Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pope Benedict - Pastoral Care as to Marriage Is Linked To the Canon Law

I think Pope Benedict gave a rather significant address too the Tribunal of the Roman Rota that among other things works on annulment cases. See the full text here at "The Right to Contract Marriage Presupposes That One Can Marry".

This very important address for some reason did not get coverage it deserved. Maybe because it takes several reasons for a lay audience to get.

Let me recommend The hermeneutic of continuity piece this morning What did the Pope really say about marriage?

I think he lays out clearly how important this comments are to the very local Church. I also think to touches on other issues we are dealing with in the Church.

There are several lines in the Pope's speech I like.

The relationship between law and pastoral care was at the center of the postconciliar debate over canon law. The well known statement of the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II, according to which "it is not true that to be more pastoral the law must make itself less juridical" (Allocution of the Roman Rota, Jan. 18, 1990, No. 4: AAS 82 [1990], p. 874) expresses the radical overcoming of apparent opposition. "The juridical dimension and the pastoral dimension," he said, "are inseparably united in the pilgrim Church on this earth. First of all, there is their harmony that derives from their common finality: the salvation of souls" (ibid.). .

Already I love this right off the bat. There is a lot of Catholic Canon Law bashing. From Protestants to talk about all those Catholic "man-made" laws to as we saw by some Catholics even in the recent internet can Deacons have sex debate!!

Benedict sets out the theme of his speech:
I would like to pause to consider the juridical dimension that is inherent in the pastoral activity of preparation and admission to marriage, to try to shed light on the connection between such activity and the judicial matrimonial processes.

Pope Benedict makes the not too shocking claim, at least it was not shocking a few years ago, that the Law is important here because yes this is a real LEGAL contract.

Read the blog piece above and then the address and consider if this is being heard in marriage preparation classes?

The Priest blogger makes this important observation at the end of his piece on the Pope linking Pastoral care and the Law:

It is not always an easy argument to follow, especially since we live in a culture where everything is "my right" regardless of obligations and the objective character of what we claim a right to. Hence my attempt to summarise some of the more important points.

In the Church, the Pope's address may well be misused to subject couples to endless marriage preparation sessions exploring "relationship" and "compatibility". What the Holy Father is actually insisting on is closer attention to the canonical requirements for valid and authentic marriage.

Right off the bat

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