From the extinction of marriage files: Italy is considering officially removing the ‘fidelity’ aspect in the promises of legal marriage; no longer will one have to be faithful to one’s wife or husband (or, I suppose now, any significant ‘partner’), and adultery, in its various manifestations, will no longer be grounds for divorce. The Italian Senators argue that this a
“cultural legacy from an outdated and obsolete view of marriage, family and the rights and duties of spouses,” according to a dozen senators giving their backing to the bill“.
I am not sure that the Italian parliament realizes this will make marriage in the country of Saint Peter and Dante invalid. Tracing back to Saint Augustine, there are requirements even for a natural, non-sacramental marriage: fides, proles et sacramentum: Faith (or fidelity), openness to children, and the indissolubility. To forego, delete, remove or just plain not intend any of these ‘ends’, ‘purposes’, or ‘goods’ of matrimony invalidates the marriage.
Not that it matters much, anyways, for marriage was already on its way to extinction in Italy, with ageing men and women maintaining their ‘youth’ well into middle age, bambinos and bambinnettes, still living in their childhood bedroom, hanging out in nightclubs and Mediterranean beaches, with any thoughts of ‘marriage’ in their sunburned brains distant indeed. But this puts one more obstacle in the way of any revitalization of what was once the centre of Catholic culture.
And speaking of which, we wake up on this Advent Monday morning to more terrorist attacks, this time in Jordan, where several men opened fire on tourists visiting the ancient ruins of the Karak castle, curiously, although likely not incidentally, a former Crusader stronghold. At least ten are now deceased, including a retired Canadian teacher. This will not do wonders for the what survives of the tourist industry in Jordan, still a relative ‘safe zone’ in a whole region of Islamic disintegration and internecine strife. Consider the 48 soldiers who were killed the other day in Yemen, by, yes, a suicide bomber. There is almost no way to defend oneself, and one’s citizens, by those willing to kill by dying. We are well past the time that castles such as Karak will provide a defense; for those plotting such mayhem, hopefully a very small minority, are in the very midst of what was once a Christian civilization.
Feel free to peruse this scathing article by R.R. Reno in First Things, on the recent document from the Atlantic bishops of Canada, in their response to ‘medical assistance in dying’ and the reception of the sacraments. I can sort of see what the bishops are trying to get at, but the impression of complicity in the grave evil of murder and suicide is difficult to avoid in what they write.
The Holy Father celebrated his birthday the other day, December 17, officially becoming an octogenarian. Let us continue to pray for him, whatever our thoughts about some of his recent comments and actions, that he continue to guide the Church with fidelity, constancy and clarity in the truth.
Hope, always hope, in this last week of Advent, for God has His omnipotent hand in all things, guiding all things, and that includes all persons, to their final end, in one way or another. Rest in the duty of the moment, take care of what God has given you, and trust Him at all times.