The Malta Independent 22 September 2018, Saturday

INDEPTH: People who don't follow Church’s direction still remain dear to us – Auxiliary Bishop elect

INDEPTH online Friday, 20 July 2018, 08:32 Last update: about 3 months ago

People who do not follow the Church's teachings to the letter, and who might choose to take a different direction, such as people who divorce, remain dear to the Church, Auxiliary Bishop elect Joseph Galea Curmi said on Indepth.

He was asked, by The Malta Independent editor-in-chief Rachel Attard, about the Church's relationship with people who made use of civil unions, gay marriage, divorce and the recently introduced IVF amendments, Mgr Galea Curmi said the church wanted to search for those who had become distanced from it.

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He said the Church should never worry about being a voice in the desert  - it should worry about not being faithful to its mission. But there is a difference between the church, which delivers its teachings and gives directions, and the people.

"People who divorce remain dear to us. Just because people did not follow our direction does not mean that they are outcasts. Even as directed by Pope Francis, we want to look for those who have become distanced from the church. We have to show these people that we are not against them personally."

Mgr Galea Curmi continued: "The person comes before their situation. We do not see what their situation is and stop there; we have to see how we can help that person."

He conceded that different parish priests might have different approaches to such people, adding that change in the pastoral approach did not always take place at the same pace in all parishes.

Mgr Galea Curmi also said more people are today going to church out of conviction rather then out of convenience. He said that the Church needs to see who attends mass every Sunday,  as the last church census showed there are a number of people who go to the Sunday roughly once a month.

Asked if this is an indication that the Church is becoming irrelevant in today's society, Mgr Galea Curmi said that if there are people who still want to keep a link with the Church but not on a regular basis, then the Church should not destroy that relationship. The church has to keep strengthening that relationship and bring those individuals closer.

It is wrong for priests to tell people that if they do not go to church with conviction they should not go at all, he said. "I would prefer it if they stay and try to find an experience that helps them strengthen their conviction."

 

 

 

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