Jesuit Priest: No One Tape Recorded the Words of Jesus

On marriage and divorce, Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal said human reality is 'never black and white'

by Leah Jessen | Updated 24 Feb 2017 at 7:52 AM

A Roman Catholic Jesuit official asserted that since “no one had a recorder” to tape the words of Jesus, one must personally “seek and find” the will of God.

Human reality is “never black and white,” Father Arturo Sosa Abascal said in an interview with Swiss journalist Giuseppe Rusconi Abascal — the new superior general of the Jesuit order — when questioned about Jesus’ words on marriage and divorce.

“What is known is that the words of Jesus must be contextualized.”

“[T]he word is relative. The Gospel is written by human beings. It is accepted by the church, which is made up of human persons,” Abascal told Rusconi. The interview, originally published on the blog Rossoporpora, was translated into English by Matthew Sperry for Vatican expert Sandro Magister.

Abascal, a Venezuelan priest, was elected superior general last October, as LifeSiteNews reported.

“What is known is that the words of Jesus must be contextualized. They are expressed in a language, in a specific setting. They are addressed to someone in particular,” Abascal said.

The church has developed over the centuries, Abascal noted in his interview.

“Doctrine is a word that I don’t like very much. It brings with it the image of the hardness of stone,” Abascal clarified. “Instead, the human reality is much more nuanced. It is never black or white. It is in continual development.”

Related: You’re Quoting It Wrong: ‘Judge Not’

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Abascal said faith doctrine does not replace personal spiritual discernment.

As Breitbart News noted, “Curiously, the Second Vatican Council, which Father Sosa appeals to, taught … that the books of Scripture ‘must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation.'”

In the New International Version of the Bible, Jesus says about marriage in Matthew 19:6: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

When asked about the touchy subject of divorce, Abascal pointed to using discernment with the help of the Holy Spirit. He said not to bring doubt on the words of Jesus, but noted, “Discernment does not select among different hypotheses but listens to the Holy Spirit, who — as Jesus has promised — helps us to understand the signs of God’s presence in human history.”

Related: Love and Marriage: They’re Worth the Fight

“Discernment leads to a decision: One must not only evaluate, but decide,” Abascal said.

Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 19:9, “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

According to Focus on the Family, a global Christian ministry, the divorce rate among Christians is lower than the divorce rate of the general population.

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