According to Riposte Catholique – a website based in France – seventy-five Catholic priests and deacons in France officiated this year at blessings of the unions of divorced heterosexual couples. However, the clerics gave assurances that since the blessings do not constitute sacramental marriage, they are not in violation of Catholic teachings about marriage.
Observers note that even while the officiating Catholic clergy supposedly did not resort to the use of the Catholic marriage ritual, which has always been reserved to one man and one woman for life, at least seven of the couples so joined are of the same sex.
According to an exhortation made by St John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, ‘Similarly, the respect due to the sacrament of Matrimony, to the couples themselves and their families, and also to the community of the faithful, forbids any pastor, for whatever reason or pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry. Such ceremonies would give the impression of the celebration of a new sacramentally valid marriage, and would thus lead people into error concerning the indissolubility of a validly contracted marriage.’
Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.