Parish priests are called upon to support marriages

Parish priests are called to support married couples, Pope Francis said on the weekend.

This includes supporting young people who are living together and people whose marriages are failing as well as those with strong marriages.

In general, he said parish priests are the ones a couple comes to when they decide to marry, when they have their family and when they have crises in their lives.

He made his comments at the Vatican to a group of parish priests doing a course dealing with annulment procedures and other legal issues surrounding marriage.

He told them nobody knows better than they of the “complexity and variety of problems that exist in marriage: Christian unions, civil marriages, broken marriages, families and young people who are happy or unhappy.

“You are called to be a travel companion to every person in every situation, to support and to give witness”, he said.

This includes “those who have come to realise that their union is not a true sacramental marriage and want to correct this situation.

“In this delicate and necessary moment make sure your faithful see you as a brother who listens and understands, rather than an expert in bureaucracy and juridical norms,” he said.

He describes young people living together without being married as spiritually and morally “among the poor and little ones towards whom the Church wants to be a Mother who never abandons, but is close to them and takes care of them…

“So be tender and compassionate towards them”, he said.



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