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Maike Hickson

Opinion, , ,

Swiss bishops discuss how to overcome Church’s ‘old-fashioned ideals’ on marriage and family

Maike Hickson

BERNE, Switzerland, September 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – At a study day last month held by the Swiss Bishops’ Conference, attendees discussed how to overcome the Church’s “old-fashioned ideals” on marriage and family, according to the official report from the meeting.

The bishops held the Day of Study in Berne, Switzerland, on August 31 as an official follow-up on the controversial May 25 Day of Study at the Gregorian University in Rome,  known as the “Shadow Council” because of its lack of transparency. The Swiss Day of Study, according to the Swiss Bishops' Conference's September 2 press release, was organized by none other than the pro-homosexual activist, Dr. Arnd Bünker, who had a dominant influence on the Swiss Bishops' Synod reports to Rome in 2014 and 2015.

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Significantly, Professor Eva-Maria Faber, who had participated at the May 25 “Shadow Council,” was a speaker in Berne, as well.

As is to be expected, the report about the recent Day of Study in Switzerland contains similar heterodox messages as the “Shadow Council” in Rome did. In the following, some aspects of the conference will be presented, as they are summarized in an official report published by the Pastoral Commission of the Swiss Bishops' Conference:

  • The report stresses once more the claim that the faithful in Switzerland no longer understand the moral teaching of the Catholic Church and that many of them even disapprove of it;
  • A “new theological frame” is proposed with which the Church could communicate better with the faithful;
  • New “theological concepts and patterns of argumentation” should be tested;
  • In the traditional Catholic teaching, sacramental marriage is at the center. “The Family itself thus appears merely as a consequence, as a deduction, or as a purpose of marriage. As soon as a marriage or a partnership does not correspond to the ideal of the Church, there follows consequently from the side of the Church a negative look upon the concerned families. […] The children are among those who suffer under this theological devaluation who experience for example at Church events that the Church discriminates against the marital (or other) situation of their parents.”
  • The importance of marriage and the family should not be made absolute in such a manner, that the Church cannot get to recognize and appreciate the “individual people and their individual biographies, also their biographies in the Faith and in vocations.”
  • The Bible cannot give direct answers to the questions of today concerning partnership, marriage and the family. The story of God with man often went contrary to the then-valid ideals of the family. God's history with mankind has always found “liberating perspectives.”
  • The principle of graduality in pastoral care is important, but deficient, since it still upholds an ideal people should strive to achieve. “It is necessary to question the validity of the ideals themselves. These have to be checked again and again in the light of a changed cultural situation and of a growing scientific understanding.”
  • The Church should come to a “recognition and appreciation of relationships which do not any more correspond to the old-fashioned ideal which comes from another period of time, for example remarried divorcees or same-sex partnerships.”
  • The Church should come to “officially recognize a second marriage after a failure,” similar to the Orthodox Church whose practice the Catholic Church “never condemned.” This should be done “because the salvation of the people is the highest criterion of the Church's legal practice.”

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