Yesterday at a pastoral conference on the family, the pope made remarks that can only be called "ridiculous" at best. More accurately, they are quite scandalous coming from a Vicar of Christ. One one hand he said that the "great majority of Catholic marriages are null", and on the other hand, that some cohabitation situations are "real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity."
He urged priests not to tell cohabitating couples to marry, but "to accompany, to wait". However, such "waiting" would constitute formal and material cooperation with mortal sin. There is no way on God's green earth that they have "the grace of a real marriage". Mortal sin drives away grace, and such situations are a twisted caricature of real marriage.
As for this business of most Catholic marriages being null, he thinks that the majority of people don't understand what real marriage is. Must spouses obtain advanced degrees in theology to have a modicum of knowledge as to what constitutes real marriage? I believe the vows have always been pronounced in the vernacular. What is so confusing about the language of the marriage vows? Is the pope so condescending to people that he doesn't think they comprehend the vocabulary and language that they regularly use?
As Damian Thompson of England's Spectator points out, the pope just told millions of Catholics that they aren't validly married. What kind of signal does this send to those who may well be struggling with their marriage commitments? Rorate Caeli today published the first part of their analysis regarding these heresies and how they dovetail with Amoralis Lamentia.
Here's a question that needs to be addressed. If the pope thinks the majority of Catholic marriages are null, what does that say about the children born of these alleged "pseudo-marriages"? Are they bastards in the pope's eyes?
In this "marriage versus cohabitation" discussion, the pope essentially called the good "bad" and the bad "good". I cannot divine his intentions for making these wild statements, and quite frankly, his intentions are irrelevant. The harm to souls that will result from yesterday's terrible statements cannot be underestimated. Again, we must pray but we must also speak out.