and my Likely “Null” Marriage
Oh, yes ... and yours,
great majority of sacramental marriages are null.
I've seen a lot of fidelity in … cohabitations, and I am sure that
this is a real marriage,
they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity.”
Opening of Francis on the Pastoral
Conference of the Diocese of Rome June 16, 2016
Once we recover
from this devastating statement,
it is noteworthy that Francis does not
allow any latitude by qualifying it with, “probably”.
He does not say, “The great majority of sacramental marriages are
probably null.” He quite emphatically states the opposite:
majority of sacramental marriages are null.”
In this case,
even the most deftly casuistic Catholic apologist cannot make a wrong
statement right. Why? Because Francis left out an extremely important
qualifier even were such an absurd statement remotely true: “probably”.
Without this qualifier there is no possible way to make such a broad
a priori assessment of the state of the “great majority” of Catholic
marriages (although he did not limit this statement to Catholics only).
How does anyone determine if (very likely) they are among “the great
evidence it is impossible because Francis did not inject even
the most remotely extenuating notion of probability.
Probability implies the determination that evidence is forthcoming
to validate a statement. But there is no such evidence. Indeed, even
if there were, what criteria would be invoked? How would it be established
and on what authority? At what numerical point would the criteria culminate
in a de facto annulment of a marriage? The evidence that Francis
appeals to is, for all purposes, entirely anecdotal. However, even the
injection of probability does not warrant such a sweeping and grievously
injurious statement. Even if he had invoked “probability”,
the resulting statement would still be scandalous, for
he did not simply say that “a majority”, but “a great
majority” of marriages are null (a specific canonical term) — which
multiplies the scandal.
51% to 49%
constitutes a majority.
On that basis alone, half of all marriages are invalid. 75% to
25% constitutes a great majority which would mean that
75 of 100 marriages (at a minimum) are null — or over 7 out of 10 marriages.
Has Pope Francis
effectively annulled 75% of all marriages (not just Catholic)?
“That is absurd”, you say. No. It is not what I say — it is what Pope
As a Catholic, I am confused. Are you?
Pope Francis is
making quite a mess of things, yes? But that is his ... “style”
... as he said in another context. What a curious and frightening notion.
My own confusion
derives from the likelihood (being of “the great majority”) of
not having been sacramentally and validly married for some
years now — despite all appearances during the apparent illusion
of a Nuptial Mass at that time.
Despite Pope Francis's
insistence that “they do not know what they are
saying” — that is to say, the bride and the groom — when they
make their marriage vows, the clarity and simplicity of the words used
“I take you for my lawful wife, to have and to hold, from
this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for
poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”
“I, take you for my lawful husband, to have and to hold,
from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer,
for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us
These are not
recondite, confusing, cryptic, equivocal, and complicated words or concepts.
Can anyone argue that “the great majority” of men and women
do not understand what
this day forward” means?
better, for worse” means?
for poorer” means?
and in health” means?
do us part.” means
Seven Words and an Insult to all — except the genuinely cognitively
To argue — as
Francis does — that such simple understanding is beyond
the intellectual or verbal capacity and the lowest common level of
human communication is an insult not simply to Catholics or the
married or the unmarried — but to everyone who is not clinically
diagnosed as cognitively impaired. Are such words foreign to you? Are
you incapable of grasping what better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness,
health, and death mean? Do you not know the difference between
what is better and what is worse? Do you really
not know the distinction between being richer and poorer?
Do you hold that these seven words (and one phrase) are
of such complexity that you do not really comprehend them? When
you utter them, do you really “not know what you are saying?”
How did you get this far into this article?
If I believe that
what Francis says is true, it behooves me to remedy my own questionable
marriage by talking with someone who is living a “valid
and sacramental marriage” as he co-habits with his perhaps-wife-to-be
(if he weds her at a Nuptial Mass, after which,
of course, his own marriage, will then become a null marriage
also — until he abandons it and reverts to co-habitation with
another woman to authenticate that
cohabitation as sacramental and real). No this is not the Twilight Zone.
It is the illogical and illusory world of Pope Francis, steeped in a
progressive and antagonistic agenda born of the “St. Gallen” Syndicate
where reason and tradition alone are anathema sit.
As I had stated,
I am confused. Are you now confused, too? Are “The great majority” of
Sacramental marriages really no more than co-habitations, while cohabitations
are really sacramental (possessed of grace) marriages?
Of course not!
are not presumed competent by Pope Francis to understand and enter into
a simple marriage contract when they are presumed to be competent
and liable for any complex civil contract, such as a loan, a
car, a house, or a lease? All such contracts are held actionable by
the parties entering into them and there is a presumed recognition of
the individual's mental, intellectual, and cognitive capacity for entering
into these far more subtle and legally involuted contracts. Try, for
example, telling your credit card agency that you really were not
competent to understand the loan you took out 5 years ago and therefore
now refuse to pay it.
The Oldest Institution in the World
Francis wounded so many people with his statement, and opened the way
to the breaking of many marriages.
So many are fragile and hold together
because of the words of Christ and the Church, enduring much suffering
and remaining open nevertheless to each other in the hope that their
marriage will endure, and in the conviction that it IS a real
marriage and that vows mean something sacred and are not to be broken.
They full well know that they realized what they were saying when they
got married, however simple or uneducated they may have been. Marriage
is not only for scholars and canon lawyers. It is the oldest and most
widespread institution in the world!
How much doubt
must now enter so many marriages — and for those inclined to
leave, to break that contract, they now have nothing less than
a papal assessment that it never really was a marriage after
all. They will count themselves among “the majority” — and split. The
“annulment process” already “streamlined” by Francis will now become
a race track.
are we to tell our children — many living in co-habitation — that it
is sinful and wrong when the pope openly approves of
it? What are we to say? As Catholic parents we have been divested
of our moral authority; for it has been subverted by the pope himself
who declares that we are wrong in discouraging co-habitation
— just as we were wrong when we thought that we were sacramentally and
therefore validly married. It is madness!
I am inclined
to believe — as the most charitable of two options — that Francis is
non compos mentis. If that is so, it is, in fact, canonical grounds
for his being relieved of the papacy. The more he speaks the more certain
I am of this.
On the other hand,
this may be an “impromptu” preparation for a more formal statement concerning
not so much further “streamlining” the annulment process as in
extending the divorce issue so close to Kasper’s heart — and it is important
to remember that Kasper (one of the St. Gallen Syndicate) is, after
all, one of the pope’s most trusted theologians — and one with the audacity
to countenance the explicit and absolutely unequivocal teaching on divorce
by Christ Himself.
this day Pope Francis has not publicly retracted his statement that
majority of sacramental marriages are null.”
The Vatican press agency has tactfully, but belatedly revised
“the great majority” ... to “some” — Francis
It takes humility — the celebrated “hallmark” of his papacy — to
acknowledge that one is wrong. The refusal to do so is the remarkable
absence of it. In that vacuum humility becomes arrogance — which far
better suits a tyrant than a pope.
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
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