Marriage's indissolubility a dogma, cardinal clarifies [CNA] City, Aug 5, 2014 / 02:06 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a book-length interview, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller has underscored that the indissolubility of the marriage is no mere doctrine, but a dogma of the Church, and stressed the need to recover the sacramental understanding of marriage and family.

Cardinal Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, granted the interview in June to the Spanish journalist Carlos Granados, director of the Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos in Madrid.

The book is titled “The Hope of the Family”, and will be released in English, Italian, and Spanish. It will be published shortly [by Ignatius Press](""), and is priced at $10.95.

In the book, Cardinal Mueller corrects misunderstandings about the Church’s teaching on family; underscores the dramatic situation of the children of separated parents;  and stresses that more education is needed, and that education should start from the reality of the love of God.

The book can be considered Cardinal Mueller's definitive contribution to preparations for the next synod of bishops, dedicated to the family, which will take place in Rome Oct. 5-19; he has chosen to give no further interviews for the time being.

The synod's theme will be “pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization,” and numerous outlets have speculated about a possible change in Church teaching regarding the reception of Communion by those who are divorced and remarried, as well as a more lax discipline regarding annulment.

Despite such speculation, Cardinal Mueller underscored that “the total indissolubility of a valid marriage is not a mere doctrine, it is a divine and definitive dogma of the Church.”

Cardinal Mueller also addressed discussions on the possibility of allowing spouses to “start life over again,” and that the love between two persons may die.

“These theories are radically mistaken,” the prefect said.

Cardinal Mueller explained, “one cannot declare a marriage to be extinct on the pretext that the love between the spouses is ‘dead’”, because “the indissolubility of marriage does not depend on human sentiments, whether permanent or transitory. This property of marriage is intended by God himself. The Lord is involved in marriage between man and woman, which is why the bond exists and has its origin in God. This is the difference.”

Cardinal Mueller identify the mistakes in understanding the marriage in society – shared by such countenances as Cardinal Walter Kasper – as a result of the individualistic society, and launches the initiative of a new announcement of the word of God to overcome these mistakes.

“In a world that is angrily individualistic and subjectivist, marriage is not perceived anymore as an opportunity for the human being to achieve his completeness, sharing love,” Cardinal Mueller lamented.

He then stressed: “Someone is called to announce once again God, the loving Trinity! We should announce the revealed God who calls all of us to be part of his relational being.”

Cardinal Mueller asks for a more in-depth education on marriage, and maintains that “remote preparation for marriage – from infancy and adolescence – should be a major pastoral and educational priority.”

The Vatican's doctrinal chief emphasized that “life has sense only when it becomes a concrete gift to another in daily life.”

Life “is given in the mystery of marriage, which becomes the privileged place where the definitive and unconditioned self-gift is made,” a gift that “gives sense to our life,” said Cardinal Mueller.

According to the cardinal, the reason the modern world's sense of marriage is mistaken is rooted in a misguided anthropology that “leads to disaster,” because true humanism “is theocentric.”

“As a shepherd, I say to myself: it can’t be! We must tell people the truth! We should open their eyes, telling them they have been cowardly tricked through a false anthropology which can only lead to disaster.”

Responding to this, he suggested that pastor's “tools may vary,” but “we should above all speak about the authentic love and the concrete project which Christ has for every person.”

Cardinal Mueller also addresses misunderstandings which have sprung up around Pope Francis.

Addressing the media frenzy around his description of the Church as a field hospital, Cardinal Mueller said the image is “very beautiful. Nevertheless, we cannot manipulate the Pope by reducing the whole reality of the Church to this image. The Church in itself is not just a hospital: the Church is also the house of the Father.”

Cardinal Mueller also tackled the issue of the poor, so pivotal in Pope Francis’ teaching.

The prefect said that “among the poor of the third and fourth world,” those relegated to the “existential peripheries,” there are “the children who must grow up without their parents,” the “orphans of divorce,” who are perhaps “the poorest of the poor of the world.”

These poorest of the poor, these orphans of divorce, are most often found, not in materially impoverished nations, but in Europe and North America – some of the world's wealthiest places.

“These orphans of divorce, sometimes surrounded by many goods and with much money available, are the poorest among the poor, because they have many material goods yet are deprived of the fundamental good: the self-giving love of two parents who deny themselves for their children.”

“The Hope of the Family” also features a preface written by Cardinal Fernando Sebastian Aguilar, Archbishop Emeritus of Pamplona and Tudela, who wrote that “the main problem present in the Church with regard to the family is not the small number of the divorced and remarried who would like to receive Eucharistic communion. Our most serious problem is the great number of baptized who marry civilly and of sacramentally married spouses who do not live marriage or the marital life in harmony with Christian life and the teachings of the Church, which would have them be living icons of Christ's love for his Church present and working in the world.”

The book-interview of the German cardinal is his latest contribution to the preparations for the upcoming synod. He has been joined in his defense of marriage by such other cardinals as Caffarra,  Brandmueller, Bagnasco, Sarah, Re, Ruini, De Paolis, and Collins.

Ignatius Press will also release, on Oct. 7, “Remaining in the Truth of Christ,” a work of five cardinals responding to Cardinal Kasper and “(challenging) the premise that traditional Catholic doctrine and contemporary pastoral practice are in contradiction.”

Full article…

Great to read this :thumbsup:

Marriage is indissoluble, but the question that has come up with great frequency after Vatican II, is whether or not in a given circumstance a marriage has taken place. In the past, annulments were granted very rarely, and only in serious circumstances, such as the husband had concealed the fact that he was married to someone else, and now tried to marry a second time. In fact, in 1930 or so, there were about 10 or so annulments granted in the whole USA. But since Vatican II, the number of marriage annulments has drastically increased to as many as 50,000 per year. So, can it be said that the current theory of marriage annulments is a legal loophole designed to get around the doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage and in practice, is not too much different from giving a Church approved divorce when the conditions warrant it.

What did they do to loosen it so much? I never had much of an understanding of it but I think that an annulment is where it’s ruled that the marriage never happened. There aren’t that many reasons that something like that can be given for without changing its definition.

There have been instances in the past of loose annulment granting. As I recall, one 18th century Pope had to write an encyclical or something to the Polish bishops admonishing them for freewheeling annulments.

Whether there are loosey-goosey judges and canon lawyers around I have no idea. I imagine there are. And that should be dealt with. However, it does not impinge upon my conscience. It shouldn’t happen if it does, but it’s not my fault nevertheless. Annulments are so beautifully logical. If someone abuses the logic of an annulment, shame on him/her, he/she sins. But that doesn’t mean there is anything incorrect per se about the fundamental logic of annulments: if there is some defect, a marriage does not take place, ergo when presented with evidence, the Church can publicly state this for the record. The odds and ends can be worked out, to a degree, but the abuse of the annulment procedure, if it does happen–I’m sure it does–does not invalidate the principle of annulments. That’s casuistry. Or anti-casuistry? Heh.

Take a look at the statistics.
1929, 1930 : About 10 annulments per year in the USA
After Vatican II: Annulments were running as high as 50,000 or more per year. Recently, they are at 30,000 per year.

What was the Catholic population and what was the divorce rate among Catholics in 1930? How many of those re-married and how many took the teachings of the Church to heart and didn’t even try to get re-married?



If this is supposed to be a response to the nature of annulment judges, it misses the mark, as there are other, more charitable explanations.

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