Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Saturday 25 September |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Herman “the Cripple”
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Cardinal Martino: Synod Will Uphold Teaching on Marriage and Family


John Burger - published on 09/18/14

“The Church will not be able to change what it has always proclaimed,” says former head of UN mission.

A Vatican cardinal who fought some difficult battles for life and family at international UN conferences spoke with confidence that the Church will continue to uphold its perennial teaching on marriage and the family.

Since the Vatican announced that the Synod of Bishops will examine issues related to the family in two major gatherings, in 2014 and 2015, there’s been growing speculation that the bishops–and ultimately the Pope–will change certain rules, in particular, allowing divorced Catholics who have remarried without first getting an annulment to receive Communion.

But Cardinal Renato Martino, who as nuncio of the Holy See to the United Nations during the 1990s led the Vatican fight against  efforts to legalize abortion and implement population control around the world, said in an interview that the Vatican’s two-week meeting to discuss problems facing the family, which opens Oct. 5, will make the Church’s traditional teaching on the family clear. Although the discussion at the synod’s gathering will include viewpoints “that do not correspond with the doctrine of the Church,” he predicted, the Synod of Bishops will “reaffirm what the Church has always said about the family.”

“The Church will not be able to change what it has always proclaimed,” Cardinal Martino said.

The interview was conducted by La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, an Italian Catholic news site and published in an English translation by the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, a think-tank founded in 2008 whose goal is to protect and promote human dignity based on the anthropological truth that man is born in the image and likeness of God, of which Cardinal Martino is honorary president. Most of the discussion focused on the cardinal’s experience as permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations from 1986 to 2002.

The Italian prelate went into detail about some of the behind-the-scenes work he and his staff did during several international conferences in the 1990s, including the the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo and the International Conference on Women in Beijing; the Holy See’s collaboration with some African and Latin American nations in fighting the “contraceptive imperialism” which would target them; some up-close-and personal recollections of St. John Paul II, who intervened to keep him at the UN, and a run-in he had with Timothy Wirth, head of the U.S. delegation under President Bill Clinton at the Beijing Conference.

Cardinal Martino, 82, was recently named Proto-deacon, the one who announces a new pope, the article notes. Since his time at the UN, he served as president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The interview concludes with his assessment of Pope Francis.

“Every [papacy], in itself, has its own characteristics,” he said. “But beyond outward appearances, I believe that Francis is a lot like John Paul II, in faithfulness to the Church’s teaching. For Francis, the family is fundamental too. Moreover, a Pope cannot do new things, never before heard of. It is only the style that changes, but the doctrine is what it is and the pope must proclaim it.

MarriageSynod on the FamilyUnited Nations
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
Philip Kosloski
Why J.R.R. Tolkien loved to attend daily Mass
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady saved Padre Pio from a violent demonic attack
Cerith Gardiner
9 Padre Pio quotes for when you’re feeling scared or uncertain
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.