Here’s Pope Francis today on what the church should do when a marital relationship falls apart: “When this love fails – because many times it does fail – we need to feel the pain of this failure and accompany those who have experienced this failure in their love. Not condemn them! Walk with them! And not treat their situation with casuistry.” I think the pope is using the term “casuistry” here to refer to a legalistic, rule-based approach. In any case, his message was clear: the church’s approach should be merciful and understanding. The comment is especially interesting as an internal debate heats up among Vatican officials and others in the hierarchy over the correct pastoral response to C
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