Monday, January 09, 2017

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith...

... is led by the excellent Cardinal Mueller, who speaks with firm, undramatic clarity.   Worth reading him here...

The Church's teaching on marriage cannot and will not change. And so Amoris Laetitiae has to be read with that truth clearly in mind as an ever-present reality. Of course it's always worth saying more: the truth has to be taught again and again and again.  Marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman, open to new life, establishing a family. It is a sacrament. It is all about Christ and his Bride, the Church. It is  not man's invention: it goes back to God's original plan. It is sacred.

I think that the good Cardinals who have raised "dubia" about this want to have it all set out in greater details and repeatedly, and that may well be useful. But it can't change what already is the case, taught consistently - sometimes well and sometimes less well, sometimes with immense depth, and sometimes in a chattier way, sometimes to people eager to listen and accept the teaching, sometimes to a world where many try to deny it and pretend that the Church could change. It is the task of every Bishop and every Cardinal to affirm the teaching clearly. Sometimes they may want to debate it, or criticise the way in which it has been put, or denounce some one for not putting it - but the most important, the most essential  thing is simply and courageously to teach it, and help all to live it.

When Amoris Laetitiae was first published, my own spouse telephoned me with some enthusiasm: we liked its clear affirmation of the Church's teaching on marriage, especially after what had seemed to be some contentious wrangling at the preceding Synod. I think we were not alone in sensing some  relief at a document which  announced the truth about marriage amid the noisy clamour of propaganda and laws promoting same-sex unions and cohabitation and so on.

Of course more can be said and will be, but the Church's teaching and discipline on marriage cannot change.

1 comment:

Savonarola said...

It is often claimed that the teaching of the Church cannot change, but in fact in many ways over the centuries, including its understanding of marriage, it has changed, and therefore there is no reason to suppose it cannot change again. It may be honest to admit this and not pretend there is some body of church teaching which can never be different in any way. The essence of it may be the same, but how it is interpreted and applied - this does and must change or, if you like, develop.