The Pope has made some off the cuff remarks as usual. Some about the likelihood of people being in valid marriages. To this I say, he has a point. If you are getting married thinking that you can just get unmarried or this is a trial marriage (as one of my friend's from highschool referred to her first marriage), then you may not have a valid marriage. If you intend to never ever have children or can't physically have a physical relationship, then you may not have a valid marriage. Point is there are a lot of factors to invalidating a marriage: everything from not having enough witnesses to finding out you are blood relatives of a close nature.
I hope that I have a valid marriage, but I have no way of knowing that positively. My husband could have said one thing but meant another. With the priest- who married us-'s not great record (he's no longer a priest for one), we may not have had a valid form either. But I operate under the assumption that it is valid until some Church official reviewing the records says otherwise. This is all one can do in any marriage.
Likewise the Pope made some remarks about cohabitators may have a real marriage because of their fidelity and grace even though they've never taken vows in a church. I'm not sure what he means exactly. The Church acknowledges two types of marriage: 1) sacramental- two baptized male/female in a church and 2) natural- two unbaptized male/female persons. For all I know he could be talking about atheists having a valid natural marriage even though they've never stepped into a church or formally signed a paper. One can speculate until the cows come home.
That said Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor and pro-life advocate and Evangelical, was affronted by the Pope's remarks. Fair enough. I don't understand fully what he meant, but if it upsets her that's okay. Some married people were upset about invalid marriages thing. I wasn't. I realize that I have no way of knowing the truth until I'm dead. Until then I operate under a positive assumption as I assume all others should.
But then she threw out a curve ball on twitter including a poll: Is Gianna Jessen going to hell because she's not Catholic?
And she was shocked that nobody could really answer the question straight.
Several things: 1st Jesus is the only judge of souls (that's in the Bible). The Church can't say anyone is in hell. We especially can't say that of a living person. She may convert and she may not.
Does this mean she's on the path to hell? Good question. Outside of the Church there is no salvation. You may not fully understand anything about the Church so your culpability is small. You may know a great deal which would mean your culpability is great. I have no idea what Jessen knows or understands fully. Given what she said, she;s more on the side of greater culpability than less. Fortunately that judgement is saved until the end (no pun intended).
She was flabbergasted that no one could answer. This is a common issue with Evangelicals. Basically the idea is that as long as you "have Jesus" you are assured of your salvation. If no Jesus then you are damned. In Catholicism it doesn't work that way. Your culpability is at play. An infant who dies are they damned because they don't "have Jesus?" Most Evangelicals and Catholics agree that that would be no. It is the same of any adult who is possibly ignorant even of sins. This is why we remain silent.
This is in line with a most recent Liturgical reading about removing beams and splinters from eyes. We cannot judge. Not our pay grade. We can only tell you if you're headed in the wrong or right direction from what we observe.
The other thing that bothered me was the "I have Jesus" trope. You only have part of Jesus if you are Evangelical. And you are also missing out on the rest of the Church body. What part are you missing? His physical presence. You have a spiritual communion with Christ but not a physical one. That's why you need the Church which contains the fullness of Christ.
So while I'm glad that you as an Evangelical have Jesus to a certain extent. I desire that you have all of Jesus. Come home.