Sunday, June 19, 2016

Let's Suppose...


Let's suppose - just hypothetically - that most of all Catholic marriages today are invalid. And let's suppose that the reason they are invalid is because the partners, when entering into their marriage, were deficient in some aspect of the faith, or did not fully understand that marriage was indissoluble. They were not sufficiently educated. Let's just suppose that this was the case, that such a lack of knowledge rendered the sacrament invalid.

In that case, the sacrament of marriage would be reserved with those to who have an exceptional level of faith and certain degree of education. Not only the right intention, but also a sufficient level of education would be necessary for the sacrament to be valid.

And not only a certain degree, but an amazing degree, if the knowledge possessed by the majority of Catholics in the most information-rich, hyper-educated age in history was not enough to prevent the majority of their marriages from being invalid.

If that were all true, would it not mean that the sacraments were rewards for the educated, trophies for the righteous, rather than medicine for sinners? 

Because I thought heard somewhere that sacraments are not rewards for the righteous but medicine for the sinners? Or something like that... 

19 comments:

c matt said...

My understanding is that the sacrament of marriage is conferred by the two participants, with the Church acting as witness, but not minister of the sacrament. Suppose the Church acts as a witness to a ceremony in which, for sake of argument, the participants are not sufficiently faithful, knowledgeable, etc. The years go by, and the participants are now sufficiently faithful, knowledgeable, etc. and continue as husband and wife. Have they now validated their marriage? Is it void, voidable, or subject to subsequent ratification? Would a renewal of vows, or acknowledgement of their marital status in the presence of the Church in their adequate state of knowledge and faith make the marriage now binding?

c matt said...

As someone else pointed out, if marriages suffer from this lack of faith/knowledge to effect the sacrament, how many ordinations and episcopal consecrations suffer from same?

Boniface said...

Right. It would be truly apocalyptic. As we know, seminaries were not established until Trent and they were established because of deficiencies in the theological training of priests. Priests from whom the bishops were selected. That is to say that, you could have no confidence in the validity of the majority of *ordinations* that exist in the world (traced back as they would be at some point to "deficient" bishops). Basically if this were a true standard, the visible Church wouldn't exist. (And civil society too, since marriages are also mostly null, obviously.) The same idea actually appears in Amoris Laetitia 301, this time regarding the culpability for sin:

"The Church possesses a solid body of reflection concerning mitigating factors and situations. Hence it is can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace. More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values”, or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin. As the Synod Fathers put it, “factors may exist which limit the ability to make a decision”."

Not just knowledge, but you have to really understand the "inherent value" of the moral precept. You basically have to have a doctorate in moral theology to commit a mortal sin.

JR said...

I dont agree respectfully.Maybe Im totally missing it here but I dont believe that Pope Francis is saying you need a S.T.L to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony but there is a need for some degree of intellectual assent of the basic nature of the Sacrament.

We do this for First Communion or at lest used to. Sacramental theology is both very simple that a lay person could understand and at the same time deep enough to confound the greatest doctors.

I dont get how understanding "inherent values" requires a deep theological level of knowledge on the level of a doctorate.

A.R. said...

I may be alone here, but this is one "off the cuff" remark from Pope Francis that I'm okay with.

I was a convert catechized in a reasonably doctrinally sound novus ordo parish, and a couple of years later I was still shocked by what I read in the St. Joseph First Holy Communion Baltimore Catechism...the stuff we expect 7-year-olds to know in an FSSP parish. It's not a matter of knowledge of "the inherent value." The average Catholic (through no fault of their own, the Church really dropped the ball) really is that ignorant. The Sunday Catholic in the pew may have heard once such and such a thing is a sin (probably not from the pulpit), but their priest has never even explained what sin even is, let alone the joy and freedom of abandonment to Christ's will.

I differ from the modernists in that I don't want the Church to destroy its doctrines to cater to the people who they purposefully made so ignorant. I think we need a heroic effort to catechize and evangelize so everyone can get back up to the basic level they should be at.

Boniface said...

A.R.,

Well, I don't know if that's the same issue...nobody is suggesting marital preparation or catechesis is not abysmal. We all agree that it is. The issue the pope has raised is that he proposes that lack of knowledge can actually invalidate a sacrament, which is something very novel and dangerous, as it throws into doubt the administration of almost every sacrament, since it is never possible to ascertain how much "knowledge" the recipient has or if it is of the right sort.

Dymphna said...

SO if only the well catechized can get validly married then the majority of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s are toast. You don't have to be St. Thomas Aquinas to have a valid marriage.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...


Jorge Bergoglio, is undeserving of even the designation, putative pope, for he is a heretic; he is a complete and utter joke and "In Light of the Law" Ed Peters has completely eviscerated his Marriage inanity, during which he called evil good; i.e. that grace attends fornication.

ABS wonders if Jorge Bergoglio is even a nominal christian for it is not recondite knowledge that the other day PUBLICLY he said this about Jesus:

At Rome where you hear inconceivable, resonant words about the Son of God, like those pronounced last Thursday in St. John Lateran’s Basilica by Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

*’tira il sasso e nasconde la mano’, is an idiomatic expression which implies someone who likes to provoke and then denies responsibility of the repercussions on others, enjoys confusing others. 


Yes, Jorge Bergoglio, an AntiChrist, says that Jesus liked to provoke and confuse people.

Jorge Bergoglio is an AntiChrist. He is not a Shepherd. He is an evil wolf ravaging the lambs in the sheepgate.

Anonymous said...

The hipocresy of this man is beyond belief. An adulterer is able to receive a sacrament (or something like that) but not a married person.
Vladimir.

Anonymous said...

Since when does one argue for virtue by not practicing it? This pious vitriol sounds a bit self-righteous. Our faith challenges us to respect those in authority, even when we disagree with them, which we are free to do respectfully.

Boniface said...

^^^Bahaha. What virtue am I not practicing that is evidenced by this post? And who is being disrespected and how?

Anonymous said...

My apologies, Boniface, I should have been more specific. I was responding to the comments of Amateur Brain Surgeon.

Anonymous said...

This Anonymous agrees with ABS, not the other Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Let's say for arguments sake the cardinals who chose Jorge Mario Bergoglio didn't really know what they were doing...

Konstantin said...

Maybe he is referring to ABS, Boniface.

Anonymous said...

To anyone considering marriage, I ask you to consider the following scenario. Two baskets sit on a table in front of you. One contains a solid gold ingot, the other a live king cobra. You of course do not know which is which. Would you take the chance? Those are the odds, half if not more of marriages finish up with a divorce which is generally initiated by the woman. Don't do it. If you will not be warned, don't complain when you feel the pain as she sinks deep her fangs.

Anonymous said...

The question of whether two people who enter into marriage with the explicit idea that is not indissoluble and that it can be terminated at the will of either partner, cannot enter into a Catholic sacramental marriage. They can be married by natural law, but does not meet the requirements of Catholic marriage anymore than a priest who consecrates the host without the intention of, or belief in transubstantiation, is a valid consecration.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say this but after being married for over a decade to cafeteria secular "catholic" woman,I would advise any Catholic to not marry unless your future would be spouse is a solid roman Catholic.
N my opinion marriage to a modern secular go with the crowd type individual is nothing but stress stress more stress and debt.

Anonymous said...

I wish the FSSP & ICKSP would be allowed to have a bishop consecrated before June 1968 so he could ordain their future Priest's.
Just 1 single Bishop for both orders would be fine.
If what I have read is correct,Fr.Bisig wanted a Bishop consecrated before June 1968 for their seminarians.After he requested such a bishop one too many times,he was replaced as Superior General.