CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - On Friday, Archbishop Blase Cupich called his boss in Rome a "pope of surprises.”
Cupich praised a new message on love and family life by Pope Francis. The pontiff says some Catholics who divorce and remarry, in violation of Church law, may not have committed a mortal sin.
The Pope called the Church prohibition on divorce and remarriage an ideal. He said Catholics facing a family crisis should also consult their own consciences when deciding what to do.
When FOX 32 showed Don Daskis the Pope's new message, he told the painful story of his unsuccessful attempt to get married in a Catholic parish on the North Side. He'd been married before as a young man in France and the pastor said "No."
“And so we gave up. We never got married in the Church,” Daskis said.
It's not clear how the new guidelines would have affected Daskis and his then-fiance, although Archbishop Blase Cupich said an ill-considered, youthful first marriage is one the Church might now annul.
He also noted that Pope Francis, in his new exhortation, "The Joy of Love," gives another specific example where conscience might overrule longstanding Church law.
“For instance, those people who have been abandoned by one spouse and now are caring for children in a second marriage, that there is something good that is happening in that marriage, that has to be recognized and upheld and supported,” said Cupich said.
Sunil Mathew, a husband and father in Park Ridge, said the Church should not be weakening its doctrine on marriage.
“To be honest with you, if you marry someone, you shouldn't get divorced. You have to fight through it,” said Park Ride Catholic Sunil Mathew.
Archbishop Cupich said the Pope was simply recognizing the reality many Catholics now live with.
“He's not living in a bubble. He doesn't want to idealize marriage. He realizes that marriage in the concrete, family in the concrete has its struggles. But we should not be afraid of entering there, because that's precisely where God's grace happens,” Cupich said.
Archbishop Cupich said he personally plans to discuss the Pope's new message with priests and lay people all across the Chicago area. Francis himself asked Catholics to read the entire document carefully before discussing it.