The pope says that Jesus' words are clear: The union of a man and a woman -- even if they aren't believers -- is the image of God
Pope Francis says that when a man and a woman form a marriage, even if they aren’t believers, they are the image of God. For the human family, he said, marriage is between a man and a woman.
The pope said this Saturday when he addressed a Delegation of the Forum of Family Associations. He also spoke about what true love in a family is, and the horror of aborting children with disabilities, which he likened to both Spartan and Nazi policies.
Regarding marriage, the Holy Father said that though there is talk of diverse families, for “the human family as the image of God, man and woman, is only one. It can happen that a man and a woman aren’t believers: but if they love each other and are united in marriage, they are the image and likeness of God, even though they might not be believers.”
Here is a translation of this portion of his talk, which he gave off-the-cuff, leaving his prepared text aside:
Some people have reduced Amoris laetitia to a sterile casuistry of “you can, you can’t.” They haven’t understood a thing!
Then, another problem we look at in Amoris laetitia is the education of children. It’s not easy to educate children. Today, children are quicker than we are! In the virtual world, they know more about it than we do. But we need to educate them for community life, educate them for family life. Educate them for making sacrifices for each other. It’s not easy to educate children. There are big problems. And you, who love the family, can help other families so much in this.
The family is an adventure, a beautiful adventure!
And today—I say it with pain—we see that so many times people think about starting a family and a marriage as if it were a lottery. “Let’s do it. If it works, it works. If not, we cancel it and start again.”
This superficiality regarding the greatest gift that God has given humanity: the family. Because, after the account of the creation of man, God shows that He created man and woman in his image and likeness.
And Jesus Himself, when He speaks of marriage, says, “A man will leave his father and mother and will become one flesh with his wife.” Because they are the image and likeness of God. You are an icon of God: the family is an icon of God. Man and woman: the very image of God. His words, not mine. This is great, it’s sacred.
Then today—it’s painful to say it—people talk of “diverse” families: different kinds of family. Yes, it’s true that the word “family” is an analogical word, because we speak of the “family” of stars, the “families” of trees, the “families” of animals… It’s an analogical word. But the human family as the image of God, man and woman, is only one. It can happen that a man and a woman aren’t believers: but if they love each other and are united in marriage, they are the image and likeness of God, even though they might not be believers. It’s a mystery: Saint Paul calls it a “great mystery,” a “great sacrament” (see Ephesians 5:32). A true mystery.
Once, a year ago I think, I called a relative of mine who was getting married. In his 40s. At the end I said, “Tell me a bit about it: in which church will you get married?” —“We don’t know for sure yet, because we’re still looking for a church that goes well with the dress (he said the name of his fiancée) will be wearing—and then, we have the problem of the restaurant…” Just think… That was what was important. When what is secondary takes the place of what is important. The important thing is to love each other, to receive the Sacrament, to go forward…; and then have all the parties you want, all of them.
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