I posted this a year ago. It comes up again today. Look at it again, not just to draw horrorific conclusions as to your parents, etc. and your own status but, if true, what does this mean for the future of marriage and the ascetical and then catechetical preparation for it.
“Pope says marriage annulment process should be free of charge
BY FRANCIS X. ROCCA
VATICAN CITY (CNS) January 24, 2015 — Addressing the Vatican tribunal primarily responsible for hearing requests for marriage annulments, Pope Francis said all annulment processes should be free of charge.
“The sacraments are free. The sacraments give us grace. And a matrimonial process pertains to the sacrament of matrimony. How I wish that all processes were free,” the pope said Jan. 24, at a meeting to inaugurate the Roman Rota’s judicial year.
Pope Francis also said that, because contemporary culture portrays marriage as a “mere form of emotional gratification,” people often marry without a true understanding of the sacrament, meaning many such marriages might actually be invalid.
“The judge, in pondering the validity of the consent expressed, must take into account the context of values and of faith — or their presence or absence — in which the intent to marry was formed. In fact, ignorance of the contents of the faith could lead to what the code (of canon law) calls an error conditioning the will. This eventuality is not to be considered rare as in the past, precisely because worldly thinking often prevails over the magisterium of the church,” the pope said.
The pope said judges in matrimonial cases should “determine if there was an original lack of consent, either directly because of a lack of a valid intention, or because of a grave lack of understanding of matrimony itself, such as to condition the will. The crisis of marriage is, in fact, not seldom at the root a crisis of conscience illuminated by faith.”
In August, Pope Francis established a commission to simplify and streamline the marriage-annulment process. At the October Synod of Bishops on the family, participants discussed the possibility of waiving fees. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, told reporters that the purpose of such a measure would be to eliminate even the “smallest suspicion” of a profit motive in church activities relating to a sacrament.
The impact of the cultural context on the validity of marriages is not a new concern.
Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote in the Vatican newspaper in October 2013: “Today’s mentality is largely opposed to the Christian understanding of marriage, with regard to its indissolubility and its openness to children. Because many Christians are influenced by this, marriages nowadays are probably invalid more often than they were previously.”
In July 2013, Pope Francis suggested that as many as half of all Catholic marriages might be invalid, “because people get married lacking maturity, they get married without realizing that it is a lifelong commitment, they get married because society tells them they have to get married.”
In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI told an interviewer that “canon law has taken it for granted that someone who contracts a marriage knows what marriage is. Assuming the existence of this knowledge, the marriage is then valid and indissoluble. But in the present confusion of opinions, in today’s completely new situation, what people ‘know’ is rather that divorce is supposedly normal. So we have to deal with the question of how to recognize validity and where healing is possible.”
Now, continue to the 1998 opinion of Cardinal Ratzinger that considers faith as essential to all the sacraments, and without it, matrimony would not be a sacrament, and therefore, not valid (and hence, annullable):
“Further study is required, however, concerning the question of whether non-believing Christians — baptized persons who never or who no longer believe in God — can truly enter into a sacramental marriage. In other words, it needs to be clarified whether every marriage between two baptized persons is ipso facto a sacramental marriage. In fact, the Code states that only a “valid” marriage between baptized persons is at the same time a sacrament (cf. cic, can. 1055, § 2). Faith belongs to the essence of the sacrament; what remains to be clarified is the juridical question of what evidence of the “absence of faith” would have as a consequence that the sacrament does not come into being. (3)
3 During the meeting with clergy in the Diocese of Aosta, which took place 25 July 2005, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of this difficult question: “those who were married in the Church for the sake of tradition but were not truly believers, and who later find themselves in a new and invalid marriage and subsequently convert, discover faith and feel excluded from the Sacrament, are in a particularly painful situation. This really is a cause of great suffering and when I was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I invited various Bishops’ Conferences and experts to study this problem: a sacrament celebrated without faith. Whether, in fact, a moment of invalidity could be discovered here because the Sacrament was found to be lacking a fundamental dimension, I do not dare to say. I personally thought so, but from the discussions we had I realized that it is a highly complex problem and ought to be studied further. But given these people’s painful plight, it must be studied further”.
[Introductory comment: “In 1998 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, introduced the volume: “On the Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried”, published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana in the dicastery’s series “Documenti e Studi”, 17. Because of its interest in our day and its breadth of perspective, we reproduce the third part along with three additional notes. This text is also available on the newspaper’s website (www.osservatoreromano.va) in English, Italian, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish.”]
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Canon 1055 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law:
1) “The marriage covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life, and which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses [the bonum coniugum] and to the procreation and upbringing of children, has between the baptized, been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”
2) Consequently, a valid marriage contract cannot exist between baptized persons without its being by that very fact a sacrament.
And according to the above, there cannot be a sacrament without faith (understood as self-gift), and hence there could not be validity.