ROME, August 14, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - One of the Pope's closest advisors will be taking part in a conference whose aim is to undermine Church teaching on marriage.
LifeSiteNews is reporting that Cdl. Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, charged with reform of the Curia and head of the Pope's "Gang of Nine," is slated to speak at a Rome conference that will promote a more liberal understanding of marriage and the family. Organized by the International Academy for Marital Spirituality (INTAMS), a Belgian Catholic group that welcomes ecumenical dialogue, the conference will be held September 10–12, and will include voices advocating change in the Church.
Cardinal Maradiaga is nicknamed the "Vice Pope" because of the authority he wields in Rome and because of his close friendship with Pope Francis. Maradiaga has been the source of controversy on several occasions.
A talk he offered in Texas in 2013 was seen by many as little more than a blueprint for revolution. Titled "The Importance of the New Evangelization," his talk focused on the motives behind Vatican II, a time when the Church, according to the cardinal, "did not have a monopoly on truth anymore, nor could she pontificate on a thousand human matters, or hold stances denoting arrogance or superiority." He promoted a socialist vision for the Church, where She makes "it a community of equals, without castes or classes; without rich or poor; without impositions or anathemas."
Maradiaga was also longtime head of Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican's largest charitable arm, which happens to be a member of the governing body of the World Social Forum — a Communist, pro-homosexual group. Before receiving the red hat, Maradiaga was a well-known promoter of the condemned Liberation Theology back in Honduras.
At least one prominent German theologian who took part in the "Shadow Council" of May 2015 will be present at the upcoming conference: Professor Eberhard Schockenhoff, professor of moral theology at the University of Freiburg, will offer a talk titled "Indissolubility and Theology of Marriage."
At the May Shadow Council organized by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German Bishops Conference, Schockenhoff spoke about a "theology of love" and rejected the ideal of the indissolubility of marriage.
"In the first place, it should be admitted that love can indeed end," he said. "If two persons make the definitive decision of a common project of life, this does not mean they cannot review their choice."
According to him, the marriage vow should only be "founded on what love in fact wants," and "the indissolubility of marriage is not a prescriptive aspect which is brought from outside; it is rather a request that spouses make to themselves, when they trust in their love."
INTAMS describes itself as an organization "dedicated to the study of and dialogue about the meaning and relevance of marriage in the context of contemporary society."
INTAMS' work is characterized by academic freedom and its openness to honest and critical intellectual inquiry. Rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition, INTAMS' approach is open to and includes contributions from all Christian traditions. INTAMS brings together scholars and research results from different countries and cultural backgrounds.
Along these lines, INTAMS promotes interdenominational debates over marriage. One of its books consists of a collection of essays from Catholic and Protestant authors promoting various views of marriage. Among the contributors are Godfried Cardinal Daneels and Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini, two well-known liberal prelates who have promoted progessive ideas about homosexuality and Church teaching. Among the views presented in INTAMS' collection are promotion of a married priesthood and the existence of "an erotic dimension" to the love of the Holy Trinity, among others. According to the group, "the ecumenical dimension remains primordial" in the discussion of marital spirituality.
INTAMS describes its upcoming September conference thus:
This international Symposium, which is open to everyone interested, will provide renewed reflection as well as fresh perspectives on a number of issues that need to be addressed, such as the relation between doctrine and pastoral practice, the sense of the faithful, an ethics of mercy, and indissolubility in the context of a contemporary theology of marriage.
The description refers to the debate that raged before, during and after last year's Synod on the Family with regard to the question of Holy Communion to the divorced and remarried — pushed heavily by German cardinals Reinhard Marx and Walter Kasper as well as other prelates of a more progressive bent. It may also refer to other forms of union not recognized by the Church: same-sex couples or individuals who are cohabiting.