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Archive of January 27, 2007

Pope exhorts Roman Rota to defend marriage against relativism

Vatican City, Jan 27, 2007 (CNA) - This morning Pope Benedict XVI received in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, members of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota for the inauguration of the Judicial year.  The Holy Father exhorted the Rota members to work towards recovering the intrinsically juridical dimension of matrimony in harmony with the tradition of the Church and to avoid the seductions of relativistic mentalities.

In his speech the Holy Father reflected on the legal dimension of matrimony, reminding them that “in the cases of matrimonial nullity, the accuracy of the process presupposes the ‘truth of marriage,’” an expression which, “however, looses its essential relevance in a cultural context marked by relativism and juridical positivism and which considers marriage as a mere social formalization of emotional bonds.”

“As a consequence,” the Pontiff noted, matrimony “is not to only made contingent on the power of human sentiments, but becomes like an overarching legal structure which the human will can manipulate as it pleases, even depriving it of its heterosexual nature.”

The Pope also called attention to the way in which this mentality enters into the thinking of the faithful and which “to some it seems that the Conciliar doctrine on matrimony, which concretely describes the institution as ‘an intimate community of life and love,’ needs to change to deny the existence of an indissoluble conjugal bond, because it creates an ‘ideal’ which should not be ‘forced upon,’ so called ‘everyday Christians.’”

The Pontiff lamented that in many ecclesial circles there has spread a sentiment that out of a desire for pastoral sensitivity, there should be created a, “sort of canonical regularization, independent from the validity or nullity of marriage, that is to say, independent from the reality surrounding their personal conditions.”

Benedict XVI reaffirmed that, “matrimony has a truth, the discovery and deepening of which reason and faith harmonically work towards, that is to say human knowledge, illuminated by the Word of God, about the sexual differentiated reality of men and women, with their profound demands of complementarity, of total self-giving and exclusivity.

From this dual unity of the human couple it is possible to develop an authentic anthropologic law of marriage.  Every marriage is certainly a fruit of the free consent of a man and a woman, but their liberty makes real the natural capacity inherent to their masculinity and femininity,” he said.

In this way His Holiness recalled that, “in the face of the subjectivist and libertarian relativization of the sexual experience, the tradition of the Church clearly affirms the  naturally juridical nature of matrimony, that is to say its belonging by nature to the field of justice in interpersonal relations.  According to this view, the law truly intertwines itself with life and with love, as their intrinsic being.

Finally the Pope made a call for a courageous and confident reaction to the “relativistic mentality…constantly applying the hermeneutic of renovation in continuity, avoiding the seduction of interpretive ways, which would imply a break with the tradition of the Church.

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