The M+G+R Foundation

Divorce among Catholics may be Possible...

But only if the Sacrament of Matrimony was Faulty

Originally published in February 2002

Please Note: We strongly recommend that the relevant NOTES added after the initial publication of this document, and that may be found at its end, be carefully reviewed.


The following letter was sent, on August 1998, to His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, with copies to a selected number of Cardinals and Archbishops worldwide. It seemed to have been well received by the Hierarchy which gets caught in the cross-fire between the Faithful and the Vatican.

It is the sincere hope of The M+G+R Foundation that appropriate action continues to be taken to relieve the suffering which the termination of a marriage imposes upon the Catholic faithful.

The Church rightfully teaches that a divorce cannot break a Sacramental Matrimony; however, this is an issue only if there really was a Sacramental Matrimony.

Letter to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith

miguel de Portugal

August 1998

His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect
Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith

Peace be with you, Cardinal Ratzinger!

The one single social disorder which is causing the most concern to Roman Catholics worldwide is the increased amount of failed marriages and the conflict with the rightful teaching of the Church about the indissolubility of the Sacrament of Matrimony (1).

Precisely, the underlying reason for the increase in failed marriages —the improper pre-nuptial instruction— provides the groundwork for the theological solution to what appears to be an insoluble problem.

Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke so clearly against divorce that engaging in debates, as many do, to find a different interpretation, of the very clear and correct position of the Church, is an exercise in futility.

However, the reality of so many fine and faithful Catholics who, after trying all possible remedies, had to seek separation from their spouse and wish to marry again needs redress. Would God allow such a tragic scenario without showing a coherent remedy?

No, He would not. Only man is capable of sowing so much misery and only man, with the Grace of God, can right such wrong. Allow us to elaborate.

The Seven Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church, with the exception of the Baptism of a newborn, have one common visible thread: Proper instruction before receiving the Sacrament. This conscious awareness of the commitment which we are about to make, and in which God is a real participant, is one of the necessary requirements for it to be valid.

The confirming fact that proper instruction is the key to engaging in Heaven what is being engaged on Earth lies in the very Sacrament of Confirmation in which a cognizant soul acknowledges and confirms its acceptance of the Holy Spirit and its responsibilities as a Christian, thus completing its Christian initiation. (2)

We do not need to belabor the point that, to partake in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, prior instruction must be extensive. Its attendant corollary, the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, also requires that faithful be properly instructed. The same applies to the Holy Orders which even require a more extensive instruction period before making a final commitment.

The Sacrament of Matrimony (3) is no different. The Sacrament of Matrimony is the human level parallel of the sacrament of the Holy Orders, through which the consecrated soul, in effect, become like a spouse to God. (3a)

Therefore, not only the Sacrament of Matrimony (4) requires appropriate instruction (5), it requires a more extensive and intensive level of instruction than any other of the Sacraments except that of the Holy Orders.

We all know that the president of the United States and his wife, as a result of an ecclesiastical error, received the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Republic of South Africa. However, we cannot consider that President and Mrs. Clinton received their First Sacrament of the Eucharist with all its attendant benefits.

We also know that to undergo the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation without a real understating of sin, contrition and the concept of Divine forgiveness (6) serves no purpose since the absolution imparted will not be engaged in Heaven – the interior condition of the penitent would not be the required one.

The very existence of the Sacrament of Confirmation underscores the point at hand:

Improper instruction and understanding by participants invalidates a Sacramental act. That is, regardless of the Sacrament act – it is not valid. It did not meet the necessary requirements for it to be bound in Heaven.

As you well know, a Sacrament is not an act of magic. A Sacramental act is a Divine-human interactive event which requires full understanding by the human engaged in it. A simple and uninformed acknowledgment of the Sacrament, i.e. “I do” in the case of Sacramental Matrimony, by the human being does not constitute a valid commitment with God.

Therefore the resolution of the multitude of Sacramental Marriage anomalies lies in the hands of the local Bishops (7) since a pronouncement of “Not Valid” identifies a faulty Sacramental act (8) and harmoniously resolves the problem.

What God has not joined together, may be separated by man, thus the Vatican approved annulment is not necessary. There is nothing to annul. The Church teachings remain intact and in perfect accordance to the very explicit Word of God (9) on said matter.

Those who are married under a faulty Sacramental Matrimony may renew their vows as a post de facto act of Matrimonial Confirmation. Then it shall be bound in Heaven

We encourage your Congregation to prayerfully meditate on the above considerations and act upon them as the Holy Spirit dictate.

Respectfully presented by

End of the Letter

NOTES to the Letter
(1) Except in the very rare occasions of a valid annulment and, of course, when “...death do us part.”
(2) Paragraphs 1212 and 1306 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC]
(3) Paragraph 1601 CCC
(3a) Paragraph 1579 CCC
(4) Paragraph 1632 CCC
(5) Paragraphs 1626-1628 CCC
(6) “Your sins are forgiven” and “Your faith has saved you, go in peace” [St. Luke 7:48 & 50]
(7) Authorization confirmed by His Holiness John Paul II in: (a) His Homily of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, 29 June 1998. L’Osservatore Romano; N. 27; 8 July 1998; English Edition and (b) The message he delivered to a group of U.S. Bishops on Tuesday, March 31, 1998; Catholic World news, March 31, 1998
(8) We recognize that this act will be admission of human error by part of the Church. However, we must not forget Joan of Arc, Galileo, et al. The delay in correcting those human errors caused much damage to the Church.
(9) Matthew 19:6

NOTE Added On May 5th, 2001

On May 2, 2001, the Spanish Press reported that bulimia, anorexia and addiction to gambling are the causes of the increase in petitions for marriage annulments in Spain, ecclesiastical judges report.

Given the inability of those suffering from these pathologies to give valid consent and assume their marital responsibilities, the Church’s courts are having to study these new “illnesses” of modern societies.

López Zarzuelo noted that people suffering from anorexia, especially young women, often “reject marriage so that they won’t lose their slimness and beauty.”

We praise God that the Ecclesiastical authorities are beginning to realize, and apply the knowledge, that the ...inability to give valid consent and assume marital responsibilities... are valid grounds for annulment.

It naturally follows that anyone ill prepared to give valid consent and assume marital responsibilities, as it would be the case if the couple did not go through the appropriate ecclesiastical preparation to responsibly undertake the Sacrament of Matrimony, should be able to apply and secure an annulment.

NOTE Added On January 31th, 2003

On the 20th and 30th of January, 2003, His Holiness John Paul II again stressed the indissolubility of the Sacrament of Matrimony, and, once again, he did not address the fact that just a “Church wedding” does not guarantee a valid Sacrament. [The above letter to Cardinal Ratzinger lays out the theological and traditional foundations for this statement.]

Without a valid Sacrament there is no Sacramental Matrimony. What takes place is no more than, what is called, a “Civil Ceremony” which the Church does not even recognize as valid, Sacramental speaking.

Thanks be to God that some members of the Hierarchy are responding well to the theology presented to Cardinal Ratzinger regarding this matter. [For an example of its application, review the preceding Note dated May 5, 2001]

NOTE Added on October 25th, 2003 (1)

ACI Prensa reports on October 23, 2003: Receiving the bishops of England and Wales at the end of his "ad limina" visit, Pope John Paul II reaffirmed that any "definition" of marriage that does not recognize it as a lifelong union between a man and a woman violates its sacredness and value.

miguel de Portugal reaffirms categorically, once again, that, if the Sacrament of Matrimony did not fulfill the biblical and ecclesiastical requirements, it has no sacramental validity as we clearly explained in the letter appearing in this Document; there is nothing that unites man and woman other than a civil contract.

We recognize and appreciate H.H. John Paul II's desire to continue to cling to the Throne of Peter, but we are also saddened to see that with each passing day, John Paul II himself causes more damage to the great Pontifical work that he accomplished until the mid-1990s. Once again, albeit temporarily, the devil triumphs protected by a false cloak of piety and religiosity.

NOTE Added on February 4th, 2004 (2)

On February 3, 2004, EFE reports through El MUNDO (Spanish newspaper) that:

The Spanish Episcopal Conference has prepared a directory of almost 250 pages in which it analyzes the causes of the current crisis in the family and presents a series of measures to help overcome it.
The directory points out that "in today's Spanish society, possibly the main source of human problems are those related to marriage and the family. This is the source of great discomfort in many people who remain wounded forever".
They add that "one cannot be neutral in this field because the lives and destinies of so many people are at stake, as well as the right of the younger generation to know the truth about love and human sexuality.
"It is clear," the document adds, "that we are faced with a multitude of men and women who have failed in the fundamentals of their lives and who have experienced the breakup of marriage as a very traumatic process that leaves deep wounds.
And, in the same way, "we are faced with an alarming increase in domestic violence; with abuse and sexual violence of all kinds, even of minors in the same family; with a multitude of children who have grown up in the midst of family disagreements, with great affective deficiencies and without a real home".

The M+G+R Foundation comments:

These gentlemen, like their colleagues in the Vatican, refuse to accept that the problems plaguing society today are solely the result of a thunderously failed Evangelization. It was not God who failed nor the Holy Catholic Faith; it was those to whom He entrusted such work and who have devoted themselves to amassing very temporal powers in the last 2000 years instead of carrying out their Evangelizing mission by spreading, with love, such a correct Faith.

To deny this would be to concede satan a power superior to God's. Would the Bishops have such audacity?

The following Note contains a convincing example of what we are referring to.

Distinguished Bishops - as the popular saying goes - "may God help your souls", since the real failures here are you.

NOTE Added on May 22, 2004

We are issuing this NOTE on the day when the Heir to the Throne of Spain, Don Felipe de Borbón has been united in Sacramental Marriage to a young divorcee Doña Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano.

The reason we are bring this event to the attention of the Faithful worldwide is to illustrate, once more, that many of the “teachings and postures” of the Roman Catholic Church, especially the ones that weigh down the Faithful to the point of almost despair are more the result of political or financial profit and not of Divine origin.

Why then should we wonder that the number of “registered” Catholics is increasing while the true Faith continues to decline?

Let us analyze this particular case...

The Hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in Spain ruled that there were no canonical impediments to the Sacramental Marriage of Don Felipe de Borbón and Doña Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano. Said ruling is in perfect harmony with the theological concept transmitted by miguel de Portugal to Cardinal Ratzinger.

The problem is that such ruling directly contradicts the words of H.H. John Paul II as reported by ACI Prensa on October 23, 2003:

During the “ad limina” visit of the Bishops from England and Wales, the Pope confirmed that “any” definition of matrimony which does not recognize the union of a man and a woman “for life”, violates its holiness and value.

That is, without complicated interpretation, H.H. John Paul II would judge that Doña Letizia was married “for life” when she married her first husband, therefore, her marriage to Don Felipe de Borbón would be canonically invalid. That judgment would be completely wrong – infallibility or not.

This is the same wrong theo logic used by H.H. John Paul II and a very vocal group within the Hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian churches when they condemn the civil union of a homosexual couple. As we have discussed elsewhere, “Marriage" is a Biblical institution which fall under the jurisdiction of a religious establishment and not under the jurisdiction of a civil court. Conversely, a civil union is not under ecclesiastic jurisdiction.

Without a doubt, Church authorities may give their opinion regarding such issues; unfortunately it is done in a very negative and derogatory way... without remembering that all social ills —real or imagined— are the result of a failed Evangelization; an Evangelization style which, in the Roman Catholic Church alone, has sown needless suffering and death for many who implicitly trusted in such “Shepherds". The current world condition is the accusing evidence.

Therefore, dear ones, do not lose heart. The problem does not lie in the Faith, the problem continues to be the Administrators of the Faith who have more faith in Mammon than in God and who have become Masters of Denial.

NOTE Added on June 15, 2004

Providence had it that we come across the Vatican’s response to our letter of August 1998 to Cardinal Ratzinger with copies to all heads of Episcopal Conferences worldwide and which constitutes the core of this document.

Their response was issued anonymously via L’Osservatore Romano on November 28, 1998. It was briefer than their response to our document on Homosexuality – to which they dedicated one page articles for several consecutive weeks. It took many fancy words to smoke screen their denial of the clear words and instructions of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In their rebuttal to our document about a faulty Sacramental Matrimony, the Vatican Administrators, once again, confirmed that the only thing that matters to them is the survival of the Church as an institution regardless the price the faithful —or for that matter— the world has to pay.

May God have as much Mercy on them as they have Faith in Him.

(1) The "NOTE Added on October 25th, 2003" was originally issued only in Spanish. We have translated it into English on January 26, 2024.
(2) The "NOTE Added on February 4th, 2004" was originally issued only in Spanish. We have translated it into English on January 26, 2024.

Related Documents

The Depth and Breadth of the True Petrine Ministry

Don’t Despair! – Don’t Give Up!

The secret and liberating meaning of: “Pick up your cross and follow me."

En Español:  El Divorcio entre Católicos es Posible – pero sólo si el Sacramento del Matrimonio fue Defectuoso

Em Português:  O Divórcio entre os Católicos pode ser Possível – Sómente se o Sacramento do Matrimónio for imperfeito

Originally published worldwide in English for an Ecclesiastical audience in August 1998. Texas, U.S.A. • Spanish translation published worldwide in February 2002 – European Union

The Seal of St. Michael the Archangel © Copyright 2001 - 2024 by The M+G+R Foundation. All rights reserved. However, you may freely reproduce and distribute this document as long as: (1) Appropriate credit is given as to its source; (2) No changes are made in the text without prior written consent; and (3) No charge is made for it.

The M+G+R Foundation
Online since 1998
Introduction for First Visit Frequently Asked Questions
Home Page English Español Portugues
Search Page Index of Documents
Disclaimer About Us Contact
Back Up Home Page (Mirror Site)