Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict
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Sunday, 4 October 2015

Discussion of marriage at Synod of the Family is actually doctrinal, not pastoral

A very serious and challenging essay has been published by Sandro Magister on "Chiesa". The article in question is by Danilo Castellano. Buried in there is a statement that the extension of annulment to "lack of faith" is inadmissable - even if issued by a Pope - because the Pope is not above Christ. But further, that the Synod is actually doctrinal in nature. 

This makes sense. Every pastoral decision ultimately rests on doctrine; if is does not, it rests on the changing sands of time. This warped thinking was denounced last year by Gerhard Cardinal Muller as a "Christological heresy". 

The full essay by Castellano may be read here. 



Q: Do you believe it is correct to have included the “lack of faith” as a “circumstance,” in the canonical field, that allows the treatment of the case of marital nullity? Are there other situations in which this happens?

A: No. This inclusion is unacceptable, as also demonstrated in a recent essay by Luís María de Ruschi, a prestigious marriage attorney in Buenos Aires and a judge on ecclesiastical tribunals, contained in the newly released book “De matrimonio,” published in Madrid by Marcial Pons. It is unacceptable above all because it makes marriage, a natural institution, depend on faith.

Q: What is your overall judgment of this reform? What are its positive and negative sides?

A: The reform was rushed. It was introduced into the canonical system at an inopportune moment, both because the Church itself is discussing this question, presented as pastoral but in reality doctrinal, and because civil society has a hegemonic culture of liberal-radical stamp that leads one to take the reform as a concession of the Church to the world, one that is moreover late in coming.

Furthermore, the reform was rushed because it was elaborated on the basis of questionable views (like that, for example, expressed by the commission on the relevance of the lack of faith for the nullity of marriage) and of questionable choices, which should have been given exploration and deliberation.

The formulation of the new canons is theoretically contradictory and inconsistent with respect to the preamble of the motu proprio itself. One gets the impression that a “clerical” method has been dictated, meaning that it uses a methodology that proposes the search for constant agreement with the world, which the Church is called, instead, to illuminate and, if necessary, to contest.

The reform, nonetheless, also presents some positive aspects (for example, as has been said: the brevity of the process, the complete or almost complete lack of cost, the recognition/restitution of the power of the bishop); positive aspects that however - as often happens and will probably happen in the current context - will be able to be used contrary to the aims of canon law and the doctrine of the Church, and to the detriment of souls. For example: the brevity of the process, conducted on the basis of the new system of proofs, will end up in the overwhelming majority of cases favoring the “dissolution” of valid marriages; nullity for lack of faith will be a sort of “marital amnesty,” and so on.

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