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제목 Some Points of Catholic Doctrine on Family - Fr. Laisney
작성자 관리자 작성일 2015-12-17



Some Points of Catholic Doctrine on Family


One has been waiting in vain to hear clear doctrine from the Synod of Bishops on the Family, but rather heard very dangerously ambiguous reports. Since the faithful – and the less faithful – do need to receive from the Church the light of clear doctrine, and it behoves a good shepherd to feed his sheep with such proper doctrine, so here are some simple concise considerations that should help.

1/ Nature of a family, as God has established it
2/ Virtues required for a good family
3/ Virtues required to prepare for a good family
4/ Vices before the marriage, that will make a good family more difficult
5/ Vices within the marriage
6/ Obstacles outside the family that make a good family more difficult
7/ Helps that can be provided for families to be good
8/ After the drama of sin, what can be done? The Mercy of God calls to penance!

Special consideration in special cases:
9/ Teenage pregnancy
10/ Abortion
11/ Imprudent or dysfunctional marriage
12/ Broken marriage
13/ Divorced and remarriage
14/ Unnatural vices

False solutions:
15/ “Perverse mercy”
16/ Marriage annulments
17/ False discernment


1/ Nature of a family, as God has established it


“God who made man from the beginning, made them male and female. And he said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder” (Mt. 19:4-6).

A family is the life-long union of one man and one woman in order to have and educate children to fill Heaven with elects. This sacred bond has been raised to the level of a sacrament by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave it to signify His mystical marriage with his Church, the Catholic Church. Hence husband and wife are united by a spiritual bond, the marriage bond, which “no man can put asunder”.

Marriage is a contract that establishes this bond; the object of this contract is “the act of marriage”, the spouses giving to one another the exclusive right on the other’s body for that act. No one may do this act outside the marriage

The first “good of the marriage” is the children: it is first of all for the sake of the children that the marriage is life-long, because they need their parents for their education, not only until adulthood but even after for good advice. Good children are the greatest reward of good parents! “By their fruits you shall know them” (Mt. 7:20). Not every couple can have children, but those who can should have children, and “multiply” according to their ability (one or two children are not sufficient to fulfil this duty: smallest multiplication is by two).

The second good of marriage is the mutual support that spouse give to one another, especially the support for the practice of chastity. It is particularly noticeable in good families.
The third good of marriage is the sacrament, the fact that they signify a higher love, a higher bond, the marriage between our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.

2/ Virtues required for a good family


The first virtue required is the virtue of Faith. Unity of Faith in a family provides the unity of goal and vision of what a good family should be, and thus unites very profoundly the spouse. Without it, there will be division of views about many important decision (not only education of the children, but even before, on the very will to follow the Law of God with regard to marital relations). Faith will remind the spouses that marriage is not the ultimate happiness, but rather a path to Heaven, path where they help one another in the practice of virtue with “fraternal correction”, not being accomplices in selfish pleasures, but rather learning together the practice of sacrifice.

The second required virtue is the virtue of chastity: it includes fidelity (never to have marital relation outside the marriage), but also with one’s spouse to respect what God has established (unnatural vices are mortal sin even between spouse). It is open to life and never does something to prevent life. It does include a certain mortification and temperance.

The greatest of all virtues, the virtue of Charity, has a very special place in a good family, which can be called “a school of charity”. Charity gives and charity unites: this is a whole program for parents and spouses: to give oneself first of all to God and then to one’s spouse and to one’s children. Charity is generous; it is the opposite of selfishness. It does not fear to give life. It is prompt to forgive, yet it educates the children in obedience to the Law of God.

Practically a good family should have daily family prayer, i.e. the father, the mother and all the children getting together every day at a set time for prayer. It does not have to be very long, but it ought to be every day. Regularity is what builds good habits in the children. A good family should have a crucifix or holy picture in every room.

A good family must avoid worldliness. There must be in a good house nothing that is offending God and especially nothing that would offend chastity (bad books, videos, etc.): Archbishop Lefebvre strongly advises not even to have TV. Virtue is not possible without self-renouncement, mortification, and the spirit of sacrifice: children should be taught to make little sacrifices.

Since the first purpose of a family is raising good children, catholic education is a very important work of good parents, teaching their children the practice of all virtues in a loving environment, not sparing correction to their children, but leading them in the path of obedience to the Commandments of God by their example first and by their loving correction. Good parents willingly make sacrifice to put their children in good Catholic schools.

Parents in a good Catholic family are hard-working: in as much as possible, the father should work in such a way that his wife be able to stay at home. When this is possible, it is a great blessing.

3/ Virtues required to prepare for a good family


The Law of God is that one should arrive virgin to the day of marriage. This Law is not impossible, since God does not command that which is impossible: young people need to be convinced of its importance. Fidelity in the marriage is prepared by purity before the marriage: both are the same, viz. not to have marital relations outside of the marriage! The best guarantee one can give that one is going to be faithful is if one reaches marriage with virginity. This is the best “marriage gift” to one another! It is a wonderful proof that one can be trusted afterwards.

That virtue requires a strict practice of purity, avoiding anything that could tarnish it, especially TV, videos, bad pictures, bad books, bad conversations and places of sin. There must be a clear and uncompromised NO to any such thing. Moreover, one must observe modesty, which is the guardian of chastity. Even in the relations with one’s fiancé(e), one should keep proper reserve, and remember that not only the act of marriage but also certain intimacies are proper only within the marriage : what they would not like the other to do with a third person after the marriage, they are not entitled to do before.

Since the virtue of Faith is so important in the marriage, it is evidently also very important in the preparation to a good marriage: both in the choice of a future spouse, and in the actual preparation, which is an occasion to deepen the knowledge of the Catholic Faith in many domain (not only on marriage, but on social duties in the workplace, on education of children, etc.) Let the youth have eternal beatitude and the punishment of hell in front of their eyes, to help them make the right choices. It would be foolishness to endanger one’s eternal salvation through imprudent choices in youth.

Since a good marriage is a gift of God, it ought to be prepared by much prayer: prayer for self to keep the required virtues, prayer for the future spouse, prayer to have the grace to fulfil their duties… It goes without saying that prayer together can be done before marriage, and should be, and prepares beautifully for family prayer.
It goes without saying that a good marriage requires that there be no impediment: before even considering marrying someone, one must make sure of this (e.g. that he/she has not been married before!) One must not even start a friendship with someone who has an impediment.

4/ Vices before the marriage, that will make a good family more difficult


The lack of faith, so common today, leads many to have an earthly view of marriage, searching in it only self-satisfaction and pleasures, only earthly and emotional love and not supernatural self-sacrificing charity. Remedy: good catechism instruction! (And the example of parents living the faith).

Sensuality: impure curiosity (TV, internet, books, pornography…), leading often to impure actions alone or worse with others, all this selfishness is the contrary of self-giving love that should be in the marriage. Remedy: strict avoidance of the occasions of sins (TV, internet…) and practice of prayer and sacrifice.

The modern world, with all its vices, is a proof of the wisdom of God by its opposite: one indeed can see all the frightful consequences of departure from God’s Law. Thus one sees how the evil of unbridled concupiscence leads youth to fornication, which then leads them to contraception adding a second evil to the first, which leads them to abortion (when contraception failed) thus adding a much more grievous evil to the previous ones. All this completely destroys the hearts of the mothers and fathers and all those who pushed for it (evil parents pushing their daughters to such murder!) It is not surprising that after such sins, they have a very hard time to settle in a proper marriage! One must avoid the evil road at the beginning. Don’t even consider departing from the right path of the Commandments of God!

5/ Vices within the marriage can even destroy the family itself


The first vice is a lack of faith: then searching for happiness on earth, one tends to abuse of created goods. This lack of faith leads to the neglect of prayer and of sacrifice, hence not having the remedy any more, the situation gets worse…

Second: selfishness and impurity, searching for pleasure beyond the reasonable measure, this can include pornography (which is always wrong, even for married people), and leads to contraception, which only further feeds this selfishness and impurity, and may even lead to abortion, which destroys fatherly and motherly love and can easily destroy the family itself.

In many families the children’s education is neglected: they are allowed to do whatever they want; their least whim is satisfied and this spoils them and destroys any root of virtue (which consists in the control of one’s passions by right reason: virtue is impossible when passions are allowed to go uncontrolled). Such parents will be asked an account of the vices of their children!

Much worse: in some families, vices go so far as incest, even unnatural, paedophilia and sexual abuses of children.

Remedy: a good Ignatian retreat! After this, establish a strong Catholic ethos, with family prayer, etc. (see above).

6/ Obstacles outside the family that make a good family more difficult


At Baptism one has “renounced Satan, and all his allurements and all his works”, and these are found in the “world”, worldliness so manifest in the modern medias, with their immodesty, bad language and blasphemies, pornography, scandals, indifference to God, etc. One characteristic of worldliness is “to count sin for nothing”, having lost all horror for sin.

The workplace makes life often difficult, by keeping the men’s salary so low that it almost forces women to work (which itself makes the problem of unemployment only worse!) which does not help good families, taking the mother away from her children.

In bad schools, children are not educated in virtue, or they meet bad children; co-educational schools are often occasions of sin; atheist teachers sow doubt in the mind of children.

Good Catholic families must beware of and avoid systematically worldliness, bad schools!

Beware of false remedies: typical example is NFP (“natural family planning”). It pretends to teach families “responsible parenthood” in conformity with the teaching of the Church, but it instils in the spouse the contraceptive mentality as if it were normal to avoid children in their marital relations. This avoidance is not natural at all! While temporary abstinence is permitted for a proportionate reason (sickness, etc.), it is not the norm for a married couple! Abstinence from marital relations should be done for a higher purpose; thus St Paul mentions that it can be done for the sake of prayer: “Defraud not one another, except, perhaps, by consent, for a time, that you may give yourselves to prayer; and return together again, lest Satan tempt you for your incontinency” (1 Cor. 7:5). It can also be done out of duty (=higher love) in case of sickness, etc. But to do it out of selfishness simply to avoid children as if they were burdens, this is a wrong reason, and therefore not without sin (venial). Venial sin is the slippery road to mortal sin!

7/ Helps that can be provided for families to be good


Two main helps for Catholic Families:
1/ a good Catholic parish community, with other good Catholic families, where many parents go to daily Mass (Traditional), where boys can be Altar boys in St Steven’s Guild, and girls can be Children of Mary, thus helping one another to grow is a safe loving Catholic environment that fosters all virtue.
2/ a good Catholic School, non co-educational (of course!), with proper catechism and a teaching permeated with Catholic philosophy and spirit, is a tremendous help for parents in the raising of the children, and for themselves in the practice of virtue by the mutual example and friendship with other good Catholic parents.
3/ The example of consecrated life. Though this third help is less immediate, it is not less efficacious. Indeed marriage is good, but consecrated life is better. The example of the faithful practice of the counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience is a tremendous strength to draw the catholic spouses in the practice of virtue at their own (lower) level: if the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ can help the religious (and priests) to practice perfect continence, how much more can it helps married faithful to practice the virtue of chastity at their own level! The importance of sacrifice is also stressed to the lay-faithful by the example of the religious. They see in the religious how all these virtue flow from a living Faith, and from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which is at the heart of religious life, and can/should be at the heart of good Catholic families!

8/ After the drama of sin, what can be done? The Mercy of God calls to penance!


We go to Heaven “by steps of love.” St Thomas teaches that we are helped on that path both externally by the Law of God, which shows the path to our intelligence (Commandments of God, which are all summed up in the Commandment of Charity) and motivates our will by the rewards and punishments, and internally by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, apart from the Immaculate Virgin, who was alone absolutely faithful in all details to the Law of God, everyone has fallen, some less (e.g. St Thérèse of the Child Jesus only had venial sins), some more. But most have fallen in more grievous sins. God, in His mercy, sent His Divine Son, our Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour of the world. He died on the Cross to pay the debt of our sins and to heal our soul and draws us back on the path to eternal life.

No matter how grievously one has sinned, the Mercy of God is greater: our Lord Jesus Christ precisely came to save the sinners: no matter how grave the sins, He can forgive and heal that soul. This should give unbounded confidence in our Lord. But no presumption: indeed St Augustine teaches that God did promise that in what day soever one would return to God, He will forgive all his past sins, but He did not promise a tomorrow! Now is the time of Mercy, now is the time to return to God! Our Lord Jesus Christ has very clearly warned: “Watch ye therefore, because ye know not what hour your Lord will come” (Mt. 24:42). “Delay not to be converted to the Lord, and defer it not from day to day. For his wrath shall come on a sudden, and in the time of vengeance he will destroy thee” (Eccli. 5:8-9).

The great principle after the drama of sin is very simple: “add not sin upon sin!” (Eccli. 5:5) There are different levels of sins, but one should never even think he could go on sinning and return to God later: such presumption is the surest way … not to have the time. Indeed God gives time to the sinner in order to do penance (see Apoc. 2:21); if one abuses of it by continuing to sin, God will no longer give time. “Despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and patience, and longsuffering? Knowest thou not, that the benignity of God leadeth thee to penance?” (Rom. 2:4).

Therefore, as soon as one realises, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he has been created in order to go to Heaven and there to enjoy eternal beatitude, and yet has been alienated away from God by his own sin, and thus “is in trouble”, one must take the resolution to wholeheartedly return to God through our Lord Jesus Christ, ready to do ALL that it entails. It is essential to understand that the Mercy of God (the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ) do not exempt us from the Law, but rather empower us to obey the Law of God. When one considers that our Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross to save us, one should not say: it is too difficult, I can’t make it. He did so much for us; couldn’t we do our little part? Carry our Cross with Him, Who carried the greatest of all!

The return to God will require prayer, absolute avoidance of the occasion of sin, acceptance of the difficulties due to the past sins (see below), the sacrament of penance, and then a resolutely fervent life with frequent confession and frequent communion. All around should help the sinner to do this, rather than put him down: indeed after a true conversion one was a sinner but is no longer in sin; he deserves as much help as one can give him as possible. And fervent penitents are very much loved by our Lord Jesus Christ, as St Mary Magdalen: “Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much” (Lk. 7:47).

9/ Teenage pregnancy


Whatever its cause (fornication, rape, incest…), the baby is innocent! One should evidently not add to the initial sin the more horrible one of murder. Accepting the baby is often the start of a true return to God; far from making any pressure on their daughter to have an abortion, the parents should help her to accept the child and make this child welcome: there will be enough coming difficulties for her to make up for the past sin; there is no need to add onto them! St Paul exhorts us “to overcome evil by good!” (Rom. 12:21)
There are many Pro Life organisations
that do provide help for such cases: this is an excellent good work.
If the father could make a good husband, it is certainly something to be considered without rush, for the good of the child who would then grow up with his real parents; however one must be prudent, and make sure that from their mistake both parents learn to avoid sin, and the occasion of sin, and return truly to a better life (see above the preparation of a good marriage).

10/abortion


No matter how big the sin, the mercy of God is greater. This applies even to abortion, which is perhaps the epitome of the modern world’s wickedness. Healing can be found only in the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, who did not reject Mary Magdalen but rather delivered her from the “seven devils” that had possessed her (Mk. 16:9) and made of her a great saint: “Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much” (Lk. 7:47).
But that healing goes with true contrition, with great tears and true change of life. One must necessarily stop the life of sin that led there, whether fornications, adulteries or contraception. Reparation is also necessary and can be done by dedication to the pro-life movement, and by having children and loving them.

The refusal of such conversion leads to a horrible hardening of the heart, and to so much of modern public sins, because conscience is always there and the refusal of conversion leads to efforts to silence it in every domain. The only remedy after that is in the meditation on the Last Judgement (where will I be then?) and on the Cross of Jesus. Please God that such souls would do such meditation before death, because after it will be too late, and “it is a horrible thing to fall in the hands of the Living God!” (Heb. 10:31).

Prayer and reparation by victim souls is much useful to obtain the conversion of many who fell in these sins: this is what our Lord Jesus Christ did, offering himself on the Cross for the salvation of souls; this is therefore what His true friends must do. “There are many souls who fall in hell because there is no one to pray and make sacrifices for them,” said our Lady at Fatima.

11/ Im prudent or dysfunctional marriage


Often after a few years (sometimes even less time!), one realises that one has been imprudent, having listened to one’s emotions more than to one’s reason and faith, and has entered into an imprudent marriage. This is quite a common case, given the sinfulness of mankind. One must evidently not render the situation much worse by divorce, which often is just the result of selfishness, running away from the cross. This should rather be the occasion to look at life in the light of Faith, and realise that paradise is not on earth, thus set one’s mind resolutely towards heaven, accepting that marriage will not provide all the happiness one had expected, accepting the cross of daily life, and offering it precisely for the sanctification of one’s family! Then truly one is overcoming evil by good.

There are many virtuous people in
such situation, and they are much to be commended.
The good parent should dedicate himself/herself to the education of the children, which is not easy if the spouse does not give the good example. One should trust in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ by an intense life of prayer and practice of virtue. That is where a true life of prayer in the family is even more needed: it is the occasion to forgive one another, to pray for one another and to obtain the graces to be faithful in spite of the difficulties.

12/ Broken marriage

The disillusionment that such failure entails should help the spouses to truly return to God: having searched in vain for happiness on earth, one should lift one’s soul to God, in whom alone is true eternal beatitude. The remedy for such shipwreck is in a deeper life of prayer and friendship with our Lord Jesus Christ: only there will one find true consolation and strength to go on towards Heaven.

One must not add evil to evil, by searching for another love on earth: but rather learn to forgive and reconcile, according to St Paul: “to them that are married, not I but the Lord commandeth, that the wife depart not from her husband. And if she depart, that she remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband. And let not the husband put away his wife” (1 Cor. 7:10-11).

One should remember that a life of perfect continence is possible: the example of good religious is there to prove it. One should dedicate oneself to one’s children, and to good works. One should pray so much the more that one needs greater grace from God. One should offer the difficulties of such life in reparation for the sins that caused the break of the marriage. That spirit of reparation is the core of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, as He required from St Marguerite Marie.

13/ Divorced and remarriage

If one has remarried after a divorce, and there one realises how far from our Lord Jesus Christ one has become, according to Isaiah: “your iniquities have divided between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you that he should not hear” (Is. 59:2), then one needs to do a good Ignatian retreat to get both the light and the strength to correct the situation.

One must not add evil to evil, sin to sin, adulteries to adulteries: one must therefore absolutely stop in this “broad way that leadeth to perdition” (Mt. 7:13). To stop requires a separation from the second “partner”; if there are children from the second union, one should provide for them, yet not take this as an excuse to continue in a situation of sin. Sometimes the children from the second partner may make that the solution be a life of perfect continence, with a separation of bedroom yet under the same roof: this requires a strict rule of life to avoid being an occasion of sin to one another.

To recover a true spiritual life from this is possible, but requires stronger virtues: intense life of prayer and penance with the frequent reception of the sacraments of confession and communion. One needs a strong faith in the infinite Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose grace truly empowers our weak self to fulfil perfect continence. NEVER is the Mercy of God a permission to continue in sin!

14/ Unnatural vices


“God made man right” (Ecc 7:30), not crooked; and it is a great blasphemy to accuse God to be the cause of such vices (as it is for any other vices too!). If, by the grace of God, one who had fallen into such vices realises that one has committed such “abomination” (Lev. 18:22), one must not despair but rather come to our Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician, with true contrition and trust in the power of His grace to heal and straighten one’s soul.

That requires “cleaning up” one’s house from every occasion of sin (books, pictures, video, etc. and such vices have invented many), absolutely avoiding any bad company of any accomplice in sin, and taking the means to practice a solid life of virtue: prayer, penance and the frequent reception of the sacraments of confession and communion.


15/ “Perverse mercy”


Today, the Church is going through a very grievous crisis, in which many members of the hierarchy of the Church are infected by the spirit of the world, whose characteristic is to make light of sin. They fear that some people feel offended by being kept away from Holy Communion, but they fear not sins of adultery and sacrilege! So they try different ways to go around God’s commandments. And in a most hypocritical way, they call this “mercy”. The Fathers of the Church would rise up in horror at such claim. Thus St Augustine uses this strong expression, “perverse mercy” , to denounce a mercy that would cover up sin without healing it, without getting out of it, as if a sinful life was acceptable to God.

We see this perverse mercy in the efforts of some to remove the laws of the Church that prohibit certain public sinners from certain actions in the Church: for instance the Church asks that a godparent lives a life in conformity with the Law of God, that a Catholic teacher professes the Catholic Faith because both must be models for the children and that a Catholic doctor pledges to abide by Catholic morals, so that one could trust in the morality of his medical advices.

To remove these laws, and allow such position for people living in public situations of sin who do not want to correct themselves is indeed a perverse mercy, deceiving them and others into thinking that they state is OK. How could it “be OK” to continue grievously offending God? How could it be OK to give such scandal to the Church? How could it “be OK” to put their own souls in such danger of falling into Hell? How could they be thought as “living members” of the Church when their souls in spiritually dead by mortal sin? This is completely to ignore the damage caused by sin in their soul, or to consider it as of no importance, as secondary: the warning of the Apocalypse applies: “thou hast the name of being alive: and thou art dead” (Apoc. 3:1).

As soon as they want to correct their situation, we should be MOST helping; but so long as they have no intention to correct it, it is the duty of good Catholics, and especially of the clergy, to resist them and exhort them to penance, and not to treat them as if they were OK. Such correction, far from being a lack of charity, it rather one of a spiritual works of mercy: to correct the sinners and to instruct the ignorant. Together with prayer and penance for the conversion of sinners, these acts of true mercy obtain many conversions: those benefiting of them will be eternally thankful to their benefactors who thus corrected them!

16/ Marriage annulments


Marriage is a contract, whose essential terms are set by God Himself, author of nature, and elevated to the dignity of a Sacrament by our Lord Jesus Christ. Man can “fill the blanks” of the contract (e.g. the name of the spouse!), but is not allowed to change its terms. If one rejects essential terms (e.g. indissolubility) or conditions (impediments), then the contract is null.

Now the desire for marriage is a most natural desire: the essential terms are in perfect conformity with nature. God Himself put in the heart of men such desire. Hence the Church has a very important “presumption of the law” in favour of the marriage. Marriage must be considered valid unless the contrary is solidly proven. This presumption is also a very good protection for the indissolubility of marriage: that holy bond cannot be put lightly into question: one needs solid objective proofs.

Moreover, since families are the building block both for civil society and for the Church, the common good is involved and thus one cannot decide on his own that his marriage is invalid: it has to be “established in court”, the matter must be judged by a proper ecclesiastical court, presided by the bishop or his delegate, and after proceedings done according to proper theology and canon law. The Law of the Church benefited from centuries of wisdom; it was all to protect both truth and the sanctity of marriage, without being swayed by passions – which in such matters can be rather strong. One of those laws was the requirement that there be a “defender of the bond” with the duty to appeal any first decision against the validity of a marriage: thus such “declaration of nullity” could only be obtained after two judgements to prove it.


Now in the wake of Vatican II, the opening to the world manifested itself by a huge increase in the number of decrees of nullity (“annulments”) granted, especially in the USA, where for instance between 1984 and 1994 there were more than 500,000 such decrees! One of the ways has been to introduce vague notions in the 1983 New Canon Law, such as the “lack of due discretion” (Canon 1095§2): some unscrupulous judges thus “annul” marriages which traditionally would have been judged probably as imprudent but certainly not as invalid.

Now on the 8th September, in his apostolic letter Mitis Iudex, Pope Francis made such declarations of nullity much easier, by taking away the traditional protection of the law against wrong judgements: it is no longer required to appeal the first decision; moreover there is a “fast track” permitting the rendering of a decision in 45 days, thus clearly without the required prudence in such matter involving everlasting life or death. If no reasonable tribunal would decide a life sentence with such short process, how could one trust one’s everlasting life to such short procedure? Lastly the requirement that these processes be free – though not bad in some cases – will simply so increase the volume of cases that it will make pressure on the judges to expedite the procedure without due prudence. Moreover the same letter lists on the same level traditional grounds for nullity with other motives which were never ground of nullity.
 

This raises further reasons to fear that there will be many more wrong judgements, i.e. judgements that will declare nullity of marriages which – in truth – were not null at all. History is there to confirm these fears: Cardinal Burke reminded that from 1971 to 1983 there was the so-called “American Provisional Norms”: a special permission by Paul VI for the American bishops to dispense from the requirement of having a second judgement, and it degenerated into what people called “catholic divorce”!

Not only are there going to be many more untrue “declarations of nullity”, but this will further take away the moral certitude which the faithful are entitled to expect from Church’s judgements: then now how could one build a solid spiritual life on doubtful decisions?

None of this is mercy, but rather deceit: it is hypocritical to pretend to keep the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage, while taking away the protections against such abusive judgements of nullity.

What to do? To help souls either who are confused after they had received such an annulment, or who do not want to address their case to such unreliable tribunal, the Society of St. Pius X has established their own marriage tribunal, that follow the traditional rules of law, with all the protection required to get a proper and reliable judgement. Since such judgement is a judgement of fact, and does not require – by its nature – special jurisdiction, this is a real help for faithful in such cases.

17/ False discernment


The last deceit is hidden in a false notion of “discernment”. Though there are degrees of responsibility, and a sin of ignorance is not of the same gravity than a sin of malice, done with full knowledge and consent, discernment can never made evil good and good evil: “Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Is. 5:20). To be patient with a sinner in no way implies to approve such situation: if the sinner postpones his conversion, it is most normal that the Church postpones giving him communion!


False discernment is clear in such sentences of the Synod’s “Report”: “it is necessary to discern which of the different forms of exclusion actually practiced in the liturgical, pastoral, educational and institutional arenas can be overcome”. This presupposes that the problem was not the sins that caused the exclusion, but rather the laws of the Church that excluded public sinners from certain responsibilities! Is the removal of these laws going to help conversion? Not at all, on the contrary!


False discernment thrives in an atmosphere of calculated silences and ambiguities: thus the Synod’s report quotes Familiaris consortio n°84 without recalling the core teaching of that section, that divorced and remarried are not allowed to receive Communion; such calculated silence is interpreted by some as the open-door to give them communion “with discernment”! Also repentance is mentioned with regard to divorced and remarried, but never mentioning that such penance is required for the current situation of adulteries, and not merely for the breaking of the first marriage!


“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unjust man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God: for he is bountiful to forgive” (Is. 55:7). True mercy is inseparable from a true “return to God”! “Do not fear death, but only sin: let only sin be the object of our sorrows.” (St John Chrysostom, III, p.6, col 2 – sermon sur les statues n°5)

18/ Conclusion : the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, fountain of true Mercy


The universal remedy for all errors and sins is the Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on His Cross: God Himself, going so far to save sinful man from his sins, this is truly the utmost of mercy. No one is excluded from this mercy of the Sacred Heart. He died for all. But no one is allowed to remain in his sins, to continue offending God, “crucifying again our Lord Jesus Christ” (Heb. 6:6). There is no louder appeal to conversion than the Son of God dying on the Cross for us, calling all of us “to die to sin and live unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:11). Truly the Cross is the great victory over sin: that empowers us to get out of it, live faithfully according to the commandments of God, and even reach the heights of holiness. And all these graces are given to us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.


May our Lady of Compassion, Mother of Mercy, help all of us to truly convert to our Lord, be faithful to Him and grow in holiness!