Sunday, May 10, 2015

Remarks of Cardinal Cafarra (at the University Santa Croce last March) on the coincidence of marriage experienced naturally, and marriage in Christian revelation. The reason, of course, is that Christ is the meaning of man. If the natural perception is not true to reality it is because human nature has been damaged by the present culture. Therefore, it is imperative that the Church teach the Theology of the Body intensively.

-       "The first dimension of the anthropological question is the following: it is well known that according to Catholic teaching the sacrament of marriage coincides with natural marriage. I think that there can no longer be any theological doubt about the coinciding of the two, even if with and after Duns Scotus - the first to deny it - there has long been discussion in the Latin Church in this regard.

"Now what the Church meant and means by “natural marriage” has been demolished in contemporary culture. If I may put it this way, the “matter” has been removed from the sacrament of marriage.

"Theologians, canonists, and pastors are rightly asking about the faith-sacrament relationship of marriage. But there is a more radical problem. Those who are asking for sacramental marriage, are they capable of natural marriage? Has there been such devastation, not of their faith but of their humanity, that they are no longer capable of marriage? Attention must certainly be paid to canons 1096 (“For matrimonial consent to exist, the contracting parties must be at least not ignorant that marriage is a permanent partnership between a man and a woman ordered to the procreation of offspring”) and 1099. Nevertheless, the “praesumptio iuris" of § 2 of canon 1096 (“This ignorance is not presumed after puberty”) must not be an occasion of disregard for the spiritual condition in which many find themselves with regard to natural marriage.

" - The anthropological question has a second dimension. This consists in the inability to perceive the truth and therefore the preciousness of human sexuality. It seems to me that Augustine described this condition is the most precise way possible: “Submerged and blinded as I was, I was not capable of thinking of the light of truth and of a beauty that was worthy of being loved for its own sake and was not visible to the eyes of the flesh, but within” (Confessions VI 16, 26).

"The Church must ask itself why it has in point of fact ignored the magisterium of Saint John Paul II on human sexuality and love. We must also ask ourselves is this: the Church possesses a great school in which it learns the profound truth of the body-person: the liturgy. How and why has it been unable to draw upon this also with regard to the anthropological question of which we are speaking? To what extend is the Church aware that “gender” theory is a real tsunami that is not aimed primarily at individual behavior but at the total destruction of marriage and the family?

In summary: the second fundamental problem that is raised today for the Christian presentation of marriage is the reconstruction of a theology and philosophy of the body and of sexuality capable of generating a new educational effort in the Church as a whole.

" - The anthropological question raised by the condition in which the Christian presentation of marriage finds itself has a third dimension, and this is the most serious.

"The collapse of reason in its straining toward the truth as spoken of in the encyclical “Fides et Ratio” (81-83) has brought along with it the will and freedom of the person. The impoverishment of reason has generated the impoverishment of freedom. As a result of the fact that we despair of our capacity to know a total and definitive truth, we have trouble believing that the human person can really give himself in a total and definitive way, and receive the total and definitive self-donation of another. [blogger: with access to a total and definitive truth, one cannot reasonable make a gift of oneself].

"The proclamation of the Gospel of marriage has to do with a person whose will and freedom have been deprived of their ontological substance. This lack of substance gives rise to the person’s incapacity today to think about the indissolubility of marriage except in terms of a law “exterius data”: a measure inversely proportional to the measure of freedom. This is a very serious question in the Church as well.

"The transition in civil law from divorce by fault to divorce by consent institutionalizes the condition in which the person finds himself today in the exercise of his freedom.

" - With this last observation we have entered into the fourth and last dimension of the anthropological question raised for the Gospel of marriage: the internal logic of state legal systems concerning marriage and the family. Not so much the “quid juris,” but the “quid jus,” as Kant would say. On the question in general Benedict XVI expressed the magisterium of the Church in one of his fundamental discourses, the one he gave before the parliament of the German federal republic in Berlin on September 22, 2011.

"Legal systems have been gradually uprooting family law from the nature of the human person. It is a sort of tyranny of artificiality that is being imposed, reducing legitimacy to procedure.

"I have spoken of the “tyranny of artificiality.” Let’s take the case of the attribution of conjugality to homosexual cohabitation. While until now the legal system, starting from the presupposition of the natural capacity to contract marriage between man and woman, limited itself to determining the impediments to the exercise of this natural capacity or the form in which it had to be exercised, the current laws of equivalency attribute to themselves the authority to create the capacity to exercise the right to marry. The law arrogates to itself the authority to make artificially possible that which is not naturally so.

"It would be a grave error to think - and act accordingly - that civil marriage has nothing to do with the Gospel of marriage, which would be concerned only with the sacrament of marriage. To abandon civil marriage to the tendencies of liberal societies."

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