California Catholic Daily exclusive.

The Sacramento Catholic Forum, which kicked off its year on January 25th, was founded to provide formation, fellowship, and networking opportunities to Catholics in the Diocese of Sacramento. Their first breakfast meeting of the year – held at their new location, Christ the King Retreat Center in Citrus Heights – was attended by over sixty men and women and started off with Mass celebrated by Bishop Jaime Soto. Bishop Soto was also the Catholic Forum’s guest speaker for the month. He spoke on Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.

During his homily at Mass, Bishop Soto stated, “The Faith has been transmitted through the family throughout the generations in a very human, and with God’s grace, very divine means.” In his talk at the breakfast, he went on to say that the Sacred Scriptures begin and end with marriage, from the creation of Adam and Eve to the “New Jerusalem of the Church coming down like a bride” found in Revelation. He spoke of the relationship of a sacramental marriage, saying that there is “a sacramental character to that that is lived out in the day to day life of the family. And that it’s precisely in that sacramental dynamic that family gives, that they give each other, and they give to the world, grace.”

Those hoping for a clarification of the controversial “Chapter 8” of Amoris Laetitia were disappointed. Bishop Soto stayed away from the controversy caused by the ambiguity in Chapter 8 and did not broach the subject of Communion for the divorced-and-remarried. He also did not attempt to clarify “accompaniment after breakdown and divorce” found in Amoris Laetitia but did say that “pastors have to be patient with families as they grow in the image and likeness of God.” There was no question and answer period for people to ask for clarification on these topics. Bishop Soto did often connect the teachings in Amoris Laetitia to the teachings of Pope John Paul II, which appeared to be an effort to stress the continuity of Amoris Laetitia with the teachings on love and marriage. Bishop Soto did, however, clarify that no other relationship is equal to the marital union. He said that they may be loving and caring, but they are not the same.

Wynette Sills of Californians for Life will be the next speaker at the Forum’s February 22, 2017, meeting and will address “A Strategic Plan to End Abortion: Our Catholic Responsibility.” More information can be found here.