Part Two. b. Response by Rik Torfs

            After having read Monsignor Burke's response to my text, I now formulate my final remarks. Our agreement is that he will have the final word. In any case, I am very pleased with his response, which makes clearer, both to possible readers and to ourselves, where the differences between us are exactly situated.

            In my final contribution I shall not try to refute Msg. Burke's arguments. As far as I can overlook our discussion, I think that most arguments have been made clear already, and I want to avoid any unnecessary repetition of ideas.

            In this response, I shall try to achieve another aim by asking the following questions. Where could the most important points of disagreement between us be situated? We agree on many things, let that be clear. Yet for some strange anthropological reason, points of disagreement tend to be more attractive than fields where complete consent reigns. So I shall sum up our major points of disagreement, at least as I see them. And I must confess that I am very curious whether and to what extent Cormac Burke agrees on these points of disagreement.

            As far as I am concerned, we mainly disagree on three ranges of questions. The first range is the line of approach of our study on married personalism. The second one deals with the legal relevance of marriage as (not only a contract but also) a covenant. And finally, the third field concerns differences in underlying ideas and in aims we strive to when writing on married personalism.

Line of Approach of our Study

            Right at the beginning of his response, Msg. Burke formulates one of his major concerns: "In fact I must confess to some disappointment that in a discussion on Married Personalism: Code and Council, Rik Torfs's response to my study should be so largely occupied with the question of nullities. The purpose of the Council was to give guidelines for a renewal of ecclesial life in general, and (as far as concerns us in this book) of married life" (CB, 1).

            Monsignor Burke repeats this idea several times. On p.16 he writes: "¼ I see no evidence that the personalism of Gaudium et spes was intended to open up new possibilities of nullity." And near the end of his response, we read that "the analysis of a phenomenon as rich as married personalism (¼ ), per se, has certainly nothing to do with the whole question of nullity of marriage" (CB, 21).

            In other words, Msg. Burke wants to describe and develop married personalism as an expression of the overall Christian personalism which the Second Vatican Council proposes in its view of man (CB, 2). This approach is quite different to mine. Yet, though there could be some difference in the way we develop Christian personalism, the difference concerning our general line of approach seems to me much more striking.

            Unlike Burke, my focus is not an analysis of guidelines for a renewal of married life in the church. My angle is indeed the angle of marriages that failed, the angle of people in search of a possible annulment. Of course, such an approach lacks the splendour of a philosophical or theological analysis of beautiful church documents, yet it comes, in my opinion, closer to the questions as they are really asked by the Christian faithful. In other words: by contacting the church tribunal, they express another concern than enjoying a wonderful analysis dealing with the depth of married personalism.

            A similar idea was formulated by Klaus Lüdicke when analysing the right of defence in annulment procedures for the WNC (Werkgroep Nederlandstalige Canonisten – Group of Dutch Speaking Canon Lawyers) in Torhout, on 30 October 1998. Lüdicke developed the idea that marriage procedures in the church have one main purpose, namely the protection of marriage. Once marriage has been constituted validly, it deserves such a protection. So far that has been the underlying idea of the current system. According to Lüdicke, this approach is not realistic any longer. Certainly, it used to be so in the past. For instance, in case state law did not know or accept divorce as a legal solution for the breakdown of a marriage, church tribunals were really confronted with the question whether an annulment was possible or not, whether a marriage should continue in one way or another, or whether it should cease to exist.

            Yet, today, as Lüdicke argues, the central question has changed. The question is not any longer whether marriage should be continued or not. The question as experienced by, at least, the plaintiff is: can I conclude a new marriage, and can I do so in peace with the Church [1]?

            It is in this regard that married personalism becomes legally relevant. Canon lawyers, generally speaking, are not contacted by people who are happily married and are in search of a further development of what this marriage means to them. In fact, tribunals are very seldom stopped at a stage that marriage as a sociological reality still is found in a position to be saved. The central question is not: what about the marriage as to how it was canonically concluded? The point is: what about the future, now that the breakdown of marriage has to be accepted as a social fact. Will a new marriage be possible or not?

            I think that, in this respect, Msg. Burke and myself have chosen another line of approach. My opponent starts from a "positive" theory concerning married personalism. This can lead to the conclusion that it is intrinsically better, and also in the eyes of partners who are (rather) happily married more desirable, that marriage continues to exist and receives full protection. In that same line of reasoning, an annulment is a defeat. It means that people failed to constitute a marriage.

            In my approach, the marriage breakdown is equally regrettable. Yet, I start from the mere fact that marriage broke down already. Personalism's purpose, in that event, is not to work out more in detail the depth of married life. The question is: can ideas concerning married personalism offer a way out for this concrete marriage which failed?

            My approach is, in my eyes, both less beautiful and more realistic. It is of course nicer when one can develop ideas on personalism without being limited by the unpleasant phenomenon that concrete marriages fail and that concrete people are in search of a workable solution. But then again, we should try to answer the questions as they are really asked, which, by the way, does not mean at all that we have to give people everything they are asking for. The truth is that canon lawyers are (almost) only consulted at the moment that marriage as a social reality is completely over. Seemingly, they are not the people one would like to deal with during happy days...

            I agree with Msg. Burke on the idea that the analysis of a phenomenon as rich as married personalism, per se, has nothing to do with the whole question of nullity of marriage. Per se¼ Because for a canon lawyer, the question of nullity is the question which matters.

Marriage as a Covenant: Legal Relevance



            The line of approach of our study is not the only relevant difference between Cormac Burke's thinking and mine. There remains a significant difference in how making marriage legally relevant, not only as a contract, but also as a covenant.

            I am not saying that Msg. Burke rejects any legal relevance linked up with the idea of marriage as a covenant. It is true, for instance, that he really tries to give a more personalistic content to the tria bona set forward by Saint Augustin. On the other hand, I remain convinced that he is not really valorising the idea of marriage as a covenant or of married personalism at the very moment of consent.

            Msg. Burke could answer that he does. Doesn't he write on p.8: "Married personalism" is expressed BOTH in the "bonum coniugum" (C. 1055) AND in a complementary and no less important way in the act of consent by which "a man and a woman, through an irrevocable covenant, mutually give and accept each other" (C. 1057, §2)?

            But then again, I think that this theoretical option for married personalism at the moment of consent has not been worked out in practice. I shall try to explain my point: the legal notion of canon 1057, §2 is sese tradere et accipere. In my mind, sese does not mean abstract people, but very concrete people just the way they are, including several peculiar characteristics. Msg. Burke insists on the latter very often, at least when it comes to married life, once consent has been given. He does so, for instance, by quoting Aunt Betsy in David Copperfield: "¼ It will be your duty, and it will be your pleasure too, to estimate her (as you chose her) by the qualities she has, and not by the qualities she may not have. The latter you must develop in her, if you can. And if you cannot, you must just accustom yourself to do without them ¼ This is marriage." (CB, 12) Yet, this attention paid to the concrete person is completely absent, or at least almost completely, at the moment of consent. Here everything seems to remain fixed. A good example of this approach can be found on p. 3-4, where Msg. Burke writes: "As I see it, the will of the partners cannot determine the essential content of the ‘bonum coniugum' (any more than it can determine the nature of marriage); it can accept it or exclude it, in its essence, at the moment of consent. In the different moments of married life later on, that same will of the spouses can continue to pursue the goals (ends) proposed and accepted at consent, or can neglect or turn away from them."

            In other words: consent and married life are not in balance. At the moment of consent, you agree on the essence. Later goals or ends can be pursued or neglected.

            In my eyes such an approach does not truly take into account personalism at the moment that consent has to be given. In the approach by Msg. Burke, I miss two things.

            Firstly, he derives from correct premises a conclusion that I cannot share. He correctly observes that the will of the partners cannot determine the essential content of the bonum coniugum or the nature of marriage. I agree. But does it mean that the will of the partners cannot determine anything linked up with the content of marriage, even if it deals with parts of the content that are not essential in abstracto, but only essential to both partners for their marriage? Here I accept some margin for flexibility, within the framework of the snake: I refer to my previous text. Denying completely any autonomy of the will of the partners in that context would, in my opinion, be the same as not taking seriously personalism at the very moment of consent. I sincerely see no opposition between a fixed nature of marriage on the one hand, and some space for personal elements at the moment of consent on the other hand. Sese tradere et accipere includes some flexibility (a word Msgr. Burke does not like) at the moment of consent. Some marriages will be a little more elitist, others will be simpler, but all remain within the boundaries of the nature of marriage and its essential content.

            Secondly, and here we reach a more theoretical level, although I do not reject the idea of an essential content of marriage, I realise at the same time that such an essential content is hard to establish or to describe. A completely abstract approach, starting from essential elements and properties and applying these abstract notions on a concrete marriage of concrete people seems very difficult. In that respect, I share the viewpoint formulated by Msg. Serrano Ruiz when he lectured in Leuven: "¼ we will be in a difficult situation if we seriously try to define the essence (fundamental core) of marriage. There was a very distinguished countryman of yours who wrote in his fundamental work, that the strange destiny of the most important realities of man is that these realities are only accessible to human experience, and not to rational description [2]". Perhaps the essential content of marriage becomes only completely clear through the analysis of a concrete relationship, through an inductive approach.

            The legal relevance of true personalism, of marriage as a covenant, goes further for me than it does for Msg. Burke. I have the impression that he feels himself somewhat limited by two elements.       

- Firstly, the nature of marriage seems to make impossible any personal approach in establishing a part of the content of marriage.        

- Secondly he seems worried by the elusiveness created by flexibility within the snake. This becomes very clear where he asks me: "I would ask him to qualify the effort he believes is necessary or useful to maintain married love: moderate effort, slight effort, an effort when one feels like it¼ .?" (CB, 14)

            I am afraid that an abstract definition cannot be given ¼ Judges have to scrutinise very carefully the marriage as a whole, including both consent and content. Judges will have to be very close to married life as it was experienced by the partners. Abstract concepts will not work. And frankly, in practice, judges do not base their opinion on abstract concepts, whatever their theoretical approach regarding this question might be.

            The fact that Msg. Burke, for reasons of nature of marriage or fear of elusiveness, turns out to be in favour of a consent that cannot, even slightly, for validity's sake, determine the content of marriage, is probably the reason why I "accuse" him of using a legal fiction. Of course, that is not his feeling nor is it his intention. He feels bound by what, in his eyes, is imposed by the nature of marriage. Yet, this nature entails a leap which, as far as I can see, is often not understood very well by those who conclude marriage. There is no logical link anymore between consent and the married life that follows. Instead of a logical link between consent and content, there is "a stratagem introduced by nature itself (and not by the Church) into that intriguing process by which people fall in love and are drawn to marry." (CB, 18)

            To put it in another way: the nature of marriage makes, in the opinion of Msg. Burke, a flexible consent within the limits of the snake impossible. For me, true personalism is impossible without any flexibility at the moment of consent, a flexibility which is based upon the uniqueness of people involved in marriage. As I see it, the nature of marriage includes the idea that marriage has no completely fixed nature as well as no completely fixed essence, which are disconnected from the concrete people marrying. There is always a natural interaction between an abstract essence and concrete people entering marriage.

            I realise that an approach of marriage which accepts personalism including in all its consequences and every part of its juridical elaboration, is quite demanding. It is demanding for the spouses, yet also for judges. In a more nuanced personalist context, they need to be good lawyers, obviously, but also people with a lot of feeling for psychology and the nature of relationships. As their interpretation margin is quite large, they should also avoid a paternalistic approach which could be characterised by taking into consideration more elements than those necessary in order to evaluate the possible nullity of the marriage. Roughly summarised: judges should be excellent people. But most of the time, they are already that today. And secondly, quality requirements for judges cannot be a decisive argument for solving the current discussion.

Underlying Ideas and Hidden Aims



            The differences between Msg. Burke and myself are not limited to the two points I already mentioned. Certainly, the line of approach matters a lot. And the way we translate personalism and the notion of covenant into a legal system equally is quite different. Yet, I think that differences of opinion are slightly deeper. Not to such an extent, of course, that a fruitful dialogue becomes impossible. We share many ideas as well. But it can be useful to make differing viewpoints a little more explicit.

            In my opinion, Msg. Burke and myself have significantly different positions on two important underlying ideas, namely on the balance between generosity and mature dreams, which is connected with Christian anthropology, as well as on the unchanging hard core of marriage.

            We also have different hidden aims, which are influencing the overall approach colouring this book. These aims concern two different elements: the concrete result of the procedure including what the latter means to the spouses; the future of marriage law in the church and the role annulment procedures will or can play in that regard.

            Two divergent underlying ideas, two different hidden aims: I shall try to make them somewhat more explicit.

(1)        Balance between Generosity and Mature Dreams



            How vigorous has one's effort to be in order to save one's marriage? Cormac Burke has some problems with my notion of real effort, which I tried to present as an alternative for his vigorous effort. I must confess that although I admire very much vigorous effort and I equally appreciate generosity as one of the most beautiful characteristics of human beings, I have problems with the way Msg. Burke makes those notions legally compulsory. The way he comments on case three, one of the cases I described in my response, is quite elucidating. The case dealt with a very committed and idealistic girl who, notwithstanding the difficulty that her friend became an active member of the communist party, decided to marry him because she really loved him. Although she intended to have a high quality marriage with a lot of communication, all her attempts to get in touch with her husband failed. He was only interested in the absolute truth of Marxist syllogism. She tried for three years to come closer to him, to ask him to consult a counsellor etc.: nothing worked. After three years she broke down and they split up.

            For me, an annulment of this marriage is more than possible. For Msg. Burke, however, her commitment could have been stronger as he writes: "Professor Torfs, defending the girl's right to invoke error regarding a personal quality (can. 1097 § 2), holds that to do so would not be self-centred on her part. Transeat; but it is certainly not generous either." (CB, 7)

            Not generous? May be. But although a human being can and should be generous, I would even say very generous, there are limits: a human being has the right to survive. Of course, I am aware of the fact that, to some people, even a slight effort is an enormous sacrifice. I do not share this selfish approach. But again, there are limits. A reasonable balance between, for instance, generosity and mature dreams, should be discovered case by case. The standards Msg. Burke presents are admirable, but legally speaking they are a little too merciless. And, once again, the balance leans too much towards generosity. Concerning mature dreams, he is more restrictive than I would be myself: "Like Rik Torfs I believe we ought not, ultimately, to be disappointed in our dreams; but if our dreams are really as big as they should be, their fulfilment is not possible here on earth." (CB, 19) Perhaps not. Yet, although their fulfilment is not necessary, they should at least be cherished during our whole stay here on earth. A generous life without dreams tends to neglect the source of this generosity. Or, to put it in another way, generosity and mature dreams should, as far as I am concerned, be more in balance. In Msg. Burke's approach, generosity, in all its beauty, ends up to be too burdensome at the very moment that it becomes canonically compulsory.

            Do I stay within the limits of Christian anthropology by pleading in favour of a less heroic "canonical" generosity, by supporting a balanced approach that reconciles effort and dreams? I hope I do. It should be clear, for instance, that I reject a selfish life style, as well as a deterministic analysis of marriage life. But there should be limits to generosity, namely at the very level of a canonically compulsory generosity.

            Even in every day life, generosity is not a notion without ambiguity. I could illustrate this briefly by referring to the life of my own aunt. My grandfather was married and had six children. There were two maid servants in the house. All children married, except my aunt. After the death of my grandparents, she remained alone with the two servants who slowly became older and older. She considered it to be her duty to keep them with her in the house, in order to guarantee them a peaceful old age after a life of commitment. Both servants grew very old. Ultimately, they needed continuous help, offered by my aunt. Years after the death of one servant, when the other one was 95, my aunt herself in her seventies, she could not but send her to a home for the elderly. To take this decision was a matter of years, and the decision remained a very difficult one. Yet just physically there was no other way left¼ .For my aunt, the decision was the outcome of a struggle between extreme generosity and, ultimately, some self protection. The fact that she could not keep the servant with her, although she visited her daily in the home, was burdensome, but saved her own health and equilibrium in the long run. In other words, there are limits to generosity. And sometimes they are healthy.

            This story brings us to a last point concerning generosity and consent. In my aunt's case, there was no consent. Her brothers and her sisters consented to marry, and yet they had not to be as generous as my aunt. Generosity following consent could be seen as a kind of conditioned generosity. Real generosity has to be given when things or people just cross your way.

(2)        The Nature of Marriage



            Msg. Burke starts from the idea that marriage is natural and should be open to all. (CB, 18) I share this basic idea without any problem. But the natural character of marriage as well as the fact that "the essential content of marriage itself¼ is unchanging" (CB, 3), make that he has problems with the idea of a flexible or varying content of marital consent. (CB, 3)

            This is a viewpoint which I do not share: why should there be a contradiction between the existence of an essential content of marriage, as established by Nature on the one hand, and some flexibility concerning the content of consent on the other hand? I do not see the essential content of marriage as an abstract entity which is the same in all times and under all circumstances. I rather consider it to be in a hermeneutic relationship with circumstances of time and place, and above all, with the intentions, personality, wishes and desires of concrete people all playing a part. Of course marriage has an essential content. Yet how it looks like concretely, partly depends on circumstances.

            In my opinion, a very far-reaching protection of the essential content of marriage, in abstracto, strongly limits the possibilities of any canonical relevance given to married personalism.

            Both examples, namely the first one concerning the idea of generosity and the second one focusing on the nature of marriage, twice show that Msg. Burke is a little stricter than I am. Again, I sincerely admire this attitude. I admire effort and generosity. But then again, as a legal requirement preventing a possible annulment, it appears to me as a little "merciless". It should be possible to develop "personalistic" canonical criteria for annulment, which accept certain limits in the capacity of being generous that people have, without becoming to easygoing and too sympathetic towards very personal wishes that ultimately are just selfish.

            But, as already mentioned, Cormac Burke and myself have not only different opinions concerning underlying ideas, we also have different hidden goals, hidden agendas while dealing with a topic such as married personalism. Of course, once again, those differences should not be exaggerated. We share a sincere concern for the well-being of the church, for justice, for people. But it is also true that there are other accents in our approaches. At least in two fields, this phenomenon has noteworthy consequences.

(1)        The Result of a Concrete Procedure



            As described above, Msg. Burke starts from a positive analysis of married personalism. He is focusing on the renewal of married life as suggested by the Council and further developed, later, by the teaching of the church. Given this line of approach, it is only logical that Msg. Burke regrets my major occupation with the question of nullities. Still seen from this angle, nullities are something negative. They are a sign of the failure of married personalism. Although I share the idea that nullities are generally speaking a regrettable phenomenon, I also think that in concrete cases they are sometimes a supreme moment of liberation. I refer to the first part of my response.

            A consequence of this positive analysis of married personalism, as offered by Msg. Burke, is that an annulment is easier for bad intentioned, non-committed people than for those who tried very hard but who ultimately failed.

            This becomes obvious when my sparring partner proposes the nullity grounds of the future. On p. 16 he writes: "Fewer declarations of nullity on the grounds of consensual incapacity would, to my mind, be accompanied by more on the grounds of simulation (c. 1101, § 2), i.e. the deliberate exclusion of one of the essential properties or elements of marriage. Given both the diffidence about commitment as well as the contraceptive mentality that abound today, I have little doubt that there has been a great increase of vitiated marital consent through the exclusion of indissolubility or offspring; and that simulation therefore offers much more likely grounds of nullity in today's society." (CB 16-17)

            No real commitment, a contraceptive mentality: not the well intentioned, but rather the indifferent and the selfish receive an annulment. In chapters six and seven, as well as in his response (CB, 22), Burke defends dolus as a newly introduced ground for nullity, and criticises the old grounds condicio and error regarding a person's quality. Yet, a person using dolus is necessarily doing something very unsympathetic, which is not automatically the case for condicio or error.

            Msg. Burke asks himself the question: "If cases under c. 1095 were reduced to, say, 15%, and those under simulation increased to something like 60%, would the overall result be less declarations of nullity? Again I cannot say." (CB, 17).

            But even if the global number of declarations of nullity remains unchanged, there is a shift which I sincerely regret: there will be fewer nullities for those who were committed but could not make it, and more for those who did not make it because they were not committed.

            This evolution is perhaps not a problem to Msg. Burke: his starting point was idealistic anyway. An annulment equals, in that respect, more a punishment than a gift. Still within that range of ideas, the fact of obtaining an annulment is far from being a present. And I know that, as such, it is not. Yet, here we come back again to the initial point of my response: people contacting a church tribunal are more interested in a solution for their already failed marriage than in an analysis of the intrinsic beauty of marriage in abstracto.

            For me, the basic challenge of marriage law is: how can we use the positive idea of married personalism in order to find a canonically correct solution for marriages which did already fail?

            This solution should, as I mentioned, be canonically correct, but it should also be morally just. People come to the tribunal with the hope of obtaining an annulment. I am aware of the fact that it will not always be possible to fulfil their wishes. Yet, a systematic non possumus for those who tried hard, together with a systematic declaration of nullity for the non-committed, is not a good solution. It would give the incorrect impression that married personalism as a theological notion is strictly disconnected from canon law. And that it looks very legalistic in its theoretical exclusion of a form of justice which is full of mercy.

            What precedes could be applied to my case three, the story of the girl and the communist. If the girl was not very committed, did not chose for marriage but just lived together: no problem. A catholic marriage would remain possible later. If the girl was just cautious and gave an incomplete consent, excluding for instance children, a nullity could be pronounced.

            But in my example she made the only fatal mistake: she said yes, although she knew better. Only in this case, a way out seems to be impossible¼ Honestly speaking, this goes too far to me. Such a solution could be described as follows: you should not be generous, but once you decided to try, you should remain absolutely consistent in your generosity for the rest of your life.

            In conclusion, I think that a combination of the positive idea of married personalism and the regretful situation of marriage procedures needs a more or less happy ending, which means something else than only nullities for those who never were really committed.

            I know that this combination of married personalism and just, merciful procedure is not an easy nor an obvious one. Yet, it can be found and at least we should try to discover it. Msg. Burke writes: "If it is true that philosophers look for distinctions whereas politicians rather seek compromise, then jurists are philosophers more than politicians." (CB, 2) But perhaps jurists are sometimes political philosophers. Distinctions are serving the never completely achieved harmony between theology, law and social reality.

(2)        The Future of Marriage Law in the Church



            Perhaps I am too much a politician – or too openly, which is worse – but I still have another concern while writing on married personalism the way I do: I still do believe in the system. I am convinced that marriage law in the church, surrounded by careful procedures and applied in a way that reconciles juridical correctness and mercifulness, can and should survive. Marriage touches people deeply. It is linked up with the sense of life, with the sense people try to give to their existence. Marriage is also a sacrament.

            In order to survive, marriage law in the church has to remain faithful to the nature and essence of marriage. But it also has to offer a legal system that is credible to the Christian faithful as well as to non-believers. A condition for such a credibility is to avoid scandalum. Scandalum can be created by granting nullities without asking further questions, just like that, in an automatic way: such an approach goes against the dignity of marriage. But scandalum is also created when the outcome of a procedure is felt to be unjust, no matter how juridically correct the internal reasoning might be. Nullities for the non committed, together with a non constat de nullitate for those who tried on a truly personalistic basis, but failed or did not find each other, can be humiliating to concrete people who feel powerless in front of merciless institutions. Anyway, my concern with regard to the future of marriage law, including its practical applicability, seems to be less present in Msg. Burke's essay which focuses more on philosophical concepts.

            Up to this point, this is my final response. It was not my goal to challenge the ideas as they were formulated by Monsignor Burke. I just tried to outline where our differences in opinion are situated. They can be discovered at three levels.

            Firstly, we depart from a different line of approach: positive married personalism in Msg. Burke's case, married personalism and the broken marriage as far as I am concerned.

            Secondly, we have a different opinion concerning the way married personalism should be translated into legislation. I am in favour of a far-reaching hermeneutic process between the essence of marriage and the concrete people concluding it, which leads to some flexibility in the direction I described it.

            Thirdly, we have different underlying ideas and several hidden goals. The different underlying ideas concern the degree of generosity which is legally relevant in marriage as well as the nature and essence of marriage. The varying goals deal (a) with the concrete outcome of the procedure, an outcome which should be just and equitable to those who really tried but failed, and (b) with the future of marriage law in the church.

            My final word goes to my sparring partner. It was a pleasure to be engaged in this discussion with him. I truly believe in fair and open discussion as a way to come across the canonical relevance of married personalism. In fact, I hardly can imagine any field where such a discussion in not useful at all.

            And of course, any discussion has even much more worth with an opponent as open-minded and as truly subtle as Cormac Burke is.


[1] K. Lüdicke, "Das Verteidigungsrecht im Ehenichtigkeitsprozeß", text to be published in the congress book of the WNC by the publishing house Peeters. On p. 5 of his contribution, K. Lüdicke writes: "Unsere Wahrnehmung des Eheprozesses ist aber eine ganz andere. Die Frage der klagenden Partei lautet: Kann ich im Frieden mit der Kirche eine neue Ehe eingehen? Dabei interessiert wenig, warum die Kirche das eventuell erlaubt, ob es einen Unterschied gibt zwischen Scheidung und Nichtigerklärung und warum die Ehe nichtig sein soll. Ein Streit mit dem anderen Partner der Ehe jedenfalls ist nicht beabsichtigt: Die Ehe ist im staatlichen Sinne geschieden, als Lebensgemeinschaft beendet, man verlangt vom anderen Partner nichts, höchstens Hilfe im kirchlichen Prozeß, man erwartet aber keine Auseinandersetzung.".

[2] J.M. Serrano Ruiz, "The Personal Character of Marriage. A Swing of the Pendulum", in R. Torfs (ed.), A Swing of the Pendulum. Canon Law in Modern Society. Monsignor W. Onclin Chair 1996, Leuven, Peeters, 1996, 35. He quotes Ch. Moeller.