17 June 2016

Ed Peters Lights a Candle

Look, fine canonist that he is, I have had some run-ins with Ed Peters in the past, particularly during the Unknown Canon Lawyer X debates over veiling (what a wonderful, whimsical time that now appears to be!). But today he has written a simply great piece on the validity of most sacramental marriages.  

Cursing the darkness is necessary sometimes, but this article is a nice, common sense candle that sheds real light.  I thank him for it. Excerpts, with a few emphases of my own:

...Consider: Marriage is that natural human relationship established by God as the normal way for nearly all adults to live most of their lives. God blesses marriage and assists married persons to live in accord with this beautiful state in life. When, moreover, baptized persons enter this quintessential human relationship, Christ adds the special graces of a sacrament and assists married Christians to live as signs of his everlasting spousal union with his Church.

To assert, then, that “the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null” is really to claim that the great majority of Christians have failed to enter the most natural of human states and have failed to effect between themselves the exact sacrament that Christ instituted to assist them in it. The collapse of human nature presupposed for such a social catastrophe and the massive futility of the Church’s sanctifying mission among her own faithful evidenced by such a debacle would be—well, it would be the matrimonial version of nuclear winter. I am at a loss to understand how anyone who knows anything about either could seriously assert that human nature is suddenly so corrupted and Christ’s sacraments are now so impotent as to have prevented “the great majority” of Christians from even marrying! How can anyone responsibly even posit such a dark and dismal claim, let alone demonstrate it?


This is just a blog post so, simply invoking the same extensive credentials to speak on Catholic marriage law that I invoked two years ago, let me just say that I believe that the great majority of Christian marriages are valid, that a matrimonial contract was therefore effected between the parties at the time of their wedding, and that by the will of Christ an indissoluble sacramental bond simultaneously arose between those spouses. To be clear, I also hold that many marriages are (and could be proven to be) canonically null and that the percentage of null marriages has indeed risen over recent decades, but I can and do reject anyone’s claim that the majority, let alone “the great majority”, of Christian marriages are null.


Long-Skirts said...

Ave Maria
Our vows
Are diarrhea...

Doin' the Vatican Rag!!

Fr. Andrew said...

Peters has quite the votive offering going on...



Anonymous said...

If this was ever said about Holy Orders and poorly formed priests not being really ordained, I am pretty sure that we would have a lot more flap. I do think Fr. Malachi Martin advanced this position on the priesthood.