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« Will Limbo be a Teaching of the Past? | Main | Graduates of Catholic Colleges Leave Not Practicing their Faith, Study Says »

Tuesday, December 06, 2005



One of the most noxious, corrosive things you used to hear all the time was that marriage was "just a piece of paper." Such an utterly materialistic dismissal. I wish people would just show more respect for marriage, speak well of it, treat it like the separate thing apart, transcending the paper it's recorded on.

We can start by refocusing on a parent's *duty* as opposed to a child's *right*.

The language of rights did not have a place in the theological lexicon until the forces that are currently dissolving traditional institutions introduced it. I'm thinking of early-modern social contract theory here--Hobbes and Locke (for Hobbes and Locke society and morality are mere conventions which arise from a pursuit of comfortable self-preservation--this is ultimately the ground of "rights"). Our inability to understand ourselves as we once did is the biggest problem and "rights" are a huge part of that.

Rights entail options, duties do not. Why not say that parents have a duty to their children? Even Locke will admit THAT much!

I suppose its because the language of rights is 'inclusive,' while speaking of duties is definitely not.


The answer to this is quite simple as the new code of Canon law as put forth by "JPII the Great" basically wrecked havoc on the Catholic family.

Since the advent of Vatican Council II, the number of annulments in the United States has escalated to a phenomenal proportion. If you get the chance, try reading the book by Joseph P. Zwach, in his well-circulated book Annulment: Your Chance to Remarry within the Catholic Church states:

“Ever since the Church began recognizing psychological grounds for annulments in 1970, there’s been an absolute explosion in their number. In 1968, for example, only 338 annulments were granted in this country. In 1978, more than 27,000 were granted — an increase of 8000%. Last year, I estimate more than 52,000 were granted.”

Prior to Vatican II, the only psychological grounds accepted for annulments were those in which one of the parties to the marriage did not possess the use of reason. Be that as it may, it had to be established with certainty that the one party so lacked the use of reason as to be incapable of a human act of the will to consent to the marriage contract.
The official numbers of annulments in the United States since the Second Vatican Council are as follows:
1984 - 36,461
1985 - 53,320
1987 - 60,570
1988 - 50,000
1989 - 61,416
1990 - 62,824

In the book of Genesis, it says that Almighty God is the Author of matrimony:
“And God created man to His Own image: to the image of God He created him: male and female He created them...
“And God blessed them saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth...” (Gen. 1:27-28).
God established matrimony with the primary purpose to propagate the human race by the procreation of children.
When our Divine Savior Jesus Christ came into this world, He raised matrimony between a baptized man and woman to a holy sacrament. St. Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians assures us of this when he concludes his chapter on the duties of husbands and wives with the following teaching:
“This is a great Sacrament, but I speak in Christ and in the Church” (Eph. 2:32).
Furthermore, Jesus Christ emphatically taught, on several occasions, the indissoluble nature of matrimony.
In the Gospel of St. Mark, Our Lord made it amply clear:
“From the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his 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” (Mark 10:6-9).
Again, in the Gospel of St. Luke, Jesus taught:
“Everyone that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery” (Luke 16:18).
Matrimony is, then, by its very nature an exclusive union between one man and one woman, the bond of which lasts for the couple’s entire earthly life.
For nineteen centuries, the Catholic Church has uncompromisingly held strong and fast to these teachings of Christ in regard to the indissoluble nature of matrimony. As we well know from history, Pope Clement VII refused to annul the marriage of Henry VIII, King of England, with Queen Catherine of Aragon, and as a result, most of England fell into schism with the Catholic Church.

The sacrament of matrimony is a sacred contract between a baptized man and a baptized woman and their words “until death do us part” mean exactly what they express. The concept of an annulment, a declaration of an invalid marriage, enters into the consideration of the Catholic Church only when there exists matters which are in opposition to the marriage contract itself.
To understand this, we must review the very nature of the sacrament of matrimony. Marriage is a contract (Canon 1012).

The agreement between the baptized man and the baptized woman to live as husband and wife constitutes the matter of the sacrament; their marriage vows to each other constitute the form of the sacrament. For Catholics, this contract must, for validity, be made in the presence of a Catholic priest and two witnesses (Canon 1095, 1096, 1099) unless it can be prudently foreseen that a priest will not be available for one month, in which case, then, two witnesses would suffice (Canon 1098). If a Catholic marries outside the Catholic Church — that is, before a justice of the peace, or far worse, before a non-Catholic minister — the marriage contract is invalid.

The primary end of matrimony is the procreation of children (Canon 1013.1). It was for this reason that Almighty God instituted marriage from the very beginning: “increase and multiply.” If either of the parties to a marriage has expressed at the time of marriage the intention to absolutely exclude children entirely from the marriage, there are grounds for an annulment.
Another consideration in regard to the marriage contract is when one of the parties to the marriage is induced to enter matrimony under grave and unjust force or fear; this also is grounds for an annulment.
Furthermore, there are properties essential to marriage which by their very nature are inseparable from it. These essential properties are indissolubility and unity (Canon 1013.2). By indissolubility is meant that the couple entering marriage must intend to marry for life. By unity is meant that the couple intend to enter an exclusive union with each other to the exclusion of all others. If it can be demonstrated by external proof that either of the parties to the marriage has expressed the intention at the time of the marriage to exclude either of these essential properties, then there are grounds for an annulment.
Lastly, there are certain circumstances that hinder the marriage contract and render it invalid; these are called diriment impediments. Many of these impediments are found in Sacred Scripture and are legislated by the Church.
Such diriment impediments are impotency (Canon 1068), which is the antecedent and perpetual inability to perform the act by which procreation takes place; lack of proper age (Canon 1067), which is sixteen years of age for the male and fourteen years of age for the female; consanguinity (Canon 1076), which is marriage between close relatives; major orders (Canon 1072) or solemn religious vows (Canon 1073), which is marriage with one who has received major orders or who has taken solemn perpetual vows; and disparity of cult (Canon 1070), which is marriage between a Catholic and an unbaptized person.

Since the infestation of modernism and liberalism into the Conciliar Church, the sweeping number of annulments, many granted under dubious grounds, such as “lack of due discretion,” destroys the respect and dignity due to the holy sacrament of matrimony. It gives the appearance that the sacrament of matrimony is not a permanent institution and that the bond of matrimony can be broken. All this is just one more “bad fruit” of the modern Conciliar Church by which we may know, as Our Lord has told us, “a bad tree” (Matthew 7:18).


I wish I knew. And yes, I agree with you!
It is so sad the number of "failed marriages". And I put that in quotes b/c I don't believe they're actually failed marriages. I think people are giving up when things get tough or inconvenient. We have become so much of a self-centered nation. What happened to living out the vows in FULL? Throught good times AND BAD? SICKNESS and health?
For now I offer many prayers.


We must fight for one man/one woman marriage. The homosexuals are trying to change the very definition and essence of what constitutes a family, and in some states they have already succeeded. The USCCB also needs to get tough and come out to say how morally deteriorating artificial contraception is. I believe that this is the #1 menace against the family today. 6% or less of couples who practice NFP will get divorced while 50% or more of couples who practice artificial contraception will divorce. We also need stronger required pre-cana programs. The Archdiocesean program in Chicago is a joke and needs to stop freely marrying people who are already living together. They have a nearly 70% divorce rate, by the way.


What about the individual's responsibility in all this? People can't blame it all on gays, the bishops, birth control, and no pre-Cana programs. What is a pre-Cana program going to tell you that you probably don't already know already (marriage is for life, it is a vow before God, you must be open to children and faithful to your spouse) Plus, with a lot of people it is not a matter of not knowing what the Church teaches on marriage, it it a matter of not doing what she says. If straight, religious people had not made such a mockery of marriage, there probably wouldn't be such a push for gay marriage. The problem is our society -- including Catholics and Protestants -- do not support marriage the way it used to. Family members, friends and neighbors need to encourage people they care about to stay married. I've heard of devout Catholics saying things like, "Why does she stay with him?" Is that supporting marriage? And...they need to throw away all the psychological garbage when it comes to the annulment process. I mean, we live in a fallen world..who isn't psychologically broken?


Well stated John!!

To bad you are not a Bishop or better the Pope!

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