Sunday, January 23, 2011

Richard P. Fitzgibbons, M.D., Director
The Institute for Marital Healing
100 Four Falls Center, Suite 312
West Conshohocken, PA 19428

Dear Dr. Fitzgibbons,

While driving to Mass, I happened to briefly hear the homily from this morning's Mass at EWTN. As it turned out, the homilist was highlighting your magnificent "Divorce Prevention in Catholic Marriages" webinar, to which I've subsequently had the chance to listen (It is extremely generous of you to make your webinar and notes available online.). As we recall the anniversary of the heinous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision this weekend, you remind us that the assault on human dignity has gone hand in hand with an assault on marriage/family.

When a cleric is laicized or a religious is dispensed from their vows, it is certainly a sad occasion. Since I've never seen announcements for "laicization/vow dispensal information sessions," it always strikes me as odd to see announcements for "annulment information sessions" (See for an example.) While I am confident it is unintentional, I suspect that such announcements inadvertently promote a subtle disrespect for the indissolubility of Marriage. I wonder if they have contributed to the "I am entitled to an annulment" myth/delusion, of which you speak in your webinar.

Whether by accident or by design, this morning's homilist was discussing your webinar on the day following the Holy Father's annual address to the Roman Rota. While a transcript of that address is not yet available, NPR is reporting that "Benedict has used his annual speech to the Rota to impress on its members the indissolubility of marriage and that they should avoid the temptation of granting annulments on a whim....The Vatican's concern about marriage annulments is largely directed at the United States, which in 2006 had more annulment cases launched than the rest of the world combined." While NPR's reporting certainly cannot be uncritically accepted, that very brief description does seem to be in keeping with concerns raised in Dignitas Connubii, Pope John Paul II's annual addresses to the Roman Rota, and Pope Benedict XVI's earlier addresses to the Roman Roman (i.e., 1/28/06, 1/27/07, 1/26/08, 1/29/09, 1/28/10).

As I have heard you speak over the past few years at annual conferences of the Catholic Medical Association and the Philadelphia Natural Family Planning Network, it was no surprise that your webinar would also deal directly with the absolutely destructive impact of contraceptives on the marital bond (This is to not even mention the abortifacient quality of many so-called "contraceptives"!). Somehow or other, there continue to be individuals involved in Catholic marriage preparation programs who do not embrace the beautiful, magnificent truth of what the Church proclaims about human sexuality, marriage, and family.

The Philadelphia / Central Jersey area is absolutely blessed to be home to our nation's most distinguished Catholic psychiatrist.


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