A “pastoral turning point,” including reception, accompaniment, discernment, and integration, in line with the indications of Pope Francis and intended especially for people marked by “wounded and straying love”. This is was the call of Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar of Rome, to priests of the diocese gathered on Monday, 19 September, in the basilica of St John Lateran (Rome), for the final day of the Diocesan Convention on “The Joy of Love: The Path of the Families in Rome”.
In his address, Cardinal Vallini emphasised a clear goal: revitalising “a ministry specifically geared for families,” in the wake of Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia, which incloudes, for example, strengthening the path of marriage preparation and supporting the affective education of children with competent and credible educators.
The main part of the Cardinal’s address to the priests, however, was focused on the persons marked by ”wounded love”, on those who have contracted civil marriages or are cohabiting, and on the remarried divorcees bound by a previous sacramental tie. “When it is not possible to follow the normal procedure,” said the Vicar of Rome, “it is necessary to develop pastoral action for long-term accompaniment, in accordance with the moral principle of the ‘primacy of the person over the law’.”
Recalling Amoris Laetitia paragraph 351, the Cardinal reminded the participants: “The Pope does not say that people must be admitted to the sacraments,” and that what matters is the attentiveness “to the circumstances of individual persons, to their conscience, without compromising the truth and the prudence that will help to find the right path,” inviting them to “participate in some way in the Church’s life.
With regard to the affective education of adolescents, the “great challenge” to be dealt with, the Cardinal stressed the need “to repeat forcefully that the human person cannot be considered an object of pleasure but must be seen as a value in himself”. In the face of “distorted emotional relationships that so often lead to tragic acts of violence and to the murder of women in families,” the Cardinal concluded: “Christians cannot remain inert spectators.”