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 great majority of sacramental marriages
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 majority”?
empirical 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.
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 Francis said.
As a Catholic, I am confused. Are you?
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
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.
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 suggest otherwise:
“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 part.
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
“from this day forward” means?
“for better, for worse” means?
“for richer, for poorer” means?
“in sickness and in health” means?
“until death do us part.” means
Seven Words and an Insult to all
— except the genuinely cognitively impaired
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
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.
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)
Ordinary People 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
Pope 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!
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.
how 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!
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.
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.
To this day Pope Francis has not publicly retracted his
“The great majority of sacramental marriages
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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