Switzerland: Priest in favor of more flexible marriage

Source: FSSPX News


It is because the Protestant idea of marriage, seems less restrictive than the Catholic, especially where divorce is concerned. Actually, as pastor Erich Fuchs, professor of ethics at the faculty of theology in Geneva, recalled, according to Protestant doctrine, marriage is not an indissoluble sacrament. Celebrated and lived in the faith, and following the Gospel, marriage assumes a spiritual significance, which the Church has the duty to promote and protect. It is a refusal of egoism and “a form of resistance against the forces of deleterious individualism”. “A laboratory of life in society and its challenges”, it is blessed by God, and called to endure in faithfulness, attentiveness and mutual respect, charity and sharing. And its breakdown is taken seriously and deplored.

This concept of flexibility met with support, in the audience, from a Catholic priest, Fr. Michel Legrain, Holy Ghost father, professor at the Catholic Institute of Paris, and a specialist on questions of marriage and sexuality. For many years a missionary in Africa, Fr. Legrain was able to gauge how much “imported” Catholicism, was in conflict with the African concept of marriage. The custom in Africa, assumes that a couple may be considered married, not when they have stood in front of a priest, but from the moment when they cohabit in a stable manner. Furthermore, according to him, this custom was in force for centuries in the West as well, before the Council of Trent came along and interfered in the “native right of every man and woman to marry according to the laws of their tribe” (sic), imposing on them an obligatory ecclesial framework.

If the former missionary recalls all that, of course it is not in order to break the framework of marriage, which he respects, but to express the wish that the Church show herself to have more flexibility in her notion of marriage, by proposing it, only to those who are willing. As for people who choose to live together, on a long term basis, without being married in the religious sense, it would be necessary, according to him, for the Church to consider them as married according to their custom, granting to this union, all the value it deserves.