National Catholic Reporter has offered a translation of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini’s final interview that was published in Italian two weeks before his death at the age of 85.
Martini talks about three tools to recommend against the exhaustion of the church: conversion (of the church), the Word of God (perceived in the heart of the listener), and the sacraments: the tool of healing.
The sacraments are not an instrument of discipline, but a help for people in their journey and in the weaknesses of their life. Are we carrying the sacraments to the people who need new strength? I think of all the divorced and remarried couples, to extended families. They need special protection. The church upholds the indissolubility of matrimony. It’s a grace when a marriage and a family succeed …
The attitude we hold towards extended families determines the ability of the church to be close to their children. A woman, for instance, is abandoned by her husband and finds a new companion, who takes care of her and her three children. This second love succeeds. If this family is discriminated against, not only is the mother cut out [from the church] but also her children. If the parents feel like they’re outside the church, and don’t feel its support, the church will lose the future generation.
Before communion, we pray: “Lord, I am not worthy …’ We know we’re not worthy … Love is a grace. Love is a gift. The question of whether the divorced can receive communion ought to be turned around. How can the church reach people who have complicated family situations, bringing them help with the power of the sacraments?