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Another solution to the question of failed marriages

The Editor: I have read your article in the PM of Sept. 9 on ”forgive divorce.” As far as I am concerned, as a priest of 63 years, what is most important and forgotten is the word “covenant.”

Why mention “forgive” when the problem for most divorces is there never was a covenant. In home, school and parish people never learn what a covenant is all about. As a psychologist who was responsible for marriage preparation and counselling for years, I would often see people totally ignorant of what this is all about.

When a person explained how their partner could not talk personally nor intimately, it was clear the partner did not “fail.” He or she never learnt what it meant.

So, what is the answer?

A cardinal wrote in 1967: “Beyond the pope, as expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there stands one’s own conscience which must be obeyed before all else, even if necessary, against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority.” (Joseph Ratzinger in Commentary on the Documents of Vatican 11, Vol. 5, p. 134).

Now, if this is theologically sound, does a person need the confirmation from church authority to confirm that Joseph’s marriage never was? Why continue writing about “So, how do you reconcile that teaching, a very clear teaching of Jesus, with the compassion that we all feel for people whose marriages have broken apart and would like to somehow rebuild their lives while continuing in the church?” (Sept. 9 PM).

How can something invalid be broken apart? And who has the power to, one day, say, “Now I know it never was”? Only the church leaders? How about one’s own conscience?

I am tired of having to deal with this issue with no help from church authorities except through an annulment. Does that word mean “It never was”?

If “one’s conscience must be obeyed before all else” how could it help us find the best solution to our problem of divorce? — Dominique Kerbrat, OMI, Winnipeg


Faith of federal candidates should not be overlooked

The Editor: Having read the voting guide prepared by our bishops for the upcoming federal election, I noticed that nowhere is there any mention of the importance of faith and a belief in God by the candidates. 

Surely a faith life has had an important influence on decisions made by bishops. Why would that not be relevant when picking leaders for our nation? Is not fear of the Lord the beginning of wisdom? Why would we want to be ruled by godless people who appoint godless judges to make godless laws for us to live by?

Do bishops think that God should not influence decisions that are made by members of Parliament?  Do they think that a belief in God is important to bishops but not that important to the decisions made by others in authority?

Secondly, if a candidate states that he does indeed believe in God, just how is that belief manifest in that person’s personal life? Is the moral character and integrity of the candidate not relevant? Do bishops think that the way that a person lives their personal life is irrelevant? 

Should the electorate not look at the fruit of the life of a candidate to assess that person’s judgment as a precursor to what laws we can expect of the candidate once elected? The personal life of a candidate gives us a glimpse into the honesty and integrity of the candidate, and gives us a picture of the kind of values that the candidate believes is important to our country. — Tom Schuck, Weyburn, Sask.