MONDAY
January 24, 2000
volume 11, no. 16
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
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NOT EVEN THE POPE CAN UNDO A MARRIAGE
John Paul II Confirms Indissolubility in Face of "Divorce" Mentality
    VATICAN CITY, JAN 21 (ZENIT).- John Paul II confirmed the indissoluble character of marriage, "given the current divorce mentality," when he received officials of the Roman Rota Court this morning. Indissoluble     The Pope was very clear in his address: "Being faithful to Christ, the Church cannot but repeat with firmness the joyful news of the definitive character of conjugal love, which finds in Christ its foundation and strength, to all those that in our day consider it difficult or even impossible to be united to a person for the whole of life and to those who are drawn by a culture that rejects matrimonial indissolubility and laughs openly at spouses' commitment to fidelity."

    During his meeting with the judges of the Roman Rota, the Vatican's ordinary Court of Appeal, known primarily for his specific function in annulment cases, the Pope acknowledged that the Church, after examining a situation through the competent ecclesiastical court, can declare "the nullity of matrimony," that is, that a marriage never existed. Proving that a sacramental marriage never took place is not opposed to the principle of indissolubility.

Not Even the Pope

    The Holy Father then clarified doubts over his power in this matter, saying that not even the Pope can undo a marriage that is consummated and legitimate. "To hold otherwise would imply that there is no marriage that is absolutely indissoluble, which would be contrary to the sense in which the Church has taught and continues to teach the indissolubility of the marriage bond."

    This is a doctrine taught by the Magisterium that "must be considered as definitive, even though it has not been solemnly declared in a definition," explained the Pope. "Moreover, this is a doctrine confirmed by centuries of practice in the Church, maintained with complete fidelity and heroism even in face of heavy pressures by the powerful of this world."

    The new dean of the Roman Rota, Archbishop Raffaelo FunghiniIn, greeted John Paul II on behalf of the group. He lamented "the levity with which the matrimonial problem is addressed, even by parties who call themselves Catholics, the worrying debilitation of moral defenses, the lack of a sense of sin, the difficulty to accept a choice in life that includes a lasting and binding commitment in good and bad times, the rejection of sacrifice, an erroneous idea of liberty that becomes implicit acceptance of divorce as a solution to humanly adverse and painful situations."

    This statement requires careful attention on the part of the Church and that also challenges ecclesiastical judges, who must evaluate "the influence of the consensus of a mentality like the present one -- radically secularized and opposed to the genuine concept of matrimony as sacrament," Archbishop Funghini said. ZE000012109

          

January 24, 2000
volume 11, no. 16
NEWS & VIEWS

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