92 – Today I would like to focus our attention on another reality: how to take care of those who, after an irreversible failure of their matrimonial bond, have entered into a new union

When we priests prepare young couples for marriage, we know that one of the most important points that is to be made clear is regarding the indissolubility of the marriage bond, which is sealed when they contract matrimony. It’s moving to witness the situation of those who, taking this notion so seriously that even after the misfortune of a separation, not always desired by one of the spouses, find the strength and courage to respect the matrimonial bond, in their awareness of the beauty existing in this testimony of fidelity to the Sacrament, the benefits of living in the state of grace and the sanctity of indissolubility as an image of the mystery of union between Christ and his Church.

The world scorns the immutability of the divine laws and preaches a relativistic doctrine which suggests that failure within a marriage is the same as a rupture in the matrimonial bond. The spouse, who wishes to remain faithful despite all, will have to put up with pressures from all sides, even from family members, who try to convince him or her that their marriage ended with separation and that they are free to form a new family. Those who give in to this proposal, perhaps have a lighter existence under certain aspects, but this attitude will end up bringing about other disastrous consequences on a personal level, as well as with respect to their eternal salvation, and even on the level of society itself.

If we are truly pastors who desire the salvation of our flock, we can’t use terminology that contradicts the doctrine of the Church or that might give an erroneous idea about its teaching. That’s why we became perplexed with Francis’ recent affirmation, which refers to ‘how to take care of those who, after an rupture of their matrimonial bond, have entered into a new union’ Today we include a new study, in addition to the analyses made a few days ago regarding certain aspects of these declarations, with particular emphasis on the strange affirmation about a ‘rupture of the matrimonial bond’ to which Francis alluded. Could he be affirming that such a thing exists? Is it possible that the Pope sustains the idea that matrimony is not indissoluble? Because, that which can be ruptured, is not indissoluble.

To avoid confusions, the best thing to do is recall the lucid doctrine of Holy Mother Church regarding this fundamental aspect of matrimony.

NOTE: The English translation available on the Vatican site, and linked below, has ‘corrected’ the words of the Pope, using ‘after an irreversible failure of their matrimonial bond, have entered into a new union’. However, Francis’ words are clearly “tras la ruptura de su vínculo matrimonial han establecido una nueva convivencia” – which translates into English as “after the rupture of their matrimonial bond have entered into a new union”. And these clear words were transmitted to the whole world by the press; obviously just as Francis wished, since he is delivering formal written address. The video could not be more clear (see: 10-11 sec).
Besides, the Vatican translation uses the words ‘baptized who have established a new relationship of cohabitation after the failure of the marital sacrament’ later on in the same address, and refers to these situations of concubinage as ‘wounded families’.

Francis

Quote A

Today I would like to focus our attention on another reality: how to take care of those who, after an irreversible failure [the rupture] of their matrimonial bond, have entered into a new union. The Church is fully aware that such a situation is contrary to the Christian Sacrament. However, her gaze as a teacher always draws from a mother’s heart; a heart which, enlivened by the Holy Spirit, always seeks the good and the salvation of the people. This is why she feels obliged, ‘for the sake of truth’, to ‘exercise careful discernment of situations’. This is how St John Paul II expressed it in the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (n. 84), giving as an example the difference between one subjected to separation compared to one who has caused it. This discernment has to be made. If we then also look at these new bonds through the eyes of the young sons and daughters — and the little ones watch — through the eyes of the children, we are aware of a greater urgency to foster a true welcome for these families in our communities. For this reason it is important that the style of the community, its language, its attitudes, always be attentive to people, starting with the little ones. They are the ones who suffer the most in these situations. After all, how can we encourage these parents to do everything possible to raise their children in the Christian life, to give them an example of committed and exercised faith, if we keep them at arm’s length from the life of the community, as if they are excommunicated? We must act in a way so as not to add even more to the burdens which the children in these situations already feel they have to bear! Unfortunately, the number of these children and youth is really large. It is important for them to feel the Church as loving mother to all, always ready to listen and to meet. In these decades, in truth, the Church has been neither insensitive nor lazy. Thanks to the in-depth analysis performed by Pastors, led and guided by my Predecessors, the awareness has truly grown that it is necessary to have a fraternal and attentive welcome, in love and in truth, of the baptized who have established a new relationship of cohabitation after the failure of the marital sacrament; in fact, these persons are by no means excommunicated — they are not excommunicated! — and they should absolutely not be treated as such: they are still a part of the Church. Pope Benedict XVI spoke about this question, calling for careful discernment and wise pastoral accompaniment, knowing that there are no ‘simple solutions’ (Speech at the Seventh World Meeting of Families, Milan, 2 June 2012, answer n. 5). Here the repeated call to Pastors to openly and consistently demonstrate the community’s willingness to welcome them and encourage them, so they may increasingly live and develop their membership in Christ and in the Church through prayer, by listening to the Word of God, by attending the liturgy, through the Christian education of their children, through charity and service to the poor, through the commitment to justice and peace. […] ‘The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open’…. No closed doors! No closed doors! […] Especially Christian families can cooperate with Him by taking care of wounded families, accompanying them in the life of faith of the community. Each one must do his part in taking on the attitude of the Good Shepherd, who knows each one of his sheep and excludes no one from his infinitive love! (General Audience, August 5, 2015)

Teachings of the Magisterium

Table of Contents

 

I – A ratified and consummated sacramental marriage can never be dissolved, not even by the power of the Roman Pontiff
II – The separation of the couple does not constitute a rupture of the marriage bond
III – The annulment of a marriage is a recognition that no marriage ever existed and therefore there is no rupture of the marriage bond
IV – Clarification regarding the Pauline Privilege and in favorem fidei


 

I – A ratified and consummated sacramental marriage can never be dissolved, not even by the power of the Roman Pontiff


John Paul II
– Not even the Roman Pontiff can dissolve a ratified and consummated sacramental marriage – otherwise there is no absolutely indissoluble marriage
-Neither Scripture nor Tradition recognizes any faculty of the Roman Pontiff for dissolving a ratified and consummated marriage

Catechism of the Catholic Church
-Marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power
-The marriage bond is an irrevocable reality and the Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom

Pius XI
-A Christian marriage which is valid and has been consummated may not be destroyed by any human authority

International Theological Commission
– The Church cannot have any power over the reality of a conjugal union, which evokes in its own way the realism of the Incarnation

Sacred Scripture
– If God has joined together, who can separate?

Code of Canon Law
– Only death can dissolve marriage


II – The separation of the couple does not constitute a rupture of the marriage bond


Catechism of Trent
-Although separated, a couple remains nonetheless bound by the bond of marriage

Pius XI
-The bond of marriage cannot be loosed even in the case of separation

Clement XIII
-There is separation as regards cohabitation but not regarding the bond

Sacred Scripture
– If separated, either remain single or be reconciled

John Paul II
– Example of Christian consistency: respect for the indissolubility of the marriage bond by those who have undergone divorce. These have no obstacle in receiving the Sacraments


III – The annulment of a marriage is a recognition that no marriage ever existed and therefore there is no rupture of the marriage bond


John Paul II
– To declare the nullity of a marriage is that the marriage never existed – it does not conflict with the principle of indissolubility
– A declaration of nullity is not divorce under a different name
-The declaration of the nullity of a marriage must be presented and effected in an ecclesial context that is totally favorable to the indissolubility of marriage
-The failure of conjugal life does not imply the invalidity of the marriage

Benedict XVI
-The trial’s aim with respect to matrimonial nullity is to declare the truth about the validity or invalidity of an actual marriage
– Avoid pseudo-pastoral claims aimed at satisfying subjective requests to arrive at a declaration of nullity
– The Roman Pontiff’s discourses to the Roman Rota authoritatively teach the essential aspects of the reality of marriage


IV – Clarification regarding the Pauline Privilege and in favorem fidei


Code of Canon Law
-A marriage entered into by two non-baptized persons is dissolved by means of the Pauline Privilege in favor of the faith

John Paul II
-The cases of the Pauline Privilege are relatively rare

Pius IX
-A pagan married to an unfaithful pagan may make use of the Pauline Privilege in converting

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
-The conditions for granting the dissolution of a marriage in favor of the faith


I – A ratified and consummated sacramental marriage can never be dissolved, not even by the power of the Roman Pontiff


John Paul II

Not even the Roman Pontiff can dissolve a ratified and consummated sacramental marriage – otherwise there is no absolutely indissoluble marriage
Neither Scripture nor Tradition recognizes any faculty of the Roman Pontiff for dissolving a ratified and consummated marriage

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power
The marriage bond is an irrevocable reality and the Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom

Pius XI

A Christian marriage which is valid and has been consummated may not be destroyed by any human authority

International Theological Commission

The Church cannot have any power over the reality of a conjugal union, which evokes in its own way the realism of the Incarnation

Sacred Scripture

If God has joined together, who can separate?

Code of Canon Law

Only death can dissolve marriage

II – The separation of the couple does not constitute a rupture of the marriage bond


Catechism of Trent

Although separated, a couple remains nonetheless bound by the bond of marriage

Pius XI

The bond of marriage cannot be loosed even in the case of separation

Clement XIII

There is separation as regards cohabitation but not regarding the bond

Sacred Scripture

If separated, either remain single or be reconciled

John Paul II

Example of Christian consistency: respect for the indissolubility of the marriage bond by those who have undergone divorce. These have no obstacle in receiving the Sacraments

III – The annulment of a marriage is a recognition that no marriage ever existed and therefore there is no rupture of the marriage bond


John Paul II

To declare the nullity of a marriage is that the marriage never existed – it does not conflict with the principle of indissolubility
A declaration of nullity is not divorce under a different name
The declaration of the nullity of a marriage must be presented and effected in an ecclesial context that is totally favorable to the indissolubility of marriage
The failure of conjugal life does not imply the invalidity of the marriage

Benedict XVI

The trial’s aim with respect to matrimonial nullity is to declare the truth about the validity or invalidity of an actual marriage
Avoid pseudo-pastoral claims aimed at satisfying subjective requests to arrive at a declaration of nullity
The Roman Pontiff’s discourses to the Roman Rota authoritatively teach the essential aspects of the reality of marriage

IV – Clarification regarding the Pauline Privilege and in favorem fidei


Code of Canon Law

A marriage entered into by two non-baptized persons is dissolved by means of the Pauline Privilege in favor of the faith

John Paul II

The cases of the Pauline Privilege are relatively rare

Pius IX

A pagan married to an unfaithful pagan may make use of the Pauline Privilege in converting

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The conditions for granting the dissolution of a marriage in favor of the faith

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6 thoughts on “92 – Today I would like to focus our attention on another reality: how to take care of those who, after an irreversible failure of their matrimonial bond, have entered into a new union

  1. Consider: Can one actually choose indissolubility? Specifically, does one have the right to choose to give up the choice to unchoose. Divorce is to unchoose. As long as society has laws that say one cannot choose indissolubility – they must remain governed by the option to divorce (unchoose) – there is no way to choose this no matter how sincere.
    In the Church you might have had the choice before, but with a pathetic list of “outs” and an open ended “etc.” JB has institutionlized Catholic Divorce (which is crueler than secular divorce because it erases an entire generation of a family by calling their valid marriage a lie). If a someone says it is possible, then ask them how – how does a couple bulletproof their consent and make if impossible to divorce/nullify?

  2. Francis is a pastoral disaster – he could at least learn from the protestants. Here in the Netherlands, many are tired of the excessive secularism and liberal faith of the Reformed Church. Look at the splinter groups that turn to a more orthodox view. Even he Catholic Church gained many. What will happen now with Francis and his changes?

  3. The media says that this guy is a pastoral pope. But he doesn’t even know the basics. Anyone who is or was a pastor in any community knows that the marriage sacrament does not fail. A sacrament cannot fail – what fails is the way people live up to it.

    • Pastoral? Francis could at least learn from the protestants! Look at the mess that the Reformed Church here in the Netherlands is in…and the splinter groups that turn to some kind of orthodox morality so as to be able to hold on to at least some faithful. The Catholic Church here gained many who were tired of the excessive secularism and liberal faith. Francis is a pastoral disaster.

      • I’d put it differently. Francis a pastoral success – for the jews, muslims, evangelicals, atheists, sodomites, communists and any other group or individual who looks forward to the destruction of the church.

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