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31 January 2016
posted by Canon Dakin on 06-02-2016

That eloquent reading from St Paul is popular at weddings.  No wonder. It is a paean of praise for the place of love in our lives. This is not surprising since the God who made us, and who by his creation intends to share his goodness, is best described as a relationship of love. The third person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit, proceeds from and personifies the love of Father and Son just as a child proceeds from and personifies the love of man and wife. The family is a sacrament of the Blessed Trinity - by grace- assisted love, meaning a giftof self as opposed to selfish assertion;the family is privileged to shadow and to share the life of the Trinity. The recent synod in Rome brought out the importance of love in marriage, love as defined by Christ, a sacrificial love, devoted to the good of the other.  The question left hanging inthe air during and after the synod concerned the admission of the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion. You marry; the marriage breaks up and y0u divorce. The Church admits divorce as a means of regularising your separated status in civil law buta presumption remains in favour of your marriage unless you can obtain a decree of nullity in a church court and until you do y0u are not free to marry again. The Church court examines the contract. When you contracted marriage did you understand what you were undertaking, was your choice perfectly free, did you or the other person have the personality to support what the Church believes marriage to be? Was the marriage consummated?  The marriage only becomes sacramental, sign of the inner life of the Trinity, when it is consummated - and consummation means more than the physical act. There are loveless marriages. A loveless marriage is not sacramental and therefore no marriage at all. But who has ever measured love? Could a tribunal make a judgement?  Might there be room here for greater weight to be given to the judgement of the parties themselves? We shall have to wait for Pope Francis’ response to the work of the synod.  Meanwhile there is no doubt about the importance of love in creating a sacramental marriage.  

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