Chaos Frank opened his trap again…

Francis: “Great Majority” of Marriages today are Invalid because People don’t realize it’s indissoluble — but “Fidelity” in Cohabitation = Real Marriage!

[UPDATE 17-JUN-2016 18:01 UTC: Vatican edits official transcript, changes Francis’ actual words “a great majority of” into “part of”. In either case, however, the fundamental problem remains: Francis believes sacramental marriages are invalid if people do not know or understand that marriage is permanent for life — how many such cases there actually are, is insignificant; the point is that Francis admits the principle! And he furthermore believes that fornication with only one and the same partner equals a real marriage!]

Francis simply cannot keep his jaws together. This is actually a grace for all who seek the truth, because the more he speaks, the more evident it becomes that there is not a single Catholic bone in this man’s body.

On Thursday, June 16, the “Holy Father” answered impromptu questions from the audience after a pastoral congress in the diocese of Rome. One question centered on the crisis in holy matrimony, to which Francis gave an explosive answer. Catholic News Agency has the story:

A layman asked about the “crisis of marriage” and how Catholics can help educate youth in love, help them learn about sacramental marriage, and help them overcome “their resistance, delusions and fears.”

The Pope answered from his own experience.

“I heard a bishop say some months ago that he met a boy that had finished his university studies, and said ‘I want to become a priest, but only for 10 years.’ It’s the culture of the provisional. And this happens everywhere, also in priestly life, in religious life,” he said.

“It’s provisional, and because of this the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null. Because they say ‘yes, for the rest of my life!’ but they don’t know what they are saying. Because they have a different culture. They say it, they have good will, but they don’t know.

Pope Francis attributed the marriage crisis to people who “don’t know what the sacrament is” and don’t know “the beauty of the sacrament.”

“They don’t know that it’s indissoluble, they don’t know that it’s for your entire life. It’s hard,” the Pope said.

He added that a majority of couples attending marriage prep courses in Argentina typically cohabitated.

“They prefer to cohabitate, and this is a challenge, a task. Not to ask ‘why don’t you marry?’ No, to accompany, to wait, and to help them to mature, help fidelity to mature.

“It’s a superstition, because marriage frightens the husband. It’s a superstition we have to overcome,” the Pope said. “I’ve seen a lot of fidelity in these cohabitations, and I am sure that this is a real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity, but there are local superstitions, etc.”

“Marriage is the most difficult area of pastoral work,” he said.

(“Most marriages today are invalid, Pope Francis suggests”Catholic News Agency, June 16, 2016; underlining added.)

Wow! This is so bad, it’s hard to know where to begin.

Let’s start with a quick note on the headline used by Catholic News Agency, which is misleading: “Most marriages today are invalid, Pope Francis suggests”. No, Francis didn’t suggest that most marriages today are invalid, he said it outright. But perhaps this harsh truth was a bit too much to take even for the Novus Ordo reporters at the news agency and so they tried to tone it down.

In any case, Francis declares that the “great majority” of sacramental marriages are invalid. What’s a great majority? Seventy percent, maybe eighty? That’s a lot of marriages. We’re not talking about pseudo-marriages, where one or both would-be spouses are already married to someone else whom they “divorced” — we’re talking about marriages where husband and wife were actually eligible to marry in the first place and freely joined this holy union. Francis states nonchalantly that most of them are invalid. Precisely how does he know that? He doesn’t, of course — he made it up. And by him asserting it to be so, he has just ensured that tens of thousands of additional requests for annulments will be submitted in the months to come, to tear apart even more families under the guise of “mercy”.

Francis’ own attempt at a justification for his outrageous and gratuitous assertion that “most” marriages today are invalid, is that even though people pledge “until death do us part” in their solemn wedding vows, they don’t mean it. They don’t mean it because they “don’t know” — even though they are saying the words, in their very own vernacular language, in what is probably the most solemn moment in their entire life.

You have got to be kidding.

This is a really curious new principle Francis is underhandedly introducing here: We can no longer assume that people mean what they say, even in something so solemn as the very marriage vow on their wedding day! The reason why is simple for him: culture! There, that’s it. In today’s “culture”, words don’t mean what they mean. It’s all so provisional, you see, nothing is permanent anymore — heck, even the “Pope” resigns when he feels like it!

But there is more to be found here than a mere absurdity: Francis is undermining a fundamental principle of sacramental theology, which is that of the presumption of validity, a legal presumption that the necessary internal intention to confect the sacrament (to “do what the Church does”) is present in the minister when the matter and form of the sacramental rite have been properly applied — unless there is externally manifested evidence to the contrary:

A person who has correctly and seriously used the requisite matter and form to effect and confer a sacrament is presumed for that very reason to have intended to do what the Church does.

(Pope Leo XIII, Bull Apostolicae Curae, n. 33)

Provided the minister seriously performs all the sacramental rites, there is no need for being doubtful about the validity of the sacraments, for it is presumed that the minister has the requisite intention, unless he externally manifests the contrary.

(Rev. Raphael De Salvo, The Dogmatic Theology on the Intention of the Minister in the Confection of the Sacraments [Washington, D.C.: CUA Press, 1949], p. 105)

In Holy Matrimony, the ministers of the sacrament are the two spouses, who confer the sacrament on each other. The matter is, remotely, the right over the other’s body for the purpose of procreation and, proximately, the transfer of that right by signs and words. The form of the sacrament is the consent to that right, expressed in the marriage vow, which ends in “until death do us part” (see Rev. Henry Davis, Moral and Pastoral Theology, vol. 4 [New York, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1935], p. 62). The sacrament of Holy Matrimony is indissoluble by its very nature and necessarily lasts until the death of one of the spouses.

But what about Francis’ casual claim that people “don’t know” what they’re saying while exchanging matrimonial consent? Believe it or not, the Catholic Church had already considered that scenario before Jorge Bergoglio ever came on the scene. The following excerpt from the great canon law professor Fr. Henry Ayrinhac deals a devastating and fatal blow to the latest Bergoglian poppycock:

190. § 1. In order that matrimonial consent be possible it is necessary that the contracting parties at least be not lacking in the knowledge that marriage is the permanent union of man and woman for the procreation of children.

§ 2. Such ignorance is not presumed in those who have attained the age of puberty.

1. We can not consent to what we do not know; the marriage consent is not possible without some, at least confused, knowledge of what constitutes the essential object of the marriage contract; and this is the mutual right and obligation to the conjugal act: … Hence a person who would marry without having any idea of that right and obligation would not marry validly. Clear and explicit knowledge is not necessary. If one, knowing that the purpose of marriage is the procreation of children, would enter the contract with that in view and would consent to all it implies, although having no distinct idea of what is required for generation, there would be confused knowledge of, and consent to, what constitutes the essential object of the contract, and the marriage would be valid; even if the party was so disposed that if he knew what the act of generation really is, he would not give his consent. But at least that confused knowledge of the substantial object of the contract is necessary.

191. 2. Ignorance of the primary purpose of marriage is easily admitted in children. In the ancient legislation it was always presumed before the age of puberty; after that age, on the contrary, knowledge is presumed. The presumption admits of proofs to the contrary, but it would require strong evidence to obtain the annulment of a marriage on the ground of ignorance in a person of age to marry….

198. A simple error as to the unity, indissolubility, or sacramental character of marriage, even if it be cause of the contract, does not vitiate the consent. Error as to the essential object of the contract vitiates the consent, like ignorance. Error as to the essential properties does not, as long as it remains simply an error of the mind, whether antecedent or concomitant. Thus, a man who intends to form a real contract of marriage, although he does not believe in its indissolubility or sacredness, will be married validly, provided he does not exclude those properties by a positive act of the will, even though he would exclude them if he thought of it. His consent is directed expressly to the marriage contract and by way of consequence to the properties which are inseparable from it. His prevailing intention is to contract marriage; his views on the properties of marriage are errors in the mind which do not affect the primary object of the will. If, however, he would exclude those properties and make that exclusion the primary object of his will, this then would prevail over his intention of marrying and the consent would be vitiated, because one can not will marriage without willing an indissoluble union. But this requires more than a theoretical error; it supposes a positive act of the will, placing a condition, making consent depend on something else than the substantial element of the contract. That positive act is a fact which must be proved and is not presumed. Hence the difficulty of annulling a marriage on the ground of error as to quality…

[200.] 1. When a contracting party utters externally and seriously words expressing consent, he is supposed [=understood] to consent internally. His consent is supposed to be absolute if it is expressed absolutely. “Nobody is to be considered as having said what was not on his mind.” This, however, is only a presumption, and if in reality the internal consent was wanting, no matter what the external words might have been, the contract would be null in itself and before God.

(Rev. H. A. Ayrinhac, Marriage Legislation in the New Code of Canon Law [New York, NY: Benziger Brothers, 1919], pp. 191-192; 196-197; 199; underlining added.)

The 1917 Code of Canon Law underscores the firmness of the presumption of validity in a sacramental marriage: “Marriage enjoys the favor of the law; therefore, in case of doubt, its validity ought to be maintained until the contrary be proved…” (Canon 1014). Notice it says “proved”, not, “until Francis decides otherwise.”

Fr. Ayrinhac reminds us how serious this matter is:

It is a general principle that when an act has been performed it ought to be considered valid until it is proved to be null. This applies in a special manner to marriage, which is a sacrament and indissoluble by divine law. To pronounce a marriage null without sufficient evidence is to run the risk of “setting asunder what God has put together.”

(Ayrinhac, Marriage Legislation, p. 25)

Francis is finished.

By the way, how is it that Francis can “lament” now with a straight face the fact that people are clueless about the nature and beauty of holy matrimony when it is precisely his beloved Modernist Vatican II Sect that has been educating the “Catholic” masses in the last five decades? Haven’t we been hearing, ad nauseam, something about “Great Renewal” and “New Springtime” since Vatican II? What happened?!

In any case, we have seen that the true Catholic teaching is that even if people do not know about or believe in the indissolubility of marriage, as long as they intend to enter the matrimonial union, their marriage is valid, unless they make a positive act of the will not to enter into a union that is indissoluble — and even that positive will, if not externally manifested, would have to be proved, not presumed, before a valid annulment could be issued.

But notice how devious the Argentinian impostor pope is: He is carrying out his subversion of holy matrimony and of the presumption of sacramental validity under the guise of lamenting a crisis in marriage, when the truth is that by these remarks, Bergoglio is exacerbating the crisis by colossal proportions.

Here we might add that it was Francis himself who, in September 2015, opened the bogus “annulment” floodgates even further, when he overhauled and “streamlined” Novus Ordo marriage annulments, which were already being given out like popcorn:

In his two motu proprio documents, Francis not only made receiving a declaration of nullity easier, faster, and free, he also added unheard-of new grounds for considering a marriage null and void, such as “brief conjugal cohabitation”, “defect of faith”, and “abortion procured to avoid procreation”! But not enough, for we can now add a new one to the list: “not meaning the marriage vow when you say it”! And this man wants people to think he is bewailing how many invalid marriages there are? Whom is he kidding?!

They think they’re married!
But not to worry: Francis’ annulment factory is waiting in the wings in case it doesn’t “work out”…
(Photo Credit: Realy Easy Star/Alamy Live News)

But alas, we are not done yet, for the monster Jesuit from Argentina knows how to add insult to injury. Right after shedding crocodile tears over the terrible matrimonial ignorance which afflicts “the great majority” of people who think they’re validly married, Francis launches his next attack on truth and decency by claiming that cohabitating fornicators in marriage prep courses ought not to be told the truth about marriage: “They prefer to cohabitate, and this is a challenge, a task. Not to ask ‘why don’t you marry?’ No, to accompany, to wait, and to help them to mature, help fidelity to mature.”

So there we have it: This is precisely the reason — one of them, that is — why so many people in Francis’ religion are clueless about marriage: because they are never told by those who ought to tell them. And Francis is going to do all in his power to ensure that it will stay this way! He is the kind of man who first creates a problem, then bewails that the problem exists, and then offers more of the problem as the solution.

Instead of telling cohabitators in marriage preparation that they must separate and refrain from all sexual relations until they are married as a precondition to be even allowed to get married — how’s that for helping someone understand the beauty and uniqueness and exalted state of holy matrimony! — Francis proposes his cure-all of pastoral “accompaniment”, a term left, of course, conveniently undefined.

But it gets better: Francis claims that the cohabitating fornicators possess “fidelity” (!) which needs but “mature”! There goes the Novus Ordo doctrine of “elements” again: We now have “elements of marital fidelity” in two people who are habitually engaging in mortal sin against the Sixth Commandment, all in the spirit of Amoris Laetitia! At least we now finally know what Bergoglio meant in his 2010 book On Heaven and Earth, which he co-authored with Rabbi Abraham Skorka, when he said that “co-habitation certainly does not have the fullness, or the greatness of marriage” (p. 116). It sure doesn’t. But it won’t matter, because… accompaniment!

But we’re still not done — Francis tops himself yet again: “I’ve seen a lot of fidelity in these cohabitations, and I am sure that this is a real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity…” This is blasphemy!

Francis says here openly and without shame that in some cases of fornication — namely, when the two partners are particularly attached to each other in this mortal sin — God blesses them for their sin and rewards them with the “grace of a real marriage”! This is foul and disgusting beyond words! “Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Is 5:20)!

Words fail at the sight of such brazen and direct identification of evil with good!

At the same time, this frightful utterance is but Francis’ re-application of the same blasphemy once spoken by “Pope” John Paul II, who claimed that it is God Himself who is responsible for the firmness with which non-Christians adhere to their false religions: “…the firm belief of the followers of the non-Christian religions [is] a belief that is also an effect of the Spirit of truth operating outside the visible confines of the Mystical Body…” (Antipope John Paul II, Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, n. 6). Francis simply took the essence of John Paul II’s thesis and applied it to fornication. Voilà! Different scenario, same blasphemy — brought to you by the same Novus Ordo religion.

Of course, fornicators cannot practice fidelity because fidelity (“faithfulness”) refers to the marriage vow — you know, that little bit of text you said on your wedding day when you promised fidelity to your spouse “until death do us part”. If you meant it, that is.

As we explained in our in-depth podcast covering Amoris Laetitia, for Francis there is no essential difference between holy matrimony and fornication, between vice and virtue, between holiness and sin, between truth and error, between God and the devil. When a man and a woman sin long enough exclusively with one other, this constitutes a “real marriage” for Jorge Bergoglio. This is where we’re at. Let this sink in for a minute.

As we said in a recent post, Francis has completely done away with black and white — everything is now fifty shades of grey! The Novus Ordo Church is a sect straight from the pit of hell. Francis really couldn’t make it any clearer.

And to answer right up front the question Jimmy Akin’s next blog post will ask in its title: Yes, Jimmy, he did.

Image sources: (Catholic Church of England and Wales) / Alamy
Licenses: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / rights-managed

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5 Responses to “Francis says Most Marriages invalid because of Ignorance about Indissolubility”

  1. Aliquantillus

    I have a question about this article. It is not clear to me why the author chooses to refute Bergoglio’s position by quotes from the canon lawyer Henry Ayrinhac. I mean, the refutation of Bergoglio may be completely correct, but what status or authority does a text from an individual canon lawyer have in matters of Church doctrine?

    When Ayrinhac says that “in order that matrimonial consent be possible it is necessary that the contracting parties at least be not lacking in the knowledge that marriage is the permanent union of man and woman for the procreation of children”, and: “such ignorance is not presumed in those who have attained the age of puberty”, how can we know that this is the correct interpretation of the presumed or required knowledge in order to have a valid marriage? Are we to rely here on individual theologians and canon lawyers? Is there no magisterial document which clarifies this point?

    This is something that concerns me on a number of issues. The articles I read on this website are generally very good. But often the decisive arguments are given by quotes from such classics as Bellarmine, Ayrinhac, Fenton, &c. Always very fine and to the point. My problem is, however, that I don’t know what status or authority should be ascribed to such non-magisterial sources.

    • Novus Ordo Watch


      Citing competent authorities is the best way to ensure that one is presenting the truly Catholic position. I encourage you to read Mgr. Joseph Fenton’s article, “The Teaching of the Theological Manuals”, here:

      Here is a salient quote from this text that pertains to your query: “The manuals … are books actually used in the instruction of candidates for the priesthood. They are written by men who actually teach in the Church’s own approved schools, under the direction of the Catholic hierarchy, and ultimately, through the activity of the Congregation of Seminaries and Universities, under the direction of the Sovereign Pontiff himself. The common or morally unanimous teaching of the manuals in this field is definitely a part of Catholic doctrine.”

      You can rest assured that Fr. Ayrinhac, who was professor of canon law at St. Patrick’s seminary in Menlo Park, California, wasn’t giving some off-the-wall “opinion” he had found somewhere but explicated and applied the teaching of the Church on the matter. In addition, his books carried the required imprimatur of the bishop and nihil obstat of the diocesan censor.

      I know that nowadays there is a temptation to reduce Sacred Theology to nothing more than a collection of propositions from a papal encyclical or bull, but you’re just not going to find a papal document on everything from the most intricate details about the gaining of indulgences to the nature of mental reservation and the malice of contumely.

      If you look at theological dissertations (written by priests who were in the process of obtaining a doctorate or similar degrees in Sacred Theology), you can see them quoting theologian after theologian. Of course they also quote the primary sources such as papal encyclicals or conciliar documents, but when it comes to the finer points, you always go to the very people the Church herself has commissioned as theologians. I have no idea if there is an encyclical or other papal document that includes detail on exactly how marital consent is expressed, what is considered necessary vs. sufficient, etc. That level of detail is just not what would be included in a papal document, unless perhaps the Pope intended to settle a dispute among theologians concerning such a point.

      The important point to remember is: The common teaching of the theologians IS magisterial. It is one of the ways how the Church exercises her Magisterium.

      • Aliquantillus

        Thank you for the explanation. Could you perhaps clarify on a point: Is a Pope bound to this common teaching of the theologians? If so, the matter is clear. But if not, could not a Pope, in the matter at hand, modify the degree of required and presumed knowledge for contracting a valid sacramental marriage? Could he not stipulate that “in the present circumstances ” — or for whatever reasons he finds to be relevant — much more knowledge of the precise nature of sacramental marriage is necessary for the validity of the wedding?

        • Novus Ordo Watch

          I don’t have the time to look it up now, but if the common teaching is UNANIMOUS, then, to my knowledge, that would meet the criteria for ordinary universal magisterium, which is infallible.

          I don’t think that the amount of knowledge required to make holy matrimony valid can be changed by a Pope. That would surely spell disaster.

    • Andrew


      Very good question. According to the traditional theology (that teaching contained in all approved theological manuals), the authority of theologians and canonists comprise a theological source. The authority of individual theologians and canonists is proportionate to the cogency of the arguments they adduce in favor of their positions and views. But if we consider these teachings collectively as they witness to the faith in their writings, we find that their unanimous consent begets theological certitude, because these teachings express the ordinary magisterium of the Church. Nonetheless, these theologians and canonists are NOT the official interpreters of the deposit of revelation; that pertains to the teaching office of the Church alone. But if theologians and canonists unanimously teach that some doctrine is to be held by all on faith, and if the Church in some way approves of this teaching (as in theological manuals), then the truth affirmed by such consent of theologians and canonists would be infallible. The reason for this is that the Church cannot accept any teaching that contradicts the true faith. If, on the other hand, theologians and canonists unanimously teach something but without the Church’s express approval or while not stopping short of declaring it to be a matter of faith, then such consent begets theological certitude. It would not, of course, be heretical to deny it, but it would generate the theological censure of rash to oppose it.

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