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Source: (consider it) Thread: Pope Francis' Extraordinary Synod Oct 2014
Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
It derives from Jesus words, and one common interpretation of the porneia (sexual immorality) clause is precisely that Jesus was talking there about what we would call invalid marriages now. For example, take the case of a brother marrying a sister. That would clearly be a case of "porneia" for the ancient Jews, and this marriage could (and should!) be divorced so as to free both to marry someone else. It was not a licit union of one flesh. One interesting point here is that Matthew does know and use the word "moicheia", which means adultery in a more specific sense, but uses here a word that is more general.

Your argument here doesn't hold water. If porneia is a wider more general term than adultery, as you say and as various translations as "sexual immorality" or "fornication" suggest, then it includes adultery and incest and lewd behaviour. The exemption is then a little wider than if a specific word for adultery was used.

Whereas your argument seems to be that if incest is included within this more general term then perhaps it's not too big a stretch to suppose that incest alone is meant. If incest is porneia then maybe porneia is incest ? A classic error of logic...

That I'm not hearing a sound argument doesn't mean I'm not listening for one.

But what I'm hearing is weak and philosophically dubious attempts at after-the-fact justifications.

Sorry - time and tech constraints don't permit a fuller reply.

Best wishes,

Russ

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Your argument here doesn't hold water. If porneia is a wider more general term than adultery, as you say and as various translations as "sexual immorality" or "fornication" suggest, then it includes adultery and incest and lewd behaviour. The exemption is then a little wider than if a specific word for adultery was used.

Whereas your argument seems to be that if incest is included within this more general term then perhaps it's not too big a stretch to suppose that incest alone is meant. If incest is porneia then maybe porneia is incest ? A classic error of logic... That I'm not hearing a sound argument doesn't mean I'm not listening for one. But what I'm hearing is weak and philosophically dubious attempts at after-the-fact justifications.

The discussion reported in scripture is about the rules concerning marriage, and thus basically about licit sex. Porneia in fact is a fairly general term for "sexual immorality". We possibly - and somewhat ironically - can conclude that porneia here does not mean adultery, since Matthew knows and uses the proper Greek term for adultery elsewhere. But one can, and people do, claim that his choice of word plays no major role here and that this porneia can include adultery as well. Be that as it may, this was not my main point and the word itself at any rate does not tell us, since it can have this meaning (adultery is one possible kind of sexual immorality).

The key interpretation that I have made is of course not in the bible. At least it is not there explicitly. But neither does the text speak against this interpretation and I would argue that it is strongly implicit by virtue of the rest of scripture (directly following, by the reaction of the apostles in spite of Bet Shammai, and elsewhere, by the absence of the porneia clause). My main point was that the porneia clause serves the same function that discussions of invalidity and impediments of marriage serve today: it is referring to the state in which the marriage is attempted, it is not referring to an established marriage. If the Divine rule was stated absolutely, then one could assume that it would bind no matter what. As a crass example, I mentioned incest - we and the ancient Jews would say alike that this it is sexual immorality to attempt such a marriage, and I suggest what Jesus is saying here is that even if close blood relatives have married and had sex, this is not what He is declaring indissoluble. We can imagine other cases. For example, there is clear indication that girls had to reach puberty before marrying among the ancient Jews (Ezekiel 16:7-8, also the Misnah sets 12-12.5 years as age limit). So what would a marriage to a six year old be? Porneia. Jesus is not giving His blessing to such a "union of one flesh" with a child, this "marriage" can be dissolved. Furthermore, the whole argumentation of Jesus would fall to pieces if he allowed polygamy. So what would a second (or third, or fourth, ...) simultaneous marriage be? Porneia again, though this time not by Jewish but by Christian rule. Even if a Christian uses the full Jewish rites and sleeps with the woman, he cannot thereby add another licit union of the flesh to the one he already has. Etc.

There is nothing unnatural about assuming that some kind of provision against "badly contracted marriages" was made by Jesus. And while I concede that the text is ambiguous, in particular if one only considers that one verse, I insist that this is an entirely plausible interpretation in accord with historical circumstance. In particular so if we take serious the union of one flesh, as RC canon law still does, i.e., if the marriage is ultimately only established in the conjugal act itself. As should be evident from the examples given above, then to "badly contract a marriage" just is an act of sexual immorality, namely having intercourse with a close blood relative, or with a child, or with a "second" wife, ... And of course, if the Church Fathers are counted as accurate in their interpretation and practice, then the interpretation I'm giving here becomes a very strong interpretation indeed.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Sir Kevin
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I have, admitledly, not read this entire thread but as I am a convert from C of E to RC married to a woman who is devoutly C of E wonder whither the church is going. We are both on our first and only marriage and have been married 35 years, If, God forbid, anything happened to her which had me outliving her, I should seek out a British, Jamaican or Nigerian widow or never-married woman to dodge this whole controversy. That said, could the present situation change a a wee bit, perhaps to allow men and women to remarry after ten or more years without 'legal' partners? I think that rather a lot of my colleagues with young children may never marry the mothers of their children because they fear divorce and dread the current papal sanctions. Is change really necessary? Discuss.

[ 19. February 2014, 06:33: Message edited by: Sir Kevin ]

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If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Writing is currently my hobby, not yet my profession.

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by Sir Kevin:
I think that rather a lot of my colleagues with young children may never marry the mothers of their children because they fear divorce and dread the current papal sanctions. Is change really necessary? Discuss.

That's an amazingly selective fear of "papal sanctions" these people are having there... Or did I miss the papal encyclical that declared pre-marital cohabitation, fornication and the begetting of illegitimate children as licit? To answer your question then: change is really necessary. The people you mention should be talked to by their parish priest, and marry ASAP. Or if they fail to do so, communion should be withheld from the on precisely the same grounds as for the remarried (Canon 915): obstinate and manifest grave sin.

There is little question that the current practice of singling out the remarried is unjust. But there's two ways of fixing that, and they are diametrically opposed. The Extraordinary Synod will show by its suggestions whom they are bending their knee to. (Well, no, I'm not really that naive. I expect more verbose fudge with built-in plausible deniability, frankly. A clear fail is as unlikely as a clear win.)

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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seekingsister
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
That's an amazingly selective fear of "papal sanctions" these people are having there...

The same selective fear that I observed in working on HIV in a Catholic part of Africa - men would insist condom use is a sin but would engage in infidelity on a regular basis. Catholic women told us that the local churches preached more against condom use than against cheating.

If people feel that the church will judge them less harshly being in an unmarried sexual relationship, than it will judge them for divorcing and remarrying, then there's clearly a problem with the way the church is teaching doctrine and engaging with church members.

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Barnabas62
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I'm a bit puzzled, seekingsister. What aspect of your post do you think has not already been 'asked and answered', at least so far as Catholic Doctrine is concerned?

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by Sir Kevin:
I think that rather a lot of my colleagues with young children may never marry the mothers of their children because they fear divorce and dread the current papal sanctions. Is change really necessary? Discuss.

That's an amazingly selective fear of "papal sanctions" these people are having there... Or did I miss the papal encyclical that declared pre-marital cohabitation, fornication and the begetting of illegitimate children as licit? To answer your question then: change is really necessary. The people you mention should be talked to by their parish priest, and marry ASAP. Or if they fail to do so, communion should be withheld from the on precisely the same grounds as for the remarried (Canon 915): obstinate and manifest grave sin.

There is little question that the current practice of singling out the remarried is unjust. But there's two ways of fixing that, and they are diametrically opposed. The Extraordinary Synod will show by its suggestions whom they are bending their knee to. (Well, no, I'm not really that naive. I expect more verbose fudge with built-in plausible deniability, frankly. A clear fail is as unlikely as a clear win.)

This all rather reminds me of the youg (adolescent) "woman" in juvenile detention whom I was interviewing years ago, who told me that she and her boyfriend did not use contraception, "because we're Catholic", even though having what the Church could only at best consider to be illicit sexual relations.
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seekingsister
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I'm a bit puzzled, seekingsister. What aspect of your post do you think has not already been 'asked and answered', at least so far as Catholic Doctrine is concerned?

Whether or not the RCC is de facto treating cohabiting as less sinful than divorce, or whether it is de facto treating infidelity as less sinful than condom use. Having observed myself and heard the other poster explain that, somehow, people in the pews have come to this conclusion.
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Martin60
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On December 23rd I'll put that on the card to my unwife (pseudowife? Mistress?):

Happy obstinate and manifest grave sin [Biased]

[ 19. February 2014, 12:39: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]

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Love wins

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
On December 23rd I'll put that on the card to my unwife (pseudowife? Mistress?):

Happy obstinate and manifest grave sin [Biased]

Brilliant! That so captures the absurdity of RC teaching and praxis on marriage. I've bowed out of the discussion because of its deceased equine odors, but the obvious solution is to adopt the position of the Orthodox in regard to marital failure and the Church's merciful ekonomia in permitting a further marriage.
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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:

Whether or not the RCC is de facto treating cohabiting as less sinful than divorce, or whether it is de facto treating infidelity as less sinful than condom use. Having observed myself and heard the other poster explain that, somehow, people in the pews have come to this conclusion.


I thought this was a sufficient answer.
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB on 16 February:

Now, as I have stated above several times, I do think that the Church is inconsistent in applying the "withholding communion over public sin" rule. The remarried are an easy target there, because their sin is documented, but that does not make singling them out any fairer. Furthermore, many "obvious" sins should be tolerated as far as withholding communion is concerned, not because one tolerates the sin but because reasonable doubt should protect the accused and the Church should not become a pillory. Finally, in the context of modern "anonymous" cities, often enough people simply do not know what is going on in other people's lives. One cannot be scandalised about what one doesn't know. All that said, I think there is scope for the Church withholding communion over behaviour that is unacceptable and public.

There may very well be questions to be answered about the quality of teaching in some places, and the extent to which that leads to misunderstandings. But I'm not sure whether that is the only possibility, or even the most important one. Recent surveys suggest that the problem for the Catholic Church which may exist with a significant percentage of the laity, certainly in Europe and the Americas, is not about "not knowing some doctrines" but "disagreeing with some doctrines".

How is a priest supposed to know these things if they are not public, not told, not confessed?

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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seekingsister
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I thought this was a sufficient answer.

It's not sufficient because it doesn't explain why these women said that the church is actively teaching and preaching against condom use while failing to properly address the main issue in that community, which was male infidelity. Similarly the men in our HIV prevention classes who would argue about how evil condoms were, would also say "The church says we are not to use condoms with our wives because it makes our marriages invalid."

Communion, or the inability to participate in it, was never mentioned to me by anyone.

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Barnabas62
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seekingsister

I did think you were arguing about doctrine, not teaching quality, so sorry for my misunderstanding.

But on the question of teaching quality, this looks like a very simple point. My understanding, from general reading about Catholic doctrine, and from lots of posts here by Catholics, is that sexual relations are to be confined within the bounds of a marriage between a man and a woman. That's principle 1. Within those bounds, the Catholic church teaches that family limitation is permissible, but not by artificial means such as condoms. That's principle 2. That makes principle 2 subordinate to principle 1.

Now what do I know for sure. I'm just a Protestant seeking to understand. But, heck, it's hardly rocket science to see that argument, or teach that argument. It seems very surprising that anyone would get a hold of the wrong end of that stick.

Unless of course they wanted to. You can never rule that out.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
It's not sufficient because it doesn't explain why these women said that the church is actively teaching and preaching against condom use while failing to properly address the main issue in that community, which was male infidelity. Similarly the men in our HIV prevention classes who would argue about how evil condoms were, would also say "The church says we are not to use condoms with our wives because it makes our marriages invalid."

I'm sorry, but I really do not know what the Church is preaching "on the ground" in Africa. I can say this: 1) If something is not heard, then there are two possible reasons: It was not spoken (loudly enough), or it was not listened to. Or both. One would need the report of an impartial observer to assign blame there. 2) The Church does not possess some magic that will change ingrained systems of behaviour overnight. Even if the Church is saying something and even if it is being heard, that does not mean that there will be adequate obedience. And we cannot necessarily conclude from obedience in one way to obedience in another. I'm sure that a lot more RC in the West obey the Church in supporting the poor (at least by giving money) than by following her rules on contraception. I find it entirely believable that Cafeteria Catholicism (picking and choosing the doctrines and rules one agrees to) is as widespread in Africa as in the West, just with different emphasis. To Westerners agreeing to not using condoms might be the epitome of hard-core Catholicism, but for African men this might be more a case of "nice that the Church says that I should not do what I do not want to do". 3. The Church does not teach that using condoms in marriage makes marriages invalid. At most using condoms to prevent all offspring may be used as evidence that there never was a real intention to marry, and that would make the marriage invalid. Perhaps this is a misunderstanding along the lines of "the Church says sex with condoms is sinful even in marriage, sex is not sinful in marriage, therefore the Church says using condoms invalidates the marriage". I hope nobody is preaching that sort of thing. But I expect that it tells us a bit about who well understood Catholicism is in Africa. Whether this lack of understanding can be easily blamed on the Church (more properly, on her local representatives), I do not know.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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seekingsister
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I think when people come away from church thinking condoms invalidate marriage but infidelity does not - and as the women were being victimized by this particular belief I don't see they can be accused of picking and choosing which doctrine to follow unless they are masochists - is what happens when you try, as the RCC does, to take a legalistic attitude towards these issues.

It's the same with the marriage issue. Lots of marriages are invalid because they weren't properly entered into, the church applies rules unevenly (e.g. annulment being way easier in the US than in, say, the Philippines), and lots of good faithful people get deeply hurt.

As a lowly Protestant I've never seen the level of public acceptance of infidelity among people who turn up in church on a regular basis - mainly male infidelity- as I have seen in Catholic communities. So all this shunning of the divorced and lack of concern for wives getting exposed to HIV just makes me shake my head. Blaming "cafeteria Catholics" instead of asking hard questions about why church members think some sins are worse than others.

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IngoB

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# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
I think when people come away from church thinking condoms invalidate marriage but infidelity does not - and as the women were being victimized by this particular belief I don't see they can be accused of picking and choosing which doctrine to follow unless they are masochists - is what happens when you try, as the RCC does, to take a legalistic attitude towards these issues.

Actually, the "legalistic attitude" means that I can judge that sort of thinking as bullshit, without ever having been near a Catholic church in Africa. That "legalistic attitude" also means that it is highly unlikely that the Church is officially teaching something like this in Africa. Because they would ... eventually .. get slapped down if they did. The wonders of "legalism" mean that without knowing any Catholic in Africa, I can already tell that somewhere along the line, and more likely low in the hierarchy or in the laity, rather than up, somebody is not doing what they should be doing and/or not communicating what they should be communicating. The RCC is run according to global standards. I have no problems detecting deviations from it at a distance. What I cannot say, without having been there, is why and how such deviations occur. Finally, thanks to this "legalistic attitude", anybody in Africa can actually find out what the RCC really has to say about these things. At least so, if they have an internet connection, some spare time and speak one of the main European languages. Admittedly, that probably is not the case for many in Africa even now. But it is not exactly unheard of these days either.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
It's the same with the marriage issue. Lots of marriages are invalid because they weren't properly entered into, the church applies rules unevenly (e.g. annulment being way easier in the US than in, say, the Philippines), and lots of good faithful people get deeply hurt.

It's amazing how all these good and faithful people manage to be so ignorant of the teachings and rules of their faith as to invalidate their marriage. And presumably they are good and faithful in seeking divorce and remarriage, where this presumably would come up. Whereas the people who as Catholics know what it means to have a Catholic marriage, and then stick to that and live it, are what precisely? Super-good and ultra-faithful? Or perhaps just a bit daft to take Catholicism so seriously, while we re-define good and faithful according to the world and Zeitgeist?

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
As a lowly Protestant I've never seen the level of public acceptance of infidelity among people who turn up in church on a regular basis - mainly male infidelity- as I have seen in Catholic communities. So all this shunning of the divorced and lack of concern for wives getting exposed to HIV just makes me shake my head. Blaming "cafeteria Catholics" instead of asking hard questions about why church members think some sins are worse than others.

So you are saying that Protestant African men with the same social status and in the same communities are much more faithful to their wives? Or merely that they use condoms when they fuck around? By the way, the RCC does not officially outlaw the use of condoms during fornication, adultery, gay sex or whatever else. Contraception is forbidden only in marriage. So the smart Catholic adulterer could put on a condom for his sexual sin just as much as his Protestant counterpart. And I wasn't blaming Cafeteria Catholics here for the woes in Africa. I was saying that those unfaithful men are Cafeteria Catholics just as much as people who pick and choose their Catholicism around here. That label does not arise from what you pick and choose, but from that you pick and choose.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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A.Pilgrim
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I've been catching up on this thread and came across this on page 1, which I think requires a comment:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:

If I come to the conclusion that the RCC has officially and fundamentally changed her teaching on sacramental marriage, then I will of course leave her immediately. Anything less would not be a faithful but a worldly response.

What??!! After all your posts on other threads vociferously denouncing the evil of schism from the 'One True Church'? That seems intolerably ... [thinks carefully about wording in the light of C3] ... inconsistent of you. If you would contemplate leaving the RCC on a point of personal conviction that requires a faithful response rather than a worldly one, then you should consider that other people may validly leave the RCC on a point of personal conviction as well, from the time of the Reformers onwards.

Angus

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Gee D
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I hope that RCC priests in Africa, if asked, would say that the use of condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV or any of the STDs is perfectly in accordance with canon law. The use of condoms is only illicit if it is to prevent pregnancy. Just ask the right question.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by A.Pilgrim:
If you would contemplate leaving the RCC on a point of personal conviction that requires a faithful response rather than a worldly one, then you should consider that other people may validly leave the RCC on a point of personal conviction as well, from the time of the Reformers onwards.

I have never denied the necessity to follow one's convictions. I'm twice a convert, after all. I do however deny that there has been any actually valid reason to leave the RCC so far in history. Convictions, no matter how heartfelt, can be mistaken. I also do deny that all people who have left the RCC have done so over genuine issues of conviction. To claim to have one's hand forced by one's convictions is a convenient way of deceiving others and in particular also oneself. Finally, what I've said there is less an issue of my convictions and more an issue of what the RCC claims about herself. The RCC claims infallibility, Divine protection of truth, on a certain number of her teachings precisely in her function as the Divine institution to guide humanity to salvation. If she substantially changes one such teaching, then she has contradicted herself and thereby rendered her claim of Divinely granted authority nil. At which point I lose all interest - if I wanted to listen to humans making up stuff, I would find something more congenial. My only "conviction" in this matter then is that the indissolubility of marriage has been taught infallibly through centuries of repetition by the ordinary magisterium, as well as at least in part through conciliar decrees. And that's more a conviction based on knowledge than on belief (and I could be shaken in this conviction by the usual means, i.e., by contrary historical evidence and argument).

My point is that I would not be leaving the RCC because she is wrong. I would be leaving her because she would have both claimed that she cannot teach wrongly on something and changed what she teaches about it, substantially. By leaving I'm then not saying that I know better, but simply that I can spot a disqualifying self-contradiction when it occurs. That's not about requiring "reform", but "logical coherence". My God, whatever else He may be or do, can keep His shit straight.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
I hope that RCC priests in Africa, if asked, would say that the use of condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV or any of the STDs is perfectly in accordance with canon law. The use of condoms is only illicit if it is to prevent pregnancy. Just ask the right question.

If the RC priest answered that, then he would misinform, because that is not correct. What is true is that 1) no sex is licit apart from marriage, and 2) no artificial contraception of the sexual act is licit in marriage. Whether one can then reasonably claim that a condom used in marriage in order to prevent the spreading of a STD from one spouse to the other is licit by 1) but not illicit by 2) through some kind of double effect is to the best of my knowledge an open question which has not been settled officially. The clearly defensible answer in such cases remains continence, at least for the time being.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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seekingsister
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
So you are saying that Protestant African men with the same social status and in the same communities are much more faithful to their wives?

No. I am saying that you will be hard pressed to find an African Protestant man using church teaching or doctrine to justify sexual infidelity, because they've been taught to rank it below condom use in terms of sinfulness. Nor a Protestant who justified cohabiting because it's less sinful than getting divorced from the church's perspective.

In terms of public acceptance of male infidelity, from Africa to Italy/France/Spain to Latin America, it is acceptable to turn up in a Catholic church and take communion while having a mistress and second family. Trust me - half of my family is Catholic, and the number of illegitimate kids and secret mistresses compared to the Anglican side of the family is stark, to say the least. And they go to church living like this. But turn that into a divorce and all of a sudden it's "public sin?" Give me a break.

Here's a recent article in the NY Times on Francois Hollande, with this quote:

quote:
“In France, having a mistress is not considered cheating,” he says. “We are not a puritanical country. France is Catholic. We accept sin and forgiveness.”
Marry First, Then Cheat

[ 20. February 2014, 08:28: Message edited by: seekingsister ]

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Gee D
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Ingo B just 2 points:

The first is that what I said is what was said some years ago by an RC theologian here, highly thought of by George Cardinal Pell - scarcely a liberal by anyone's measure.

The second is to point out the inherent contradiction in your post. Line 1 says that what I set out is incorrect; line 6 says that it is an open question. Perhaps you can choose which line you wish to maintain.

As for your last sentence: I doubt that any priest on the ground would give such advice these days.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
I am saying that you will be hard pressed to find an African Protestant man using church teaching or doctrine to justify sexual infidelity, because they've been taught to rank it below condom use in terms of sinfulness.

And you are insinuating that African Catholic men justify sexual infidelity in this way? Hardly! They may excuse their - deadly - lack of care for their spouse and indeed other sexual partners that way, that is the sort of delusion one can expect from grave sin.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
Nor a Protestant who justified cohabiting because it's less sinful than getting divorced from the church's perspective.

Divorce for good cause is not a sin in the RCC either. And given that Protestants generally believe that serial polygamy (i.e. "remarriage") is perfectly acceptable, it is rather unsurprising that the particular stupidity you describe doesn't occur much among them. The easiest way of removing confusion about sin always has been to just allow it.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
In terms of public acceptance of male infidelity, from Africa to Italy/France/Spain to Latin America, it is acceptable to turn up in a Catholic church and take communion while having a mistress and second family. Trust me - half of my family is Catholic, and the number of illegitimate kids and secret mistresses compared to the Anglican side of the family is stark, to say the least. And they go to church living like this. But turn that into a divorce and all of a sudden it's "public sin?" Give me a break.

First, why are you asking for a break from me here? On this very thread I have stated multiple times and loudly that the current practice of the RCC to single out the remarried for an application of Canon 915 (withholding communion) is unfair. Not because they do not deserve to be treated that way; but because plenty of other people deserve to be treated the same way, and could be "found out" publicly with the same ease. I have no problems whatsoever with applying the same sort of pressure to other open adultery.

Second, you may or may not be mixing culture and religion here. That's hard to tell, since the Anglican communion has not completed its breakup, so I cannot tell whether you are comparing African RCs with UK or African Anglicans. If the former, then that's simply an unfair comparison. And even if the latter, then there's hardly much of a surprise there. An Anglican presumably would simply divorce a marriage that is not deemed satisfactory any longer, and then just sleep with their new partner until they perhaps one day decide to marry again. There really is no need to have a mistress under such circumstances, since the Anglican Church simply does not enforce fidelity to one's spouse beyond the rules of civil law. Again, the easiest way to deal with sin is to allow it.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
“In France, having a mistress is not considered cheating,” he says. “We are not a puritanical country. France is Catholic. We accept sin and forgiveness.”

While this is of course all sorts of wrong doctrinally and morally, and while I'm under no obligation to consider the words of a politician to be the truth and nothing but the truth, there actually is something to this. But unfortunately, it would require some subtlety to work out just what is not completely wrong about this statement. On this thread, where most people are far from seeing any truth in RC teaching in the first place, and with you specifically, with your ongoing attempts at point scoring, this is not really doable.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
The first is that what I said is what was said some years ago by an RC theologian here, highly thought of by George Cardinal Pell - scarcely a liberal by anyone's measure.

I usually have little confidence in theologians representing RC doctrine accurately, in particular the sort of theologian that non-RCs would know about through reading press reports; but if Cardinal Pell likes the unnamed theologian then it is somewhat less likely that their opinion is heterodox nonsense. In which case I have little confidence in your reporting the anonymous theologian's opinion accurately. Name, source, reference - please.

quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
The second is to point out the inherent contradiction in your post. Line 1 says that what I set out is incorrect; line 6 says that it is an open question. Perhaps you can choose which line you wish to maintain.

Where is there any contradiction? You report that X is the case, officially. I say that no, this is incorrect, currently it is undecided whether (or under what circumstances) X is the case, officially. (X="it is licit to wear condoms during conjugal sex to protect against STD")

quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
As for your last sentence: I doubt that any priest on the ground would give such advice these days.

Maybe. I'm not convinced that the RC clergy is entirely corrupted even in the West. Call me an optimist, if you wish.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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seekingsister
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
And you are insinuating that African Catholic men justify sexual infidelity in this way?

I'm not insinuating it, I'm saying it outright. The sin of cheating is a momentary lapse due to the need to take work far away from home, while the sin of using a condom with one's wife is a grave offense because the church teaches such. That is what I was told, to my face, by groups of men on a regular basis when I was teaching HIV/AIDS prevention in a majority Catholic area.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
While this is of course all sorts of wrong doctrinally and morally, and while I'm under no obligation to consider the words of a politician to be the truth and nothing but the truth, there actually is something to this. But unfortunately, it would require some subtlety to work out just what is not completely wrong about this statement. On this thread, where most people are far from seeing any truth in RC teaching in the first place, and with you specifically, with your ongoing attempts at point scoring, this is not really doable.

I'm not trying to score points. I'm trying to get you out of your land of theory and butterflies and into reality. Many Catholics say things like this - using their faith as an explanation for bad behavior. I grew up with a Catholic girl who came to me with this issue when we were teenagers - she was having sex with her boyfriend but knew birth control was a sin, so did I know how to chart a menstrual cycle? I mean, the ridiculousness of such a question is apparent but clearly a result of the ordering of sin in her mind that came from an upbringing in the RCC.

But the rules are actually confusing to people, which causes the type of thought my friend had. And sometimes for very good reason. Take an example: Newt Gingrich. The church accepts him and his wife - his former mistress - in good standing because:

Wife 1: cheated on her and divorced her. She is now deceased

Wife 2: part of cheating on wife 1. Married while wife 1 was still alive.

Wife 3: part of cheating on wife 2. Still married.

According to RCC, his first marriage was valid, but the second wasn't because the first wife was alive at the time of the second marriage. Since wife 1 has died, Mr Gingrich had no other valid marriages at the time he married wife 3. Therefore he and wife 3 are Catholics in good standing and their marriage is blessed by the church. So what looks like a mistress/adulterous false marriage to most people with common sense, isn't in terms of RCC's rules.

If you think this reflects God's will for marriage and not a terrible side-effect of the legalistic nature of RCC doctrine, then I wish you all the luck in the world. It rather makes my skin crawl.

My overall point is:
if the rules are not being evenly applied;
if the uneven application of the rules is a result of failures in both clergy and member behaviour;
if the uneven application of the rules causes pain and hurt and judgement to groups singled out for their sinfulness while others are given a pass;
if the uneven application of the rules causes church members to sin in other ways because they have misunderstood the graveness of certain behavior in relation to other behavior more publicly condemned by leadership

then the rules do not work.

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
I'm not insinuating it, I'm saying it outright. The sin of cheating is a momentary lapse due to the need to take work far away from home, while the sin of using a condom with one's wife is a grave offense because the church teaches such. That is what I was told, to my face, by groups of men on a regular basis when I was teaching HIV/AIDS prevention in a majority Catholic area.

OK, so you are saying it outright. But the African Catholic men - even as far as you are reporting it, including in this very quote - are just not saying that at all. You explicitly spelled out in the above the actual justification that the men gave for their sexual infidelity, and it wasn't the Church's teaching about condoms. Perhaps re-read your own words above?

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
I'm not trying to score points. I'm trying to get you out of your land of theory and butterflies and into reality.

Frankly, if I were to turn any more cynical about the contemporary RC Church Militant, then I would have to do pro bono work for Jack Chick.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
I mean, the ridiculousness of such a question is apparent but clearly a result of the ordering of sin in her mind that came from an upbringing in the RCC.

Naw, this is just classical sinful behaviour: trying to make good a sin one wants to keep on committing by being particularly holy about something else. That's not to say that your friend wasn't confused about Catholic rules on sexuality, given that she would have been very unlikely to ever have heard a clear exposition in Church or in any institution associated with the Church, and since as a cradle Catholic she would have been taught by example to never read anything that could contain official doctrine, like say the Catechism, but at most cheesy hagiographies of saints. What she would base her opinions on would be half-remembered stuff from her parents (since her parents probably grew up in a time where people on occasion did get told about doctrine in Church).

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
According to RCC, his first marriage was valid, but the second wasn't because the first wife was alive at the time of the second marriage. Since wife 1 has died, Mr Gingrich had no other valid marriages at the time he married wife 3. Therefore he and wife 3 are Catholics in good standing and their marriage is blessed by the church. So what looks like a mistress/adulterous false marriage to most people with common sense, isn't in terms of RCC's rules.

Hooray RCC rules then, because that analysis is perfectly sound (assuming that you provided accurate facts, which I didn't check). The point that you oh so conveniently forgot to mention is of course that according to the same RCC teaching Mr Gingrich also has been gravely and probably mortally sinning all along, because there ever is only one person a man is allowed to have sex with: his current wife. So the RCC most definitely would say that Mr Gingrich was an adulterer (and likely a fornicator, if he did not wait prior to his last marriage). If Mr Gingrich is now a Catholic in good standing and if his current marriage is blessed, then because he repented of his sin, and they were forgiven him by God through the Church. Perhaps that concept is alien to you, but Catholics actually do believe that sins can be forgiven, and that former sinners can be Catholics in good standing. Yes, even people whose politics you hate.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
If you think this reflects God's will for marriage and not a terrible side-effect of the legalistic nature of RCC doctrine, then I wish you all the luck in the world. It rather makes my skin crawl.

You think forgiveness is creepy? You think Mr Gingrich should be ostracised for ever more because he used to sin? You think that people should not be allowed to remarry after their partner has died? I'm not totally sure what is freaking you out there...

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
My overall point is:
if the rules are not being evenly applied;
if the uneven application of the rules is a result of failures in both clergy and member behaviour;
if the uneven application of the rules causes pain and hurt and judgement to groups singled out for their sinfulness while others are given a pass;
if the uneven application of the rules causes church members to sin in other ways because they have misunderstood the graveness of certain behavior in relation to other behavior more publicly condemned by leadership
then the rules do not work.

And your solution is to have no rules. Brilliant. So your recommendation to a country where the police and judges and politicians are corrupt and/or ignorant and/or cowardly is to abandon law and let anarchy reign. Good to know.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Erroneous Monk
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
My God, whatever else He may be or do, can keep His shit straight.

This.

This is why I would rather believe that the Church's teachings on marriage are beautiful, if sometimes painful, truths - even if the fact that they are truths puts my soul in jeopardy - than believe something that would make life much less painful.

And now I might have to have a little weep.

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And I shot a man in Tesco, just to watch him die.

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seekingsister
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
And your solution is to have no rules. Brilliant. So your recommendation to a country where the police and judges and politicians are corrupt and/or ignorant and/or cowardly is to abandon law and let anarchy reign. Good to know.

Absolutely not! But if you think God is like a human-led government, that's indicative of your understanding of how He views and judges us. Which is clearly quite different from mine.

If rules don't work, why not change them? Allowing priests to exercise judgement on whether or not to exclude people from Communion, or creating a process by which second marriages can become acceptable and holy in the view of the church, does not change God's fundamental position on marriage - that it is to be entered into carefully, with serious thought, and to be maintained for the natural lives of the parties within it.


All I can do is be grateful for two things:

1) that God has allowed for a diversity of doctrine and practice within His church, such that the abandoned or abused woman who leaves her first husband and finds love with another, can enjoy a full life of faith and fellowship outside of the RCC.

2) that Pope Francis, a truly inspiring Christian leader, is thinking about the hurt, pain, and confusion being caused by the application of the current rules and taking it seriously.

And if the outcome of the Synod doesn't go your way, we'll be glad to have you!

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Martin60
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Invincible ignorance meets ignorant invincibility.

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Love wins

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Invincible ignorance meets ignorant invincibility.

Host Hat On

Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard

Stop that right now. You're not participating in the discussion, you're taking pot shots at two Shipmates from the side. Commandment 3 offence. Second in two days, on two different threads.

Watch your step. You are hazarding your posting privileges.

Barnabas62
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Host Hat Off

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
My God, whatever else He may be or do, can keep His shit straight.

This.

This is why I would rather believe that the Church's teachings on marriage are beautiful, if sometimes painful, truths

God indeed has His act together. The RC Church doesn't.

He allows his servants to get things wrong in His name, as part of our free will.

We're human; we get things wrong. Infallibility is beyond us. Justified certainty that we're doing the right thing in any particular situation is beyond us.

Our guides for the Christian life are justice, mercy, humility. Not fear of change. Not coherence of philosophy. Not rules for the sake of having rules.

When Jesus encountered the sort of people who put principles before people, He said to them that the Sabbath - the Law, the rules - was made for humankind rather than the other way around.

Best wishes,

Russ

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Forthview
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Russ you are right when you say,we are human, we get things wrong,we are not infallible.
However God does not get things wrong.Jesus taught us about the importance of marriage and the Church teaches in his name,what she believes to be his message.
And yet,even those of us who believe the Church to be guided by the Holy Spirit into all truth - we are human,we get things wrong,we are unable to respond fully to the message - we seek ways out of our difficulties and yet try to square this with what the Church teaches in God's name.
Hopefully this extraordinary synod will help those in marriage difficulties (and there are many,not just Catholics ) to have a clearer idea of what constitutes Christian marriage and how we can 'marry' that with our own desires for loving companionship and sexual intimacy.

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seekingsister
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quote:
Originally posted by Forthview:
However God does not get things wrong.Jesus taught us about the importance of marriage and the Church teaches in his name,what she believes to be his message.

Just to clarify - I don't think anyone (certainly not me anyway) has said that the RCC's position on what constitutes a right and honorable Christian marriage is wrong.

The issue is whether God intended His human agents - that is, church leadership - to enforce these rules in the way that the RCC has chosen to. Or whether or not, with the grace and guidance of Jesus and His Holy Spirit, the teaching should remain unchanged but the application of church discipline (e.g. withholding communion) should be a matter of conscience and judgement for the Christians involved (e.g. parish priest, divorced individuals).

I have seen with my own eyes, second marriages in which children who had previously been hurt were renewed in faith because of a new stepfather/stepmother who is a committed Christian, compared to the birth parent who was abusive or neglectful. I have a difficult time therefore taking the RCC position, that God judges that second marriage and views it as adultery. By their fruits we shall know them. Renewal and restoration in Christ are certainly fruits that I can judge as being in line with God's wishes for us. Because the RCC does not allow for such a view of a second marriage (unless the first spouses have died), that means it would require many Christians like myself to compromise our own conscience in how we view and treat those relationships.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
Just to clarify - I don't think anyone (certainly not me anyway) has said that the RCC's position on what constitutes a right and honorable Christian marriage is wrong.

The issue is whether God intended His human agents - that is, church leadership - to enforce these rules in the way that the RCC has chosen to. ...

Seekingsister, I think you may be onto something here. Where I think the problem arises is not with the RCC's vision of what a good marriage is like, and how married life should be lived. It is with two completely different approaches to what happens when things go wrong, how we deal with terrestrial imperfection.

One view takes the ideal, and seems to say that God stills sees the ideal as it should be, irrespective of what happens on earth. It says that humans can only really achieve holiness by cleaving 100% to that noble vision. If you don't succeed, forget it.

The other IMHO is taking some of the implications of Incarnation more seriously, to relate to where people actually are and trying to enable us grubby folk to do a bit better than our best, even if we don't perfectly manage the ideal vision.

Those who find the first approach more congenial, think the second leads to compromise, slackness and a decline of standards. Those who prefer the second, feel that the first has no place for any but the best, and probably therefore, no room for them.


Seekingsister I also agree with your interpretation rather than IngoB's of the example of the famous person with three successive wives. On the logic of IngoB's analysis, as soon as wife No 1 dies, it becomes a virtuous act for a man in that position to junk all commitments he made to wife No 2, ditch her, and find some nice pure young Catholic virgin to propose to.


So often, what I'd call for this purpose the IngoB tradition of Catholic ethics - though John Piper is a Reformed equivalent - seems to see the whole subject as like the niceties of keeping a kosher kitchen transposed into the moral realm.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Forthview
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The Church cannot enforce anything on anyone these days anyway..
It can only teach what it believes to be true.
Especially in sexual matters people will find justification for almost everything they do and when they cannot find a justification which suits them,then -well they'll just do it anyway.
People will turn round Catholic doctrine in many ways to suit their own ends.To me that is part of our imperfect human nature.
I don't believe in any way that the Church teaches that infidelity in marriage is less of a sin than using a condom,though it may suit some people to believe this.
Sexual needs are an important part of each person's identity and we all deal with these needs in different ways.Sexual needs are an important part of marriage,but marriage is about so much more than that.

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moonlitdoor
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quote:
originally posted by Enoch

On the logic of IngoB's analysis, as soon as wife No 1 dies, it becomes a virtuous act for a man in that position to junk all commitments he made to wife No 2, ditch her, and find some nice pure young Catholic virgin to propose to.

Can you explain why you say this, as I don't follow it ? Why would the most virtuous thing not be to form a sacramental marriage with the woman he is already civilly married to ? Is there any Catholic rule or ethical teaching against doing this ?

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We've evolved to being strange monkeys, but in the next life he'll help us be something more worthwhile - Gwai

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by moonlitdoor:
quote:
originally posted by Enoch

On the logic of IngoB's analysis, as soon as wife No 1 dies, it becomes a virtuous act for a man in that position to junk all commitments he made to wife No 2, ditch her, and find some nice pure young Catholic virgin to propose to.

Can you explain why you say this, as I don't follow it? Why would the most virtuous thing not be to form a sacramental marriage with the woman he is already civilly married to? Is there any Catholic rule or ethical teaching against doing this?
I'd agree with that argument, but IngoB hasn't suggested that might have put him in better standing with the RCC than moving on to wife No 3. He seems to be assuming that in those circumstances, it is OK to ditch wife No 2. Or perhaps it's better to get rid of wife No 2 first and then sort yourself out with the church before marrying wife No 3?


The whole thing has a flavour of the sort of reasoning David Lodge, rightly IMHO, mocks.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
If rules don't work, why not change them?

I'm not the Lord, I do not have the power to change His rules.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
Allowing priests to exercise judgement on whether or not to exclude people from Communion, or creating a process by which second marriages can become acceptable and holy in the view of the church, does not change God's fundamental position on marriage - that it is to be entered into carefully, with serious thought, and to be maintained for the natural lives of the parties within it.

Of course, if we allow blatant self-contradiction in thought, word and deed, then absolutely everything is possible. But it simply is neither acceptable nor holy if one acts against God's fundamental position on anything. It is sinful. There's slightly more mileage in the discussion whether this specific sin should lead to withholding communion.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
God has allowed for a diversity of doctrine and practice within His church

On marriage? Says who?

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
And if the outcome of the Synod doesn't go your way, we'll be glad to have you!

I'm more likely to become a Hindu than a Protestant.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
When Jesus encountered the sort of people who put principles before people, He said to them that the Sabbath - the Law, the rules - was made for humankind rather than the other way around.

Rather, when Jesus found that the Jews had corrupted the original intention of the Sabbath, he corrected their man-made regulations and stated the Divine intention behind the Sabbath so as to avoid future corruption. The Sabbath was made for man, so that he could rest from his labours and seek God. Actions that do not point away from this true purpose, like God healing someone miraculously, do not hinder the Sabbath. When Jesus found that the Jews had corrupted the original intention of marriage, he corrected their man-made regulations and stated the Divine intention behind marriage so as to avoid future corruption. Unfortunately, just like the Jews before them, some of his followers corrupted the Divine intention again, and in pretty much exactly the same way.

There is some reason then to call these Christians "modern day Pharisees". That would be you then, for you live marriage once more pretty much by the pre-Christian Jewish rules. Except that you gender-balanced those rules... I guess that is progress of some kind.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
Or whether or not, with the grace and guidance of Jesus and His Holy Spirit, the teaching should remain unchanged but the application of church discipline (e.g. withholding communion) should be a matter of conscience and judgement for the Christians involved (e.g. parish priest, divorced individuals).

Just to mention this once more, in the faint hope that it will eventually register: partaking in communion when one is in a state of mortal sin is seriously damaging to the individual doing so. So this discussion is not a mile away from saying that there should be no law against drunk driving, but that people can judge for themselves when they should rather leave the car and walk. (And yes, I intentionally make an analogy to drinking. Committing sin is in many ways like drinking, and sexual sin doubly so...)

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
I have a difficult time therefore taking the RCC position, that God judges that second marriage and views it as adultery. By their fruits we shall know them.

That's a curious statement. The adultery precisely is the bad fruit of the remarriage. Nobody has said that it couldn't have any good fruits, human acts rarely are all good or all bad. But if you say that you will ignore what's worst about something, and find that it is otherwise pretty good, then that doesn't tell you that this something is good in an absolute sense.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
One view takes the ideal, and seems to say that God stills sees the ideal as it should be, irrespective of what happens on earth. It says that humans can only really achieve holiness by cleaving 100% to that noble vision. If you don't succeed, forget it.

Rubbish. Those whose marriage has failed irrevocably can become saints in heaven just like everybody else. Just not through marriage any longer. You are confusing the ability to try one path as often as one likes with the ability to reach the target.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Seekingsister I also agree with your interpretation rather than IngoB's of the example of the famous person with three successive wives. On the logic of IngoB's analysis, as soon as wife No 1 dies, it becomes a virtuous act for a man in that position to junk all commitments he made to wife No 2, ditch her, and find some nice pure young Catholic virgin to propose to.

Tell me, why precisely do you feel free to spout all sorts of nasty crap and then attribute it to me?

What Mr Gingrich has done was possible, and the final outcome even can be called blessed, if he has repented of his actions. But what one ought to do if one is invalidly married is of course quite simply to make the marriage valid through convalidation or radical sanation. There is nothing good or honourable about Mr Gingrich dumping his civilly second wife, rather that really confirms this part of his life as meritless adultery.

And I don't know what the bit about finding a "nice pure young Catholic virgin" is supposed to tell me. It certainly is not Catholic teaching that only women in that state should marry. That said, nice, pure and Catholic is what all women, and all men, should be. Youth is, truth to be told, generally attractive to most of us. But "youth" is a relative term and I think something like xkcd's "Standard Creepiness Rule" captures how we actually think about this. As for being a virgin, for those who enter their first marriage, whether man or woman, that's simply part of being nice, pure and Catholic, which one should be.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I'd agree with that argument, but IngoB hasn't suggested that might have put him in better standing with the RCC than moving on to wife No 3. He seems to be assuming that in those circumstances, it is OK to ditch wife No 2. Or perhaps it's better to get rid of wife No 2 first and then sort yourself out with the church before marrying wife No 3?

Here's an idea, why don't you ask me what I think about things, instead of going on about what I must be thinking?

It is not OK to ditch "civil wife No. 2". It is possible. Lots of things are possible, that does not make them good. And yes, it certainly would be better to first separate from "civil wife No. 2", before one gets it on with yet another woman. Fornication doesn't become prettier squared, even when garnished with betrayal. But then again, even that something is better does not mean that it is good. A lesser evil is still evil.

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
I'm more likely to become a Hindu than a Protestant.
.......................
Here's an idea, why don't you ask me what I think about things, instead of going on about what I must be thinking?

I may regret this, but ...

OK then. Why are you more likely to become a Hindu?

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All right. I admit it. Some of what I said, or more accurately, the way I said it, was a wind up and intended to be.

Not all of it though. I think there is something very seriously wrong with the way the RCC, or some of it, does ethics. Everything I said earlier on the thread about pretending adultery doesn't break marriages and more recently about the niceties of keeping a kosher kitchen transposed into the moral realm and the reference to David Lodge, I meant.

And I also think both that Seekingsister's criticisms are fair, and that, for all the efforts, the answers haven't been remotely persuasive.

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
OK then. Why are you more likely to become a Hindu?

Protestantism is fundamentally flawed in its approach on how to obtain information about the Divine. I know that it cannot be believed in with intellectual integrity, and since that is of fundamental importance to me, I definitely won't try. I don't know all that much about Hinduism, and in particular I don't know much about the various kinds of Hinduism that certainly must exist. So I might find a version that I can believe in with intellectual integrity. Since "might" beats "definitely won't" in likelihood, I'm more likely to become a Hindu than a Protestant - if Catholicism shows itself to be doctrinally corrupt.

A tougher question would be if I am more likely to stay Christian or become Hindu, if Catholicism fails. But Protestantism simply is not a Christian option for me. And no, this is not saying anything remotely like "Protestants are bad people" or "Protestants are not Christian" or "I'm holier than you". It is narrowly a point about insight into the Divine, but for me it is an essential point that has to be fulfilled, sine qua non (without not). And as far as that point goes I am indeed saying that I am smarter than those who do not agree. Sorry if that offends, but that's how it is.

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IngoB

Since Roman catholicism is but a sect I don't think those of us from other Christian traditions need worry about your opinions.

Hindu, eh? Which branch?

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Barnabas62
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A serious question, IngoB. Doesn't Christianity in all its forms require submission of the intellect to Authority? Isn't your intellect submitted to Holy Tradition? Doesn't it "sit under it" rather than judge it?

Obviously, we all declare that Jesus is Lord. But knowing who He is and what He is Lord of requires authorised content. We may wrestle with the authorised content - in fact we are foolish if we do not test the messages of our own consciences and understandings this way - but in the end there is no getting away from it. We are people under Authority.

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Since Roman catholicism is but a sect I don't think those of us from other Christian traditions need worry about your opinions.

I was asked a personal question. I answered it. I have no illusions about my ability to convince anyone but myself concerning this, and I wasn't trying.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Doesn't Christianity in all its forms require submission of the intellect to Authority? Isn't your intellect submitted to Holy Tradition? Doesn't it "sit under it" rather than judge it?

In an ultimate sense my intellect cannot "sit under" anything or anyone, be it God Himself presently revealed in all His glory. Because it is precisely the function of my intellect to judge. I cannot say "I totally submit to this authority" without my intellect having judged that this authority is to be totally submitted to. And of course, in that judgement my intellect was not totally submitted to that authority. The submission is the outcome of the judgement, it is not governing the judgement. (This is a different issue from inspiration. We can say that my unaided intellect is not capable of arriving at certain judgements, that I require the assistance of the Holy Spirit. But a crutch is not a whip. My intellect is empowered by the Holy Spirit, not cowed. Grace does not destroy nature, it perfects it.)

My beef with Protestantism happens to be pretty much exactly that what they are submitting to is intellectually incoherent. Concerning this it is facile to say "we are all submitting to the Lord". The Lord is not present to us in a way that would make this a practically relevant statement. We are all submitting to the Lord by proxy, and typical Protestant proxies make no sense. That's all.

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Barnabas62
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Thanks. There is a separate discussion to be had there. This one has tangents enough!

I'll give a new thread some thought. Not necessarily coherent.

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
There isn't a word there that would condone simply divorcing without serious cause. However, say you commit adultery, and your wife throws you out. Can you confess your sin and achieve absolution? Yes, you may well be repentant now of that grave sin. Does this force your wife to accept you back into her bed? No, it doesn't. It would be laudable if she did so, but it isn't sinful if she doesn't. So it is entirely possible to have separated spouses who are both not in a state of mortal sin (any longer). If you both go to Church, on what grounds should you not both receive communion? And since the public does not usually know the ins and outs of a relationship, the rule against "manifest and obstinate grave sin" does not grip. I do not know whether you have reconciled with God over your adultery, so even if I know about your adultery and see that you are still separate from your wife, this does not tell me that you are receiving communion unworthily.

But surely, for the adulterer at least, repentance of that sin must surely include a desire to make amends to his wife and be reconciled to her: he is (on the Catholic view) fully bound by his vows to his wife, and even if she is under no obligation to take him back, he should at least be open to the chance of ending the separation.

Yes, it is possible for that to happen, I suppose, but I can't think of any adulterers (or abusers) who have acted like that. Adulterers do repent of their bad behaviour, of course, but in my experience, once the marriage is for all practical purposes at an end, tend not to wait for years at a respectful but available distance, patiently hoping to be reconciled. Maybe some do. I don't know any, though, and I don't think it's common at all.

quote:
Now, as I have stated above several times, I do think that the Church is inconsistent in applying the "withholding communion over public sin" rule. The remarried are an easy target there, because their sin is documented, but that does not make singling them out any fairer.
Given that, I may be pushing at an open door here as far as you are concerned, but it seems to me that the purpose of making marriage indissoluable, and therefore of instituting a 'no remarriage' rule (if that's what Jesus did) must have been to preserve marriages. The fact that the divorced are required to stay single isn't the point – it's a consequence. The point is to get married people to stay married.

And therefore I don't think it makes any sort of sense to be strict about excluding the remarried, but adopt a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy for the merely separated. Yes, we agree it's possible for someone who breaks a marriage by adultery or abuse or desertion to repent, and be forgiven, but we also know that in practice they frequently don't show much sign of doing this. And those are the people the 'marriage is indissoluable' rule needs to chasten most.

It seems to me that if the Church were seriously to deploy this rule in the service of preserving marriages, it would want to target unrepentant marriage-breaking conduct, and unrepentant separation where reconciliation is still a possibility, with at least as much rigor as it targets remarriage.


quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I think that people who sign up for marriage should, in fairness, know what they are promising, and actually want to promise it. I doubt that the strict 'no re-marriage' rule will ever fulfil those criteria for most Christians.

Neither you, nor most Christians, nor indeed the RCC has any say in this. The Lord has spoken, and that's it. Period. We can still discuss things like "How culpable are those systematically ignoring and breaking the Lord's word on marriage, given that they were brought up in this moral corruption and do not fully realise what they are doing?" or "How culpable are those who as RCs pay lip-service to RC teaching on marriage but wouldn't know a dogma if it bit them in their butt?" Yet that we may find it hard to answer such things does not mean that there is the slightest doubt about what we ought to do. Namely, obey the Lord.
My point (and I think the RCC broadly agrees with it) is that if the indissoluable bond/this-is-your-one-chance-at-sexual-love rule is an indispensible part of Christian marriage, unalterable because a command of the Lord, and a Christian goes through a marriage ceremony without meaning in the slightest to be bound by that rule, then he or she has not agreed to be married in the Christian sense.

My understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) is that serious defects of intention like that are held by the RCC to invalidate a purported marriage.

If it is really the case that half of Catholic marriages don't include this mutual intention, and are null, then that is, surely, a serious problem. I'm a lawyer - if half the contracts I drafted were unenforceable, I'd be forced to the conclusion that I was in the wrong job, and that to continue with it would pose an unacceptable risk to my clients. And for the Church to exhibit a similar level of failure is even more serious. Whether or not those invalidly married Catholics are culpable, they are missing out on a valid sacrament which (I presume) is held to be a highly beneficial channel of grace.

A reform of the annulment process is not a very satisfactory answer to that. It amounts to the Church saying “Sorry, we failed you, by letting you think you were married when you weren't, because we didn't make clear what you were signing up to – now you've split up, you can have another go”. Theologically that may be defensible (no intention=no sacrament=no indissoluable bond) but isn't that precisely the opposite outcome in practice to the one Jesus' command is supposed to require?

If the Church holds these views on the nature of marriage as unalterable, then it can't fix the current problem by allowing more annulments. Either it has to get much stricter in actually calling the faithful to the standards which it claims to teach, or it needs to accept that a large part of the faithful don't want what the Church is selling, marriage-wise, and leave it up to the conscience of the individual believer what 'marriage' means. Obviously, as a politically liberal Protestant, leaving it to individual conscience is absolutely fine with me, but that's not really the Catholic way when it comes to something as important as the sacraments. I think the Pope really has his work cut out in if he wants the Church to be more merciful, while preserving any sort of moral integrity consistent with established Catholic teaching.

(Have I talked myself into essentially agreeing with you in that last bit?)

[ 23. February 2014, 08:56: Message edited by: Eliab ]

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:

(Have I talked myself into essentially agreeing with you in that last bit?)

Probably!

This

quote:
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matt 16:19)
looks to be the key to Catholic understanding of the authority of the "One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church".

Jesus' saying "whom God has joined let no man divide" is set in context of a discussion about flawed Jewish understanding of the Old Covenant but is seen to go much further than that; the re-establishment of the unbreakable principle "from the beginning".

It might, I suppose, be argued that the Catholic Church does have the authority to loosen on earth this indissoluble binding by God. But I believe Traditional understanding (within Catholic Tradition) is that it cannot do that because it would be disobeying the dominical instruction of Jesus, which it has no authority to do. And that has been confirmed by very recent prior Papal declarations as well.

So, however monstrously difficult the pastoral consequences, the Catholic Church and this Pope are just going to have to "suck it up".

That's the IngoB understanding as I read it. Even if in the end there are three Catholics left in the world, worshiping in a tin hut somewhere. That's the cost of faithfulness.

I think Catholicism has in practice universalised sayings of Jesus which arose in the context of a 1st century debate on the Old Covenant. It is now stuck with that. I can see why it has very limited room for movement, even over full participation in the Eucharist. It too, is bound.

The "economia" of the Orthodox (and those of us within Protestantism who have reached a similar view by different means) is seen by reference to this highly principled Catholic understanding to assume too much about both the freedom of the Church and the mercy of God. We say "ought not to be broken". Catholics say "cannot be broken". Just another example of our messy incoherence, I'm afraid.

Sad, that. Both ways. Who is kidding themselves the most? There's not a lot of "middle ground" so far as I can see.

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Forthview
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It's not only in sexual 'sins' but in our everyday attempts to follow the teaching of the 10 commandments and the teaching of Jesus about love for our neighbour that Catholics are aware of their many shortcomings.
The Church,even through its imperfect ministers,continues to preach what the ideal is, and to put that ideal before the faithful.
However we all know that:
the fact that someone has said something doesn't mean that it has been heard
the fact that something has been heard,doesn't mean that it has been listened to
the fact that something has been listened to,doesn't mean that it has been understood
the fact that something has been understood doesn't mean that it has been agreed with
the fact that something has been agreed with does not mean that it will be acted upon.

The Church deals all the time with our imperfections (as well as with its own) but it points the way forward for the people of God on their way to eternity.

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
But surely, for the adulterer at least, repentance of that sin must surely include a desire to make amends to his wife and be reconciled to her: he is (on the Catholic view) fully bound by his vows to his wife, and even if she is under no obligation to take him back, he should at least be open to the chance of ending the separation.

I think this is simplistic thinking on your part. The adulterer may indeed have committed the adultery "just for fun" or "for the sex" or whatever, in which case re-committing to their marriage is a bit like stopping to eat sweets because you are getting health problems. Let's be clear, even this level of impulse control - while expected of an adult - is in practice not easy, and some will die from eating sweets. But the adultery can just as well, and perhaps even more commonly, be an expression of deep problems that exist in the marriage. And the person that acted them out sexually may not be the person most responsible for the state of the marriage or be in a position to fix it. These things tend to be really messy and their solution tends to be complicated (and usually more complicated to the people involved than to outsiders...). So yes, by their sin the adulterer has an extra duty to make amends. But that doesn't automatically translate into the ability or even the duty to correct all things that are wrong with the marriage.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Yes, it is possible for that to happen, I suppose, but I can't think of any adulterers (or abusers) who have acted like that. Adulterers do repent of their bad behaviour, of course, but in my experience, once the marriage is for all practical purposes at an end, tend not to wait for years at a respectful but available distance, patiently hoping to be reconciled. Maybe some do. I don't know any, though, and I don't think it's common at all.

It would be a lot more common though if the adulterer could not possibly find someone else to have an intimate relationship with. If everybody agreed to Catholic sexual morals, then the adulterer would be an "eunuch who has been made eunuch by men", i.e., a single not by their own choice to the end of their (or their spouse's) days. Of course, the adulterer would probably rage against this situation, but eventually they would run out of steam. All things do. And then it is either accepting being an "eunuch" or reconciling through patient reengagement. What enables an adulterer to throw away their marriage is precisely the permissiveness of society. The adulterer can go on and find someone else.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Given that, I may be pushing at an open door here as far as you are concerned, but it seems to me that the purpose of making marriage indissoluable, and therefore of instituting a 'no remarriage' rule (if that's what Jesus did) must have been to preserve marriages.

Not really, no. Jesus is not into social engineering. This is about embodying a symbol, so that the meaning becomes realised in the act. It's about establishing a sacrament. Holy matrimony is a kind of worship. The fruitful union of one flesh is a lived analogy to the Trinity, a way of practicing being God-like. The indissolubility is a reflection of the eternal relationships of God. Marriage is in one sense the sacrament, just as the Eucharist is the sacrament in another sense. Marriage is the original sacrament. Before all things, before all human history, this was the way God gave to us to become one with Him. This is what Adam and Eve ought to have practiced, and in the sexual exercise of their faith they would have brought forth humanity. But they fell, and the very first thing that broke was this. We became shameful. Jesus restored this, but of course not like it was. The broken does not simply become "as new" in this world. Instead this was restored "in the cross", and there it will remain until humanity has run its course, until enough offspring has been produced for this sacrament to end entirely.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
And therefore I don't think it makes any sort of sense to be strict about excluding the remarried, but adopt a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy for the merely separated.

I disagree. The Church is a teacher and a doctor, not a judge or secret police officer. It is not the function of the Church to hunt people down in their sins, it is the function of the Church to teach them about what is sinful and offer them a way to become holy again. It is a big and terrible mistake to translate that into essentially total permissiveness, as we see in the "liberal" movements. In their sins, people are a lot like children, or indeed sheep if you prefer, and they do need limits which are set clearly, and where consequences consistently ensue if they are being transgressed. The problem here is that there is a kind of conflict between the needs of the individual and the needs of the community. What is happening in the case of withholding communion from the remarried is that the Church's role as teacher ("marriage is not to be messed with") conflicts with the Church's role as doctor ("let me help you get out of your sins"), because of a public act (the attempt to participate in communion). If there is no public act, then the Church engages as a doctor. And a doctor waits for patients to come to him because they feel sick, and does not spill their medical history to the world at large.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
It seems to me that if the Church were seriously to deploy this rule in the service of preserving marriages, it would want to target unrepentant marriage-breaking conduct, and unrepentant separation where reconciliation is still a possibility, with at least as much rigor as it targets remarriage.

No. The Church is not the holy secret police, and the laity are not mindless robots with no responsibility in the life of faith. The Church has a teaching and a healing office, it is not some kind of super-nanny for the faith. It may well be a good idea if the Church offers marriage counsel for those who wish to take it. But it is not the duty of the Church to reform your life so that you may follow Christ. It is your duty. The Church is there to tell you what that means, and to help you get back on track when you fail.

What you are trying to establish here is a dilemma. Either total license, or total control. The rhetorical idea is that since people will baulk at total control, they will agree to total license. But these are false alternatives. The Church offers neither total license nor does it wish for total control. The Church acts as shepherd. Sheep are neither inanimate objects that only move passively when pushed into a new spot, nor are they always smart and independent in where they go and what they do. A bit of gentle guidance and occasionally the smack of the rod or the bark of the sheepdog, and they will make their own way to green pastures without getting lost.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
My understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) is that serious defects of intention like that are held by the RCC to invalidate a purported marriage. If it is really the case that half of Catholic marriages don't include this mutual intention, and are null, then that is, surely, a serious problem. I'm a lawyer - if half the contracts I drafted were unenforceable, I'd be forced to the conclusion that I was in the wrong job, and that to continue with it would pose an unacceptable risk to my clients. And for the Church to exhibit a similar level of failure is even more serious. Whether or not those invalidly married Catholics are culpable, they are missing out on a valid sacrament which (I presume) is held to be a highly beneficial channel of grace.

The analogy is flawed though, since these are matters of the heart. In that regard the language of promise or covenant is better. What can the Church really do, but accept your word for your heart? And yes, she could establish all sorts of hoops to jump through before she marries people. But there are limits to that. Because a marriage is living thing, and you grow into it. One cannot just take an old married couple, abstract their attitudes, lay them before the feet of those newly in love and say: "this is what you must be like." Frankly, I doubt anybody in the history of the world knew what they were getting into when marrying. It's always a speculative project, an act of hope. And in fact, it should not be faced with how things will be, much, just as a teenager should not be made to overly worry about pension funds.

And it is also not just up to the couple. Maybe given how our societies are now, 50% "true marriages" isn't all that bad. People are not just independent entities that float Platonically into objective decisions. The hearts that are being committed in marriage are hearts that have been shaped by society for twenty years. Maybe many of them just cannot speak true in this way any longer.

I do not know. It's a mess. But human mess is rarely monocausal, and one can rarely clean it up by just doing one thing better.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I think the Pope really has his work cut out in if he wants the Church to be more merciful, while preserving any sort of moral integrity consistent with established Catholic teaching. (Have I talked myself into essentially agreeing with you in that last bit?)

Probably. It happens to the best. I mean, only to the best. [Razz]

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
So, however monstrously difficult the pastoral consequences, the Catholic Church and this Pope are just going to have to "suck it up". That's the IngoB understanding as I read it. Even if in the end there are three Catholics left in the world, worshiping in a tin hut somewhere. That's the cost of faithfulness.

Sure. One of those abiding mysteries that Christianity at large holds for me is that most Christians (including most Catholics) seem to think the following is where this world is heading: all people everywhere will be following Christ (or some approved Christ-like enough religion or philosophy, if you are liberal), establishing as much of the Kingdom on this earth as is possible, at which point Christ will come again, say something like "well done, all my faithful servants everywhere", and provide the magic juice that will turn the almost Kingdom into the full Kingdom.

I have no idea why people think that this is how it's going to play. I see no evidence for that in scripture or tradition, or for that matter even just in the application of basic reason to the human condition. I also have no idea either whether "three Catholics in a tin hut" is what instead will be the final state of the world before the Second Coming. But it sure as hell is a lot more likely by all I have ever learned about humanity and Christianity...

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

Posts: 12010 | From: Gone fishing | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
it seems to me that the purpose of making marriage indissoluble, and therefore of instituting a 'no remarriage' rule (if that's what Jesus did) must have been to preserve marriages. The fact that the divorced are required to stay single isn't the point – it's a consequence. The point is to get married people to stay married.

This seems to me what's behind a lot of opposition to the Church showing any sort of recognition of remarriages -

- the risk that by trying to do what's best for those whose marriages have irretrievably broken down and the relationship ended, it might offer a perverse incentive to those struggling in a marriage that's still viable.

That seems to me sacrificing the interests of the few for the best interests of the many. It calls to mind John 18:14 "Caiaphas was he which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people"

That's not the right way.

Some have spoken of "intellectual coherence". In other words, how do we with integrity say to the married that marriage is a permanent state and that there is no Christian alternative to striving one's hardest to patch things up with one's existing spouse, and also say to the divorced and remarried that full forgiveness and full participation in the Church is offered to them and that the Church community have no interest in breaking up their second marriage ?

My view is that there is a way, but it requires the Church to talk a different language - a language that emphasises the verbs - taking the best step towards God that you can from where you are - rather than the traditional labelling with binary adjectives (valid/nonvalid, sinful/nonsinful, bound/unbound).

Best wishes,

Russ

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged



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