Bishop Gaillot letter to Pope Francis

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Pope Francis,

There are many of us who wish to express our support for you and our gratitude for all the efforts you are making to bring the Catholic Church into harmony with the age.

Don’t spare your efforts to open doors for the families of our modern society, families of divorce, childless, single parent, same sex….it’s a remarkable change, both anthropological and cultural.

The text that came out of the October 2014 synod seemed to us disappointing and timid. Especially with regard to the ideas of openness which had been expressed toward the divorced and remarried and the homosexuals. The text gives the impression that we remain locked into a system.

Fortunately, while putting the question to the dioceses before the next session of the synod, you are stressing collegiality, allowing all Christians to express themselves freely. It is especially in this area that we intend to add our modest contribution.

You said it yourself: It is not discipline which should dominate but mercy. Wasn’t that the usual behavior of Jesus when He met people on the roads of Palestine?

The Church’s role is to walk with, comfort, and encourage, not to inflict burdens which we, the Church’s caretakers do not carry.

It seems so much more in keeping with the Gospel to welcome people as they are and not as they are supposed to be !

It is to the Church’s honor that her people, her priests have for so long opened doors. They didn’t do this from vague principles but from contact with real couples who are actually excluded from the sacrament and communion with other Christians.

They recognize with compassion the love experienced by these “abnormal” couples. They do not hide behind some doctrine about what is normal, but they listen and look with kindness on these new forms of family whose daily life is

often quite difficult.

They recognize with kindness civil marriage. They welcome and give communion to the divorced and remarried. They give them responsible roles. Homosexual couples are recognized and valued. Their marriage is blessed, their children baptized. On the margins of the Church there exists a climate of tolerance and respect where outcasts are among the first invited to the Eucharistic table.

This is a major change which can frighten some. It is not a question of accepting everything that comes along, but of taking life situations just as they are and of courageously moving ahead on a new path where we find those men and women who feel marginalized by the Church.

Thank you, Pope Francis, for giving us the joy of you evangelical daring.

God is the God of law; He is also the God of surprises.

Let yourself be surprised by God. God is not afraid of novelty.”

Those are your words. The future is open.

Jacques Gaillot

Bishop of Partenia

Paris, 23 November 2014