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command to give a bill of divorce, and to put away? He saith to them: Because Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery; and he that shall marry her that is put away committeth adultery.”

Here our Savior replies to the Pharisees' question, by teaching that marriage was in the beginning absolutely indissoluble; indeed so much so that husband and wife formed one moral unity (“ in one flesh ”), which no human power could dissolve. When the Pharisees objected to this doctrine, whish went counter to the teaching of both their schools,* and pointed to the Mosaic bill of divorce,f our Lord replied that divorce was only a temporary concession of Moses, granted "by reason of the hardness of their hearts,” and contrary to the primitive law, “from the beginning it was not so." The whole context is unintelligible, if our Savior allowed divorce. The words of the disciples also prove clearly that they found this new severe law against divorce very hard to flesh and blood. “ If the case of a man and his wife be so, it is not expedient to marry." Christ does not correct them, but repeats his teaching, as he always did when his audience understood him correctly : “All men take not this word, but they to whom it is given." } .

The meaning of the disputed passage therefore is: “Whosoever shall put away his wife (which shall not be lawful, except for fornication), and shall marry another, committeth adultery.” By these words, our Savior permits a man a perpetual separation because of adultery, but the right to remarry is denied, inasmuch as the marriage bond still holds.

The fact that the Greek Church allows divorce for adultery, instead of weakening the Catholic position, only brings out more clearly the absolute inability of a schismatical or heretical body to enforce the divine law and doctrine of Jesus Christ. Only the one divine society that is governed by the infallible vicar of Christ can give faithful witness to the Gospel, and command the respect of its followers. It is, however, not true to say that the Greeks allowed divorce “ from the earliest times.” On the contrary, the early Greek Fathers held the

* Keim, Geschichte Jesu, II. 248. Schuerer, The Jewish People in the Time of Christ, Vol. IV., p. 123. Deut. xxiv. I.

Matt, xix. 10, II.
VOL. LXXXI.-2

absolute indissolubility of the marriage bond; it was only after the Greek Church had become subject to the State-as the Anglo-German phase of Christianity did in the sixteenth century—that the Roman civil laws of divorce became the norm of their unchristian practice.

Perrone,* shows clearly that in all the negotiations for reunion between the East and West this question never was brought into controversy. When the Reformers strove to obtain the support of the Easterns, Jeremias the Patriarch of Constantinople, plainly set forth the Catholic teaching, although the weakness of schism ever prevented the Easterns from enforcing the law of Christ on this point.

Unlike other ministers of the Protestant Episcopal Church, who give due meed of praise to the Catholic Church for her firm and decided stand on the divorce question, Dr. McKim seems determined to deprive her of all claim to the world's respect on this point. We remember how Luther of old railed against the ecclesiastical laws of marriage, calling the Church's impediments and dispensations “impious human laws," and the Pope anti-Christ for declaring marriages contracted with diri. ment impediments null and void.t.

Dr. McKim writes: “To our mind it appears that the distinction t between these numerous cases of annulments of marriage, and the dissolution of marriage, is theoretical rather than practical. ... Such a principle seems to us to strike at the very heart of the family, etc." Catholics who are accustomed to the vagaries of private judgment in the Protestant Episcopal Church, are naturally prepared to find anything, from the infallibility of the Pope g to the denial of the divinity of Christ, appear true “to the mind” of the individual member of that denomination. But surely the average logical mind can see both a theoretical and practical distinction between a contract declared null and void on account of some inherent defect and a perfectly valid contract set at naught by some incompetent authority.

For example, the Church's declaration of the nullity of a marriage may be compared to the State's declaring a contract

De Mat. Christ., Vol. III., p. 393 seq. + Lutheri opera latina, 7 vols. Vitebergæ, 1539. Vol. II., p. 86.

Of course other Episcopalians do not agree with Dr. McKim-Living Church, October 1, 1904, p. 719.

O Advocated by the editor of The Lamp, Garrison, N. Y:

of sale null and void because the vendor is proved to have had no legal title to the property in question; whereas, the Protestant dissolution of a valid marriage may be compared to the usurped power of a persecuting State confiscating a man's rightfully possessed property, because of his non conformity to the State religion...

The difference, therefore, between the Protestant divorce and the Catholic annulment of marriage is one of principle; the true Church of Christ can forbid, and for centuries has forbidden, the dissolution of a valid marriage; she cannot, either as the interpreter of the natural law, or as the divine society instituted by Jesus Christ, prevent the possibility of marriage being sometimes invalidly contracted.

And first, with regard to the natural law, let us consider the diriment impediment of force and fear. The efficient cause of marriage is the mutual consent of the two parties. If, therefore, it be judicially proven that a woman was forced to go through the marriage ceremony through the grave fear of death, the canon law * following the dictate of reason must declare the contract null.

The marriage of the Duchess of Hamilton, often brought forward as an objection in the Question Box during our missions to non-Catholics, is a case in point. She asked for an annulment of her marriage on the ground of fear destroying her consent, and in the trial of her case the Ecclesiastical court sustained her contention. Leo XIII. himself examined her case, and declared her marriage contract void from the beginning.

But Dr. McKim seems rather to object against the diriment impediments that are enacted by the Church, viz., consanguinity, affinity, spiritual affinity, difference of worship, clandestinity, and the like. These especially appear to his Protestant private judgment "to place the great Church in a rather equivocal position,” for “these various annulments are no better than so many divorces."

Of course we can readily see that a human society, which denies the sacramental character of marriage, has no right whatsoever to legislate regarding the validity or non-validity of the marriage contract. But the Catholic Church claims the right, as the sole representative of Jesus Christ, and the one absolute indissolubility of the marriage bond; it was only after the Greek Church had become subject to the State-as the Anglo-German phase of Christianity did in the sixteenth century—that the Roman civil laws of divorce became the norm of their unchristian practice.

*Grat., C. xxxi. q. 2. Decretal, Lib. I., XL., and IV. Cap. 6, 13-15, 21, 28.

Perrone,* shows clearly that in all the negotiations for reunion between the East and West this question never was brought into controversy. When the Reformers strove to obtain the support of the Easterns, Jeremias the Patriarch of Constantinople, plainly set forth the Catholic teaching, although the weakness of schism ever prevented the Easterns from enforcing the law of Christ on this point.

Unlike other ministers of the Protestant Episcopal Church, who give due meed of praise to the Catholic Church for her firm and decided stand on the divorce question, Dr. McKim seems determined to deprive her of all claim to the world's respect on this point. We remember how Luther of old railed against the ecclesiastical laws of marriage, calling the Church's impediments and dispensations “impious human laws," and the Pope anti-Christ for declaring marriages contracted with diri. ment impediments null and void. †

Dr. McKim writes: “To our mind it appears that the distinction I between these numerous cases of annulments of marriage, and the dissolution of marriage, is theoretical rather than practical. ... Such a principle seems to us to strike at the very heart of the family, etc.” Catholics who are accustomed to the vagaries of private judgment in the Protestant Episcopal Church, are naturally prepared to find anything, from the infallibility of the Pope s to the denial of the divinity of Christ, appear true “to the mind” of the individual member of that denomination. But surely the average logical mind can see both a theoretical and practical distinction between a contract declared null and void on account of some inherent delect and a perfectly valid contract set at naught by some incompetent authority.

For example, the Church's declaration of the nullity of a marriage may be compared to the State's declaring a contract

* De Mat. Christ., Vol. III., p. 393 seq.
Lutheri opera latina, 7 vols. Vitebergæ, 1539. Vol. II., p. 86.

1 Of course other Episcopalians do not agree with Dr. McKim-Living Church, October 1, 1904, p. 719.

V Advocated by the editor of The Lamp, Garrison, N. Y:

of sale null and void because the vendor is proved to have had no legal title to the property in question; whereas, the Protestant dissolution of a valid marriage may be compared to the usurped power of a persecuting State confiscating a man's rightfully possessed property, because of his non conformity to the State religion...

The difference, therefore, between the Protestant divorce and the Catholic annulment of marriage is one of principle; the true Church of Christ can forbid, and for centuries has forbidden, the dissolution of a valid marriage ; she cannot, either as the interpreter of the natural law, or as the divine society instituted by Jesus Christ, prevent the possibility of marriage being sometimes invalidly contracted.

And first, with regard to the natural law, let us consider the diriment impediment of force and fear. The efficient cause of marriage is the mutual consent of the two parties. If, therefore, it be judicially proven that a woman was forced to go through the marriage ceremony through the grave fear of death, the canon law * following the dictate of reason must declare the contract null.

The marriage of the Duchess of Hamilton, often brought forward as an objection in the Question Box during our missions to non-Catholics, is a case in point. She asked for an annulment of her marriage on the ground of fear destroying her consent, and in the trial of her case the Ecclesiastical court sustained her contention. Leo XIII. himself examined her case, and declared her marriage contract void from the beginning.

But Dr. McKim seems rather to object against the diriment impediments that are enacted by the Church, viz., consanguinity, affinity, spiritual affinity, difference of worship, clandestinity, and the like. These especially appear to his Protestant private judgment “to place the great Church in a rather equivocal position,” for “these various annulments are no better than so many divorces.”

Of course we can readily see that a human society, which denies the sacramental character of marriage, has no right whatsoever to legislate regarding the validity or non-validity of the marriage contract. But the Catholic Church claims the right, as the sole representative of Jesus Christ, and the one

*Grat., C. xxxi. q. 2. Decretal, Lib. I., XL., and IV. Cap. 6, 13-15, 21, 28.

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