Catholic ethicist argues against pre-nuptial property agreements
Fr Joe Parkinson, head of the Catholic Church's L.J. Goody Bioethics Centre, argues a legal contract that takes effect when a marriage ends is contrary to the Christian understanding of marriage.
The West Australian newspaper reports today that an increasing number of people are seeking the advice of lawyers in obtaining pre-nuptial property agreements. The rise in applications has been caused by changes in the Family Law Act.
Some lawyers support the concept but the newspaper reports also cites others who are more cautious and even cite one case where the application to seek a pre-nuptial agreement led to the couple splitting.
Of particular interest to Catholics though will be the comments towards the conclusion of the article by Fr Joe Parkisonů
"The Catholic Church also has grave concerns about the growing interest in prenuptial agreements and the emotional and spiritual damage that may be caused.
Father Joe Parkinson, head of the Catholic Church's L.J. Goody Bioethics Centre, said a legal contract that took effect when a marriage ended was contrary to the Christian understanding of marriage.
"An unconditional commitment is at the very heart of the Christian understanding of marriage," he said.
Father Parkinson's personal view was that people who signed prenuptial agreements should not be allowed to marry in the Church. People seeking to marry for a second time in the Church could also find it difficult if they had entered into such a contract, he said.
Father Parkinson said emotional damage could also be caused to the person who was asked to sign to protect their partner's assets."
The West Australian
5 Jan 2004