Rorate Caeli

Cardinal De Paolis: “Today there is a lot of talk about compassion, love and mercy. But without truth, we are way off course.”

Faced with the crisis in marriage and the family, answers can only come from the certitudes of the faith.

This was affirmed by Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, President emeritus of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, when he intervened at the Meeting Marriage and the Family. Between Praxis and Dogma in the Church, organized by the Lepanto Foundation and the Association “Famiglia Domani” which took place on the 10th of October in Rome at the ‘Sala S. Pio X, Via dell’Ospedale’. Among those participating were Monsignor Antonio Livi, Professor Roberto de Mattei and Professor Giovanni Turco. There were several hundred people in attendance including many priests and religious.

“We need truth”, said the Cardinal forcefully, “Today there is a lot of talk about compassion, love and mercy. But without truth, we are way off course”. According to Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, the impression is that “these days words mean nothing anymore ”, whereas “we need content in order to rediscover the true reality”. Referring to the question of the divorced and remarried, the Cardinal was very clear. The adoption “of pastoral practice that goes against doctrine is of a frightening incoherence. It is not Christian. In essence, “if I have a medicine that doesn’t work it means that I haven’t understood very well what disease the person has. If I just change the medicine instead of understanding the causes of the disease, I might even kill the sick person. There is only one solution said the prelate: “sinners must not be rejected, but the right path needs to be found [for them]. The path of love in the Truth.”

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, of the Congregation of Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo (‘Scalabriniani’), was the Secretary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, President of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See and Pontifical Delegate for the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ. A distinguished moral theologian, the Cardinal delivered written speeches on the subject of Christian marriage and the family.

Professor Roberto de Mattei, president of the Lepanto Foundation, inaugurated the conference. “Marriage and the family” he asserted “are in peril today, threatened not only by enemies on the outside, but unfortunately, also inside the City of God”, and are being “ called into question inside the Church”, something that “has never happened in history”. After running through some historical passages in the life of the Church, de Mattei recalled the example of St. Peter Damien and of all the great reformers of his time, who “didn’t invoke the law of ‘graduality’ or that of the lesser evil; they didn’t define the concubinage of priests as an irreversible situation to acknowledge; and they didn’t encourage appreciating the positive elements of homosexual unions and cohabitation outside of marriage.”

For his part, Professor Giovanni Turco, from the University of Studies in Udine, focused his attention on the principle of non-contradiction according to which “each thing is what it is. Also marriage and the family”. Hence “marriage is either indissoluble or it isn’t”. There’s no getting round it. For the professor “A false and erroneous definition of a problem, will bring about a false solution to that problem”, since “the good is the criteria of praxis, not the contrary.”

Monsignor Antonio Livi, former Dean of the Faculty of the Pontifical Lateran University, said that “Pastoral praxis has the precise aim of working for the good of souls”. If this is not understood, the Monsignor affirmed “a hidden purpose may be pursued, i.e. convincing others to believe in something that is false. And this is hypocrisy.

[Report by Daniele Sebastianelli, translation by Contributor Francesca Romana]