Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 65(2) May 2015

Book Review

Remaining in the Truth of Christ

Edited by Robert Dodaro O.S.A.
Ignatius Press

Book coverThis is one of the most important books on the Catholic understanding of marriage in recent times. It is a scholarly but highly readable work in defence of the traditional teaching on marriage and it includes history, Scriptural commentary, theology and canon law.

Paul Mankowski examines the New Testament quotations of Jesus on divorce and concludes that Jesus reinstated the old law of Noah prohibiting all divorce. He examines the term "porneia" and argues that this refers to incest rather than unchastity or fornication.

Cardinal Burke argues in favour of transparency and truth in relation to marriage case jurisprudence. The judicial process for the declaration of nullity of marriage is "essential to the discovery  of the truth regarding the claim that what appeared to be true marriage consent was, in fact, null."

Archbishop Vasil looks at the changes in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. By 920, at least one of the Eastern Churches had accepted civil law grounds for divorce.  Now all Orthodox Churches allow divorce on grounds of adultery. In contrast, the Catholic Church has maintained the constant tradition of not recognizing conjugal relations with the second spouse as something good until the validity of the marriage is accepted.

John Rist examines divorce and remarriage in the early Church and concludes that Christians in antiquity were opposed to the divorced and remarried receiving Holy Communion. There may have been exceptions but we do not have sufficient grounds to speculate on the matter. The chapters by Cardinal Muller, Caffarra and De Paolis are excellent. After a careful examination of facts, it is concluded that the ban on the divorced and remarried receiving Holy Communion has been the constant teaching of the Church.

There can be no conflict between mercy and truth, doctrine and pastoral practice. This book beautifully illustrates these points. An essential read for all those concerned with the current crisis in marriage.