A new analysis of AL

At First Things, Mats Wahlberg has a lengthy essay about Amoris laetitia. Wahlberg, an associate professor in Umeå University in Sweden, has written several times on Amoris laetitia. But this First Things piece is essential reading. Wahlberg proceeds to demolish neatly both the argument advanced by Walter Cardinal Kasper and the argument favored by Rocco Buttiglione. It would do violence to Wahlberg’s tightly reasoned argument to try to summarize it. Instead, an excerpt:

Perhaps it could be argued that even though the original marriage still imposes a moral obligation, a second, civil marriage can in some cases impose a stronger obligation, and in this conflict of duties, the stronger obligation must win. So the original marriage still exists, but it is, so to speak, morally out-wrestled by the second, civil marriage. However, to reason like this would be irrational. If a second marriage can out-wrestle the first marriage by imposing a stronger moral obligation, then there is no point in having indissoluble marriages. The very point of contracting an indissoluble marriage rather than opting for some provisional or temporary arrangement is that the possibility to “move on” to a new relationship in the future is thereby renounced. By getting married, the spouses close this door, and this closing has an important purpose—they have now committed themselves wholly to each other. But if a second marriage can out-wrestle the first—provided, for example, that the well-being of children in the new relationship is at stake—then the door in question is not closed, and the idea that marriage is “indissoluble” is a theoretical fiction that serves no purpose. After all, what people normally do when they divorce is to start a new relationship. If they are in the right age, what they normally do is to have children. If the Church says that this is what it takes to effectively nullify the moral obligations of one’s first marriage, then the Church has abolished indissoluble marriage.

(Emphasis supplied.) Read the whole thing there.