| Canonical Studies, June 1993, pp. 59-62
(Mons. Mario F. Pompedda)
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Canon Law is a service in building up the Church, the Spirit-filled community of faith and love.

“While attributing a primacy to love, grace and charism, it facilitates an orderly development in the life of ecclesial society and individual persons who are its members.” (John Paul II Ap. Const. promulgating CIC).

Current approach to Moral theology is person-centered (not act-centered nor law centered) and value based.

Pastoral: 1) Paternalistic paradigm: Voluntaristic, subjectivist; leads to infantilism and immaturity

2) Human Rights paradigm: objective; based on theological insights and human values.

A genuine pastoral approach is to defend the dignity and promote the right of the members of the Church. The preoccupation should be to foster Kingdom values of love, truth, trust, freedom, justice and collaboration.

‘Pastoral’ also implies, inculturation and ecumenical outlook

In the area of Marriage, the Church has a double role:

1) Prophetic: To uphold the sanctity and indissolubility of Christian marriage (in the context of widespread divorce). This indirectly contributes to personal good (calling for lifelong fidelity).

2) More directly pastoral: To promote the rights and welfare of individual partners. This indirectly contributes to the common good of the Church and society.

The Church has now to face increasing incidents of marital breakdown and irregular unions. What is the moralist’s perspective in applying canon law in this crucial sphere?

I. Stress importance of marriage preparation and guidance

- need for realizing the depth of sacramentality of Christian marriage based on the baptismal consecration and call to form a ‘domestic church’.

- moral norms regarding sexuality and marital fidelity to be proposed in an inspirational way, the nobility of sexual union to be brought out.

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