Pope Francis’ latest remarks on the majority of marriages being invalid
Posted on 17 June 2016 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
His Holiness the Pope does like an opportunity to talk, and he readily offers off-the-cuff remarks which, while at times interesting and entertaining and sometimes insightful or helpful – or not – are not moments when he is teaching for the Church in his role as Successor of Peter. A lot of what we hear from the Holy Father doesn’t form part of his ordinary magisterium (e.g., daily Mass fervorini).
Last night I read a surprising account of some off-the-cuff remarks offered by Pope Francis on marriages. He opined that most marriages today aren’t valid because people don’t understand very well what they are entering into. Of course we know that people who don’t understand very well what they are entering into can and do validly contract marriage. And so the Pope’s remarks give us pause. We pause and reflect seriously about the sort of catechesis (the lousy catechesis) we have given people for decades and the less than optimal marriage preparation so many couples receive. We are, hence, ready to get our noses to the grindstone and improve the situation because, as we know, people can and do enter into valid marriages without knowing fully what they are entering into. After all, validity is one thing and having the graces that come with the sacrament of matrimony are another.
Now I direct your attention to the canon law blog of Ed Peters for some help with the Holy Father’s words: