There is increasing concern among Catholic faithful that Pope Francis, in a weird attempt to reconcile the Catholic Church with “modernity”, is making concessions that are clearly at odds with doctrine. This should be worrying not only Catholics, but everyone who believes that all human beings should fully enjoy the protection of their human rights and dignity from the time of conception unto death, because the Catholic Church has for many decades been a lonesome bulwark to advocate and defend these rights against the relentless attacks ideologues and self-serving pressure groups, to which certain governments and international organizations have been all too receptive. Now it looks as if that bulwark were to be eroded. Continue reading
It is rare for the ECtHR, otherwise reputed for its judicial activism, to resist the temptation of de-constructing fundamental institutions such as marriage and family. But today it has happened: in the case of Babiarz v. Poland (application no. 1955/10), the Court has ruled that Articles 8 and 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights must not be construed as containing a right for the applicant to be divorced from his wife and married to another woman (with whom he already has a child) if his wife does not consent to, and if her behaviour does not justify, a divorce. In simpler words: there is no “right to divorce”. Continue reading
Given that the Catholic Church is the biggest and most powerful institution world-wide to uphold and protect the family, its stance on these matters are of great relevance both for those who want to preserve the institutions of marriage and family against being undermined as well as for those who want to re-define, weaken, and ultimately destroy, them.
For the latter, the outcome of the three-weeks-long Bishops’ Synod on the Family, which ended yesterday with a solemn Te Deum, must have come as a disappointment. A very serious attempt, lead mainly by Church hierarchs from Western Europe and America, to relativize the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage has been defeated. This attempt, bearing the name of Cardinal Walter Kasper from Germany (and allegedly supported by the Pope himself!), would have given access to the Church’s sacraments to persons who are divorced and civilly re-married, thus either abandoning the doctrine that a Catholic marriage cannot be divorced, or (alternatively) implying that living openly in a status of adultery and/or bigamy is not a sin. Continue reading
The two motu proprio letters issued by Pope Francis last week, decreeing a reform of the ecclesial procedures for the declaration of nullity of marriages, have caused astonishment among Catholic faithful. Although the doctrine of indissolubility of marriage remains intact in theory, the new procedure, if implemented as outlined in the new provisions, appears to have been drafted with the intention of allowing a finding of nullity in practically all cases where the spouses, or one of them, so demand. In practice this looks like the introduction of divorce on request, with the sole difference that findings of nullity apply ex tunc (i.e. that the marital bond is declared to have never existed), while a divorce would be effective only ex nunc (i.e., the validity of the marriage is not called in doubt, but the marriage is dissolved with effect as from the day of the divorce).
Even if this reform may have been motivated by the best of intentions, it risks making the doctrine of indissolubility of marriage look very hypocritical.
Heimito von Doderer, an Austrian novelist of the last century, once wrote a satirical novel entitled “The Merowingians, or the Total Family”, in which he tells the story of Childerich von Bartenbruch, a baronet from Lower Franconia who through clever marriages achieves his bizarre ambition of being his own father, grandfather, father in law, son, grandson, and son in law – all at the same time.
More worrying than the regrettable result of the referendum on marriage in Ireland are the hidden and not-so-hidden attempts of certain Catholic dignitaries to steer their Church towards a “political compromise” that would sacrifice the truth about marriage and family in order to remain good standing with the secular mass culture.
There are some worrying news about a secretive meeting of some Bishops and journalists with the purpose of pre-emptively fixing the outcome of the Synod on the Family that is scheduled to take place in October. A key role in this regard appears to be played by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the Archbishop of Munich and President of the German Bishops’ Conference (who also happens to be the President of COMECE…)
Through last Friday’s referendum the Republic of Ireland has been transformed into something like the Mordor of Marriage: it is now the only country in Europe, if not the world, that does not only legally recognize the absurdity of same-sex “marriages”, but has actually constitutionalized them. Continue reading