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“There are situations in which the separation is necessary, sometimes even morally necessary, to take away children from violence and exploitation, or even from unfamiliarity and indifference. And not all separate couples are able to keep their commitment to remain men and women united in one flesh”. Pope Francis never ceases to amaze, displace, open new frontiers both to the Catholic and to the lay world.

A few hours after the presentation of the Instrumentum Laboris, the preparatory document of the forthcoming Synod on the family, Bergoglio’s words spoken at the General Audience on Wednesday fostered the hopes of the whole community of separate people who bring with them a deep, active, conscious faith. The Pope did not explore the discourse on Communion to those who broke the sacrament of marriage, but certainly gave a helping hand to that part of the clergy and to the people calling for open-mindedness on this particular issue.

The same Cardinal Peter Erdo, president of the European Bishops and speaker of the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, had said that “a more welcoming attitude towards remarried divorced, with regard to situations such as the presence of children born of this second marriage”, was at the attention of the Synod as requested by the faithful and dioceses around the world. The Instrumentum laboris expresses appreciation even for unmarried couples or unmarried in the Church, stressing that “the decision to live together is the sign of a relationship that wants to organize itself and to have a perspective of fullness,” and often “this will result in a durable bond, reliable and open to life”.

Bergoglio, however – obviously – did not bless any separation. In facing the issue, he analyzed instead the evil that precedes it. “Words, actions and omissions that – he said – instead of expressing love, they take away it or, even worse, humiliate it. When these wounds, which are still remediable, are neglected, they get worse: they turn into arrogance, hostility, disgust”. And it is at this point, the Pope said, that the wounds can become divisions between husband and wife, pushing people to seek solace, support and understanding from elsewhere.

Identifying the causes can save the marriage. And especially for the good of children. The wounded soul is in fact especially the one of the children, the children of families in which “one treats the other one badly, hurting each other, splitting the bond of marital fidelity”. And then Francis asked a question: “What weight does it have in our choices? How heavy is a separation?” In answering these questions, the adult should first, the Pope urged, be careful not to lose his/her head, not to think only of himself/herself, in short, keep in mind that “the soul of the child is suffering, feeling a sense of despair “. “Some wounds leave their mark for the whole of life.”

Therefore, the Holy Father mentions the separation only as a last resort. Not as a customs clearance of the sacrament, but as a last protection of children when the absence of love in a relationship falls like an ax on the balance of the children.

Translation provided by Maria Rosaria Mastropaolo

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