The phenomenon of irregular marriages has been on the rise for decades, and highlights the crisis of marriage and the family. Civil society, however, does not seem to take any notice, nor think it worth its attention. The reason for this neglect is that civil society itself is in a crisis and the crisis of the family is its mirror image. It is a crisis that has its roots in the same anthropological vision: civil society and the family suffer from the same disease; a crisis of the vision of man. The Church on the contrary makes the family the object of her assiduous pastoral action, particularly in this time of crisis. A large part of her faithful however no longer seem to live in accord with her teaching and discipline on marriage and the family. What has aroused the special concern and pastoral care of the Church is that situation of irregular unions, particularly the situation of the divorced, who after divorce, have switched to a second, merely civil marriage and have given rise to a new family. These unions have raised doctrinal and pastoral problems of great importance, in particular the alienation from certain parts of the life of the Church, and especially the exclusion from the Eucharist, of those living in irregular unions. In light of the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 2014 and the Ordinary General Assembly in 2015, both on the pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization, the author reflects on this important issue and offers some solutions.


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pp. 153-192
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