Continuing in my series on the Church’s teaching concerning the indissolubility of the marriage bond, here is a passage from an Apostolic Exhortation that Pope John Paul II addressed to the Church in Europe – though obviously it speaks of problems that are present practically everywhere now, and the directives that he gave coincide with teachings that he also directed to a wider audience on other occasions. Original emphasis.
The Church in Europe at every level must faithfully proclaim anew the truth about marriage and the family. She sees this as burning need, for she knows that this task is integral to the mission of evangelization entrusted to her by her Bridegroom and Lord, and imposes itself today with unusual force. Many cultural, social and political factors are, in fact, conspiring to create an increasingly evident crisis of the family. In varying ways they jeopardize the truth and dignity of the human person, and call into question, often misrepresenting it, the notion of the family itself. The value of marital indissolubility is increasingly denied; demands are made for the legal recognition of de facto relationships as if they were comparable to legitimate marriages; and attempts are made to accept a definition of the couple in which difference of sex is not considered essential.
In this context the Church is called to proclaim with renewed vigor what the Gospel teaches about marriage and the family, in order to grasp their meaning and value in God’s saving plan. In particular, it is necessary to reaffirm that these institutions are realities grounded in the will of God. There is a need to rediscover the truth about the family as an intimate communion of life and love open to the procreation of new persons, as well as its dignity as a “domestic Church” and its share in the mission of the Church and in the life of society. [source]