Teaching on Marriage Key for Justice, Says Prelate

Urges African Bishops to Take Care of Tribunals

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 13, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Church's teachings on marriage are fundamental to her role as the "mirror of justice in the world," according to Archbishop Raymond Burke.



Archbishop Burke, prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature and former archbishop of St. Louis, reflected on matrimony during his intervention Monday at the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. The synod is under way at the Vatican through Oct. 25.

"The Church as the Bride of Christ is the mirror of justice," the archbishop said, according to the Vatican summary of his address.

"Her teaching and discipline regarding holy matrimony, by which the family, the first cell of her life and of the life of society is formed and nurtured, is fundamental to her fidelity as the mirror of justice in the world," he added.

Tribunals

Archbishop Burke told the synod participants that matrimonial tribunals -- which determine if a marriage is null -- are "essential part[s] of the Church's ministry of justice." And he urged bishops to "take care" so that tribunals are rightly established.

The prelate also affirmed that in contemporary culture, "it is essential that the Church announce the truth about the conjugal union between one man and one woman, which is, by its very nature, exclusive, indissoluble, and ordered to the procreation of offspring."

He said that observing the Church's discipline regarding marriage is a proven means to assist couples and families when they face challenges in life. The archbishop also noted how Church teaching purifies secular culture of practices like "forced marriages" and polygamy.

Archbishop Burke concluded his address, expressing his wish that the world will benefit from what he called the "particular genius" of Africa.

He said, "Through the celebration of this special assembly may the Church, drawing upon the particular genius of the African culture, be ever more perfectly the mirror of justice regarding marriage and the family for the sake of the peoples of Africa and, indeed, of the whole world."

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On ZENIT's Web site:

Summaries of the interventions at the 12th general congregation: www.zenit.org/article-27178?l=english