God intends marriage to be permanent. That was the clear message Pope Francis delivered October 7, 2018, in his reflection before praying the noonday Angelus with some 25,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
“In the Creator’s original plan, there wasn’t a man who married a woman and, if things didn’t go well, repudiated her,” the Holy Father asserted. “No. Instead, man and woman are called to recognize one another, to complete one another, to help one another in marriage.”
The Pope referred to the day’s gospel, Mark 10:2-16, in which the Pharisees test Jesus asking if it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife, something provided for in Mose’s law. But neither Jesus nor the Pope accepts this reasoning as an excuse for divorce.
“With the wisdom and authority that came to Him from the Father, Jesus, first of all, resizes the Mosaic prescription saying: ‘For your hardness of heart he — namely the former lawgiver — wrote for you this commandment’ (v. 5),” the Pope said. “It is, namely, a concession that serves to close the failures of our egoism, but it doesn’t correspond to the Creator’s original intention.”
The Holy Father explained that the dignity of marriage required fidelity in a union of love. It relies on God’s grace and will fail if the individual desires of spouses prevail.
“And it’s the same Gospel page that reminds us, with great realism, that the man and the woman called to live the experience of relationship and love, can sadly carry out gestures that put it in crisis. Jesus doesn’t admit all that can lead to the wrecking of the relationship…
“The way of acting of God Himself with His unfaithful people — namely, with us — teaches us that God can heal wounded love through mercy and forgiveness. Therefore, in such situations, the Church is not asked immediately and only for condemnation. On the contrary, in face of so many painful conjugal failures, she feels called to live her presence of love, of charity and mercy, to lead wounded and lost hearts back to God.”