Irish archbishop refuses to define family, opening door to confusion
DUBLIN, Ireland, October 25, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — We must not “allow ourselves to be become entangled in trying to produce definitions of the family” because different cultural values mean family “cannot be defined simply,” the Archbishop of Dublin said in a speech preparing for the 2018 World Meeting of Families.
Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who has previously said the controversial exhortation Amoris Laetitia will be the “core resource” for the family life conference’s catechesis, lamented that one of the problems with the world is that we “judge things in black and white.” He suggested that this is at odds with Pope Francis’ vision of morality.
“Let me say something about which I feel strongly: do not allow ourselves to be become entangled in trying to produce definitions of the family,” Martin said. “Family is such a transcultural value that it cannot be defined simply. We may find it hard to define, but we all recognize what is family. We should not be rushing in telling people what to do, without first of all recognizing what is great and beautiful and courageous in so many Irish families.
“Family is about love, no matter how imperfect and failing: it is about a love which enriches lives,” he continued. “I am thinking about the love of spouses, the love of parents for children. We have great families who would never think of themselves as great: they simply do their best.”
Looking at secularized Irish culture, “You see that there is no such thing as the ideal family,” Martin said. “There are many problems which we must address. But this does not mean that we renounce presenting an ideal, which men and women and young people can aspire to and hope to achieve.”
These statements seem rather confusing when contrasted with the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and family.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament” (CCC 1660).
The Catholic Church teaches that marriage between a man and a woman, ordered toward the procreation and raising of children, creates a “domestic church” in which the next generation can learn the faith and the husband and wife can help each other grow in holiness (CCC 1641, CCC 1656).
Because it teaches marriage is an indissoluble bond, the Catholic Church also officially condemns “remarriage” after divorce unless the previous union has been declared null.
The Church teaches that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and does not recognize same-sex “marriages” (CCC 2357).
At the Council of Trent, the Church authoritatively denounced the notion that the ideals presented by the Gospel are impossible for some.
“If anyone says that the commandments of God are impossible to observe even for a man who is justified and established in grace, let him be anathema,” it teaches (Council of Trent, session 6, canon 18).
The 2018 World Meeting of Families “should be a high point but a high point within a process: a process which should help us dispassionately to look to at the inadequacies of our pastoral work for families,” Martin said. “You will remember that phrase: ‘We cannot enlighten reality without first having listened to it.’”
Commentary from Catholic leaders and the media focusing solely on how Amoris Laetitia treats the homosexuality and Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried “has ended up in people not seeing the creative pastoral approach within which Pope Francis wishes us to deal with these two important issues which require urgent, intense and caring attention within the Church,” Martin argued. “Pope Francis’ thought always moves outside the conventional box. We owe it to him to look more attentively at the pastoral approach of Pope Francis.”
The Irish bishops have previously announced that the theme of the 2018 World Meeting of Families will be “The Gospel of family, joy for the world.” The gathering, which Pope Francis is scheduled to attend, will focus on the “vital role” of families as “real protagonists of renewal and of the transmission of the faith to the coming generations.”
The 2015 World Meeting of Families was held in Philadelphia. Pope Francis attended it as part of his historic trip to the United States.