The Fascinating Game of Analyzing Pope Francis’s Position on Divorce

As someone who’s getting divorced in Virginia – or on the verge of separation – you may not have much interest in the Catholic Church’s official position on the subject.

Even if you and your spouse are Catholic, Rome’s edicts may have little to no impact on your decision to end the marriage. However, millions of Catholics around the globe and here in Virginia do care very much about the Pope’s position on family matters.

To that end, eyes will be watching when Pope Francis addresses a gathering of Church officials (known as a “synod”) later this month. Will the pontiff alter the Church’s attitudes towards marriages and annulments?

Pope Francis has already earned reputation as a reformer. Regarding contraception, for instance, he recently said “the question is not whether to change the doctrine, but to go deeper and make sure that pastoral care takes account of situations and what each person is able to do.” He recently officiated nearly two dozen weddings, including nuptials for a woman who had a daughter from a prior relationship and couples who had cohabited prior to marriage.

Not all cardinals have been pleased with his behavior. Prior to the October synod, some hardline cardinals published a book called “Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church,” which some have seen as a not-so-veiled critique of Pope Francis’s softer positions on divorce and marriage.

How the Church’s position will evolve over the next months or years is anyone’s guess, but the discussion highlights the dual nature of marriage. At once, it’s an intimate, very private act as well as a public act that touches families, communities, and the rest of the society.

If you have been struggling with a divorce, child custody or other family law issue, our Fairfax, Virginia divorce attorneys would be happy to provide a confidential consultation to explain your rights and help you figure out your next steps. Call us today at 703-370-5555.

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