Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, the new head of the Jesuit Order, has claimed in a recent interview that Jesus’ own words about divorce are subject of interpretation and personal interpretation. The interview is incredibly revealing as Fr. Arturo repeatedly prioritizes personal discernment over Catholic doctrine. Full disclosure: I think Fr. Arturo is dangerously incorrect. His arguments are vague at best, don’t hold any water against what has been taught by The Church two thousand years, and actually call into question everything Jesus said – not just his discourse on remarriage after divorce. That a prominent leader in the Church is spouting such heresies without shame in open interviews is such a dangerous sign of our times.
Annulments are a particularly touchy subject among many Catholics. Some see them as too hard to obtain, forcing people to remain in harmful marriages or to remain single. Other people think they are too easy to obtain, and thus compare them to no-fault divorce which dilutes the importance and permanence of the marriage bond. There is a place for annulments in the Catholic Church, and many people need them for healing and to move on with their lives. I believe the Pope’s new rules are a compassionate step to address the honest, heartfelt concerns of people who truly need them.
We must always be cautious when we read about what the Pope says. We may miss something if we don’t go directly to the source. Too many news outlets have proven themselves to be all too eager to shoe-horn the Pope into this or that specific ideology; quoting him when it suits their view, and ignoring him when it doesn’t.
I’m sure you’ve heard that Pope Francis’ newest encyclical is “on the environment”. Before you hear about it from a 3rd party, why not take a look at his actual words? Here is a link to the full encyclical. But if 183-pages seems daunting at first, start with this other article that picks out 11 really important parts that you probably won’t hear about anywhere else.
Time and time again the Catholic view proves to be much bigger than a single, narrow socio-political stance, and I think we will see that here too.