Not a Burden, but a Grace: The Permanence of Marriage

'Christ places marriage at the center of the Gospel,” said Father Jose Granados. 'The Church has good news when speaking of marriage and the family, and that’s becoming more important in the secularized society in which we live.'

(photo: CNA/Fabio Sola Penna via Flickr)

ROME — The sacrament of marriage, characterized as it is by indissolubility, is good news for the people of today, according to a Spanish priest who specializes in family and marriage issues.

“The family is in crisis: divorce, models of the family contrary to the Gospel, abandoned children, abortion. … It’s true there are problems, but before anything else, the family is good news, and the indissolubility of marriage is not a burden, but a grace that comes from the Christian Gospel,” Father Jose Granados told CNA.

“Christ places marriage at the center of the Gospel,” he continued. “The Church has good news when speaking of marriage and the family, and that’s becoming more important in the secularized society in which we live.”

Father Granados is a member of the Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a religious order founded in Spain. He is vice president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family and has authored several books, including, with Carl Anderson, Called to Love: Approaching John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.

His latest work, Una Sola carne en un Solo Espiritu (One Body in One Spirit), discusses the theology of marriage as being at the service of society and the Church and is meant to show the beauty of God’s plan for marriage and the family. Father Granados explained that it focuses on indissolubility and on marriage as a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Referring to the upcoming synod on the family, being held at the Vatican Oct. 4-25, he said: “The big challenge doesn’t come from society, but God presents the Church with a challenge, giving her the gift of family.”

“God presents the Church with a challenge because he has given her the gift of family and asks her to cultivate it, promote it and make it grow. From this point of view, the difficulties can be placed in perspective,” he said.

“For example, the issue of divorced persons: You can look with great compassion on the suffering of so many people. And at the same time, you can understand that when the Church proclaims the Gospel and the indissolubility of marriage, she doesn’t do it as a theory, but as a concrete gift. This is how you can best serve people.”

Marriage is “a very special sacrament that has the power to change society,” Father Granados reflected, because, “through the indissoluble love between man and woman, the basic unit of society is established for the good of children.”

Despite the difficulties of living out this indissoluble love, this task is made easier because, in the sacrament, “Christ gives his own love to the couple, so they can love one another as he loves the Church,” Father Granados said.

The priest also referred to the issue of admitting the divorced and remarried to Communion, noting that the Church seeks to heal the person’s heart: “In the end, indissoluble marriage is a call to us from God. The great mercy of the Church is that this call can accompany them in their lives, so they can respond to it,” he emphasized.

He added that one must understand that God’s mercy “not only wants to look upon us with compassion, but also to heal our wounds and help us on our journey.”

“This makes it possible for the Church to see that giving Communion to the divorced and remarried is not a solution and that other solutions can be opened: finding other ways to accompany the divorced and remarried, so they can meet the requirements for the worthy reception of the Eucharist.”

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