PopeWatch: Go and Sin No More

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Did the Pope tip his hand yesterday in regard to Communion for Catholics in adulterous marriages?

 

 

The reading is well known. It narrates the episode in which the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who had been caught in the act of adultery. They point out that in the law, Moses commands us to stone such women because adultery is considered a very grave sin.

Marriage – Pope Francis said – is a human reality but it is also a symbol of a faithful relationship between God and his people. When the marriage is spoilt by adultery, he continued, it spoils the relationship with God.

But when the scribes and the Pharisees ask Jesus “what do you say?” they do so to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against Him.

“If Jesus had said: ‘Yes, go ahead and have her stoned’, they would have told the people ‘this is your good and merciful master… just look at what he has done to this poor woman!’ And if Jesus had said: ‘Poor woman! Forgive her!’ they would have said: ‘He does not observe the Law!’…”

The Pope pointed out that they cared nothing about the woman; “they did not care about adultery, perhaps amongst them there were some adulterers. All they cared about was catching Jesus in a trap”.

And to this – Pope Francis said – Jesus answered: ‘Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone at her’. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders.

So one can imagine – the Pope observed – that their own records were not that straight.

“So Jesus was left alone with the woman before him and said to her: ‘woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ It is just you and I, alone before God, without accusations, without gossip. You and God! No one has condemned you. She replied: ‘No one, sir’”. But Pope Francis said: “she does not say it was a false accusation! She does not say‘I have not committed adultery’. She recognizes her sin. “Then Jesus said: ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin anymore,’ do not offend God again; do not spoil the beautiful relationship between God and his people”.

“Jesus forgives” – the Pope said – “but here there is something that goes beyond forgiveness.”

“Jesus goes beyond the law. He does not say: ‘adultery is not a sin!’ But he does not condemn it according to law”. This – the Pope said – “is the mystery of mercy. It is the mystery of the mercy of Jesus”.

Go here to read the rest.  Of course the problem with Catholics in adulterous marriages is that they completely fail the “Go and sin no more.” command of Christ, which is why they cannot receive Communion.

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11 Comments

  1. “is the mystery of mercy. It is the mystery of the mercy of Jesus”.

    This Pope seems to think like Forest Gump. For him, a mystery is like a box of chocolates. Something which surprises one in a completely unexpected way. This mystery cannot be shown in accord with reason but rather acts in an emotional way.

    However, a theological mystery isn’t some surprise one finds in a box. Rather, it is a truth whose depths can never be exhausted because it is a truth about God. We come to believe such mysteries in Grace and are called to even deeper understanding and communion with this truth. It may surprise but only in its ever enlightening in truth.

    The truth here includes the final words of the Gospel. Go and sin no more. There is redemption but also the possibility of sinning again and falling from God. The women caught in adultery can sin again and fall from God just as the two thieves crucified with Christ had a choice. One of them received Grace and was redeemed. One did not.

  2. A stretch!

    “..But he does not condem it, ( adultery ) according to the law.”

    This is the mystery of Mercy?
    The mystery of the Mercy of Jesus?

    His Father and He are one, No?
    Is adultery listed as an offence to God and neighbor? Darn straight.
    I believe God HAS condemned it and unless PF is God, then the grave sin is still condemnable.

    I’m not even at the mid point of the ” curve,” so help me out here. What am I missing regarding this statement?

    I know that Gods forgiveness is unfathomable.
    The sin is forgivable, but the penitent must be sincere, and strive with all of his/her heart to sin no more.

    What goes beyond forgiveness?

  3. To commit adultery, ruin a sacramental union, cause undue pain to others involved, divorce and remarry into an adulterous union, live happily forward uncaring of the pain caused, and then have that adulterous union ‘mercifully’ condoned by the pope is very unmerciful to the others involved.
    When I married over 35 years ago, after already knowing my future spouse for 3.5 years, I had to talk to our parish priest. I unwillingly went. And then he said something that I remember to this day: Being married does not mean that you will never again be attracted to someone else; it means that you have already made a solemn, sacramental promise to not act on that attraction. Someone should tell that to this ‘pope.’

  4. Title for Saturday; Beyond Forgiveness, the outer limits of omnipotent, or, You shall almost never ever commit adultery sort of ie. the revised commandment from The Fourth person of the Holy Quadrant. That’s the Trinity plus one.

  5. “Being married does not mean that you will never again be attracted to someone else; it means that you have already made a solemn, sacramental promise to not act on that attraction. Someone should tell that to this ‘pope.’”
    .
    We had a similar discussion in our marriage prep 20 some years ago. The priest asked if we thought that we were marrying the ONLY person out there for us (the whole “soul mate” scenario ). Now my husband and I are both pretty smart people so we agreed that Sure, there are other people out there–heck the world has 6 billion people right? But God brought us together, yada, yada, yada.
    .
    Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever meet that other person with whom I could settle down with and be very happy. Walked right into. Didn’t see it coming.
    .
    Thank God for my upbringing, and I do thank God quite often for having the parents I had. And frankly not being a part of the Catholic education system–I’m very much afraid if I had, I might now have a very unhappy family life. Lots of lives–not just the ones in my own household, but also on the periphery–negatively impacted. But we are coming on some pretty cool events this year. Deo Gratias!
    .
    And that is an especially sad thing to have to say about the Church. Well, perhaps not the Church, but her hierarchy.

  6. In their never-ending correcting of God’s errors and Jesus’s mistakes, I am surprised that the heresiarchs in power haven’t added their corrected translation – “Go and sin on more.”
    Regarding the “mercy heresy,” St Irenaeus said that these mercy heretics commit two errors-1. they create a God who is not the God revealed in Holy Scripture, the God who indeed will judge all and will let those who have chosen not to be with Him to get their wish, in Hell forever; and 2. they accuse Christ Jesus of not being as merciful as He could be. May He have mercy on them. Guy McClung, San Antonio Texas

  7. Going beyond forgiveness? Does that mean condoning sin?
    –Magdalene Prodigal

    “Going beyond forgiveness” could mean strengthening your faltering brother and should he fall, helping him up again and actively assisting in his rehabilitation.

    I’m sure you are able to think of other positive alternatives when you put your mind to it.

  8. DJHL: Not quite sure I understand “Thank God for my upbringing, and I do thank God quite often for having the parents I had. And frankly not being a part of the Catholic education system–I’m very much afraid if I had, I might now have a very unhappy family life.” Thanks.

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