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Private Verdicts on Marriage Must Be Avoided

Since in Amoris laetitia Pope Francis presents as the decisive criterion to receive Communion the judgment of the “internal forum of conscience” of a person in an adulterous relationship, it is useful to remind our readers that Pope Pius XI teaches the very opposite.

In his Encyclical Casti conubii, Pius XI warns Catholics against the use of private interpretation, particularly in matters regarding marriage.

Pope Pius XI

The conformity of the matrimonial life and customs with the laws of God, without which their restoration cannot be efficacious, entails that all should know easily, with certainty and without danger of error, what these laws are. It is obvious that a great number of deceptions could take place and many errors would mix with truth if such investigation were left to individual reason equipped only with natural light or trusting a private interpretation of the revealed truth. If this can be said of many other moral truths, it is all the more accurate on those regarding marriage, given that it is very easy for voluptuousness to dominate, deceive and corrupt the weak human nature. ...

Christians must steer clear from an exaggerated independence of thought and of a false “autonomy” of human reason even about those questions regarding marriage, which have been discussed in our days. To a Christian worthy of this name, it is extremely inconvenient to proudly trust his own intelligence to the point of believing only the truths whose nature he can know by himself.

Encyclical Castii conubii,
Rio de Janeiro: Vozes, 1956, §§ 107 and 109

Posted January 13, 2018

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