Put to death…homosexuality” – Paul (Colossians 3:5)

    Abandonment of the Bible leads to decency and civility.

  32. Dominic,

    Funny how murdering millions of people did not get Goebbels excommunicated. But marrying a Protestant is an outrage?
    So disgusting is this church….. it hurts.

  33. Dominic,

    What is wrong with contraception?
    Why is it bad? It leads to happier marriages and happier families!

    Who are you to claim contraception is evil?
    Where is your evidence that a god (who supposedly destroys entire stars every second) gives a rat’s arss about what consenting people do with their body parts in private!

    Religion is clearly nonsense if it opposes such a decent and considerate thing as contraception! Good grief – such disgraceful nonsense from religion.

  34. The church is transparently just a marketing arm
    of the dumbest theory ever invented: Religion.

    God suddenly doesn’t care about adultery because Francis has discovered that God changed his definition of it.

    So Francis consulted his real god: MONEY.

    Primitive nonsense.

  35. God never changes His mind concerning the principles, guidelines and principles He provides us in his Word, the Bible (James 1:17).

  36. Contraception is wrong because it intentionally interrupts a possible gift from God, a child, which is the reason for the sexual act. It’s as simple as that.
    God has already given women a natural time of infertility, so artificial contraception is unnecessary.
    But, again, atheists remain incapable of understanding something more superior than themselves.

  37. Oh heavens, Max. The acts of the Nazi hierarchy excommunicated themselves from the Church. The Pope needed to announce no such declaration of such, for one can do it themselves.
    Besides, excommunication is meaningless in this secular, humanist world. It is full of meaning at the time of the person’s death.

  38. The Bible cannot be properly understood on one’s own reading, for the interpretations would be endless. The Catholic Church encourages reading Scripture, but its meaning has to be uniformly understood. The Magesterium has had 2 thousand years of Tradition of passing on the correct interpretation of God’s Word.
    Protestants falsely believe the Holy Spirit will enlighten every reader. Then why so many thousand Protestant sects? There is only one Truth.

  39. Once agian, too little, too late. The obvious flaws in the history and theology of Christianity have been exposed. Added details are available.

  40. But God does not exist making your comment moot.

  41. “The Bible cannot be properly understood on one’s own reading, for the interpretations would be endless.”

    And only the delusional and self-important fail to understand that. Hence the reason why 500+ sects of Christians all think their interpretations are the only ones which are “really true”. You should have stopped right there before you undermined yourself by cheerleading for a particularly sectarian take on it.

  42. So you think poverty, marital strain and personal hardship are gifts from God. Places which are “blessed” by a lack of access to contraception options are dens of human misery. I guess that is what your God really likes. It gets people desperate and scared enough to run for the nearest people claiming to help. Even religious figures eager to exploit them.

  43. No they didn’t. Catholics were fairly common among the Nazi apparatus. The Catholic Church was a big supporter of Fascism before the war. They created the Franco regime in Spain, actively encouraged collaboration and publicly supported Nazi allies in Belgium and Croatia (site of the last forced conversion in Europe).

  44. with the logic of a “sinful society” there would be no one in the churches…let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

    Jesus is all about forgiveness, not punishment. Eucharist is not a reward for being good, it’s food for the hungry.

  45. Matthew 19:9 and 5:32

    9″And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”…

    it doesn’t say no divorce.

  46. The Reichskonkordat.

    Church: Leave us alone and don’t interfere.

    Nazis: Sure. Promise to say nothing about the Jews?

    Church: sure no foreskin of our noses.

    Nazis: Great. carry on.

  47. “I came to understand that I could have a powerful personal relationship with Him that didn’t necessarily require the Church as an intercessory.”

    good for you. If everyone understood that, the church would be out of business.

    Also this: your first wife married you because of the church’s message about gay people. Ditto for your second wife’s first marriage.

    Antigay theology tells gay people either to: change, which no amount of prayer has ever accomplished, or lie and pretend desperately that you have changed. No one, least of all the poor gay person, wins.

    antigay theology tells gay people to choose: either life alone without love, sex, romance, and family, or live a lie, usually with the same result. No one, least of all the gay person or his/her spouse and/or children, win.

    I’m sorry for your original loss. But something good came out of it: your children and your current marriage.

    I think you are absolutely right to blame the church.

  48. @Dominic
    As Martin Luther noted, for your church, it always comes down to the money and the bureaucracy in rome.

  49. The Trembling Bride

    The Pope has excommunicated himself from the Church for adultery. Spiritual adultery is the worst kind. By insisting that unrepentant adulterers be received into Christian fellowship within the Church, Pope Francis has become a partaker in another man’s sin. Pity. He is doing no favor to the adulterer by patting him on the back on his way to hell. This is not compassion. It’s a damnable lie. And every catholic knows it. The Pope is not a catholic. The Church has always taught what our Adorable Saviour taught, that divorce was an adulterous thing to do, and to marry another was a mortal crime that kills all sanctifying grace in the soul from Baptism – A catholic excommunicates himself from Christ when he marries outside the Church. This is the reality of the situation, I’m afraid. Mark 10:11 – Read it and weep.

    Ladies and gentlemen, Holy Matrimony is a Sacrament of the Holy Roman Catholic Church as instituted by Christ Himself. The catholic cleric has no…

  50. David Gibson writes:

    “Many Vatican observers believe Francis wants some concrete change, which his foes believe would be tantamount to heresy because it would undermine Jesus’ teaching on the indissolubility of marriage.”

    Gibson presumes that Jesus taught that about marriage.


    He tightened up reasons for divorce, but he specifically did allow adultery as a reason for divorce. Most sane people would add abandonment or continued threat of imminent harm….the former constitutes one spouse’s effectively ending the marriage anyway, while the latter poses a threat to one’s life, which one has a right to preserve.

    Jesus’ goal was not to lay down a new law about marriage….only to say that divorce for any old reason was wrong. In those days, some people taught that you could divorce your wife at the drop of a hat.

    In other words, one obvious goal was to protect women, given the social arrangements of that time.

  51. Of course, today, the vast majority of divorces are initiated by women, but that’s another issue.

  52. You can only arrive at such an absolutist position if you scratch out Jesus’ own words about the “adultery” exception to the ban on divorce.

  53. RbM, one of the problems with Catholicism is that it takes upon itself, its leaders, and its members prohibitions, do’s and don’ts, that are not found in the Bible.

    By doing so, it makes it harder than it ought to be to follow Christ.

    It adds the rules of human beings to the words of God. It prohibits where God does not prohibit.

    It lays burdens on people’s backs that don’t have to be there at all.

  54. But who in their right mind wants to stay in such an outdated, historically and theologically flawed and scandal-ridden church?

  55. Christianity has stood the test of time…..despite assaults of every kind against it. People have spent 20 centuries trying to come up with some plausibly natural explanation for how Christ’s tomb became empty, and today, 20 centuries later, they still come up empty. They’ve spent centuries coming up with clever theories of how to debunk the Bible and again, all they’ve succeeded in doing is calling attention to its veracity, as seen through modern archeology and biblical studies.

    So long as there is a world, and so long as Jesus tarries so that more may be saved, the Gospel will go on long after you and I have departed this earth, Bernardo.

  56. No Betty, you live in an ideological cloister where you have no idea what Bush and Koch are saying. You just read one side and one side only, so you have no adult understanding of what the other side means. There’s a whole post-Great-Society set of ideas on how actually to reduce poverty, not just say you’re fighting it and walk away feeling good about yourself.

    The difference between your thinking and that of Bush and Koch is that you’re about feeling good while they’re about actually doing good. They want a new approach to poverty that will work in the real world, not continuing to pour money into the same old programs that fail in the real world.

  57. The problem, Dominic, is that in far too many instance, the Catholic Church has got it wrong when comparing its teachings to those in the Bible.

    There is just no way around it, and all the intellectual gymnastics in the world won’t change that.

    To its credit, the Catholic Church got the most basic of basics right and carried it through the centuries — the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the sacrificial death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and return of Christ.

    But in areas ranging from personal salvation to the role of Mary to the status of the Jews to the relationship between the Church and the Bible, it has had its problems.

  58. Larry…poverty, marital strain, or personal hardships have nothing to do with contraception. Are you saying that children born within these situations are? Then don’t do the deed. Your point is an overused feminist lie.

  59. The Catholic Church is far more a force for good today than a century ago, from human rights to religious freedom to articulating natural law.

    It has had a succession of strong and good popes…..

    But the current pope is a bit of a…..what’s the word…..not the brightest of bulbs.

  60. Ben is correct. Words and meanings of words matter. What Jesus is saying is clear.

  61. While I don’t agree with Dominic that God bans contraception, but that this was simply a ban added by the Catholic Church, I honor Dominic for standing for what he believes to be God’s will. And if he is right and I am wrong, I ask God’s forgiveness for opposing his view. It’s just that I don’t see any biblical evidence for such a ban.

    But to make utilitarian arguments against Dominic’s view is silly….because He, like I, believe that if we believe something to be the will of God, we are called to follow even if it costs us something.

    Christians are not Epicureans….we don’t see life as merely about maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. No sane person wants discomfort, but when you attempt to follow God, you are believing in a greater or ultimate good beyond immediate comfort.

  62. Dominic is a Catholic who is living out his faith with conviction and integrity. I don’t agree that what he says is banned is, from Heaven’s perspective, banned, but he does and he is standing on it. He is living his beliefs honorably.

  63. Max says, “bad ideas have no rights.”

    And what is that supposed to mean, oh great one?

  64. Max say, “abandonment of the Bible leads to decency and civility.”

    Add that to the growing list of Max’s biggest bloopers.

    And tell that to the peoples behind the Iron Curtain who threw off their Bible-hating Marxist atheist oppressors.

    Tell it to the peoples living under Stalin and Mao, Pol Pot and Ho, and other atheist monsters who turned the 20th century into the biggest bloodbath in history.

  65. Larry is unfortunately right on the Catholic Church’s pre-WW II record. While the Catholic Church opposed the doctrines of fascism and Nazism, it was not initially opposed to their anti-democratic political programs, because until well after WW II, the Vatican was wary of democracy.

    Part of the reason was that in Old Europe, as opposed to the New World, democracy was typically an enemy of religion…..

    And yes, as of the late 1920s and even early 1930s, Communism still seemed more likely to triumph than Fascism……But at some point, the Church’s coolness toward democracy tempered its strong opposition to Fascism as a non-Christian, Social Darwinist world view and put the two in bed with each other politically for a good while.

  66. So in Andrew’s case, there was, to be fair, a legitimately Catholic answer — annulment — but it was just a matter of communicating or appropriating it.

  67. When Bernardo says something, it must be so….because Bernardo is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent.

    But…wait a second….Bernardo just said God doesn’t exist.

    Yet in order for him to know it for a fact, Bernardo would need to possess…..the above attributes of God.

    And that would make him God…

    Such is the dilemma of dogmatic atheism.

  68. Simple, Bernardo: People who think the only alternatives are atheism or the non-Biblical religions — in other words, untenable alternatives that require people to ignore the magnificence of the universe and its workings or to embrace beliefs that have stumbled horribly in the modern era and have nothing like Biblical apologetics to defend themselves rationally.

  69. The big picture is that the Catholic Church may arguably be more right than wrong on its high view of marriage, in that the majority of modern divorces are not due to adultery, abandonment, abuse, or anything which renders a marriage automatically shattered. But it is wrong in that when you ban it for every reason, all you have left for an “out” is the annulment process….and so you end up so broadening the criteria for annulment, you risk rendering it meaningless.

  70. And when he’s finished telling it to them, he can go back and tell it to all the people who lived through all the ages of pre-christian history when there was no Bible to abandon and therefore no concept of fundamental and inherent human rights.

  71. And once again:

    The Apostles’/Agnostics’ Creed 2015: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Continued below:

  72. Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (references used are available upon request)

  73. Here today, gone tomorrow !!

    And now for some more 21st century reality:

    Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of “pretty wingie thingie” visits and “prophecies” for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:

    Adulterous preachers, p-edophiliac clerics, “propheteering/ profiteering” evangelicals and atonement theology,

    Some words hyphenated to defeat a word filter.

  74. All I know is that I have become a much better Christian since I left the Catholic Church. I have searched for the love of God and found it. I belong to another church which celebrates the Eucharist and has the values that Jesus really taught… to love one another and to follow all the teachings of the Beatitudes. To continually argue over rules and not teach people how to become adult thinkers is wrong. The Catholic church except for the Franciscans doesnt encourage the faithful to know what union with God really is. I am sure that Jesus looks at all those ideas of shame and guilt and says” How could they get it so wrong?”

  75. Great point. The Church has been acting more like a government entity with an IRS mentality. It’s a Church and I side with the Pope on this issue. I’ve been “excommunicated ” for over 40 years. Religion has been around longer and more experienced than any government. ..act like it. Solve your people problem.

  76. “Most sane people would add….”

    And yet these are non biblical reasons for divorce.

    Either the bible says what it says or it doesn’t. Why is it that when the Bible says something inconvenient, so many people Are convinced it says something else entirely.

  77. One could make the same argument about Christianity in general.

    Whenever it is convenient to do so.

    Or not.

  78. And insisting that everyone else live out his beliefs as well.

  79. Abandonment by an unbelieving spouse IS a biblical ground for divorce — It goes to the question of whether God actually joined the spouses together or not. Abuse is of course an acceptable ground for separation, but, quite frankly, not for remarriage.

  80. Jack,
    ” …one of the problems with Catholicism is that it…makes it harder than it ought to be to follow Christ.

    It adds the rules of human beings to the words of God. It prohibits where God does not prohibit.

    It lays burdens on people’s backs that don’t have to be there at all. ”

    Meaningfully said. That’s undoubtedly why Protestantism came to be.

    But even that has also burdened its adherents by the inability to apply a maturer understanding of scripture.

  81. Julie,
    ” I am sure that Jesus looks at all those ideas of shame and guilt and says” How could they get it so wrong?” ”

    How perfectly true.

  82. Thank you for that great response, Jim. Even Jesus said divorce was permissible in the case of infidelity, yet the church treats all the same and denies all the spiritual benefits of the Eucharist. I have always said the Church turned its back on me and my children when I remarried. The Church needs to be merciful

  83. Jesus never said that only a few were invited at HIS FATHER’S TABLE…HE SAID ALL ARE INVITED

  84. Neither Jesus nor God commanded a union in any particular ‘church’ or congregation. The Catholic church made this up with a ‘holier than thou’ tune. I admire Pope Francis for his stance and I do not believe he is shifting his stance purely for financial reasons.

    I am a Catholic that attends an Anglican church due to rubbish Catholicism advocates. I wanted to ‘come home’ and attended a Catholic mass and felt like I had a disease because I stayed away from communion. I have not only been divorced but I have never married in the Catholic church.

    If Pope Francis pulls these changes off I will come home.

  85. Atheist Max, the problem or “nonsense from religion” is NOT from religion. It is from people. People who take a book that was written 1,000 of years ago, in a different time and different language, different meanings of the words . Translate it over the years many times and expect to have a clear, concise and singular understanding of what was originally written. Take the phrase “spare the rod and spoil the child” so is God saying you should beat your children. Many believe so. Actually if research on history shows us….what they meant was you must use your wisdom and knowledge to GUIDE your child as the shepard guides his sheep when they stray. You must read the bible with an open heart and remember the life of Jesus. His intentions. Then you can let THAT guide you instead a human that tells you WHAT it should mean to you personally. I will continue

  86. continued from my previous post. You are sick, you go to the doctor, he has spent a lot of time studying medicine and has access to many tests, other doctors. He spends his life around disease and trauma. So you trust him, maybe with your physical life. Ultimately you must remember, he is a human, can make mistakes. YOU and only you are the one responsible for accepting his diagnosis. You should do some research on your own. Educate yourself. We must take an active role in our health care for the best outcomes. The same applies to religion. The church/priests/pastors all spend time studying, time with others in their field, many hours of reflection etc, the same as a doctor in his field. But it is the same with our spiritual health as our physical. We must take an active role in our religion. How it speaks to our heart. Each person has a personal relationship with God. That no man can put asunder.

  87. Dear David Gibson,
    My name is Sara Fatute and I am a student in the Diversity class at the Milford High School. In class we have learned about a couple different religions, and one is Christianity. We learned that Christians and Catholics both believe in the same God. They both also believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the son of God. Although, Catholics are very precise on marriage. Catholics believe if you are married through the love of God you must stay together, because you have shown that you wish to be married through God’s love.
    However, according to the Catholic faith, if you seek to divorce; you are not welcomed back into the church of God and you are no longer given communion. On the other hand, Pope Francis has spoken out to the church, he says that divorced Catholics should always be welcomed. With Pope Francis speaking out, it has greatly impacted the Catholic religion in my opinion.
    In your article you are mainly giving facts of what Pope Francis did, but you said…

  88. Here’s another quick story. Divorced because of my husbands adultery!!! married a Baptist,born Catholic. 16 yrs later want to marry a Catholic but can’t in his church,need to pay for an annulment for something That wasn’t my doing. Not fair.

    Why does the Catholic Church baptism babies who’s parents are not married at all. Which is the worst? me for being divorced or them for committing a sin.

    Not fair…let’s all be equal here in the eyes of God.

  89. Actually religion was a very smart “invention”. It provided a way of controlling the behavior of illiterate masses for thousands of years in a way that political and legal means could not. Also, if not for religion the world would be devoid of some of the most beautiful art created by man, and preserved because of religion. Your dislike as an atheist I understand, but it appears your opinions are more emotional than logical.

  90. I think like all atheists his god is arrogance.

  91. Because this sin of the parents is not the fault of the child.

  92. If you’re at all interested in knowing . . . the Catholic Dogma . . . that we *must believe* to get to Heaven, and which you have *never* seen . . .

    I list it on my website > > >

    And no … Satan’s vatican-2 heretic cult (founded in 1965) is not the Catholic Church.

    The Catholic God knows . . . what we think and believe . . .

    Catholic writing of Romans 1:21 >
    “They … became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

    Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Deuteronomy 31:21 >
    “For I know their thoughts, and what they are about to do this day.”

    Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Job 21:27 >
    “Surely I know your thoughts, and your unjust judgments against Me.”

    The group that calls itself “islam” … is not a religion. Fully proven by the fact that the “koran” says the *opposite* of the Old Testament Prophets > Section 113.1 of the site.

  93. Papa said that because the Holy Roman Catholic church is hemorrhaging adherents and will soon disappear unless archaic church laws change. I have been married to the same woman for 37 years. Mel Gibson, a good catholic and movie maker has had at least three sexual liaisons in the same period, but he has eight kids and I have none. Who is the greatest sinner?

  94. If you wear a hat in church then you are scorned if you are a man. Come on, people….just shutter you doors and get it over with now.

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