What did Pope Francis mean: They are all Children of God?

Here’s the article: Pope Francis: If we saw ‘irregular’ couples, gays as God’s children, things would ‘change a lot’.

Concerning persons in irregular relationships (divorced and remarried, cohabitation) and homosexual partners, the Pope called them all children of God. Does this refer to persons in the state of grace, who are children of God by spiritual adoption (per Council of Trent), or does it refer to all human persons being made in God’s image? The other remarks on this subject by the Pope indicate that it is the latter. He gives the example of Judas Iscariot, who certainly sinned gravely in betraying Christ, in despairing of the mercy of God (subsequently) and in committing suicide. So the Pope must be referring to person who, even if they are in a state of unrepented actual mortal sin, are still children of God as God loves them and they are made in His image.

But Pope Francis is not abandoning the teachings of the Church on morality. He clearly stated, after saying they are children of God: “Nor can I tell a person that his behavior is in accord to what the Church wants.” So the question of Communion for persons who commit objective mortal sin requires consulting a priest, receiving Confession, and finding a way forward, a way to avoid mortal sin in the future, so that one may receive Communion.

There’s nothing really controversial in what the Pope said on this subject. Consider Amoris Laetitia. (And it’s “Ah-mow-reese Lay-tea-tea-ah”, not “Lay-teet-see-ah” — unless you say it with a strong Italian accent.) It’s position on Communion unremarkable and should not be controversial. Of course persons who commit objective mortal sin might not be guilty of actual mortal sin. And either way, they should be consulting a priest, going to Confession, and trying to find a way forward in their lives, so that they may receive Communion. Not every objective mortal sin is also an actual mortal sin.

But if you wish to argue that every objective mortal sin should prohibit from Communion, regardless of whether it has the full culpability of actual mortal sin, then apply that rule to your own life first. Are you free from every objective mortal sexual sin, even those within marriage? Are you free from every heresy? Do you accept Pope Francis as your personal Teacher on matters of faith and morals, and as the Shepherd of your very soul on behalf of Christ? Many of those who oppose Pope Francis due to Amoris Laetitia are in a state of formal schism for refusing submission to the Roman Pontiff. And therefore they are not worthy of Communion, by their own standards.

Ah, when are you schismatics going to stop pretending to be Catholic and go find yourself another church, where you can pretend your personal opinions and misunderstandings are dogma?

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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