With the World Meeting of Families and the (continuing) Synod of Bishops on the Family, it is safe to expect public antics from agenda-driven Catholics and non-Catholics futilely pressuring for changes. Futile because truth is immutable.
Regularizing the status of divorced (not a problem now) but “remarried” (big problem) Catholics is one issue. Christ was abundantly clear that marriage is indissoluble for validly married people and living as married with someone else is adultery (Matthew 19:3-9).
Likewise, acceptance of people with homosexual attractions (not a problem now) but who engage in non-chaste sex (big problem) is another. The immoral LEGAL concepts of divorce and “same sex marriage” are sinful in God’s eyes.
This is the timeless teaching of the Church. Unpopular with modern secularists for sure, but true nevertheless. It is thus also the unchangeable doctrine of the Church so will not and can not be changed by the upcoming synod, any future council or even the Holy Father.
I suspect what you are about to read and hear from the popular press will include many errors and distortions. It is important to discuss this and to know the beauty of the truth. To that end, several new books have recently been published. Edward Pentin provides a good overview in a piece for the National Catholic Register:
As the upcoming Ordinary Synod on the Family takes shape, a slew of new or updated books upholding the Church’s teaching and tradition on marriage and the family have been written and published shortly before the meeting begins.
The publications are a response to what many see as threats to established Church teaching and practice presented at the last synod, and which look likely to be repeated at the upcoming meeting of bishops next month.
One of the latest comes from no less than the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who has had published a new edition of his book: “Mystery and Sacrament of Love – A Theology of Marriage and the Family for the New Evangelization“.
As prefect of a Vatican dicastery, Cardinal Ouellet is automatically invited to the synod, but his decision to come out with an updated version of his book just ahead of the meeting is a sign that he wishes his views to continue to be heard.
The Canadian cardinal, who wrote the first edition before last October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family, underlines the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and the sacraments, and their “missionary dimension.”
He criticizes modern approaches to marriage which reflect an “anthropological crisis,” and he firmly opposes Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposal for admitting remarried divorcees to Holy Communion. Rather, he believes such faithful bear better witness to Christ by abstaining from Holy Communion.*
The Canadian cardinal, who is renowned for his spiritual writing and theological expertise, draws on the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II, known as “Pope of the Family,” theological intuitions of Vatican II, the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, and influences of Pope Francis.
The book “lays the foundations for a faithful resurgence of well-being for families in our contemporary day and age,” write its publishers, Eerdmans. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, one of three bishops representing the U.S. Church at the synod, has called the book – an invaluable resource in recovering a faithful understanding of marriage, family, and the new evangelization.”
The prefect of another important dicastery has also had his comments published just ahead of the synod. Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah discusses with Nicolas Diat the mission of the Church, the joy of the Gospel, the “heresy of activism”, and the definition of marriage in the book entitled “God or Nothing“, published now in English by Ignatius Press.
Read the entire piece: Flurry of Books Upholding Church Doctrine Appear Before Family Synod.
Here is a list of books referenced in the above piece plus other faithful books written ahead of the synod. There is good reason why so many heavy-hitter Cardinals are involved (see my coverage of Cardinal Walter Kasper and Cardinal Reinhard Marx; see also The rigging of a Synod?).
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet (Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops): Mystery and Sacrament of Love – A Theology of Marriage and the Family for the New Evangelization
- Cardinal Robert Sarah (Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments): God or Nothing
- Cardinal Robert Sarah, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Cardinal Christian Tumi, Cardinal Théodore Sarr, Archbishop Samuel Kleda and more: Christ’s New Homeland – Africa
- Cardinal Robert Sarah, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, Cardinal Dominik Duka, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and Cardinal Jorge L. Urosa Savino: Eleven Cardinals Speak on Marriage and the Family
- Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, and others: Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church
- Gerhard Cardinal Müller (Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith): The Hope of the Family
- Pope Paul VI, Mary Eberstadt and Dr. James Hitchcock: On Human Life: Humanae Vitae
- Professor Janet Smith and Fr. Paul Check: Living the Truth in Love: Pastoral Approaches to Same-Sex Attraction
- Fr. Juan José Pérez-Soba and Dr. Stephan Kampowski: The Gospel of the Family