John-Paul II supports the institution of marriage

Source: FSSPX News


Faced with the growing development of requests for declarations of marriage annulment, the pope insisted on the importance of believing by principle in the presumption of validity in such judgments, during the traditional address to the judges of the Roman Rota, received in audience on Thursday, January 29, on the occasion of the opening of the judicial year.

“At meetings over the course of the last few years, I have spoken on several fundamental aspects of marriage: its natural character, its indissolubility, its sacramental dignity”, recalled the pope. Now, certain criticisms recently leveled at the Catholic Church lead one to wonder if it would not be “more just to presume the invalidity of the marriage rather than its validity” during examinations of annulment.

In this perspective, it is necessary to reaffirm that “the law in favor of the marriage takes precedence over the law in favor of the person or the law in favor of liberty”. Marriage must rest on “a presumption of validity, a fundamental principle, which makes it valid until the contrary is proven”.

John-Paul II also recalled that this presumption of validity of the marriage is supported by “a metaphysical vision of the human person and of the conjugal relation”. In fact, “without this ontological foundation, the institution of marriage becomes a simple extrinsic structure, the product of law and social conditioning, limiting the person in the realization of his freedom”.

Continuing his reflection, the pope then asked: “What do we say, then, of the thesis according to which the very failure of conjugal life should lead one to the presumption of the invalidity of the marriage?” A valid marriage can fail because of the improper use of the liberty of the spouses. He here indicated the limits (invalidity?) of an annulment based upon “an empirical analysis of the failure of the marriage”.

“The observation of true cases of nullity should rather lead us to treat seriously, at the time of the wedding, the necessary inquiries required for marriage, especially those concerning the consent and true dispositions of the spouses. Priests and those who assist them have the grave duty not to give in to a purely bureaucratic vision. Their pastoral intervention must be guided by the realization that these persons must truly, at this time, discover the natural and supernatural goodness of marriage, and be able, by this fact to engage themselves in it”, he insisted.

In fact, over the last ten years, the cases of requests of nullity of marriage have multiplied: while in 1992, the number of cases heard at the Rota rose to 824, the numbered 1280 in 2002.