Thread: Pope Francis' Extraordinary Synod Oct 2014 Board: Oblivion / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
In this artice, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, head of Pope Francis' so called kitchen cabinet urges Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to be more flexible in his approach to possible reforms in the Church. He described Archbishop Mueller as "a classic German theology professor who thought too much in rigid black-and-white terms." From the article:

quote:
In an article in the Vatican daily last October, Mueller firmly rejected growing demands for divorced and remarried Catholics to be reinstated as full members of the Church

With divorce on the rise, more Catholics are asking Rome to show mercy for them.

The Vatican is due to consider reforming its rules on divorce at a worldwide synod of bishops next October.


As we come close to the end of Pope Francis' first year in office, he has come across as a pope who put mercy above judgement, devotion above doctrine and people above institutions, even the institution of the Church itself. This has endeared him to many people, even non-Catholics. He clearly thinks that the present arrangements following failed marriages aren't working, and that generations are being lost to the Church as a result. His purpose in calling the Extraordinary Synod is because he wants change on this issue.

But how much room for manoeuvre does he have? Anything which looks like a watering down of centuries of Church teaching would be met with absolute horror by traditionalists, to the point where schism could be possible. Yet he knows that the present position needs reform of some sort or another. So what is Pope Francis hoping to achieve from this?
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
He described Archbishop Mueller as "a classic German theology professor who thought too much in rigid black-and-white terms."

The attentive reader would be wondering to what extent His Eminence was shooting his mouth off about a fellow Cardinal (Elect), head of the Congregation in charge of these matters - which would be just seriously bad form - or having an implied dig at another German theology professor, who now is an Emeritus - which would be backstabbingly vicious.

quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
But how much room for manoeuvre does he have?

I doubt that there is much. And this has nothing to do with the trads, other perhaps than that they still remember what the Church has been teaching for ages. 1. Is marriage not indissoluble? 2. Is adultery not a mortal sin? 3. While habitual sin may reduce culpability, is it not the duty of the Church to alert people to sinful habits and of people to repent of them? 4. Is it not forbidden and indeed detrimental to receive communion while in mortal sin? The only point with some give here (for the RCC) is 3, so I expect that it will feature strongly. Yet the potential for disaster is all too obvious if one creates a precedent there.

[ 22. January 2014, 01:05: Message edited by: IngoB ]
 
Posted by Gildas (# 525) on :
 
I had a couple come to me, before Christmas, who wanted to get married - she had been married previously and the husband had left her some years ago. She and the chap had a child together and they wanted to sort themselves out with God and get married and have unBaptised family members Baptised and so forth. Now being C of E I am allowed to say yes in these circumstances. If they had been Catholic they would have had to dwell outwith the pale of the Church for evermore unless they knew their way around the annulment process - based on the available data I am pretty sure that the previous husband had not intended to contract Holy Matrimony in the sense that God and His Blessed Mother intended.

Now Catholics in this position have to prove this to the satisfaction of a Canon Lawyer and I think that it is fair to say that the application of the rules is somewhat uneven. In one Diocese a wronged woman can be branded an impenitent adulteress for trying to pick the pieces of her life up when her husband has swanned off with some floozy. In another Diocese a serial adulterer can have his misdeeds written off - I point the interested reader to the case of Mr Newton Gingrich.

Now I am not a Canon Lawyer but on the face of it, I find it hard to imagine that there is no conceivable reform of the annulment process that might redress some of these issues without leaving the substantive teaching of the Church intact.
 
Posted by Dogwalker (# 14135) on :
 
Gildas, I had the same thoughts about the annulment process. I've seen the wreckage of it in our TEC parish, and I'm a lay person.

And, since you named a Republican, I give you the Kennedys in the interest of political equal time.
 
Posted by Gildas (# 525) on :
 
Generally, if a rich and powerful person wants an annulment they can have one. Unless the Holy Roman Empire has conquered Italy, in which case all bets are off. [Biased]
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
From the article referred to in the OP
quote:
The Vatican is due to consider reforming its rules on divorce at a worldwide synod of bishops next October.
As a non-Catholic, looking at this from outside the RCC, I would have thought that:-

a. This is one of the biggest, if not perhaps the biggest, pastoral problem facing the RCC at the moment; and

B. There is no scope for dealing with this by seeing it as a matter of 'reforming its rules'.

So long as this is seen as merely a matter of whether to allow a bit more flexibility in the RCC's rules, there's very little basis for making any change that will either deal with the pastoral crisis or improve the credibility of RCC theology or practice on marriage.

Either RCC theology on marriage and divorce is 100% right, a reflection of the unchanging view of God or it is not. If it is, then if anything, the rules should be tightened, the nonsense of psychological annulment should be abandoned, the sinful, fleshly world should be told what's what, and that's it. Nobody can disagree that the world today is awash in a tide of ethical looseness. If the RCC' interpretation of the reasons is right, it needs to proclaim the truth as it sees it, from the rooftops. Hard luck on the sort of people Gildas is talking about. The purity of true doctrine and the blighted lives that might result are the cross his unfortunate parishioners are called upon to bear. To the correctly enlightened Catholic, they have presumably demonstrated their spiritual benightedness by seeking pastoral counsel from heretic and schismatic clergy.

Alternatively, though, suppose one asks the question terrible. Could neat, rational, legal theology end up being broken on the wheel of pastoral reality? If 'correct' theology doesn't work, is that just because people aren't trying hard enough? Or might it be that the theology is, wrong, inadequate or even not fit for purpose?

The tragic fact is that marriages do break down. We all, I hope, believe that people shouldn't commit adultery and shouldn't walk out on marriages. We all, I hope, agree that any Christian ecclesial community should have disciplines and practices which encourage people to be faithful to one another, and warn them of the dire spiritual damage that they can do to themselves and each other by not being.

I am sure someone like Archbishop Gerhard Mueller would say that I am refusing to see this problem with the eye of faith, how God sees it rather than how man does. Nevertheless, saying that divorce cannot be, rather than should not be, is denying the evidence of one's eyes. Pretending that a marriage continues to exist in some ideal, theological world, when one or both of the couple has married someone else or lives with and has children by someone else, is so unreal, so much spiritual self-deception that it cannot be good theology.

I've said on these boards before that denying that adultery does break marriages, diminishes quite how bad and destructive a sin it is.

I would say, unequivocally, that what the RCC needs to get itself out of its present pastoral hole, is not a 'reform of its rules' on a divorce. I don't think it can do that with any credibility. What it needs is a root and branch review of its theology of marriage and what happens when a marriage breaks down.

To put this a different way, it needs a theology that has something to say to those affected where they are, rather than where the Church thinks they ought to have been before they got into the mess.

Another change that would greatly help it, IMHO, would be to break the assumption that 'if marriage is a sacrament, it must be indissoluble'. Why is it assumed the second must be follow on from the first? Why not 'if marriage is a sacrament, it shows how serious and terrible a thing it is to break it'?
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I am sure someone like Archbishop Gerhard Mueller would say that I am refusing to see this problem with the eye of faith, how God sees it rather than how man does. Nevertheless, saying that divorce cannot be, rather than should not be, is denying the evidence of one's eyes. Pretending that a marriage continues to exist in some ideal, theological world, when one or both of the couple has married someone else or lives with and has children by someone else, is so unreal, so much spiritual self-deception that it cannot be good theology.

I've said on these boards before that denying that adultery does break marriages, diminishes quite how bad and destructive a sin it is.

I'm pretty sure that what the Prefect of the CDF would say is that if the Church is right then the bond of marriage is - as a matter of revealed fact - indissoluble, and that therefore the obligations on the partners remain even when discarded. Of course divorce actually happens and adultery "breaks" marriages - it's just that that in itself changes nothing about objective bindingness of the sacrament and the obligation the spouses have towards one another.

Catholic teaching, as far as I can see, isn't denying the obvious or the real. Rather, Catholic teaching insists on acknowledging an aspect of the reality of marriage - its objective bindingness - that it would be so much easier to ignore. It's an attempt to be faithful to the truth.
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
To put this a different way, it needs a theology that has something to say to those affected where they are, rather than where the Church thinks they ought to have been before they got into the mess.

I agree with this. The problem I have with some of the ideas being floated, such as streamlining the annulment process, is that it doesn't answer the problem. The annulment process is already stretched to the point of corruption in order to deal with what has become the Church's biggest pastoral headache. To keep it on such a legalistic level, as I suspect IngoB would advocate, though I can't speak for him can't be combined with any pastoral considerations.

If extra ecclesiam, nulla salus were true, those divorcees who remarry legally and thus render themselves excommunicate are entirely extra ecclesiam. Their adultery puts them in mortal sin, and their inability to receive any absolution, being denied the Sacrament of Reconcilaition renders them automatically consigned to eternal damnation. The honest policy of a Church which really believes that is to banish them until they can truly repent, perhaps on the death of one of their spouses, or if aging renders them beyond a sexual age. To say, as the hierarchy today says, that such people should still be involved in the life of the Church and treated with pastoral sensitivity is absurd. How does a priest behave pastorally to a person with a one way ticket to eternal torment?

Also there are different degrees of culpability. A manwho leaves his wife and children for another woman commits a grave sin, though I doubt he's necessarily irredeemable. Two people who meet years later and find comfort in each other after their long struggle don't commmit any discernable sin if judged by the two great commandments or the golden rule, only by a very legalistic rule.

Rather than try to alter Christian teaching about the indissolubility of marriage, which would be impossible anyway, or bend the rules of annulment to fit the reality of today's situation, I would rather see an admission that indissoluble marriage is an ideal which, like many other Christian ideals, people don't always live up to. That if forgiveness, reconciliation and readmittance to the Church is open to murderers and rapists who repent, it should also be so for adulterers who failed to live the perfect lives we are called upon to live.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Thank God for the God of 4,900 'chances'.
 
Posted by Barefoot Friar (# 13100) on :
 
Forgive my ignorance, but I was under the distinct impression that Jesus said that divorce on the grounds of adultery was permissible. In which case the Church has no business going behind his back and trying to undo it. Or am I missing the point?
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barefoot Friar:
Forgive my ignorance, but I was under the distinct impression that Jesus said that divorce on the grounds of adultery was permissible.

If this is a reference to porneia, that's an old chestnut indeed - but there has never been anything like a consensus that it is equivalent to adultery.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I can't find a copy online but I can recall reading a C of E publication (title "Indissoluble?" or something like that) which had a profound impact on me. As best I recall, the argument, which was very biblical, pointed to a paradox. That a marriage in which love had died could not truly be described any more as a Christian marriage since it had lost completely any reflection of the love between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5).

The Catholic understanding does I believe reflect that and there is sorrow that the unbreakable sacramental bond remains even when love does not. But there is nothing to be done about that without a departure from the truth of the Tradition. I think Chesterbelloc confirms that here.

I am simply not sure that the Tradition has this right. But even if it has I think there is scope for recognising the other truth, that the "hardness of heart" - the belief by one or both partners that the loss of love is irrevocable - may be completely realistic, that attempts to rekindle the flame by means of reconciliation have become as valueless as flogging a dead horse. In short, that the "hardness of heart" is a recognition that it is the marriage itself which has died, and that is the death which is causing the parting. Perhaps if folks were more perfectly loving, something could be done? But they are not, and therefore what needs to be recognised is the death of the marriage itself. The couple are parted by a death.

Now I do not know what scope there is within Catholic theology for using that kind of understanding, but it seems to me to represent an undeniable reality about marriages as they are, rather than as they should be.

Perhaps something could be made of that, perhaps something is already being made of that?
 
Posted by Organ Builder (# 12478) on :
 
Oddly enough, I heard a story on PBS this morning about the charismatic movement in the US Catholic church. It is particularly strong in the Hispanic community, which is more or less acknowledged as the "future" of the US church, in the sense that they will continue to be a significantly growing percentage of the US faithful.

Something like 1 in 3 is very active with a charismatic group, where women often lead worship and preach.

This has little to do with the topic of this thread, of course, but I think it does illustrate that the church is changing and will change, in ways that horrify and terrify some of the faithful. In many ways, it does seem that the Catholic Church in Latin America does not have the same "set in stone" theology and praxis that the Catholic Church in Europe has (at least, as represented by a few of our good Shipmates).

My point would be this: it is impossible to know what will come out of this Synod, but someone is going to be extremely surprised. It just might be the theologically traditional, inasmuch as the Latin American church has often had a very strong pastoral tradition.

What will you do then? Will you acknowledge that the Church has erred? Will you join one of the old Catholic splinter groups? Will you recognize that perhaps you were previously a little harsh?

As much as some of our Shipmates love Thomist theology, the Church survived its first 1200 years or so without it--more than half its total history. Things changed in the thirteenth century, and they may change again.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
[x-p'd with organ builder]

Again though, Barnabas, one can acknowledge the "death" of a marriage in one sense without abandoning the bindingness of the promises.

It seems to me that so much of the opposition to the Catholic teaching on marriage is based on an idea that the constitutive component of marriage is a special feeling between the partners - an ability to be romantically/sexually engaged with one another - without which the marriage does not exists or has ceased to exist.

But no one promises on their wedding day to feel something about their partner for ever -because such things cannot be commanded or promised. So this cannot be the essence of the marriage bond, any more than feeling fond affection for one's neighbour is what we are commanded to when we are exhorted to love our neighbour.

[ 23. January 2014, 22:15: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
What will you do then? Will you acknowledge that the Church has erred? Will you join one of the old Catholic splinter groups? Will you recognize that perhaps you were previously a little harsh?

Speaking personally and frankly, as someone who believes that the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage is infallible, if that teaching were formally reversed I would cease to be a Catholic altogether. But, as it happens, I believe this eventuality is quite literally impossible - because Christ has promised otherwise.

However, it would take considerably more than a Synod recommending that remarried divorcees without annulments should on occasion be able to receive Holy Communion to establish any such reversal of teaching.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:

It seems to me that so much of the opposition to the Catholic teaching on marriage is based on an idea that the constitutive component of marriage is a special feeling between the partners - an ability to be romantically/sexually engaged with one another - without which the marriage does not exists or has ceased to exist.

But no one promises on their wedding day to feel something about their partner for ever -because such things cannot be commanded or promised. So this cannot be the essence of the marriage bond, any more than feeling fond affection for one's neighbour is what we are commanded to when we are exhorted to love our neighbour.

Yes and no!

I agree entirely that the equation of eros-love and agape-love is a serious error and that it is responsible for much confusion over love within a marriage.

But I hope I may be absolved by you of having any such confusion myself. I bang on a lot on Ship of Fools about the central importance of agape-love. I have no doubt either that the writers of the C of E publication knew all of that too.

Just as an ilustration, in Ephesians 5 the love that husbands are exhorted to show their wives is agape-love "as Christ loved the church". Properly understood, Eph 5 is an encouragement to mutual agape-love, husband for wife, wife for husband.

Many have written well about the distinction between falling in love and loving. Eros moves from being the most important thing to something better. The joyful and sometimes healing celebration of the growing agape and the challenges it brings to love like that. In our culture, that is a more difficult and dangerous journey than it would be if we did not have this eros/agape confusion.

But we agape-love as imperfectly as we eros-love, even if we know the difference. The agape-love of God never fails. Ours sometimes does; it is a reflection even at its best. Sometimes the reflecting mirror just gets broken - and all the king's horses and all the king's men cannot put it back together again.

I've been married once and the marriage is 45+ years young and going strong. The bond is far stronger than when it was more eros-based than agape-based. We made the journey. We are very fortunate in that. We've never lost the eros either; it harmonises with the agape which grew and keeps on growing. But many, many others, some of whom we know very well, have not been so fortunate, despite in a number of cases the most sacrificial efforts.

Whatever doctrinal positions we adopt, we show a good deal less than the agape-love we have learned if we don't cut folks who have been less fortunate some slack. I've seen more than enough adults and children hurt by marriages in which eros and agape have died to know that sometimes a decent burial is a far better option than pretending the dead horse can be flogged.

What I'm asking is this. Where is the agape-love of the Catholic Church in response to these realities? You can't just hold up a doctrine of an indissoluble marriage bond and say, sorry that's the best we can do? Surely not? I'm sure you must do more than that.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
Other denominations have liberalised more slowly; I think the RCC would be risking a great deal by trying to implement all the various doctrinal changes that various commentators would like to see it adopt. It could create a lot of disillusionment and anger among faithful Catholics, with no guarantee of bringing back many of those who've drifted away.

Becoming more tolerant of divorce, for example, risks alienating all of the couples who have, perhaps at deep personal cost to themselves, spent their lives trying to be faithful to what the RCC currently teaches. They might end up feeling abandoned by the Church whose teachings they were trying to obey.

Maybe the RCC simply isn't the right religion for modern mankind. If it has to wither away, maybe it should do so while remaining distinctive rather than as a grander version of liberal high church Protestantism.
 
Posted by Palimpsest (# 16772) on :
 
Traditional Catholics feeling abandoned by Pope Francis would not be new. But before you buy into a scenario where the Pope announces theological reform of marriage to allow divorce and traditional sorts have to decide if they leave the Church and start packing their bags, wait and see what the Synod actually does. It's just as likely that all the hopeful liberal Catholics are disappointed that nothing changes.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gildas:
She and the chap had a child together and they wanted to sort themselves out with God and get married and have unBaptised family members Baptised and so forth. Now being C of E I am allowed to say yes in these circumstances. If they had been Catholic they would have had to dwell outwith the pale of the Church for evermore unless they knew their way around the annulment process - based on the available data I am pretty sure that the previous husband had not intended to contract Holy Matrimony in the sense that God and His Blessed Mother intended.

Not being admitted to communion is not the same as being excommunicated. If RCs are having unresolved sin issues, then the RCC quite generally asks them to refrain from taking communion until the issues have been resolved. This does not put people "beyond the pale" otherwise. For example, they not only can but ought to participate in mass on Sunday, just like any other RC. The difference here is simply that the Church knows that there are unresolved sin issues, and does not have to rely solely on the individuals doing the right thing. There would not generally be an issue with performing baptisms. And if there is good reason to doubt that a marriage has not been contracted, then I see no excuse for not attempting to annul the marriage. Marriage is not just a personal affair, but rather a public declaration to the (Church) community, and consequently the question of its nullity is not simply something up to individuals. This no different from the state requiring a process to obtain divorce. The mere fact that you believe to not be married any longer is not enough for either state or Church, since this is a matter of communal concern not just a private act. And annulment simply is not a process comparable to a secular lawsuit (e.g., a divorce) in expense or difficulty.

quote:
Originally posted by Gildas:
Now Catholics in this position have to prove this to the satisfaction of a Canon Lawyer and I think that it is fair to say that the application of the rules is somewhat uneven. In one Diocese a wronged woman can be branded an impenitent adulteress for trying to pick the pieces of her life up when her husband has swanned off with some floozy. In another Diocese a serial adulterer can have his misdeeds written off - I point the interested reader to the case of Mr Newton Gingrich.

No, it is not at all fair to say that. Just as it would not be fair to pick some miscarriage of justice in say the UK, and to conclude from it that law and justice in the UK are failing. There is actually quite a bit of work involved in making general pronouncements about the state of justice in any particular domain. And you are not willing to put in that work - and why would you, since insinuation works perfectly fine for your rhetorical purposes here...

quote:
Originally posted by Gildas:
Now I am not a Canon Lawyer but on the face of it, I find it hard to imagine that there is no conceivable reform of the annulment process that might redress some of these issues without leaving the substantive teaching of the Church intact.

Let's see. "I'm not an engineer but on the face of it, I find it hard to imagine that nuclear power plants could not be made totally safe without breaking the laws of physics." or "I'm not a doctor but on the face of it, I find it hard to imagine that a cure of cancer could not be found based on well-known human physiology." or "I'm not a sportsman but on the face of it, I find it hard to imagine that one cannot run the 100 meters in nine seconds with regular training." Interesting, the world really could be transformed instantly into paradise according to ignorance. Thanks for pointing that out.
 
Posted by *Leon* (# 3377) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:

Originally posted by PaulTH*:
But how much room for manoeuvre does he have?

I doubt that there is much. And this has nothing to do with the trads, other perhaps than that they still remember what the Church has been teaching for ages. 1. Is marriage not indissoluble?
Non-Catholics are wondering exactly why the catholic church teaches that ending a marriage is logically impossible (rather than just something really bad that it disapproves of), and whether they could downgrade it from impossible to very sinful.

As a related question, how come it is possible to defrock a priest (which presumably involves reverting the immutable change that happened at the sacrament of ordination), but not possible to end a marriage?

[code]

[ 24. January 2014, 09:38: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
... No, it is not at all fair to say that. Just as it would not be fair to pick some miscarriage of justice in say the UK, and to conclude from it that law and justice in the UK are failing. ...

Sorry IngoB but that is fair. I agree that occasional and relatively random miscarriages of justice do not enable us to conclude that law and justice are failing. But Gildas is talking of a general, across the board jurisprudence that doesn't operate consistently from one diocese to another or between important people and the rest of us, and which is founded on theoretical principles that large numbers of people don't respect. That indicates that there is at least a possibility that the tradition, however venerable, may have got it wrong.

You may disagree with his criticism. You may feel inspired to defend your ecclesial community's position. But that does not make his criticism unfair.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Leon

I think I know the answer to that from previous discussions here. A defrocked priest is still a priest. Since the Sacrament of Holy Orders can't be undone, a priest is always a priest. An ontological change, a permanent change in being, has occurred. The Church forbids him from administering the Sacraments, except in cases of emergency. That is a matter of Church discipline, it doesn't change what he has become.

I do not know if he can become a "refrocked" priest. Perhaps he can, with suitable repentance? It would seem consistent to me.

By extension, an apparently irretrievably broken marriage is still a marriage. Against all the odds, all the evidence, it too may be retrieved.

Catholicism is invariably consistent on these matters. Sacraments produce ontological change. That applies to both priesthood and the marriage bond. That is where, I think, the mind is closed.

My view of marriage as a sacrament is different, which is where I differ from Catholicism. Essentially, I believe that people marry one another, following Genesis 2. There is a leaving and a cleaving and a setting up of a new home, a new priority. Churches solemnise, registrars legalise, but the essential human bond is the commitment between the two people. In Christian marriage, God is the vital third strand in that binding chord because He chooses to be. Properly joined together, that chord is not easily broken. Marriages may thrive with promised support of God, a very present help in time of trouble.

But the support does not turn the chord into a pair of handcuffs. That seems to miss the point that the true nature of the binding is agape love. There is pain in the heart of God when things are not as they were "from the beginning" as Jesus said. But I am sure it is seen for what it is. I would love for the "permanent ontological change" to be a permanent ontological state of being in the hearts and minds of the couple who committed themselves to one another. But it is simply not so, in far too many case. The issue for me is simple. Where is the mercy? Are handcuffs merciful to those being handcuffed in these circumstances? Or simply a warning to others of what happens when you cross certain lines?

Of course that is not Catholic theology. But perhaps it helps to explain where I am coming from?

[ 24. January 2014, 09:47: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Gildas (# 525) on :
 
Originally posted by IngoB:

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Gildas:
Now I am not a Canon Lawyer but on the face of it, I find it hard to imagine that there is no conceivable reform of the annulment process that might redress some of these issues without leaving the substantive teaching of the Church intact.

Let's see. "I'm not an engineer but on the face of it, I find it hard to imagine that nuclear power plants could not be made totally safe without breaking the laws of physics." or "I'm not a doctor but on the face of it, I find it hard to imagine that a cure of cancer could not be found based on well-known human physiology." or "I'm not a sportsman but on the face of it, I find it hard to imagine that one cannot run the 100 meters in nine seconds with regular training." Interesting, the world really could be transformed instantly into paradise according to ignorance. Thanks for pointing that out.
What, really, there are no failures of natural justice whatsoever in the way that annulments in the Catholic Church are handled? Who knew? I suppose everything in the safeguarding department is tickety-fucking-boo as well.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Not one of your better analogies, IngoB. Of course I got your point. But pooh-poohing Gildas's point in that way came across as a bit sniffy, didn't it?

At what point does better Administration become a threat to Tradition? Shouldn't the answer to that be 'never', provided the Administration sits under the Tradition?
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
Barnabas, I'm not sure I'd go as far as you in founding the subsistence of a marriage in the presence or absence of agape. That makes it far too easy for a person to say 'we just don't love each other any more; so I should be entitled to run off with' my secretary, Clarke Gable or whoever. Or 'we have no true relationship' or even 'my wife/husband doesn't understand me'.

If we are going to found our understanding of marriage in words from biblical languages, ISTM, a better word than agape is ḥesed, faithfulness, steadfastness rather than lerve. What brings marriage to an end is usually one or both the partners repudiating ḥesed, committing apostasy on the union. Where, I think, the RCC falls down, is ultimately traced back to its determination not to recognise this, to pretend it has not happened.

I could see the theoretical argument, that since God has ḥesed for us, even though we have rejected him, we should hold a spouse to ḥesed even towards a partner who has repudiated him or her. However, we are not God, and I am not an idealist. Sadly as humans, we are capable of repudiating ḥesed. Imposing an ideal theology on people in this context is punishing the victim. It would be particularly unpersuasive if it were this argument rather than the legal indissoluble one, that the compulsorily celibate were proclaiming, those required to have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Sorry, Enoch, I misspoke. It is the commitment to leave, cleave, become one by means of the practice of agape, the promises made in this respect, which is essential to the bond. Lots of issues here. Because of the confusion over what agape love actually means in the context of commitment , there is danger that way. Folks get into marriage with their eyes wide shut. Even if open, they will get into difficulties. I believe in marriage prep and marriage enrichment support for folks planning to marry, or already married. Mrs B and I have been doing both of those for about a quarter of a century now.

If you really 'get' agape, you don't just 'fall out of agape'. The loss of it in a marriage is a painful, tearing experience. Break up is too clean a word to describe the ripping apart effects.

But I'm clear that the exhortation to agape, and the obedient outworking of that, are the central human characteristics of Christian marriage. That's the heart of the covenant God chooses to bless support, and uphold. When that goes, what is left?

I think faithfulness is vital. Personally, I see it as a consequence of agape. If we are faithless, He remains faithful, because He cannot deny himself. And who is this He. He is Love (agape of course).

[ 24. January 2014, 12:54: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Let's see. "I'm not an engineer but on the face of it, I find it hard to imagine that nuclear power plants could not be made totally safe without breaking the laws of physics." or "I'm not a doctor but on the face of it, I find it hard to imagine that a cure of cancer could not be found based on well-known human physiology." or "I'm not a sportsman but on the face of it, I find it hard to imagine that one cannot run the 100 meters in nine seconds with regular training." Interesting, the world really could be transformed instantly into paradise according to ignorance. Thanks for pointing that out.

Better analogies would be the lay public wondering if adequate scrutiny is being given to nuclear reactors in the aftermath of Fukushima... or the non-doctor wondering about drug regulation after thalidomide... or the non-sportsman wondering about doping in the olympics... all legitimate thoughts for the non-specialist, and the specialist club does sometimes need holding to account.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
If it is, then if anything, the rules should be tightened, the nonsense of psychological annulment should be abandoned, the sinful, fleshly world should be told what's what, and that's it.

I have no idea what you consider as a "psychological annulment", but there is no reason why psychological issues should not be able to invalidate the contraction of marriage, and hence the sacrament.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Could neat, rational, legal theology end up being broken on the wheel of pastoral reality?

Nope. RC theology is about truth. It's a "factual" faith, not a "conceptual" one. If there is a draught, then you could as well ask whether the dry spell could be broken by the wheel of pastoral reality. After all, people are really suffering under the heat, which hence has an obligation to change to nicer weather. But if you talk like that, then people will think that you've been too long out in the sun yourself. The draught just is fact. Facts do not change because one wishes them to be otherwise. One can try to limit the negative impact of the draught, but precisely only by dealing with the facts as they are.

Likewise, if you are sacramentally married (and the marriage has been consummated), then that marriage is indissoluble. Period. And if you have sex outside of marriage, then that is gravely sinful. Period. Neither pope nor pastoral reality can change anything about that.

Incidentally, we are not talking just about some special "RC marriage" here. Every marriage between a baptised man and a baptised woman is a sacrament (unless there is some specific impediment). We can assume that the culpability of people unaware of the nature of sacramental marriage will be reduced accordingly, but to what extent someone like Gildas can claim ignorance before God for his blessing of unacknowledged adultery remains to be seen.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Nevertheless, saying that divorce cannot be, rather than should not be, is denying the evidence of one's eyes.

The RCC does not say that secular divorce does not exist. It even accepts it as licit response to a severe relationship breakdown. What it denies is simply that the contracted marriage bond can be broken by this, or anything else but death. In consequence, having sex with anybody else then becomes sinful.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Pretending that a marriage continues to exist in some ideal, theological world, when one or both of the couple has married someone else or lives with and has children by someone else, is so unreal, so much spiritual self-deception that it cannot be good theology.

Seriously, what on earth are you talking about? You make a specific vow before God. The Church holds you to it. This is really quite independent of anything other than the vow itself, and there's nothing terribly mysterious about that. If there is something that could be questioned, then that the RCC requires a specific vow, before a man and a woman can become sexual partners. But no, you want to keep the vow as it is, but then fudge it if necessary, compromising its very content. That is bullshit. You should marry not "until death does us part" but "until we do not feel like living together any longer". Then your 'yes' would be a 'yes', and your 'no' a 'no'. But now your 'yes' is a 'maybe' and you feel that this speaks of great sophistication. However, you are not really vowing yourself, but merely declaring your intentions. As sincere and heartfelt intentions may be, they cannot replace a vow.

quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
The annulment process is already stretched to the point of corruption in order to deal with what has become the Church's biggest pastoral headache. To keep it on such a legalistic level, as I suspect IngoB would advocate, though I can't speak for him can't be combined with any pastoral considerations.

The biggest pastoral headache of the RCC in the modern West is that it is collapsing in numbers (although typically somewhat slower than other churches). Her second biggest pastoral headache is that it is shot through with Protestant and secular ideologies. Her third biggest pastoral headache is that her fear of accelerating the first issue compromises her ability to deal appropriately with the second issue.

quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
If extra ecclesiam, nulla salus were true, those divorcees who remarry legally and thus render themselves excommunicate are entirely extra ecclesiam. Their adultery puts them in mortal sin, and their inability to receive any absolution, being denied the Sacrament of Reconcilaition renders them automatically consigned to eternal damnation. The honest policy of a Church which really believes that is to banish them until they can truly repent, perhaps on the death of one of their spouses, or if aging renders them beyond a sexual age. To say, as the hierarchy today says, that such people should still be involved in the life of the Church and treated with pastoral sensitivity is absurd. How does a priest behave pastorally to a person with a one way ticket to eternal torment?

Inform yourself in order to avoid spouting nonsense. The remarried are not excommunicated, they are excluded from Holy Communion according to canon 915 due to "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin". Namely, unless they have declared their relationship to be "like brother and sister", they must be assumed to have sexual relations, which are adulterous if at least one of them is still (sacramentally) married to someone else. That is the "manifest grave sin". However, just because a sin is grave, its effect on someone does not have to be mortal. The comment in the Catechism (2352) concerning masturbation also applies here: "To form an equitable judgment about the subjects' moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability." Hence the remarried are not obviously hell-bound. However, they objectively manifest grave sin and are hence excluded from communion.

quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
That if forgiveness, reconciliation and readmittance to the Church is open to murderers and rapists who repent, it should also be so for adulterers who failed to live the perfect lives we are called upon to live.

The Church has never refused forgiveness and reconciliation to a repentant adulterer. The remarried are - usually - unrepentant in their adultery. Most of them will not cease having sexual relations. And the Church, like Christ, requires sincere repentance before providing Divine forgiveness in the name of God.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
But they are not, and therefore what needs to be recognised is the death of the marriage itself. The couple are parted by a death.

I have no respect whatsoever for such sophistry. One does not vow "till death does us part" to marriage, but to one's partner. Consequently, their death and only their death can end marriage. The marriage contract - through the direct intervention of Jesus restoring the original order of nature by imposition of law - involves the exchange of marital rights between the spouses but the promise of exclusivity to God. Certain actions of a spouse may mean that the former can be revoked justly, but not the latter.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Now I do not know what scope there is within Catholic theology for using that kind of understanding, but it seems to me to represent an undeniable reality about marriages as they are, rather than as they should be.

This undeniable reality is fully acknowledged by the RCC already, which allows for the (secular) divorce and complete separation of spouses for just cause. However, you cannot give away what you have no longer. And if you have married sacramentally, then you have given away marital rights exclusively before God. That you can still give away your body does not mean that you can give your marital rights to someone new. Just like sex before marriage is fornication, not the establishment of a marriage bond.

quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
Will you acknowledge that the Church has erred? Will you join one of the old Catholic splinter groups? Will you recognize that perhaps you were previously a little harsh?

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.

quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
As much as some of our Shipmates love Thomist theology, the Church survived its first 1200 years or so without it--more than half its total history. Things changed in the thirteenth century, and they may change again.

Like all Catholic change through the ages, that induced by Thomism is like the change of an acorn into an oak tree, not of a cat into a dog.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
But many, many others, some of whom we know very well, have not been so fortunate, despite in a number of cases the most sacrificial efforts. Whatever doctrinal positions we adopt, we show a good deal less than the agape-love we have learned if we don't cut folks who have been less fortunate some slack.

First, there is no possibility of success without the possibility of failure. In an ideal world nobody fails, but this is not an ideal world. Some, indeed many, people will fail at marriage. So what, precisely? So they failed. That does not change what is allowed by moral and Divine law. If you fail to convince a member of the opposite sex to marry you, then you cannot licitly have sex and (biological) children. What slack are we supposed to cut there then? And if you say that premarital sex and fathering illegitimate children is OK, if it helps out people in their sexual desires, then where do you exactly stop? For any moral or Divine law you can find some person who will fail it, and you can always try to excuse laxity by their plight. Maybe my neighbour was really, really annoying, intolerable, hence it is understandable that I murdered him. A loving estimation of my failures would say that I shouldn't have, but oh well, such things happen. Yeah? No, that's not right. Why then the sudden hesitation about murder? Because you think that murder is really important. Whereas wrongful sex, not so much. That's what really underlies this easy shifting of moral boundaries. So the real question is - just how hung up is God about sex? I think God is really hung up about sex. No, not the bible writers or bronze age communities, which usually get blamed. God. He is really serious about the importance of sex. To the point that Jesus openly contradicts Moses over this, a singular event in scripture. So we do not get to move around the boundaries as we see fit.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
What I'm asking is this. Where is the agape-love of the Catholic Church in response to these realities? You can't just hold up a doctrine of an indissoluble marriage bond and say, sorry that's the best we can do? Surely not? I'm sure you must do more than that.

Of course. For just cause, you are allowed to have a secular divorce and separate entirely from your spouse. That is a massive pastoral accommodation, since it basically negates the mutual exchange of marital rights that is the point of marriage. You can even live together with another partner "like brother and sister". None of this would impede your ability to participate in Catholic life, including communion. What you do not get to do is to have sex outside of your marriage. Nobody is allowed to have sex outside of marriage, and everybody can and should be denied communion if it becomes manifest that they have gravely sinned this way.

A much, much better question would be why the remarried are denied communion, while your run-of-the-mill fornicating unmarried Catholic couple gets to have communion without problems. The excuse that in the case of the remarried there is paperwork that "proves" the misdeed is really quite thin. In the same way the absence of paperwork "proves" the fornication of many Catholic couples. If the synod did something about this obvious injustice and unfairness, I would be delighted. Either point out to unmarried couples that they should explain when and how they will get married, in a time frame where one can reasonably expect sexual continence for people romantically engaged, if they wish to continue taking communion. Or extend to the remarried the same "charitable" but mostly unrealistic assumption that they would not dare presenting themselves for communion unless they are abstaining from sex.

quote:
Originally posted by *Leon*:
Non-Catholics are wondering exactly why the catholic church teaches that ending a marriage is logically impossible (rather than just something really bad that it disapproves of), and whether they could downgrade it from impossible to very sinful.

Ending a (consummated, sacramental) marriage is logically possible, but humanly impossible. Christ made it so, hence it remains so, until He changes this again (as He will at the Second Coming). A Divine decision simply cannot be reversed by humans. Your question is basically as absurd as asking why the RCC does not declare gravity null and void. It has no such power, only God has.

quote:
Originally posted by *Leon*:
As a related question, how come it is possible to defrock a priest (which presumably involves reverting the immutable change that happened at the sacrament of ordination), but not possible to end a marriage?

Defrocking a priest does not involve reverting the immutable change of the priestly seal. It involves withdrawing the legitimacy provided by the Church for actions made possible by the priestly state. So this is in analogy to (secular) divorce and the separation of the spouses. If a married couple is so separated, then one side forcing sex on the other would be rape, not a legitimate marital union. Likewise, a defrocked priest still has the power to for example consecrate the host. But this would be a "rape" of this holy rite (unless executed out of charity, e.g. to provide communion to the dying).

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
But Gildas is talking of a general, across the board jurisprudence that doesn't operate consistently from one diocese to another or between important people and the rest of us, and which is founded on theoretical principles that large numbers of people don't respect.

And if he brings forward something resembling serious evidence for his allegations (the first part), then I will withdraw my comment that his rhetorics is unfair. The second part (disagreement on principles) is a separate matter.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
There is pain in the heart of God when things are not as they were "from the beginning" as Jesus said.

Indeed. And Jesus is very clear that this pain in the heart of God will not be find an excuse in the hardness of the human heart for His followers any longer. You are trying to get back from Christ to Moses, that's all you are doing here. I'm sure that the Jews were very familiar with Genesis and could have written similar essays about ideals and practicalities. Yet their understanding got corrected in the harshest terms, by God.

quote:
Originally posted by Gildas:
What, really, there are no failures of natural justice whatsoever in the way that annulments in the Catholic Church are handled? Who knew? I suppose everything in the safeguarding department is tickety-fucking-boo as well.

I read your third paragraph as referencing the first and the second paragraph, not just the second. I should have paid closer attention to the qualifier "leaving the substantive teaching of the Church intact". Sorry for that, though since it gave you the opportunity to deliver another cheap shot now, I think we are about even.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
On the death of the marriage, IngoB, you misunderstand me. I am not saying this undoes the marriage vows, that would indeed be sophistry. The marriage has died because the couple have been unable to keep their marriage vows. And so the binding love has disappeared. The covenant has failed.

I didn't think I was arguing back to Moses, as though marriage was a contract. My understanding from the NT is that the Mosaic Law allowed men to divorce women, but not vice versa. It came from a "women as property" outlook which was wrong in itself. It is the hardness of heart of men that Jesus argues against. Ephesians 5 exhorts mutual submission out of reverence for Christ. Either partner can fail in that exhortation. Or both can. What does that do? It kills the marriage, eventually. The marriage becomes a sham, a lie.

The indissoluble position, rightly, argues, this is not what was intended from the beginning. I agree. You can even argue that there is always hardness if heart in the breaking of the covenant promises. I agree that too. I've seen far too much hardness of heart in these situations to ever deny it. I simply deny the reality of the argument that the change is ontological. The one-flesh state is something which is built in a marriage, day by day, not sacramentally imparted on a particular day. It is built by the partners through thick and thin, with the help of God. Or it is not. We are going to have to disagree there. It is one of the reasons why I am not a Catholic.*

But I accept that Catholicism proclaims differently to that. And I did indeed welcome a good deal of what you had to say about mercy. I think you are also right about participation in the Mass. There is something not fair going on there.

What I had in mind was something else. What resources are available to help couples with marriage preparation and with marital difficulties. The Catholic position is very demanding of human beings, particularly given the different attitudes outside. Marriage is under enormous pressure in our culture anyway. What does the practical, pastoral, support look like? How great a priority does it have?

* Late edit. Am I correct in believing that the position over the marriage bond is related to the overarching position that all the sacraments, properly administered, are efficacious. Even when there is human failing? While this makes very great logical sense, it does seem to produce some pretty arcane arguments in its defence. What is Real is used to deny what is real?

[ 24. January 2014, 20:15: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Jade Constable (# 17175) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by Barefoot Friar:
Forgive my ignorance, but I was under the distinct impression that Jesus said that divorce on the grounds of adultery was permissible.

If this is a reference to porneia, that's an old chestnut indeed - but there has never been anything like a consensus that it is equivalent to adultery.
But Jesus does still say that adultery is permissable. I don't understand the desire to be holier than Jesus.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
But Jesus does still say that adultery is permissable.

Um. Where, precisely?
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Seconded, provided it doesn't become a major tangent. I disagree with Catholicism on some major issues of faith, but rather doubt I'll disagree with Chesterbelloc on this one.
 
Posted by Organ Builder (# 12478) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Speaking personally and frankly, as someone who believes that the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage is infallible, if that teaching were formally reversed I would cease to be a Catholic altogether. But, as it happens, I believe this eventuality is quite literally impossible - because Christ has promised otherwise.

However, it would take considerably more than a Synod recommending that remarried divorcees without annulments should on occasion be able to receive Holy Communion to establish any such reversal of teaching.

I agree that permission for some remarried divorcees without annulments to receive communion need not be seen as a reversal on the Church's teaching of the indissolubility of marriage. To be honest, I can't imagine that the practical effect of the Synod would go any farther than that if it goes that far.

I find the idea that you would leave the Catholic Church if it formally reversed a teaching you consider infallible rather stunning, however. I will never be a Catholic, and I do not believe the claims your Church makes for itself. It seems to me, though, that if I were Catholic part of the "package" is believing the claims the Church makes for itself as an institution. If it came to the point where such a teaching was formally reversed, I'd be more inclined (like the institution itself) to believe I was previously mistaken--not that I, in my wisdom, was somehow superior to the process that led the Church to that point.
 
Posted by venbede (# 16669) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by *Leon*:
Non-Catholics are wondering exactly why the catholic church teaches that ending a marriage is logically impossible (rather than just something really bad that it disapproves of), and whether they could downgrade it from impossible to very sinful.


Well this gay Anglican would say that's because that's what Jesus said. He didn't say divorce was sinful. He said it was impossible. You remained married even if you thought you'd divorced.

Jesus never said anyone needed to get married and no married couples are among his followers in the gospels.

The Christian ideal is living in committed same sex communities, ie monasteries.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
Suppose I were to swear before God that I will kill IngoB if he does that annoying thing one more time... And then he does.

Then of course I have sinned - past tense - and should repent of my vow.

I should not be outcast from the community because every day I sin present tense by not honouring the vow I now regret.

No-one argues that my vow is ontologically indestructible.

We're human, we make mistakes, we need a way to say sorry and move on.

And where there's a will there's a way.

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Likewise, if you are sacramentally married (and the marriage has been consummated), then that marriage is indissoluble. Period. And if you have sex outside of marriage, then that is gravely sinful. Period. Neither pope nor pastoral reality can change anything about that.

A question for Catholics (because I don't know enough divorced Catholics well enough to have any idea what the answer is):

Given that this statement by IngoB succinctly describes a very clear and very well known Catholic teaching, does it in fact match up to what ordinary Catholics think they are doing when they marry? Because it seems to me that if they knew from the outset what they were signing up for, and how the Church would respond if they divorced and re-married, the very real sense of being aggrieved by exclusion from communion is a little misplaced. Having willingly chosen to play by those rules, it seems to me that though they might still be hurt by them, it's not really reasonable to feel offended by them. Just as, if my wife ever divorces me, I've no doubt it will hurt like hell, but I hope I won't be blaming the rules of the CofE or the laws of England for consequences which I willingly chose to risk.

Is it that Catholics who disagree that marriage is indissoluble enter into it unwillingly, and under pressure, because no other sort of sexual/romantic relationship is socially acceptable? Or that they don't agree with the 'indissoluble' bit in abstract theory, but willingly sign up for it in the belief that as a matter of practice it won't be an issue for them because they won't split up? Or something else?

Whatever it is, is it possible that the heart of the pastoral problem is that a very large number of Catholics don't agree with their Church, and don't intend to commit to what the Church insists they are committing to when they marry?
 
Posted by Jade Constable (# 17175) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
quote:
Originally posted by *Leon*:
Non-Catholics are wondering exactly why the catholic church teaches that ending a marriage is logically impossible (rather than just something really bad that it disapproves of), and whether they could downgrade it from impossible to very sinful.


Well this gay Anglican would say that's because that's what Jesus said. He didn't say divorce was sinful. He said it was impossible. You remained married even if you thought you'd divorced.

Jesus never said anyone needed to get married and no married couples are among his followers in the gospels.

The Christian ideal is living in committed same sex communities, ie monasteries.

Given that Peter had a mother in law, he was married at some point. Sure, Jesus never said anyone needed to get married but he never says anyone has to stay single to be one of His followers. The Epistles are full of married couples being part of the church. I think to say that the Christian ideal is the monastic life is a)not defensible from the Gospels or anywhere else in the NT and b) just really unhelpful for any married Christian. They are not lesser Christians.

Why on Earth would being married by harmful for the Christian life?
 
Posted by Jade Constable (# 17175) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
But Jesus does still say that adultery is permissable.

Um. Where, precisely?
Matthew 19

Even if porneia is not adultery, it is still a reason for divorce according to Jesus.
 
Posted by Organ Builder (# 12478) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
But Jesus does still say that adultery is permissable [as a reason for divorce].

Jade, the bit in brackets is my addition. I suspect it is what you meant to say. Without it, though, the meaning is very different.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Russ

Ah, but God did not bless your first vow, Russ, and give you the means to keep it.

In general, of course, I agree with you. I know two very good women who discovered on their wedding nights that each had made the very worst mistake of their lives in their choices of husbands. They had been deceived, big time, about the true nature of the men they married.

They both spent years trying to make the best of a bad job and then both were abandoned by their husbands in favour of a newer model. One remarried eventually, the other never did. Did they regret their marriage vows? Every single day, for years. Did they work at making them work. Every single day, for years. Did that preserve the marriage bond? No, it did not.

These and many other cases are the kinds of realities which help inform my understanding about indissolubility.

[ 24. January 2014, 20:41: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Eliab

I think it's more that people find out more about what they've got into 'after the event'. There is a lot of optimism. The rosy coloured specs of falling in love tend to make folks doubt the reality for them of some of the 'for worse' stuff. There is often a kind of fuzzy haze in the air, certainly in our romanticised culture.
 
Posted by Jade Constable (# 17175) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
But Jesus does still say that adultery is permissable [as a reason for divorce].

Jade, the bit in brackets is my addition. I suspect it is what you meant to say. Without it, though, the meaning is very different.
Eep - I meant to write that divorce is permissable [Hot and Hormonal]

Thanks for the correction!
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
As a single person I do get the impression that maintaining a Christian marriage must be very difficult in such a highly romanticised culture, where expectations are so high, along with the likelihood of disillusionment.

Considering the divorce stats, priests must be well aware that a good proportion of the couples they marry are likely to be facing this problem in the future. So maybe the RCC needs to be investing far more heavily in marriage preparation. But that requires resources and trained advisors, and which church has enough of those? Alternatively, the church could simply marry fewer couples, driving many to get married elsewhere. This would be very controversial of course. But the RCC turns a blind eye to a lot of things (e.g. the use of contraception), so why not to non-catholic weddings? It's a question of weighing up which is the greater sin....
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Given that this statement by IngoB succinctly describes a very clear and very well known Catholic teaching, does it in fact match up to what ordinary Catholics think they are doing when they marry? Because it seems to me that if they knew from the outset what they were signing up for, and how the Church would respond if they divorced and re-married, the very real sense of being aggrieved by exclusion from communion is a little misplaced. Having willingly chosen to play by those rules, it seems to me that though they might still be hurt by them, it's not really reasonable to feel offended by them. Just as, if my wife ever divorces me, I've no doubt it will hurt like hell, but I hope I won't be blaming the rules of the CofE or the laws of England for consequences which I willingly chose to risk.

FWIW, when I was trying to get married in the RCC (in Melbourne, Australia), I had to read and sign something much like this pre-nuptial enquiry form apparently used in the UK, and so did my future wife (well, my future wife concerning the RCC, we were already married civilly). This was in the context of a lengthy chat about marriage with the parish priest which involved both of us, both together as a couple and individually in a one to one with the priest. The key formal bit we signed up for (taken from the above document) was roughly as follows:
quote:
These questions are to be answered after the Church's teaching on marriage has been fully explained. Bride and Groom to be interviewed separately
I DECLARE BEFORE GOD THAT AFTER THINKING CAREFULLY ABOUT THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE, I HAVE ANSWERED ALL THE QUESTIONS ABOVE HONESTLY AND SINCERELY
(All caps shouting is in the document, sorry...) That seemed rather clear to me, at the time, and the priest did explicitly talk to me about these things.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Is it that Catholics who disagree that marriage is indissoluble enter into it unwillingly, and under pressure, because no other sort of sexual/romantic relationship is socially acceptable?

That would be rather uncommon in most Western countries these days, even among Catholics.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Or that they don't agree with the 'indissoluble' bit in abstract theory, but willingly sign up for it in the belief that as a matter of practice it won't be an issue for them because they won't split up? Or something else?

I think most would simply see it as more random noise from the Church that they ignore, while maintaining their "Catholic identity" in a social sense by bothering with a Church wedding at all. The actual problem here is that a key "social marker" of this same identity is still the participation in communion. Of course, only when one feels like it, so perhaps at Christmas and Easter and on the anniversary of Aunt Mary. But then walking up to get the host after surviving the boring sermon is sort of "the point". That the Church not only denies a celebration of the remarriage, but then even communion is like a double strike against the Catholic identity of those who would see themselves as still being rather engaged with the Church. After all, they still want these things, they still want a Catholic wedding and will brave the boredom of Sunday mass for the communion, so how come the Church is so anal and stupid as to withhold them?

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Whatever it is, is it possible that the heart of the pastoral problem is that a very large number of Catholics don't agree with their Church, and don't intend to commit to what the Church insists they are committing to when they marry?

In a way. I don't think that this typically comes in the form of some conscious and fiery rebellion though. I think a lot of Catholics are genuinely surprised that the Church puts up a fight about something, after they have essentially never been challenged by her before about anything before. "Don't ask, don't tell" has been a RC thing long before the US military adopted it, and one can sail through a "Catholic" life quite untouched by doctrine and discipline.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
My local congo has three couples (we're one of those) who get recommended routinely to young couples associated with the church who are considering marriage. We've also done marriage prep for a number of couples we got to know during a quarter of a century in youth ministries in a wider context. Typically, we'll see the couples for six or seven evenings over a two month period. We use material intended to provide a better understanding of what marriage is really like and provide loads of space for the couple to discuss things on their own.

I suppose we've seen a score of couples through this process over the years. We' remain friends with all of them. I know it sounds labour intensive, but it seems to have been helpful. By the way, our entire approach is to teach the seriousness of marriage as a lifelong commitment in accordance with the Christian ideal of the indissolubility of marriage. The aim is to provide them with practical help in keeping their vows.

So far, none of the couples we've done this with have divorced. That isn't down to us. It is down to them, helped by God as we are sure they have been.

That seems to me to be facing certain realities in advance of marriage. It hasn't happened to us yet, but we reckon that a good marriage course may cause some couples to re-evaluate, realise that the planned marriage may not be such a smart idea. I think that would be a good result.

Not saying this is the only way or even the best way. But it's a thorough and well-intentioned way.

[ 24. January 2014, 21:43: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Suppose I were to swear before God that I will kill IngoB if he does that annoying thing one more time...

I sincerely hope that Jesus never made this kind of vow a sacrament, because then you might have a point. Well, also it would not go well for me.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Then of course I have sinned - past tense - and should repent of my vow.

You should repent because you have vowed something sinful. Marriage is not something sinful, but holy.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
We're human, we make mistakes, we need a way to say sorry and move on.

As humans, we can vow our lives. That this could cost us, that it could go wrong, that it might be a mistake considered in hindsight - that is basically the point of such a vow. If one was perfectly certain that one can stay faithful to a spouse till death, then there would be no need to vow that. It would just be the case. With a vow, one precisely sets one's face against fate, one tells the unknown future that at least one thing about it is known, namely what one is going to do. It is putting down a rock on which to build, no matter what may come. Obviously that's risky. But intentionally so.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
But Jesus does still say that adultery is permissable.

Um. Where, precisely?
Matthew 19

Even if porneia is not adultery, it is still a reason for divorce according to Jesus.

I hope you won't mind my pointing out that that's very different from your original claim - that Jesus permits adultery as a reason for dispensing with a marriage.

Note that the apostles are aghast at the extreme demandingness of what Jesus is laying down about marriage in this passage. In the absence of a general consensus on what Jesus meant by porneia it would be difficult to build a case that things other than those which the Cathloic Church already accepts as grounds for the nullity of the sacrament of matrimony are indicated by this word.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
As humans, we can vow our lives. That this could cost us, that it could go wrong, that it might be a mistake considered in hindsight - that is basically the point of such a vow. If one was perfectly certain that one can stay faithful to a spouse till death, then there would be no need to vow that. It would just be the case. With a vow, one precisely sets one's face against fate, one tells the unknown future that at least one thing about it is known, namely what one is going to do. It is putting down a rock on which to build, no matter what may come. Obviously that's risky. But intentionally so.

Given the unbreakable nature of the bond within Catholicism, and the costs of breaking the vow, does not that argue for a well-informed vow? A bit like Jesus says about building a tower. First sit down and count the cost? Otherwise the tower doesn't get completed.

A good marriage is something we build, and needs good foundations.

Let me make it clear. Of course folks should be informed clearly about the nature of the vow. But how about the context within which it is to be lived out? There will always be risk and there will always be unknown. There seems to be something to be said for preparing the minds as well as trusting the hearts.

Particularly given the romanticisation of "true love" which is all around, I'm sure there's value in the church trying to provide an antidote to that to help young couples out. However labour intensive it may appear.

IngoB, I'm glad you provided the information about your own preparation and that sounded pretty good to me. I was a bit bothered by the closed nature of most of the questions; it was obvious what the "right" answers were. But if you were prepared thoroughly and well in advance of the declaration by the discussions with the priest, that seems a lot more than many folks get elsewhere.

I guess our "twenty out of twenty" experience with couples doesn't tell you a lot. There was self selection going on; folks with some awareness already that this is a serious commitment are off to a good start. Many couples feel that "love conquers all" and they don't need that sort of work. More important to plan the ceremony, the hen and stag nights, the reception, the honeymoon. Have a day to remember.

It seems mad to me. All that effort for a day, and not always a lot of thought to the lifetime which follows. But as my wife reminds me, we were like that. These days we try to do better for others.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
I hope you won't mind my pointing out that that's very different from your original claim - that Jesus permits adultery as a reason for dispensing with a marriage.

Thought we would agree.
quote:

Note that the apostles are aghast at the extreme demandingness of what Jesus is laying down about marriage in this passage. In the absence of a general consensus on what Jesus meant by porneia it would be difficult to build a case that things other than those which the Cathloic Church already accepts as grounds for the nullity of the sacrament of matrimony are indicated by this word.

That's more of a stretch! Catholicism does build a consistent case for its own interpretation, and as I surmised, the Catholic view also (and very importantly) seems to be entirely in keeping with your general understanding of the efficacy of sacraments. But there's more to be said.

Like most nonconformists, my understanding of the sacraments is different. Baptism and Eucharist (Communion) are common ground. There is argument amongst protestants about others. I'm definitely "low" in those arguments. And in any case, there is "Hooker's Trick" (Richard Hooker) to consider.

quote:
However, their "efficacy resteth obscure to our understanding, except we search somewhat more distinctly what grace in particular that is whereunto they are referred and what manner of operation they have towards it". They thus serve to convey sanctification on the individual participating in the sacramental action, but Hooker expressly warns that that "all receive not the grace of God which receive the sacraments of his grace".
The corollary is also true within Protestantism. The Grace of God is not confined to the sacraments, however God may work through them. Actually, I think that is orthodox within Catholicism as well, but qualified by "better be safe than sorry!".

Let me say that I do not expect the Catholic Church to change its position on Sacraments or Indissolubility. I do not see any way in which it can do that without tearing irreparable holes in Holy Tradition. So that ain't going to happen.

Which leaves me with mercy. Which includes wise, practical help and support. In preparation for marriage, in support for marriages in difficulties, in pastoral understanding of those who have suffered the failure of a marriage, and in the administration of the Mass. I am hoping a greater mercy can be found in all of those areas. It would be worth the deal in bridging the gap between the Real and the real.

That's my prayer, anyway for this Extraordinary Synod. I wish it well.

[ 24. January 2014, 23:10: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Jade Constable (# 17175) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
But Jesus does still say that adultery is permissable.

Um. Where, precisely?
Matthew 19

Even if porneia is not adultery, it is still a reason for divorce according to Jesus.

I hope you won't mind my pointing out that that's very different from your original claim - that Jesus permits adultery as a reason for dispensing with a marriage.

Note that the apostles are aghast at the extreme demandingness of what Jesus is laying down about marriage in this passage. In the absence of a general consensus on what Jesus meant by porneia it would be difficult to build a case that things other than those which the Cathloic Church already accepts as grounds for the nullity of the sacrament of matrimony are indicated by this word.

It's not *that* different. There is still a permissable reason for divorce. That's still contradicting RC doctrine.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Jade

Nullity (Chesterbelloc's carefully chosen term) may be a more vexed issue than divorce.

Here are a couple of links. They indicate some of the tensions within Catholicism over nullity, and some historical and global patterns.

Annulment Nation

Look at the pattern of annulments in the US compared with the rest of the world, and also the use of defective consent.

The rest of the article is very interesting as well in its observations on the attitudes of American Catholics to both divorce and nullity.

Also, here's a link to understanding defective consent - it's a bit long in the tooth but I think it is still OK.

Understanding annulments.

In particular, look at Defective Consent as a subheading (2) under "What are the usual grounds for annulment".

Although there has been a sharp decline in annulments since their peak in the early 1990s, the numbers remain much higher in the US than elsewhere, and the effective use of defective consent is much, much higher in the US than elsewhere. Defective consent can, amongst other causes, involve the concealing and continuing of an extramarital relationship. Here's the quote

quote:
For example, take the case of a woman who promised to enter into an exclusive union, but kept a lover before, during and after the marriage. If you can prove it, the judges will annul the marriage because she never intended an exclusive union. This is more than weakness or infidelity; it is fraud.

To avoid collusion between a husband and a wife in presenting a made-up story just to get a Church annulment, we have a defender of the bond to uphold the validity of the marriage against all challenges. This officer of the court argues against the granting of an annulment unless it is an obviously deserving case.

[Late edit. If a hypothetical "Charles and Diana" had been married as Catholics, that would have given the hypothetical "Diana" the possibility of annulment? I'm pretty comfortable with that.]

My feeling is that the Extraordinary Synod may have more to say on the general issue of annulment as well, but it is not likely to be in favour of "opening the front door wider". That looks like a pragmatism too far, indeed, it may very well have gone too far a few decades earlier. Money and lawyers at work? Looks like that might have been a factor.

[ 25. January 2014, 07:52: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Note that the apostles are aghast at the extreme demandingness of what Jesus is laying down about marriage in this passage. In the absence of a general consensus on what Jesus meant by porneia it would be difficult to build a case that things other than those which the Cathloic Church already accepts as grounds for the nullity of the sacrament of matrimony are indicated by this word.

I think you're seeing things with C21 eyes, there. These days, infidelity is a pretty routine part of the whole 'splitting up' process. People who are unhappy with their partners look to affairs for consolation and emotional support, and justify adultery to themselves by the fact of a poor relationship, or sex life, with their spouse. They frequently use affairs to test the water before jumping, or, from the other side, the discovery of an affair is often the immediate cause of a break up. And there's not much difference these days between male and female standards of behaviour.

I don't know to what extent that was true in Jesus' day, but I wouldn't assume that it was. If not, the "except for adultery" clause would have been much more shocking to them than to us. Jesus is talking to men, and men had a monopoly on divorce. Sure, there was a debate about when exactly a man was justified in divorcing, but that men could and did initiate divorce and women did not, was not in dispute. For Jesus to say that notwithstanding this exercise of male prerogative, in God's eyes the marriage persisted unless his wife had committed adultery would likely have been disturbing. And the more unacceptable adultery was in that day (and I think it pretty certain it was much less acceptable to them than it is to us), the more disturbing it would be, since it would turn divorce from a husband's privilege to something available only in uncertain, rare, and shameful circumstances.

"Except for adultery" doesn't shock me much, or limit my options for divorce, since if my wife and I ever do split up, it's odds on that one of us will have been playing away at some point in the process. I don't think it's at all safe to conclude that "except for adultery" would have seemed similarly unremarkable to the disciples.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Yes, Eliab. There's speculation involved either way, but you touch on the centrality of Jesus talking to men about their responsibilities before God for their wives. What was the real issue. Men's privilege, indissolubility, adultery, a bit of all three? And what was the prevailing culture? Fair bit of unpicking involved in all of that.

I'm convinced Jesus points to indissolubility as the "from the beginning" ideal standard. The rest seems a bit more fuzzy to me. What Holy Tradition teaches seems entirely possible. Just not the only way of looking honestly at the text.

Jesus as teacher seems excellent to me when he points to both the ideal standards and their compassionate application. Justice and mercy kiss. I've always liked Reinhold Niebuhr's observation of the Sermon on the Mount as "impossible possibilities".

[ 25. January 2014, 08:29: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
"Except for adultery" doesn't shock me much, or limit my options for divorce, since if my wife and I ever do split up, it's odds on that one of us will have been playing away at some point in the process. I don't think it's at all safe to conclude that "except for adultery" would have seemed similarly unremarkable to the disciples.

But, Eliab, isn't this just begging the question? You are just assuming that Jesus's porneia exception permits a duly solemnised marriage to be dispensed with if one of the parties commits adultery. But that's the very issue in question. There's a reason why most translations of the NT don't just render the word "adultery".

As Barnabas pointed out in his response to Jade (thanks, Barnabas!), that's not how the Catholic Church interprets the Lord's words here.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Chesterbelloc

The relationship between annulment and divorce seems to have been very little explored outside Catholicism. At least, I haven't seen too much of that.

I'm currently thinking there might be a different Purgatory topic there, because I'm inclined to the view that it touches on much wider questions than the work of the upcoming Extraordinary Synod.

Greatly daring, I once said at a marriage service (one in which we'd done the marriage prep for the couple involved and knew their sincerity) that when folks come forward to make their solemn promises but have mentally "crossed their fingers" about what they are saying, I really don't know what's going on. Of course I was only able to say that because I was publicly affirming the sincerity of the couple.

But when that "crossing of the fingers" happens, it's different to having reservations about whether you'll be able to keep these solemn and binding promises. Everyone has those concerns. What I'm thinking about is much more "weasely".

I don't think such "weasely" thinking is concerned with the efficacy of the service, whether seen as a sacrament or not. In Catholic (also in Protestant) terms, the sincerity of the properly approved celebrant is not an issue.

But I'm sure the sincerity of the partners is an issue. God looks on the heart, particularly at that moment. That also has some impact on the way I look at divorce. But then we understand our differences on that.

There's a topic in there somewhere; thinking about it. Be grateful for your views here.

[ 25. January 2014, 11:31: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I don't know to what extent that was true in Jesus' day, but I wouldn't assume that it was. If not, the "except for adultery" clause would have been much more shocking to them than to us. Jesus is talking to men, and men had a monopoly on divorce. Sure, there was a debate about when exactly a man was justified in divorcing, but that men could and did initiate divorce and women did not, was not in dispute. For Jesus to say that notwithstanding this exercise of male prerogative, in God's eyes the marriage persisted unless his wife had committed adultery would likely have been disturbing. And the more unacceptable adultery was in that day (and I think it pretty certain it was much less acceptable to them than it is to us), the more disturbing it would be, since it would turn divorce from a husband's privilege to something available only in uncertain, rare, and shameful circumstances.

<To clarify terms in advance - when I talk of "divorce" below, I'm speaking of something that renders the divorced free to marry again. I'm not talking about a separation of the spouses that ends their married life together but does not allow them to marry again. It is not under debate that scripture allows the latter, as does the RCC.>

The position you attribute to Jesus here would not have been shocking to the disciples at all, as you should know. Because it would simply have been the position of the school of Shammai, one of the two major schools of Pharisees (the other being Hillel) at the time. Shammai precisely interpreted Dt 21:1 to mean "divorce for sexual wrongdoing only", in contrast to Hillel who allowed it for pretty much anything. This is the reason why the Pharisees ask Jesus "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" in Matthew 19:3, they want to see whether he sides with Shammai or Hillel. Jesus was not not aligning with Shammai. He was even less, namely totally unaccommodating - as explicitly reaffirmed by St Paul (1 Cor 7:10-11) - and that shocked the disciples into saying that one should then not marry, a rather straightforward (if worldly) reaction.

The reaction of the disciples plus the historical context (Shammai vs. Hillel) make the common Protestant interpretation that Jesus was allowing divorce for adultery there quite impossible. Other interpretations are of course possible, which stand in harmony with all the rest of scripture. However, what I find most striking about Protestant practice is that they did not even stick to this - false - interpretation of scripture. De facto, Protestant Christianity has devolved exactly to the Pharisaic position of Hillel. Divorce is now possible for basically anything. The only "improvement" as compared to Christ's time is that the sexes have now become equal. Both husband and wife can now divorce over any reason sufficiently vexing, basically. The remaining "ado" connected to divorce is about dividing up possessions and kids, not about what actions could even make divorce possible. Where is this supposed scriptural alternative to Roman Catholicism then? What Protestant denomination really holds its faithful to "divorce only over adultery" in some specific sense? Why can a Protestant remarry who has divorced over say physical abuse? Is that porneia? What about the partner becoming a harmless but useless drunk, and divorcing him or her for not pulling their weight. Porneia? What about divorcing over "having grown apart" or "not loving each other any longer", when there was no sex outside of marriage going on yet? Is that porneia? Etc.

The discussion is not over once we have analysed the porneia clause. We have to work this into a coherent practice. Whether one considers the RC interpretation to be right or wrong, it has been coherently put into practice. The RC rules are comprehensive but entirely consistent with what the RCC thinks scripture is saying. Where is a similar coherence to be found in modern Protestantism? I really would like to see explained how one gets from scripture to the laissez faire one sees in most Protestant denominations. Where indeed is something like "withholding communion" among Protestants for their faithful, when they break what is the supposedly correct interpretation of the Lord's words?

Well, perhaps some conservative Protestants underrepresented on SoF do impose consistent constraints on remarriage, and actually do something about maintaining their standards. I probably wouldn't know. Good (or at least, less bad) on them. But there are plenty of people here whose position I just don't get. Given that Jesus at most offers one little loophole in one verse, against a backdrop of otherwise clear rejection of divorce in scripture, where is the corresponding restrictive practice?
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
Thanks again, Barnabas.

For Catholics, the sincerity of the coulple - the ministers of the sacrament of matrimony - certainly is an issue. It can certainly be grounds for having a marriage declared null if, as IngoB pointed out above, there was no real intention of even trying to keep a lifelong, exclusive union from the beginning. That would indeed be "weasely". So I think we're pretty intuitively close here.

And as IngoB has also just said, we're really talking about nullity, not divorce. Catholics are allowed by the Church to divorce and live entrirely separately under certain circumsatnces. But unless their marriage has been decreed null they are not free to remarry. If that seems harsh, it's because we think the Lord was pretty firm on this - and that he meant it. It would hardly be nicer of us to pretend otherwise.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Thanks to both of you for your thoughts. IngoB is probably right in believing that more conservative evangelical Protestants would have clearer lines on remarriage and might even be tougher than Catholicism over divorce.

Our own experiences (Mrs B and me) do colour my understanding. For years we supported a safe house of refuge for abused wives and in the last fifteen we've had three literal marriage refugees (1 man, 2 women) live with us for extended periods while trying to recover from the messes of their abusive marriages. There is nothing coherent about marriage breakdown and mostly there is huge pain and confusion.

I've tried to integrate those experiences (and those gained through the delightful processes of helping folks to prepare for marriage) into my understanding of what is good and right, and there are a lot of loose ends. But I am pretty convinced that a non-sacramental view of marriage and the marriage bond has a different effect on the way I look at the whole of scripture and tradition. I'm sure my views come across as pretty incoherent, but I've been trying to practise loving kindness with folks I know, rather than bother too much about the coherence of my theological ideas.

But that's just me, I guess. Soft heart and hard head are often in competition.

[ 25. January 2014, 15:54: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
I think the desire to make the Gospel a series of logically consistent, hard and fast rules is barking up the wrong tree. Yes, the ideal for marriage is a lifelong relationship, but I struggle with any concept of a loving God who says that a person who marries and then is abandoned or abused by their spouse should be required to be chaste for the rest of their earthly life. It seems... excessively cruel.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
I agree with IngoB that there's a Protestant muddle when it comes to marriage.

One thing I find problematic is that although we invoke God at the start of a marriage (if we have a religious service), we don't invoke him at the end of a marriage - or if we do, it's in an entirely private way that no one else knows about. Divorce is basically a secular entity, yet somehow in Protestant minds it creates the right theological context for a new religious marriage to occur.

Some years ago I read that the United Methodist Church in the USA had created divorce ceremonies. It sounds bizarre, but in the circumstances, it does create a consistency that otherwise we just don't have.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
IngoB is asking, I think, what are the roots in Christian belief which lead many Protestants to believe that remarriage is possible for Christians? It is a very good question.

The death of the Eph 5 model can certainly be seen to happen when agape love dies in the relationship. And as a matter of justice, continuation of the marriage when that lack of love is accompanied by abuse is clearly a pastoral nonsense. But it seems to fly in the face of Matt 19v6, as does accommodating secular divorce.

What was Jesus really saying? That because God has given marriage as a lifelong union, that gift cannot be discarded in any particular case, even if the real marriage is a nightmarish blasphemy of the original gift?

Can I say that that does not sound like Jesus, who is characterised in the gospels by his identification with the oppressed, and his opposition to heartless application of religious laws? Nor does it sound like the one who began the discourse by talking to men about their selfish disregard and hardness of heart when they cast away their wives. He is exhorting them to behave in accordance with the God-ordained original requirement, not the Moses compromise. What if they do not?

I do not find a clear answer to that question in scripture. Nor do I think this argument is sophistry. There is a puzzle there.

Probably proper to Kerygmania, but may be pertinent to the wider discussions in this thread as well.

That's as far as I've got so far.

[ 25. January 2014, 18:08: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
But, Eliab, isn't this just begging the question? You are just assuming that Jesus's porneia exception permits a duly solemnised marriage to be dispensed with if one of the parties commits adultery. But that's the very issue in question. There's a reason why most translations of the NT don't just render the word "adultery".

I'm not begging the question - I'm responding to your specific argument that Jesus couldn't have meant "adultery" because that's not shocking. No, it isn't, if adultery had a similar role in their society as it does in mine – all it would mean would be “one of you should get your next relationship lined up first”. And obviously Jesus didn't mean that.

I'm saying that IF Jesus meant "except for adultery" in a different social context it could still be shocking if that took the power to divorce out of the hands of those who thought they had it.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
The position you attribute to Jesus here would not have been shocking to the disciples at all, as you should know. Because it would simply have been the position of the school of Shammai, one of the two major schools of Pharisees (the other being Hillel) at the time. Shammai precisely interpreted Dt 21:1 to mean "divorce for sexual wrongdoing only", in contrast to Hillel who allowed it for pretty much anything. This is the reason why the Pharisees ask Jesus "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" in Matthew 19:3, they want to see whether he sides with Shammai or Hillel. Jesus was not not aligning with Shammai. He was even less, namely totally unaccommodating - as explicitly reaffirmed by St Paul (1 Cor 7:10-11) - and that shocked the disciples into saying that one should then not marry, a rather straightforward (if worldly) reaction.

Being familiar with an idea as one side of a controversy isn't the same as being told to live by it by someone whose authority you accept. I'm sure there are common Christian views that you would not be surprised to hear a Protestant minister (or even an opinionated Catholic bishop) come out with, that you would be shocked to hear from the Pope as official teaching. Something similar might be going on here.

I'm certainly not saying the disciples reactions prove that Jesus meant “except for adultery”, but I don't think they exclude the possibility either.

quote:
What Protestant denomination really holds its faithful to "divorce only over adultery" in some specific sense? Why can a Protestant remarry who has divorced over say physical abuse? Is that porneia? What about the partner becoming a harmless but useless drunk, and divorcing him or her for not pulling their weight. Porneia? What about divorcing over "having grown apart" or "not loving each other any longer", when there was no sex outside of marriage going on yet? Is that porneia? Etc.
Most Protestant denominations don't claim the same sort of authority that the Catholic Church does, so the church-to-church comparison isn't an exact one. That said, there certainly are Christian ministers – many of them – in Protestant churches that hold to either an indissoluablist position, or an “except for adultery” position. We've all heard horror stories (and, to be fair, they are told as horror stories, not as examples of heroic fidelity to the gospel) of ministers advising battered women to stay with their abusers, either because marriage is unbreakable absolutely or unbreakable in the absence of adultery.

But I'm quibbling. You're right that many Protestants don't believe that marriage is indissoluable, and many Protestant churches are happy to re-marry divorcees. There are reasons for that which need not imply that Jesus' words are being disregarded: it may be that divorce is seen as gravely sinful, but not as impossible; it may be that for sound liberal reasons the question is left to the conscience of the individual believer; it may be that 'adultery' is taken as establishing the principle that repudiatory breach of the marriage vow can release the wronged party, and not as a narrow technical exception satisfied only by illicit genital contact*. None of those fit well into a consistent Catholic world-view, but all of them could consistently be held by some classes of Protestant.

(*On this view, your “is this porneia?” question becomes “is this a breach of the marriage relationship of the same gravity that porneia is?”. Physical violence likely would be, habitual drunkenness amounting to total neglect might be, and 'growing apart' isn't).

quote:
Well, perhaps some conservative Protestants underrepresented on SoF do impose consistent constraints on remarriage, and actually do something about maintaining their standards. I probably wouldn't know. Good (or at least, less bad) on them. But there are plenty of people here whose position I just don't get. Given that Jesus at most offers one little loophole in one verse, against a backdrop of otherwise clear rejection of divorce in scripture, where is the corresponding restrictive practice?
Speaking for myself, my restrictive practice is that I don't get divorced. I don't mind so much that my church would allow me to re-marry if I fail at that, provided that there are enough Christians whose teaching, advice, example and admonition help me to stay married. Rules about what happens after marriage break-up, except to the extent that they have a proclamatory or deterrent effect, are a secondary question – the primary one is how effectively does a church support existing marriages. My personal (first and second hand) experience in Protestant churches is that we're usually pretty good, with the occasional spectacularly insensitive fuck-up. But we try.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I've thought a lot about this thread and the challenges it throws out, both ways.

Firstly on divorce. I think IngoB is right to describe the Catholic pastoral allowance for secular divorce as a big concession, given the Traditional understanding of the words of Jesus in Matthew 19 (and as reinforced by Paul in 1 Cor 7). Many conservative evangelicals I have met do not approve of Christians going for a divorce or even accepting that a divorce has happened when the law of the land says that it has.

Secondly on remarriage. Once one has accepted that secular divorce may be just in, for example, protecting victims from continuing intolerable (and IME sometimes dangerous) situations, there seems to be a different Christian principle at work. Bruised reeds should be protected from being completely broken. Men (anthropos, humanity in the Greek) are seen to have, in some sense rightly even if that is a pragmatic rightness, the lesser of two evils, divided that which God has joined.

There is a some recognition that the union was too imperfect to continue without inflicting further damage.

What seems to be retained in forbidding remarriage are two other principles.

The believed Divine intention in the pre-Fall institution of marriage of a one-flesh union for life.

The believed Divine will that under no circumstances shall that Divine intention ever be contradicted by the Church.

In Catholic belief also, the bond is ontological, permanent and cannot be repealed by the Church (though it can be nullified on the grounds that it never happened because of certain faults at the start).

Is that a reasonable summary? I have some thoughts in that context but I thought I would check first to see whether anyone wants to correct it.

[ 26. January 2014, 08:37: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Well, perhaps some conservative Protestants underrepresented on SoF do impose consistent constraints on remarriage, and actually do something about maintaining their standards.

I wouldn't agree with the pejorative phrasing of course, but for the record my snake-belly-low protestant upbringing was that divorce was beyond the pale, and that any divorce should be followed by a life-long penitential attitude and certainly not remarriage, even if you could find some way of claiming the marriage wasn't really a marriage on some grounds.

I suspect that in many conservative non-conformist churches a similar attitude prevails.

My own personal stand is that if I was divorced I wouldn't remarry. But I wouldn't seek to enforce that on any one else.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
I think a key point to remember here is that Jesus does not usually promulgate law. It is in fact striking just how little there is of any definitive statement what his followers must do. He practically always teaches principles, and where He touches on law, He teaches right interpretations. The gospel is almost entirely "meta-law" then. It is from this perspective that Jesus and later St Paul somewhat confusingly seem to sweep aside law here, and strongly affirm it there, condemn those sticking to the law here, and praise them there. The question is always whether the law itself or the individual law-abiding is aligned with the "meta-law", with the right principles and interpretations of the gospel, or not. If yes, then it is good, if not, then it becomes a kind of evil hiding under the appearance of righteousness.

OK. But I can think of a few instances where this is decidedly not the case. Where instead Jesus says with utmost clarity that his followers must do something specific, where he promulgates law and lays it down in the same breath. And characteristically, this is over and against Jewish custom, flies in the fact of what people expect and is met with disbelief, shock and even anger.

One occasion we have been discussing, the (re-)establishment of the sacrament of marriage, the union of one flesh, and continence for those not married. Another one is the establishment of the sacrament of communion in John 6 (and again reflected elsewhere in scripture as definitive teaching of Christ, 1 Cor 11). We can also think of baptism in John 3 (basically taken for granted by St Paul as he holds forth in Rom 6, Col 2, etc.). The whole setup of these in scripture, the very extraordinary nature of how they are presented, how people react to them and how they are later reaffirmed by St Paul with explicit reference to Christ, say to me one thing:

This is Christ executing His Divinity as law-giver, not law-explainer/interpreter. This is God speaking from the mountain. This the Teacher speaking from His Seat. These are stone tablets. There was no intention for wiggle room here concerning what we ought to do. None. At. All. Of course, we can still discuss Divine mercy. But as that which can make good human insufficiency, not as allowing it. Baptism is a nice example here. We can assume that there is "baptism by desire", indeed, even "implicit baptism by desire" of those who do not know the gospel but follow God best they can. But we cannot thereby shake off our duty to bring the gospel to the world and actually baptise people. God's mercy helps those whom we fail, but it does not allow us to slack off, much less to turn such slack into a rule. Baptism simply is not optional for a Christian, ever.

In a like manner then, whatever you may think Christ was saying about sex and marriage, you cannot make this a "soft rule". You cannot go "meta-law" on this. The rules you set here will be measured strictly by what Christ said we must do, because He was clearly telling us to obey on this matter. This does not mean that God's mercy cannot apply, of course it can. Perhaps there is an "implicit marriage by desire" among people. Fine, God is merciful. But that is not what Christ asked us to establish among Christians. This is not the place for false accommodation in our practice.

So in my opinion it is crucial to get this one right, and to stick closely to what one thinks scripture is saying. No "bruised reed" fudging on this one, please, it is just not the place.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
No "bruised reed" fudging on this one, please, it is just not the place.

I haven't been following this thread as closely as I might, but when I saw this (besides being irked at what I was "allowed" to bring to the table in argument) Jesus' declaration about Moses permitting divorce because of the hardness of the human heart just sort of leapt into my brain.

Yes he goes on with "but I say unto you" but I don't think there is the suggestion that the OT law was defective in making accommodation for the human condition.

[ 26. January 2014, 14:03: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
We might be forgiven I think for reading a very simple conclusion from what you write, IngoB.

quote:
This is Christ executing His Divinity as law-giver, not law-explainer/interpreter. This is God speaking from the mountain. This the Teacher speaking from His Seat. These are stone tablets. There was no intention for wiggle room here concerning what we ought to do. None. At. All.
You believe that Jesus does not always speak like this. But when he does thunder from the mountains in this way, what he says is precisely what Holy Tradition says.

Of course that may be true, but it is also circular. Jesus also speaks to specific situations and in the process illuminates the Truth, by both word and deed. A part of this argument about the meaning of scripture depends upon the acknowledgement that he does do that (which you accept) and there might, just might, even for the sake of this discussion, just MIGHT be something of that going on here (which you do not).

So, given the thunder from your own personal mountain, I'm not expecting you to engage with the discussion on that point. That's sad, but there it is. I'll keep my "fudge" to myself for a while, see how the thread develops, may drop in again later.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
I don't hear any disagreement here about the ideal of marriage of which Christ spoke.

But there is a justice and mercy aspect to this. If someone makes any sort of vow, that they should be expected to fulfil it is only just.

The question is what level of mercy Christian communities should show to those unfortunate individuals
- whose marriage has irretrievably broken down, possibly through no fault of their own
- who have then contracted a civil-law remarriage
- who now wish to be full members of the Christian community.

Seems to me that firstly churches have to recognise that in some circumstances a marriage relationship can break down irretrievably. If only in cases where one partner repudiates Christianity.

Second, there is nothing intrinsically sinful in a civil (non-sacramental) marriage. Marriage was old when Christianity was new, and many of the saints came to Christianity from non-Christian marriages. In missionary areas, would-be new converts are not required to be celibate or to have their existing marriages sacramentalised before they are accepted.

Third, seems to me safer for Christian fellowships to be full of people in loving and secure civil marriages than emotionally or physically needy people who have had celibacy forced upon them.

As always, there's a risk that mercy institutionalised becomes licence. But one would think priests can be trusted to exercise discretion in this.

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
Russ

But my understanding is that the RCC sees civil marriages and RCC marriages differently when it comes to annulment, divorce and remarriage for couples who are members of the Church. Can anyone clarify this?

In the UK religious marriages, unlike civil marriages, normally make mention of God. But since most religious people now believe that marriage vows can legitimately be broken if necessary, the civil marriage almost seems the more honest of the two; it doesn't attempt to co-opt God into a legal agreement from which God can quite easily be excluded if things go wrong.
 
Posted by moonlitdoor (# 11707) on :
 
Does anyone know how far back the practice of the Orthodox to allow remarriage in some circumstances goes ? Does it represent a difference between east and west before the schism or is it a more recent practice ?
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
But my understanding is that the RCC sees civil marriages and RCC marriages differently when it comes to annulment, divorce and remarriage for couples who are members of the Church. Can anyone clarify this?

My understanding is that the RCC does not consider a civil marriage to be a valid marriage, so somebody who has had a civil wedding ceremony and then divorced can get (re)married in a Catholic church. Whereas the CofE regards a civil wedding as valid as a church one (much to my mother's annoyance many years ago).
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
... In the UK religious marriages, unlike civil marriages, normally make mention of God. But since most religious people now believe that marriage vows can legitimately be broken if necessary, the civil marriage almost seems the more honest of the two; it doesn't attempt to co-opt God into a legal agreement from which God can quite easily be excluded if things go wrong.

Do any religious people believe marriage vows can legitimately be broken? I profoundly hope not.

Or, that those married before the Registrar are not bound to the same commitments as those married before a priest? Again I profoundly hope not.

It is the opposite way round. The vows state the obligations of marriage. They don't have a life of their own. The point is whether the breaking of those obligations can be so fundamental that it breaks marriages, or whether it can't. As I've said earlier on this thread, it's my view that to deny that adultery breaks marriages implies that it is a little thing that hardly matters.


As for the meaning of porneia, it is fairly obvious, despite unconvincing arguments often produced otherwise, that it means what used to be called in English 'indecent familiarity', i.e. 'adultery + things that might fall short of it but only in a technically evasive way'. That is to say, a person can't excuse themselves by saying penetration did not actually take place. A man might persuade himself he was not actually lying by saying 'I did not have sex with that woman'. He could not have said truthfully, 'I did not have porneia with her'
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
Enoch wrote:
quote:
Do any religious people believe marriage vows can legitimately be broken? I profoundly hope not.

Or, that those married before the Registrar are not bound to the same commitments as those married before a priest? Again I profoundly hope not.

Enoch -

What constitutes marriage vows - let alone any definition or meaning of marriage - varies dramatically from country to country. I don't think you can generalise.

Under English law, for a civil marriage, you merely have to declare that there is no legal impediment to your marriage (consanguinity, not contracting a bigamous marriage etc.), then you simply declare yourself married. That's it. Of course, you will be invited to make your own promises but that is up to you. As an example, here is a link to Oxfordshire's advice on the matter.

But to cut the cackle, there is no "meaning" or "standard vows" concerning marriage under English statute law. Any such meaning has to be supplied by the contracting parties.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Do any religious people believe marriage vows can legitimately be broken? I profoundly hope not.

Or, that those married before the Registrar are not bound to the same commitments as those married before a priest? Again I profoundly hope not.

It is the opposite way round. The vows state the obligations of marriage. They don't have a life of their own. The point is whether the breaking of those obligations can be so fundamental that it breaks marriages, or whether it can't. As I've said earlier on this thread, it's my view that to deny that adultery breaks marriages implies that it is a little thing that hardly matters.

Obviously, some marriages withstand adultery and violence, etc. But an increasing number of them don't. Yet the marriage service makes no concessions to the realities, and divorce/remarriage seems to be an off-limits subject for exploration, except as a pastoral matter.

The RCC's rules are admittedly harsh for Catholics who fall foul of them. But as an ordinary layperson, I'm afraid I can't see much Protestant clarity on the subject - yet this is hardly an arcane theological topic for specialists only.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

Second, there is nothing intrinsically sinful in a civil (non-sacramental) marriage.

My reading of Catholic Canon Law and what IngoB has said about it says otherwise if any prior marriage has been properly made and consummated (i.e. the marriage has not been annulled in accordance with the the provisions in Catholic Canon Law for that). Whatever secular law may say, the Catholic position under those circumstances remains that the couple are living in sin because of the previous bond(s) if they are having sex. If there are no previous marriage bonds, the position is different.

quote:
Can. 1141 A marriage that is ratum et consummatum can be dissolved by no human power and by no cause, except death
There is no "wriggle room" there.

That is why in this debate the central issue is the indissolubility of the marriage bond.

As it happens, I agree with you, Russ. In general I think your summary is principled and full of common sense. Many lay people both inside and outside the church would probably tick your statements, see them as obvious, wonder what the fuss is about.

But IngoB is arguing that there is no coherent scriptural basis for that, since the words of Jesus are unequivocal. This is the stance of Catholic Holy Tradition. In general the Catholic position on such matters is that if Holy Tradition is "against the world" (contra mundum) the world is wrong.

SvitlanaV2 does not see much Protestant clarity on the subject, feels there ought to be. I think Protestants who allow for the possibility of dissolution of the marriage bond have clear reasons for that, but, following scripture, other Protestants agree with Catholics about indissolubility.

This thread is, I believe, more about what Catholicism may do, or is free to consider, at the upcoming Extraordinary Synod. I can see no way in which they are free to set aside indissolubility without tearing huge chunks out of Holy Tradition. On that, I agree with IngoB and Chesterbelloc.

By extension, this thread is also considering why Protestants and Catholics differ on the indissolubility and therefore the nature of the marriage bond. I think there is room for a really good debate there, but that requires room for consideration of others' viewpoints

A link to Catholic Canon Law

I respect the Catholic position as coherent and consistent. I think it has baleful consequences, particularly for those who are victims of destructive and destroyed marriages, who wish to form another bond (rather than live licentiously) and try again to form a faithful union. But I can see why there are wider principles involved. Principled living has costs. We agree at least on that.

I think Protestants divide on this subject and differ with Catholics because we apply different hermeneutics and exegetics to the interpretation and application of scripture. That is far from being the same as rationalising away the scriptural inheritance and the authority and inspiration we humbly recognise in it and seek to live under.

That's the overview. I hope there may be some recognition of the reality of that. Protestants are argumentative on this issue amongst ourselves, but we seek to live under the Lordship of Jesus as well.

[ 27. January 2014, 08:15: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
On reflection, and with thanks to Russ for his succinct post, I have decided to add a point to the discussion about Matthew 19, which is central to the indissolubility discussions. I think it's better in a separate post.

I've checked the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia re Matthew's gospel and the view it gives over the structure of the gospel. It accords with the one in all the Protestant study notes I have to hand. Matthew's gospel contains 5 great discourses on the Christian faith, of which the Sermon on the Mount is probably the best known. Elsewhere in Matthew, the mind of Jesus is recorded through records of discussions, stories and and actions. In the discourses, the content stands on its own. In the other records, it stands in the context of the discussions or actions in which it is framed. Jesus' comments about marriage fall into the second category. That does not make them, automatically, pronouncements "from the mountain" for all times and circumstances, though they may be. The context must be taken into account. On that point, I think IngoB's "mountain top" understanding of Matthew 19 is incorrect, though his conclusions are perfectly valid in accordance with the Tradition under which he lives.

That point might, however, be better debated in Kerygmania. It is meant constructively in the context of this thread.

[ 27. January 2014, 08:27: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
As for the meaning of porneia, it is fairly obvious, despite unconvincing arguments often produced otherwise, that it means what used to be called in English 'indecent familiarity', i.e. 'adultery

Obvious to whom? Unconvincing to whom?

Jesus was a Jew and the Jewish understanding was/is to do with a girl losing her virginity before marriage - hence the rigmarole of parents saving the blood-soiled sheets in case of a later dispute.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:

Jesus was a Jew and the Jewish understanding was/is to do with a girl losing her virginity before marriage - hence the rigmarole of parents saving the blood-soiled sheets in case of a later dispute.

Except that in 1 Corinthians 5:1 it refers to incest. And later in the same section it refers to prostitution.

It seems most likely to me that it was a generic term for sexual immorality.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:



As for the meaning of porneia, it is fairly obvious...


As there are at least three other views on this very thread it is fairly obviously not obvious at all.

(and at least two of them probably have more contemporary support than yours does)

[ 27. January 2014, 15:28: Message edited by: ken ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I think Ricardus is right. The old English translation in Matt 19, 'fornication' was taken to mean any sexual acts outside marriage. Incest was included in that because an incestuous relationship did not constitute a proper marriage, even it had been in some sense formalised, or recognised. So it lumped together premarital sex, adultery, incest and no doubt a few other things besides.

Current Catholic provisions for annulment recognise this to some extent - you can find those by looking around the Canon Law link I provided in my recent post.

But there's room for debate about this.

[ 27. January 2014, 15:39: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:

Jesus was a Jew and the Jewish understanding was/is to do with a girl losing her virginity before marriage - hence the rigmarole of parents saving the blood-soiled sheets in case of a later dispute.

Except that in 1 Corinthians 5:1 it refers to incest. And later in the same section it refers to prostitution.

It seems most likely to me that it was a generic term for sexual immorality.

The Corinthians were predominantly Greek?
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
/tangent

Probably a heterogeneous mix of Jews of the dispersion who had converted to "the Way", Gentile 'God-fearer' converts previously associated with any synagogue and Gentile converts without prior experience of Judaism. To judge by the pastoral problems addressed in the letter anyway, a pretty mixed bunch. Some at least likely to be familiar with the OT in Hebrew and the distinctive Jewish understanding of sexual morality, head covering, conduct in communal worship. Some not! Interesting challenges for the local church elders of the time.

/end tangent

[ 27. January 2014, 18:26: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
... As for the meaning of porneia, it is fairly obvious...


As there are at least three other views on this very thread it is fairly obviously not obvious at all.

(and at least two of them probably have more contemporary support than yours does)

I did wonder when I posted my previous comment whether to add a digression on this, but decided it would get in the way. Suffice to say, that I've read various other suggestions as to what porneia might mean but have never found any of them remotely persuasive. They always give the impression as being driven by the motivation that we must at all costs defend the understanding of marriage we already have. To put it a different way, 'the church is the church of Christ; the church has been teaching x for centuries; so if Jesus was talking about x, he must have meant what we teach'.

So, if you've always been taught that the entire status of a marriage is determined by what happens at the moment of marriage - something which is nowhere explicit in scripture but has rightly or wrongly, been deduced from it - you'll interpret porneia so as to make sure that for you, it has a meaning that fits that. If you haven't got that presupposition in the first place, the alleged meaning of porneia that fit it are simply implausible.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

Second, there is nothing intrinsically sinful in a civil (non-sacramental) marriage.

My reading of Catholic Canon Law and what IngoB has said about it says otherwise if any prior marriage has been properly made and consummated (i.e. the marriage has not been annulled in accordance with the the provisions in Catholic Canon Law for that). Whatever secular law may say, the Catholic position under those circumstances remains that the couple are living in sin because of the previous bond(s) if they are having sex. If there are no previous marriage bonds, the position is different...

...That is why in this debate the central issue is the indissolubility of the marriage bond.

Indissolubility of the mystic sacramental bond means no second sacramental marriage. And I'm guessing that many of the civilly remarried would accept that and settle for a recognition that continuing on the course they have chosen - honouring their civil ceremony vows - is the best, most loving and honourable, thing they can do in their present less-than-ideal circumstances.

Something that is not intrinsically wrong may become sinful through one having promised not to do it, and that seems to be what you're saying about civil marriage.

Given that in most other circumstances, someone may be released from a promise by the person that they made that promise to, I'm not quite clear on exactly why in Catholic thinking that doesn't apply here.

Is it really only the "we've always done it that way" argument ?

Or is it that in Catholic thinking the promise is the bond ?

Seems to me that one might believe that for a Christian to divorce their Christian spouse is always wrong. But yet look at things a little differently if one party is no longer Christian. And in either case if someone does commit that wrong and go off to Australia (say) then the act remains done, as a past tense sin for which both partners should seek forgiveness for their part. Before getting on with the rest of their lives as best they can.

Seems a little odd to prohibit divorce if you believe that divorce is impossible - believing it possible but forbidden seems the more logical position. Or am I missing something again ?

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I'd quite like to hear a Catholic answer, but ISTM that if you start with this from the Catholic Canon Law

quote:
Can. 1141 A marriage that is ratum et consummatum can be dissolved by no human power and by no cause, except death
then whatever the law may say about divorce, the marriage bond cannot be broken in the sight of God. Civil divorce is recognised pastorally in the laws governing separation, but civil divorce cannot dissolve the marriage bond. Those whom God had joined together cannot be divided by humankind, either by power or for cause, however just that may appear to be.

Or at least that's the way Canon law looks to me. Indissoluble means indissoluble whatever the law of the land may allow or rule.

Maybe I'm missing a trick? I'm a nonco Protestant trying to understand something I don't agree with! I might not have the moccasins on quite straight!

[ 27. January 2014, 21:10: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Doublethink (# 1984) on :
 
Annulment does seem like a 'no true scotsman' version of divorce.
 
Posted by Palimpsest (# 16772) on :
 
To go back to the original topic, have there been any other statements that imply what Pope Francis is going to be discussing at the Synod?
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
@ Palimpsest

There is this at least.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Seems a little odd to prohibit divorce if you believe that divorce is impossible - believing it possible but forbidden seems the more logical position. Or am I missing something again?

I'll try just once more - heck, I've nothing better to do. [Biased]

It is important to remember that the Catholic Church is simply trying to be faithful to what she thinks the Lord was establishing. If that is borne in mind - if, that is, people are prepared to grant the Church this much in good faith - it is so much easier to understnd the Catholic position.

As we see it, divorce - in the sense of living chastely apart from the usual conditions of the marital bond (of "bed and board", as it were) - is certainly possible, under certain circumstances (i.e., with a dispensation). Divorce in this sense is both possible and permissable.

But for marriages which the Church decrees truly to have met the criteria for sacramental validity, there is no possibility either of a future sacramental marriage or a licit (i.e., morally permissable) future sexual relationship of any kind. Why not? Because the ancient and continuing understanding of the Lord's teaching on this matter in the Catholic Church is that a real marriage is binding for life. The promises made are not revocable, no matter how broken down the relationship becomes.

It is, as IngoB says, a real pastoral concession that married couples in broken marriages can live apart if living together would be in some sense intolerable. But it is a concession that does not permit the breaking of the sexual exclusivity of the marriage bond - because we believe the Lord does not permit such for His people.

Really, I don't think that's much of an interpretative stretch of Jesus's words - certainly no more so that any of the alternatives we heard on this thread.

I don't know if this is anything other than an otiose repetition of already better-made points but if it is, well, great. I'm guessing it's not, though. It's the "spade is turned" point for me, at any rate.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Thanks Chesterbelloc. I thought I'd got the moccasins on straight.

But I'm encouraged by your "don't see any other way of looking at this" language. Tomorrow, I might have a personal go at opening up the understandings of key scripture which have brought some of us, who are also seeking to be faithful to the Lordship of Jesus, to a different view. I'm not expecting you to agree, but it might aid understanding. I'll try to avoid any "no true Scotsman" lines of argument. It will be an Aunt Sally. You can feel free to take pot shots at it if you're interested.

I don't think these musings will have much to do with discussions in October 2014 of course. So it might be a different thread.

[ 27. January 2014, 22:07: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
Thanks yet again, Baranabas. I don't promise to contribute to any such discussion but I do look forward to following with interest.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Actually, it is on reflection better left here. Best started with the things about the marriage bond that I agree with Catholicism.

1. The ministers are the couple. The priest (pastor) is the celebrant with them.

2. From the beginning, God intended and intends that the bond shall be indissoluble.

3. He is in the joining.

4. He is in the becoming one flesh.

In summary, where I disagree with Catholicism is over two issues.

1. The absolute permanence of the bond under any cicumstances.

2. The role of the church in the governance of the state of the bond.

Before looking at my disagreements, I will do as promised, provide a personal overview of the key scriptures.

The bond is instituted in Genesis 2, before the Fall (however we see that). It is therefore ideal. After the Fall, the state of the bond is immediately damaged. God says to Eve that her desire will be for her husband and he will rule over her. The mutual help and support of the bond will be distorted by selfish human desires and selfish human dominance. That's crucial.

Jesus teaches and demonstrates the gospel of the kingdom. When the kingdom comes and God's will is done on earth as in Heaven, people are redeemed, the world is redeemed, earthly marriage is redeemed. With God that is possible. His teaching of the disciples in Matthew 19 does not contradict either Hillel or Shammai re marriage, it rises above their teaching, points to a kingdom way. Live in your marriages, O male disciples, as God intended you to live. You can't throw your wives away; they are bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh. That's not the kingdom way, that's not God's way. You are there to love them, to keep the promises you made.

This is exhortation to his followers at that point in time, when looking at a Rabbinical controversy. Jesus takes them back to the beginning, shows the will of God, exhorts his followers to follow that with the help of God. It is not a message from the mountain. It is a reminder of a word of God they will know well. Live it, he says, with God's help.

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul reinforces and extends the exhortation, but as many have observed, he writes with a primary focus on the parousia. The mission is the thing, the time is short. How his exhortations apply to marriage in the long term is not at that point made clear. he draws distinctions between what is from him and what he believes is from the Lord. He is speaking to a church in some turmoil, draws a few straight lines for them, does little to explain why. Then moves on.

In Ephesians 5, he does a lot more. Ephesians comes from several years later. How many years may depend on your view of authorship. Some doubt that it comes from Paul at all, argue it may come from a follower seeking to record later reflections he had heard from Paul. I don't take that view, though I do think the style is very different from the earlier Paul of Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians and, particularly, Galatians. The sentences are longer (sometimes very long) the style is a lot more reflective.

So I see this letter as later Paul, consolidating what he has learned from reflection during his mission. Depending on your viewpoint, he sees the parousia as "tarried", or "more remote" or, as some have argued, already being realised as the church does its stuff. It will culminate in the return of the Lord. It is breaking through in the work of the God through the church on earth. So he talks of the church in the possible ages to come. This is wonderfully reflected in the beautiful prayer at the end of Ephesians 3

quote:
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
I am pretty sure this understanding of the change of emphasis re the parousia is common ground between Catholic and Protestant scholars, however they may differ over authorship and dating questions.

The common view is that this letter is also an intentional Encyclical; the earliest manuscripts do not have it addressed to the Ephesians. Unlike 1 and 2 Corinthians, which were pastoral exhortations to a particularly heterogeneous and somewhat messed up church, this one is for many churches. It was not intended for a specific pastoral situation, it is intended to have wider application.

Ephesians 4 contains the considered and reflective view on what makes for Christian maturity. We will grow up together, speaking the truth in love, however near or far away the parousia may be. Ephesians 5 contains the same on what makes for lasting marriage. And fittingly he returns to the Genesis 2 institution, makes it clear that becoming one flesh is "future indicative" - the sign of maturity, the sign that there is mutual submission to one another under the Lordship of Christ. The love principle is agape which will transform eros. The sinful human tendency to dominate will be replaced by a mutual submission of one to the other. Agape love will reign in the marriage, and so the marriage will be a sign of the fulfilled relationship between Christ and the church. This is how a marriage is to be built long term.

This is all wonderful stuff and my wife and I have spent 45 years seeking to live up to the fact that marriage is a high calling and this is the way to live it out.

So those are the principles, those are the ideals, those are the commands, these are the exhortations. You might at this stage think they are a pretty effective defence of the indissoluble ontological bond! But I want to see first what arguments there may be with this personal view, gained from much reading, experience and reflection. No claims for infallibility here. At any rate, this post is quite long enough.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
In writing this post, I'm not sure whether my previous one, which I'd promised, is seen as at least reasonable, or so flawed that it's not worth commenting on, or participants have lost interest! Well, that's alright! But I'll complete my own thoughts on the matter.

Why am I not convinced that there is an absolute indissoluble bond?

The short answer is because that interpretation limits the operation of the Grace of God in the New Covenant.

It may be argued that God Himself has limited that Grace by the way the covenant of marriage was instituted and by what Jesus says about its reinstitution as a Kingdom Command. And that argument makes sense.

But it creates a paradox. That a marriage which is not in any sense which makes any sense anywhere on the Ephesians 5 road can always be redeemed. It is possible that it may be redeemed. I've seen that. It is possible that it cannot. All things are possible with God. Both the possibility that He can breathe new life into a dead marriage or pardon a dissolving of that which He wills for all of us should not die. What evidence do I have for this second possibility? Only the whole of the New Testament in its conveying to us that the kingdom of God is characterised by pardon, new beginnings, grace and truth.

Why do I disagree with Catholics on the governance by the church of the marriage bond

In its view of remarriage as prohibited in this life, it states the inevitability of an immutable penalty on all whose marriages have failed. It does so with perfect consistency because of its understanding of the sacramental nature of the bond. It says, at least in my understanding, that the only way in which the breaking of this commandment can be forgiven by God is either by going back to the dead marriage or accepting that you must now live a celibate life. "Better live in a dead marriage or in a celibate state, than try again? You can't do that, you see. Because God had said you can't."

It makes no allowance for the possibility that the Grace of God may be given in another way to any sincere recognition of the failings which led to the command breaking, sincere repentance, a resolve to learn from the experience and to try again. A second attempt at a lifetime commitment may be blessed by God as an act of pardon and of mercy.

In which case what should churches which allow for the possibility of re-marriage do in their approach to requests?

My view is that, unlike marriage preparation, any church should insist that remarriage preparation is not an option. Significant testing is required. Without that, we cannot safeguard the institution of marriage, the integrity of the church leadership or the the celebrant, or the partners to the second marriage. It should be known in the church that that is the way allowance is made. It is not carte blanche.

The church may, in sincerity, show mercy, offer a measure of forgiveness for the command-breaking. What gets tested is the recognition of failing, the sincerity of repentance, what has been learned from the bitter experiences, what will be done different. I think church leaders should be very careful in doing that. All the ones I know who allow for remarriage are. Divorce does not provide any automatic permission for remarriage.

Curiously enough, I was talking to my mentor yesterday about this. He's a retired Anglican priest and comes from a good deal further up the candle than I do. Essentially that was his practice. To ask the questions what have you learned and what will you do different? He said a number of couples who were on the receiving end of his polite questions (and he is a very polite man) took the hump. Some didn't, but never came back.

I'll leave you with this very helpful observation I came across a few years ago, and which very much reflects the way folks who had been very wronged in marriage have talked to me about their experiences and their own part in what went wrong.

quote:
Walter Trobisch offers some good advice on remarriage in his book "I Married You."
The story is about a Christian marriage counselor who spent four days in an African city helping people with their views of sex and marriage. At one point he was asked, “Would you remarry divorcees without hesitation?” He replied, “Not without hesitation, with much hesitation, but in some circumstances I would."

Now our secular culture would readily answer “yes’ to that question. Our religious culture would say “no” unless it was the innocent party. Maybe not even then. Listen to Trobisch’s answer.

“In any case,” he said, “I would remarry only the guilty parties.”

What did he mean by that? He meant that if anyone claims that he is entirely innocent and the fault was totally his partner’s, then it is certain that any subsequent marriage is doomed to failure.

And so I also believe that the Orthodox Church have it right in putting a practical limit on remarriages. If at first, you don't succeed, try, try, try again? At some stage you cannot avoid the conclusion that the essential mutual submission and unselfishness loving which characterises Christian marriages is something which some folks either do not get or cannot do.

[late edits, apologies. I clarified a couple of points]

[ 29. January 2014, 13:08: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
Barnabas62 - please don't be concerned that nobody has responded! Sometimes substantial posts take a bit of digesting or mulling over if one is to do them justice. Which is what I'm trying to do.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Thanks, HRB. Difficult issue. I'm trying to foster discussion, not govern it.

[ 29. January 2014, 14:49: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Why not? Because the ancient and continuing understanding of the Lord's teaching on this matter in the Catholic Church is that...

I think this is a well-phrased and succinct summary of what a philosopher might call the argument from tradition.

So those who believe that tradition is sufficient answer will stop there.

I don't. And so I raise the question - is there a reasoned argument (that an impartial observer would judge to be sound) from what Jesus said

- that men who had the legal right to divorce their wives should not do so, except where a particular grave sexual sin had been committed

to the position you're supporting

- that for someone who has been divorced - who has had their marriage broken by the actions of the other party - to seek a marriage-like relationship with someone else is gravely sinful

such that one follows logically from the other ?

Such an argument would justify the tradition.

ISTM that the question makes sense whether or not you think tradition is self-justifying.

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
Russ -

I think that strictly speaking it's an argument from authority (not tradition). Though the steps you outline remain the same.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Yup. God is the ultimate authority. We are also under orders to submit to governing authorities (Romans 13:1). The normal position is that when the governing authorities expressly contradict God's authority, God wins!

This is about how God's authority applies to

a) divorce and

b) remarriage

It does not follow that if a) is allowed under some circumstances that b) will also be allowed. That's just the way it works in civil law.

Nothing legal prevents Catholics who have been through civil divorce from having a civil remarriage. The impact on their membership of their church is another matter.

A similar argument applies to Protestant Churches which allow remarriage. In all the ones I know, remarriage in the church is not an unconditional right.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
Russ -

I think that strictly speaking it's an argument from authority (not tradition). Though the steps you outline remain the same.

That's right. And for Catholics the Church has the authority because it was given her by the same Lord whose the meaning of whose words we are debating in this thread.

Obviously, I don't expect everyone to sre my premises here, but I'm not clear what Russ thinks the problem with Catholics drawing this conclusion about Christ's teaching is (as I think Barnabas's most recent post was getting at too).

[ 30. January 2014, 18:11: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
Sorry, multiply ballsed that last post up there. Sheer idiocy. But I hope my meaning is reasonably clear.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I am sure that you read me right, Chesterbelloc.

I don't see any necessary equivalence under the Divine covenant between allowing divorce and allowing remarriage. Under modern secular law, there is an automatic freeing and allowance. Not so under the old Judaic law, according to Jesus. Only God can dissolve the contract which humans have promised before him will be indissoluble in their lives.

The argument between "indissoluble absolutely" Catholicism and "dissoluble under certain conditions of repentance" Orthodoxy and (some) Protestant communities is to be found elsewhere. What God will, or may, allow is different to what the State will allow. We agree on that. We simply differ on what God will, or may, allow. I don't expect us to agree any time soon.

Wherever possible, I try to find the kinder roads, fully aware of how exploitable they are. It's not always wise. But I've seen redemption down that track. In my own experience, I know several second marriages which are a lot more Ephesians 5-like for the couples, project a lot more of "Christ and the Church" than the destructive messes of their first attempts at indissolubility. People can live and learn.

[ 31. January 2014, 07:40: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
... I don't see any necessary equivalence under the Divine covenant between allowing divorce and allowing remarriage. Under modern secular law, there is an automatic freeing and allowance. Not so under the old Judaic law, according to Jesus. Only God can dissolve the contract which humans have promised before him will be indissoluble in their lives. ...

I'm not sure that you are right there. I don't have the knowledge to say this with much conviction, but I don't think either Jewish law or any other system in the ancient world had any concept of a marriage that was dissolved 'from table and bed' but not 'from chains of marriage'. I think this distinction was something invented by medieval canonists. Apart from that, the notion that a person could be divorced, their marriage ended, but they were not able to marry again, would have been regarded as an incomprehensible nonsense.

Under both Jewish law and some Protestant jurisprudences, once divorced a person might find there were some people they were not allowed to marry - in Jewish law, notably, their previous spouse - but that's a different question.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
You missed "according to Jesus", Enoch. Jesus seems to have been critiquing this aspect of the Jewish law. But I wasn't clear that it was Jesus' interpretation of the Law, not Hillel's or Shammai's or anyone else's which might have been the traditional Jewish view.

I don't believe that Jesus would have said that God being Sovereign over the joining meant that He would have been implacable over remarriage in every circumstances. I don't think he makes that clear either way in the discourse. Catholics do. We see the "all things are possible with God" through different eyes.

[ 31. January 2014, 10:11: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
How is it that the religion of grace is less humane than the religion of chesed?

Exodus 21:10-11 (NIV)

10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
for Catholics the Church has the authority because it was given her by the same Lord the meaning of whose words we are debating in this thread.

Obviously, I don't expect everyone to sre my premises here, but I'm not clear what Russ thinks the problem with Catholics drawing this conclusion about Christ's teaching is

I would say that that is the argument from authority. It's a reason why you might feel bound to accept today the Church's view as it is ttoday. Or to accept any change of emphasis or change in Church discipline or pastoral practice that may emerge from the proposed Synod. But because it's an argument based on the source of the idea rather than on the content, it doesn't provide the Pope with a guide as to what conclusion he should come to. Since whatever he does becomes the Church's authoritative position.

(I know that's a simplified way of putting it, and absolute monarchy is perhaps not a totally accurate model for the way that authority works in the Catholic church, but that's a tangent I don't want to get into).

If at the start of the Synod, the Pope turns to the assembled bishops and theologians and says "Perhaps you could start by reminding us of the thinking behind the Church's traditional teaching on this issue" they're not going to say to him
- "Thinking ? There doesn't have to be any thinking. The fact that it is tradition should be enough for anybody".
Nor are they going to say
- "We think, Holy Father, that we are bound by authority to accept the current position as it stands, however much this may have developed over time. So we may as well pack up and go home now"

So whilst I appreciate that you may be openly and frankly giving your reasons for accepting the Church's current position, that's not the question I'm asking.

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Russ

There is an underlying issue of morality, which is the value of a promise. For folks who make their promise in a civil context, the promise forms a contract governed by law. There are some penalties involved in breaking that contract on one side. The penalties involved in the summary division of assets and partitioning of responsibilities . They may, in some cases, be quite significant if one partner has brought more to the partnership than another - which is a reason for the increasing use of pre-nuptial agreements. But the law regards the contract primarily as an indefinite pooling of assets and responsibilities.

There is a lot more to marriage than that, and certainly when people of faith come together before God and their friends to make promises of lifelong faithfulness. So faith communities look for lifelong adherence to the lifelong commitment, not just because of the inestimable value of mutual faithfulness, but because this is a situation where keeping one' s word is a most serious matter. Hence the breaking of solemn and binding promises takes on a much greater significance than division of assets. So the issue of what costs should apply to breaking of these particular solemn and binding promises is a very significant matter for the faith communities.

What costs are just in these circumstances? How serious is the promise-breaking in these contexts? What can we learn from the community heritage about how this has been perceived and handled, and why? The standard is not 'how fair does this seem by reference to the law of the land" but "how fair does this seem within the community to which I belong". Did I know in advance the cost of that promise and the cost of breaking it? How well was I instructed? There are moral implications of breaking cultural norms which you have grown up accepting as right.

If we listen carefully, we can hear Jesus saying "let your yes be yes". That is the pre-existing moral standard for believers and followers of Jesus. But the other issue is how does our community handle failure? Wilful and light-hearted irresponsibility in attitudes to these promises will be universally condemned as unjust towards the other partner. But how about those who have failed because after trying their guts out and bending over backwards, it still won't do. IME, more often than not, this is what happens when people of faith break up. How then do our communities approach that? How should we act?

I suppose these are the underlying questions in me when I look at the Book and our historical understanding of it.

I think you are right that folks should look at the underlying issues. But I am sure that when they do they will see some marked differences between what the law of the land considers just and what really is just in accordance with Christian kingdom values. There are higher considerations in play.

[ 01. February 2014, 21:56: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
I don't think it is about the promises/vows. I think it's about what the effect of marriage is. Does it create an invisible, indissoluble bubble, or does it create commitments that should not be broken? ISTM that the promises/vows set out what people are supposed to be committing themselves to. But I don't see that they can have an existence of their own independent of the marriage.

Far be it from me to comment on the teaching of the RCC but I also don't think that can be what they teach. If it were about the vows, rather than the status of marriage, it would be impossible for any church to allow married people to separate. For once separated, they are no longer be able to love, cherish, honour with their bodies, obey or with all their worthily goods endow. Either all the vows stand independently of the marriage, or none of them do. It's untenable to say that 'cleave only unto thee' survives even when the others don't.
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
I don't think anyone is suggesting that the Catholic Church can, should or will change its received doctrine on the indisolubility of marriage. But marriages are disolved, or rather undone, by the annulment process. So what if the annulment procedure were to be seriously re-examined and overhauled. Fr Peter Daly of Washington DC suggests here that moving in the direction of Orthodox practice, annulment could be a pastoral issue rather than a legal one, in which the priest could assess the sincerity and suitability of candidates for remarriage and admittance to the Eucharist.

While this may raise howls of protest from conservative Catholics, it's obvious that Pope Francis has a purpose in convening this synod, and in asking for feedback from the faithful on such matters. If his intent was to just allow the broken system to continue as it is, he wouldn't be going to the trouble. Hence my original question: What room does he realistically have for change. Personally, I think there's a lot of mileage in Fr Daly's suggestion. It could reconnect so many families with the Church, without altering what the Church stands for with regards to marriage.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
The sincerity of vow taking is a central issue, Enoch. Just not the only one.

In Catholic marriage, it is presumed that the vows are properly exchanged at the time, that the husband and wife are using the words sincerely and knowing what they mean. But if there is subsequent evidence of fraudulent intent by one of the parties, or undue coercion, or inability to comprehend, then a marriage may be annulled.

I believe the Catholics are quite right in principle to have these cautions and these principles concerning the vows. And if the underlying reason is not driven by "let your yes be yes", I'd be surprised. It's an obvious connection to make. There is a moral obligation in making vows.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
The sincerity of vow taking is a central issue, Enoch. Just not the only one.

In Catholic marriage, it is presumed that the vows are properly exchanged at the time, that the husband and wife are using the words sincerely and knowing what they mean. But if there is subsequent evidence of fraudulent intent by one of the parties, or undue coercion, or inability to comprehend, then a marriage may be annulled.

I believe the Catholics are quite right in principle to have these cautions and these principles concerning the vows. And if the underlying reason is not driven by "let your yes be yes", I'd be surprised. It's an obvious connection to make. There is a moral obligation in making vows.

What I'm getting at is that if one's argument for indissolubility is founded in the vows rather than status, that would only make sense if one took the line that separated spouses remain bound by all the vows and not just the 'cleave only' one. But nobody does take that line because if so, being separated is in itself incompatible with the vows.

What I find incomprehensible, is the notion that a person is regarded in God's eyes as married to someone who has meanwhile gone and married somebody else. I can sort of see the theory. It just does not make sense. I actually find the notion that a person could be unmarried, single, discharged from being married, but nevertheless not be free to marry, slightly more credible.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Oh I see. Perhaps if I put it this way, that may remove a misunderstanding?

Catholicism argues, quite simply, that indissolubility is founded on an authoritative word from Jesus, confirmed by Paul, further endorsed and clarified by Tradition. Whatever consequences this may have, Catholics choose to obey the Tradition as a matter of obedience to Christ.

I got into thoughts about vow-taking as part of Russ's challenge to consider underlying reasons for the Tradition. Sincere, non-coerced and capable vow taking, which is a central part of the rite of marriage, illustrates a central principle in the argument about what makes a marriage sound in the first place. People recognise that "yes" to "for better or for worse for life" is in the vows made. What happens if folks find that they cannot do that, cannot keep those vows after all? What happens next? That's an important part of the discussion here. That is very much the context of your latest observation.

Does that help to bridge the gap, Enoch?

[ 02. February 2014, 07:27: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
You see what I meant was, that back in the darkest Bronze Age, the progressive revelation of God shone even in to polygamy with slave wives. That a wife - and of course a husband - had certain reasonable expectations of a contract. Rights. Including of mutual affection.

The Jews abused that, inverted it, perverted it, justified divorce on a whim. Jesus addressed that at the time and certainly for all time in spirit. But of course could not legislate in Heaven let alone Earth for perfectly understandable human frailty up against some neo-Platonic non-material abstract form of really realest marriage.

Far more is expected of Christians in marriage, even when the tango becomes one sided. As long as there is a tango. On Earth. But there isn't. There isn't. Anywhere. Although it is amazing what can rise from dead ashes. And not.

As Brian said: Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't need to follow me. You don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves! You're all individuals!

Someone seems to be getting that message, at the thin end of the edge admittedly: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”.

That frail, weak, ignorant, lonely, broken creatures of 20-odd are bound by The Ministry of Heaven in hell via celibate agents in spite is something Philip Pullman should have written.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
That's what I thought you meant, Martin, even though it wasn't what you wrote! I think the criticism of Catholicism is unfair, even if Catholicism sometimes seems harsh towards those who have failed. You know my line is different.

It will be interesting to see what happens at the Synod, particularly re annulment and a pastoral standard for how that might be effected.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
You're too kind Barnabas62: Matthew 23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Comes to mind.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
And if I may correct myself for meaning: Far more is expected of Christians in marriage, even when the tango becomes one sided. As long as there is a tango. On Earth. But WHEN there isn't. There isn't. Anywhere. Although it is amazing what can rise from dead ashes. And not.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Well, Martin, tango dancing is not a bad analogy.

On the other hand, the equation of "pharisaical indifference" with Catholicism is pretty unfair. It's true that "pharisaical indifference" can be found in leaderships throughout the churches and it should not be so among us. But it is a common partial disease, not a disease which applies in toto to any denomination.

Catholicism takes great care to articulate Holy Tradition and to make that articulation publicly available for guidance to all Catholics. We might dissent from it, indeed I do dissent from it, but at least this way I know what I am dissenting from.

As IngoB observed earlier, it is pretty difficult to see much coherence in Protestant opinions, not least because the different Protestant understandings are rarely expressed with anything like the coherence common to Catholicism. Catholics do not take refuge in vagueness. We often do.

That in part is why I have been trying to respond in kind here. To create an alternative Aunt Sally. But it has a weakness compared with the Magisterium and Canon Law. It's a personal interpretation, not in any way normative for other Protestants. That is both a strength and a weakness.

[ 02. February 2014, 16:34: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
I don't think anyone is suggesting that the Catholic Church can, should or will change its received doctrine on the indisolubility of marriage. But marriages are disolved, or rather undone, by the annulment process. So what if the annulment procedure were to be seriously re-examined and overhauled. Fr Peter Daly of Washington DC suggests here that moving in the direction of Orthodox practice, annulment could be a pastoral issue rather than a legal one, in which the priest could assess the sincerity and suitability of candidates for remarriage and admittance to the Eucharist.

And yet, by endorsing such an "overhaul", you and Fr Daly are precisely "suggesting that the Catholic Church can or should change its received doctrine on the indisolubility of marriage". Adopting the Orthodox model would be doing just that.
[Confused]
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
Since according to constant Catholic teaching a valid Catholic sacramental marriage cannot be dissolved the Church has to look as closely as possible at what constitutes such a marriage.Have those who have taken part in the rite really and truly understood what they were doing ? I'm not thinking here about those who had at the time of the 'marriage' no real intention of holding to their promises,nor of those who are too immature to understand,but has the average couple really thought everything through ?
Civil society has nowadays a completely different view of marriage from that of the Catholic Church and many Catholics are affected by this and divorce almost as much as the generality of the population of annulment.A new look at the various possibilities of annulment is the only way forward.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Forthview:
A new look at the various possibilities of annulment is the only way forward.

But what do you mean by that?
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
But what do you mean by that?

I can't speak for Forthview, but it seems to me that modern society has devalued marriage so much that many people may enter into it without a proper understanding of what a sacramental marriage means. Last year, a Latin American Cardinal, and I can't find the link or remember his name, posited a figure of 50% of marriages being defective. A reform of the annulment process is the only realistic change which could be made for those, including the Holy Father, who want change.

Many conservatives don't want any change, and some, such as IngoB have advocated, on another thread, a much tougher annulment process such as in 1917! In those days, divorce was rare, and annulment rarer. But my point, in the OP, is that everything the Holy Father has done, from sending out questionaires, to convening the extraordianry synod, seem to mean that he wants a change, in favour of mercy, for some remarried divorcees, depending on their circumstances. So my question remains: what can he, or should he do? What concessions are available?
 
Posted by Organ Builder (# 12478) on :
 
Just suppose for a moment the synod were to decide annulments should be handled at the diocesan level. That would be a major shift which might well mean a lot more annulments overall. It would be a purely administrative change, however--not a doctrinal change.

I don't really expect that to happen, but I think that is the sort of room they might have to effect change.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
What do I mean about looking at annulment again ?
Well,it's not just'let's call the whole thing off' by declaring the marriage null and void.It would be having a close look at the whole theory of what constitutes an indissoluble sacramental marriage . Many people contracting marriage can have little idea of what they are letting themselves in for.
We live in an imperfect world.Even in the Church there is imperfection in the reception of the Sacraments.God is always true but we human beings are not.Holy Mother Church has to consider the weaknesses of her members,whilst always pointing to the ideal.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
You win Barnabas62. I DO accept that ancient neo-Platonic Roman sacraments are honestly, faithfully held by decent, humane leaders. And that Protestants are incoherent. Hypocritical even, I've seen it, heard it, been there in the pews while one thing was repeatedly said and another thing - a blind eye and even acceptance and more: blessing, remarriage - was done, constantly. They are incoherent because they share the same sacrament but can't enforce it as they'll empty the pews.

The Roman position is much more coherent. And no matter how good, honest, decent, faithful the agents of it, inhumane.

A gentile slave wife of a Jew had more rights to happiness.

Christendom fails mankind again.
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
Perhaps another reason why the pope wants some changes is because the present systen is so transparently corrupt. Here I see some interesting statistics. 60% of the world's annulments take place in the United States, a country with just under 6% of the world's Catholics. In the US, 96% of annunlment applications are granted. In Canada it's 99.5 %, 98% in Ausralia, 82% in Germany and 79.5% in Poland. I know a Polish lady who wanted to apply for an annulment in Poland and was told that it could take several years and cost around 30,000zl (just under £6,ooo). They're certainly raking in the money here! She gave up attending church!

These statistics are appalling. Because the US has a high divorce rate, in fact you could call it a divorce culture, as we have here in the UK as well, the Catholic Church, even where it upholds, in priciple, the indissolubility of marriage, finds ways to bypass this law, sometimes granting annulments to people married for 25 years who have several children. In other words this system isn't working. It's trying its best to maintain an unchageable law, while changing it at every possible turn. In that sense, there is integrity in what serious conservatives say. Restrict the annulment process to the few genunine cases where it's appropriate. And further empty the churches!

Otherwise admit something is wrong and look for genuine ways to fix it. Which could involve a simple appeal to mercy. Don't condone remarriage, but see it as a failure to live up to the ideal, so normal to the human condition. I read an intersting comment from a woman on a website. She had left an abusive husband and taken two very small children with her. After several years of poverty and struggle, she met a man and subsequently married him, and the had another child. She said her second husband was a wonderful father and role model to all her children. She'd brought her children up as Catholics, but had not taken communion for 31 years at the time of writing. She pointed out that if, instead of leaving her abusive husband, she'd murdered him,s she'd have been reconciled to the Church long ago!
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
In the US, 96% of annunlment applications are granted. In Canada it's 99.5 %, 98% in Ausralia, 82% in Germany and 79.5% in Poland.

While there can be little doubt that the number of annulments in the West is too high, these numbers are misleading. The first step of an annulment procedure is to have a meeting with one's parish priests, who discusses the situation and advises on procedure. Ideally, the parish priest should advise against entering the annulment process if there is little chance of success, and ideally the couple would follow this advice (instead of wasting time and money). So if the parish priests in the USA are particularly competent in dealing with canon law concerning marriage, or perhaps incompetent but successful at discouraging potential applications, then this "filtering" would mean that most applications that are nevertheless made should be successful. To make some quick and dirty estimates: There are about 1.2 million divorces in the USA per year. About 20% of the population is Catholic, so if Catholics divorce (in a civil sense) at about the same rate as everybody else (as I've been told several times in the past), then that would mean about 240,000 Catholic divorces per year. There are about 35,000 annulments per year. So about one sixth of all Catholic divorcees seek an annulment. Without a doubt many who divorce just don't bother getting an annulment, but there is no indication here of a simple one-to-one match between divorce and annulment.

quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
the Catholic Church, even where it upholds, in priciple, the indissolubility of marriage, finds ways to bypass this law, sometimes granting annulments to people married for 25 years who have several children.

This is a frequent, yet nevertheless ignorant, complaint. The annulment process is concerned with the question whether a valid marriage was in fact contracted when the couple appeared to have married. It is in no way or form an investigation of what followed after the marriage ceremony, unless later behaviour provides evidence about what was the case earlier. To put it differently, most people - in particular also liberals of all stripes - would agree that a man and a woman can live together for 25 years and have several children, without being married. If they can do so without marriage, then they certainly can do so with an invalid marriage. Again, an annulment is not a judgement about the current status of a relationship, or about all the time that has passed since the marriage ceremony. It is merely a judgement about what happened at the marriage ceremony, at that time and place with those people as they were then.

quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
In that sense, there is integrity in what serious conservatives say. Restrict the annulment process to the few genunine cases where it's appropriate. And further empty the churches!

The Church does not need bums on pews, it needs faithful believers. The Church is neither an entertainment business, nor a social club. Its rules are not determined by popularity, but by the will of God. I would much rather meet in a shack with three people who actually are Catholic than in a cathedral with three hundred that only retain the label.

quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
She'd brought her children up as Catholics, but had not taken communion for 31 years at the time of writing. She pointed out that if, instead of leaving her abusive husband, she'd murdered him,s she'd have been reconciled to the Church long ago!

If she had repented of that murder at some point, yes. She has not repented of her remarriage though.

Anyhow, is it really so impossible to leave this "unresolved" situation be? The Church can do no other and perhaps the woman also can do no other. I would be more than happy to reckon those 31 years of obedience to the Church concerning communion (and bringing up of children) as a kind of compensation for the 31 years of disobedience to the Church on marriage. Perhaps some things are broken such that we cannot heal it. Perhaps some wounds will remain open till a greater Healer than we are comes back. Perhaps not all problems have a solution in this world, and perhaps this is one of them. Perhaps sometimes the cross we must bear is that nothing can be done about something.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Paul, perhaps it might help if I linked here to my earlier post in the thread, which also discussed the Annulment Nation article?

And this article provides the interesting additional information that in the US, for every annulment, there are 6.5 divorces. Catholic annulment rates, as well as being in absolute decline in the US, look as though they are in relative decline compared with Catholic divorce rates. Catholic divorce rates are much lower than for the US overall, but are still above 1 in every 4 marriages.

Lifetime marriage is in crisis across the US, in all categories. I think the stats for annulment need to be seen in that context as well.

[ 03. February 2014, 01:38: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
A crosspost, IngoB, but I see it confirmed part of your post. Happy to record agreement with the rest of your post also. Both sticking to principles and modifying our understandings of principles have consequences for ourselves and may have knock-on effects on others.

Ditching our principles purely because of consequences brings us into the dodgy moral malleability of pragmatism. Sometimes that may seem best, sometimes it may indeed be the best bad choice around, but we'd better be aware of the cost of it.

[ 03. February 2014, 08:16: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
If she had repented of that murder at some point, yes. She has not repented of her remarriage though.

This is a useful analogy, because what the RCC is doing to divorcees is the same as what the civil government does to murderers - it puts them in prison. The prison for a Catholic divorcee is a life with no opportunity to share marital love with anyone else.

In the case of murder, the church has a higher standard - it forgives in response to repentance. It says "You may be in a human prison but to God you are redeemed."

So why is it different with regard to marriage?

Does the church not have a sacrament related to life - baptism, which celebrate new human and spiritual life? Why is taking a life - and even the life of a fellow Catholic - something that can be forgiven on repentance alone? But ending a marriage is only forgiven through a lifetime of celibate penance?
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
You've put my thoughts comparing murder and remarriage in to words seekingsister.

One might as well murder ones spouse to remarry as that is obviously the lesser evil.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Because Catholicism sees the bond as indissoluble, therefore ongoing, so repentance involves stopping living as though that was not true. It.s the difference between repenting of a terrible wrong and continuing to live as though a lie was true.

Of course that seems terribly unfair if like me, you believe the bond can be dissolved. But it is not unfair if the belief in indissolubility of the marriage bond is true.

It always comes back to that. From outside the fold, I can see that.
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
This still doesn't address what several of us (PaulTH, Martin, myself) are trying to understand. If someone kills their spouse and then repents of the murder, they are free to remarry in the RCC. But if someone divorces their spouse and repents of the divorce, but they cannot reconcile, they are NOT free to remarry.

Let's have another example. If a thief confesses to an RCC priest, is forgiveness withheld until the thief returns the item to the person it was stolen from? Or until they pay back what they took? Or is forgiveness based on genuine repentance and commitment never to do it again?
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
It does address it. I don't like the fact that it does, but it does. I think you are playing consequences with a principle. Indissolubility has an ongoing lifetime impact, even after physical separation. It cannot not do that, if it is true.

How that relates in detail to confession and absolution is a matter for a Catholic to answer here. There are many things I don't understand about Catholicism.
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
It does address it. I don't like the fact that it does, but it does. I think you are playing consequences with a principle. Indissolubility has an ongoing lifetime impact, even after physical separation. It cannot not do that, if it is true.


Just pointing out this rather unfortunate loophole - that by making marriage vows indissoluable until death, it also makes death the only thing that can dissolve marriage.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Absolutely. But it is a consequence that a perverse human being might see as a loophole if looking for a way to benefit personally. Which I imagine is just as obvious to a Catholic priest in the performance of his pastoral and sacramental duties as it is to the rest of us. For all I know, that and similar situations may already be covered by Canon Law or the Magisterium. Gaining benefit from heinous deeds, or abusing forgiveness, would seem to be well zapped by a couple of the parables.

[ 03. February 2014, 15:50: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Fr Weber (# 13472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:


In the case of murder, the church has a higher standard - it forgives in response to repentance. It says "You may be in a human prison but to God you are redeemed."

So why is it different with regard to marriage?

How is it different?

Divorce and remarriage are adultery as far as the RCC is concerned. Repentance entails not just sorrow for the sin you have committed, but also that you cease immediately and resolve not to commit it again.

Say your spouse has an affair. You find out and confront him. He apologizes very sincerely, but refuses to end the affair. Is he repentant?
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
This is a useful analogy, because what the RCC is doing to divorcees is the same as what the civil government does to murderers - it puts them in prison. The prison for a Catholic divorcee is a life with no opportunity to share marital love with anyone else.

The analogy is flawed. The government punishes murderers for the murder they committed. The RCC does not punish divorcees for the divorce they had. All the RCC is saying that as far as marriage goes, you have exactly one shot (unless your current spouse dies before you). If you marry someone, then you are taking that shot. It is no good complaining later that you want another shot. There simply is no other shot. The Church cannot give you what does not exist. Of course, you can have intimate relationships and co-habitate and for that matter have a dozen kids. But if you have entered the union of one flesh with someone else, then you simply are unified with them until the flesh of one of you disappears with death. It does not matter in the slightest how they or you behave. It is not a question of "marriage performance", there is no quality score that determines whether you are still married or anything like that. For that matter, your opinion and that of your spouse about your relationship does not count either.

A more proper analogy would be to losing your virginity. You can do that only once as well (minus a discussion of various orifices, please). It does not matter how great or terrible the sex is. It does not matter whether your sexual partner is the man/woman of your dreams or a total loser on a drunken night. No amount of singing "like a virgin" in fact restores virginity. If it is gone, it is gone, and the person who took it is the person who took it. Now, unlike virginity one cannot be married against one's will. Any attempt to do so will invalidate the marriage, thank God. Yet it shares the same characteristic of a "bodily action that can only be performed once" (as long as the chosen partner remains alive).

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
Does the church not have a sacrament related to life - baptism, which celebrate new human and spiritual life? Why is taking a life - and even the life of a fellow Catholic - something that can be forgiven on repentance alone? But ending a marriage is only forgiven through a lifetime of celibate penance?

Every sin can be forgiven if you stop doing it and repent of it. No sin can be forgiven if you don't. The "remarried" live in ongoing adultery, since they remain married to their original spouse. That's assuming they do not live "like brother and sister" with their new partner, which is allowed, of course. Hence they cannot be forgiven. At least not in the technical sense of being absolved of this sin. One can certainly have all the understanding in the world for the situation, and everybody involved can be "totally OK" with the new arrangement - and yet there simply is no way to normalise this in the ultimate sense. The previous union is independent of what people think about it. Sacraments are not merely signs, they do create realities.

quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
One might as well murder ones spouse to remarry as that is obviously the lesser evil.

"For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it. (Matt 19:12) I do not think that this just refers to literally getting your genitalia cut off. This is the alternative Jesus proposes to the stunned apostles, when he lays down the new law on marriage. In other news, Christianity can involve carrying crosses.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
Just pointing out this rather unfortunate loophole - that by making marriage vows indissoluable until death, it also makes death the only thing that can dissolve marriage.

The RCC is old... don't teach your grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand -grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-gran d-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-gra nd-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-mother to suck eggs:

Canon 1090 §1. Anyone who with a view to entering marriage with a certain person has brought about the death of that person’s spouse or of one’s own spouse invalidly attempts this marriage.
§2. Those who have brought about the death of a spouse by mutual physical or moral cooperation also invalidly attempt a marriage together.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Jesus isn't inhumane.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Jesus isn't inhumane.

Matt 16:22-28.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
If one were to commit murder or procure abortion this would be consider by both state and church as a sin/crime (0kay, perhaps not the abortion on the part of the state).
If one were to repent of the murder then the Church would give absolution - assuming genuine repentance.This would not necessarily mean that the state would forgive you,nor that there would be no penalty to pay - imprisonment or even death
sentence.

For a validly contracted Catholic marriage a civil divorce is merely a civil divorce.
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
IngoB - the fundamental issue remains:

The RCC says the marriage bond CANNOT be broken. It's reason for this comes from a good place. It is trying to highlight and emphasize the important of sexual morality and fidelity. I think most Christians agree with the logic behind it, in theory.

What I and others are saying, is that surely there is a level of sin or in some tragic marriages evil that can infiltrate the relationship, such that God's blessing and "indissolvable" bond no longer exists.

That God blesses conjugal relations between a frightened wife with her abusive husband, but curses the wife remarrying a Christian man with whom to raise Christian children - it is mindboggling to me. It is saying that God is incapable of redeeming a situation caused solely by human sin. It says that evil within a marriage is justifiable because God said it is. It says that God is restricted by His Sacraments, rather than that they are indications of His wonder and might and I-can't-even-get-my-head-around-how-amazing-You-are-ness.

You may enjoy the "logic" of such a character but the God I worship isn't bound by promises made by sinful humans.
 
Posted by Organ Builder (# 12478) on :
 
Info, if I've missed it I am sorry, but I find myself wondering how YOU would answer one of Paul's initial queries--what scope do you think the synod will have for change? It seems obvious from the outside that Pope Francis must think there is room to do something, or he wouldn't bother with a Synod.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
seekingsister if there is the level of evil which
you posit,perhaps the marriage was never a real marriage and it could be declared null and void.
 
Posted by Organ Builder (# 12478) on :
 
Damn phone. My last post was supposed to be addressed to IngoB.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
The RCC says the marriage bond CANNOT be broken. It's reason for this comes from a good place. It is trying to highlight and emphasize the important of sexual morality and fidelity.

Yes, but above all it is trying to follow what it believes to be the clear teaching of the Lord. Lose sight of that and you'll never understand where Catholics are coming from.
quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
What I and others are saying, is that surely there is a level of sin or in some tragic marriages evil that can infiltrate the relationship, such that God's blessing and "indissolvable" bond no longer exists.

I think your scare quotes indicate the tension here: either God has decreed that a truly contracted marriage is for life or He hasn't - and if He has hasn't then a whole lot more than second or third marriages is going to be on the cards.
quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
That God blesses conjugal relations between a frightened wife with her abusive husband, but curses the wife remarrying a Christian man with whom to raise Christian children - it is mindboggling to me. It is saying that God is incapable of redeeming a situation caused solely by human sin.

It's only the way you are choosing to phrase this here that is creating a tension, I think. God is cursing precisley nothing. God lets us do pretty much what we will, including willingly binding ourselves. If we choose to do so, we bind ourselves. God can redeem what He chooses - but God keeps His promises too. And God can make good come from whatever we will let Him. But some things will only be as good as we permit. Redeeming a bad marriage is not synonymous with, or necessarily conditional upon, contacting another. The Church permits ways out of bad but valid marriages - it's just that subsequent ones are neither permitted nor even possible means of escape.
quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
It says that evil within a marriage is justifiable because God said it is. It says that God is restricted by His Sacraments, rather than that they are indications of His wonder and might and I-can't-even-get-my-head-around-how-amazing-You-are-ness.

No. It doesn't. I can't even see how you can get to that conclusion.
quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
You may enjoy the "logic" of such a character but the God I worship isn't bound by promises made by sinful humans.

Is He bound by His own promises, even? Does He prevent sinful humans from binding themselves to obligations towards others and towards Him? Consistency is a part of logic - and it doesn't need scare quotes.

Being a Christian is tough - but none of the toughness of the Christian life is arbitrarily or superfluously chucked in by God. It is only as tough as it needs to be. Trying to make it less so isn't merciful or good. Catholics are trying to keep the necessary rigour only - forgive us if you think we've got that wrong, but allow us to be acting in good faith.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
What does that say IngoB? That He IS inhumane? In the name of Plato? Or that I am Satan for suggesting that He isn't? For suggesting that He extends compassion beyond gentile slave wives. Rather than bind a burden that no celibate has to endure. It seems that the progressive revelation of Exodus has rolled back even further.

[ 03. February 2014, 21:30: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
Of course, the RCC leadership expects its clergy to live with celibacy without complaint. Perhaps this is partly why it expects the same of divorcees.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
The RCC says the marriage bond CANNOT be broken. It's reason for this comes from a good place. It is trying to highlight and emphasize the important of sexual morality and fidelity. I think most Christians agree with the logic behind it, in theory. What I and others are saying, is that surely there is a level of sin or in some tragic marriages evil that can infiltrate the relationship, such that God's blessing and "indissolvable" bond no longer exists

A Catholic doesn't have to put that "CANNOT" in all caps, just to make sure that everybody knows that one is really, really serious this time. Until the marriage bond dissolves, whereupon one becomes amazingly understanding for the situation. No, for a Catholic the marriage bond is in fact unbreakable. That's it. That's all there is to it. Really. Water is wet. Circles are round. Sacramental marriage cannot be broken by human means. There is just ... nothing ... to .. talk ... about ... there. You are like people standing in front of a stone saying "But maybe it's a butterfly. Or perhaps we are all dreaming. Or it is a Vegan energy vortex that looks like a stone right now, but will suddenly start firing death rays. Or it is piece of cheese reciting poetry. Or ..." No, it's a fucking stone. Stone. Rock-thing. Solid. Mineral. Here, let me drop it on your foot, that might help you remember....

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
That God blesses conjugal relations between a frightened wife with her abusive husband, but curses the wife remarrying a Christian man with whom to raise Christian children - it is mindboggling to me.

God does bless neither abuse and marital rape nor adultery. But whatever the heck people get up to in their relationships and intimacy simply does not change whether they are married to each other or not. Just like your taste in music does not change that you have ears. Or that you will find it difficult to appreciate music if your are born without ears. (Please spare me a discussion about disabilities, I am not making a point about actual deafness there!)

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
It is saying that God is incapable of redeeming a situation caused solely by human sin.

Well, I don't know about "incapable", that would be an interesting theological discussion. But God sure as heck is utterly unwilling to redeem a situation caused solely by human sin. Quite apart from various noises about Divine grace one could make in this context, human repentance is actually necessary for sins to be forgiven. God doesn't just wave a magic wand and a purely sinful situation becomes good.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
It says that evil within a marriage is justifiable because God said it is.

WTF? No it isn't. And nobody has said anything that would suggest that it is.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
It says that God is restricted by His Sacraments, rather than that they are indications of His wonder and might and I-can't-even-get-my-head-around-how-amazing-You-are-ness.

Here's the deal. You don't get to tell God when He has to swing into action and use His amazingness to save the day. Hence you cannot tell whether this or that relationship has been super-awesomed by Him. So if you tell people that their non-married relationship has been Divinely groovified, then you are lying to them, because you don't know that. And if His Coolness happened to have left the building, then quite possibly you, yes, you with your lies about God, are responsible for the couple hotting up in hell eventually. (If you still believe in hell. Otherwise think of God being mildly disappointed a their adultery or something...) What you can tell them though is what God told us. You can stick to the marriage rulebook. Yes, that's totally unhip and all, but it has this key advantage: you are not playing God.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
You may enjoy the "logic" of such a character but the God I worship isn't bound by promises made by sinful humans.

How depressing, so your baptism basically means whatever God may feel like? Your promises, or those of your parents, do not bind God? (Mind you, of course only God can bind God. But He has. And what He has bound himself to pretty much are the promises of sinful humans...)

quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Or that I am Satan for suggesting that He isn't?

You are doing exactly what St Peter did there. Well, no, that's not really fair to St Peter. He cared about the life of the Lord, you care about intimate relationships, ... well, sex, really.

quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
It seems that the progressive revelation of Exodus has rolled back even further.

There is exactly one valid progressive revelation after Christ. It usually goes by a Latin name: Magisterium.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Pope Francis's recent observations.

Clearly, as has been mentioned earlier, he thinks the current policy re nullity and pastoral care needs to be reviewed, and clearly this is spooking the more traditional views of Holy Tradition.

The mere (and highly qualified) mention of the different Orthodox view of divorce and remarriage is causing some alarm bells to ring.

Here are some Q and A from an Orthodox website. The link may bring you to half way down the page so scroll back to the top. You will note the use of the term pastoral "economia", the term to which Pope Francis referred.

This summary from the Orthodox answer is striking.

quote:
From an Orthodox perspective, divorce and remarriage belong to human weakness and failure. The Orthodox Church allows remarriage out of mercy and for the salvation of its faithful whose first marriage has died. Alexander Schmemann - a prominent Orthodox theologian - speaks of the "condescending" of the Church "to the unfathomable tragedies of human existence" when speaking about remarriage and divorce. As such, pastoral economia take into account the fact that Christian people are surrounded with erotic propaganda, urbanization, uprootedness and a culture that is at odds with Christian values.
Now from my limited knowledge, the Orthodox do not have any equivalent to the Magisterium. Views differ over the interpretation of Tradition (Orthodox view) and so the views quoted here may not represent the opinions of all Orthodox.

But they do show that there has been at least an argument over this for over a thousand years, predating the schism and the rise of Protestantism.

IngoB asserts that the argument is closed for Catholics. There are some signs that the Pope may wish to re-open it, at least to a limited extent.

Here is another quotation, this time from Pope Francis, which suggests that annulment is in the eye, as well as "economia"

quote:
We are moving towards a somewhat deeper pastoral care of marriage. And this is a problem for everyone, because there are so many of them, no? For example, I will only mention one: Cardinal Quarracino, my predecessor, used to say that as far as he was concerned, half of all marriages are null. But why did he say this? Because people get married lacking maturity, they get married without realizing that it is a life-long commitment, they get married because society tells them they have to get married. And this is where the pastoral care of marriage also comes in. And then there is the legal problem of matrimonial nullity, this has to be reviewed, because ecclesiastical tribunals are not sufficient for this. It is complex, the problem of the pastoral care of marriage.
It is complex, the pastoral care of marriage. Too right it is. Defending the age old principle, the age old ideal, yet showing mercy to those who suffer through its practice, who fail in the process. The church has to ride both horses somehow. Intransigence just doesn't cut it.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
That's one too many. There has always only ever been one progressive revelation in Christ which has continued since way before Plato and Moses.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
What a superb false dichotomy IngoB. Well done. That's your best yet! Ohhhhhhh! You weren't aware of it! Well you are now.
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
A Catholic doesn't have to put that "CANNOT" in all caps, just to make sure that everybody knows that one is really, really serious this time.

You should say the Roman Catholic Church, and not "a Catholic." I know divorced and remarried Catholics. A good number of them in fact. So they would disagree with you on this. I'm discussing the teachings of the RCC which differ significantly from the reality that Catholics experience in their own lives and marriages.


[
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
God does bless neither abuse and marital rape nor adultery. But whatever the heck people get up to in their relationships and intimacy simply does not change whether they are married to each other or not.

The RCC says that God intends the abuse victim to remain with her abuser or to be alone for the rest of her life. Those are the actions that the church says He condones. Therefore He must approve. We tend to refer to God's approval as a blessing or grace, do we not?

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Well, I don't know about "incapable", that would be an interesting theological discussion. But God sure as heck is utterly unwilling to redeem a situation caused solely by human sin.

Andy you know this how exactly? You speak quite authoritatively here and I wonder what makes you think you are capable of doing so. When a child is born of rape, Catholics tends to say even though the child was conceived in sin they are a blessing and through baptism will be received as God's child. Isn't that redemption of a situation caused solely by human sin?

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
WTF? No it isn't. And nobody has said anything that would suggest that it is.

Someone has - the RCC. I have mentioned elsewhere, I did work in a Catholic part of Africa with high HIV rates. Faithful Catholic women married to cheating Catholic husbands ended up HIV-positive and having HIV positive children. They remain in that situation upon the church's guidance and teachings. They are poor and cannot afford to separate from their husbands. Is this God's plan for marriage, in your view?

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Here's the deal. You don't get to tell God when He has to swing into action and use His amazingness to save the day. Hence you cannot tell whether this or that relationship has been super-awesomed by Him.

Umm...have you not heard of the Holy Spirit? Or do you think He only speaks to the RCC leadership? You actually don't think a Christian can know if their choices or actions are in line with God's expectations or plans for them?
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
Barnabas, it seems to me that in the quote you give us from Pope Francis what he is suggesting is precisely compatable with the existing theology and doctrine of marriage - inculding the whole teaching of indissolubility. Another reason to conclude that the Synod will not change a jot or tittle of the teaching on marriage.

Now, suggesting that perhaps half the marriages contracted these days are automaticaly null - using the existing criteria for assessing that - points to a very big problem for the Church. First, a practical one of how to handle the sheer number of potential annulment cases that might result; second, a difficulty in sending out the right message about marriage being indissoluble whilst admitting so many marriages to be soluble because of defects.

It seems to me that the real solution to this is better catechesis and preparation so that Catholics are not ignorant of what they are contracting when they marry. But what will precisely not help with that would be a more relaxed and "pastoral" attitude towards the sacredness of the marriage bond, such as the Orthodox concession towards human weakness, which in fact exacerbates the problem by giving the impression that you get two or three strikes at marriage before you're out.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
You actually don't think a Christian can know if their choices or actions are in line with God's expectations or plans for them?

Depressingly seldom are we given such certainty, and even then usually in negative ways (i.e., we know we do what God wants when we do not do such things as murder, cheat and blaspheme).
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
It seems to me that the real solution to this is better catechesis and preparation so that Catholics are not ignorant of what they are contracting when they marry. But what will precisely not help with that would be a more relaxed and "pastoral" attitude towards the sacredness of the marriage bond, such as the Orthodox concession towards human weakness, which in fact exacerbates the problem by giving the impression that you get two or three strikes at marriage before you're out.

But ignorance isn't the problem. Many marriages that break down, do not do so because one or both parties didn't understand properly that what they were committing to. It's because one or both becomes unable or unwilling to do so.

If anything the church needs to do more post-marriage pastoral care, not more pre-Cana.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
But they do show that there has been at least an argument over this for over a thousand years, predating the schism and the rise of Protestantism.

No, it doesn't, unless you know more than I do. I never have been able to determine when the Orthodox teaching on marriage arose in roughly its present form. But I see no particular reason to believe that it arose at the Great Schism. For all I know, this may have been the practice of the East centuries before and contributed to the Great Schism. Or indeed it could have arisen much later, like other changes to Orthodox teaching (e.g., Palamite theology).

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
IngoB asserts that the argument is closed for Catholics. There are some signs that the Pope may wish to re-open it, at least to a limited extent.

This pope talks too much and too loosely. This constant building up of hype has to end in disaster one way or the other.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Here is another quotation, this time from Pope Francis, which suggests that annulment is in the eye, as well as "economy"

The Orthodox "economy" makes no sense. No only is it clearly sophistry to maintain that marriage bond is unbreakable, but that it nevertheless can die. Die by what precisely? Cholera? It is human action that kills the relationship, and that just is breaking the marriage bond by human means. But then the Orthodox do not even believe their own sophistry and turn remarriages into penitential affairs, and I think even allow only a couple of them. Say what? If my marriage can die on me, without me being ultimately responsible for it (since, we remember, human means cannot break it), then what precisely do I have to be sorry about? And why can't I remarry as many times as I want, just as someone whose spouses keep on dying (of natural causes...) is free to remarry as often as they dare? The whole Orthodox "economy" setup actually requires that it is human fault which broke the marriage. But then there is no need for talking about the marriage "dying", as if that was something separate to the spouses breaking it. I truly think that the only coherent alternative to the RC position is the liberal Protestant position, which declares life-long marriage as an ideal, which in practice is often not realised. That's sad, but not something to be particularly hung up about. If we fall, we get up, dust ourselves off and keep on going.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
It is complex, the pastoral care of marriage. Too right it is. Defending the age old principle, the age old ideal, yet showing mercy to those who suffer through its practice, who fail in the process. The church has to ride both horses somehow. Intransigence just doesn't cut it.

Nice try. But "ideal" is not the same as "principle". We can fail to live up to an ideal, and yet that ideal remains our ideal. But we cannot fail a principle without de facto abandoning it. Our principles just are what we will not compromise, come what may.

There is a real difference there. A principle comes first, with any and all accommodation only possible if it is in fact being maintained. Yes, you heard me right, a principle comes before people. And no, that is not "inhumane" as such. In fact, I would argue that this is one key difference between humans and animals: the ability to have principles that are stronger than the present demands, no matter how pressing. Principles of course can be good, bad, or ugly - like anything. That something is a principle does not make it good automatically. But pretending that ideals and principles are the same is what does not cut it. I'm fine with people going for the "ideal" line of thought. They are wrong in my opinion, but at least their nay is a nay to my yea. Where it all becomes unsavoury is precisely where one pretends to be guarding principle but actually is just proposing an ideal.

(Just to be precise: I do not think that the indissolubility of sacramental marriage is a principle. I think that is fact, an objective part of reality quite independent of what anybody thinks about it. The principle is rather to acknowledge this fact as fact, and to turn it into practice.)
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
While there can be little doubt that the number of annulments in the West is too high, these numbers are misleading.

The thing that strikes me about this concession is the surely this means that you think that the Church is declaring marriages which are in fact valid, indissoluable, sacraments to be nullities. And therefore those acting as though free from those putative marriages are in fact committing adultery with the sanction of the Church.

Is that right? I can see that no issues of strict infallibility are raised here, but all the same, from my Protestant viewpoint, that would caution me not to go 'all-in' in relying on the Church's authority, if her official acts can be badly wrong.

I can also see that where the Church's tribunal simply called it wrong, moral culpability for the sin of adultery must be reduced (and possibly extinguished) for those acting on the decision in good faith. I also see that where the applicant lies to get an annulment, the Church is not at fault, nor can the perjurer claim the annulment as extenuating circumstances. But all the same, if I were a Catholic, the fact that my Church is formally and officially declaring marriages to be void which in reality are valid would bother me.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
And why can't I remarry as many times as I want, just as someone whose spouses keep on dying (of natural causes...) is free to remarry as often as they dare?

I was under the impression that in the Orthodox Church re-marriage after one's spouse's death is also limited, in the same way as re-marriage after divorce.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
I know divorced and remarried Catholics. A good number of them in fact. So they would disagree with you on this.

And I should respect their opinion, why?

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
The RCC says that God intends the abuse victim to remain with her abuser or to be alone for the rest of her life. Those are the actions that the church says He condones. Therefore He must approve. We tend to refer to God's approval as a blessing or grace, do we not?

First, being sexually continent is not identical with being alone. People have relationships and emotions apart from sex. Second, to sort throughout your confusion about words seems besides the point, but no, these are not synonyms. Third, God may well approve, bless and give grace to someone's attempt to live in a sexual continent manner away from their abusive spouse. My list of things God does nor approve, bless or give grace to was "abuse, marital rape, adultery".

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
When a child is born of rape, Catholics tends to say even though the child was conceived in sin they are a blessing and through baptism will be received as God's child. Isn't that redemption of a situation caused solely by human sin?

The child does not get magically baptised. Somebody is bringing that child to be baptised by the Church. And the Church is baptising that child. These are human acts in this situation, and they are not sinful but good.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
I have mentioned elsewhere, I did work in a Catholic part of Africa with high HIV rates. Faithful Catholic women married to cheating Catholic husbands ended up HIV-positive and having HIV positive children. They remain in that situation upon the church's guidance and teachings. They are poor and cannot afford to separate from their husbands. Is this God's plan for marriage, in your view?

Since when is cheating part of God's plan for marriage? There is no general rule on whether one should separate over adultery or not, that's really up to the couple. Certainly an emphasis would be on forgiveness, as in all Christian life, but being inflicted with a deadly disease, and having one's child inflicted with a deadly disease, is sufficient reason to seek separation. However, if these women "are poor and cannot afford to separate from their husbands", then this is apparently is not due to "the church's guidance and teachings", but simply due to economic realities.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
You actually don't think a Christian can know if their choices or actions are in line with God's expectations or plans for them?

If your discernment of spirits speaks against the official teachings of the Church, then 99 times out of 100 you err. The 1 remaining case is interesting in many ways, but hardly as an excuse for very common sin.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
The thing that strikes me about this concession is the surely this means that you think that the Church is declaring marriages which are in fact valid, indissoluable, sacraments to be nullities. And therefore those acting as though free from those putative marriages are in fact committing adultery with the sanction of the Church. Is that right? I can see that no issues of strict infallibility are raised here, but all the same, from my Protestant viewpoint, that would caution me not to go 'all-in' in relying on the Church's authority, if her official acts can be badly wrong.

Yes, you are correct - I do assume that a large fraction of "annulled" marriages in places like the USA in fact were sacramental and hence remain in place. The ensuing adultery is sinful, but the Catholics proceeding in good faith on the Church's false judgement will not be culpable for it (unless they consciously misled the Church in arriving at that judgement, of course).

The Church is not some kind of undifferentiated chunk of infallible operations. I really and honestly have no idea why this would worry you as far as the authority of the Church is concerned. That authority is of course on full display here, it is precisely what most people here are bitching about! To insist on the indissolubility of marriage across the ages against relentless social and libidinal pressure just is that Holy Spirit supported infallible Church authority in all its glory. The other crap, from Pope Francis talking too much over the US bishops not closing down their annulment mills to individual Catholics lying through their teeth about how naive they were when they got married ... that is just humans being human, or perhaps more accurately fallen humans being fallen. Some of that is saintly, some sinful, all is part of the Church Militant tottering in a drunken stupor towards a dimly seen light.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I was under the impression that in the Orthodox Church re-marriage after one's spouse's death is also limited, in the same way as re-marriage after divorce.

Is that so? And are the marriage ceremonies for the widowed also "penitential"? I have no idea, and worse, I have no idea where I could look to find an authoritative answer. If so, on what grounds? 1 Cor 7:39 "A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If the husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord." (Followed by St Paul's suggestion that remaining a widow would be better, which is however clearly marked as not contradicting this statement.)
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
IngoB
quote:
You are doing exactly what St Peter did there. Well, no, that's not really fair to St Peter. He cared about the life of the Lord, you care about intimate relationships, ... well, sex, really.

We care about sex in intimate relationships in the life of the Lord.

Not Platonic forms serving patriarchy.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
IngoB

I think you mistake a principle for a universal. Your late replacement of principle by fact shows, I guess, that you recognise this. Principles differ from universals in having zones of applicability. We say, without subterfuge, that this principle which is good in general does not apply in this case.

And that is the nub of the argument.

Chesterbelloc

I do not think Pope Francis speaks too loosely. I think he is "on the money", theologically and pastorally. He may in the end have to accept that the most that can be done falls under these categories.

1. A much greater priority to be given in marriage preparation for Catholics. Not just on the meaning of vows but the realities of marriage as lived, it's real life challenges. Catholicism has made some adapted use of HTB Alpha Courses. You could with profit look at Nicky and Sila Lee's material on marriage preparation and marriage courses, also from the HTB stable. Frankly, I think the Lee's courses, which are much less well known, are much better than the Alpha Course.

2. A root and branch revision of the application of the annulment principles, both in terms of Canon Law application and pastoral application. The Pope is spot on. Far too many people enter marriage as a lifetime commitment without any real idea of what they are getting into and what they are saying and I suspect his predecessor is also right in asserting that a very high percentage of marriages are entered into invalidly as a result. Even though one may not be able to prove that.

3. Some merciful reconsideration of the communion restrictions on the casualties of the past and present administrative imperfections.

To lay all this misery at the door of human imperfection without doing something about the imperfect administration of present principles (or facts if you like) strikes me as an avoidance of real responsibilities.

In principle, I side with the Orthodox in their "economia" view of remarriage, but I can appreciate why Catholics cannot make that journey. That does not mean that there is not a heck of lot that could be done to improve the present sorry state of affairs across the Christian rainbow. Including Catholicism.

I suspect that Pope Francis may not be able to achieve all he would see as necessary, in one go. But there is room for, and need for, constructive improvement. That seems glaringly obvious. The survey results, about what Catholics actually do, and actually believe, as opposed to what they are supposed to do and supposed to believe, should make eye-opening reading.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
(Brief personal note: should have said before, but I won't be on board much for the next three days; routine medical procedure which includes some time in hospital and a bit of convalescence. Good thread this one, but I'll be missing for a little while).
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
I think one would discover huge discrepancies in every religious community between what the believers are invited to commit to and what they actually believe - similarly a huge discrepancy between the way they are expected to act and how they do act.
There are reckoned to be over one billion baptised Catholics.How many of them know or care much about the teachings of the Church,except in the vaguest of ways ?
Now some Catholics will say - only those who understand and follow every jot and tittle of the centuries old teaching of the Church are those who can be called 'Catholics'
Others will say: Jesus came to save the human race.His mystical body is seen within the Catholic Church (and administratively and organisationally most visible within that community linked in communion with the Roman Pontiff)He (and we) want all mankind to come to the Church.The Church teaches (or tries to teach)
about God's love and how we should respond to it.We wish to keep in touch and make as welcome as possible all those who claim a link of some sort with the Church. For what it is worth that is my viewpoint and I believe it to be the viewpoint of Pope Francis also.
And if it's not,it doesn't really matter to me !
 
Posted by Anyuta (# 14692) on :
 
yes, in the Orthodox church a second (or third) wedding ceremony is indeed more "penetential" than a first. This is because the "ideal" is one spouse per person per life (and afterlife). however, the economia simply means that we acknowledge that as fallen humans, we find it hard to live up to the ideal, and therefore some leeway to our human weaknesses is allowed. but it's not unlimited: hence the three chances thing... human weakness is one thing, but eventually you have to say "suck it up" (obviously not the official wording :-)). Priests, however, are held to a higher standard, therefore they are not allowed to re-marry, nor are they allowed to be re-married even before they become a priest (in most cases.. I don't know if there is any leeway in that at all), and even their WIFE is not allowed to be re-married. meaning if my husband decided to become a priest, he couldn't, because he is my second husband. in effect, yes, there is a certain acknowledgement that any second marriage is to some extent adultery.

Our view regarding sin is in general is one of setting (or more like acknowledging) a high standard, and then recognizing that while you may not be able to reach that standard, you do your best and God's grace/mercy makes up for the rest. it's not a matter of sin vs no sin. it's a matter of degree (I'm sure I'm wording that badly and that any Orthodox theologian could describe it much better, but this is my understanding). we are all sinners, even the saints.
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
IngoB:

Question for you back to the topic of the Extraordinary Synod - how would you react if the outcome is that remarried Catholics are allowed to participate in Holy Communion?

I assume you would accept the church's teaching, but what would your opinion on it be? That if the church says so it's right? Or would you privately think they'd made a mistake and caved into worldly pressures?
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
While there can be little doubt that the number of annulments in the West is too high, these numbers are misleading.

The thing that strikes me about this concession is the surely this means that you think that the Church is declaring marriages which are in fact valid, indissoluable, sacraments to be nullities. And therefore those acting as though free from those putative marriages are in fact committing adultery with the sanction of the Church. ...
A hit, a hit, a palpable hit.
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB
This pope talks too much and too loosely. This constant building up of hype has to end in disaster one way or the other.

Forgive my asking but are you claiming to know better than the Holy Father what he should say and not say?
quote:
And I should respect their opinion, why?
Even without any other reasons, that you are presumably expecting us to respect yours should be sufficient.
quote:
Originally posted by Anuta
Our view regarding sin is in general is one of setting (or more like acknowledging) a high standard, and then recognizing that while you may not be able to reach that standard, you do your best and God's grace/mercy makes up for the rest. it's not a matter of sin vs no sin. it's a matter of degree (I'm sure I'm wording that badly and that any Orthodox theologian could describe it much better, but this is my understanding). we are all sinners, even the saints.

[Overused] [Overused]
That makes a huge amount of sense to me. ISTM that's a major part of what Incarnation is about.

It certainly makes a lot more sense than proclaiming a logically pure ideal and then breaking those poor unfortunates who fall short of impeccable perfection over its wheels.
 
Posted by Palimpsest (# 16772) on :
 
It's interesting that no one on this thread has predicted that the result of the Synod will be A Committee To Investigate And Report Back Much Later.
Are people expecting any definitive action at the conclusion of the Synod?
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I think you mistake a principle for a universal.

[Roll Eyes] No, I mean this (OED Mac):

principle
1 a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning: the basic principles of justice.
• a rule or belief governing one's behaviour: struggling to be true to their own principles | she resigned over a matter of principle.
• morally correct behaviour and attitudes: a man of principle.

I certainly did not mean this (OED Mac)

universal
a thing having universal effect, currency, or application, in particular:
• Logic a universal proposition.
• Philosophy a term or concept of general application.

But you call this (OED Mac)

ideal
a person or thing regarded as perfect: you're my ideal of how a man should be.
• a standard or principle to be aimed at: tolerance and freedom, the liberal ideals.

a "principle", even though an ideal is only the aiming at, but not the application of, a principle.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Your late replacement of principle by fact shows, I guess, that you recognise this.

The only thing I recognised there is that sacramental marriage does not depend on opinions, ideals, principles, or whatever. It is basically a piece of personal history. WWII either happened, or it did not. If we have determined as part of general history that it did in fact happen, then it is utterly irrelevant for that fact of history what you may think about WWII. You might judge it bad or good, you may love the Axis or the Allies, you might believe that it was all a secret ploy of aliens. But if you say that there was no WWII, then you are primarily and fundamentally one thing: wrong.

Consequently, I can be principled about sacramental marriage, but sacramental marriage itself is not really a principle or an universal or an ideal. It is simply a personal historical reality. My principles rather come into play when I say that.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Principles differ from universals in having zones of applicability. We say, without subterfuge, that this principle which is good in general does not apply in this case.

[Killing me] Yes, a principle of marriage does not apply to marriage, because marriage clearly is not in the zone of applicability for a principle about marriage.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
And that is the nub of the argument.

You are not arguing anything there. You could argue that Christ did not actually declare marriage to be indissoluble. That would support your position. But what you are doing now is mere sophistry, frankly bordering on Dada. That you are so incredibly desperate to create some backdoor to my plain and simple principle suggests to me that you know that the argument for Christ not declaring marriage to be indissoluble is feeble.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
IngoB: Question for you back to the topic of the Extraordinary Synod - how would you react if the outcome is that remarried Catholics are allowed to participate in Holy Communion? I assume you would accept the church's teaching, but what would your opinion on it be? That if the church says so it's right? Or would you privately think they'd made a mistake and caved into worldly pressures?

It would depend entirely on what they say about that. I could imagine a statement that would completely satisfy me that this is the right decision. Heck, I can write one myself:

"While it remains true that a sexually active remarriage is ongoing adultery, we have been too chicken-shit to confront any number of ongoing grave violations of God's law. All those co-habitating fornicators that attend our masses, do we refuse them communion? No, we celebrate them for being young and yet coming to church. All those politicians who have been pushing abortion and contraception in the public sphere, are we systematically refusing them communion? No, we cozy up to them to share a bit of the limelight. The robber barons that impoverish our communities and destroy our environment, have we withheld communion from them given our newly declared preferential option for the poor? No, we try hard to catch the pecuniary morsels that drop off their tables. Given then that we are cowards ashamed of Christ, who are we to single out this particular group of sinners for special treatment? Let them eat the host to their spiritual sickness and death, it is the pastoral thing to do."

Such honesty and realism is of course not to be expected. If there is some generalised waffle about how spiritually wonderful laissez faire will be for all, then I will indeed grudgingly accept this as another instance of a grand tradition of Church SNAFU. And I end up in hell for my sins, then at least I will have the consolation that there is no room for me in the deepest circles of hell, given that they are overflowing with bishops. But if they change the teaching on marriage itself, if they attack the doctrine to justify their deed, then I will leave the RCC. It would be the Catholic thing to do. It may be the last thing I do as a Christian, but you will never catch me selling out the pearl of great price.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Forgive my asking but are you claiming to know better than the Holy Father what he should say and not say?

As far as his spoken / written interaction with the public goes - sure. I generally loathe the use of this saying attributed to St Francis "Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." But Pope Francis really should take this to heart.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Even without any other reasons, that you are presumably expecting us to respect yours should be sufficient.

I do not expect respect for what I say. I expect having to earn it.
 
Posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras (# 11274) on :
 
Ingo, I kmow you find Catholic apologetics a worthy intellectual challenge. However, won't you have egg on your face should the Holy Father ultimately determine to apply a principle of ekonomia to provide merciful dispensations to some of the divorced and re-partnered faithful of your communion?
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
It's like Sharia mortgage charges. Interest by another name.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
(Brief personal note: should have said before, but I won't be on board much for the next three days; routine medical procedure which includes some time in hospital and a bit of convalescence. Good thread this one, but I'll be missing for a little while).

(Brief personal response: all the best with that, Barnabas - we'll probably all still be here when you come back. [Biased] )
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
While there can be little doubt that the number of annulments in the West is too high, these numbers are misleading.

The thing that strikes me about this concession is the surely this means that you think that the Church is declaring marriages which are in fact valid, indissoluable, sacraments to be nullities. And therefore those acting as though free from those putative marriages are in fact committing adultery with the sanction of the Church. ...
A hit, a hit, a palpable hit.
How so, exactly? Did you miss IngoB's response (with which I would agree)?:
quote:
Yes, you are correct - I do assume that a large fraction of "annulled" marriages in places like the USA in fact were sacramental and hence remain in place. The ensuing adultery is sinful, but the Catholics proceeding in good faith on the Church's false judgement will not be culpable for it (unless they consciously misled the Church in arriving at that judgement, of course).


 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Thanks Chesterbelloc.

I'm not desperate to win this or any other argument, IngoB. You are just hard to engage with in discussion. What you find laughable makes me sad. Principles clash with one another sometimes.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Will you be able to bring it home in a jar? My son was most miffed they wouldn't let him keep his benign bone tumour. The pictures are unbelievable though.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Ditching our principles purely because of consequences brings us into the dodgy moral malleability of pragmatism. Sometimes that may seem best, sometimes it may indeed be the best bad choice around, but we'd better be aware of the cost of it.

Indissolubility of marriage isn't a moral principle - it's a metaphysical proposition.

There are indeed moral dilemmas about setting aside principles - such as the one about lying to he Nazis about where the Jews are hiding - but this only falls into that category once a moral principle - in this case the principle that one should remain celibate after a failed marriage - has been established.

I suspect there's some dodgy philosophy here to do with confusing is and ought. If Jesus gave us a moral imperative about how a man ought to treat his wife (a principle which admits of some exceptions even if we're not totally sure what they are), how does one deduce from that this metaphysical proposition, and then deduce from that a different moral imperative (without exception) about how an abandoned wife should spend the rest of her life ?

It seems to me quite possible to believe in a sentimental way that there is an ineradicable bond between oneself and someone one was married to (even though he's now living in Australia with a girl half his age) without that bond having much in the way of moral consequences - the is does not of itself imply an ought.

Marriage has a number of elements and sexual exclusiveness is only one of them - not the whole thing.

Or maybe it's a reification error - turning "bond" as a description of an aspect of relationship between two people into a metaphysical Thing.

You refer elsewhere to keeping promises, and that is a moral principle. But we've agreed that it's not an absolute principle - a promise to do wrong should not be kept.

And in the case of a civilly-remarried person, they have made promises to their second spouse. If keeping the original promise of no sex outside the first marriage means breaking the second promise to have and to hold etc, then it's very hard to see how the principle of promise-keeping can itself provide the moral imperative to underpin the Catholic position.

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
And in the case of a civilly-remarried person, they have made promises to their second spouse. If keeping the original promise of no sex outside the first marriage means breaking the second promise to have and to hold etc, then it's very hard to see how the principle of promise-keeping can itself provide the moral imperative to underpin the Catholic position.

It's not hard at all. It just shows what is perfectly obvious: that making certain promises means that one has no business making certain other ones thereafter. It is in fact part of the obligation I enter into when I promise you that I will spend all next Thursday helping you to move house in Birmingham that I will not undertake Barnabas that I will help him to do the same thing on the same in Dundee. I have no business making such a subsequent promise, and if I do my obligation remains to you, not to Barnabas. I wrong you both by such behaviour.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
It's just inhuman, inhumane, unreal. Platonic. People change. Against their will. Love that never fails fails. Mutual love that never fails. Fails. Isn't enough. And can converge again. And not.

A contract broken on Earth is broken in Heaven. In the one reality. Not super-positioned, broken on Earth and perfect in Heaven.
 
Posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras (# 11274) on :
 
It's what the Orthodox recognise.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
In other words that Christ never abrogated the principle of mercy, of humaneness, of rights, of freedom that even a Bronze Age Jew's gentile slave wife could expect?

Marriages are not made in or under an iron heaven.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Will you be able to bring it home in a jar? My son was most miffed they wouldn't let him keep his benign bone tumour. The pictures are unbelievable though.

[Killing me]
Despite certain present discomforts, that really made me laugh! Thanks, Martin. You are not the Messiah, you are a very naughty boy!
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
Ingo, I kmow you find Catholic apologetics a worthy intellectual challenge. However, won't you have egg on your face should the Holy Father ultimately determine to apply a principle of ekonomia to provide merciful dispensations to some of the divorced and re-partnered faithful of your communion?

I think Catholic apologetics is largely a waste of time, at least as far as making an impact on others goes. I just like to argue, and talking about my faith helps me to sort it out for myself.

Next, why would I have egg on my face? The pope would have egg on his face. Deviled egg. And if you read my little rant above, then you will notice that I do think that withholding communion from the remarried is "unfair". Just not in the way that everybody here is concerned about...

Actually, the whole thing is stir-crazy, again as mentioned in my little rant above. De facto the remarried demand that they be allowed to poison themselves. There's a whole chunk of Catholic - and scriptural - understanding missing there. Namely that you better present yourself worthily for communion, at your peril. The only way the remarried could possibly benefit from communion is if remarriage were allowed. And I doubt that even this pope will go that far. And if he did, then he would be an anti-pope to me, and simply another spiritual enemy, if a particularly large and nasty one. The only question then would be whether the gates of hell have prevailed against the Church, in which case Christianity would have been proven wrong and I would seek for true religion again. Or if there is somebody who can still reasonably claim to have filled the shoes of the apostles and St Peter. The latter is frankly rather unlikely...

In my time in the Church, we've so far had three mediocre to bad popes. A decent Polish philosopher who couldn't be arsed to bring his house into order and who was terrible at judging character, but who turned the papacy into a world-wide popular event. A good German theologian, who had little idea how to deal with the media, was basically dysfunctional at the administrative level and who bailed out of the papacy. Both were modernist to the core, being judged "conservative" merely against the standards set by the Spirit of Vatican II. Now we have a sort-of-liberal fast-waffling Jesuit, whose only saving grace appears to be that South Americans are so "backwards" as to actually believe in some Catholic teaching long abandoned by the majority in the West. Catholic hopes in the matter at hand rest on the shoulders of ++Müller, latest leader of the emasculated Holy Inquisition, who has been ... misunderstandable ... on the perpetual virginity and real presence. Meanwhile close to my lived reality as Catholic, the "novus ordo" masses I've attended regularly in several countries rarely are celebrated to the "novus ordo" standards that even I know about (and I do not even care about liturgy much) and if the sermons I hear are trite rather than crypto-heretic I count myself lucky.

Just for the record, I'm not writing this from a position of holiness either. And no, not from a "I am a saint but therefore I need to beat my breast over the smallest matters" lack of holiness either. I am a pretty sucky Catholic, indeed, Christian. But hell's bells, this clusterfuck of a Church doesn't make it easy to become a better Catholic Christian. I do shill a bit for the Catholic faith though. Because by my best guesstimate, it is true. I like truth. Particularly in the abstract...

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I'm not desperate to win this or any other argument, IngoB. You are just hard to engage with in discussion. What you find laughable makes me sad. Principles clash with one another sometimes.

Unlike Martin "progressive revelation means I get to make up shit about scripture" Biohazard, I think you are genuinely troubled by the obvious pressure of scripture on this matter. Me beating on you may well distract you from your own principles biting you hard. So hey, think about it in your own sweet time...
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
And you don't? Bless.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
hosting/

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Unlike Martin "progressive revelation means I get to make up shit about scripture" Biohazard

/hosting

Stop now or take it to Hell. This applies, as ever, to everyone else too.
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:


Marriage has a number of elements and sexual exclusiveness is only one of them - not the whole thing.


I'm a Roman Catholic. I'm married. I sincerely believe that I can never be married to anyone other than my husband while my husband is alive. I sincerely believe that any sexual relationship I have with another man while my husband is alive would be adultery.

But I don't think it is necessarily harder for God to forgive me on a Saturday evening for committing adultery than it would be for him to forgive me any other breach of the ten commandments.

I'm not sure I understand why a person in an adulterous relationship is singled out by the church as having chosen a life of unrepentant sin when a person who breaks another of the marriage vows (or of the ten commandments) routinely, every day, is not.
 
Posted by agingjb (# 16555) on :
 
I'm not a Catholic and my wife is not a Christian. We have been married for 33 years, "faithfully". Our previous history, and marriages, would not have led anyone to consider this probable.

Of course pastoral care from the local CofE is out of the question for us (well, me); at least there is no evidence of it being offered.

It could be argued that we have something to say on lasting relationships. but who would listen?

This is a roundabout way of saying that it is, in a sense, reassuring to know that we find no favour - no false hope of reconciliation or acceptance.
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
I keep trying to steer this conversation in the direction of what might actually happen at this Synod. No Catholic would dispute the insolubility of marriage, especially Pope Francis. The question is what to do about it when peoples lives have been less than perfect. For many years, exclusion was the only answer. Then came the era of Pope John Paul II who encoraged pastoral sensitivity rather than total exclusion. It only seems to me that Pope Francis wants to improve on that.

Three suggestions have been made about possible changes.
1. Look to the East.
2. Rely more on personal conscience(the Internal Forum solution).
3. Overhaul the anulment process.

Of these, I see 1 as the least likely because the Catholic understanding of marriage is different from that of the East. 2 would be my preferred option, provided it was carried out in full consultation with a priest. It wouldn't require the Church to change any of its principles it just allows people to make their own peace with God. 3 has possibilities, especially as the Holy Father has called the present arrangements insufficient. Perhaps it could be taken away from bureaucratic, legalistic diocesan tribunals and put into the hands of the parish.

Even if the Synod turns out to be just a talking shop with decisions put on the back burner for another 20 years, I hope that certain things will be emphsised. The Mass, as a sacrifice for the living and the dead, is efficacious even when we don't receive communion. In Italy in the 70's, I knew old women wh went to Mass every day, but only took communion once a year. Again many Orthodox Christians will attend the Divine Liturgy without rceiving communion if they haven't fasted and confessed beforehand.

I just hope the Holy Father means what he says that the time for mercy has come. I want a very different Church from that wanted by IngoB.
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
The pope would have egg on his face. Deviled egg .

I reckon the SSPX would welcome you with open arms! Salvation only for the tine remnant of a remnant. Extra SSPX, nulla salus and all that!
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
I'm not sure I understand why a person in an adulterous relationship is singled out by the church as having chosen a life of unrepentant sin when a person who breaks another of the marriage vows (or of the ten commandments) routinely, every day, is not.

I agree in principle, see rants above. However, there is a convenient Church-internal paper trail in the case of the remarried. The Church knows who is married to whom, and so if it is clear (for the parish priest, I suppose) that one of those registered sacramentally married people now is civilly married to someone else, then there is sufficiently clear evidence to act upon. Whereas for most breaches of the Ten Commandments the Church knows nothing definite except by self-reporting... What I consider as the main consistency problem of the RCC is the lack of similar hassle for the sacramentally unmarried who are either in a civil marriage or simply co-habitating. Last time I checked fornication was just as bad as adultery, and these couples can be identified just as readily (by the absence of a Church-internal paper trail). And likewise the parish priest would be the one who would have to identify the irregular couple, unless they make a point of their status themselves.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
I reckon the SSPX would welcome you with open arms! Salvation only for the tine remnant of a remnant. Extra SSPX, nulla salus and all that!

The SSPX has its own set of severe problems, as does the rad-trad scene in general. But it is sad that one cannot stand up for traditional Catholicism without being sorted into their bin. Sad for the RCC, that is, not for the SSPX. The SSPX must love this... it affirms their self-understanding.

Our of morbid interest, what do you believe happens if one partakes of Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin? Is that good, bad or neutral for one's spiritual and bodily health?
 
Posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras (# 11274) on :
 
Hasn't traditional teaching been that there are valid marriages under natural law and that these would hence not constitute fornication even though not solemnised by the Church? And as we've seen, ecclesiastical solemnisation is no guarantee of a true sacramental marriage being contracted.
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
I'm not sure I understand why a person in an adulterous relationship is singled out by the church as having chosen a life of unrepentant sin when a person who breaks another of the marriage vows (or of the ten commandments) routinely, every day, is not.

I agree in principle, see rants above. However, there is a convenient Church-internal paper trail in the case of the remarried. The Church knows who is married to whom, and so if it is clear (for the parish priest, I suppose) that one of those registered sacramentally married people now is civilly married to someone else, then there is sufficiently clear evidence to act upon. Whereas for most breaches of the Ten Commandments the Church knows nothing definite except by self-reporting... What I consider as the main consistency problem of the RCC is the lack of similar hassle for the sacramentally unmarried who are either in a civil marriage or simply co-habitating. Last time I checked fornication was just as bad as adultery, and these couples can be identified just as readily (by the absence of a Church-internal paper trail). And likewise the parish priest would be the one who would have to identify the irregular couple, unless they make a point of their status themselves.
My son and class mates are preparing for first Holy Communion. It is a happy time for the parish and school.

One of the children has parents who are civilly married. Dad is sacramentally married and divorced, and now has three children with his second wife. Mum (second wife) is baptised Catholic, but never made her first reconciliation or received communion and now she cannot, unless either her husband agrees to go through an annulment process (unlikely, as he is lapsed) or she breaks up her family.

She accepts this, but nonetheless it seems terribly sad. I don't see how it could be a good thing for her and her civil husband to separate, but at the same time it doesn't make sense to say that the best life she can live is one where she is unreconciled with God and never receives Holy Communion.

I think that PaulTH's second solution might be appropriate in cases like this (and that of my mother, who is civilly married to my father).
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
Hasn't traditional teaching been that there are valid marriages under natural law and that these would hence not constitute fornication even though not solemnised by the Church? And as we've seen, ecclesiastical solemnisation is no guarantee of a true sacramental marriage being contracted.

Indeed. But Catholics have a canonical obligation to marry within the Church. For Catholics, that is a necessary - but, as you point out, not sufficient - condition for having their marriage recognised as such by the Church.

PaulTH*, you said:
quote:
No Catholic would dispute the insolubility of marriage.
Alas, plenty do. In fact, you seemed to suggest that you yourself did. When you say your favoured solution to the supposed problem is to:
quote:
Rely more on personal conscience (the Internal Forum solution) [...] provided it was carried out in full consultation with a priest. It wouldn't require the Church to change any of its principles it just allows people to make their own peace with God.
I'm not sure what you mean, unless it is that the Church should let divorced and remarried Catholics confess to this sin and then go on to receive Holy Communion even if still intending to live as husband and wife (with full conjugal relations) with their most recent spouse, so long as they can square that with their own consciences. If this is what you are suggesting it would certainly be a massive change of "principles" for the Church. It would also imply that either you thought the previous marriage had effectually disolved itself, or that it still bound but the consequent adultery was no sin.

I would be glad to be put right on any or all of that.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
If Mum (second wife) never managed to receive any of the Sacraments apart from baptism,even although she may have contracted also a Catholic marriage,it is possible that she was not well catechised about what constitutes a Catholic marriage.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
Mum (second wife) is baptised Catholic, but never made her first reconciliation or received communion and now she cannot, unless either her husband agrees to go through an annulment process (unlikely, as he is lapsed) or she breaks up her family.

Not so. The Church will examine a case for nullity even in the absence of evidence from the other spouse if that cannot be had because said spouse refuses to co-operate.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
<multi-crosspost, including Chesterbelloc already answering LSK>

quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
Hasn't traditional teaching been that there are valid marriages under natural law and that these would hence not constitute fornication even though not solemnised by the Church?

Sure, sorry for the imprecision. Marriages between the unbaptised are recognised as "natural", and those between baptised non-Catholics even as "sacramental". In both cases indeed sex between the married would be no fornication. But I was thinking about Catholics, and unless they have a dispensation, Catholics must marry by Catholic rites. So they cannot establish a natural or sacramental marriage by marrying civilly. Unless they have dispensation, that marriage would be invalid and hence sexual intercourse would remain illicit. Convalidation or radical sanation would be needed to turn that a civil marriage of a Catholic into a "real" one.

quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
She accepts this, but nonetheless it seems terribly sad. I don't see how it could be a good thing for her and her civil husband to separate, but at the same time it doesn't make sense to say that the best life she can live is one where she is unreconciled with God and never receives Holy Communion.

First, I note that according to you the husband is unlikely to attempt an annulment of his first marriage because he is lapsed. Well, I'm sorry, but that in my opinion really lets the Church off the hook in this case anyhow. Primarily to blame for the woman's hardships in that situation is her husband, as far as I'm concerned. And no, I don't think that it matters for that that he is lapsed. If this is important to his wife, he should just do it. It's not like he has to confess a faith he does not have in order to get an annulment. Actually, it's possibly helpful to the annulment if he is not a faithful Catholic...

Second, I continue to be weirded out by these two assumptions that stand behind this pressure to admit these people to communion: 1. That it is always good to receive communion. No, it bloody well isn't. It is always good to partake in mass, but not to receive communion. To receive communion unworthily is detrimental, certainly to one's spiritual health and possibly to one's physical health. Now, remarriage is an odd business as far as culpability is concerned, since one can well question the impact of habit and desire, etc. So I wouldn't be confident to claim that all remarried are in perpetual mortal sin (which would make it easy to delineate consequences). But by the same uncertainty I wouldn't be confident to claim that they can partake in communion worthily either. The Eucharist is medicine to the sinful, but poison to the unrepentant and spiritually dead, and I for one would suggest that fear of the latter is as important as desire of the former. 2. That every difficulty has to be resolved in this life. Life can hand out crosses that will not be taken away till death. There is no particular reason why the conflict between genuine love to someone and the rules governing marriage should not be on occasion the cause of such a cross. If one says that the Church must step back from her rules so that a cross disappears, then one is basically saying that the Church is making arbitrary rules. It is unjust to impose a cross on someone for no good reason. But the Church is not arbitrary at all, and has very good reasons for her rules. That for some people this becomes a cross is not as such a proof that the rules are wrong. In this world there rarely is any good that does not cause some bad.

[ 05. February 2014, 17:53: Message edited by: IngoB ]
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
It seems also that Mum (second wife) would now like to receive the Sacraments.That is good.If what EM says is correct,and I am not doubting it,the unbeliever father is happy for his children to receive the Sacraments.If he is prepared to do this,might he not also be prepared to seek an annulment of his first marriage ?
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Not so. The Church will examine a case for nullity even in the absence of evidence from the other spouse if that cannot be had because said spouse refuses to co-operate.

And since there was not enough time left to edit, after I've actually read through all the cross-posts, I just want to acknowledge that this answer by Chesterbelloc is better than mine above in a practical sense. (Though I stand by my judgement that the husband should accommodate the religious issues of his wife where this is possible rather easily, and that he would be at fault here even if the Church wasn't as sensible as she is according to Chesterbelloc.)
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
[x-post with IngoB: my misreading still happened, though!]

quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
Mum (second wife) is baptised Catholic, but never made her first reconciliation or received communion and now she cannot, unless either her husband agrees to go through an annulment process (unlikely, as he is lapsed) or she breaks up her family.

Not so. The Church will examine a case for nullity even in the absence of evidence from the other spouse if that cannot be had because said spouse refuses to co-operate.
Having just read IngoB's response, I see I have misread the post in question. My assumption was that the husband referred to was her first husband, but I see upon rereading Erroneous Monk's original post that there was no suggestion that she had been married before - just that her current husband has been. Apologies for the confusion.

[ 05. February 2014, 18:04: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
So when people and circumstances change and a contract cannot be sustained, where is the 'sin'? Who 'sinned'?

Or when a contract is doomed from the weakness and ignorance of at least one of the parties, how is it still in force?

And what is the difference between a sacramental marriage and a marriage? What does my present and final bogus marriage lack? How does it detract from my partaking of bogus communion? How much more damned could I possibly be?

How do I unmake up, make down, the postmodern narrative that makes overwhelming faithful sense with the continuing progressive revelation in Christ and make up one that ignores His cultural context? Must I go back to believing that God the Killer forbids divorce except for adultery? The two do go together after all, except in the God of grace incarnate.

I vastly admire those Roman Catholics who loyally submit to the restrictions of the church and to the imperative to love. God bless them. And those who damn them.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
A 'sacramental' marriage is one which has been blessed by the Catholic church,where at least one of the contracting parties is a Catholic.
Those who claim the name Catholic,if they wish to have a sacramental marriage ,have to be married in the eyes of the Church.
Those who are not Catholic can marry,if they wish, without the blessing of the Catholic church.
It's as simple as that.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
I don't see how it could be a good thing for her and her civil husband to separate, but at the same time it doesn't make sense to say that the best life she can live is one where she is unreconciled with God and never receives Holy Communion.

If I understand the Catholic position, there is a third option - live with her husband and care for her children with him as a mutually loving and supportive parenting team, and refrain from having sex with him on the grounds that that part of his life is promised to someone else.

Not the most attractive of lifestyle choices, and possibly not one that he would accept even if she chose it, but it is an option, and it's only fair to the RCC side to include it in the analysis.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
So does God withhold His blessing from me? If so how do I experience that? Now and after death? Does Jesus refuse to be present in my memorial of Him? How would I know?
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
With the best will in the world, Martin, sometimes the answer really is: "It's not all about you".
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
So when people and circumstances change and a contract cannot be sustained, where is the 'sin'? Who 'sinned'?

How precisely do you imagine that this contract cannot be sustained? If I promise to have sex with only one other person till the end of (one of our) lives, then of course I can sustain that promise. Not that I might not be severely tempted to break this promise, in particular if the relationship with that person has otherwise ended. But people are not merely instinctive animals, and when people get "into heat", they can override this with conscious effort of will. Exceptions to this are either understood, like for example rape. Yes, the married victim of a rape by a stranger does not stay true to the promise in a formal sense, but nobody can possibly assign any guilt or sin to them (and if people do, then they are breathtakingly un-Christian and frankly disgusting). Or they are remote exceptions proving the rule, like a sex addict. But the fact remains that in the vast majority of cases this promise can be kept by those involved in it. It might be hard, but it is not impossible. And if we break a promise made before God, then that simply is a sin. If it is hard to keep that promise, then one can be understanding about that sin. But such understanding does not magically turn the sin into a good.

quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Or when a contract is doomed from the weakness and ignorance of at least one of the parties, how is it still in force?

If one of the parties was indeed so weak or ignorant as not to be able to sustain such a promise, then that precisely is a ground for nullity. The Church does not hold people to promises that are way over their heads, because she does not believe that God does. However, the flip side of this is that it actually must be true. It cannot be a case of "well, I don't like the contract now, so clearly I must have been too weak and ignorant when I made it." That's not how that works. And let's be clear, being an idiot about something, and making terribly bad choices that come back to bite you, is part of what being an adult responsible for one's own life boils down to. Yes, some people will make utterly horrid choices as far as their marriage goes. That does not per se prove that they were in no fit state to make these choices.

quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
And what is the difference between a sacramental marriage and a marriage? What does my present and final bogus marriage lack? How does it detract from my partaking of bogus communion? How much more damned could I possibly be?

I assume that you are baptized. If along the way you ended up being married to someone else who is baptized, and they are not dead yet, then in all likelihood you are sacramentally married to them. In which case God will frown on you having sexual relations with anybody else, whether you call them your spouse or not, as God does not like sex apart from marriage. What that means for your state of doom is much harder to guess for human beings, and ultimately only a matter for God to judge.

quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Must I go back to believing that God the Killer forbids divorce except for adultery?

Well, no. God forbids no divorce for just cause, but all remarriage no matter what the cause.

quote:
Originally posted by Forthview:
A 'sacramental' marriage is one which has been blessed by the Catholic church,where at least one of the contracting parties is a Catholic.

Sorry, but that's not correct. All marriages between two baptized parties are sacramental (and usually valid), no matter how they came about. This includes civil marriage. By virtue of the Church exercising her power to bind and loosen, Catholics are the one exception to this rule. Only in the case of Catholics it is true that they must use Catholic rites (or obtain dispensation) in order to validly contract (sacramental) marriage.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I'm going through a pretty challenging couple of days (involving strict diet and purging) prior to todays hospital investigation but have had a good sleep and am awake very early. "Fun and games" start again in a couple of hours, but I have a little window of opportunity to respond to this from IngoB.

quote:
I think you are genuinely troubled by the obvious pressure of scripture on this matter.
I took it as a compliment, IngoB, which may be optimistic of me. I thought that at least you must see some kind of conscience and personal integrity there, however whacked out of shape by "Protestant heresies". I am troubled, but perhaps not in the way you think.

In our immediate families (that's Mrs B and myself) there are zero divorces. My wife's parents will celebrate 69 years of marriage later this year, my parents were married 54 years before my father's death, none of our parents' brothers and sisters have divorced, we have been married for 45 years, our siblings are married, so are our children and our siblings children.

That is I guess unusual today, but we got a good inheritance in how to make marriages work and have passed that on, are still passing that on in the work we do in marriage preparation. We believe in marriage for life. We know that all marriages have challenges and working through these is both worthwhile and can strengthen relationships.

We have also seen, close at hand, through counselling, pastoral care and friendships, the experiences of others who have not been so fortunate. That experience has taught us that success in marriage is far from inevitable, that people of good character can be deceived in their partners and by their partners, and that people of good character can discover chronic incompatibilities which prevent them from sustaining their marriages. These experiences give us pause for reflection.

I had a go (on 28 and 29 January) at placing my beliefs in a biblical context. The argument was an outline only, I could have written a lot more. I do not think the biblical evidence is conclusive in its support for the Catholic position, which I appreciate is both biblicly based and subject to authorised development.

By all means have a look at those posts. It may also help if you look at this. One of the authors is a Franciscan, the other is a Doctor of Canon Law. The article is much more developed than my own outline lay attempts, but I found it contained many arguments that I've seen in Protestant scholarship. It also contained a review of the development of the sacramental understanding of marriage and the relationship of that to indissolubility.

I do not think this is a simple matter. There is a strand of Protestantism which will recite "Jesus said it, I believe it, that's it". And, a lot of the time, that's just fine. But what do you do when there is legitimate doubt over what Jesus said, because of textual variation? Or when other sayings of Jesus point to other principles? Or other parts of the Canon point to yet other principles? Or the various traditions, each of which claim the priority of their own tradition, say different things?

I work it out as best I can. I try to be honest in that, not rationalise uncomfortable truths. What you see is what you get with me. Subject, as always to further learning. But I am not troubled by where I am at. I am troubled by where Catholicism is at. I am troubled by where some conservative Protestants are at.

The Orthodox "Economia", however vague it may appear, says something which strikes a chord with me when I read the gospels. There is letter, there is spirit and there is charity. A wise person runs after charity (agape, love) wherever and whenever possible. That is what I try to do here.

I would love for everyone to have found the happiness and fulfillment my wife and I have found in our long marriage. But it is not so. I have learned much from people who have struggled and failed to preserve their marriages. They have carried heavy burdens and faced daunting challenges that my wife and I have not had to face. I think they should have opportunities for redemption. When it comes to re-marriage, I have seen God restore to many of them "the years which the locusts have eaten".

[ 06. February 2014, 03:53: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
IngoB whilst you are technically correct to say that all marriages between baptised parties or where at least one of the parties is a baptised Christian can be considered a valid sacramental marriage,it is easier for the Church,while recognising these marriages,not to concern itself too much about them.Civil marriages do not usually concern themselves with faithfulness till deathes.They may well be valid marriages even in the eyes of the Catholic church,but can hardly be consider as sacramental since they lack promises made in the sight of God. Some Christians do not see marriage as sacramental.
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
First, I note that according to you the husband is unlikely to attempt an annulment of his first marriage because he is lapsed. Well, I'm sorry, but that in my opinion really lets the Church off the hook in this case anyhow. Primarily to blame for the woman's hardships in that situation is her husband, as far as I'm concerned. And no, I don't think that it matters for that that he is lapsed. If this is important to his wife, he should just do it. It's not like he has to confess a faith he does not have in order to get an annulment. Actually, it's possibly helpful to the annulment if he is not a faithful Catholic...

Second, I continue to be weirded out by these two assumptions that stand behind this pressure to admit these people to communion: 1. That it is always good to receive communion. No, it bloody well isn't. It is always good to partake in mass, but not to receive communion. To receive communion unworthily is detrimental, certainly to one's spiritual health and possibly to one's physical health. Now, remarriage is an odd business as far as culpability is concerned, since one can well question the impact of habit and desire, etc. So I wouldn't be confident to claim that all remarried are in perpetual mortal sin (which would make it easy to delineate consequences). But by the same uncertainty I wouldn't be confident to claim that they can partake in communion worthily either. The Eucharist is medicine to the sinful, but poison to the unrepentant and spiritually dead, and I for one would suggest that fear of the latter is as important as desire of the former. 2. That every difficulty has to be resolved in this life. Life can hand out crosses that will not be taken away till death. There is no particular reason why the conflict between genuine love to someone and the rules governing marriage should not be on occasion the cause of such a cross. If one says that the Church must step back from her rules so that a cross disappears, then one is basically saying that the Church is making arbitrary rules. It is unjust to impose a cross on someone for no good reason. But the Church is not arbitrary at all, and has very good reasons for her rules. That for some people this becomes a cross is not as such a proof that the rules are wrong. In this world there rarely is any good that does not cause some bad.

I agree with you in relation to who/what is causing the problem. But I don't think anyone wants to figure out who to blame here, just to note that it's a sad situation. And no, of course it isn't the role of the Church to say that black is white because it might make people less sad about something.

The Really Big Issue here is, as you say, the one about our worthiness to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion. Does Henry Scobie (The Heart of the Matter, Greene) go to heaven or not?
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
I don't see how it could be a good thing for her and her civil husband to separate, but at the same time it doesn't make sense to say that the best life she can live is one where she is unreconciled with God and never receives Holy Communion.

If I understand the Catholic position, there is a third option - live with her husband and care for her children with him as a mutually loving and supportive parenting team, and refrain from having sex with him on the grounds that that part of his life is promised to someone else.

Not the most attractive of lifestyle choices, and possibly not one that he would accept even if she chose it, but it is an option, and it's only fair to the RCC side to include it in the analysis.

As usual, an accurate and fair analysis, and I agree
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I'm going through a pretty challenging couple of days (involving strict diet and purging) prior to todays hospital investigation but have had a good sleep and am awake very early.

Good luck.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I took it as a compliment, IngoB, which may be optimistic of me. I thought that at least you must see some kind of conscience and personal integrity there, however whacked out of shape by "Protestant heresies".

I rarely doubt anybody's personal integrity. Most people who are wrong are honestly wrong. Conscience is informed, hence can be misinformed. But I rarely consider how personally culpable someone might be for the state of their conscience. Anyway, my compliment to you was quite simply that you care about scripture, and that I see the caginess of your replies as a sign that you might revise your wrong interpretation of scripture in future. Maybe I'm mistaken and you are just being polite, and doing the "seeing it with the other person's eyes" spiel. That would be regrettable, and entirely wasted on me. When people start talking about how they understand that I come to my position, I start skim reading until there's some actual content from them again.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
It may also help if you look at this. One of the authors is a Franciscan, the other is a Doctor of Canon Law. The article is much more developed than my own outline lay attempts, but I found it contained many arguments that I've seen in Protestant scholarship.

Once you read things like the following, you know that it's just going to be blatant sophistry, no matter how much 'learning' is brought to bear: "Early Christian writers also insisted on the permanence of marriage, but with many differences and nuances. They most often spoke in moral terms: “forbidden to take another partner,” “partnership may not be sundered,” “sinful to remarry,” “remarriage not permitted,” “commits adultery." The language of “indissolubility” related to marriage is not biblical, nor is it patristic." [Roll Eyes] Anyway, here's a response to this article by Peter F. Ryan, S.J., and Germain Grisez: Indissoluble marriage: A reply to Kenneth Himes and James Coriden. (FWIW, there's ado on the net about the extent to which this response has been peer reviewed. I'm afraid that I find this account by the authors of the response altogether believable. And I say so as someone who has just finally had a paper accepted in a high ranking journal after three years of fighting due to unbridled factionalism among reviewers in electrophysiology... )

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
But what do you do when there is legitimate doubt over what Jesus said, because of textual variation? Or when other sayings of Jesus point to other principles? Or other parts of the Canon point to yet other principles? Or the various traditions, each of which claim the priority of their own tradition, say different things?

None of this is the case. There is one, and only one, difficulty here, and it is the "porneia" clause. Apart from that it would be hard to find any specific doctrine in the New Testament that is taught with greater insistence and clarity. And whatever hay one decides to make of the "porneia" clause, there simply is no way it can justify the majority Protestant position of today. That's just not there in the text. At most one can argue for a narrow permission to separate with the possibility of remarriage if there has been serious sexual wrongdoing. That's all you can possibly squeeze out of scripture, anything more is just blatant eisegesis. But that is not the practice that we see.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
The Orthodox "Economia", however vague it may appear, says something which strikes a chord with me when I read the gospels. There is letter, there is spirit and there is charity. A wise person runs after charity (agape, love) wherever and whenever possible.

Where is the "letter" for that particular position then? Let's hear that, then we may discern its "spirit". I can think of none. True charity must be guided by prudence, or it becomes sentimentality - and that can be a vice rather than a virtue. And prudence first and foremost considers reality. And please do point out where Christ says that following Him will introduce one to a life of comfort, convenience and pleasure. Where does Christ say that partaking of his sacraments will make things easy? I just totally lack this sense of happy-go-lucky in the things Jesus says His followers must do, which for you apparently sweeps aside the otherwise clear sense of scripture as not Christ-like enough in some meta sense.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I shall return, IngoB! Hopefully tomorrow. I am not seeking to change the mind of any Catholic, simply provide some reasons from scripture why Protestants and as I now see Orthodox see things differently.

Clearly I need to do more explaining about my January 28 post. That will take a bit more time than I've got.

Suggest you keep your "blatant sophistry"s or "Dada-ism"s observations up your sleeve. Thanks for your good wishes about the other.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Forthview:
IngoB whilst you are technically correct to say that all marriages between baptised parties or where at least one of the parties is a baptised Christian can be considered a valid sacramental marriage,it is easier for the Church,while recognising these marriages,not to concern itself too much about them.Civil marriages do not usually concern themselves with faithfulness till deathes.They may well be valid marriages even in the eyes of the Catholic church,but can hardly be consider as sacramental since they lack promises made in the sight of God. Some Christians do not see marriage as sacramental.

I certainly agree that the RCC has no business running after individual non-RC Christians to tell them which of their marriages are valid and sacramental. However, she certainly should state in general that marriage is a sacrament, which furthermore is accessible to all the baptised (since husband and wife are the ministers of this sacrament). Furthermore, a marriage between two baptised persons is either sacramental or invalid. There is no "valid but natural" option available for Christians, it is sacramental or nothing. The Lord has raised marriage as such to the level of sacrament for His faithful. There are no special promises needed to make the sacrament happen. Since marriages are to be affirmed as valid unless proven otherwise, it is correct practice to assume that Protestant marriages are sacramental. Of course, if one can show that the Protestant couple did not understand sufficiently what Christian marriage is about, then one has an argument why it should be considered invalid. This may play a big role if one of them wants to remarry a Catholic, which is a case where the RCC has to investigate such prior marriages in detail. Yet other than in this special case, one should happily affirm Protestant marriages as sacramental - and critique Protestant remarriages as adultery.

quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
But I don't think anyone wants to figure out who to blame here, just to note that it's a sad situation.

Uhhh, no, what the heck? If your report is accurate, then the husband is primarily to blame for this sad situation and he should stop causing entirely unnecessary pain to his wife. The only possible excuse for him I could see is that there are financial difficulties (and then the parish really should help them then!). As mentioned, this is not a question of his faith, but simply basic respect for the exercise of her faith. And if he is doing this in order to make her lapse, too, then that is just wrong. Not because he could not validly try to do that if he is convinced that the RC faith is false. But because this would be a sneak tactic trying to sour faith for her by making her uncomfortable in the Church. That's no fair engagement. And yes, I would apply all these comments fully to me if I had for example a Muslim or atheist wife. One should not talk faith if one cannot even behave like a decent human being, in particular to one's spouse.

[ 06. February 2014, 15:27: Message edited by: IngoB ]
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:

quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
But I don't think anyone wants to figure out who to blame here, just to note that it's a sad situation.

Uhhh, no, what the heck? If your report is accurate, then the husband is primarily to blame for this sad situation and he should stop causing entirely unnecessary pain to his wife. The only possible excuse for him I could see is that there are financial difficulties (and then the parish really should help them then!). As mentioned, this is not a question of his faith, but simply basic respect for the exercise of her faith. And if he is doing this in order to make her lapse, too, then that is just wrong. Not because he could not validly try to do that if he is convinced that the RC faith is false. But because this would be a sneak tactic trying to sour faith for her by making her uncomfortable in the Church. That's no fair engagement. And yes, I would apply all these comments fully to me if I had for example a Muslim or atheist wife. One should not talk faith if one cannot even behave like a decent human being, in particular to one's spouse.
Maybe he's a cross she has to bear.
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB
Our of morbid interest, what do you believe happens if one partakes of Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin? Is that good, bad or neutral for one's spiritual and bodily health

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Now, remarriage is an odd business as far as culpability is concerned, since one can well question the impact of habit and desire, etc. So I wouldn't be confident to claim that all remarried are in perpetual mortal sin .

Well you've partly ansrwered your own question. There is a huge difference between the culpability of some remarried when compared to others. But even those who have a high level of culpability, it may diminish over time, when lives are rebuilt and people move on, make new families and get over it. And you seem to be saying that not all remarried divorcees remain forever in a state of mortal sin. So who decides when their sin is no longer mortal and they can come back to the sacraments? As we've discussed on other threads, I have no real belief in eternal damnation, though I can share Pope John Paul II's assertion that hell still exists as a possibility. So the bogeyman of going to eternal hell for remarriage or taking communion when remarried doesn't float my boat. I don't say that a man who leaves his wife and children for another woman should ever have that marriage recognised by the Church without an annulment being granted, nor should he be admitted to communion the following week, but I believe in mercy, healing and redemption over a lifetime.

quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
I'm not sure what you mean, unless it is that the Church should let divorced and remarried Catholics confess to this sin and then go on to receive Holy Communion even if still intending to live as husband and wife (with full conjugal relations) with their most recent spouse, so long as they can square that with their own consciences. If this is what you are suggesting it would certainly be a massive change of "principles" for the Church. It would also imply that either you thought the previous marriage had effectually disolved itself, or that it still bound but the consequent adultery was no sin.

Let me say again: The Church will never change the fact that a valid, sacramental marriage, is indissoluble. Nor should it, nor should anyone want it to. But what might change is the definition of what constitutes a valid marriage, and who has the authorityto make that decision. Many leading figures in the Church today, such as the Holy Father's predecessor as Archbishop of Buenos Aires (who claims that up to 50% of Catholic marriages may be invalid) are saying that, in our apostatic age, marriage has been seriously undermined. Even Archbishop Muller was willing to concede that. So it's quite possible that the validity of marriages, and the means of determining that, may change.

With regards to the Internal Forum solution this was quite widely practiced until the CDF under Cardinal Ratzinger banned it in 1994. It wouldn't be a huge leap for Pope Francis to reinstate such practice, without changing any received doctrine. Anyway, people are becoming expectant that the pope's Syned is going to right some of the wrongs that have torn the Church apart.

For those of you who don't want any changes, I don't see your position as having any more integrity than what's being proposed. Marriage may be indissoluble, but that's only unless it's undone by annulment. The way this process is being stretched to match our apostatic age is breathtaking, especially in countries like the US. Unless you're willing to admit that this system is unwell, the only way to go, which has any integrity, is in the pre-Vatican II direction, as IngoB has suggested. Make annulments as difficult as they were in 1917. Excommunicate all remarried divorcees and consign them to eternal damnation. That's the logical outcome of saying that they are in a perpetual state of mortal sin. I would never have joined the pre Vatican II Church, nor would I stick around long if it were ever to move in that direction.
 
Posted by moonlitdoor (# 11707) on :
 
quote:

originally posted by IngoB

If this is important to his wife, he should just do it. ( this being attempting the annulment of his first marriage )

I'd like to ask a question as I am not sure if I understood this correctly. Do you mean that he ought to do it even if he believes that his first marriage was valid ? That would suggest that it's ok for people to pretend their intentions or understanding of marriage were deficient when actually they were not, which seems a bit surprising to me.
 
Posted by Organ Builder (# 12478) on :
 
The conversation over the last few days has inspired me to do just a little reading about the Magisterium. Perhaps the least surprising thing is that one can find every position imaginable on the web about what does or does not constitute the Magisterium on websites that always purport to be the view of the One True Scotsman--I mean, the One True Church. Regardless of how flexible or adamant any particular site seems to regard this amorphous Magisterium, they all seem to see the authority of the Magisterium vested in the Pope and/or the bishops. If you happen to go to the Wikipedia article, it's a lot more entertaining to read the conversations about the edit history, though...

Regardless, it is expected that good Catholics will obey it whether they agree with it or not. That might be easier if there was a real agreement as to just what constituted the Magisterium, but it seems to be a lot like the British Constitution--everyone knows there is one in practice, but no one can really point to what is or is not part of it except for the most obvious bits. It does certainly seem that it has in the past been "flexible"--in the manner that bible scholarship has been treated, for instance.

So I'm thinking about the implications of the statements in the quotes below, which struck me as extraordinary when they were made:


quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Speaking personally and frankly, as someone who believes that the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage is infallible, if that teaching were formally reversed I would cease to be a Catholic altogether. But, as it happens, I believe this eventuality is quite literally impossible - because Christ has promised otherwise.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
If there is some generalised waffle about how spiritually wonderful laissez faire will be for all, then I will indeed grudgingly accept this as another instance of a grand tradition of Church SNAFU. And I end up in hell for my sins, then at least I will have the consolation that there is no room for me in the deepest circles of hell, given that they are overflowing with bishops. But if they change the teaching on marriage itself, if they attack the doctrine to justify their deed, then I will leave the RCC. It would be the Catholic thing to do. It may be the last thing I do as a Christian, but you will never catch me selling out the pearl of great price.

Call me cynical if you wish, but I doubt the Extraordinary Synod will make very many doctrinal (as opposed to administrative) changes--quite possible none at all. My understanding, though, is that if they did it would become part of the Ordinary Magisterium of the church. To suggest that you would leave the church if they do one particular action suggests to me that what you are defending is not the Magisterium--it is your particular idea of the Magisterium. At that point, a certain church door in Wittenberg comes to mind.

It also strikes this outsider as another form of the cafeteria Catholicism you have both deplored for so long on these pages.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
This contract

Exodus 21:10-11

10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

which was operational in Jesus' culture, not repealed prior to His life, or during it or after His death. Not by Heaven. Despite the custom having changed, apparently, to a more monogamous one. Progressive revelation again. By Heaven.

This contract and its Christian deconstruction, reconstruction, re-application in circumstances Jesus never dreamed of (gay marriage for one), amplification, is easily broken. Only a Christian response to the failure to provide for each other: forgiveness, patience, grace, tolerance: love, can sustain it, overcome the constant breaches, the erosion by the vicissitudes of life.

What's adultery got to do with it?
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Oh, and Chesterbelloc, nice rhetoric. What does it mean?
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
At that point, a certain church door in Wittenberg comes to mind.

Luther or Archbishop Lefebvre. Take your pick! Both Protestants by definition!
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
It is in fact part of the obligation I enter into when I promise you that I will spend all next Thursday helping you to move house in Birmingham that I will not undertake Barnabas that I will help him to do the same thing on the same in Dundee. I have no business making such a subsequent promise, and if I do my obligation remains to you

The question is not should you double-book yourself in this way. Obviously you shouldn't.

Nor is the question whether, if you find yourself in this position, you should honour the first-made promise or the second.

The question here is rather this - if in your example I phone you to say thanks awfully for the offer but I've changed my mind and no longer want your help (perhaps as the magnitude of the task sinks in I've decided to get professional movers in, whatever) are you then morally obliged to honour your promise to Barnabas ? Or can you weasel out of going to Dundee on the grounds that you realised that the promise you made to him was, although well-meaning, unwise ?

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Yes, you are correct - I do assume that a large fraction of "annulled" marriages in places like the USA in fact were sacramental and hence remain in place. The ensuing adultery is sinful, but the Catholics proceeding in good faith on the Church's false judgement will not be culpable for it (unless they consciously misled the Church in arriving at that judgement, of course).

The Church is not some kind of undifferentiated chunk of infallible operations. I really and honestly have no idea why this would worry you as far as the authority of the Church is concerned.

It's a trust thing.

I'll freely admit that wrong operational decisions at this sort of level do not raise any logical contradiction to the claims of authority that the RCC makes. If I had (for other reasons) been persuaded that the RCC's view of its own authority was true, practical failure like this would not make me question it.

But I'm coming to this as someone unconvinced that the Catholic Church ever has truly infallible authority*, and it simply is harder to accept that if I can see that many of the official declarations of that Church are likely to be wrong. I know that those decisions aren't being made on the level at which infallibility supposedly operates, but all the same, my confidence in the ability of the Church to discern truth, including the truth of when she is and is not infallible, is at least a little undermined.


(*I think the Catholic Church can be certainly right about some propositions, but that's because I think those propositions to be objectively true - the various Protestant churches are largely right about those things as well, without having or claiming any infallible status)

[ 06. February 2014, 21:41: Message edited by: Eliab ]
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Chesterbelloc. YOU I like. Sorry, it has to be said. And yes it IS all about Him and He is all about us. As He showed in His only begotten Son. And He was as ignorant and culturally bound as us, worse - as shown by His racism - as we are His beneficiaries. We HAVE learned from Him. But He took Brian's advice. He worked it out for Himself. As far as it was possible. And showed us - WE, the magisterium - the TRAJECTORY. Not some new legalism carved by His finger in our stone hearts. Truly we ARE doing greater things than He.

And Pope Francis' Extraordinariness is because NO ONE since ... Jesus has tried SO hard, on such a scale, from such a platform of power, to show people what it means to be Christian.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
Moonlit Door - we do not know whether the gentleman in question himself considers his first marriage to be a valid one or indeed whether he considers it to be a valid Catholic marriage or whether,although he may have undergone a form of marriage whether he knew or cared what he was letting himself in for .These are however questions which could be asked.

Paul Th you can't look back to preVatican2 church and say 'I wouldn't have joined it'.50 years ago you yourself might have had a different outlook.
More importantly for the people for whom you (so rightly) feel sympathy,we should not feel that they are consigned to eternal damnation because they cannot receive Communion.Although the Church
may feel that they cannot offer Communion,the Church knows only too well that it is God who will be the final Judge.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Whoops!

And despite his inevitable, excluding, sacramental conservatism may God bless him and keep him for many years.

[ 06. February 2014, 22:09: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
Many leading figures in the Church today, such as the Holy Father's predecessor as Archbishop of Buenos Aires (who claims that up to 50% of Catholic marriages may be invalid) are saying that, in our apostatic age, marriage has been seriously undermined.

I think this comes close to the heart of the problem.


My starting point on the 'remarriage' issue is that I understand the whole OT law and 'certificate of divorce' thing to be making clear that the one unacceptable thing under the old covenant was for a man* to have things both ways: abandoning his responsibilities to his wife AND at the same time keeping her bound to a marriage that he had essentially repudiated. I think it was always the principle that he ought not to neglect the marriage, and always seek to be a good and loving husband, but because of the hardness human hearts, it was recognised that, shits that we often are, we would sometimes treat our partners badly. Leaving a marriage was never a good thing, but if a man did it, he was under obligation to do it properly, which meant setting his wife free of his claims on her. Neglecting her and simultaneously keeping her bound was (and is) unconscionable.

Therefore, to the extent that Catholic rules allow a person to abandon their spouse without setting them free, those rules permit an injustice. And it is an injustice which is plainly against God's will.

The justification for allowing that possibility of injustice can only be that the risk is freely chosen. I can, without unfairness, decide to subject myself to the possibility of being taken advantage of in a way that would be grossly wrong if it were imposed on me without my consent. If I vow lifelong fidelity, no matter what, even if my spouse abandons me, and I do so knowing what I am choosing to do, and what I risk if the worst happens, then the possibility injustice becomes something that I have accepted, for reasons which I (presumably) think justifies the risk.

But if, in fact, many Catholics, possibly half of Catholics, don't understand that this is what they are promising, and therefore can't meaningfully have intended to promise it, the justification evaporates. The risk of injustice is still there, but the one thing that justifies that risk is gone. It's a serious pastoral problem, and also a serious ethical problem.

I'm also not convinced that more annulments is the answer. The point of marriage is commitment - if half of all putative Catholic marriages actually lack that binding quality, there's something wrong with the institution. One thing that might be considered is to look at the issue of nullity at some point other than after the couple has split up. I'm not saying it never happens, but I've certainly never heard of a Catholic asking for a declaration of nullity for a marriage which was continuing and happy, purely so that a suspected defect at the time the marriage was osensibly contracted could be corrected. And, if annulments are as commonly available as the quoted opinions would seem to imply, that really ought to be happening all the time. As Catholics learn more about what they commited to, and realise that they didn't have the necessary maturity and understanding to vow that at the time, they should want to make sure that they really are sacramentally married.

As it is, it seems that being validly married is only ever a disadvantage to a Catholic. A putative marriage is good for all purposes while it lasts, but if it ends, might well cease to be binding. If I were a Catholic, about to marry, I'd be tempted to line up a pre-nuptial agreement for the express purpose of supporting a petition for annulment should my wife or I ever want to make one. If we didn't split up, it would make no difference to our lives in the Church. If we did, we wouldn't be required to seek annulment, but the option would be there.

Can anything be done to incentivise valid Catholic marriage? To make it an advantage truly to understand and accept the commitment that the RCC thinks that married couples ought to be making? Or, at the very least, ensure that everyone getting married is expressly warned in advance that this is their one shot at having a recognised Catholic marriage, and they cannot expect any second chance, so they should proceed only if they are fully intent that this is what they want? It seems to me that merely making annulments available as a pastoral concession without treating widespread invalidity of Catholic marriage as a moral crisis might be consistent with Catholic doctrine, but would completely undermine the proper function of a church.
 
Posted by Doublethink (# 1984) on :
 
So what exactly are you involved in if you live with someone for 25 years, raise a child, and then have an annulment owing to your partner having kept a lover from before the marriage ceremony ? 25 years of porneia ?
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
IngoB

Firstly, a personal note. I came through yesterday well, though it was a bit of an ordeal. Initial signs are good, but I await the results of a biopsy to confirm that I am OK. They are talking about a further precautionary check in three years time. "O frabjous day, callooh, callay!" Quite enough of that!

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:

Anyway, my compliment to you was quite simply that you care about scripture, and that I see the caginess of your replies as a sign that you might revise your wrong interpretation of scripture in future.

You were not mistaken about my high view of the authority and inspiration of scripture. Any argument you ever see from me can be assumed to be based on that. One consequence of that is that I do change my mind, modify my understanding, when the word of God becomes sharper than a two edged sword. So be assured that any time your posts illuminate scripture for me in a way that I have not seen, it will affect the way I look at things.
quote:
Maybe I'm mistaken and you are just being polite, and doing the "seeing it with the other person's eyes" spiel. That would be regrettable, and entirely wasted on me. When people start talking about how they understand that I come to my position, I start skim reading until there's some actual content from them again.
There is economy in explaining how you believe you see through someone else eyes. If you have seen correctly, it helps you to identify the real areas of disagreement more accurately, also to identify what purpose there may be in further discussion.

On a personal note, I find that you dismiss the views of others with such scorn sometimes. Blatant sophistry may indeed be your opinion, and indeed you may stick to it, about my arguments and those for example in the paper I quoted. They suggest that your mind is made up imperviously, When phrases like that are used in serious discussion, people pack their bags, move out, say "no point".

When I write here, I am not just writing to you in response. Other folks look at my arguments. They may not be so convinced of blatant sophistry as you are.

You are lucky with me. Generally, I skim past anything in your posts which strikes me as scornful bullshit, try to get at the substance, try to address that.

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
It may also help if you look at this. One of the authors is a Franciscan, the other is a Doctor of Canon Law. The article is much more developed than my own outline lay attempts, but I found it contained many arguments that I've seen in Protestant scholarship.

Once you read things like the following, you know that it's just going to be blatant sophistry, no matter how much 'learning' is brought to bear: "Early Christian writers also insisted on the permanence of marriage, but with many differences and nuances. They most often spoke in moral terms: “forbidden to take another partner,” “partnership may not be sundered,” “sinful to remarry,” “remarriage not permitted,” “commits adultery." The language of “indissolubility” related to marriage is not biblical, nor is it patristic." [Roll Eyes] Anyway, here's a response to this article by Peter F. Ryan, S.J., and Germain Grisez: Indissoluble marriage: A reply to Kenneth Himes and James Coriden. (FWIW, there's ado on the net about the extent to which this response has been peer reviewed. I'm afraid that I find this account by the authors of the response altogether believable. And I say so as someone who has just finally had a paper accepted in a high ranking journal after three years of fighting due to unbridled factionalism among reviewers in electrophysiology... )
That strikes me as rhetorical overkill. In the context of this discussion, I'm quite happy to look at the paper even though it has not been peer reviewed.

I'm not yet competent to review the close arguments over the developments of Catholic doctrine over this matter. I may do more work on that. I have however looked at the arguments over the key scriptures and they make some good points. But, absent peer review, I do not think the original authors are obliged to put up any further response. They may have, I just haven't seen it. So far as blatant bullshit is concerned you are just asserting a blanket opinion based on one paragraph you find in a long article. Your experience may have taught you this is wise from your POV. So your scorn is noted for the future and for the present.
quote:

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
But what do you do when there is legitimate doubt over what Jesus said, because of textual variation? Or when other sayings of Jesus point to other principles? Or other parts of the Canon point to yet other principles? Or the various traditions, each of which claim the priority of their own tradition, say different things?

None of this is the case. There is one, and only one, difficulty here, and it is the "porneia" clause. Apart from that it would be hard to find any specific doctrine in the New Testament that is taught with greater insistence and clarity. And whatever hay one decides to make of the "porneia" clause, there simply is no way it can justify the majority Protestant position of today. That's just not there in the text. At most one can argue for a narrow permission to separate with the possibility of remarriage if there has been serious sexual wrongdoing. That's all you can possibly squeeze out of scripture, anything more is just blatant eisegesis. But that is not the practice that we see.
I do not think that you see your rhetorical overkill. I have a good idea what your position is. The fact is that the texts in Matthew, Mark, Luke and Paul do not say the same things. The Catholic doctrine represents a harmonisation of and a development of these scriptures in a wider context. It is not just based on Matthew 19.

What I believe you argue is that harmonisation over marriage doctrine from scripture must be based primarily on what is said in the scriptures which refer to marriage. Indeed, if you do that, there seems precious little doubt from the record that Jesus said "What God has joined, let no man divide". The problem lies in the later emphases and is not resolved purely by harmonising of what might appear to be common ground. The texts show that each author has a different recall, a different interpretation of the emphases of Jesus at this point.

The exception in Matthew looks like an interpolation. "Except for immorality (porneia)" in v8 actually contradicts the plain "let no man divide" of v6. Also, it isn't there in Mark. So did Jesus even allow an exception?

Mark 10 has no exception, but it has something else very puzzling; a woman divorcing a man. Under Mosaic law, a woman could be divorced by a man and then had certain rights, but there is no evidence that she could initiate divorce. So how good is Mark's recall at this point? Given that in Protestant scholarship Mark and the prior oral histories are seen as the earliest sources, this produces a real issue. We believe that Matthew had Mark as one of his sources when producing his gospel, so we see Matthew interpreting Mark, who seems to have been confused over women having the right to divorce! I know that for Catholics, Matthew has a particular place in Tradition, but the arguments from scholarship for Mark first (if not best!) are very impressive.

So in both cases, the emphases after "let no man divide" look to be authors' interpretations.

And to go further, Luke 16:18, which again applies to men only, is very oddly placed in the context, since it appears to contradict verse 17. The last jot and tittle of the law allowed divorce and remarriage. Verse 18 says remarriage breaks a commandment!

So there is genuine exegetical difficulty in taking the expansions of "let no man divide" too far, simply because of the genuine problems with the texts which do that. How far you can go with the exception and remarriage is not clear from an honest look at the gospels.

You may not agree with my caution, but there are reasons for it which I find by exegesis.

However, those scriptures are not hermetically sealed from the rest of scripture, they sit in wider contexts, of which two must in my view be taken into account in weighing scripture against scripture to get at its application. These are.

1. Jesus' general teaching about the values of kingdom of God, both in proclamations and discussions.

2. The extent to which the recorded words are influenced by the knowledge and beliefs about the parousia in the minds of Jesus in his earthly life, the gospel writers and Paul.

I touched on both those points in my post of 28 January. Himes and Coriden go further and there is some consideration of both in the response you linked. There is a great deal more to be found in many other scholastic works. ["Jesus Remembered", by James Dunn is a book I have found particularly helpful in this context.] Given in particular my reservations about the gospel texts, it seems a good idea to search wider, to see what sense we can find in Paul in 1 Cor 7 and Eph 5, to see kingdom values in the context of the gospels, the effect of second coming expectations on the the issues and priorities of personal relationships.

If, however, you think there is nothing to be gained in considering these wider issues in discussion of the biblical material and how it is to be applied today, then I am happy to drop it in any response to you. It is emphatically not eisegesis to consider any texts in their wider context, at least not in terms of Protestant scholarship. You may not like it but that is way things are in my neck of the woods.
quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
The Orthodox "Economia", however vague it may appear, says something which strikes a chord with me when I read the gospels. There is letter, there is spirit and there is charity. A wise person runs after charity (agape, love) wherever and whenever possible.

Where is the "letter" for that particular position then? Let's hear that, then we may discern its "spirit". I can think of none. True charity must be guided by prudence, or it becomes sentimentality - and that can be a vice rather than a virtue. And prudence first and foremost considers reality. And please do point out where Christ says that following Him will introduce one to a life of comfort, convenience and pleasure. Where does Christ say that partaking of his sacraments will make things easy? I just totally lack this sense of happy-go-lucky in the things Jesus says His followers must do, which for you apparently sweeps aside the otherwise clear sense of scripture as not Christ-like enough in some meta sense.
See, you have done it again. The pejorative use of phrases like "happy go lucky" and "sweeps aside the otherwise clear sense of scripture" and "comfort and convenience" begs all the questions that might arise. They say to me "don't waste my time". "Economia" strikes a chord with me precisely because I have considered marriage in the wider contexts I referred to above. But if you don't want to discuss those, then we'll agree to disagree.

For the record, I am not "happy go lucky" in my treatment of scripture, nor about anything we find from Jesus therein. And I am anything but happy-go-lucky about the pretty parlous state of marriage in the Western World, and the often ignorant and careless way folks enter into it. Whether or not they belong to faith communities.

Nor do I think Jesus calls us to a life of pleasure comfort and convenience. When Jesus calls a man or a woman, he bids them come and die. Certainly to self, sometimes even to the cost of our own lives. It is a high calling. Please do not say that Catholics have a corner on that. I have known two Protestants very well who have died on overseas mission, one murdered, one by tropical disease (leaving a husband and three small children). I think you damage your own arguments that way.

[ 07. February 2014, 15:09: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
I posted earlier on this thread, and what I said then, still represents my considered, and as yet, unchanged, view on this. Barnabas62, glad to hear the op seems to have gone as OK as one can say at the moment.

Meanwhile, though, some questions for IngoB and other RCC apologists.

1. Where does the doctrine that there are some marriages that are sacramental, and others that are not, come from?

2. Does that mean that to the RCC a non-sacramental marriage, say, between two agnostics before a Registrar, is no more than legalised coupling?

As far as I am aware, that isn't CofE teaching, which as far as I know regards all marriages as equally binding.

3. If I've got this right, under RCC doctrine, the crucial question that determines the status of a marriage is what happens at the moment it is entered into. What happens thereafter is largely irrelevant. Either the indissoluble sacramental bubble was created or it was not. From this thread, it is clear that there is a widespread belief among the RCC clergy that a large number even of RCC marriages (up to 50%) lack the correct intention. Isn't it then the duty of the clergy to interrogate married couples about how well they understood what they were doing then, perhaps 40 years ago, and if not satisfied with the answers, to insist they separate?

4. If that is not the case, why not?

5. In the piece by IngoB that linked to the form couples sign when they go to RC marriage preparation, one of the questions was about whether the couple were going to enter into any sort of pre-nuptual agreement. If that invalidates a catholic marriage, as demonstrating the wrong intention, doesn't that invalidate virtually all marriages on the continent of Europe, where it is normal practice for the couple to declare what marital regime they are going to adopt for their property and earnings?

6. Has this form always been used? If so, wouldn't that also mean that the marriages of landed recusants would have been invalid since they normally involved property settlements?

7. Does the doctrine that marriage is indissoluble derive from Jesus's words, ie an incident of marriage, but we'll conveniently leave out asking what porneia means? But if so, why does that apply to some marriages and not all? Or does it derive from the marriage being sacramental? If the latter, why does its being sacramental make it indissoluble?

[I'm harking back here to the point in one of my previous posts that to me, dogmatic indissolubility reduces the dreadful heinousness of adultery.]
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:


Can anything be done to incentivise valid Catholic marriage? To make it an advantage truly to understand and accept the commitment that the RCC thinks that married couples ought to be making? Or, at the very least, ensure that everyone getting married is expressly warned in advance that this is their one shot at having a recognised Catholic marriage, and they cannot expect any second chance, so they should proceed only if they are fully intent that this is what they want?

On the days I feel optimistic about my marriage, its "absoluteness" seems wonderful. Like Mount Everest, it is simply *there* and it always will be until one of us dies.

ON the days I feel less cheerful about it, its absoluteness is still awesome. After all, all of my weakness and selfishness and sin can't bring Mount Everest down, can it?

In some ways, it is a bond which is liberating.
 
Posted by moonlitdoor (# 11707) on :
 
That last post of Erroneous Monk makes me think there would be a significant downside if it was made much easier to get an annulment. People who draw strength from the permanence of their marriage bond, as she describes, must find it very upsetting to be told by the church that they were never married at all, if their spouse seeks an annulment.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Sufficient abuse can erode it to nothing, to null and worse, to an aching void in a final instant.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
If there is an annulment it doesn't cancel out the years already spent in a marriage which has been declared as not a sacramental marriage.The years which have been spent together, the things which have happened,both good and bad,need not be forgotten,the children who may have come along need not be denied.
All that has happened is that for Catholics the Church has declared that the marriage though legal
is not seen as a sacramental marriage and the couple can start again,if they wish.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
So I as a non-Roman and therefore never having been in a sacramental marriage, just mere marriage, can do that any time I like?
 
Posted by Doublethink (# 1984) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Forthview:
If there is an annulment it doesn't cancel out the years already spent in a marriage which has been declared as not a sacramental marriage.The years which have been spent together, the things which have happened,both good and bad,need not be forgotten,the children who may have come along need not be denied.
All that has happened is that for Catholics the Church has declared that the marriage though legal
is not seen as a sacramental marriage and the couple can start again,if they wish.

If it is not a sacremental marriage how is it not sex outside marriage ?
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
You can only commit a sin ( according to Catholic teaching)if you are aware of what you are doing,
if you know something is wrong and yet deliberately choose to do try t to car.If someone believed that they were married,even if they weren't married,then they would be right to behave as if they were married.

Martin - you don't seem to worry that you are not a member of the visible outward form of the Catholic church, so why should you worry about
whether you have not or you have not had a Catholic marriage ? Of course maybe you are or were a Catholic ? If you don't feel inferior about not being a Catholic,don't feel inferior about not having a Catholic marriage.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
Sorry my cursor keeps jumping.My second line of previous post should be
'Only of you know that what you are doing is wrong and that nevertheless you choose to do it,then it is a sin.If you think you are married then you are right to behave as if you were married.'
Civil law often does not punish those who do not know what they are doing -children who have not reached the age of criminal responsibility or adults who cannot understand.

The Church has to try to think less about the minutiae of sexual behaviour.To my mind there are many more serious sins that sexual'peccadillos'

At the same time marriage is amongst many other things a noble vocation.The Catholic church teaches that Christ raised that noble vocation to the level of a sacrament,but marriages contracted outwith the Catholic church should be valued and fostered.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
So I as a non-Roman and therefore never having been in a sacramental marriage, just mere marriage, can do that any time I like?

I think the Catholic position is that as far as humanity in general is concerned, promises, including those made in marriage, are morally binding, but God allows humans to make provision for the ending of failed marriages.

However it is understood that Jesus called his followers back to the intended standard of marriage being forever, and thereby made it a sacrament. It is a sacrament for everyone who is able to receive the sacrament, and the way you become able to receive the sacrament, the way you become part of the sacramental economy, is to get baptised. So if you were validly married after being baptised, your marriage is sacramental automatically because Jesus said so. And the accommodation that God allowed before Jesus spoke doesn't apply to you. You cannot be released from marriage so as to marry again by anything save death. It's nothing to do with being a Catholic or marrying in a Catholic church.
 
Posted by Planeta Plicata (# 17543) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
So I as a non-Roman and therefore never having been in a sacramental marriage, just mere marriage, can do that any time I like?

If you and your spouse are both baptized, then your marriage is a sacramental one despite your not being a Catholic. See canon 1055 § 2. That said, even if it were a natural marriage, it would carry the same obligations as a sacramental marriage, including the prohibition against adultery. The main difference is that a natural marriage is potentially dissoluble through the Petrine or Pauline privileges.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Forthview:
Sorry my cursor keeps jumping.My second line of previous post should be
'Only of you know that what you are doing is wrong and that nevertheless you choose to do it,then it is a sin.If you think you are married then you are right to behave as if you were married.'

I don't think that follows if the Christian rule is "don't have sex with anyone unless you have made this sort of irrevocable commitment". If I know that I haven't made the required commitment I'm sinning even if I think that the commitment I have made is enough for me to count as 'married'. Presumably the Catholic Church considers the necessary commitment is an objectively good thing, part of God's direct command, not merely a technical requirement that might be overlooked by accident.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
Sorry to be reading more than posting at the moment, but just chiming in to add my voice to what Planeta Plicata and Eliab have been saying.

[Forthview, since you mentioned your cursor problems, can I ask you a wee technical favour? Would you kindly consider - if your cursor permits - putting spaces between your punctuation marks and the following word? It would make your posts SO much easier for me and, I imagine, others. Petty, I know, but all the same...]

[ 07. February 2014, 22:18: Message edited by: Chesterbelloc ]
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Our baptisms are bogus. Everything we think, do and say that we proclaim Christian is an illusion, a delusion, a lie.

Because God is placist.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Our baptisms are bogus. Everything we think, do and say that we proclaim Christian is an illusion, a delusion, a lie.

According to whom, precisely? Not the RCC, as I'm sure you must know.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
Sorry to be reading more than posting at the moment, but just chiming in to add my voice to what Planeta Plicata and Eliab have been saying.

Another add.

It reminds me of an argument I had with one of the Open Brethren after I heard him deliver a sermon. He proclaimed that the first act of sexual intercourse created an unbreakable marriage bond with whoever it occurred. Apparently that argument was used a fair bit in some circles; clearly designed to discourage the curious young from experimentation.

Started off by asking him "do you have a sacramental understanding of marriage?". Conversation went downhill after that.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
For those who are following the biblical part of the discussion, you may be interested in this comment re Mark's gospel (Mark 10 parallels Matthew 19).

It comes from James Dunn's "Jesus Remembered" (p578, Note 153). The book is available to read on line, but it is long and not easy to move from index references to texts. Here is the comment.

quote:
Mark 10:12 looks like an elaboration of the tradition (by which he means the earliest recollections of the apostles of conversations with Jesus), envisaging as it does the possibility of a woman initiating divorce, something not permitted in the Judaism of Jesus' day (Josephus Ant 15.259 plus other references).

It should also be noted that in a society where only the husband could initiate divorce and where the erwa of Deuteronomy 24.1 could be interpreted liberally (even if she spoiled a dish for him) an absolute prohibition of divorce was a way of protecting the wife



[ 08. February 2014, 09:04: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Doublethink (# 1984) on :
 
Well, as marriage ceremonies are a late development - presumably in 100 ad he'd have been right .?
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
DT, that clearly refers to the post above my latest.

That's what he argued, IIRC. Consummation need not follow ceremony, nor did there need to be one. The argument was about whether a casual sexual encounter without any human promises of commitment could produce something unbreakable.

The fact that the speaker had a number of unmarried daughters might also have had something to say.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
Call me cynical if you wish, but I doubt the Extraordinary Synod will make very many doctrinal (as opposed to administrative) changes--quite possible none at all.

I don't think one has to approach the extremes of cynicism in order to suspect that.

Seems to me that no-one wants anything that will undermine the sense among practicing Christians that marriage is definitely for life. No change in the ideal, or in the extent that practicing Christians are encouraged to pursue it.

But also we are called to be merciful to those whose marital relationship has been eroded to nothing (possibly despite their best efforts, possibly through their spouse effectively abandoning the Christian faith).

The Church is entirely free to change its guidelines on who should be refused communion, and the burdens that are placed on those wanting to return to the practice of their baptismal faith after a period of non-practice.

Standing by one's second (civil) marriage, however wrong it may have been to undertake it in the first place, may not be what the Church advises, but it seems pretty obvious that in these times this isn't the sort of sin that scandalizes the faithful, and shouldn't fall under the sort of misconduct which the Church should try to deal with by shaming the offender by refusal of communion at Mass.

Similarly, when the lapsed wish to return to full and active membership of the Church community, stipulating that they must abandon their second marriage in order to do so doesn't seem like the welcome offered to the prodigal son.

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by Doublethink (# 1984) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
DT, that clearly refers to the post above my latest.

That's what he argued, IIRC. Consummation need not follow ceremony, nor did there need to be one. The argument was about whether a casual sexual encounter without any human promises of commitment could produce something unbreakable.

The fact that the speaker had a number of unmarried daughters might also have had something to say.

In the first millennium a woman who was known to have had sex was effectively unmarriagable, a spoiled chattel. It was why marriage by rape was a meaningful concept.

So effectively, this was the female reality. It was also why betrothal and breach of promise provisions existed in common law.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
That too, DT. It helps to understand the context of these things, particularly for women. Women as property, chattels, spoiled goods? These are demeaning understandings. Both of the women and the men who held them.
 
Posted by Doublethink (# 1984) on :
 
They are, but they were also the social context in which Jesus' teaching were first given and understood.

Now either the text of the bible is not the whole of the revealed truth and things have changed overtime - in which case you can make a strong case for remarriage on the basis of effectively pastoral principles - or it is and marriage ceremonies in church are a gilding of the lily and cohabitation is a sacramental marriage. You could read Jesus instruction as saying, if your daughter has sex with someone she loves and you wanted her to marry someone else, you must accept her choice as she is now married. And you, young man who has had sex with her, should not be saying - oh but it is not really a marriage so I can marry this rich heiress my uncle has lined up for me.

But oddly, that is not the line tradition took.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
The Catholic church teaches that a properly constituted marriage ( by its understanding of a properly constituted marriage ) is indissoluble.

The Ten Commandments given to us by Moses say : Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Experience possibly leads us to see that the best place for human sexual activity is within a properly constituted loving relationship which gives at least theoretically the best possibility of propagating and nurturing the human species.

The Catholic church is right to promote and foster indissoluble marriage as an ideal.

The Catholic church is a community of imperfect people,brought towards perfection by the saving power of Jesus Christ.

I come from a time when the Church had perhaps an unhealthy view of human sexual activity outside of and also within marriage.I welcome the fact that within the Church there is not the same scrutiny of sexual activity which there was in my youth.

Whatever 'fornication' , whatever 'adultery' mean , I do not think that it is helpful to speculate as to whether those whose marriages are
annulled have been fornicating or sinning during the time when they may have thought that they were married.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Forthview:
... Experience possibly leads us to see that the best place for human sexual activity is within a properly constituted loving relationship which gives at least theoretically the best possibility of propagating and nurturing the human species.

The Catholic church is right to promote and foster indissoluble marriage as an ideal. ...

I would hope we all agree with this, but without the words 'possibly' and 'at least theoretically'.

But where does the notion come from that the one thing that matters is the state of affairs at the moment of marriage, and everything after that is irrelevant? If you're not an RC, and not obliged to believe what the church teaches just because that's what it teaches, that doesn't automatically follow.

I'm going to be offline for the rest of today, but could someone please answer my seven questions.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink:
They are, but they were also the social context in which Jesus' teaching were first given and understood.

Now either the text of the bible is not the whole of the revealed truth and things have changed overtime - in which case you can make a strong case for remarriage on the basis of effectively pastoral principles - or it is and marriage ceremonies in church are a gilding of the lily and cohabitation is a sacramental marriage.

I'm more used to the language of covenant, than sacrament, DT. Registrars legalise, faith ceremonies solemnise, but essentially the couple marry each other. Insincere covenants are not worth the paper they are written on, or not written on, if you see what I mean. How does God see the promises, oversee the protection of the covenant, safeguard the commitment? In the end, regardless of our attempts to understand these matters, the answers to those questions are known to God better than they are known by us.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
Enoch
1. marriage is for all, though there are some restrictions - in some countries you may only be married to one person at a time - in some countries you can only be married to a person of the opposite sex.
The Catholic church also has its rules about marriage and if the conditions are fulfilled then the marriage is classified as a sacramental marriage until it can be shown that it was not.
An extra complication in some countries,including
UK is that a Catholic marriage can also be counted as a marriage recognised by the State.

2. 'legalised coupling' is not a helpful way to describe a civil marriage.Some people would not see the legal ceremony as anything to do with 'coupling' Their 'coupling' can take place independent of any ceremony. In the UK coupling outside of marriage is not illegal.

3.You have it not got things right - what happens after the ceremony is equally part of the marriage
and can affect the validity of the marriage
(None of the sacraments are magic bubbles).

4.The Church does try to explain to prospective married couple what is meant by Christian marriage

5.Different rules have governed marriage ceremonies over the centuries.Since the couple are the ministers of the sacrament it has only been fairly recent - I think about 1918,but I may be wrong that a Catholic marriage has to be conducted (normally) in the presence of a minister of the Church.

6. No

7. Church teaches that the idea of indissolubility
of marriage derives from the words of Jesus

I'm not sure how dogmatic indissolubility reduces the dreadful heinousness of adultery nor just how dreadfully heinous adultery is.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The Church is entirely free to change its guidelines on who should be refused communion, and the burdens that are placed on those wanting to return to the practice of their baptismal faith after a period of non-practice.

It is, I suppose, entirely free to cease discouraging anyone whom it believes to be in a serious state of sin from receiving the Blessed Sacrament. But why would it do that? It holds that to receive the Bl. Sac. in such a state can very seriously damage the communicant. It's not mucking about - the Church really believes this. So, if the Church is right about this, it would be grossly negligent in its care for the faithful if it showed such spiritual and pastoral disregard.

And to what extent can someone who knows what the Church teaches about marriage and who wants to return to receiving the sacraments whilst continuing in a sexaul relationship with a subsequent spouse really be said to be "wanting to return to the practice of their baptismal faith"?
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Standing by one's second (civil) marriage, however wrong it may have been to undertake it in the first place, may not be what the Church advises, but it seems pretty obvious that in these times this isn't the sort of sin that scandalizes the faithful, and shouldn't fall under the sort of misconduct which the Church should try to deal with by shaming the offender by refusal of communion at Mass.

You've got to be kidding! Do you really think that the prevalence of couples marrying, divorcing and re-marrying others without the sanction of the Church is not causing scandal to the faithful, i.e., causing a stumbling block to the adherence to Catholic teaching? Leading others to disregard or minimise the significance of the Church's teaching on marriage, and potentially leading them into sin, is pretty much a textbook definition of "causing scandal". What it doesn't seem to cause these days is much shock or moral consternation, but there's a big downside to that...
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Similarly, when the lapsed wish to return to full and active membership of the Church community, stipulating that they must abandon their second marriage in order to do so doesn't seem like the welcome offered to the prodigal son.

What do you want the Church to do? Pretend it doesn't believe that a second marriage may very well be adulterous? Pretend that receiving the sacraments in a state of serious sin is no biggie? If divorcees want to return to the of full and active membership of the Church that would include not continuing in sinful relations and/or not receing the sacraments whilst doing so. It's hard, hell yeah. But it's real. And it's honest. Short of fundamental doctrinal change, I can't see how the Church can allow herself to be seen to sanction such a "return" without conversion of life.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
What do you want the Church to do? Pretend it doesn't believe that a second marriage may very well be adulterous? Pretend that receiving the sacraments in a state of serious sin is no biggie? If divorcees want to return to the of full and active membership of the Church that would include not continuing in sinful relations and/or not receing the sacraments whilst doing so. It's hard, hell yeah. But it's real. And it's honest. Short of fundamental doctrinal change, I can't see how the Church can allow herself to be seen to sanction such a "return" without conversion of life.

Sums it up very well, Chesterbelloc. It is hard for me to see much freedom of action there, either.

Re communion, it's normal within nonconformism to teach (and remind) that each person coming forward for communion needs to examine themselves i.e. the bread and the wine are offered freely but with the recognition that unworthy participation may harm the participant. I've never thought that through any further than my general understanding that those who muck around with participation in the life of the church for any reason run straight into the dangers of habitual, knowing, hypocrisy. Sincerity of engagement is the touchstone.

But I do not see how Catholicism could adopt that approach, given the different understandings of communion.

So that issue looks a bit locked. The willingness to be merciful is clearly there; the "yes but how" of that looks very problematic, without selling principles and that will not happen. Like IngoB said, the "paper trail" is there.

I don't see the same sort of lock applies to upping the priority and resource for marriage preparation, or reviewing annulment practices (rather than principles).
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I don't see the same sort of lock applies to upping the priority and resource for marriage preparation, or reviewing annulment practices (rather than principles).

I entirely agree, Barnabas.
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I don't see the same sort of lock applies to upping the priority and resource for marriage preparation, or reviewing annulment practices

It goes without saying that a Synod on the family, must look at the dreadful state of marriage in the Western world, and that one of its biggest priorities needs to be preparing people properly for marriage, so that this problem should be less in the future. Also, the pope has said quite directly that he sees the annulment process in its present form as inadequate, so I think we can be sure that he'll make some changes there. But I disagree that nothing else could change.

In December Cardinal Walter Kapser another favourite of Pope Francis (though not of Pope Benedict) indicated that some divorced and remarried Catholics may, in certain circumstances , be permitted to receive communion. IMO he can only be referring to a greater use of the Internal Forum, which was quite widely used prior to its ban by the CDF in 1994.

Most people, sociopaths and the mentally challenged apart, have an innate sense of right and wrong, and their own state of culpability and sinfulness. So why shouldn't they, if the follow the two principles of the Internal Forum, which are to live a life of charity, and to avoid giving scandal, be allowed to receice communion? Perhaps some people genuinely believe thay can make their own peace with God irrespective of legalistic strictures. Personally I don't believe that all remarried divorcees are irredeemeble sinners. The Eucharist is medicine for the sick, which we all are. So they can acknowledge their mistakes, live, as far as possible a Christian life. It should be enough for God to know who comes to communion with the right internal disposition.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I may be behind hand on this issue, PaulTH, but isn't there more going on than the matter of the personal conscience of the would-be communicant?

Personal conscience cannot override a doctrinal view of persistent sin, can it? It's hardly just a matter of opinion. Or perhaps I misunderstand Cardinal Kapser?

Which is eminently possible, of course. But behaviour which is classified as known persistent sin creates a pastoral problem for the leadership of any congregation. It has for mine.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
I don't think Barnabas is getting hold of the wrong end of the stick here, Paul. [Just how NT does that sound, BTW?]

In addition to which, can I ask precisely what you mean by "a greater use of the Internal Forum" as a solution to the problem? An answer to that question would clarify a lot for me.

What struck me about the article about H.E. Walter Cardinal Kasper you linked to was - perhaps not what you intended - how weak a case he seems to be presenting.

I have no idea who is and is not a "favourite" of our present Pontiff gloriously reigning. But I do know that Francis considers himself a loyal son of the Church which he leads. And I suspect that he hates as much as I do the deliberate use of his pontificate as a stick with which to beat Benedict's. Really, Paul - how edifying is that to anyone?

But back to Card. Kasper. The article you cite makes three things abundantly clear:

1. Kasper seems to reject either that (1) the Church's teaching that remarried people who have not sought annulments and who continue in full (inc. sexual) marital relations with their subsequent spouses may be in a state of serious sin, or (2) those in unresolved, ongoing serious sin ought to be counselled against receiving the sacraments.

2. That he holds this in defiance of perennial and current teaching from his "own" department, the CDF, whose prefect's recent affirmation of that teaching he has publicly criticised.

3. That:
quote:
[t]he Catholic Church’s refusal to budge on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics has cut into [German] Catholic revenues as thousands of Catholics in "irregular" situations have switched their affiliation on tax forms. The bishops have repeatedly complained of the loss of membership and blame the Church’s refusal to change teachings such as that on divorce, the reservation of priestly ordination to men and clerical celibacy. In 2012, the German bishops’ conference issued a statement that Catholics who did not pay the Church Tax would be refused the sacraments.
Think about that for a minute. The German bishops are all about giving Holy Communion to those who flout the Church's teachings on issues of sexual morality, etc. - but refuse it to those who won't pay the church tax...

4. Kasper, who promotes and predicts a change of praxis from a forthcoming Synod of bishops
quote:
refused to accept the decision of a [2005] synod of bishops on the question, saying “It is a question that exists, and we have to reflect on it in order to be able to respond…Every bishop in every Western country recognizes that this is a grave problem.” Of the Synod’s conclusion that the practice of withholding Communion could not be changed, Kasper said it “is not the final result.”
Keep voting till the result changes, eh?
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
Most people, sociopaths and the mentally challenged apart, have an innate sense of right and wrong, and their own state of culpability and sinfulness. So why shouldn't they, if the follow the two principles of the Internal Forum, which are to live a life of charity, and to avoid giving scandal, be allowed to receice communion? Perhaps some people genuinely believe thay can make their own peace with God irrespective of legalistic strictures. Personally I don't believe that all remarried divorcees are irredeemeble sinners. The Eucharist is medicine for the sick, which we all are. So they can acknowledge their mistakes, live, as far as possible a Christian life. It should be enough for God to know who comes to communion with the right internal disposition.

I think I've already addressed these issues. If you think I have not adequately answered the them from a Catholic perspective, by all means get back to me on that. Failing which I am tired and off to bed.
 
Posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras (# 11274) on :
 
This feels a sort of moribund equinine in its own right. Might we devote any attention to more innocuous developments such as priesting later vocation married men or creating certain female religious lay cardinals, or reviving an order of deaconesses who would not be within the tripartite ministry but who would function like deacons in many respects?
 
Posted by Palimpsest (# 16772) on :
 
I'm assuming the survey questions (mentioned earlier in this thread) are meant to prepare for the topics discussed in the Synod. To skip past the dead horse issues of secular marriage, divorce remarriage and same sex marriage that have been discussed there's a set of questions on instruction of children of those unions.

Does anyone have any idea what the motivation for these questions are assuming there's no change in the policy towards these unions? I have a hard time seeing the "send us your children and we'll tell them your marriage is defective and you should break up" will play well, but it doesn't sound like there's room for any other alternative. Any ideas on how this might be addressed by the synod?

[ 09. February 2014, 01:48: Message edited by: Palimpsest ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Though heavily involved in discussions here, I'm going to make an exception to the normal custom and make an straightforward Hosting clarification.

For the record, marriage and divorce are not Dead Horse topics. The DH topics are:

quote:
biblical inerrancy, homosexuality, the role of women in church and Christian households, creation and evolution, abortion, closed communion and bitching about church music.
-see DH guidelines by following the 10C's link.

There has been some discussion re the availability of communion to remarried divorcees. "Closed communion" (a rare Dead Horse these days) is not concerned primarily with communion restrictions based on perceived misconduct but on general denominational policies re non-members or members of other denominations. However, in view of the infrequency of the topic, I will check my perception of that with DH Hosts; meanwhile discussion on that subtopic can continue here.

The thread has steered clear of discussing homosexuality in the context of the coming Synod; please continue to do that.

Barnabas62
Purgatory Host

[ 09. February 2014, 06:31: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
it is, I suppose, entirely free to cease discouraging anyone whom it believes to be in a serious state of sin from receiving the Blessed Sacrament. But why would it do that? It holds that to receive the Bl. Sac. in such a state can very seriously damage the communicant.

To hold that communion should be open to all would be a change of doctrine. To treat some circumstances of sin as more serious, and some as less serious, than previous practice, and to adjust the degree of seriousness for which abstention from communion is appropriate, is a matter of church discipline, not doctrine.

It's not mucking about - the Church really believes this. So, if the Church is right about this, it would be grossly negligent in its care for the faithful if it showed such spiritual and pastoral disregard.

quote:
And to what extent can someone who knows what the Church teaches about marriage and who wants to return to receiving the sacraments whilst continuing in a sexaul relationship with a subsequent spouse really be said to be "wanting to return to the practice of their baptismal faith"?

Practicing one's faith is something a person does. Wanting to practice - to seek to grow closer to God through religious activity - is not at all incompatible with disagreement with Vatican teaching on particular issues.

quote:

Do you really think that the prevalence of couples marrying, divorcing and re-marrying others without the sanction of the Church is not causing scandal to the faithful, i.e., causing a stumbling block to the adherence to Catholic teaching?

The act of divorcing may cause scandal. But once the second marriage is an accomplished fact and time has passed, the act of living each day as Mrs B is unremarkable (even for someone who used some time ago to be Mrs A) and doesn't of itself incite anyone to anything. Ordinary everyday life doesn't cause any gossip...

The difference between Mr and Mrs B sleeping in separate beds as your doctrine would have them do, and having a normal married life, may in any case be largely invisible to the other members of the congregation.

The sin as you see it lies in them not having a piece of paper (called "annulment" or "dispensation"). That's not a public behaviour. Scandal is about people publicly behaving in ways unbecoming to a Christian.

quote:

What do you want the Church to do? Pretend it doesn't believe that a second marriage may very well be adulterous?

I'm not suggesting pretence - quite the opposite. The way forward is for those who think as you do to recognise that the second marriage is a marriage - even though one unsanctioned by the Church, that according to Catholic doctrine Mrs B was wrong to enter into. And that marriage involves the couple having rights of each other and duties to each other - moral responsibilities which (however regrettably) they have taken on and do bind them. The Church should take account of real-life reality as well as sacramental "reality".

Yes, Mrs B's contrition will be imperfect - she cannot wholly regret something out of which good has come. But that's life. I'm sure the Church has pastoral experience of those who regret all that is sinful in what they have done while being unable to regret the good that God has somehow brought out of it.

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
And I suspect that he hates as much as I do the deliberate use of his pontificate as a stick with which to beat Benedict's. Really, Paul - how edifying is that to anyone?

Well you'll get no arguements from me against the pontificate of Benedict XVI. The greatest theologian of his generation. I supported his Reform of the Reform in liturgical matter, something Francis seems indifferent to. His tireless work for reconciliation with the East, with disaffected Anglicans, and even, though unsuccessful, with the SSPX. A finer Pope we never had!

quote:
originally posted by Russ:
To hold that communion should be open to all would be a change of doctrine. To treat some circumstances of sin as more serious, and some as less serious, than previous practice, and to adjust the degree of seriousness for which abstention from communion is appropriate, is a matter of church discipline, not doctrine.

I agree entirely. Sin isn't always equal. Nor is the level of culpability of remarried divorcees. A woman abandoned with small children, who goes through years of poverty and struggle to bring them up, and 20 years later forms a relationship with a kind, caring man. Whatever the legalism, I don't believe she does anything wrong. Love of God and one's neighbour and living by the golden rule should be our guide to our moral behaviour.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Practicing one's faith is something a person does.

IMO Russ has nailed it here. As someone with a great interest in Christian mysticism, I place practice above belief, devotion above doctrine, mercy above judgement and inclusivism above legalism. Jesus spent his whole ministry fighting the legalism of the scribes and pharisees, who would exclude a ritually unclean woman, who probably suffered from uterine polyps! OK those who divorce have messed up! But they can feel contrition for that. They don't necessarily cause any harm in picking up the pieces of their lives later on.
 
Posted by JoannaP (# 4493) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
I'm assuming the survey questions (mentioned earlier in this thread) are meant to prepare for the topics discussed in the Synod. To skip past the dead horse issues of secular marriage, divorce remarriage and same sex marriage that have been discussed there's a set of questions on instruction of children of those unions.

Does anyone have any idea what the motivation for these questions are assuming there's no change in the policy towards these unions? I have a hard time seeing the "send us your children and we'll tell them your marriage is defective and you should break up" will play well, but it doesn't sound like there's room for any other alternative. Any ideas on how this might be addressed by the synod?

I think I read somewhere that Francis is concerned that children of second marriages grow up never seeing their parents go to confession and take communion, which then reduces the chance that they will regularly participate in the sacraments as adults.

No idea what the solution to this is but I understand the concern.
 
Posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras (# 11274) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Though heavily involved in discussions here, I'm going to make an exception to the normal custom and make an straightforward Hosting clarification.

For the record, marriage and divorce are not Dead Horse topics. The DH topics are:

quote:
biblical inerrancy, homosexuality, the role of women in church and Christian households, creation and evolution, abortion, closed communion and bitching about church music.
-see DH guidelines by following the 10C's link.

There has been some discussion re the availability of communion to remarried divorcees. "Closed communion" (a rare Dead Horse these days) is not concerned primarily with communion restrictions based on perceived misconduct but on general denominational policies re non-members or members of other denominations. However, in view of the infrequency of the topic, I will check my perception of that with DH Hosts; meanwhile discussion on that subtopic can continue here.

The thread has steered clear of discussing homosexuality in the context of the coming Synod; please continue to do that.

Barnabas62
Purgatory Host

To be clear, my meaning wasn't that I perceive the issue around which this thread has come to revolve to be a DH technically (and that's Host business anyway), but rather that the insolubility of the issue amongst the discussants resembles the stand-offs that are defined as DHs. The discussion reveals two opposing ideological positions driven by two different sets of underlying assumptions about the nature of authority in the Judeo-Christian revelation and about the realities of lived human experience and how ecclesiastical authority should properly interface with these human realities. These two opposing positions are hardly unique when it comes to discussions of the definitiveness of various ascribed sources of authority in the Church (scripture, tradition, the magisterium, ex cathedra pronouncement, etc). Frankly, it just seems two irreconcilable views of how things ought to work. For my own part, I can't see how the more rigid approach to authority demonstrates the adaptive capacity needed for institutional and cultural survival on a broad scale.

If this synopsis is found to be cryptic, it is to avoid brutality in the critique.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Lietuvos Sv Kasimieras

Funny, I thought that was probably where you were coming from. Nicely balanced critique, too. Quite close to the hymn sheet I find myself singing off. In my case it's probably about the best way of helping folks who, generally, know they have failed. A man I respect very much said to me about a decade ago that he thought the biggest challenge the church in the UK was facing was finding the right response to those in "irregular relationships, by traditional standards".
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
The discussion reveals two opposing ideological positions driven by two different sets of underlying assumptions about the nature of authority in the Judeo-Christian revelation and about the realities of lived human experience and how ecclesiastical authority should properly interface with these human realities.

quote:
For my own part, I can't see how the more rigid approach to authority demonstrates the adaptive capacity needed for institutional and cultural survival on a broad scale .
With these comments in mind, I've decided to end my contribution to this thread. There are those who feel that a rigid, legalistic approach to doctrinal purity must be maintained even if it means an ever shrinking Church, and generations lost. IngoB said that the Church doesn't need bums on seats, but faithful Christians. It's a point of view, but one which I don't share. Christianity has moved on and redefined itself many times in history. The Second Vatican Council did just that, hence the schism with traditional groups such as the SSPX. My view is that the Church should find a way to welcome back these lost generations by an act of mercy. It doesn't need to change its belief in the indissolubility of marriage. It just needs to recognise that this is no worse than any other sin heard in the confessional, and doesn't require a lifelong ban on receiving the sacraments. So I hope that the Pope and his Synod will make changes in that direction. But I realise that we are making this into a DH, because it's a subject whose opposing views cannot be reconciled. so I bow out of the discussion!
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
To treat some circumstances of sin as more serious, and some as less serious, than previous practice, and to adjust the degree of seriousness for which abstention from communion is appropriate, is a matter of church discipline, not doctrine.

You have skewed idea of the distinction between discipline and doctrine. What do you think discipline is based if not the doctrine of the Church? In this case, the Church would have to stop seeing unrepentant adultery as a serious matter for it to be treated less seriously. You seem to forget that - however wrongheaded you belive the Church to be about this - the Church truly believes that it is on Christ's and the Apostles' teaching on the seriousness of such sin that she builds her teaching. That makes all the difference in the world.
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Practicing one's faith is something a person does. Wanting to practice - to seek to grow closer to God through religious activity - is not at all incompatible with disagreement with Vatican teaching on particular issues.

Up to a point, Lord Copper. But what faith? If one one wants to practice the Catholic faith one has to assent to Catholic teaching. Practicing one's own version of that faith - which happens on some serious points to differ with what the Church teaches - is something else altogether. If one wants to return to the Catholic sacraments one has to do so on Catholic terms, i.e., those of the Catholic Church. This all seems glaringly obvious to me.
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The act of divorcing may cause scandal. But once the second marriage is an accomplished fact and time has passed, the act of living each day as Mrs B is unremarkable (even for someone who used some time ago to be Mrs A) and doesn't of itself incite anyone to anything.

The act of divorcing is usually, I think, the least of it. Yes, it's not good and is especialy horrible on the kids, but it doesn't go very far to scandalising people - people on the whole are not much tempted to emulate the pain of divorce in their own lives. Likewise, if divorced people continue to come to Church and receve the sacraments (without a subsequent spouse) I think very few people are led into error and temptation by that, since there's no glaring offense in it. But it is very often difficult for divorced people to live chaste lives thereafter, as the Church requires - which is precisely why chaste divorcees seeing people they know to have been married before now remarried after divorce - particularly if they continue to receive the sacraments - is a scandal to them. They might just assume they have received annulments, of course, but many of them will let it be known that they haven't. And that's a cause of temptation and scandal.
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Ordinary everyday life doesn't cause any gossip...

Ha! My mileage definitely varies from yours then.
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The difference between Mr and Mrs B sleeping in separate beds as your doctrine would have them do, and having a normal married life, may in any case be largely invisible to the other members of the congregation.

Indeed it may. But again, the chances are that many people will let it be known that they are not sleeping apart - and having kids will tend to be seen as evidence that they are not. Likewise, if an annulment has been granted and the second marriage is recognised by the Church then that too tends to get around, as I know it does with those whom I know who have had previous marriages annulled.
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The sin as you see it lies in them not having a piece of paper (called "annulment" or "dispensation"). That's not a public behaviour. Scandal is about people publicly behaving in ways unbecoming to a Christian.

Being married is a public act, and living in the world as a married coule is a matter of public record. If it is unbecoming to remarry after divorce and live as man and wife without having had an annulment, in public defiance of your church's teaching, then that it certainly scandalous.
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The way forward is for those who think as you do to recognise that the second marriage is a marriage - even though one unsanctioned by the Church, that according to Catholic doctrine Mrs B was wrong to enter into. And that marriage involves the couple having rights of each other and duties to each other - moral responsibilities which (however regrettably) they have taken on and do bind them. The Church should take account of real-life reality as well as sacramental "reality".

But facts are facts. Granted that you do not believe that the Church is right to believe in indissoluble marriage bonds, nonetheless we're still debating matters of fact. Sacramental reality is a subset of all reality, and if it is true that a couple have been sacramentally married then it is a fact that they are bound by that act in such a way that a subsequent marriage (as opposed to other committed sexual relationship) is impossible and the attempt to contract one wrong. It can hardly be "the way forward" for the Church to accept second marriages if they believe them to be impossible - no matter how much that would please some critics.
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Yes, Mrs B's contrition will be imperfect - she cannot wholly regret something out of which good has come. But that's life. I'm sure the Church has pastoral experience of those who regret all that is sinful in what they have done while being unable to regret the good that God has somehow brought out of it.

It's not about regretting good that has come of sin (say the birth of a much loved child) - no-one requires that. It is about deliberately continuing in that state of sin, which precludes any meaningful contrition altogether.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
For my own part, I can't see how the more rigid approach to authority demonstrates the adaptive capacity needed for institutional and cultural survival on a broad scale.

I don't know - although I hope you're wrong. But beyond a certain piont "adaptive capacity" isn't worth having. We can only do what we can do - and if the cost of being able to do more is having to act as if we didn't believe what we genuinely hold to be the truth about such matters, what profiteth it us if we gain the whole world? What would we be gaining the whole world to?
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
Christianity has moved on and redefined itself many times in history. The Second Vatican Council did just that, hence the schism with traditional groups such as the SSPX.

I'm afraid I think the heart of the problem for the Church is demonstrated very succinctly in those two sentences. It is sentiments such as these that guarantee the SSPX continuing support from Catholics all over the world.
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
It doesn't need to change its belief in the indissolubility of marriage. It just needs to recognise that this is no worse than any other sin heard in the confessional, and doesn't require a lifelong ban on receiving the sacraments.

I appreciate that you have bowed out here, Paul, but I just can't let this stand. If people are left unchallenged to present the problem in this way then non-Catholics (and many Catholics) will never understand the Church's position.

I have pointed out repeatedly that the problem is not about the magnitude or severity of the sin of remarriage-after-divorce-without-annulment but about whether the sin has been repented of at all. The "lifelong ban on receiving the sacraments" applies to all and any serious sin - but only so long as that sin remains unrepented of. One cannot repent of a sin if one has no intention whatsoever of refraining from committing it. And that is why remarriage after divorce presents such a singular problem to the Church. I asked you how you thought dealing with this problem via the internal forum would work and you declined to answer. Your prerogative.

But complaining that the Church is treating this particular sin as worse than all the others is both misleading and completely missing the point. I really don't think anyone who has read the thread so far has an excuse for continuing to claim that this is what the Church is doing - especially not if he's a Catholic.
 
Posted by Organ Builder (# 12478) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
With these comments in mind, I've decided to end my contribution to this thread.

...

But I realise that we are making this into a DH, because it's a subject whose opposing views cannot be reconciled. so I bow out of the discussion!

I can certainly understand and respect that, but I would hope that AFTER the Synod has met and made its pronouncements, you would come back to this or the follow-up thread for the inevitable post-mortem discussion. Further speculation at this point is is probably fruitless, but this is a discussion board and that is what we do!
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
The discussion has certainly enlarged my understanding of the issues and the real difficulties facing this Extraordinary Synod.

[Votive]
 
Posted by moonlitdoor (# 11707) on :
 
Chesterbelloc, could I ask if you think it is an entirely singular problem ? I wondered if there could be other things where a sin created a situation that one could not straightforwardly reverse if one repented, where new obligations were created which it would also be a sin to break, such that any course of action would be in some way sinful.

What would be the Catholic church's teaching about such a situation ?
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
The "lifelong ban on receiving the sacraments" applies to all and any serious sin - but only so long as that sin remains unrepented of. One cannot repent of a sin if one has no intention whatsoever of refraining from committing it.

I decided to bow out because we may be creating a DH by knocking arguements back and forward, but I'll have one last go. I agree with you about sin and repentance. But you can only repent of a sin if you believe you've committed a sin. If you don't feel that your actions are sinful, what is there to repent of? You talk of serious sin in all cases of formerly married people who form a new relationship. I don't agree with that! We all know of people who behave very sinfully towards their spouse, but there is often an innocent party. In a break up, there's very often one partner who doesn't want to break up. If that person, when all hope of reconciliation is gone, perhaps after the passage of much time, forms another relationship, I don't accept that it's sinful to do so. This is why we can't agree. Sin and selfishness are very closely bound in that when I exalt myself over others, then I'm sining. When I live my life with due regard for others, then I'm not sinning. Assuming the abandoned partner gives due consideration to others, especially any children of the relationship, you will never convince me that they have any sin to repent of in forming another relationship. Where there has been sin, repentance for that sin is no different from repenatnce for any sin. We can't turn the clock back and undo the wrongs which led to the break up. By all means we should try while the opportunity exists, but when it's forever gone, I don't believe anyone should be required to live within the prison of that failed relationship for the rest of their life.

quote:
I asked you how you thought dealing with this problem via the internal forum would work and you declined to answer.
With the internal forum, a priest can assess whether the person is living a Christian life, whether they have acknowledged any weakness on their part whoch led to the breakdown of a former relationship, whether they intend to lead a new life walking in the way of Christ. He can say that, if it's necessary to avoid scandal, they must go elsewhere where they're not known to receive the eucharist. Those were the guidelines formerly given for the internal forum.

quote:
However, it would take considerably more than a Synod recommending that remarried divorcees without annulments should on occasion be able to receive Holy Communion to establish any such reversal of teaching.

Earlier in the thread, you wrote this. I don't hope for a reversal of teaching, because it isn't possible. What I hope for is that some remarried divorcees on some occasions should be permitted to receive communion.

quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
I can certainly understand and respect that, but I would hope that AFTER the Synod has met and made its pronouncements, you would come back to this or the follow-up thread for the inevitable post-mortem discussion. Further speculation at this point is is probably fruitless, but this is a discussion board and that is what we do!

There's all sorts of speculation kicking around in the Catholic press about what this Synod might do. Cardinal elect Mueller says one thing. Cardinal Kasper says another. The Holy Father remains enigmatic! We will ave to see what transpires in October, and I would be happy to continue the discussion with more info to work on.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Aye Chesterbelloc. There's no way out of this law of the Medes and the Persians. The time is therefore coming when virtually no one will be able to take the Eucharist. Except in Protestant churches and I'm glad to see you're OK with that.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Aye Chesterbelloc. There's no way out of this law of the Medes and the Persians. The time is therefore coming when virtually no one will be able to take the Eucharist. Except in Protestant churches and I'm glad to see you're OK with that.

Why? Around 70% (of the population of the UK at least) are in marriages, whether church or civil, that survive until one partner dies. I don't follow your train of thought here - do you think that this situation will collapse, or have I misunderstood you?
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
There is a moral argument which can be made for mercy towards those who are convinced in their own conscience about two things.

1. Their marriage was a sham from the start, because of either duplicity or wilful ignorance on behalf of their partner in taking their vows.

2. The annulment processes as they stand cannot be expected to recognise that opinion held in good faith; nevertheless their opinion is unshaken that that was the reality they experienced.

I think the process known as the "internal forum" solution was designed to recognise that. Here is the relevant extract from the Wiki article.

quote:
The term "internal forum" is sometimes used in connection with the controversial so-called "internal forum solution" claimed to justify reception of Holy Communion by someone who is convinced that a former marriage was invalid, but who cannot prove this externally so as to obtain an annulment. This is not a canonical solution.
Pastoral recognition of such a sincerely held opinion about the marriage does not change the formal state of the marriage as not annulled, and therefore the formal view of the church is that it must remain indissoluble. But it can recognise the possible human imperfections of the annulment process and the possibility of injustice through those imperfections.

I think that is the moral case. Any process designed to test that seems to me to be fraught with difficulty over maintaining any kind of fairness or consistency, even over exceptional rulings.

Paul, I think you are coming down on one side of that argument that there should be some process to test that; Chester, you are on the other. It looks like a close call to me. I'm inclined to side with Chester. I think effort might be better spent in sharpening the annulment processes to reduce the risk of an imperfect decision.

But I am not sure there is a moral absolute in play in judging that argument. There seems to be room to develop the argument.

Dunno, guys; maybe that is a logic-chop too far? And I'm a complete novice outsider in this part of the discussion, so I might be overlooking the obvious. But that's the way it strikes me from the sidelines.

[ 10. February 2014, 08:02: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Because most Catholics like most everybody else will be divorced.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
Most people are not divorced.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
You're right, only 45% of marriages (a minority sport in itself) will end in divorce in the UK.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
Actually as luck would have it, the ONS has just published a summary of the current position (here) - it's now 42% of all marriages end in divorce, and falling. But bear in mind that includes second and subsequent marriages as well which carry a much higher failure rate.

Somewhere on the ONS website there's a paper addressing survivability of first marriages, which it points out is a fearfully difficult thing to calculate. You can only estimate it, as the only accurate figures come about when one partner dies, and by then all data refer to historic marriages. But assuming my memory is not wrong, the proportion of first marriages predicted as ending in divorce was reckoned to be in the 30%'s - I can't remember the exact figure but I'll take a look tomorrow to see if I can find it again.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Forthview:
Enoch
1. marriage is for all, though there are some restrictions - in some countries you may only be married to one person at a time - in some countries you can only be married to a person of the opposite sex.
The Catholic church also has its rules about marriage and if the conditions are fulfilled then the marriage is classified as a sacramental marriage until it can be shown that it was not.
An extra complication in some countries, including
UK is that a Catholic marriage can also be counted as a marriage recognised by the State.

I can't follow that. So is the difference merely between a Catholic marriage and all other marriages? There's been a suggestion earlier in the thread that the RCC recognises some Protestant marriages.

And are you implying that there can be a marriage that is not legally recognised at all, but is still sacramental and so binding to the RCC? Surely not.
quote:

2. 'legalised coupling' is not a helpful way to describe a civil marriage.Some people would not see the legal ceremony as anything to do with 'coupling'. Their 'coupling' can take place independent of any ceremony. In the UK coupling outside of marriage is not illegal.


So what is the status of a civil marriage in the eyes of the RCC then?
quote:

3.You have it not got things right - what happens after the ceremony is equally part of the marriage and can affect the validity of the marriage
(None of the sacraments are magic bubbles).

How? Is this something to do with annulment for non-consummation, or is there some other context in which this is relevant?
quote:

4.The Church does try to explain to prospective married couple what is meant by Christian marriage

Sorry, but that is not answering my questions.
quote:

5.Different rules have governed marriage ceremonies over the centuries.Since the couple are the ministers of the sacrament it has only been fairly recent - I think about 1918, but I may be wrong that a Catholic marriage has to be conducted (normally) in the presence of a minister of the Church.

Yebbut, marital regime is part of most continental legal systems now, today! I'm fairly sure it also applies in the French parts of Canada and the parts of the US that were formerly Spanish. So what has 1918 got to do with this?
quote:

6. No

7. Church teaches that the idea of indissolubility of marriage derives from the words of Jesus

It can't just be that, because if so, the RCC would recognise divorce for porneia/sexual misconduct.
quote:

I'm not sure how dogmatic indissolubility reduces the dreadful heinousness of adultery nor just how dreadfully heinous adultery is.

Because it gives the impression, and produces the result, that it's all right and civilised for a husband to keep a mistress and a wife a cicisbeo. It strongly suggests that spouses should be expected to tolerate that sort of thing rather than people being horrified by it as in Anna Karenina and much C19 English fiction.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
And you seem to be saying that not all remarried divorcees remain forever in a state of mortal sin. So who decides when their sin is no longer mortal and they can come back to the sacraments?

Some may never have been in the state of mortal sin. This is not really the point. The relevant canon 915 addresses those "who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin". That something is a "grave" sin is an objective judgement, which is irrespective of individual culpability. The question is not whether the person would go to hell if they died this instant (mortal sin), but whether their sin itself is grave (serious, i.e., mortal if they are fully culpable). If it is grave and visible to others (manifest), as well as lasting (obstinate), then the Eucharist must be withheld. Basically the Eucharist is being protected against the participation of those who show themselves to be unworthy of it by public deeds, no matter whether they are doomed by those deeds. See also this Vatican text.

quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
So the bogeyman of going to eternal hell for remarriage or taking communion when remarried doesn't float my boat.

I would consider this (not the concrete case, but the general attitude) to be a most excellent argument against universalism. One could say that hell must exist and be populated to protect against the likes of you feeling save of all consequence.

quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
Unless you're willing to admit that this system is unwell, the only way to go, which has any integrity, is in the pre-Vatican II direction, as IngoB has suggested. Make annulments as difficult as they were in 1917. Excommunicate all remarried divorcees and consign them to eternal damnation.

Let's be clear that what I have suggested had nothing to do with excommunicating all remarried divorcees. IIRC I made a narrow point about what was stated as the goals of marriage in canon law.

quote:
Originally posted by moonlitdoor:
Do you mean that he ought to do it even if he believes that his first marriage was valid ?

No, he should do it even if he is lapsed, and personally does not believe that the Church has any say in this. He should do it then for his wife rather than in obedience to the Church.

quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
My understanding, though, is that if they did it would become part of the Ordinary Magisterium of the church.

It really depends on what they are saying. Most likely, their statement would be of disciplinary and juridical nature, hence not part of the magisterium proper (at least not directly, though it might lead to doctrinal consequences). If they do make a doctrinal statement, then the question would be with what level of authority. Statements belonging to the ordinary magisterium are not per se infallible. However, the indissolubility of marriage is IMHO infallible by the ordinary magisterium, as something that has been taught and affirmed over many centuries. (Teachings can "accumulate" infallibility, so to speak.) The Church cannot simply reverse infallible teaching, and if she does, then she is not the Church and it is time to say bye bye.

quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
Luther or Archbishop Lefebvre. Take your pick! Both Protestants by definition!

Hardly. Fr Hunswicke does a good job here and here in debunking such notions.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I know that those decisions aren't being made on the level at which infallibility supposedly operates, but all the same, my confidence in the ability of the Church to discern truth, including the truth of when she is and is not infallible, is at least a little undermined.

Again, I ask why? We all know and agree that humans cannot possibly be infallible on their own. So their failure to be infallible in fact teaches us nothing new. The question of infallibility concerns necessarily whether God acts in specific ways. And since we all know and agree that God is not acting to make the establishment of marriage infallible, we learn nothing from annulments concerning infallibility.

Given that in the case of marriage the Church essentially only acts as notary, whereas the actual sacrament is being brought about (or not, as it were) by the couple, there can be little surprise that "the Church gets it wrong" often enough in basically believing the couple. And while theoretically the Church could do better in securing the couple's compliance, this would rather quickly turn a joyous occasion into an odious inquisition into intimate affairs. And to be perfectly honest, a bit of naive enthusiasm may well be required to get things going. It is certainly possible to talk people out of marriage with tales of woe and predictions of doom.

quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
And Pope Francis' Extraordinariness is because NO ONE since ... Jesus has tried SO hard, on such a scale, from such a platform of power, to show people what it means to be Christian.

Take that, all you saint and martyrs. Take that, all you bishops of popes. Take that, St Peter, St Paul and all the other apostles. Take that, Blessed Virgin Mary.

Do I hear the sound of distant trumpets?

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
And it is an injustice which is plainly against God's will.

I really find such statements quite fantastic. It's just as if Jesus (and St Paul explicitly in His name) never spoke most clearly on this matter.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I'm not saying it never happens, but I've certainly never heard of a Catholic asking for a declaration of nullity for a marriage which was continuing and happy, purely so that a suspected defect at the time the marriage was osensibly contracted could be corrected. And, if annulments are as commonly available as the quoted opinions would seem to imply, that really ought to be happening all the time.

That's because you are clueless about the actual procedure being employed in such cases. Such problems would be corrected by convalidation or retroactively by radical sanation.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Can anything be done to incentivise valid Catholic marriage?

Powerful incentives have been naturally provided: romantic love, sex, and offspring. What people need to be reminded of is the disincentive to stealing those goods. Hell.

quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink:
So what exactly are you involved in if you live with someone for 25 years, raise a child, and then have an annulment owing to your partner having kept a lover from before the marriage ceremony ? 25 years of porneia ?

First, I don't think that "keeping a lover" is as such grounds for annulment. Second, yes, sure, it's a kind of sexual misbehaviour. In this case it seems rather clear who is culpable for it though, and who isn't. That one was involved in grave sin does not necessarily imply that one is guilty of it.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
You are lucky with me. Generally, I skim past anything in your posts which strikes me as scornful bullshit, try to get at the substance, try to address that.

After so many years, I still get tricked by that kind of move. Sad.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I'm quite happy to look at the paper even though it has not been peer reviewed.

The authors say that it was peer-reviewed, but that the editor would not let it pass without them cutting it down to an - in their opinion - unacceptable degree. As editor for several scientific journals, I know that this is an entirely possible (though likely unprofessional) scenario.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
What I believe you argue is that harmonisation over marriage doctrine from scripture must be based primarily on what is said in the scriptures which refer to marriage. Indeed, if you do that, there seems precious little doubt from the record that Jesus said "What God has joined, let no man divide".

That, plus the essentially unanimous interpretation of the Church Fathers, and of course the teaching of the Church, settles the issue for me. Sometimes a yea is a yea, and a nay is a nay.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
But if you don't want to discuss those, then we'll agree to disagree.

I will agree to no such thing. If you wish to disagree, be it on your head entirely, I accept no share in it.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
When Jesus calls a man or a woman, he bids them come and die. Certainly to self, sometimes even to the cost of our own lives. It is a high calling. Please do not say that Catholics have a corner on that.

That's just evasion. Nobody was saying anything about missionaries, Protestant or otherwise.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Where does the doctrine that there are some marriages that are sacramental, and others that are not, come from?

Christ. See his comment on the Jewish situation. St Paul. See his comment what can happen to a marriage if one partner becomes a Christian.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Does that mean that to the RCC a non-sacramental marriage, say, between two agnostics before a Registrar, is no more than legalised coupling?

A marriage is a marriage. A baptism is a baptism. Yet as the baptism of Christ is to the baptism of John the Baptist, so is sacramental marriage to natural marriage. I'm not sure whether John the Baptist allowed re-baptism, but he could have. Yet there is no re-baptism in Christ. Christian can lay natural things before God's feet by His grace, but then there they will remain.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
If I've got this right, under RCC doctrine, the crucial question that determines the status of a marriage is what happens at the moment it is entered into. What happens thereafter is largely irrelevant.

Largely irrelevant for the validity of the marriage, yes.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Isn't it then the duty of the clergy to interrogate married couples about how well they understood what they were doing then, perhaps 40 years ago, and if not satisfied with the answers, to insist they separate? If that is not the case, why not?

You can consider it as a pre-emptive in dubio pro reo (Latin, "when in doubt, for the accused"). The validity of any marriage is questioned only for serious and just cause, typically, when the spouses themselves question it. Remember, the sacrament is in the hands of the couple, the Church acts only as a notary here.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
If that invalidates a catholic marriage, as demonstrating the wrong intention, doesn't that invalidate virtually all marriages on the continent of Europe, where it is normal practice for the couple to declare what marital regime they are going to adopt for their property and earnings?

I am from continental Europe (Germany), and quite frankly, I have no clue what you are talking about. Prenuptial agreements are uncommon in Germany, and I'd bet about as frequent as in the UK. Anyhow, if the couple was aware that the Church frowns on prenuptial agreements, and did it anyway, then that may be a sign that the marriage was invalid. If they didn't know, then it would be less of a sign. Then they might have just gone along with what they thought was the done thing, without intending much by it as far as the spirit of their marriage was concerned.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Has this form always been used? If so, wouldn't that also mean that the marriages of landed recusants would have been invalid since they normally involved property settlements?

I don't know. But in general marriages are assumed to be valid unless proven otherwise.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Does the doctrine that marriage is indissoluble derive from Jesus's words, ie an incident of marriage, but we'll conveniently leave out asking what porneia means?

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.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I don't think that follows if the Christian rule is "don't have sex with anyone unless you have made this sort of irrevocable commitment". If I know that I haven't made the required commitment I'm sinning even if I think that the commitment I have made is enough for me to count as 'married'. Presumably the Catholic Church considers the necessary commitment is an objectively good thing, part of God's direct command, not merely a technical requirement that might be overlooked by accident.

There is a difference between what is sin, and what is not, and whether one is culpable of a sin, or not. If you honestly believe that you are "married enough", then you won't be culpable for not being "married enough". Or to be more precise, you would be guilty only to the extent that you could have avoided being ignorant. So for example if you grew up in a "lax" Catholic environment, where Church doctrine was regularly waved aside, then quite likely you culpability would be very low.

quote:
Originally posted by Forthview:
you have it not got things right - what happens after the ceremony is equally part of the marriage
and can affect the validity of the marriage
(None of the sacraments are magic bubbles).

Sorry, but no. What happens after the ceremony (and consummation...) affects the validity of the marriage only insofar as it may indicate the intentions at the time the marriage was contracted. It is of course entirely possible to ruin a marriage after the ceremony, perhaps even immediately. But this would mean that the graces of marriage where not taken up, not that they were not given. Just like your actions after baptism can never unbaptise you, if you were validly baptised, so one cannot unmarry a sacramental marriage by any means.

quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
IngoB said that the Church doesn't need bums on seats, but faithful Christians. It's a point of view, but one which I don't share.

The Church is a big tent, but frankly I think not big enough for the both of us. Something needs to give here, and I think it may well still do so in my lifetime.

quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
Christianity has moved on and redefined itself many times in history. The Second Vatican Council did just that, hence the schism with traditional groups such as the SSPX.

No. And no. And no.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
So is the difference merely between a Catholic marriage and all other marriages? There's been a suggestion earlier in the thread that the RCC recognises some Protestant marriages.

The RCC recognises all natural marriages as valid until proven otherwise. The RCC recognises all marriages between the baptised as sacramental and valid until proven otherwise. The RCC exercises her right to bind and loosen as far as her faithful are concerned, and binds RCs to marry in a specific manner, making their marriage invalid otherwise.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
And are you implying that there can be a marriage that is not legally recognised at all, but is still sacramental and so binding to the RCC? Surely not.

"Legally" in what sense? It is of course possible that two people are married in the eyes of the RCC, but not in the eyes of the state.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
So what is the status of a civil marriage in the eyes of the RCC then?

It's a natural marriage. Pretty much the same thing as a sacramental marriage, but breakable, since it is just a human contract.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
It can't just be that, because if so, the RCC would recognise divorce for porneia/sexual misconduct.

She does, understood as (sexual) misconduct that can invalidate the attempt to marry.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Pax, IngoB. I won't go any further with fanciful Protestant exegesis on this thread. It's a tangent to the general topic.

[ 10. February 2014, 08:00: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:


And to what extent can someone who knows what the Church teaches about marriage and who wants to return to receiving the sacraments whilst continuing in a sexaul relationship with a subsequent spouse really be said to be "wanting to return to the practice of their baptismal faith"?

But why is this different from any other sinner who loves their sin and also loves - in a pathetic and fallen way - Jesus? This is what baffles me - the idea that for the unmarried, or knowingly non-sacramentally married, there is a flagrancy to their sin that is absent from any other kind of sin.

Why is it a more powerful and important sign for someone who loves someone who is not their spouse to exclude themselves from communion than someone who loves money - and repents of this every week, but, say, hasn't given up the habits that encourage avarice?
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
Enoch
different countries and different cultures have varying ideas about what constitutes a marriage - marriage whilst universal in the general sense takes different forms - in some countries a man can have up to four wives.
There is also the word 'marriage' and a marriage ceremony and there is a specifically Catholic marriage ceremony.
There are relatively few countries nowadays which recognise a Catholic marriage ceremony as legally binding by the state.

In most European countries, for example, only a civil marriage is recognised by the state.
In the case of French citizens only a marriage carried out by a representative of the French republic is recognised by the state.

Although the Catholic church will normally only marry those who are able to marry also under local state law , I have known of exceptional cases where only a religious ceremony was carried out - with no recognition from the state.

In normal circumstances the Catholic church has no difficulty in recognising people's status as 'married' 'single','divorced' etc just as the Church is happy to recognise Barrack Obama as President of the USA.In the case of people who claim to be Catholic, the Church imposes its understanding of marriage upon those who wish to be married according to the rites of the Catholic church.The Church recognises as sacramental ,marriages of other Christians which fulfil the conditions for a Catholic marriage.

Non consummation of the marriage is one of the grounds for annulment,but also a discovery after the marriage ceremony about the status of one of the spouses would also be grounds for annulment.
Was the person the person you thought you were marrying ?

The year 1918 was wrong - I knew it was in the time of Pius X - the Ne temere decree which came into force in 1908. It was a controversial decree,replaced in 1970 by 'Matrimonia mixta'
The controversial parts of Ne Temere regulated the marriage of Catholics with non-Catholics but it also established that a marriage should normally take place in the bride's parish and be
conducted by the parish priest or his delegate.

Jesus said 'What God has joined together,let no man put asunder'

I see no reason why in advocating indissolubility of marriage,the Church is thereby also advocating the keeping of mistresses and cicisbei.
Should the Supreme Governor of the Church of England in the person of Edward VII have undergone several divorces and remarriages in order to enjoy the favours of his many lady friends ?
How was such a heinous adulterer allowed to be the titular head of the Church of England ?
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Why would they have to take it? I repeat "And Pope Francis' Extraordinariness is because NO ONE since ... Jesus has tried SO hard, on such a scale, from such a platform of power, to show people what it means to be Christian.". That includes Jesus of course. Never in human history.

Neither Jesus or the BVM (PBUH) were on the same scale, had the same power.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
Why is it a more powerful and important sign for someone who loves someone who is not their spouse to exclude themselves from communion than someone who loves money - and repents of this every week, but, say, hasn't given up the habits that encourage avarice?

The canon 915 being used here is general, and does not target remarriage exclusively. Anybody "who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin" must be excluded from communion. The only thing special thing about the remarried is that their sins are, or at least easily become, manifest. That's so because the Church has documentation of marriage, and most remarried do not try to hide their new relationship from others. Furthermore, there is no way for the remarried couple to stop being obstinate about this grave sin, unless they are willing to have a Platonic relationship. (As mentioned above, "grave sin" is not the same as "mortal sin" - the remarriage is as such grave sin, no matter to what extent the couple can be considered guilty of that sin.)

It is much more difficult for the Church to find out whether someone is simply a good businessman (morally neutral or possibly even good) or avaricious to the point of grave sin. Furthermore, while it may be tedious to have someone come back every week or so to repent of the ever same sin, and while one would assume that pastoral care requires "upping the penitential ante" at some point in such a scenario, in principle there is no limit to such forgiveness. Whereas the remarried couple cannot actually repent of their relationship in the first place (unless they are willing to end it or turn it into a continent one). But if one will not repent then one cannot be forgiven.

That said, I do agree that the remarried are "convenient victims" of canon 915, and I'm far from convinced that the Church is consistent in applying that canon.
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Whereas the remarried couple cannot actually repent of their relationship in the first place (unless they are willing to end it or turn it into a continent one).

I think one could sincerely intend to turn it into a continent relationship (or, indeed, the passing of time may turn it into a continent relationship) if "continent" is one that involves no penetrative sex. And it follows from that, that sincere though imperfect repentance is possible. And, therefore, absolution and the return to grace is possible.


But it would be a bit of a bind if one were expected to remark on the continence of one's second marriage at every opportunity to avoid scandalising one's fellow congregants... Perhaps the Church could issue badges?

And ISTM that there is something awfully Older-Brotherish ("him and his women!") about this prurient interest in what the remarried/unmarried are actually getting up to, and how sorry they feel, compared to other sinners. I think you may be, at least partly, agreeing with me there.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
I think one could sincerely intend to turn it into a continent relationship (or, indeed, the passing of time may turn it into a continent relationship) if "continent" is one that involves no penetrative sex. And it follows from that, that sincere though imperfect repentance is possible. And, therefore, absolution and the return to grace is possible.

The option of declaring yourself as living as "brother and sister" to the parish priest, and then returning to an normal participation in communion, has been there all along. And I assume that there are at least some couples out there who have gone down that path.

quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
But it would be a bit of a bind if one were expected to remark on the continence of one's second marriage at every opportunity to avoid scandalising one's fellow congregants... Perhaps the Church could issue badges?

I'm not sure how the issue of scandal would be handled by the parish priest. But I do not believe that there is any requirement of a public declaration, much less a requirement to wear some badge (a scarlet 'A' perhaps? [Roll Eyes] ). In general, I suspect that if the couple is forthcoming enough with information about their state on selected occasions, then it will not take long until "everybody knows about that". The human tendency to gossip can be used for good occasionally...

quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
And ISTM that there is something awfully Older-Brotherish ("him and his women!") about this prurient interest in what the remarried/unmarried are actually getting up to, and how sorry they feel, compared to other sinners. I think you may be, at least partly, agreeing with me there.

Sure. Frankly, I have not the first clue about the marital status of anybody at Church (but for some who happen to be personally close outside of Church), and I'd rather not be bothered with that information either. I'm just not sure that I can claim that as being charitable and/or mature. I'm just genuinely disinterested in that sort of thing...

I would say that any interest I could develop in such matters actually would concern the priest, and the actual couple only as "test case" for what the priest is like. I guess that's a bit like siblings watching with eagle eyes whether the parents are "fair".
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
And it is an injustice which is plainly against God's will.

I really find such statements quite fantastic. It's just as if Jesus (and St Paul explicitly in His name) never spoke most clearly on this matter.
I think we're talking at cross purposes here. You have replied to an intermediate stage in my argument as if it were my conclusion.

Wouldn't you agree that if I were to walk away from my marriage, abandoning my (by ordinary human standards) blameless wife, and enter into a new sexual relationship with someone else, and yet insist that she remain faithful to me, I would be doing her an injustice? Whether or not her obedience to Jesus requires that she endure this injustice is a separate question. My point in making the statement you quote was simply that this sort of behaviour is unfair, and, as far as we can tell from the OT, not approved by God.

I do think (from a liberal Protestant point of view, rather than a Catholic one) that a follower of Jesus is sometimes required to accept injustice, but that doesn't make wrongs right. Jesus seemed to think that sometimes a Christian might have to put up with being punched in the face without retaliation, but that does not, in my view, abrogate the principle that hitting someone in the face is, as a general rule, unjust. Similarly if Christian ethics requires an abandoned spouse to live as if bound by a marriage their partner has repudiated, that does not make the situation any less unjust.


quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Can anything be done to incentivise valid Catholic marriage?

Powerful incentives have been naturally provided: romantic love, sex, and offspring. What people need to be reminded of is the disincentive to stealing those goods. Hell.
Can we say that the 50% of Catholic marriages (to take the Cardinal's estimate) which are invalid, presumably because of some defect of intention, are actually damnable? I doubt that either of us would be prepared to say that if someone 'marries' without intending the irrevocable-even-if-abused-betrayed-and-abandoned level of total commitment that the Catholic Church requires, then they are going to Hell. The only practical way to get people to make that sort of extravagent promise is to encourage them to approve and desire it as something good and worthy.

I also think (as a liberal) that it is unfair to impose that level of commitment on people who have not freely chosen it. But that's a separate argument. Given that the Catholic Church does in fact have this as its only model of marriage, encouraging people to want and choose it is, in my view, still the best way of getting them to do what the Church says they ought to.

quote:
There is a difference between what is sin, and what is not, and whether one is culpable of a sin, or not. If you honestly believe that you are "married enough", then you won't be culpable for not being "married enough". Or to be more precise, you would be guilty only to the extent that you could have avoided being ignorant. So for example if you grew up in a "lax" Catholic environment, where Church doctrine was regularly waved aside, then quite likely you culpability would be very low.
I would certainly agree with that.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
The act of divorcing is usually, I think, the least of it. Yes, it's not good and is especialy horrible on the kids, but it doesn't go very far to scandalising people - people on the whole are not much tempted to emulate the pain of divorce in their own lives. Likewise, if divorced people continue to come to Church and receve the sacraments (without a subsequent spouse) I think very few people are led into error and temptation by that, since there's no glaring offense in it.

That's the bit I find odd and inconsistent about Catholic attitudes when this issue gets discussed. Someone always says something like “it's not divorce that's the issue, it's remarriage”.

I can't understand Jesus' words that way. I don't think the 'no remarriage' rule makes ethical sense viewed that way. I think the only way you get to 'no remarriage' is by stressing 'no divorce'. Jesus did not, in my view, say “let not man separate” primarily to make a theological point about the endurance of a sacramental bond. He was telling men not to divorce their wives. That has to be the focus, in my view. A Christian husband or wife is called to be faithful, to forgive wrongs, to work at being a good partner, to sacrifice their own desires for their beloved, to love, honour and (sometimes) obey, to “love her as the LORD loves the Israelites”*. That's the context. That's the primary emphasis of Jesus' teaching.

Only in a moral paradigm where both parties have that sort of love and commitment as their aim does it make sense for them to vow that their marriage is irrevocable under any circumstances. The commitment 'We will not divorce' must be in place before the '...because we cannot remarry if we do' is bearable.

I'm not saying that an individual Christian cannot be divorced without being at fault (it only takes one person to walk out) – but if both partners are trying to be true to a Christian standard of marriage, divorce should be a real problem. The man who has left his wife (absent abuse and the like) and refuses to return to her is as much or more an unrepentant sinner as the abandoned spouse who remarries.

(*it isn't just a New Testament standard)

[ 10. February 2014, 20:58: Message edited by: Eliab ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Just to say that I set up a separate thread in Kerygmania to look at the key gospel verses and hopefully, do a bit of group exegetics. It struck me after some exchanges here that there might be some value in doing that in a different discussion environment to this one.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
Adultery is not a "victimless crime". If MrB has an affair with Mrs A, then Mr A is the wronged party. Mr B has in effect stolen something from his neighbour. And Mrs A has betrayed a trust. If you say adultery is a grave or serious sin, most Christians will agree.

Conversely, if Mrs A is the largely-innocent party in a failed marriage, and after a decent interval she meets and then contracts a civil marriage with Mr B, then there is in that remarriage no victim, no theft (picking up what someone else has chosen to discard is not stealing) and no dishonesty - they are openly declaring to the whole community their new status in accordance with the law of the land.

So there seems to me something not right in any argument that relies on defining remarriage as technically a form of adultery and then concluding that the Church's response to remarried people should be the response appropriate to adulterers.

It's almost another form of philosophical error. Like banning dogs because they bark and then prosecuting someone for having a dog which doesn't bark because it's Against The Rules.

Chesterbelloc mentioned something about loving a child conceived in adultery, and not having to regret the child or give up the child or order to repent of the wrongness of the action. Neither the sin nor the repentance takes away the duty to care for the child.

Similarly, I'd argue that a remarried Catholic can repent of the wrongness of having failed to keep their original sacramental marriage vow. Without having to regret or give up the new relationship. And neither the wrongness nor the repentance takes away the duty to care for the new spouse.

Here in Ireland, there has been some discussion of the film Philomena - the fact that the old-fashioned style of Catholic morality did take children away from unmarried mothers and did lock the mothers up in institutions for their grave sin.

The Church has changed and will continue to change. But somehow for the conservatives in the Church, every past change was a change in non-essentials, in practice or discipline but never in teaching. But when it comes to proposed future change, we're told that the practice reflects the doctrine and can't be disentangled from it.

If there's a will, there's a way.

Best wishes,

Rusd
 
Posted by Planeta Plicata (# 17543) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Adultery is not a "victimless crime". If MrB has an affair with Mrs A, then Mr A is the wronged party. Mr B has in effect stolen something from his neighbour. And Mrs A has betrayed a trust. If you say adultery is a grave or serious sin, most Christians will agree.

There are some additional assumptions being made here in order to argue that the non-Catholic understanding of adultery always and everywhere has victims. What if Mr A has agreed to have an open marriage with Mrs B? In that case, Mrs A presumably hasn't betrayed Mr A's trust, at least in the usual sense. And yet, many Christians will agree that the As have sinned and failed to act consistently with the Christian notion of marriage. And the Catholic Church would certainly withhold communion from Mr B and Mrs A if they were to move in together and thus make manifest their sin.

Catholic morality long predates the harm principle, and if you accept that an action is wrong if and only if it results in a direct and proximate victim, you'll have to throw out large chunks of Catholic morality.

quote:
Here in Ireland, there has been some discussion of the film Philomena - the fact that the old-fashioned style of Catholic morality did take children away from unmarried mothers and did lock the mothers up in institutions for their grave sin.

The Church has changed and will continue to change. But somehow for the conservatives in the Church, every past change was a change in non-essentials, in practice or discipline but never in teaching. But when it comes to proposed future change, we're told that the practice reflects the doctrine and can't be disentangled from it.

Unless you're actually claiming that Catholics used to think Magdalen laundries were unchangeable doctrine, I'm not sure what the point of this example is.

[ 10. February 2014, 23:53: Message edited by: Planeta Plicata ]
 
Posted by Planeta Plicata (# 17543) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
So there seems to me something not right in any argument that relies on defining remarriage as technically a form of adultery and then concluding that the Church's response to remarried people should be the response appropriate to adulterers.

It's almost another form of philosophical error. Like banning dogs because they bark and then prosecuting someone for having a dog which doesn't bark because it's Against The Rules.

Sorry for the double-post, but it also occurs to me that this pseudo-adultery, which Catholics allegedly confuse with adultery but which is really another beast entirely, is described straightforwardly as adultery in Matthew 5:32.

That said, I think this goes to the heart of the difference in the way the disputants here are framing the issue:

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:Chesterbelloc mentioned something about loving a child conceived in adultery, and not having to regret the child or give up the child or order to repent of the wrongness of the action. Neither the sin nor the repentance takes away the duty to care for the child.

Similarly, I'd argue that a remarried Catholic can repent of the wrongness of having failed to keep their original sacramental marriage vow. Without having to regret or give up the new relationship. And neither the wrongness nor the repentance takes away the duty to care for the new spouse.

A lot of non-Catholics seem to see the sin here, if any, as a single act, beginning either the breakup of the previous marriage or the start of the remarriage. Eventually these events fade into the past and are repented of, as with other types of sin, and it seems perverse to withhold communion from the remarried couple. Viewed from this standpoint, the Catholic theory that the remarried couple are sinning anew every time they sleep together appears to miss the forest for the trees. Which, I think, suggests that the Catholic position depends on a broader theory of Catholic sexual ethics, which in turn is why these biblical proof-texts aren't convincing anyone.

[ 11. February 2014, 03:06: Message edited by: Planeta Plicata ]
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Adultery is not a "victimless crime". If MrB has an affair with Mrs A, then Mr A is the wronged party. Mr B has in effect stolen something from his neighbour. And Mrs A has betrayed a trust. If you say adultery is a grave or serious sin, most Christians will agree.

Conversely, if Mrs A is the largely-innocent party in a failed marriage, and after a decent interval she meets and then contracts a civil marriage with Mr B, then there is in that remarriage no victim, no theft (picking up what someone else has chosen to discard is not stealing) and no dishonesty - they are openly declaring to the whole community their new status in accordance with the law of the land.

So there seems to me something not right in any argument that relies on defining remarriage as technically a form of adultery and then concluding that the Church's response to remarried people should be the response appropriate to adulterers.


But surely nobodies lives and marriages are such simple hypotheticals, nor that posited by Eliab ("it only takes one to walk out").

Surely a person who refuses physical and emotional intimacy with their spouse while continuing to live in the same house as them commits as serious a sin as the person who walks away. Though in both cases (the physically present, spiritually withdrawn, and the physical abandoner) we would still wonder what has led to that pass, rather than simply say that one is the guilty party?

It vexes me that the Church's measure of grace in a marriage should either be, or be perceived to be, based on compliance rather than principle.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Which principle predominates. Erroneus Monk?

The Orthodox, who are people of principle and Tradition too, think that the predominant principle is economia, i.e. that a literal interpretation should be mediated by the spirit and by charity.

One of the ironies of this debate is that Jesus was correcting various literal and legalistic interpretations in his time by asserting that they missed the point of God's original intentions for humanity, pre-Fall. As a result, many argue that we therefore have a new law to be applied without concession post Fall, regardless. I see how you get there, but the outcome looks to me like a legalistic application of principle!

It is easy to accuse the Orthodox of vagueness, even trimming. But do they not have a point of principle here? Economia is not pragmatism in recognising the dangers of Christian legalism. Does it not point to Grace? I think this is why it strikes a chord with me.
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Which principle predominates. Erroneus Monk?


I'm an auditor, so when I think of compliance versus principle, I'm thinking of an approach that is all to do with ticking off a checklist, rather than taking substantial actions that change behaviour/outcomes.

it seems to me that in relation to questions such as what is grave sin against a marriage, what is an adequate level of repentance, what is the required outward sign of that repentance, we and the Church tend to use a compliance checklist - because we *can* - see references above to the evidence trail created by marriage, divorce, remarriage etc.

But one could comply with the checklist in full and live an unloving life in substance - e.g. make life hell for one's spouse while remaining physically faithful and constantly present.

And - continuing to talk in the language of the office, forgive me - the fact that one can remain in communion by complying with the checklist, and without making the effort in substance to live out a marriage of love (and no, I don't mean romantic love, or great sex, but compassion and care) seems to me to be a perverse incentive.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Wouldn't you agree that if I were to walk away from my marriage, abandoning my (by ordinary human standards) blameless wife, and enter into a new sexual relationship with someone else, and yet insist that she remain faithful to me, I would be doing her an injustice?

But you are not insisting that she remains faithful to you, or if you are, then you are being ridiculous. The whole problem here is that people think of marriage as a voluntary arrangement between two people, and then parse everything as demands and duties of those people in that arrangement. It is that, of course, naturally. The whole point of Catholic teaching is however that Christ turned marriage into a sacramental state that can be built up between two people. Most people (I guess...) do accept that one cannot be "unbaptised", even if one entirely ignores Christ or perhaps explicitly sets one's will against Him. Baptism, naturally speaking, is a voluntary act of repentance and dedication. But as sacrament it becomes a state of being. One becomes a Christian, in roughly the way one is a human being. There is afterwards no more possibility to become a non-Christian. One can become a terribly bad Christian, and lose each and all outer characteristics of a Christian life. But one cannot change fundamentally what one has become, whatever one does has now a new reference point, that one belongs to Christ. In a similar way, in making marriage a sacrament of the union of one flesh, Christ has established a state change, but between two people not one. (Hence death of one spouse can part marriage, the state change includes both.) So what binds your suffering wife is not that she has any remaining duties to you. Obviously you have forfeit all rights by your actions as a person. What binds her is simply that she is, and will always remain, married to you. She is in a state that she cannot get out of, except for the death of one of you. And her own actions are measured against that state, not against you.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I do think (from a liberal Protestant point of view, rather than a Catholic one) that a follower of Jesus is sometimes required to accept injustice, but that doesn't make wrongs right.

That's not the right perspective. The spouses do not have to accept any injustice from each other. That's precisely why spouses can separate (civilly divorce) even though this actually rejects precisely the promises made to each other in a practical sense. What you cannot do is to change what you are. Namely, married to that person. If you wish to connect your state back to its proper practice, then you have to "accept injustice", or to put it more nicely, you have to forgive. It's perhaps a bit like a fixed light in a room. You can switch it on, then there is light. You can switch it off, then there is dark. Your choice. What you cannot however do is to have that light shine in another room. The light installation is fixed, the cables are in these walls, they are not elsewhere.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Can we say that the 50% of Catholic marriages (to take the Cardinal's estimate) which are invalid, presumably because of some defect of intention, are actually damnable?

Certainly we can say this. What we cannot say with similar clarity is who will receive how much condemnation for this before God.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I doubt that either of us would be prepared to say that if someone 'marries' without intending the irrevocable-even-if-abused-betrayed-and-abandoned level of total commitment that the Catholic Church requires, then they are going to Hell.

I'm definitely prepared to say that a Catholic playing fast and loose with marriage commitments is drastically increasing their chances to go to hell. I do not believe that "going to hell" is a rare event that only applies to people commanding genocide while raping children, or some such. I'm not sure that I agree with the traditional estimate that most people will go to hell. But that's because under many layers of cynicism I'm a rather optimistic guy who has a basic trust that all things will work out OK somehow (having a good childhood does that to you). It's not something I can defend from scripture or tradition.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
The only practical way to get people to make that sort of extravagent promise is to encourage them to approve and desire it as something good and worthy.

Nope. That's a losing because idealistic proposition. People want romantic relationships, sex and offspring. Very much. They need to be convinced that there is only one safe way of getting those. That's all. Of course it will be a horrible muddle, and always has been, but that's just how people are. The idea that one can sell "sacramental marriage" as an ideal to the masses is just batshit. It's never going to work. First, only a small fraction of population is driven by idealism. Idealism gets big only in waves of mild insanity - you can base revolutions on that, but not steady governance. Second, mostly it's the young who get caught up in idealism easily. And it's rather problematic to play their naivety towards getting them married. Third, nothing kills idealism faster than living together day by day. Except perhaps for having kids. I'm not quite sure what to call the engine of stable families, but it sure as heck isn't idealism. More something like loving just-do-it-ism.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I also think (as a liberal) that it is unfair to impose that level of commitment on people who have not freely chosen it.

Since marriages not freely chosen are invalid, I don't know what you are talking about. Unless you are complaining about not being able to freely chose what the word and Christian life is like. That's a common complaint, see the endless bitching in the bible, which however has never changed anything (except the person bitching, who might get it out of their system at some point).
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Which principle predominates. Erroneus Monk?


I'm an auditor, so when I think of compliance versus principle, I'm thinking of an approach that is all to do with ticking off a checklist, rather than taking substantial actions that change behaviour/outcomes.

it seems to me that in relation to questions such as what is grave sin against a marriage, what is an adequate level of repentance, what is the required outward sign of that repentance, we and the Church tend to use a compliance checklist - because we *can* - see references above to the evidence trail created by marriage, divorce, remarriage etc.

But one could comply with the checklist in full and live an unloving life in substance - e.g. make life hell for one's spouse while remaining physically faithful and constantly present.

And - continuing to talk in the language of the office, forgive me - the fact that one can remain in communion by complying with the checklist, and without making the effort in substance to live out a marriage of love (and no, I don't mean romantic love, or great sex, but compassion and care) seems to me to be a perverse incentive.

Yes yes, yes, yes. Four ticks, one for each paragraph.

Effort in substance is a good phrase. In spirit and in truth also come to mind. Make every effort to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. If possible. In so far as it depends on you.

Some wider principles of being in loving relationship seem to apply. These most difficult questions arise when relationships break down. Humpy Dumpty had such a great fall that all the kings horses and men couldn't mend the brokenness.

Seen that. It breaks your heart.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Aye. It does.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
it seems to me that in relation to questions such as what is grave sin against a marriage, what is an adequate level of repentance, what is the required outward sign of that repentance, we and the Church tend to use a compliance checklist - because we *can* - see references above to the evidence trail created by marriage, divorce, remarriage etc.

But one could comply with the checklist in full and live an unloving life in substance - e.g. make life hell for one's spouse while remaining physically faithful and constantly present.

And - continuing to talk in the language of the office, forgive me - the fact that one can remain in communion by complying with the checklist, and without making the effort in substance to live out a marriage of love (and no, I don't mean romantic love, or great sex, but compassion and care) seems to me to be a perverse incentive.

It would be if that is what the Church were furnisnhing folk with - but it isn't. "The checklist" as you call it is at best a list of necessary but not sufficient conditions for not excommunicating oneself.

I can assure you that intentionally "making life hell for one's spouse" is also the sort of thing that the Church looks on dimly and which can certainly make one unfit to receive the Sacrament - as any competent confessor could tell you.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
How do we get from the unique a-contextual Lucan hand grenade of "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery." (echoed with a context in Mark) to the Pauline "But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace." unless the words of Jesus like many others including the beatitudes (which include similar words to those above with an exception) are hyperbolic, exaggerated for rhetorical effect, not the final dogmatic universal unalterable law for all situations, but part of a meta-discussion starting from a particular cultural context, one where divorce was an institutionalized arbitrary abuse of patriarchy.

There is, of course, no mention of the reasonable and humane grounds from Bronze Age Exodus 21:10 that even a wife had the rights to: to walk free when unloved. Except in type, obviously, implicit in Paul. They aren't mentioned in Jesus' discussions on the abuse of divorce. They didn't have to be.

[ 11. February 2014, 22:50: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
How do we get from the unique a-contextual Lucan hand grenade of "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery." (echoed with a context in Mark) to the Pauline "But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace." unless the words of Jesus like many others including the beatitudes (which include similar words to those above with an exception) are hyperbolic, exaggerated for rhetorical effect, not the final dogmatic universal unalterable law for all situations, but part of a meta-discussion starting from a particular cultural context, one where divorce was an institutionalized arbitrary abuse of patriarchy.

I continue to be fascinated by the ability of people to read one verse and just utterly ignore the rest of the very chapter that verse comes from. The "Pauline privilege" is established in 1 Cor 7:12-15, of which you quote the last verse. Just prior in 1 Cor 7:10-11 St Paul says: "To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband) - and that the husband should not divorce his wife." That seems abundantly clear to me, and the "Lucan hand grenade" is actually the "gospel hand grenade", repeated here and everywhere in the NT where the topic arises. St Paul's testimony here is of particular value, since it makes explicit that the apostles did not see any sort of "hyperbole" in this - small wonder, after Christ's smack-down of their (and your) worldly reaction in Matt 19:10-12. Rather, they saw it as a clear instruction of the Lord, a commandment, to be passed on. And it is this "interpretation" which is affirmed unanimously by the Church Fathers. What we have here from St Paul is the establishment of the difference between a natural and a sacramental marriage. Whether St Paul had a theology that could articulate this difference I do not know. The evidence is simply that he established the orthopraxis which we today capture in this theological distinction.

quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
There is, of course, no mention of the reasonable and humane grounds from Bronze Age Exodus 21:10 that even a wife had the rights to: to walk free when unloved. Except in type, obviously, implicit in Paul. They aren't mentioned in Jesus' discussions on the abuse of divorce. They didn't have to be.

One can perhaps use this against Barnabas62's attempt to question the Divine authority granted to Mark as evangelist in order to introduce doubt about the indissolubility of marriage against his utterly unequivocal words in scripture. For in your verse we have evidence of some kind of "divorce" initiated by women among the Jews (though mainly one can simply point to Mark - and Jesus - being well acquainted with the Greek and Roman culture of their time, and Mark addressing his gospel to the gentiles...). However, for people capable of reading more than one verse at a time, it is clear from context that what is being talked about in Exodus there is how to deal with slaves. In this particular instance, sexual slaves, namely women sold by their father to some master for sexual pleasure, procreation and presumably housekeeping. In this context then, what Exodus 21:10 actually is saying is that if such a sexual slave falls into disfavour, because the master has found/bought a new plaything, and he stops feeding, clothing and fucking her, then she can leave without having to pay her way out of slavery. That's what she is free of then, to pay off her master's ownership. The actual teaching here is hence that if you own a human being, then you have a basic duty of care for their needs (they need to be fed, clothed and fucked...) or you forfeit that ownership. Good luck with turning that sort of thing into a justification for modern divorce. Personally, I think it was a good thing that Jesus rejected all this mess outright and re-established what was God's will from the beginning as normative rule for his followers. That would include you.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
...Barnabas62's attempt to question the Divine authority granted to Mark as evangelist in order to introduce doubt about the indissolubility of marriage against his utterly unequivocal words in scripture ...

Well, it isn't my personal attempt, is it? Unless you regard reporting of a finding by a very well known and respected Protestant theologian as some kind of personal attack by me, or him, on the authority of and inspiration of scripture. It is a finding based on content within scripture. There is something to be considered there.

By all means kick it out on dogmatic grounds if you want to. I've acknowledged the internal coherence of Catholic understanding a lot of times on this thread. Why take pot shots when I've already withdrawn from that part of the discussion here?
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Personally, I think it was a good thing that Jesus rejected all this mess outright and re-established what was God's will from the beginning as normative rule for his followers. That would include you.

And this is why I feel sometimes we are talking at cross purposes.

Most of us are agreeing that it is right for Christians to marry once and remain faithful to that spouse until death. We are clearly called to this if we choose to marry.

This is different from saying that remarrying puts a Christian in a state of sustained sinfulness and disobedience, which is what the RCC says and most other churches generally reject.

Don't you think it's interesting that the requirements for elders given in the NT are "the husband of one wife." Now, I'm no Biblical scholar but that suggests rather strongly to me that there were men in the church who did NOT meet this qualification. Otherwise no need to mention it specifically. This is the same Paul who you say elsewhere is making a statement that the remarried are commanded to remain single. Perhaps that's an issue of church discipline rather than a command from God. Similar to many other things Paul wrote authoritatively in one place but contradicted in another (but these are DH issues so won't elaborate).

[ 12. February 2014, 10:26: Message edited by: seekingsister ]
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Which people are they IngoB?

There's no good news in the institutionalization of patriarchy which is what Jesus was attacking. Not the freedom in Him to walk away from it and other unfixable broken abuse clean.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Aye seekingsister. Celibate priests certainly don't.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Unless you regard reporting of a finding by a very well known and respected Protestant theologian as some kind of personal attack by me, or him, on the authority of and inspiration of scripture.

Both. He said it, you repeated it, and it is what it is.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Why take pot shots when I've already withdrawn from that part of the discussion here?

Merely because it was fun to see Martin dig up a "divorce" initiated by women in the OT, as argument against the Catholic position, after you had tried to get around Mark supporting the Catholic position because of his talk about divorce initiated by women in the NT.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
Most of us are agreeing that it is right for Christians to marry once and remain faithful to that spouse until death. We are clearly called to this if we choose to marry. This is different from saying that remarrying puts a Christian in a state of sustained sinfulness and disobedience, which is what the RCC says and most other churches generally reject.

So what do you call the sustained deviation from what Christ has clearly called you to do, if not sin and disobedience? Hopscotch?

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
Don't you think it's interesting that the requirements for elders given in the NT are "the husband of one wife." Now, I'm no Biblical scholar but that suggests rather strongly to me that there were men in the church who did NOT meet this qualification. Otherwise no need to mention it specifically.

Well, yeah. Sure there were. People tended to die a lot more in those days, and women in particular were in an unusual danger in the prime of their life as compared to men - due to childbirth. What would a widower do in these days, you reckon, in particular if blessed with several children and of reasonably high social status (as an elder of a church might well be)? Right, he would remarry. Except, an elder was not allowed to remarry even as widower. That's the point St Paul is making there, and that is the continuous tradition where the clergy does not have to celibate (i.e., in the East). You can become a priest if you are married, but you cannot marry if you are a priest (even if you were married, but your wife died). And you cannot become a priest if you were married more than once. Ask the Orthodox...
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
What we cannot say with similar clarity is who will receive how much condemnation for this before God.

But thank God that God is more merciful than the Roman Catholic Church.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Unless you regard reporting of a finding by a very well known and respected Protestant theologian as some kind of personal attack by me, or him, on the authority of and inspiration of scripture.

Both. He said it, you repeated it, and it is what it is.
No it isn't. You are elevating an opinion on a particular approach to exegetics (sometimes called higher criticism) to the level of a factual statement about the beliefs of others.

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Why take pot shots when I've already withdrawn from that part of the discussion here?

Merely because it was fun to see Martin dig up a "divorce" initiated by women in the OT, as argument against the Catholic position, after you had tried to get around Mark supporting the Catholic position because of his talk about divorce initiated by women in the NT.
I'm not trying to get around anything. Neither is Jimmy Dunn. He is not a lone voice either. He has spent decades in researching the sayings of Jesus, as, for example, has Richard Bauckham (in Jesus and the Eyewitnesses). Dunn is a minister of the Church of Scotland as well as, for many years, Professor of Divinity at the University of Durham. Bauckham grew up as an Anglican and remains an Anglican; he was for many years Professor of NT Studies at St Andrews and is a senior scholar at Ridlley College which trains C of E ordinands. Their in-depth knowledge of the New Testament is impressive, as are their understandings of and commitments to the Christian faith. Neither of them would be in any way strangers to Catholic theology.

I said earlier in the the thread that I was trying to illuminate why some Protestants might have a different view to Catholicism. A role I have withdrawn from, because discussion of Protestant theology has proved to be too tangential to the purposes of this thread. I understand that you do not wish even to agree to disagree, so I'm going to leave it there. I would appreciate it if you would do the same.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
What we cannot say with similar clarity is who will receive how much condemnation for this before God.

But thank God that God is more merciful than the Roman Catholic Church.
[Overused] [Overused]

I suspect there are some people, though, who would not just disagree with you, but would tell us that such a concept is impossible.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Cannot, cannot, cannot.

Sad isn't it?

The defence of arbitrary, unreasoned patriarchy dressed up as ... grace?

Some more examples of Jesus' insouciant, relentless use of hyperbole:

Luke.14:26 If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

Mark 10:27 “all things are possible with God”

Matt. 6:3 “When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”

Matt. 19:24 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God”

Luke 13:19 The kingdom of God “is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches”

Matt. 5:29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Luke 6:30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

Luke 16:18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

As Paul was able to work it out on his own recognizance, in Brian's footsteps, so are we.

It's funny, whatever doubts I have had - over the ordination of women, the full inclusion of other than statistically 'normal' sexuality and its expression in love, pacifism in all images of God, name it - are removed in polarization by their opponents who are traditionally united in opposing all of them.
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Well, yeah. Sure there were. People tended to die a lot more in those days, and women in particular were in an unusual danger in the prime of their life as compared to men - due to childbirth. What would a widower do in these days, you reckon, in particular if blessed with several children and of reasonably high social status (as an elder of a church might well be)? Right, he would remarry. Except, an elder was not allowed to remarry even as widower. That's the point St Paul is making there, and that is the continuous tradition where the clergy does not have to celibate (i.e., in the East). You can become a priest if you are married, but you cannot marry if you are a priest (even if you were married, but your wife died). And you cannot become a priest if you were married more than once. Ask the Orthodox...

None of this contradicts my suggestion that limiting bishops to those married only once and never remarried, is a clear indication that there were members of the church who did not meet those standards. As a currently monogamous man who has had more than one wife must either be divorced or widowed, that means both categories are excluded from being bishops.

If one takes the rest of the verse, it means that the remarried, those with disobedient children, those who had temptations with money and wine, could be Christians, but not bishops. If those things excluded one from Christianity in general, they would not be listed here as exclusions to high leadership.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
No it isn't. You are elevating an opinion on a particular approach to exegetics (sometimes called higher criticism) to the level of a factual statement about the beliefs of others.

You were not just randomly quoting some interesting analysis of scripture. You were using this to justify your position on remarriage. And the only way that can work is precisely if those exegetical comments on Mark mean - in your mind - that the words of Mark are of questionable authority on the subject of divorce and remarriage. Otherwise, what is even the point of mentioning any of this? Indeed, for me there is no point to it at all. Because to me it matters not one bit whether Jesus really said what Mark reports him to have said, or whether that was (partly) Mark putting words into Jesus' mouth. Because to me in the latter case that would simply be the Holy Spirit putting words into Mark's head so that Mark puts them into Jesus' mouth. The authority of the resulting words is one and the same: Divine. Exegesis is of value only as far as it helps us to understand what God is trying to tell us, but there is no problem with understanding what Mark is saying here. Or at least there is no problem here that would have anything to do with the question whether Jesus could have been talking about women divorcing. If you have that same attitude, then stop talking about this particular exegesis, because it contributes nothing to the discussion we are having. It is entirely without any relevance. If you do not have that same attitude, then stop complaining that I have called you out on that.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I'm not trying to get around anything. Neither is Jimmy Dunn.

That's good to hear. I expect then that you will follow Mark 10:11-12 to the letter in your Christian practice: "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." I look forward to hearing your condemnation of all remarriages as ongoing adultery, and am pleased that you have joined the Catholic faith on this matter. But that's not going to happen, is it? At least do a Martin and tell us that this is just hyperbole, or something similar. That's a lot more informative about where you are coming from than going on about various academic studies.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
He has spent decades in researching the sayings of Jesus, as, for example, has Richard Bauckham (in Jesus and the Eyewitnesses). Dunn is a minister of the Church of Scotland as well as, for many years, Professor of Divinity at the University of Durham. Bauckham grew up as an Anglican and remains an Anglican; he was for many years Professor of NT Studies at St Andrews and is a senior scholar at Ridlley College which trains C of E ordinands. Their in-depth knowledge of the New Testament is impressive, as are their understandings of and commitments to the Christian faith. Neither of them would be in any way strangers to Catholic theology.

Seriously? An argument from authority? Involving academics? In matters of scripture interpretation? Concerning a key issue of the Protestant heresy, from Protestants? Involving intimate relationships?

Your position is untenable because the texts are clear, what you do in practice is clear, but how you go from one to the other remains a mystery. You've been beaten in clarity and straightforwardness by Martin. At that point, waving about the academic titles of others does nothing for you.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I would appreciate it if you would do the same.

The world, and people, so often disappoint.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
As a currently monogamous man who has had more than one wife must either be divorced or widowed, that means both categories are excluded from being bishops.

For sure. But only for one of them this may come as a surprise, and is hence worth mentioning by St Paul here, namely for the widower who has remarried. According to St Paul's other teachings, we could have assumed that the widower is doing perfectly fine in remarrying and that no impediment to him becoming an elder arises from that. But St Paul corrects this idea here. Whereas of course it was already perfectly clear from St Paul's other teaching that the person who remarries after a divorce is an adulterer and nobody would be in the slightest surprised that an unrepentant sinner is not made elder.

quote:
Originally posted by seekingsister:
If one takes the rest of the verse, it means that the remarried, those with disobedient children, those who had temptations with money and wine, could be Christians, but not bishops. If those things excluded one from Christianity in general, they would not be listed here as exclusions to high leadership.

Indeed. Remarried widowers are even Christians in good standing, even though they cannot become elders. Remarried divorcees are also still Christians, of course. Just Christians that are in impaired standing. Perhaps you don't understand this whole withholding communion thing. It's not even an excommunication, much less a de-Christianisation (which is basically impossible). It is simply a measure to protect the Holy Eucharist from the participation of people who publicly sin gravely, to uphold its sacredness, to ward off scandal to the faithful and indeed to protect those sinners from eating and drinking Divine judgement onto themselves.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
The disappointment is mutual.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Well I'll be damned.

In excellent company.
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
Last October, in L'Osservatore Romano, Archbishop Mueller, in defense of the Church's position of excluding remarried divorcees from communion wrote:

quote:
Clearly, the care of remarried divorcees must not be reduced to the question of receiving the Eucharist. It involves a much more wide-ranging pastoral approach, which seeks to do justice to to the different situations. It is important to realize that there are other ways, apart from sacramental communion, of being in fellowship with God. One can draw close to God by turning to him in faith, hope and charity, in repentance and prayer. God can grant his closeness and his salvation to people on different paths, even if they find themselves in a contradictory life situation.
Even if the net result of the Synods of 2014 and 2015 is just to reiterate this pastoral care, it leaves an imortant question unanswered, which I hope those knowledgeable students of canon law such as IngoB or Chesterbelloc may be able to clarify. Certainly he's saying that such people aren't excluded from the Church altogether. The sacrificial nature of the Mass may be efficacious even for people who can't receive communion. Eucharistic adoration is another way in which Christ can be approached. But whether the ongoing adultery of a second union is considered a grave sin or a mortal sin, there are also the other sins people commit in life that need to be taken into consideration.

To my mind, being excluded from confession is even more serious than being excluded from the Eucharist. The inability to receive absolution for any sin, even those which could, in normal circumstances,be taken to the confessional, must leave many in a state of mortal sin, for which damnation could be the result. Perhaps some of these people could live long enough for ammendment of life. Perhaps the sexual side of their illicit union will come to a natural end, as it does with many older couples. Perhaps they will split with their second partner. In such cases, they could confess and be reconciled to God and the Church.

But others, because of their ongoing state, are in practice excommunicated, even if they aren't physically ejected from the church building! No amount of pastoral care, or kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament can help someone who is unable to receive sacramental absolution, because they know that they will die in their state of moratl sin! So how can God "grant his closeness and salvation to people on different paths" if the path they're on is objectively one of damnation?
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
PaulTH*, first, God is not limited by the sacraments. But our knowledge of what He may do apart from the sacraments is limited. Second, perfect contrition absolves you from sin even prior to the sacrament of confession. For contrition to be perfect, it must contain a desire to confess - contra the Protestants, it is not enough to simply forgive oneself before God. However, where this desire cannot be realized due to circumstance, the absolution is not hindered. This is usually applied to circumstances like someone having an accident on the way to confession and dying before a priest can get to them. There is reasonable hope that their sins were forgiven already by "perfect contrition". However, if we assume that it is psychologically possible that one is "perfectly contrite" about all one's (mortal) sins, except for one's remarriage, and that that includes a strong desire to go to confession, then I think there is reasonable hope that at least those other sins are forgiven in spite of the "technicality" that the sacrament cannot be provided unless one is ready to repent of all (mortal) sin.

That's my personal speculation based on some basic knowledge, by the way. It is neither learned opinion nor official teaching.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Who needs Hell?
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
PaulTH*, first, God is not limited by the sacraments. But our knowledge of what He may do apart from the sacraments is limited. Second, perfect contrition absolves you from sin even prior to the sacrament of confession. For contrition to be perfect, it must contain a desire to confess - contra the Protestants, it is not enough to simply forgive oneself before God. However, where this desire cannot be realized due to circumstance, the absolution is not hindered. This is usually applied to circumstances like someone having an accident on the way to confession and dying before a priest can get to them. There is reasonable hope that their sins were forgiven already by "perfect contrition". However, if we assume that it is psychologically possible that one is "perfectly contrite" about all one's (mortal) sins, except for one's remarriage, and that that includes a strong desire to go to confession, then I think there is reasonable hope that at least those other sins are forgiven in spite of the "technicality" that the sacrament cannot be provided unless one is ready to repent of all (mortal) sin.

Perhaps we've finally reached a point where I can agree with you!!!!! Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and even Cardinal elect Mueller have all emphasised the need for a pastoral ministry to remarried divorcees, which Pope Francis is going to consider, among other issues, at the October Synod. As he's on record as saying that he considers the annulment process to be inadequate, it's likely that he will make some changes to it. But assuming that he's unable to change the rules on permitting those in irregular unions to receive the sacraments, I hope that the renewed pastoral initiative to such people will emphasise strongly that they don't live outside the possibility of receiving God's mercy. The Holy Father has said that the time for mercy has come. He needs to show it here.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Remarried widowers are even Christians in good standing, even though they cannot become elders.

This is a very odd interpretation of what Paul meant about a presbyter being 'the husband of one wife'.

Surely he was ruling out polygamy.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
To me it means that the bishop may not have more than one wife at a time.( Solomon had several wives).
Also that the bishop should not marry again after he has been ordained.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Why?
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
God bless THIS wonderful, Godly Roman Catholic priest, Father Xavier, 1m 25s in.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
The whole problem here is that people think of marriage as a voluntary arrangement between two people, and then parse everything as demands and duties of those people in that arrangement. It is that, of course, naturally. The whole point of Catholic teaching is however that Christ turned marriage into a sacramental state that can be built up between two people. […] So what binds your suffering wife is not that she has any remaining duties to you. Obviously you have forfeit all rights by your actions as a person. What binds her is simply that she is, and will always remain, married to you. She is in a state that she cannot get out of, except for the death of one of you. And her own actions are measured against that state, not against you.

That's what I don't get about the Catholic emphasis on re-marriage.

Suppose I agree that marriage is a 'one chance only' deal as the RCC teaches. Marriage is the only good, safe, acceptable way to obtain the worldly goods that most people most value: sex, romantic love and one's own children. So a human being gets basically one chance in their life to achieve these desires. Then I find that astonishingly there is a woman in the world who is prepared to trust me enough to take her one chance at this with me. Wouldn't it be the greatest, most heartless betrayal of trust for me to leave her when she had done nothing to deserve that? Wouldn't divorcing her be about the worst sin I'm likely to commit?

Which is why I can't comprehend how it isn't divorce that's the problem for Catholics, given that it is so obviously wrong and damaging, and so obviously the thing Jesus was telling his followers not to do (with a possible exception where one party repudiates the marriage by conduct), but the question of what happens after this monumental betrayal is of such importance. The rule seems to be that letting one's horses bolt merits mild disapproval, but failing to bolt the stable door once they've gone is a matter of life-long condemnation. Why isn't it the injustice that you care about?

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
The only practical way to get people to make that sort of extravagent promise is to encourage them to approve and desire it as something good and worthy.

Nope. That's a losing because idealistic proposition. People want romantic relationships, sex and offspring. Very much. They need to be convinced that there is only one safe way of getting those. That's all. Of course it will be a horrible muddle, and always has been, but that's just how people are. The idea that one can sell "sacramental marriage" as an ideal to the masses is just batshit. It's never going to work. First, only a small fraction of population is driven by idealism. Idealism gets big only in waves of mild insanity - you can base revolutions on that, but not steady governance. Second, mostly it's the young who get caught up in idealism easily. And it's rather problematic to play their naivety towards getting them married. Third, nothing kills idealism faster than living together day by day. Except perhaps for having kids. I'm not quite sure what to call the engine of stable families, but it sure as heck isn't idealism. More something like loving just-do-it-ism.
I can't agree. I think in almost every area of life people are motivated more by feeling good about something than feeling bad. I work harder at jobs I can take pride in. I am nicer to people who appear to appreciate me. I am more scrupulous about rules which I think admirable.

Fear can be a motivator, but I don't think it is much good at making people want to obey. And a bad marriage can hurt so much, and the temptation of a better relationship can be so strong, that without some real desire to stay committed, not just fear of the consequences of failure, is likely going to be needed to keep a salvageable marriage going long enough for things to begin to change. I'm still married because “I said the words”, and that matters to me. Fear of Hell was never a factor in keeping me faithful. In the first place, I could very easily convince myself I am was in no danger of Hell (possibly easier for a Protestant than a Catholic, but not by much, as far as I can tell), and in the second place, because the possibility of Hell is the rest of my life-time away, and it looks a lot smaller because of the distance than my unhappiness now. That is, I admit, a rather short-sighted perspective, but, I think, a common one.

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I also think (as a liberal) that it is unfair to impose that level of commitment on people who have not freely chosen it.

Since marriages not freely chosen are invalid, I don't know what you are talking about. Unless you are complaining about not being able to freely chose what the word and Christian life is like. That's a common complaint, see the endless bitching in the bible, which however has never changed anything (except the person bitching, who might get it out of their system at some point).
What I mean is that someone who freely consents to a marriage ceremony, but does not intend to make the “this is my only chance for a sexual/loving/procreative relationship ever, no matter what, even if my partner abandons me without reason” commitment, cannot be said to have chosen that commitment. If that commitment is reckoned to be an indispensible part of marriage, then the RC Cardinal cited on this thread is probably under-estimating when he says that about half of Catholic marriages were not entered into with both parties understanding and consenting to what the Church says they were ostensibly doing. I strongly doubt that anything like as many as half the marriages outside the RCC are undertaken with both partners having that standard of irrevocability in mind.

The problem for the RCC, as I see it, is that it sees 'no remarriage' as an unalterable standard, for which no concession to human weakness is allowed, when this is something that probably the majority even of its own faithful probably can't and certainly won't consciously and whole-heartedly consent to.

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.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
But surely nobodies lives and marriages are such simple hypotheticals, nor that posited by Eliab ("it only takes one to walk out").

Surely a person who refuses physical and emotional intimacy with their spouse while continuing to live in the same house as them commits as serious a sin as the person who walks away. Though in both cases (the physically present, spiritually withdrawn, and the physical abandoner) we would still wonder what has led to that pass, rather than simply say that one is the guilty party?

Are you saying that with our imperfect knowledge we can't judge in a particular case that one person only is guilty? (If so, yes, mostly) Or that it is in principle impossible that only one person could be guilty? (In which case, no).
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
Eliab - the probability that a good number of couples who have been married with rc rites have not signed up completely to the promises is where,at least to my mind, there is room for greater use of the annulment procedure,which gives the possibility of a fresh start.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Aye leo, that's all he meant. Concurrency. Obviously. But no, we must read something narrower in to it. Seriality: One wife ever is your lot.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
Obviously?

Despite the fact that Jewish polygamy had pretty well died out and was disapproved of by the Rabbis? Despite the fact that Greco-Roman society was monogamous? Where were these polygamists all coming from?

Despite the fact that the text actually says "a one-woman man" in Greek? (I would have thought that the text actually eliminated both categories of aspirants at the technical level.)

Please explain why it is obvious!

Anyway, isn't this just another example of the "me and my bible" tendency? What did the early church interpret this as meaning?
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
According to its narrow minded, legalistic, superstitious, uninspired, self-serving, patriarchal disposition?

[ 15. February 2014, 21:23: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
Despite the fact that Jewish polygamy had pretty well died out and was disapproved of by the Rabbis? Despite the fact that Greco-Roman society was monogamous? Where were these polygamists all coming from?

Josephus notes that the then* reigning Herod had a couple of wives, some concubines, and a catamite. When the Herod fell into some disgrace, the catamite suicided anther than leave his fate to the successors.

*I think the then is right, but without the book handy I can't be sure. He may have been referring to one in the past.

[ 16. February 2014, 03:36: Message edited by: Gee D ]
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Never let the [SPIRIT of] truth get in the way of disposition Gee D. Especially of 'the learn-ed'.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
/Herod tangent

I think Josephus was not referring to Herod Antipas, but Herod the Great. He's the one notorious in scripture for the Massacre of the Innocents.

Certainly a self-proclaimed Jew and self-proclaimed King of the Jews. But not exactly a model Jew, to put it mildly. More of a "right bastard". I'm pretty sure Josephus describes him as a tyrant, not least for the measures he used to suppress discontent about him as a ruler. Seems clear that most contemporary Jews were pretty contemptuous of his behaviour. He followed Jewish Law when it suited him.

Not exactly a poster boy for contemporary Jewish understandings of marriage, divorce, monogamy, polygamy, but perhaps an illustrator of those laws by his breaking of them!

I think you'll find these things, Gee D, when you look back. This from memory too. I haven't got a copy of Josephus to hand, though I think the Antiquities may be available online.

[Late Edit: It is here. I've set the link at Book 15; chapter 8 shows the contemporary Jewish attitudes to Herod and chapter 9 shows him taking another wife. The whole book, and 16 which follows, hardly describe a model Jewish citizen]

[ 16. February 2014, 10:06: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
According to its narrow minded, legalistic, superstitious, uninspired, self-serving, patriarchal disposition?

You are telling me that as compared to these heroes of the faith, that you are now more broad-minded, non-legalistic, unsuperstitious, more inspired, not at all self-serving and unpatriarchal?
[Paranoid]
That's quite some claim.

Anyway - what about 1 Tim 5:9, about consecrated widows (who as I'm sure you know were an order in the early church)

quote:
9 Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband,[a] 10 and having a reputation for good works: (ESV)
or
quote:
9 No widow should be put on the list unless she is at least sixty years old, was the wife of one husband, 10 and has a reputation for good works: (NET)
The deal is the same for women as it is for men. Not, of course, that you would know this if your bible is the NIV, whose translators have reworded this passage to suit themselves. But the underlying Greek is the same construction as it is for men.

Frankly, if you want to believe this refers to women who have been polygamously married to multiple men, then knock yourself out. Just don't expect me to believe you.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Maybe I will enter the discussion on this relatively narrow point? But with some care.

Of course you are right, Honest Ron. The Nearly Infallible Version is very fallible in its translation of 1 Tim 5:9. But there is a moral implication in its correct translation which might be worth looking at.

Given that remarriage by widows and widowers is not excluded, why exclude them from eldership? Does this point to a first century view that abstinence from sexual activity was a superior state in one sense, that it demonstrated self-control in a way in which the married state did not?

Is continuing obedience to the exclusion simply a matter of obedience to a Traditional rule, or does it also represent a continued view that a return to abstinence shows something which marriage after bereavement does not?

I thought that celibate singleness and matrimony were both chaste within Catholicism, if properly observed as Catholics understand proper observance. A married couple having sex does not devalue the chastity of marriage, again in accordance with proper Catholic understanding about allowable sex within marriage.

So I'm puzzled. Are there still "degrees of chastity" which look on the married who are chaste and the single who are chaste in different ways?

I can see the argument from obedience, of course.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Remarried widowers are even Christians in good standing, even though they cannot become elders.

This is a very odd interpretation of what Paul meant about a presbyter being 'the husband of one wife'. Surely he was ruling out polygamy.
No, this interpretation of 1 Tim 3:2 is basically ruled out by the entirely parallel construction (in the Greek wording) in 1 Tim 5:9. The most common interpretation these days would probably be that "one-woman-man" simply means "faithful husband". However, this interpretation is a bit strange, since the other qualities listed for the elder are demands above and beyond simply avoiding mortal sin. Nobody was allowed to have multiple wives or commit adultery in the Christian community anyhow, so what's the point of mentioning such basic requirements for the elder here? Again, the parallel in 1 Tim 5:9 of the "one-man-woman" speaks against this as well, since this is talking about a widow. Finally, we do know what else this could mean, since we have a living tradition of rules for married clergy, which perfectly fits the requirement for an elder to be a "one-woman-man" in the straightforward sense of not being married more than once. It makes sense to mention such an "above and beyond the ordinary" requirement in the context.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Which is why I can't comprehend how it isn't divorce that's the problem for Catholics, given that it is so obviously wrong and damaging, and so obviously the thing Jesus was telling his followers not to do (with a possible exception where one party repudiates the marriage by conduct), but the question of what happens after this monumental betrayal is of such importance. The rule seems to be that letting one's horses bolt merits mild disapproval, but failing to bolt the stable door once they've gone is a matter of life-long condemnation. Why isn't it the injustice that you care about?

You have very strange notions there. Of course destroying one's marriage is sinful, potentially mortally so. Look at the relevant canons:
quote:
Can. 1151 Spouses have the duty and right to preserve conjugal living unless a legitimate cause excuses them.

Can. 1152 §1. Although it is earnestly recommended that a spouse, moved by Christian charity and concerned for the good of the family, not refuse forgiveness to an adulterous partner and not disrupt conjugal life, nevertheless, if the spouse did not condone the fault of the other expressly or tacitly, the spouse has the right to sever conjugal living unless the spouse consented to the adultery, gave cause for it, or also committed adultery. ...

Can. 1153 §1. If either of the spouses causes grave mental or physical danger to the other spouse or to the offspring or otherwise renders common life too difficult, that spouse gives the other a legitimate cause for leaving, either by decree of the local ordinary or even on his or her own authority if there is danger in delay.
§2. In all cases, when the cause for the separation ceases, conjugal living must be restored unless ecclesiastical authority has established otherwise. ...

Can. 1155 The innocent spouse laudably can readmit the other spouse to conjugal life; in this case the innocent spouse renounces the right to separate.

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.

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.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
Fear can be a motivator, but I don't think it is much good at making people want to obey.

Not if it merely is supposed to hold the individual back against a backdrop of a community which by and large doesn't care. The situation is rather different though if such fear shapes the rules and expectations of the community. People like to talk about the support of a community, but usually only in the sense of supplying good cheer to the individual if they happen to be struggling in their personal journey. But a community can also supply boundaries to bump against, it can systemically shape the journey one can take. We have had many decades of elevating the individual above the community. Now we find that this self-reliant and free construct somehow fails to follow the ideals of good and beauty, and pretty much behaves like a greedy jerk most of the time. Surprise, surprise, ...

The key problem for the RCC is wonderfully demonstrated in the fact that we are discussing canon law as if it was listing ideals. That was of course never the intention. Like all law, also canon law lists minimum standards of behaviour. It is the rock bottom, not the mountain top.

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.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
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.

I think you're halfway there, IngoB. You're agreeing here that current practice is unjust. As you said on another thread, justice is proportionality.

This seems like something that the Synod could reasonably be asked to address.

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Remarried widowers are even Christians in good standing, even though they cannot become elders.

This is a very odd interpretation of what Paul meant about a presbyter being 'the husband of one wife'. Surely he was ruling out polygamy.
No, this interpretation of 1 Tim 3:2 is basically ruled out by the entirely parallel construction (in the Greek wording) in 1 Tim 5:9. The most common interpretation these days would probably be that "one-woman-man" simply means "faithful husband". However, this interpretation is a bit strange, since the other qualities listed for the elder are demands above and beyond simply avoiding mortal sin. Nobody was allowed to have multiple wives or commit adultery in the Christian community anyhow, so what's the point of mentioning such basic requirements for the elder here? Again, the parallel in 1 Tim 5:9 of the "one-man-woman" speaks against this as well, since this is talking about a widow. Finally, we do know what else this could mean, since we have a living tradition of rules for married clergy, which perfectly fits the requirement for an elder to be a "one-woman-man" in the straightforward sense of not being married more than once. It makes sense to mention such an "above and beyond the ordinary" requirement in the context.
Thank you - I never knew that and i find it interesting and, not a little, disturbing.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Sigh. HRB. Which heroes of faith? And yes WE are, and that doesn't make us nicer, better in any regard, especially me. I'm a nasty, conflicted mess HRB. A right Gollum. We OBVIOUSLY are, nonetheless, as well as just as bad and worse, in the same person (e.g. me), depending on what I've just read and encountered in a day.

But yes, we are. Our civilization is, on the shoulders of those remarkable, flawed, struggling, retrogressive men and some women.

God bless you in embracing your traditions. And in embracing me. Despite them.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Planeta Plicata:
the Catholic theory that the remarried couple are sinning anew every time they sleep together appears to miss the forest for the trees. Which, I think, suggests that the Catholic position depends on a broader theory of Catholic sexual ethics, which in turn is why these biblical proof-texts aren't convincing anyone.

Would you care to elaborate on this ? What is the broader theory that you think underlies the Catholic position ?

'Cos some of us are struggling to see the logical basis for it.

It's not based in a strong adherence to the recorded words of Jesus, because of it were then divorce would be allowed in the case of porneia whatever that is interpreted to be.

It's not based in the moral imperative to keep promises, because it seems to utterly ignore any promises made as part of a remarriage.

It's clearly not based on any concern for the welfare of others when experience seems to show significant numbers of sadder-but-wiser second unions.

My own suspicion is that the root of the Catholic position is Satan, which is to say the desire for power - in this case the desire that Church officials should be the ones to decide who counts as married and who doesn't. What else can explain the determination to view such a remarriage through the lens of an extra-marital affair ?

To a disinterested observer, the relationship between a civilly-remarried couple is a marriage in all respects save the absence of sacramental blessing. (Which in many cases the couple wish to undertake but are denied by the Church. Not arguing that because they want it they should necessarily have it, just that if there are reasons for the Church to deny it then it seems a little unfair to blame them for its absence).

Denying the existence of the remarriage is the religious equivalent of a legal fiction.

Time to take the blinkers off, to see the sacramental alongside rather than instead of everyday reality - it doesn't have to be either-or.

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Roman and post-Roman. Two religions divided by a common Christianity. To paraphrase Churchill.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
quote:
Maybe I will enter the discussion on this relatively narrow point? But with some care.

Of course you are right, Honest Ron. The Nearly Infallible Version is very fallible in its translation of 1 Tim 5:9. But there is a moral implication in its correct translation which might be worth looking at.

Given that remarriage by widows and widowers is not excluded, why exclude them from eldership? Does this point to a first century view that abstinence from sexual activity was a superior state in one sense, that it demonstrated self-control in a way in which the married state did not?

It is of course possible that individuals held such views. One can find early writings recommending one or the other as the superior course. And of course both Jesus and Paul - though definitely positive about the institution of marriage - also commended celibacy. Perhaps the view of an imminent eschaton was a determinant, perhaps not. I don't know.

But in the case of elders/bishops and consecrated widows, I suspect the guiding principle may have been that the need was iconic. It pointed to some other reality, and in the case of the church it would have to include the eternal commitment of God to his chosen people, and how that was reflected in the lives of the faithful. It is a very Jewish notion after all, and "Love is Stronger Than Death" as the Song of Songs says.
 
Posted by Honest Ron Bacardi (# 38) on :
 
Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard wrote:
quote:
God bless you in embracing your traditions. And in embracing me. Despite them.

Martin! Why ever would I not wish to embrace you?! I have been almost exclusively reading this thread rather than debating on it. I'm interested in what most people have to say and that certainly includes you. I've only ducked in on minor points and I've only had a few 5 or 10 minute windows over these last few days so my time has been limited - apologies in case this may have made me appear a bit brusque.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
It's not based in a strong adherence to the recorded words of Jesus, because of it were then divorce would be allowed in the case of porneia whatever that is interpreted to be.

Then you have not been listening. You have not been listening to what Catholics say about this in general, and you have not been following this thread. I will simply repeat what I said about this up-thread, on the previous page, about the Catholic position: 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.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
It's not based in the moral imperative to keep promises, because it seems to utterly ignore any promises made as part of a remarriage.

If you are not free to make a promise, but make the promise anyway, then you are certainly at fault. But this fault does not magically grant you the freedom to make the promise. As far as the RCC is concerned, remarriage after a civil divorce is simply a special case of bigamy. I assume that in a more regular case of bigamy, where the bigamist hides their prior marriage which has not been civilly divorced, you will agree that the first marriage is true and the second is not, simply because the bigamist was not in fact free to marry again. We may well discuss what damages the bigamist may have to pay to the person whom he has misled into believing that they were married. He certainly is guilty of deceiving that person. But he has not actually made that person his wife. False promises establish rights to reparation, but they do not establish the deception as truth. Since the RCC does not believe that a sacramental marriage can be dissolved, those so married simply are not free to make promises of marriage to someone else.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
It's clearly not based on any concern for the welfare of others when experience seems to show significant numbers of sadder-but-wiser second unions.

I do not believe that anyone, including you, can truly do the proper sums on marital heartbreak there. These are general rules that have systemic impact throughout society. Against those who in your eyes have made a mistake and corrected it stands the number of those whose relationships could have been saved, but wasn't, and importantly also the children of such unions. Against the number of those who succeed the second time stand the number of those who are broken by the first time, or find it much harder to compete in the "market" the second time around, or fail multiple times in a row.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
My own suspicion is that the root of the Catholic position is Satan, which is to say the desire for power - in this case the desire that Church officials should be the ones to decide who counts as married and who doesn't. What else can explain the determination to view such a remarriage through the lens of an extra-marital affair ?

Having first tried to put the eminently scriptural and thoroughly traditional Catholic position in question over the porneia clause, now you turn to making the rules of marriage a matter of individual judgement. It is an old game plan, please do consult Genesis 3. Satan there first questions whether God really did say what He said, and then He speaks of empowering the individual to make their own decisions concerning what is good and evil.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
To a disinterested observer, the relationship between a civilly-remarried couple is a marriage in all respects save the absence of sacramental blessing.

And indeed, this is the teaching of the interested observer that is the RCC.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Denying the existence of the remarriage is the religious equivalent of a legal fiction.

I'm not aware that anybody has denied the existence of remarriage. What has been denied is its validity in the case of a prior sacramental marriage. Just as nobody is denying the existence of bigamy, but it is no legal fiction that a second attempt at marriage is invalidated there by the existence of the first marriage.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Time to take the blinkers off, to see the sacramental alongside rather than instead of everyday reality - it doesn't have to be either-or.

Indeed, in the case of marriage it is obvious that the natural has been elevated to the supernatural. Grace perfects nature, it does not destroy it. However, for the baptised marriage is now elevated, and this cannot be undone any more than a baptism can be undone.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Then you have not been listening. You have not been listening to what Catholics say about this in general, and you have not been following this thread. I will simply repeat what I said about this up-thread, on the previous page, about the Catholic position: 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.

It may be that some of us haven't been listening, but I don't think that's true of most of us. What most of us are saying, either expressly or by implication, is that we don't accept the RCC take on porneia. We just aren't persuaded by it. We think the RCC has selected an improbable interpretation of that word, so as to avoid the conflict that the more likely meaning creates between that verse and the teaching the RCC wishes to impose on its own faithful and tell the rest of us we should be following too.

[ 17. February 2014, 08:36: Message edited by: Enoch ]
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Honest Ron Bacardi. Eeeee. I don't know Ron. What's to become of us all?

There's no reason on Earth or above why Roman Catholics should change a thing except by internal dialectic, if at all.

OK, so, seriously, stepping away from ANY mixing of my desire like mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria's (an Austrian friend told me that he ran after his terrified subjects saying 'Love me you scum!') with the issue, how CAN the situation change?

That's semi-rhetorical. If half of Roman Catholic marriages aren't sacramental, then they are annullable? And therefore a sacramental marriage can be entered in to? How is a marriage which happened in a Roman Catholic church determined not to have been sacramental? By one or both parties saying that they had reservations at the time, had their fingers crossed behind their backs as it were? Or didn't understand?

Without the 'need' to commit adultery? Go to Brighton and be photographed in the same hotel bedroom as it were? And sorry to ask if it's been said, and for my ignorance, but would adultery sunder even a sacramental marriage or not?

Rhetorical all really.

I'm from a post-Roman Catholic tradition and cannot go back any more than I can go further back to the pre-Roman Catholic position and forward again via any of the Eastern bifurcations.

But I want to repent of conflicting with Roman Catholics here. I really do. I want to embrace more fully than I can be formally embraced in return and that be fine. And I thank you, Ron, for the informal embrace.

That's the best one can hope for and one should NOT insist on more.

And I'm sorry.

I'll answer for myself in future without useless argument. Somehow! Don't let me not.

And I know I've been here before, but it wasn't quite the same stream being stepped in to. I wasn't the same stepper.

God bless the Roman Catholic Church.

[ 17. February 2014, 20:57: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
Amen.
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
But surely nobodies lives and marriages are such simple hypotheticals, nor that posited by Eliab ("it only takes one to walk out").

Surely a person who refuses physical and emotional intimacy with their spouse while continuing to live in the same house as them commits as serious a sin as the person who walks away. Though in both cases (the physically present, spiritually withdrawn, and the physical abandoner) we would still wonder what has led to that pass, rather than simply say that one is the guilty party?

Are you saying that with our imperfect knowledge we can't judge in a particular case that one person only is guilty? (If so, yes, mostly) Or that it is in principle impossible that only one person could be guilty? (In which case, no).
Yes to the first.

To the second, I think it is *theoretically* possible that only one of a couple could have contributed to the break down of a marriage.

But in my experience so far, real life is a lot messier. As Primo Levi (I think) said, the line between good and evil goes through the middle of each of our hearts. None of us is wholly innocent, and none wholly guilty.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
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
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Sir Kevin (# 3492) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
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.)
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras (# 11274) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras (# 11274) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by A.Pilgrim (# 15044) on :
 
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
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
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!
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Invincible ignorance meets ignorant invincibility.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
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
Purgatory Host

Host Hat Off
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
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
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by moonlitdoor (# 11707) on :
 
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 ?
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Eliab (# 9153) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
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...
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
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
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... 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).

I agree. Russ, I think you've put that rather well.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
There are these words, Enoch.

quote:
According to the spirit of Orthodoxy the unity of the married couple cannot be maintained through the virtue of juridical obligation alone; the formal unity must be consistent with an internal symphony. The problem arises when it is no longer possible to salvage anything of this symphony, for “then the bond that was originally considered indissoluble is already dissolved and the law can offer nothing to replace grace and can neither heal nor resurrect, nor say: ‘Stand up and go’”.
The Church recognizes that there are cases in which marriage life has no content or may even lead to loss of the soul. The Holy John Chrysostom says in this regard that: “better to break the covenant than to lose one’s soul”.Nevertheless, the Orthodox Church sees divorce as a tragedy due to human weakness and sin.
............
It is important here to explain a fundamental element of the Orthodox Church’s doctrine, namely that the dissolving of a marriage relationship does not ipso facto grant the right to enter into another marriage.
........
By the way, divorce and remarriage are only permitted in the context of “economia”, that is, out of pastoral care, out of understanding for weakness. A second or third marriage will always be a deviation from the “ideal and unique marriage”, but often a fresh opportunity to correct a mistake.

Here is the link to these quotations.

I think Russ is really talking about the language of "economia" (as the Orthodox put it). Taking the best steps towards God that you can from where you are. Unfortunately, the phrase begs the question; are these the "best steps you can" and by what standard of "best"?

Anyway, the present Pope has already ruled that out in considerations of remarriage. "Economia" may have some more limited application re annulment and also the offer of communion to the remarried. Anything else looks like wishful thinking.
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
There's slightly more mileage in the discussion whether this specific sin should lead to withholding communion.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Economia" may have some more limited application re annulment and also the offer of communion to the remarried. Anything else looks like wishful thinking.

There is no case for proposing that the Church change it's doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage. That can't, won't and should never happen. As a consequence, the Church can NEVER accept irregular unions. Though there may be some tinkering with the annulment process, it's already perceived as a dishonest way of making the impossible possible, ie allowing for a second marriage where there is really no case. So I wouldn't want to see annulments handed out like sweets! The crux of any possible changes should be in the economia of salvation.

As IngoB has pointed out, the paper trail makes this group of "sinners" visible, and therefore treated unfairly when compared to other more serious sinners. Many other people who are in irregular unions find it easier to hide. In cases where the culpability is low, for example an abandoned man or woman who later formed a lasting, honest and loving union, and lives an otherwise Christian life, I would like to see mercy prevail. On discussion with a parish priest in which culpability, recognition of former mistakes, and contrition for past failures acknowledged, such a person could be admitted to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and possibly the Eucharist.

The same rules may apply if culpability has diminished due to the passage of much time, provided the priest sees evidence of true contrition for mistakes made. None of this requires any change of doctrine, just of procedure. I think the results of the Holy Father's survey will show that this is what today's Catholics want. I acknowledge, however, that the Church isn't a democracy!
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
The same rules may apply if culpability has diminished due to the passage of much time, provided the priest sees evidence of true contrition for mistakes made.

I must be missing something here, PaulTH*. I thought culpability was continued by every act of sexual intercourse, regardless of the merits of the rest of that person's life, or their lack of blame for the previous break-up.

I'd like to think you are right, BTW. "Doing your best with the rest" or "making the best of a bad job" does not seem to me to be the repentance that the Catholic Church is looking for. But it does seem to have some merit.
 
Posted by seekingsister (# 17707) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
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.

Why is there particular concern then about the remarried, and not the various other mortal sinners that are surely in attendance at any church service?

My understanding is that it's a serious sin to take communion while in a state of mortal sin, but what harm does the church teach that it causes? Physical harm? Because there should be a lot of damaged birth control users in such case.
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I thought culpability was continued by every act of sexual intercourse, regardless of the merits of the rest of that person's life, or their lack of blame for the previous break-up.


This is true doctrinally, but I have problems with it. Most humans, having eaten from the Tree of Knowledge, can discern what is sinful in most situations by applying the Golden Rule. Breaking the bonds of marriage can cause untold damage to abandoned spouses and seriously undermine the security of children. But this doesn't apply to people who meet later in life after the dust has settled. I'm hard pushed to see any objective sin that such people commit. When I spoke of a reduction in culpability through time, I meant that, even in bad cases, time can be a healer, people move on, and the sense of damage may diminish with time. If people don't believe they are sinning, what do they have to repent of?

It's right for the Church to bind the potential chaos of human sexuality to within a sacramental union, so as to make the family the bedrock of the nation, and the nation an extension of the family. We can all agree with thi ideal. Tony Blair was right when he said that the chaotic tendencies of modern society can be traced to the liberal attitudes of the 1960's. With readily available contraception to eliminate the problems of unwanted pregnancies, and antibiotics to take care of std's (before HIV appeared) the pursuit of sexual activity for mere gratification became the god of my generation, and those which follow.

I didn't grow up in the Catholic tradition, and I would have had absolutely no understanding of the meaning of the Sacrament of Matrimony. But even friends I had who did grow up Catholic were totally infected by the spirit of the age. It's in the aftermath of this evil spirit that the Church is looking to limit the damage caused by such an apostatic understanding of relationships. If a person comes to the Catholic Church out of a wish to belong, or returns after many years in the wilderness of the secualr world, the Church shouldn't hold them culpable for mistakes they didn't even know they were making. Such people probably have many regrets for the way they lived, want to make any ammendment possible, and return to Father, as did the Prodigal Son.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Acknowledged Barnabas62. With my unreserved apologies.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I thought culpability was continued by every act of sexual intercourse, regardless of the merits of the rest of that person's life, or their lack of blame for the previous break-up.

This is true doctrinally, but I have problems with it.
I seriously don't have the time at the moment for a proper comment, due to real life constraints, but just to mention that no, that is not true doctrinally. It is precisely the point of "culpability" to disentangle the sin as such (what is being done) from the guilt it imparts on the sinner (how morally responsible one is for the deed). That repeated sin, in particular habitual sin, can lead to diminished or even absent culpability by reducing awareness (knowledge) and deliberation (consent) is standard RC teaching, and indeed considered a specific mercy extended by God to sinners. We are - by design, if you will - psychologically incapable of heaping fresh sin upon fresh sin forever, we tend to grow stale and mechanical in our sinfulness, and often very quickly so. I also repeat my point that Canon 915 does not address mortal sin (deeds dooming the individual) but rather grave sin (deeds that are objectively evil).
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I will be interested to hear more about that when you have the time. Some personal thought.

It feels like there are equal and opposite tendencies at work here. The first is that idea of "hardening one's own heart" i.e. becoming calloused to the effect of one's behaviour. There's a grave warning about that; today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart. The second is the notion of boredom; a specific sinful action loses its attraction by habituation, so you get the problem of addiction. "I really wish I could stop this, but I don't seem able to". That is actually a kind of softening of the heart; the increased awarensss that what has seemed good is actually bad.

Awareness of one's own helplessness is normally a very good sign; both repentance and a humble asking for help may be just around the corner. The prodigal has to get out of the pig sty somehow. On the other hand, an increased "lack of awareness" is, I suspect, a very bad sign. A calloused heart just stops caring. You can't come to your senses if you aren't aware that you need to.

Which kind of gets to the heart of the one of the issues remarried may face. Without exception, the ones I know, even the ones who were undeniably victimised, know that they were at fault in some way; making rash promises, not trying hard enough, failing to confront early. Those of faith all know that they have broken solemn promises; effectively that remarriage breaks the "for life" promise of the first marriage.

All the ones who have succeeded in making a good second marriage (and I only know one Christian who has been married more than twice) have been resolved to make "this one work"; have put bitter experiences to good use.

I find it very difficult not to see repentance and renewal at work in their lives.
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
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.


This is compassionate and empathetic, therefore very welcome. The discussion was turning into the sexual/marital equivalent of one where the wealthy give their views on why the poor are so hopeless at managing their money...
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
I seriously don't have the time at the moment for a proper comment, due to real life constraints, but just to mention that no, that is not true doctrinally. It is precisely the point of "culpability" to disentangle the sin as such (what is being done) from the guilt it imparts on the sinner (how morally responsible one is for the deed). That repeated sin, in particular habitual sin, can lead to diminished or even absent culpability by reducing awareness (knowledge) and deliberation (consent) is standard RC teaching, and indeed considered a specific mercy extended by God to sinners. We are - by design, if you will - psychologically incapable of heaping fresh sin upon fresh sin forever, we tend to grow stale and mechanical in our sinfulness, and often very quickly so. I also repeat my point that Canon 915 does not address mortal sin (deeds dooming the individual) but rather grave sin (deeds that are objectively evil).

While I don't always agree with you, I always have the utmost respect for your knowledge on canonical matters. My biggest hope for this synod is that it will examine the question of culpability. You've explained here what I tried and failed to, ie that a long term situation, even if culpability was high in the beginning, may be less so with the passage of much time. If the Church can't find a way to retore the less culpable cases to communion, which I hope it can, then I hope that a greater emphasis on continued membership of the Church will be offered to such people.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
There is no case for proposing that the Church change it's doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage. That can't, won't and should never happen. As a consequence, the Church can NEVER accept irregular unions.

Depends what you mean by accept.

Accept "irregular unions" as having the same sacramental force as Church marriages - agree that this would be difficult to reconcile with committed doctrine & won't happen.

Accept "irregular unions" as a de facto "state of life" which it is pastorally more constructive to work within than to seek to undo - why not ?

Seems to me that repentance often involves contrition for the element of wrongness of what I did, without either the ability or the need to regret all the aspects and consequences thereof. The idea that the remarried are necessarily obstinate and uncontrite seems to me to be based in too simplistic a view.

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by Palimpsest (# 16772) on :
 
Pope Francis addressed the Congregation for Bishops on selecting new Bishops.

quote:
The church, writes Francis, needs "guardians of doctrine not so as to measure how far the world is from doctrinal truth but to appeal to the world to charm it with the beauty of love [and] to seduce it with the freedom bestowed by the Gospel."
and
quote:
A man who lacks the courage to argue with God on behalf of his people can not be bishop - I say this from the heart, I am convinced,"
It will be interesting to see if this is seen at the synod.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Am I his people?
 
Posted by Palimpsest (# 16772) on :
 
In the article he first cites Abraham arguing to try and save the Sodomites if he could find 10 just ones. I doubt the Pope was thinking just of Sodomites as the people in question. :-)
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
Well if he wants his bishops to include them I'm happy to be included with them.

My Pope must include me surely? Luckily I don't need the intermediaries (that's intermediary really) here, although I lie and yearn to be included by them.

My Pope seems to be bypassing them and including me.

Not that he could or should ever allow me to share in his sharing of the body and blood of our Lord, due to his incurable meme of my invincible ignorance of my grave, persistent mortal - let's be honest, unforgivable - sin.

(You know two now Barnabas62 (ohhhhh, THAT explains everything! ...), and your comment that the church of Rome is stuck with its universalization of a clash of covenants is perfect)
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I thought culpability was continued by every act of sexual intercourse, regardless of the merits of the rest of that person's life, or their lack of blame for the previous break-up.

[

quote:
IngoB replied
It is precisely the point of "culpability" to disentangle the sin as such (what is being done) from the guilt it imparts on the sinner (how morally responsible one is for the deed).

The distinction between gravity and culpability seems a worthwhile one.

But it seems to me that the perception that the Church's current practice is unnecessarily merciless is rooted in a recognition that sex after divorce is a less grave matter than extra-marital sex that betrays a loving spouse. It's not that the remarried are less consenting and therefore less guilty of something equally wicked - it is that circumstances are such that the moral seriousness of the act is greatly lessened.

It is thus gravity rather than culpability that the Synod needs to review.

The perception on the ground is that staying sexually bound by a marriage that has ended may be a moral ideal, but so is selling all one's goods and giving the money to the poor - something to be admired in those who do it rather than demanded of everyone.

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The perception on the ground is that staying sexually bound by a marriage that has ended may be a moral ideal, but so is selling all one's goods and giving the money to the poor - something to be admired in those who do it rather than demanded of everyone.

This is exactly the point. Jesus was radical . From turning the other cheek, to plucking one's eye out, from selling everything to give to the poor, to never divorcing one's wife, he ranged from radical to hyperbolic. I don't suppose anyone's ever been refused communion for failing to sell their house to help the poor. So this particular failure to live up to the ideal which Jesus gave us, is treated so much more seriously than others. I suspect it's because of the unhealthy relationship which Christianity has always had with human sexuality.

St Paul permitted marriage only as a concession to avoid sin. He praised chastity far above marriage. It wouldn't have occurred to him that if everyone followed his advice, the human race would die out, because he was a millenialist who expected the world to end any day. From Origen's self-castration to Augustine's prayer "God give me chastity, but not yet" the Church has always disdained sexuality in favour of virginity or being a eunuch for the kingdom, self-inflicted or not. The idea that it's right or normal to live in a perpetual state of non-sexuality following a marriage break up is absurd. Celebacy and chastity are a special calling for certain people, not a rule which can be imposed from without.

Even the idea of brother and sister type relationships as a possible answer is difficult. Does this just mean refraining from penetrative sex? As if there isn't a lot more to human sexuality than merely "doing it." Jesus' ban on divorce was seen as radical even by His followers, because their own Jewish religion made no such demands. As in everything He taught, he was telling us to be perfect as our Father is perfect. At the same time, He had unlimited mercy on those who couldn't be perfect, because He knew that the human condition is thus. This is where Pope Francis' words that the time of mercy has come need to be put to the test.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
He only told ONE person to give away his wealth and follow Him. Not you. Not me.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*: Jesus' ban on divorce was seen as radical even by His followers, because their own Jewish religion made no such demands.
Yes it did. Rabbi Shammai.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
He only told ONE person to give away his wealth and follow Him. Not you. Not me.

How very convenient.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
leo

Rabbi Shammai allowed divorce for sexual immorality, but following that, allowed remarriage. Catholicism argues that Jesus forbade remarriage, since it constituted adultery, and so they do the same in obedience to that command.

The difference between Hillel and Shammai was in the understanding of "uncleanness". Shammai said "sexual immorality", Hillel adopted a wider definition. Each believed that a certificate of divorce allowed for the possibility of remarriage.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
For whom leo? Do you want a register of my assets? You can have it mate. Any time, right here. And my privileges. Not a problem. And if Jesus shows me a different way to follow Him, even through you, that doesn't involve me abandoning my responsibilities (any more than Peter did for example), I'm all yours mate. But what you'd do with a 60 year old guy with a 9 year old Passat, a 2012 laptop (pure indulgence) and a 2009 PC (essential for work) I don't know.

My £40k pension fund (no not £400k, you wish!), you want that? Sorry I have nothing else.

Got any more wooden, literal, decontextualized universalization to lay on others whilst not lifting a finger?
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
Here, here, and here are some articles from the Italian chiesa website which reproduce Cardinal Kasper's speech last week, and explore some of the ideas being proposed for the Extraordinary Synod. If any of it goes through, I suspect a hurricane is coming! However, this morning, I was at a London Catholic Church, and at the once monthly after Mass coffee, I got talking to some of the faithful, mostly cradle Catholics.

Most of the people I spoke to would like to see married priests, don't oppose barrier methods of contraception (as opposed to iud's which cause ealy abortion), think gay people are as entitled to a loving relationship as non-gays, and definately don't oppose communion for remarried divorcees. As I said above, the Church isn't a democracy, but it's only so far and for so long that the hierarchy could ignore the thoughts of the faithful.
 
Posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard (# 368) on :
 
It's nice to know that you CAN be more catholic than the Pope! And nowadays that's really saying something!!
 
Posted by CL (# 16145) on :
 
A link to a long online article commenting on the Secret Consistory

(Very long quote removed in accordance with usual guidelines)

[ 28. March 2014, 17:30: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
CL

A reminder that long quotations are not allowed here. The normal limit is under 10 lines.

I found a source for the quotation after a fair bit of Googling. It would have been helpful if you had provided the link to that.

Barnabas62
Purgatory Host
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
In this article in the Catholic Herald, Dr William Oddie argues that a "Ratzingerian" proposal could have some validity.


‘The Church, added Pope Benedict, “has the authority to clarify those conditions which must be fulfilled for a marriage to be considered indissoluble according to the sense of Jesus’ teaching.”

The Church may have no authority to change doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage, but perhaps it has the authority to define what conditions should be met for that marriage to be considered sacramental and therefore indissoluble. Leaving things to the best theologian of his generation would always be a bonus!
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I've "bumped" this dormant thread in advance of a thread cull, to save it for further discussion when the Oct Synod takes place.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Bumped again, for the same reason
 
Posted by Palimpsest (# 16772) on :
 
Just to add a little grist.
Pope Francis marries 20 couples from the Rome area, in the Sistine. The couples included couples who were already living together, one where the husband had an annulment of a prior marriage and the wife had a daughter from a previous relationship. The Pope stressed the importance of families in society and asked the couples if they would be faithful for live

It's hard not to see this as an example for the upcoming conference, although the message isn't clear.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
It's hard not to see this as an example for the upcoming conference, although the message isn't clear.

As such, that doesn't really tell us anything. As the article points out, one could even seen this as a strong affirmation of "conservative" pastoral practice - namely, regularising all sorts of intimate relationships into proper marriages.

A more significant sign is the invitation of Cardinal Daneels to this synod. Rather than hiding him in some dark corner in a monastery with a good supply of sackcloth and ashes... (Link is from Rorate Caeli, who are rad trad and tend to get carried away. But they seem to be the only ones doing any actual news, here and at other times.) Bleeding nose liberalism hence certainly is represented at the synod. Let's hope it's an attempt to balance views, rather than stacking the synod. The full list of participants is here, but frankly I don't have the "political" insight to evaluate it. Cardinal Burke is on it, so that will be a counterweight to Cardinal Daneels...
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
Had I been posting this question now, rather than back in January, I would probably have framed it differently, because it has been emphasised that this Extraordinary Synod is about the family, not about divorce, remarriage and the sacraments. However, it continues to be a hotly debated issue, as you can see here and here where you get two very different views. Also this Extraordinary Synod will only provide a framework for next year's Ordinary Synod, and the Holy Father will make any pronouncements he chooses in 2016.

Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal Mueller of the CDF have all hinted that any change is likely to revolve around matrimonial tribunals, and the validity of marriages in this apostatic age. As this is the only mechanism the Church has for dealing with remarriage, this is likely, but I also think it's wrong. On this I agree with those who think that annulments should be granted only under the strictest of criteria, rather than used as a backup for divorce, as it is in the US. Perhaps because Cardinal Kasper has the ear of the German bishops, he sees it differently.

Many of the German faithful who are in that position, commented in the questionaire, that they want to admit that their previous marriages failed, rather than dishonestly pretend they didn't happen. I think an overused Tribunal systen does far more harm to the indissolubility of marriage, than a frank admission of failure. It's also more human.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I've bumped this as the major thread on the October Synod.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Link to closed thread.

Feel free to continue discussions from the closed thread in this one. Relevant earlier discussions can be found here.

Barnabas62
Purgatory Host
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
And a quick reminder that if you want to discuss as separate issues Catholic doctrine re homosexuality (touched on in the closed thread) or closed communion, or indeed any other DH topic sparked by the Synod, there are threads you can join in DH to do that.

Barnabas62
Purgatory Host
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
How can the RCC recognize that certain relationships are beneficial yet continue to maintain that those relationships are in fact sinful?

That is the real question being debated by the synod. The answer is it can't without losing any and all credibility. Either marriage is a sacrament as understood by the Roman Catholic Church or it isn't. Either fornication and adultery as defined by the RCC are sins or they aren't.

Sex outside of marriage is a sin. Sin causes spiritual harm to the sinner. If not all sex outside of marriage causes said harm and in fact can sometimes be beneficial, then not all sex outside of marriage should be considered sin.

For cohabitating couples, the answer is easy. Get married. I've never refused to marry a cohabitating couple nor have I asked them to abstain from sex until married. On the other hand, asking a cohabitating couple to abstain from sex until after marriage isn't an undue burden. Asking them to live a part for the sake of appearances might be. The question is should the RCC consider in good standing those couples who live together without any intention of ever getting married. I can't see a coherent reason for doing that given what the RCC teaches about the sacraments of marriage and eucharist.

From there, the issues get thornier. Two Roman Catholics get divorced. Both remarry in civil ceremonies. Now, the RCC teaches that regardless of the divorce decree the man and the woman remain married and each and every single time they have sex with their new spouse they commit adultery. Adultery is clearly a sin. The RCC can't call the relationship adulterous and at the same time admit that the couple receives some of the benefits of sacramental marriage. The only two real options are for the RCC to maintain its current practice or change it's teaching regarding marriage and eucharist. Perhaps, Pope Francis will decide to simply make the annulment process easier. Basically, to accommodate all Roman Catholics divorced and remarried, he would have to say that if a couple seeks a civil divorce the original marriage wasn't sacramentally valid. The question would then become why was the Roman Catholic Church performing so many invalid marriages in the first place. Obviously, the solution to that would be for the Roman Catholic Church set very strict requirements for marriage. Doing so will be unpopular with the those demanding a more flexible church. Furthermore, after a period of time, the RCC will have to find a continued reason for the lenient annulment practice given the increased attention to marriage preparation.

I won't address the Dead Horse directly. However, the RCC would have to recognize the existence of beneficial relationships that look more like marriage than friendship. Then, the RCC would have to maintain that sex essentially negates all those benefits.
 
Posted by Mark Wuntoo (# 5673) on :
 
quote:
On the other hand, asking a cohabitating couple to abstain from sex until after marriage isn't an undue burden.
I don't believe I've just read that. [Mad]
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
Well, if you think it is, then you likely aren't a good candidate for sacramental marriage in the Roman Catholic Church. It's that simple. The Roman Catholic Church has to be willing to say that if the RCC really believes what the RCC claims to believe.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
This interview with Cardinal Pell calmed my nerves somewhat. Sanity may prevail, Cardinal Kasper may fail.
 
Posted by *Leon* (# 3377) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
quote:
On the other hand, asking a cohabitating couple to abstain from sex until after marriage isn't an undue burden.
I don't believe I've just read that. [Mad]
The act of asking isn't an undue burden, especially if you know they know you know you'll be ignored. The bishops get to think Catholic Teaching is intact, and the parishes get to deal with real life.
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
quote:
On the other hand, asking a cohabitating couple to abstain from sex until after marriage isn't an undue burden.
I don't believe I've just read that. [Mad]
Why? What's so unreasonable about not having sex for 6 months to a year? Some people do that out of simple respect for their spouse's wishes.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by *Leon*:
The act of asking isn't an undue burden, especially if you know they know you know you'll be ignored. The bishops get to think Catholic Teaching is intact, and the parishes get to deal with real life.

After all, our Lord is the detour, the half-truth and the double life...
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
Beeswax Altar, the position on cohabiting couples is straightforward. Either their relationship is temporary, an illusion and the sooner brought to an end the better, or they should do what they should already have done and get married.

On remarriage after divorce, though, I don't think that's just a problem for the RCC and the small number of rather old fashioned Protestants who adopt a similar or fairly similar approach. I think it's as big a problem for the 'easy come, easy go - we're all fine and God is a warm bath with floating candles, theological liberals', except that they can't see it. I'm going to quote myself from the parallel thread that was (correctly) closed. IngoB disagrees with me but I would have been surprised if I'd found he didn't.

quote:
I have my doubts whether the RCC can change its mind about the admission of the remarried to communion without making a very fundamental change in its understanding of how we and it should see sin, how in God's sight we relate to our own imperfection.

I don't know enough about the Orthodox understanding of these things to know whether this is a specifically western issue or is general. It certainly bedevils this debate It also bedevils the gay one in a very similar way. For some reason, sex seems in the early C21 to crystallise the dilemma. It is, though, much more fundamental and general than that.

Most Catholics and Protestants, and certainly most official ones, seem to find it an abominable suggestion that there should be any grey area between allowed and affirmed on the one side and forbidden and abhorred on the other. The notion that we might have to accept that we are imperfect, and carry on living both with that acceptance and a self recognition that we are, and may be able to do little more than persist in being less-than-perfect, is itself regarded as much the same as supping with the prophets of Baal.

I'm never quite sure what theologians think they mean when they talk about something as being 'incarnational'. Has this ever occurred to most of us, though? If you are a holy and a perfect God, being incarnated and being born in a grubby stable, let alone letting yourself be executed by a pagan emperor's minions involves a far bigger compromise with a thoroughly sinful and grubby human reality than any of the compromises we make.

Might this be saying something about whether God is willing to accept or work with that which is not perfect? If he accepts us on this basis, what is our basis for insisting that we have to be either OK or not-OK? Or for any view that what is less than perfect has to be affirmed and treated as though it is OK as otherwise it can't be lived with at all.

What I'm saying is that it is better to marry once and remain married to each another. It is though possible to reach some sort of accommodation with the visible fact that not everyone manages this, without having to say that divorce and remarriage are fine and wonderful, rather than sad, sinful and unfortunate, but in some circumstances better than any of the alternatives. But if any such accommodation is possible, it involves a change in one's understanding of sin versus perfection which I suspect might horrify many on both sides of the liberal/conservative divide.


 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
Why? What's so unreasonable about not having sex for 6 months to a year? Some people do that out of simple respect for their spouse's wishes.

St Paul did not recommend it. And one spouse unilaterally suspending sex for that long is all too often a sign that they are going to walk.
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
Why? What's so unreasonable about not having sex for 6 months to a year? Some people do that out of simple respect for their spouse's wishes.

St Paul did not recommend it. And one spouse unilaterally suspending sex for that long is all too often a sign that they are going to walk.
Or that they're taking medication that supresses libido, they're suffering a from a medical problem that makes sex uncomfortable, they're depressed or any number of other reasons why they might not feel like sex. I see this claim that not wanting sex automatically means the end of a relationship too often and it's bollocks.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
Or that they're taking medication that supresses libido, they're suffering a from a medical problem that makes sex uncomfortable, they're depressed or any number of other reasons why they might not feel like sex. I see this claim that not wanting sex automatically means the end of a relationship too often and it's bollocks.

You might not have noticed that I did not say "automatically". Nor did I say "always". I said "all too often". It is very often a hazardous indicator.

[ 17. October 2014, 14:16: Message edited by: Enoch ]
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
I agree with that. Lack of sex is often a big strain on a relationship. But usually there is something going on underneath the surface, which is not just about sex, so you have to get to that. Well, you don't have to, of course.
 
Posted by Planeta Plicata (# 17543) on :
 
What a bizarre sequence of events these last couple of days. First Cardinal Kasper gives an interview where he's quoted as rubbishing dialogue with people from Africa, Asia, or Muslim countries on DH topics, and claims (with apparent approval) that they're not being listened to at the synod. He immediately denies having said any such thing. But now it turns out one of the journalists recorded the cardinal (openly, according to the journalist), and he said pretty much what he was initially quoted as saying.

Though that was all mostly just an excuse to quote this line: "Catholicism is now second only to Sufism in the central role accorded to spin."
 
Posted by Pearl B4 Swine (# 11451) on :
 
I hadn't read this thread until today, and noticed that the early posts were in January of 2014. I'd like to comment on one of IngoB's posts:

Is it not forbidden and indeed detrimental to receive communion while in mortal sin?

Isn't this the exact situation in which a person is most in need of meeting and receiving Jesus Christ in the Sacrament? I understand the need for rules, but I fail to see how denying Communion to "sinners" can possibly be interpreted as following the teaching and example of our Savior.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Planeta Plicata:
What a bizarre sequence of events these last couple of days. First Cardinal Kasper gives an interview where he's quoted as rubbishing dialogue with people from Africa, Asia, or Muslim countries on DH topics

I can see why he said it It is impossible to have a 'dialogue' when people aren't prepared to listen (that goes on with both sides).
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
No, according to the RCC, the person in mortal sin first needs the sacrament of reconciliation.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pearl B4 Swine:
Is it not forbidden and indeed detrimental to receive communion while in mortal sin?

Isn't this the exact situation in which a person is most in need of meeting and receiving Jesus Christ in the Sacrament? I understand the need for rules, but I fail to see how denying Communion to "sinners" can possibly be interpreted as following the teaching and example of our Savior.

If Holy Communion was the only sacrament, or the primary sacrament dealing with sin, then you might have a point. Since however there is the sacrament of confession, you don't. RC practice follows the explicit guidance of St Paul on this matter
quote:
1 Cor 11:27-32
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world.


 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
It's puzzling that this thread has gone silent. Over the weekend, we've had the final result, with the bishops outvoting the Pope, the very concept of which goes against everything the rest of us have ever assumed about how the RCC works.

We've also seen our media home in on a 'no change about gays' tack.

Do these newsmongers understand so little about Christianity in general, yet alone the RCC not to appreciate that this wasn't about the gay issue and was never going to be?

As Andrew Brown has pointed out, remarriage affects far more people. Even the possibility of looking at this in a different way would be so fundamental a revolution in Catholic thinking and theological identity that unless this actually did get reviewed in some way, any prospect that the RCC might even get round to looking at its take on homosexuality yet alone change anything, is a bizarre delusion.


There's talk of its coming back in a year's time. Is there actually any prospect now of the RCC reconsidering it's position on remarriage. Or is this a fob-off? Is this as dead a duck as it aways seems to have been? Will this continue to remain, as with clerical celibacy, until the parousia, so fundamental to the RCC's self definition as against the Laodicean Orthodox and Prods that it will destroy the prospect of another look?
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
No, according to the RCC, the person in mortal sin first needs the sacrament of reconciliation.

Te sin of Sodom was inhospitality. So maybe the bishops need to confess this mortal sin to gays.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
It's puzzling that this thread has gone silent. Over the weekend, we've had the final result, with the bishops outvoting the Pope, the very concept of which goes against everything the rest of us have ever assumed about how the RCC works.

Not so - a majority of votes supported the Pope but simply failed, narrowly, to reach a 2/3rds majority.
 
Posted by Galilit (# 16470) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:

Becoming more tolerant of divorce, for example, risks alienating all of the couples who have, perhaps at deep personal cost to themselves, spent their lives trying to be faithful to what the RCC currently teaches. They might end up feeling abandoned by the Church whose teachings they were trying to obey.


Any liberalisation of any law will mean some people find themselves (and more particularly others) with new options overnight.
In the very near future there will even be people who have no idea of the struggle and heartache the old situation caused to so many like themselves.
This does not mean they should hang on with all their strength to their previous "victim" status or parade it as an excuse to maintain the status quo.

They are not forced to (in this case) marry or to remain as they are - they can choose. But it is a choice; and neither a burden nor a privilege.

We struggle for these things so that others will not have to go throught the things we had to suffer. Even when that means they have no idea what we suffered so they should be able to do and be what we could not.

[Which I freely admit I have to remind myself sometimes - I know the feeling]
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
No, according to the RCC, the person in mortal sin first needs the sacrament of reconciliation.

Te sin of Sodom was inhospitality. So maybe the bishops need to confess this mortal sin to gays.
Your comment is stupid on so many levels.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
It's puzzling that this thread has gone silent. Over the weekend, we've had the final result, with the bishops outvoting the Pope, the very concept of which goes against everything the rest of us have ever assumed about how the RCC works.

Indeed. Mind you, all of this has relevance only in a derived sense. The pope actually didn't say much about anything. So the assumptions about what he wants are cobbled together from various foot-in-mouth sessions with the press, plus his horrible control over the synod's organisation. He doesn't even need plausible deniability now, for he offered no explicit opinion. And the official power of the synod as far as doctrine and disciple of the RCC is concerned is basically zero. It is more like an expert consultation. But the pope could just go ahead tomorrow and do what he thinks is right.

However, the real issues with power in the RCC plays at a deeper level. A pope needs the bishops on his side for most practical purposes. The hierarchy of the RCC is actually very thin compared to any commercial business. If things go wrong anywhere, there is very little room to manoeuvre. Rome cannot run things in individual dioceses, and "qualified personnel" that could just take over is lacking everywhere. Furthermore, the pope is supposed to be a point of unification for the episcopate, and certainly it is his job to hold the Church at large together. If he just backs some divisive agenda outright, against major opposition of the bishops, then he may end up being responsible for a major schism. History weighs heavily on the popes (or at least it should).

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Do these newsmongers understand so little about Christianity in general, yet alone the RCC not to appreciate that this wasn't about the gay issue and was never going to be?

They might understand that very well, but they are in the business of selling copy.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
There's talk of its coming back in a year's time. Is there actually any prospect now of the RCC reconsidering it's position on remarriage. Or is this a fob-off? Is this as dead a duck as it aways seems to have been?

Well, there certainly was a massive loss of face and trust for the liberal side. Normally I would expect that for the next round major ambition will be shelved.

Though it appears to be the case that many on the liberal side seem to think that Pope Francis is their "now or never" man. So maybe they will just go "all in" again next time as well.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Will this continue to remain, as with clerical celibacy, until the parousia, so fundamental to the RCC's self definition as against the Laodicean Orthodox and Prods that it will destroy the prospect of another look?

This is much, much more important that clerical celibacy, which could be ended tomorrow without any serious doctrinal concerns. Clerical celibacy is upheld for reasons of prudence and inspiration, so the proper reaction to abolishing it would range from "about time" to "how unwise". But it would not include "wrong, forbidden, impossible" in a moral and/or Divine sense.

If Rome makes wrong moves concerning marriage (and to a lesser degree, homosexuality), I would seriously consider leaving the Church. If they abandoned clerical celibacy, I would roll my eyes and hope for the best.

quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
It's puzzling that this thread has gone silent. Over the weekend, we've had the final result, with the bishops outvoting the Pope, the very concept of which goes against everything the rest of us have ever assumed about how the RCC works.

Not so - a majority of votes supported the Pope but simply failed, narrowly, to reach a 2/3rds majority.
You are formally right, but practically wrong. The paragraphs that did not get the 2/3rds majority were watered down already. Even the compromise proposal didn't make it. And these things are supposed to be close to unanimous, like >90%. It is supposed to be the bishops speaking with one voice, not some kind of democratic fight with one side winning. Not even getting 2/3rds is a huge deal.

Mind you, continuing with the atrociously biased handling of the synod, the decision has been made to include the rejected paragraphs in the document that will be circulated, albeit marked as rejected. This rather shows what was supposed to have happened, and what the still intended direction of travel is.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:

If Rome makes wrong moves concerning marriage (and to a lesser degree, homosexuality), I would seriously consider leaving the Church.

I'm not sure. Were there any reforms or procedural change concerning marriage that you would have NOT regarded as a sticking point?

Much of the earlier Catholic contributions to this thread were concerned with the issues of marriage, divorce and communion, and what reforms might be possible without departure from what Holy Tradition teaches about indissolubility. I'd wondered if the conflation of these important issues with the Church's reponse to homosexuality might have damaged the possibility of agreement to some reforms on marriage, divorce, communion.

On communion, I appreciate the principle and the warning over unworthy participation. From the arguments I'd read so did those who were in favour of some measures of reform which might permit participation by the remarried without damage to that principle. Have those arguments now been lost, shelved, or what?
 
Posted by Zappa (# 8433) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by Pearl B4 Swine:
Is it not forbidden and indeed detrimental to receive communion while in mortal sin?

Isn't this the exact situation in which a person is most in need of meeting and receiving Jesus Christ in the Sacrament? I understand the need for rules, but I fail to see how denying Communion to "sinners" can possibly be interpreted as following the teaching and example of our Savior.

If Holy Communion was the only sacrament, or the primary sacrament dealing with sin, then you might have a point. Since however there is the sacrament of confession, you don't. RC practice follows the explicit guidance of St Paul on this matter
quote:
1 Cor 11:27-32
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world.


The context of Paul's instructions are to do with the rich excluding the poor from table fellowship, not to do with where and when willies are placed. Although Paul does seem to object to shagging one's father's wife. AFASIK few outside the Corinthians Christian community have been tempted to push that boundary, though YMMV.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I'm not sure. Were there any reforms or procedural change concerning marriage that you would have NOT regarded as a sticking point?

There is quite likely stuff in the annulment process that I neither know nor care about. There are other things in the annulment process that could change, which I would consider unwise but not impossible.

In fact, the Orthodox procedure as it is usually presented is not a problem as far as marriage itself is concerned, because they are not in fact re-marrying people sacramentally. It is a problem as far as admitting grave and unrepentant sinners to the Eucharist is concerned. Or to be fair to the Orthodox, to do so after they had a public penitential ceremony about their continuing sin in church first. Now, the incoherence I could not accept is to allow this for marriage only, as the Orthodox apparently do. That's just theological and doctrinal nonsense. But if one were to elevate this to a new general principle, then I would actually have to sit down and evaluate whether that is a feasible development of Church doctrine and practice, or not. I would say probably not, but I have not done that work...

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Much of the earlier Catholic contributions to this thread were concerned with the issues of marriage, divorce and communion, and what reforms might be possible without departure from what Holy Tradition teaches about indissolubility. I'd wondered if the conflation of these important issues with the Church's reponse to homosexuality might have damaged the possibility of agreement to some reforms on marriage, divorce, communion.

I think the main problem there was not the inclusion of the topic, but quite simply that it was a lying manipulation that introduced it. The guy who was ghostwriting the text simply inserted some passages corresponding to his own convictions concerning homosexuality, which had nothing to do with his actual job of summing up what the discussion of the bishops had been about. That pissed off a lot of people...

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
On communion, I appreciate the principle and the warning over unworthy participation. From the arguments I'd read so did those who were in favour of some measures of reform which might permit participation by the remarried without damage to that principle. Have those arguments now been lost, shelved, or what?

I'm not aware of any arguments to this effect, and I struggle to see how they could be made. After all, the remarried can already make a spiritual communion, i.e., participate in mass but for taking (physical) communion. That's what I do when I have sinned and not gone to confession yet. The only step up is indeed precisely unworthy participation in the (physical) communion. And the argument for that is along the lines of "(merciful) rules within the household" (oikonomia), or what in the Latin would be called a "dispensation". The argument is that this specific unworthiness should be overlooked and tolerated. (And as I mentioned above, that makes no sense. It is typical Orthodox incoherence that is kept stable simply by tradition. The Latin side does not work like that, thank God. If one can give dispensation here, then one has to explain exactly why, so that one can use the same principle and apply it to other sinners and their situation. Some people call that legalistic. I call it principled and fair.)
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
... If Rome makes wrong moves concerning marriage (and to a lesser degree, homosexuality), I would seriously consider leaving the Church. If they abandoned clerical celibacy, I would roll my eyes and hope for the best. ...

I've said this before of similar comments, but that seems to be a very un-Catholic, Protestant, approach, judging either the Pope or the RCC according to how far they agree with oneself or the reasons why one became a Catholic.

I'm not a Catholic, but to be a Catholic isn't one supposed to believe that it is the one true church. Though it may wobble a bit from time to time, over the centuries it cannot and does not err. So even if one thinks it's wobbling about anything now, e.g. indulgences in the C16 or paedophile clergy in the C20, one has to stick with it because that's the only train that will get there in the end.

Perhaps I should also add, by the way, that I'd prefer to have an explanation of Orthodox teaching on this subject from someone who is Orthodox, rather than someone who is determined to persuade us that the RCC has got it completely right and the Orthodox has got it completely wrong. After all, although I'm Prod and CofE, there are other areas where I think the Orthodox are more consistent with Scripture and Tradition than the RCC.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
No, according to the RCC, the person in mortal sin first needs the sacrament of reconciliation.

Te sin of Sodom was inhospitality. So maybe the bishops need to confess this mortal sin to gays.
Your comment is stupid on so many levels.
For example?
 
Posted by Anyuta (# 14692) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:

In fact, the Orthodox procedure as it is usually presented is not a problem as far as marriage itself is concerned, because they are not in fact re-marrying people sacramentally. It is a problem as far as admitting grave and unrepentant sinners to the Eucharist is concerned. Or to be fair to the Orthodox, to do so after they had a public penitential ceremony about their continuing sin in church first. Now, the incoherence I could not accept is to allow this for marriage only, as the Orthodox apparently do. That's just theological and doctrinal nonsense. But if one were to elevate this to a new general principle, then I would actually have to sit down and evaluate whether that is a feasible development of Church doctrine and practice, or not. I would say probably not, but I have not done that work...


Hit reply too soon!!! I wanted to ask what exactly you meant by this. I'm a bit confused. I'd love to answer you to the best of my knowledge from the Orthodox perspective, but need a bit more info.

[ 21. October 2014, 16:23: Message edited by: Anyuta ]
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I've said this before of similar comments, but that seems to be a very un-Catholic, Protestant, approach, judging either the Pope or the RCC according to how far they agree with oneself or the reasons why one became a Catholic.

That's not really what's going on at least with me. It is however true (and part of RC doctrine, of course) that in the end everybody has to make their own judgements about everything. And that one will be held to account by God based on those judgements. If I say "I will follow the RCC in all she says", then that is still my decision based on my judgement that this would be a good thing to do. We can make "meta-judgements", like "I will trust the doctor on what he says about getting rid of my disease". In this case many small decisions (about what medicines to take, what diet to follow, whether one can work or should rest, ...) are followed "automatically" according to the doctor's word. But that's just because all those small decisions derive from the big decision about trusting the doctor that one has originally taken. I cannot pretend that all these small decisions are not ultimately mine.

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I'm not a Catholic, but to be a Catholic isn't one supposed to believe that it is the one true church. Though it may wobble a bit from time to time, over the centuries it cannot and does not err. So even if one thinks it's wobbling about anything now, e.g. indulgences in the C16 or paedophile clergy in the C20, one has to stick with it because that's the only train that will get there in the end.

This is very confused, and in consequence rather inaccurate. In the RCC there is a clear distinction between dogma, doctrine, discipline and behaviour. Dogma is unchangeable, doctrine is somewhat changeable but the less the more it is like dogma (and most doctrines we are discussing are close to being dogma), discipline can be changed at the drop of a hat (but usually isn't, because it is supposed to be helpful), and behaviour can be all over the place (though it should follow dogma, doctrine and discipline).

Hence the abuses of the indulgences, and the pedophile priests, are basically meaningless as far as the RC core of dogma and doctrine goes. They are behaviour against the core of dogma and doctrine, perhaps - or perhaps not - encouraged by badly chosen discipline. Of course, one can point to institutional problems that made these failures more likely, and one can ask harsh questions about the absence of safeguards that would make these failures unlikely. But that really is just bad behaviour of the RC governors. There is nothing in the RC core of dogma and doctrine which says that you should give people the illusion that they can buy their way into heaven, or that it is fine to rape children.

The issue at hand here is however quite different. The RCC has made a range of very clear pronouncements about sex and marriage at the doctrinal level, and one can argue, even as dogma. If the RCC changes anything at that level, she puts her own core into question. The RCC claims that she has always taught the truth in matters of religion and morals. That is why one should stick to her whatever nonsense may be happening as far as discipline or behaviour is concerned. The core itself is protected against human failure, safeguarded by the Holy Spirit. The principles cannot be corrupted, whatever corrupted mess humans make out of them. That is the very idea of the RCC. So if one judges that the RCC has done something that actually corrupts the core, then it's game over. The gates of hell have prevailed, the whole thing is a sham.

And so that's precisely my statement. If the RCC is essentially contradicting herself across time on this issue, which is at a doctrinal to dogmatic level, then that invalidates her claim to be Divine. As an individual, it is up to me to judge that, because that is about her core authority in which I have to believe in order to believe anything else she says. If I doubt that the doctor actually is a qualified doctor, then I cannot trust in the cure he proposes. I have to go and find a real doctor. And if a man claiming to be a doctor says something one day about my disease, and something very different the next day, and nothing really has changed, then this is good reason to doubt his qualifications!

quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Perhaps I should also add, by the way, that I'd prefer to have an explanation of Orthodox teaching on this subject from someone who is Orthodox, rather than someone who is determined to persuade us that the RCC has got it completely right and the Orthodox has got it completely wrong. After all, although I'm Prod and CofE, there are other areas where I think the Orthodox are more consistent with Scripture and Tradition than the RCC.

I think my description of what the Orthodox practically do for re-marriages is accurate, and I have seen it described this way by the Orthodox (mousethief and others) on SoF. Of course, my value judgement of this procedure (as incoherent) presumably would not be accepted by the Orthodox.
 
Posted by Doublethink. (# 1984) on :
 
You don't think the truth can change ? The relationship between God and humanity is static ?
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
You don't think the truth can change ? The relationship between God and humanity is static ?

Truth is the accordance of concept with reality. So if reality changes, then concepts have to change to remain true. Does God change reality? Sure. In particular, the "Jesus event" introduced lots of changes to reality, including to marriage. Does God change everyday life for lots of people all the time. Sure. For example, it will be true to think that God has answered some prayers. However, does God change human nature? No, he never has. Does God change the essential structure of His interactions with humans in grace? Yes, he has done so twice (Adam & Christ) and will do so once more (Second Coming). Is there hence scope for the truth about marriage to change in the meantime? Nope. Neither human nature nor God's essential provision of grace will change till the Second Coming. So, the truth about marriage as updated by Jesus Christ will remain as it is till He comes again.
 
Posted by Doublethink. (# 1984) on :
 
Based on what IngoB ? How can you know in advance what the Holy Spirit might do ?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Come Doublethink, that's literally, conservatively, uncontextually, universally, unquestioningly and unquestionably obvious once and for all time.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
Based on what IngoB ? How can you know in advance what the Holy Spirit might do ?

This is known by the revelation of God in scripture and tradition, which specifically and prominently included the institution of the Church by Jesus Christ, which is the primary means by which the Holy Spirit teaches us God's truth through the ages.

The Holy Spirit does not contradict itself. Prophecy has ended with Jesus Christ. Indeed, revelation properly speaking has ended with Jesus Christ. Any personal revelation now is either in accord with the general revelation, or false hallucination. Any new teaching is either an organic development of the deposit of faith once given, or false innovation. God has closed the case, and only He can reopen it - and He has told us that He will do so in human person. Until that time, there is no fundamental change of faith possible, just a filling out of the shape once provided for it, and superficial adaptations to suit the times. Two millennia are like a day before God, and twenty more would still be early days. If you are getting bored with this "stasis" then you could pray "Maranatha".
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
Based on what IngoB ? How can you know in advance what the Holy Spirit might do ?

This is known by the revelation of God in scripture and tradition, which specifically and prominently included the institution of the Church by Jesus Christ, which is the primary means by which the Holy Spirit teaches us God's truth through the ages.

The Holy Spirit does not contradict itself. Prophecy has ended with Jesus Christ. Indeed, revelation properly speaking has ended with Jesus Christ. Any personal revelation now is either in accord with the general revelation, or false hallucination. Any new teaching is either an organic development of the deposit of faith once given, or false innovation. God has closed the case, and only He can reopen it - and He has told us that He will do so in human person. Until that time, there is no fundamental change of faith possible, just a filling out of the shape once provided for it, and superficial adaptations to suit the times. Two millennia are like a day before God, and twenty more would still be early days. If you are getting bored with this "stasis" then you could pray "Maranatha".

This does, however, presume that the doctrine is wholly perfect in its interpretation of dogma. If one were to say, for example, that while the intention and expectation is that marriage is life long and it is sinful to bring a marriage to an end, it is a one-off sin and not an ongoing one so long as the former spouse is looked after appropriately. There is (pretty much) necessarily a defect of love (on one side or another) when a marriage breaks down but in the context of the 1st century (and indeed every century up to the 20th in western cultures) women who were divorced would have had little or no means of support, and their husband by ending the marriage would be depriving them of home, family and any means of living. In this situation it is perfectly possible to see that the principles remain the same but how they are applied depends on the cultural circumstances.

It is not hard to see other circumstances, particularly regarding dead horses, where one might consider that the RCC has taken a principle that should, in their terms, be dogma and kept the first century cultural application of it as doctrine.

I think the slavery comparison is apposite. In the 1st century context, where a well looked after slave could have a better life than many free men, and Christians were not in a position to radically alter the social order, the way for slaves and slave owners to demonstrate love of neighbour was to be obedient and to treat slaves well. I hope no-one would dispute that this does not mean that slaves in the ante-bellum southern US were wrong to try to escape nor for Christians to campaign to end slavery.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
If one were to say, for example, that while the intention and expectation is that marriage is life long and it is sinful to bring a marriage to an end, it is a one-off sin and not an ongoing one so long as the former spouse is looked after appropriately.

This is in fact contrary to Orthodox orthopraxis. If breaking one's marriage was a "one-off sin", then the appropriate way of dealing with it would of course be the sacrament of confession. And after the absolution obtained there, there would be no reason at all for the Orthodox to impose a penitential service on a remarriage. The Orthodox continued resistance to the pressure from the Emperor and his court concerning remarriage (which was often a crucial means for Byzantine nobles to get the children one needed for continuing one's dynasty!) crumbled in about the 9th century. It is then that the normative way of dealing with marriage issues started to deviate from the West. And yet, the Eastern liturgy still mourns the imposition of this secular practice on the Church's sacramental life to this day. As always, the best thing about the Orthodox is their liturgy.

Anyway, the key issue is quite simply the following. Let's imagine a young couple in marriage preparation being lectured on the indissolubility of marriage, and that they really must be sure as a couple that they can commit to that. Now they sit at the dinner table and the wife turns to the husband and says: "Curious how the priest went on today. My parents are divorced, and they attend Church and all that just like everybody else."

That's it. That's the very end of the indissolubility of marriage. It is no more. You can pretend all you want, go on about beautiful ideals all you want, but that is just the end of that. Because sacraments must make real what they signify.

The indissolubility of marriage as an ideal is meaningless if it has no practical implications. It really is. Christianity deals in realities, not in wishful thinking. In the Orthodox practice, there is at least something left. A token. A single tear running down the liturgical cheek for something valuable lost. Among the Protestants, nothing. It's all gone. Dissolved in false mercy...
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
I would say the RC system is worse - rather than mourn for the loss of something that had many good things about it, but yet still ended, the RCC would have you, if you wish to marry again, pretend that your marriage was no marriage at all, that it was merely an extended exercise in fornication.

If one were to take the view that there is a sensible distinction between sacramental and natural marriage, which if I'm understanding RC teaching is what is implied then surely it would make sense that if a marriage has collapsed then, a priori, it cannot have been the sacramental marriage which has a lifelong character. It seems to me that if, as you say, we are dealing with facts, then the fact of a marriage patently no longer existing ought to be sufficient for the granting of, in RC terms, an annulment (much as irretrievable breakdown of marriage is deemed grounds for divorce in civil courts).

It is a nonsense to proclaim the indissolubility of marriage as a sort of cosmic certainty. I can see how it is arrived at from the Gospels but I don't think it is as well defined as the RCC makes out. Clearly some marriages, terribly, do end prior to death. Divorce is simply a recognition of a state already existing.
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
That's it. That's the very end of the indissolubility of marriage. It is no more. You can pretend all you want, go on about beautiful ideals all you want, but that is just the end of that. Because sacraments must make real what they signify.

The indissolubility of marriage as an ideal is meaningless if it has no practical implications. It really is. Christianity deals in realities, not in wishful thinking. In the Orthodox practice, there is at least something left. A token. A single tear running down the liturgical cheek for something valuable lost. Among the Protestants, nothing. It's all gone. Dissolved in false mercy...

IngoB, I know nothing about your personal history, nor need to, but it must be rather different from mine. I doubt my mother has ever believed in the indissolubility of marriage, but looking at her divorce I could never think that there were no practical and spiritual implications. Her scars were deep, and I am glad she is remarried, and it is in many ways a healthier marriage than I ever knew her first marriage to be. Still, she and her husband both seem to bear scars from their previous marriages. Actually seeing her supports my belief that marriage is indissoluble, at least in a certain understanding of the word. She is only connected to my father by pain (and many years of time) but that connection will never break. On the other hand, when she turned to her church to help her heal, they sinned--I'm not going to give details, so you'll have to take my word on that*--and ended up scaring her away from institutional religion. The woman who taught me never to miss a Sunday will probably never be a member of a church again. Even if marriage is indissoluble, we are human, and when all that's left of the permanent bond is shrunk into pain, sin, and brokenness, the remaining connection may be acknowledged, but the people must be allowed to move on.

*If it helps, this was a conservative protestant church, so their failing was nothing related to Roman Catholic belief.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
I would say the RC system is worse - rather than mourn for the loss of something that had many good things about it, but yet still ended, the RCC would have you, if you wish to marry again, pretend that your marriage was no marriage at all, that it was merely an extended exercise in fornication.

There was no real marriage, and yet the children are legitimate! The RC system is a fantasy involving mutual contradictions that even the Red Queen would find difficult to believe at the same time.
 
Posted by Forthview (# 12376) on :
 
Surely the idea is that the marriage may have not been a 'real' sacramental marriage,although it may have been a valid civil marriage with subsequent valid civil divorce.Generally the RC church will only marry those who are already married in a civil ceremony.(in the UK,but not in too many other European countries,the priest acts also as the civil registrar.)

Even if the marrriage (sacramental or otherwise) is annulled by the RC authorities,the parties to the annulled marriage may have believed that they were properly married and so that period should not be looked upon as a period of fornication.
Also assuming that fornication is a sin then one must be aware of the sin to be found culpable.

While civil law authorities sometimes do not accept ignorance of the law as an excuse,the RC church says that one must be aware of a sin to be considered as being sinful.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
I would say the RC system is worse - rather than mourn for the loss of something that had many good things about it, but yet still ended, the RCC would have you, if you wish to marry again, pretend that your marriage was no marriage at all, that it was merely an extended exercise in fornication.

There is nothing particular contentious about the RC principle at work there. If you make a contract, swear an oath, give a promise, then you need to be able to do so and understand what you are doing. If this is not the case, then no matter how much what follows may look as being in fulfilment, it is not bound by the contract / oath / promise. Whether of course in practice this principle is being abused is a different question. The high number of annulments in particular in the USA would suggest widespread abuse.

quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
If one were to take the view that there is a sensible distinction between sacramental and natural marriage, which if I'm understanding RC teaching is what is implied then surely it would make sense that if a marriage has collapsed then, a priori, it cannot have been the sacramental marriage which has a lifelong character. It seems to me that if, as you say, we are dealing with facts, then the fact of a marriage patently no longer existing ought to be sufficient for the granting of, in RC terms, an annulment (much as irretrievable breakdown of marriage is deemed grounds for divorce in civil courts).

That is just about the most absurd argument I have heard about this... So if you have a contract with a supplier for so and so many tons of sand to be delivered, and the supplier fails to deliver any, then your conclusion is that there never was a contract in the first place since the contractual obligation was not fulfilled. If you have sworn allegiance to the queen, and if she calls you to war and you piss off and hide, then you would say that there never was any oath to her in the first place since you did not honour it. If there is a guarantee on your toaster, and it breaks down during warranty, then this too bad for you because that the toaster stopped working demonstrates that it was never guaranteed to work. If your renounce the devil to get baptised, and later perform a Satanic ritual, then you conclude that you were never baptised. Etc.

quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
It is a nonsense to proclaim the indissolubility of marriage as a sort of cosmic certainty. I can see how it is arrived at from the Gospels but I don't think it is as well defined as the RCC makes out. Clearly some marriages, terribly, do end prior to death. Divorce is simply a recognition of a state already existing.

Clearly some marriages fail, to the point where the only realistic option is the separation of the spouses, including a splitting up of property and child care duties. Such divorce is tragic, and should be avoided if possible, but is not forbidden in the RCC. What is forbidden is to conclude that what has failed simply ceases to exist. A Christian marriage is precisely not just a mutual promise, but a mutual promise in Christ. You are binding yourself before God, not just to another. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder. And since you cannot break what God has joined, you simply are stuck with your marriage. Even if both spouses hate this marriage with every fibre of their being, even if the entire world wishes nothing more than that it would not be. It just is. You made it be. Because God's word is existence, and you promised yourself to each other in this world by the power of God. If you don't want that, then you should not do it. That's all there is to it, really.

quote:
Originally posted by Gwai:
Even if marriage is indissoluble, we are human, and when all that's left of the permanent bond is shrunk into pain, sin, and brokenness, the remaining connection may be acknowledged, but the people must be allowed to move on.

Agreed. However, "moving on" is not the same as "going back to how things were before".

I should mention that personally I'm rather confused by the focus this discussion tends to take. We always talk about the physical communion, as if this was the be all and end all of RC spiritual life. Well, I've sat many times in mass and stayed put because I was not in the state to receive. And I would not say that the spiritual communion I had then was such a poor substitute for the physical one that it would spiritually kill me to be reduced to it. Really not. It seems to me that the spiritual aspects is getting overloaded there by a social one. It is as if the physical communion was a necessary signal for being accepted by the community, or something like that. Well, if so then how about working on this perception - or indeed this reality - for I think this is not only not necessary, but spiritually false.

Indeed, if I was asked (nobody ever asks me, don't worry) then I would say what should get looked at is not the participation in communion, but the sacrament of confession. That is in my eyes a much more serious problem. Basically, I would like to ask the pope and the bishops if it is not possible to give a partial absolution from sin, in cases where there is a long term hindrance (like a civil remarriage) that is going nowhere any time soon. I agree that the priest cannot remove this serious issue, and I agree that one should only partake in physical communion if one has no serious issues. But should it not be possible for the faithful to do their regular "sin management" apart from this - acknowledged - problem?

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
There was no real marriage, and yet the children are legitimate! The RC system is a fantasy involving mutual contradictions that even the Red Queen would find difficult to believe at the same time.

Luckily legitimacy has ceased to be relevant for most practical purposes. It is interesting that it is the state, rather than the Church, which in some cases continues to make a big deal out of it (namely concerning citizenship).

Anyway, the RC principle is quite simple. A marriage is valid unless and until proven otherwise, and all other law and governance can rely on this for whatever purposes. There is no retroactive unravelling of whatever action has been taken in good faith about this marriage by any party, just because it later turned out to have been invalid. An annulment affects the future, not the past. It's not just that children remain legitimate. For example, if you have committed adultery while putatively married, this does not suddenly become fornication just because your marriage turns out to be invalid. So if you confessed adultery, done your penance and were absolved, you don't have to redo this for fornication. (Yes, I guess this is trivial. I can't think of some other profound consequence at the level of legitimacy right now.) You believed at the time that you were married, and that is what counts for your actions, and the actions of others, concerning your putative marriage.
 
Posted by Horseman Bree (# 5290) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
No, according to the RCC, the person in mortal sin first needs the sacrament of reconciliation.

Te sin of Sodom was inhospitality. So maybe the bishops need to confess this mortal sin to gays.
Your comment is stupid on so many levels.
Oh, come on! You can do it! Stiff upper lip, now.

Explain why it is so "stupid" or carry on being irrelevant because you won't engage.
 
Posted by Organ Builder (# 12478) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Well, there certainly was a massive loss of face and trust for the liberal side.

If I were a conservative Catholic, I don't think I'd be quite so sanguine.

This paragraph is pure speculation, but I suspect the pope wished for the Synod take a more relaxed approach than it did. Just how far he might have wished that to go is really anybody's guess, and he seems to have a certain amount of political cleverness. I'm under no illusion that he wanted things to go as far as many of the news reports seemed to suggest.

It's interesting to note his appointments, though. The new Archbishop of Chicago was amazed at his appointment, and it probably would not have been made under Pope Benedict. It's not unlikely he'll be a Cardinal in a few years.
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by Gwai:
Even if marriage is indissoluble, we are human, and when all that's left of the permanent bond is shrunk into pain, sin, and brokenness, the remaining connection may be acknowledged, but the people must be allowed to move on.

Agreed. However, "moving on" is not the same as "going back to how things were before".

I should mention that personally I'm rather confused by the focus this discussion tends to take. We always talk about the physical communion, as if this was the be all and end all of RC spiritual life. Well, I've sat many times in mass and stayed put because I was not in the state to receive. And I would not say that the spiritual communion I had then was such a poor substitute for the physical one that it would spiritually kill me to be reduced to it. Really not. It seems to me that the spiritual aspects is getting overloaded there by a social one. It is as if the physical communion was a necessary signal for being accepted by the community, or something like that. Well, if so then how about working on this perception - or indeed this reality - for I think this is not only not necessary, but spiritually false.

Indeed, if I was asked (nobody ever asks me, don't worry) then I would say what should get looked at is not the participation in communion, but the sacrament of confession. That is in my eyes a much more serious problem. Basically, I would like to ask the pope and the bishops if it is not possible to give a partial absolution from sin, in cases where there is a long term hindrance (like a civil remarriage) that is going nowhere any time soon. I agree that the priest cannot remove this serious issue, and I agree that one should only partake in physical communion if one has no serious issues. But should it not be possible for the faithful to do their regular "sin management" apart from this - acknowledged - problem?

But I never said go on the way things were before either. By move on I mean have it acknowledged that one can form a new bond with a new person. Is that bond as indissoluble? I don't know. Perhaps not honestly, but it is still real, it is still meaningful, and I still think God blesses it, though I accept that you will not.
Re physical vs. spiritual communion, you may just be a better person than I. I crave the physical reality of communion, and watching everyone else take it would be no better than being told that Jesus had come down to earth and was in the next room chatting with people, but I wouldn't be allowed to go there.
 
Posted by Jon in the Nati (# 15849) on :
 
quote:
This paragraph is pure speculation, but I suspect the pope wished for the Synod take a more relaxed approach than it did. [...] I'm under no illusion that he wanted things to go as far as many of the news reports seemed to suggest.
What reason do we have to suspect this?

So much of all the wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding this synod is premised on the idea that we know what Pope Francis wants/wanted, based on a few ultra-vague offhand statements that he made. Media types seized on these and ran with it, telling the world that Francis wanted, among other things, full inclusion for LGBT persons. But he never said that; he said nothing of the sort. It is all just projection onto Francis of the desires of secular persons and liberal Catholics.

More and more, Francis remains a mystery and therefore a Rorschach test for Catholics who can see in him whatever they want to see.
 
Posted by Organ Builder (# 12478) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jon in the Nati:
What reason do we have to suspect this?

Well, I was the first to admit it was speculation.

What makes me suspect it, however, is that I otherwise see no real pressing need for the Synod to be called in the first place.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
quote:
Originally posted by Jon in the Nati:
What reason do we have to suspect this?

Well, I was the first to admit it was speculation.

What makes me suspect it, however, is that I otherwise see no real pressing need for the Synod to be called in the first place.

As I said a few posts ago, I think he was hoping he could get the bishops at least to engage, even if they didn't get anywhere, with the pastoral limbo of the huge numbers of Catholics throughout the world who are in legally valid but ecclesiastically invalid marriages. All along, it has been wishful thinking among the sociologically liberal media in a few western countries to imagine that the synod was going to address the gay issue or that it was even a significant item on the agenda.
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Horseman Bree:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
No, according to the RCC, the person in mortal sin first needs the sacrament of reconciliation.

Te sin of Sodom was inhospitality. So maybe the bishops need to confess this mortal sin to gays.
Your comment is stupid on so many levels.
Oh, come on! You can do it! Stiff upper lip, now.

Explain why it is so "stupid" or carry on being irrelevant because you won't engage.

Irrelevant!!!!

Oh No!!!

Not Irrelevant!!!

The Horror!!!!

Engage with what?

Your ad hominem which is only appropriate for Hell.

or

Leo's reference to Dead Horse which is only appropriate for Dead Horses.


For the record, if I'm not considered irrelevant by those who use irrelevant as an insult, I'm doing something wrong.
[Biased]

[ 22. October 2014, 18:01: Message edited by: Beeswax Altar ]
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Alright, Shipmates, calm down hereabouts. There's scope in DH for discussing Catholicism and attitudes to homosexuality and there's plenty of room in Hell for you to be as ad hominem as you like. The occasional aside normally gets by, but please don't pick it up and run with it.

Stick to the usual Purgatory guidelines. You know what they are.

Barnabas62
Purgatory Host
 
Posted by Organ Builder (# 12478) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
As I said a few posts ago, I think he was hoping he could get the bishops at least to engage, even if they didn't get anywhere, with the pastoral limbo of the huge numbers of Catholics throughout the world who are in legally valid but ecclesiastically invalid marriages.

To be honest, I didn't expect the gay issue to come up at all, and was surprised that it did.

There is only one thing that might reveal for us what the Pope may have hoped will happen, and that is to watch future appointments and preferments. His recent appointments are what led me to question whether IngoB's assessment of the defeat of the liberal faction was correct or just wishful thinking.

If I had been part of the Synod and hoping for whatever cynical reason to catch the Pope's eye with a view to promotion, I think I would have tried to position myself as a moderate. In two or three years I think we'll know if that would have been a misjudgment.
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:

quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
If one were to take the view that there is a sensible distinction between sacramental and natural marriage, which if I'm understanding RC teaching is what is implied then surely it would make sense that if a marriage has collapsed then, a priori, it cannot have been the sacramental marriage which has a lifelong character. It seems to me that if, as you say, we are dealing with facts, then the fact of a marriage patently no longer existing ought to be sufficient for the granting of, in RC terms, an annulment (much as irretrievable breakdown of marriage is deemed grounds for divorce in civil courts).

That is just about the most absurd argument I have heard about this... So if you have a contract with a supplier for so and so many tons of sand to be delivered, and the supplier fails to deliver any, then your conclusion is that there never was a contract in the first place since the contractual obligation was not fulfilled. If you have sworn allegiance to the queen, and if she calls you to war and you piss off and hide, then you would say that there never was any oath to her in the first place since you did not honour it. If there is a guarantee on your toaster, and it breaks down during warranty, then this too bad for you because that the toaster stopped working demonstrates that it was never guaranteed to work. If your renounce the devil to get baptised, and later perform a Satanic ritual, then you conclude that you were never baptised. Etc.
My question is about what happens once the oath has been broken. If you have a contract to deliver sand, and are unable to fulfil it, then you would provide a refund and probably an apology. Traditionally an oath of fealty would be accompanied by obligations on both the vassal and their leige - the failure to fulfil one would lead to the withdrawal of the other. In each of these instances the contract is null and void.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:

quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
It is a nonsense to proclaim the indissolubility of marriage as a sort of cosmic certainty. I can see how it is arrived at from the Gospels but I don't think it is as well defined as the RCC makes out. Clearly some marriages, terribly, do end prior to death. Divorce is simply a recognition of a state already existing.

Clearly some marriages fail, to the point where the only realistic option is the separation of the spouses, including a splitting up of property and child care duties. Such divorce is tragic, and should be avoided if possible, but is not forbidden in the RCC. What is forbidden is to conclude that what has failed simply ceases to exist. A Christian marriage is precisely not just a mutual promise, but a mutual promise in Christ. You are binding yourself before God, not just to another. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder. And since you cannot break what God has joined, you simply are stuck with your marriage. Even if both spouses hate this marriage with every fibre of their being, even if the entire world wishes nothing more than that it would not be. It just is. You made it be. Because God's word is existence, and you promised yourself to each other in this world by the power of God. If you don't want that, then you should not do it. That's all there is to it, really.

Jesus' command is that it should not be put asunder, not a declaration that it cannot be. To suggest that the marriage still exists is any meaningful sense after a complete separation and divorce seems tenuous in the extreme. Yes, the couple have broken the promise they made before God, and their needs to be repentance for that. To my mind part of the penance for that is to make a better job of keeping any future promises they make before God. Pretending that the promise is still extant when it has clearly being broken serves no-one, least of all God. The marriage no longer exists in any meaningful sense if the couple no longer try to fulfil the vows they have made.

[ 22. October 2014, 19:17: Message edited by: Arethosemyfeet ]
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gwai:
By move on I mean have it acknowledged that one can form a new bond with a new person. Is that bond as indissoluble? I don't know. Perhaps not honestly, but it is still real, it is still meaningful, and I still think God blesses it, though I accept that you will not.

Well, if you do believe in the indissolubility of the first marriage, but permit a second marriage, then I do not know how you argue against polygamy or concubinage.

quote:
Originally posted by Gwai:
Re physical vs. spiritual communion, you may just be a better person than I. I crave the physical reality of communion, and watching everyone else take it would be no better than being told that Jesus had come down to earth and was in the next room chatting with people, but I wouldn't be allowed to go there.

I don't know about "better". Mostly I go to mass to say sorry for the past week, listen to some bible texts, praise God, and beg for assistance for the next week. Frankly, physical communion is almost a bit much, really, if I start to think about it (rather than just doing it ritually). It feels a bit like being invited to Buckingham palace and upon spotting the Queen, walking up there, giving her a big hug, kissing her on the mouth and saying "You still got it, babe."
 
Posted by Gwai (# 11076) on :
 
I believe the bond can be warped until it is not a marriage anymore, but a sad miserable debacle. I say the bond is not dissolved because it is still a clear connection.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
Jesus' command is that it should not be put asunder, not a declaration that it cannot be.

As an argument in favour of Christian remarriage after divorce, this seems rather lacking.
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
Jesus' command is that it should not be put asunder, not a declaration that it cannot be.

As an argument in favour of Christian remarriage after divorce, this seems rather lacking.
It's not meant to be an argument in favour of anything, it's meant to dispute the argument that marriage cannot be dissolved. Something has gone drastically and sinfully wrong when marriage is dissolved, but dissolved it is nonetheless. Once that is acknowledged the question becomes about how we should respond to those involved after divorce. I would take the view that they should be given the opportunity, if they desire it, to try again, and live married life as it is meant to be in the hope that they will be able to honour their promises and avoid the mistakes made before.
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
There are other things in the annulment process that could change, which I would consider unwise but not impossible.

It was announced in September, that the Holy Father had set up a Commission to look into the annulment procedure. Also, just before the synod, Cardinal Angelo Scola proposed a 4 point plan to deal with the question of remarried divorcees. As a sideline, Scola is the man I hoped would get the papacy at last year's conclave. His plan consists of:

- spiritual communion, or “of desire”;
- recourse to the sacrament of reconciliation even without absolution;
- sexual continence while remaining in the civil union;
- the verification of the validity or invalidity of a marriage not only by the diocesan tribunals or the Rota, but also with a more streamlined nonjudicial canonical procedure under the supervision of the local bishop.

I don't know if IngoB could live with this. The first 3 points are available to any Catholic, and Ingo has hinted that some form of reconciliation while acknowldging that a "block" still exists should be possible. I think the stumbling block to some may be the nonjudicial canonical procedure put into the hands of local bishops. Yet I think, when all the dust has settled, and the Commission reports back to the Holy See, Cardinal Scola's suggestions are close to what will happen.

My final position, after a year of mulling this over, is that I agree almost totally with Scola's thoughts. Some marriages are obviously defective from the beginning, for example where people are married young under parental pressure. But where I agree with Cardinal Kasper is that to say that a marriage which lasted 15 years and produced several children never really happened is mostly absurd. It just went wrong, and a penitential admission of this is a more honest way of dealing with it than an annulment, as our Orthodox fellow Christians would tell us.

So the liberals failed to get their victory at the synod. But these issues won't go away, and some form of change will come sooner or later, even if it's only to way of granting annulments.
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
Second to last paragraph, absolutely. Annulment under such circumstances is typical Roman sleight of hand.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
Also, just before the synod, Cardinal Angelo Scola proposed a 4 point plan to deal with the question of remarried divorcees. As a sideline, Scola is the man I hoped would get the papacy at last year's conclave. His plan consists of:

- spiritual communion, or “of desire”;
- recourse to the sacrament of reconciliation even without absolution;
- sexual continence while remaining in the civil union;
- the verification of the validity or invalidity of a marriage not only by the diocesan tribunals or the Rota, but also with a more streamlined nonjudicial canonical procedure under the supervision of the local bishop.

I don't know if IngoB could live with this. The first 3 points are available to any Catholic, and Ingo has hinted that some form of reconciliation while acknowldging that a "block" still exists should be possible. I think the stumbling block to some may be the nonjudicial canonical procedure put into the hands of local bishops. Yet I think, when all the dust has settled, and the Commission reports back to the Holy See, Cardinal Scola's suggestions are close to what will happen.

Well, sure I could live with this. If at all, it appears that I am more "liberal" than ++Scola on some issues... I have not read the article yet, I'm working off your summary above in the following.

His first point is no point at all. That just is already accepted practice. Heck, that's the obligation of binding Catholic discipline somewhat cheekily rephrased as an accommodation. Every Catholic has to go to mass by law, and they are not supposed to just twiddle their thumbs there. So if they don't have physical communion, spiritual communion it is.

His second point is less than I think could be done. Really all he is saying is that these people could have a chat with their priest for spiritual advice. Well, nice. But the sacrament of confession is rather more. My suggestion was to look into whether it is possible to grant a partial absolution of sins, a real sacrament though one imperfectly received. I'm not sure that it is necessary for the priest to absolve of all sins, or none. I right now do not know why he shouldn't be able to absolve of some sins, and thus in our context here of all sins but the remarriage. So I'm more "liberal" than Scola there, I guess.

His third point is weak. Most people remarrying do want to have sex, and as far as marrying goes that's of course perfectly reasonable. And it is already possible to have a secular marriage for good reasons (e.g., upbringing of children), live it "as brother and sister", and have this recognised by the priest (or perhaps bishop, I would have to google to check) so as to return to physical communion. So he's not proposing an innovation to existing law or practice, and as suggestion to most couples in this situation it is not going to fly.

His fourth point is indeed where change could happen. Personally I think making annulments easier it is just going to make the claim that this is Catholic divorce by another name more plausible. But this is a question of governance and discipline, and so the Church can pretty much do what she wants there. It may be terribly imprudent, but that's not the same as heretical. Hence I may have lots of problems with any particular suggestion, but it will not be the kind of problem that would make me reconsider my own membership.

[ 23. October 2014, 10:27: Message edited by: IngoB ]
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Personally I think making annulments easier it is just going to make the claim that this is Catholic divorce by another name more plausible.

I agree with you here, in fact I have terrible misgivings about the subject of annulments. Where we might disagree is over what alternatives are possible. A change in procedure allows the Church to get a certain result, without in any way thinking outside the box. When divorce was rare, playboy princes and rich movie stars obtained annulments. They poured their money into Church coffers and bought ease of conscience for their sexually prolific lifestyles. Mere mortals who fell into that trap were shunned and treated as pariahs.

Of course there were always genuine reasons to annul a marriage such as consanguinity, forced marriage, inability or unwillingness to consummate and serious mental illness. But they were rare indeed. Now we hear of annulments for psychological reasons, immaturity, failure to understand the full implications of a lifelong union. But in what way do these invalidate a sacrament? How many youngsters preparing for marriage imagine what it's like to stay up all night with a sick child, and then go to work all day?

By the 1970's, divorce in English speaking countries at least, was reaching pandemic proportions, so the Church started looking for alternatives to simply excluding these sinners. Familiaris Consortio in 1982, was written following the family synod of 1980. Notwithstanding the impassioned pleas of Archbishop Warlock of Liverpool to consider the idea of mercy, Pope St John Paul II told the remarried that they are still Catholics bound by the obligation to attend Mass. That they should involve themselves as much as possible in the life of the Church, but that they can't receive absolution or communion unless they fulfill their obligation to separate from their later partner, or when conditions such as bringing up children make that impossible, live as brother and sister. We are still bound by Familiaris Consortio, and what disappointed me is that there has been general willingness to move on this.

Other Chritian churches, most of which never permitted divorce either, made compromises with the age. The Orthodox Church had in place its penitential remarriages since the first millennium, but I bet it's been used in the last 50 years than in the previous 1,000! The Church of England announced, in 1981, that it still upholds the indissolubility of marriage as an ideal , but recognises that sadly, life isn't always ideal. But for Catholics, the only option is the misuse of the annulment procedure, because the Church has no other mechanism available to it, and won't countenance a rethink.

The indissolubility of marriage has always been upheld by all the Christian Church for the obvious reason that it's a clear command of Christ. But so is plucking out one's eyes if tempted by lust. So is not going to the altar with any anger towards anyone, giving up all property into a commonwealth to help the poor and being perfect as our Father is perfect. Yet Jesus always knew we are incapable of that level of perfection, which is why He died on the cross for our sins. And we must consider the cultural context in which Jesus banned divorce. It was used by His society as just another way to abuse women and keep them down.

To think of mercy following contrition for failure is what Christianity is about. It's what the Orthodox Church and the Church of England and many other ecclesial bodies do in their own way, but Catholics must seek an annulment. If it becomes the case that all that's needed is a visit to one's local bishop, and let's face it, how many are the local bishop likely to refuse once you remaove legal obstacles like the Keeper of the Bond, then annulment will simply be divorce Catholic style. IMO this does far more damage to the indissolubility of marriage than the penitential approach of the Orthodox Church.

Marriages fail due to human sin and weakness. Just as people steal, lie and get angry. They can be forgiven and ammendemnt of life can be sought. Annulment was never inteded for the purposes for which it's now used. Attending Mass while living in continence or refraining from communion indefinately, perhaps for life, is a no hoper for most people. So some rethink on the meaning of mercy and how it applies to real life situations would have been a good thing. Unfortunately it has passed us by at least on this synod.
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
That is just about the most absurd argument I have heard about this... So if you have a contract with a supplier for so and so many tons of sand to be delivered, and the supplier fails to deliver any, then your conclusion is that there never was a contract in the first place since the contractual obligation was not fulfilled.

But this is indeed how contract law works. If we have a contract for services, you under-deliver and I *routinely accept your under-delivery* a court is very unlikely to uphold my later claim against you for breach of contract.

My routine tolerance of your under-performance effectively varies the contract under common law. (Which is why some contracts have a term in anticipating this and attempting to protect against it e.g. "failure of either party to enforce one or more terms of this contract shall not constitute a waiver of rights".)

I guess you're saying that sacramental marriage has one of those failure-to-enforce-does-not-equal-waiver clauses in, while other marriages don't.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
Something has gone drastically and sinfully wrong when marriage is dissolved, but dissolved it is nonetheless.

You're begging the question. The question is: when a marriage breaks down irretrievably does the matrimonial bond automatically dissolve? If you conflate "dissolved" with "broken down" then you are right by definition. Otherwise, not.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
The indissolubility of marriage has always been upheld by all the Christian Church for the obvious reason that it's a clear command of Christ. But so is plucking out one's eyes if tempted by lust.

False analogy. Marriage has been elevated to a sacrament. We believe God has directly prescribed what is supposed to happen there. This is different from you trying to manage your lust inspired by scripture. Changing marriage is like changing the matter of the host to a Mars bar, or like baptising in the name of creator, redeemer and sanctifier. Instead of following what God told you has to be done in order to receive a sacramental grace, you make stuff up, and expect God to provide the grace regardless. And you think He must, for otherwise He would not be merciful. But that's just not how that works, and assuming that it does puts people into grave spiritual danger.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Horseman Bree:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
No, according to the RCC, the person in mortal sin first needs the sacrament of reconciliation.

Te sin of Sodom was inhospitality. So maybe the bishops need to confess this mortal sin to gays.
Your comment is stupid on so many levels.
Oh, come on! You can do it! Stiff upper lip, now.

Explain why it is so "stupid" or carry on being irrelevant because you won't engage.

It seems to be you who is not engaging because I asked why my comment was 'stupid' and you haven't answered.

The bishops voted against welcoming gays - so that they means they are not welcome.

According to scripture, the sin of Sodom was not sex nor even rape but refusal to welcome the stranger.

The bishops voted against welcoming the 'stranger'.
 
Posted by Jon in the Nati (# 15849) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
But this is indeed how contract law works. If we have a contract for services, you under-deliver and I *routinely accept your under-delivery* a court is very unlikely to uphold my later claim against you for breach of contract.

But the contract would still exist. A contract that does not exist cannot be breached. So when a contract is validly formed, but breached, the conclusion is just that: it existed, was valid, but was then breached. The conclusion was not that the contract never existed.
 
Posted by Horseman Bree (# 5290) on :
 
The sin of Sodom was that they were “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49.)

Are you saying that Ezekiel was stupid, or that the person quoting Ezekiel was stupid, or that the quote from Ezekiel was stupidly used?

Or are you so far up the GOP rabbit-hole that you think that the Bible has nothing to say about the poor and the needy, so any discussion of this is stupid?
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
quote:
originally posted by Leo:
It seems to be you who is not engaging because I asked why my comment was 'stupid' and you haven't answered.

The bishops voted against welcoming gays - so that they means they are not welcome.

According to scripture, the sin of Sodom was not sex nor even rape but refusal to welcome the stranger.

The bishops voted against welcoming the 'stranger'.

You are quoting Horseman Bree not me.

Oddly enough Horseman Bree responded.


quote:
originally posted by Horseman Bree:
The sin of Sodom was that they were “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49.)

Are you saying that Ezekiel was stupid, or that the person quoting Ezekiel was stupid, or that the quote from Ezekiel was stupidly used?

Or are you so far up the GOP rabbit-hole that you think that the Bible has nothing to say about the poor and the needy, so any discussion of this is stupid?

Leo is a Republican!?! [Eek!]


My work here is done.

[Killing me]
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
Something has gone drastically and sinfully wrong when marriage is dissolved, but dissolved it is nonetheless.

You're begging the question. The question is: when a marriage breaks down irretrievably does the matrimonial bond automatically dissolve? If you conflate "dissolved" with "broken down" then you are right by definition. Otherwise, not.
It's not begging the question, it's simply that I consider it self-evident that a marriage that no longer has any of the characteristics of a marriage has ceased to exist.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
I've said much of this before.

Though a child of the Reformation, I've an immense regard for large areas of modern Catholic teaching and a great respect for the 1992 Catechism. However, I think the way the RCC handles marriage and its breakdown is based on an approach to theology and ethics that is seriously in error. I sometimes wonder if this is a downside of having a wholly celibate clergy. I am aware that IngoB will disagree with everything I say and think on this, and I'm not expecting the entire synod of bishops suddenly to agree with me but here goes.

When I was in my twenties, had I thought about it, I might have admired the RC position. It has the strength of being logical, and of being determined to remain so, irrespective of the consequences.

However, do we serve principles, doctrines or God? I no longer think that is the way to do either theology or ethics. It seems to be constructing an intellectual structure, an ideal, as a shield that protects oneself from the discomfort of engaging either with God or one's neighbour. One of the things that follows from constructing an ideal, and then imposing it on the faithful, as I've expressed earlier in the thread, is that one is ceasing to engage fully in what the incarnation actually involved for Jesus Christ.

I can see that lowering one's standards on divorce and remarriage might encourage people to be slacker in keeping their marital vows. It might be better if divorce were treated with some of the shocked horror with which it was regarded before 1914. However, though the RCC may forbid divorce, I don't get the impression that adultery is less prevalent in countries like France and Italy than it is here in decadent England. I even get the impression that in the past, adultery was treated as less serious, rather than more, in some Latin countries as in the cicisbeo. The belief that it did not break marriages because they could not be broken might have contributed to this.

What I'm getting at, is that it is quite clear, from the Old Testament (e.g. Mal 2:16) and the New (Matt 5 etc. - we all know the passages) that God does not want us to break our marriages. Breaking a marriage involves breaking faith, and inflicting pain on a big scale. However, I do not think any of the conclusions below follow on from this, all of which would be consistent with RCC teaching:-

1. That where two people have divorced and one of them has married again, the other one remains in some strange abstract way still married to someone who has meanwhile married someone else. That is not an illusion. It is a delusion.

2. That where people have married new spouses, it would be a good thing to encourage one of them to break their new bond and either live singly or try to return to their original spouse.

3. That irrespective of what effect it may have on the feelings of the other party to the union, where it is a second marriage for one or both of the couple, it is a good thing to tell one of them that it is their duty unilaterally to stop sleeping with the other.

4. That where a spouse has been betrayed or abandoned, one should tell them they are still bound to the person who has broken faith with them, and obliged to wait for them or support them either emotionally or financially.

5. That because marriage is a sacrament, that means it cannot be broken rather than that it should not be. I see no reason why indissolubility has to follow from marriage being a sacrament. To me, it follows much more obviously that this makes breaking the bond a more serious and heinous thing than it would otherwise be. I have used the term before 'apostasy on a marriage'. It seems to me that arguing for indissolubility is somehow evading this.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
One of the things that follows from constructing an ideal, and then imposing it on the faithful, as I've expressed earlier in the thread, is that one is ceasing to engage fully in what the incarnation actually involved for Jesus Christ.

To the contrary, indeed, precisely to the contrary... But a more qualified pen than mine has written about that:
"Paganism and Puritanism, Enemies of the Church's Immutable Standards of Moral Perfection" by Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson.

(By the way, this is hosted on a fairly "rad trad" Catholic website, and the text by Monsignor Benson starts three paragraphs down, set apart in a different font colour. Faint non-trad hearts should perhaps avoid the rest of the website... but they provide a full electronic transcript of this excellent text. Note that the "bold" emphasis of some parts of the text is by the owner's of the website, not by the original author.)
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
I skimmed through the pile of strawmen and then finally gave up at the accusation, stated as fact, of unchastity on the part of Elizabeth I. Since when did spreading gossip and bearing false witness against your neighbour become part of Catholic teaching?

I see little purpose in picking through the entire morass to find what you may have intended to be the point. Perhaps you could highlight what you consider to be the key points that refute the arguments put forward.

[ 23. October 2014, 21:54: Message edited by: Arethosemyfeet ]
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
The linked article by IngoB shows a terrible lack of charity. There's no known evidence of unchastity on the part of Elizabeth I. And without wishing to piss on anyone's parade, Henry VIII, bloated tyrant that he was, was in the right over his dispute with the Pope.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:

... this excellent text ...

I found this a strange use of the word "excellent".

Yes, it does indeed explain precisely what IngoB intended it to explain, but in the process it traduces the character of its critics.

Doesn't that make it ad hominem?. No need to "play the man" if your intention is to "play the ball"? That would seem to be evidence of a lack of charity, regardless of whatever virtues it may be seen to have (from a conservative Catholic perspective) of clarity.

[Not intending to elevate the Ship's 10Cs to the level of Holy Writ, but if the author were a Shipmate commenting on other Shipmates, I'd give him a Commandment 3 warning.]

Incidentally, I do not have a problem with the proposition that Christianity proposes and promotes a morality which is impossible to attain by human beings without help. It seems perfectly in accord with Niebuhr's "impossible possibilities" observation about the Sermon on the Mount. It takes us to the place where we become aware of being saved by grace. It is the way in which grace is perceived and seen to be applied which seems to be the real point of departure.

To borrow from Philip Yancey's "What's so Amazing about Grace?", I thought the link demonstrated "ungrace" to a significant degree.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
Of course, as long as the critics explain at great length how the Catholic teaching and practice are horrible, unrealistic and hurt people, there is not a bit of "ungrace" in sight. That does not imply anything bad about the character of the Catholics imposing such dreadful and inhumane rules - or if it does, then it is most clearly the Lord Himself who is holding them to account by virtue of a righteous admonishment.

Only when a Catholic turns the very words of this critique around, and makes them a judgement of those that speak them, then it all becomes an ungraceful attack on persons. This, after all, is supposed to be a one way street of stinging critique, how dare anyone run it the other way?

But yes, there are labels being used here. We must not forget that in modern times the only allowed use of labelling is to label oneself (but then such a label cannot be challenged). Well, this text comes from an age where people still named things by their prominent features, and had few qualms about highlighting clear similarities by applying the same label. This uncouth attitude of calling a shovel a spade, even if it rather be known as spoon, should be considered a sign of the age of that text.

And so we come to the question whether a side remark about how Catholics have been horrible in history unfairly implied that some past British royalty have been horrible. This deep critique reveals a thorough understanding and engagement with the argument which would be difficult to improve upon. Perhaps an even more profound approach would be an in-depth investigation of the punctuation used here. For where, a man, puts a comma falsely, he unravels all rhyme and reason of his argument.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
A critique of some aspects of the theology of Catholicism is not a critique of the character of Catholics.

It's perfectly proper to point to the viciousness of e,g some of Martin Luther's writing re Catholics and Jews and cry stinking fish. We just do better not to imitate the fault.

Is it really such an ungenerous response, an overreaction, to point that out? It's rather more than a critique of punctuation.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
It would be hard for IngoB and tedious for everyone else if I were to go through all the ways in which Monsignor Benson does not persuade unless you already agree with him.

One should allow for some of its features as belonging to its time, such as its inflated oratory and its irritating personification of the institution as 'she' as in, to cite but one sentence as an example,
quote:
For not only is she the Majesty of God dwelling on earth, she is also His Love; and therefore its limitations, and they only, are hers.
.
The article, though, to me, does demonstrate a serious shortfall in humility. I am also not clear what it contributes to the actual debate on this thread, unless it's intended to persuade us that the only answer to every question is to accept that the RCC is always right. Here is a Monsignor praising it to the skies, so you had better bow down and abandon your reservations. They are merely a mark of your spiritual blindness, that you cannot see things as I see them.
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
By the way, this is hosted on a fairly "rad trad" Catholic website

Wow! I never thought of the Rorate Caeli blog as "rad trad", but there you go. Perhaps that says more about me than anything else. I always thought that the RC traditionalist movement was never quite radical enough.
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I am also not clear what it contributes to the actual debate on this thread, unless it's intended to persuade us that the only answer to every question is to accept that the RCC is always right.

Wow. OK, here's a hint. You said something about how the Incarnation supports your take on marriage, and I said no, it's just the other way around, and linked to a text. Now, what could I possibly think that text is arguing about? The role of what in relationship to marriage? It starts with an "I..."?

No, no, not "Superiority" though the RCC indeed enjoys that. That starts with an "S...".
 
Posted by IngoB (# 8700) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ad Orientem:
Wow! I never thought of the Rorate Caeli blog as "rad trad", but there you go. Perhaps that says more about me than anything else. I always thought that the RC traditionalist movement was never quite radical enough.

So the actual Eastern Orthodoxy one finds in the West meets the standards of somebody who finds the traditionalist movement in Catholicism not radical enough? I find that rather amazing. It's not exactly Mt Athos or the Royal Court of Putin around here... Is it all about the liturgy for you then?

Anyway, as a general rule I call Catholic traditionalists "radical" if they consider Catholic conservatives more as an enemy than as an ally.
 
Posted by Ad Orientem (# 17574) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
So the actual Eastern Orthodoxy one finds in the West meets the standards of somebody who finds the traditionalist movement in Catholicism not radical enough? I find that rather amazing. It's not exactly Mt Athos or the Royal Court of Putin around here... Is it all about the liturgy for you then?

Anyway, as a general rule I call Catholic traditionalists "radical" if they consider Catholic conservatives more as an enemy than as an ally.

When I say "not radical enough" I'm referring to their conclusions concerning the problems in the RCC. The traditionalists usually blame Vatican II for everything. I don't. Vatican II is only a symptom of a greater problem in the RCC, and that problem was set in stone at Vatican I.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
quote:
originally posted by Leo:
It seems to be you who is not engaging because I asked why my comment was 'stupid' and you haven't answered.

The bishops voted against welcoming gays - so that they means they are not welcome.

According to scripture, the sin of Sodom was not sex nor even rape but refusal to welcome the stranger.

The bishops voted against welcoming the 'stranger'.

You are quoting Horseman Bree not me.

Oddly enough Horseman Bree responded.


quote:
originally posted by Horseman Bree:
The sin of Sodom was that they were “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49.)

Are you saying that Ezekiel was stupid, or that the person quoting Ezekiel was stupid, or that the quote from Ezekiel was stupidly used?

Or are you so far up the GOP rabbit-hole that you think that the Bible has nothing to say about the poor and the needy, so any discussion of this is stupid?

Leo is a Republican!?! [Eek!]


My work here is done.

[Killing me]

What does 'gop' mean?.

As for inhospitality:

The context of the story

‘they have come under my roof, under my protection”

while the poor and needy suffered OUTSIDE her door

Jesus is talking about inhospitality to the disciples on their mission cf. Luke 10:10-13

whereas the men of Sodom received not the strangers when they came among them."

There is no connection with sex until as late as 2 Peter (2:4) and Jude (6)

Going back to the RC bishops, they might heed the suggestion that the harlots and publicans enter the kingdom before them

[ 24. October 2014, 13:41: Message edited by: leo ]
 
Posted by Jon in the Nati (# 15849) on :
 
quote:
What does 'gop' mean?.
The Google-fu is strong with this one.
 
Posted by Horseman Bree (# 5290) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
No, according to the RCC, the person in mortal sin first needs the sacrament of reconciliation.

Te sin of Sodom was inhospitality. So maybe the bishops need to confess this mortal sin to gays.
Your comment is stupid on so many levels.
Seems to me that you were the one who said that "the post was stupid". Or are you incapable of reading your own post?
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
hosting/

Could everyone please take a deep breath, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the 10Cs once more, and if all that doesn't do the job, take interpersonal ire to Hell?

Thank you [Cool]

/hosting
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
I hope I just about avoid DH territory here, but it's quite tricky if I'm to respond to the recent posts here.

The 'sin of Sodom' was indeed inhospitality (though clearly 'among others' over quite a period). But I think it is generally agreed that the way they chose to express that lack of hospitality was indeed by a homosexual rape of Lot's guests.

However it should be clearly said that this would not be a 'gay' act as we currently understand that. This would actually be a rape carried out by 'straight' people as an act of humiliation, a statement in the most emphatic way that those foreigners were not 'real men' but rather to be considered like slave women.

As such it is not entirely irrelevant to modern discussion of homosexuality, but certainly of limited relevance. I would assume most modern gay people would be horrified by such a rape. I have seen reports of such rapes in modern times; in one, a few years ago, a man was raped by people who suspected him of being a paedophile - in their eyes sex by rape with such a person would not compromise their straightness but if anything emphasise it. In the particular case they were in fact wrong in their suspicions.
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
The whole issue is totally irrelevant (though more relevant than the GOP's position on the welfare state) to the thread. Even if it doesn't raise a Dead Horse, which it does, responding to the original assertion in any detail would derail the actual discussion on the Synod. That coupled with the obvious circular reasoning is why I called the response stupid.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I hope I just about avoid DH territory here, but it's quite tricky if I'm to respond to the recent posts here.

The 'sin of Sodom' was indeed inhospitality (though clearly 'among others' over quite a period). But I think it is generally agreed that the way they chose to express that lack of hospitality was indeed by a homosexual rape of Lot's guests.

However it should be clearly said that this would not be a 'gay' act as we currently understand that. This would actually be a rape carried out by 'straight' people as an act of humiliation, a statement in the most emphatic way that those foreigners were not 'real men' but rather to be considered like slave women.


It is impossible to single out one iniquity as being the way the people of Sodom were bad, as though the other things they did were OK. What was wrong with them was just about everything. That's the point.
quote:
As such it is not entirely irrelevant to modern discussion of homosexuality, but certainly of limited relevance. I would assume most modern gay people would be horrified by such a rape. I have seen reports of such rapes in modern times; in one, a few years ago, a man was raped by people who suspected him of being a paedophile - in their eyes sex by rape with such a person would not compromise their straightness but if anything emphasise it. In the particular case they were in fact wrong in their suspicions.
I believe this is also very prevalent in some prison systems, and indeed can be regarded as a tell-tale mark of a badly run one.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
Something has gone drastically and sinfully wrong when marriage is dissolved, but dissolved it is nonetheless.

You're begging the question. The question is: when a marriage breaks down irretrievably does the matrimonial bond automatically dissolve? If you conflate "dissolved" with "broken down" then you are right by definition. Otherwise, not.
It's not begging the question, it's simply that I consider it self-evident that a marriage that no longer has any of the characteristics of a marriage has ceased to exist.
(Emphasis mine.)

I'm sorry to have to point this out, but this is textbook question-begging. Seriously. Look it up.
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:

I'm sorry to have to point this out, but this is textbook question-begging. Seriously. Look it up.

I'm not attempting to disprove the indissolubility of marriage so how can I be begging a question that I am not asking? I'm challenging an assumption and replacing it with a different one. If you and IngoB want to prove that current RC teaching is the only valid approach then you need to demonstrate that your assumption is more valid than mine.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:

I'm sorry to have to point this out, but this is textbook question-begging. Seriously. Look it up.

I'm not attempting to disprove the indissolubility of marriage so how can I be begging a question that I am not asking? I'm challenging an assumption and replacing it with a different one. If you and IngoB want to prove that current RC teaching is the only valid approach then you need to demonstrate that your assumption is more valid than mine.
OK. Let's just have another look your last but one statement (with my emphasis visible this time):
quote:
It's not begging the question, it's simply that I consider it self-evident that a marriage that no longer has any of the characteristics of a marriage has ceased to exist.
"The Question" is whether there remains an obligatory bond between the partners even after the complete breakdown of the marriage such that it would be wrong to (attempt to) enter into another such spousal contract/covenant with another person while both spouses still lived. Such a bond would certainly constitute a "characteristic" of the marriage.

If you consider it self-evident that no trace of a marriage remains - including the obligation to refrain from marrying (or attempting to marry) another person - then you are calling upon the truth of very premiss which is being called into question to support your conclusion. Indeed, you are treating this premiss as the conclusion of your argument.

If that is not "begging the question" then the term is completely meaningless.
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
I thought the question under discussion was whether the RCC should change how it dealt with couples who had had a civil divorce and remarriage. I was saying that changing an underlying assumption would permit, and indeed necessitate, that. I think that is the source of the confusion.
 
Posted by Chesterbelloc (# 3128) on :
 
Well, that more general issue is not what you've been specifically arguing though. I was addressing your actual argument here. But I've got to go to work now - laters, maybe.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
(Obvious cross-post)

Chesterbelloc

It's an important question. Is the marriage bond indissoluble regardless of the state of the marriage?

If that is to questioned, rather than simply asserted to be wrong, (for example on the basis that it offends against common sense that a bond remains when the human participants have broken it), then I suppose one has to look at something like this, or this, possibly in conjunction with this.

I think a number of us have done work like this earlier in the thread, for example looking at the underlying scriptures by use of historical-critical methods. That didn't do a lot of good, as I recall (I can still feel my bruises) but at least such processes illustrate the differences and the reasons for them.

Trying to put myself within the Catholic world view, I don't see much scope for change on the doctrine of indissolubility. It seems clear that you can't go down the Orthodox "Economia" route.

Personally, I wish you could do that. Here's a brief quote from an Orthodox online article.

quote:
The Orthodox Church allows remarriage out of mercy and for the salvation of its faithful whose first marriage has died. Alexander Schmemann - a prominent Orthodox theologian - speaks of the "condescending" of the Church "to the unfathomable tragedies of human existence" when speaking about remarriage and divorce. As such, pastoral economia take into account the fact that Christian people are surrounded with erotic propaganda, urbanization, uprooted ness and a culture that is at odds with Christian values.
Of course that is pragmatic, seeking to make the best of a bad job. Doesn't mean it isn't wise.

Here's the link.

[ 25. October 2014, 09:03: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Talking about erotic propaganda seems a bit insulting to me. I have worked with a lot of divorcing couples, and usually they have just taken different paths through life. In other words, they are now very different people from when they married. To carry on, would be torture for many of them. Thus, the possibility of remarriage offers a fresh start and an awakening of new life.

Of course, this is a secular outlook, but it's a compassionate one.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jon in the Nati:
quote:
What does 'gop' mean?.
The Google-fu is strong with this one.
still don't understand
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
The whole issue is totally irrelevant (though more relevant than the GOP's position on the welfare state) to the thread. Even if it doesn't raise a Dead Horse, which it does, responding to the original assertion in any detail would derail the actual discussion on the Synod. That coupled with the obvious circular reasoning is why I called the response stupid.

How? The synod addressed homosexuality so it is surely relevant.
 
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
 
GOP = the Grand Old Party, a nickname for the Republican Party in the US.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
No, according to the RCC, the person in mortal sin first needs the sacrament of reconciliation.

Te sin of Sodom was inhospitality. So maybe the bishops need to confess this mortal sin to gays.
Your comment is stupid on so many levels.
Horseman Bree seems to think this was addressed to him and was about Ezekiel - so i quote the above to put the record straight.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
"The Question" is whether there remains an obligatory bond between the partners even after the complete breakdown of the marriage...
... Such a bond would certainly constitute a "characteristic" of the marriage.

I think the question is rather whether those who believe in such a bond should Shylock-like insist on it regardless of the human cost.

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by Alan Cresswell (# 31) on :
 
[ADMIN MODE]

Here's a portion of an official post by one of your hosts here
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
There's scope in DH for discussing Catholicism and attitudes to homosexuality and there's plenty of room in Hell for you to be as ad hominem as you like.

Barely a day had passed before leo was on about homosexuality again. The rest of you who responded to him on that subject should also know better.

We've also had a follow up post from the hosts telling you to cut out the personal comments.

Any more examples of ignoring the hosts is going to get our unwelcome attention.

And, just for leo. You've repeatedly demonstrated an inability to avoid talking about homosexuality on various threads in Purgatory, even after hostly posts telling you to take it to Dead Horses. If we see another post from you on homosexuality anywhere other than the Dead Horses board you'll find yourself enjoying some shore leave.

Alan
Ship of Fools Admin

[/ADMIN MODE]
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
The Roman Catholic Church would allow divorce and remarriage if the RCC thought divorce was possible and subsequent remarriage was possible. Because the RCC does not think divorce and remarriage is possible all subsequent marriages are adultery. Adultery is a mortal sin. From the church's perspective, the human cost of living in mortal sin is greater than the human cost of not being allowed to physically receive communion. In fact, being allowed to receive communion in a state of mortal sin would potentially make the problem worse.

You don't believe that. I don't believe that. Most Christian denominations don't believe that. Most Roman Catholics in the West probably don't believe that.

Doesn't matter.

The Roman Catholic Church isn't a democracy. Never claimed to be. At this point, any compromise position will only upset both progressives and traditionalists while undermining the claims the RCC makes about itself. Most outside the Roman Catholic hierarchy already shake their heads at how annulments are granted. My council to the Synod is you've dug this ditch now be willing to die in it. Else, I expect the Pope to issue an apology to all other Christians for the disunity Rome has caused for the past 1,000 years.

I've said a hundred times that Christianity needs a realignment. A majority of Roman Catholics agree more with the positions of TEC than Rome. Instead of wringing their hands about how horrible the RCC is and how they will never change, the people should simply leave and join TEC. Why complain the RCC isn't like TEC when TEC already exists? Roman Catholics in Europe have the Old Catholic and Anglican churches to attend. Likewise, TEC has plenty of people who are Unitarian in their theology and Congregationalist in their polity (except when serving on vestry when some of them become Presbyterian). Why they can't just be honest and join the UU or UCC instead of trying to change TEC into the UU or UCC, I'll never know. Best I can tell, they've grown accustomed to coming to the front of church to receive a morsel of bread and sip of wine every single Sunday as opposed to a few times a year. This seems like an important difference until you consider that their Eucharistic theology is identical to their theology of coffee hour.
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
At this point, any compromise position will only upset both progressives and traditionalists while undermining the claims the RCC makes about itself.

This is the point, and it's the point I think they've got wrong. The arguement should be about what proposals best preserve the integrity of the indissolubility of marriage. On his now famous flight from Brasil last year, Pope Francis said:

quote:
Cardinal Quarracino, my predecessor, said that for him half of all marriages are null. Why did he say this? Because they get married without maturity, they marry without remembering that it’s for the whole of life, or they marry because socially they must marry. And the matrimonial ministry also comes into this. And also the judicial problem of the nullity of marriages, this must be reviewed, because the Ecclesiastical Tribunals are not enough for this. The problem of the matrimonial ministry is complex. Thank you .


Could this half of all marriges which are null conveniently include almost all marriages which end in divorce? Pope Francis has now set up a commission, and I have little doubt that the annulment procedure will become so elastic as to take in most divorcees. Even Cardinal Mueller. a serious opponent of communion for the remarried, said in his October 2013 letter to L'Osservatore Romano, that many more marriges today, due to the apostasy of the age, are likely to be invalid. It has been obvious for more than a year that the Church is trying to solve the pastoral problem of divorce in Western society by the airbrushing numerous marriages out of existence. This is appalling hypocricy.

Take the case of a married man with children who falls for a colleague at work. An all too common scenario. He starts an affair which gets out of control. He leaves his wife and subsequently divorces her and remarries, perhaps having more children. In answer to his seiously sinful behaviour, all he may need to do in furure, is convince a bishop's appointee that he or his wife were too immature when they got married, and he can get his "get out of jail" card, validate his new union and go on being a good Catholic. All this without any remorse, contrition or any admission that he'd been a rotten bastard in what he did to his family. Where is the fig leaf of a belief in the indissolubility of marriage. It's just a back up for divorce.

Contrast that with the so called liberal sggestions of Cardinal Kasper, so much villified by several other Cardinals, who proposed looking at something similar, but not necessarily identical, to what the Orthodox Church has practiced for more than a thousand years. Not all remarried divorcees can walk back into communion. A trained priest can examine their conscience possibly over several years. Is the person sorry for the part they played in ruining the previous marriage? In some cases their culpability may be low or non-existent. Do they now lead a holy life? Fulfill their resposibilities as parents? Try to bring their children up in the faith? Only someone who can rigourously prove all this, according to Kasper, could be led on a penitential path back to communion.

The latter option preserves the indissolubility of marriage, but recognises human weakness. The path the Church has is following completely trashes its own principles.
 
Posted by John Holding (# 158) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
I've said a hundred times that Christianity needs a realignment. A majority of Roman Catholics agree more with the positions of TEC than Rome. Instead of wringing their hands about how horrible the RCC is and how they will never change, the people should simply leave and join TEC. Why complain the RCC isn't like TEC when TEC already exists? Roman Catholics in Europe have the Old Catholic and Anglican churches to attend. Likewise, TEC has plenty of people who are Unitarian in their theology and Congregationalist in their polity (except when serving on vestry when some of them become Presbyterian). Why they can't just be honest and join the UU or UCC instead of trying to change TEC into the UU or UCC, I'll never know. Best I can tell, they've grown accustomed to coming to the front of church to receive a morsel of bread and sip of wine every single Sunday as opposed to a few times a year. This seems like an important difference until you consider that their Eucharistic theology is identical to their theology of coffee hour.

On the whole I agree with you (a fairly rare event) but I can explain, I think, those quasi-unitarians and so on who stay in TEC (and the ACC, and a number of mainline churches). Based on comments from friends who are heavily involved in their local United CHurch, they honestly think that, like themselves, no-one else actually believes the creeds and formularies and so on. THey approach church as something all ood people should attend (i.e., spiritually they're living in the mythical 1950s). But as they are intelligent (they are, in truth) and donn't believe any of the CHristian stuff -- because it's so clearly either untrue or irrelevent, they can't believe (perhaps allow themselves to believe) that anyone else does either.

So they live in a world in which everyone is going through motions they know to be false or irrelevent because it's what good citizens do.

Apart from simply describing this, words fail me.

But it does suggest that the church itself (through all who have had teaching roles) for many, many decades, has failed dismally to teach its people. Clergy, lay teachers and parents have signally failed, in many many cases to articulate their beliefs and to pass those beliefs along.

John
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
But that doesn't preserve the indissolubility of marriage. Recognizing the new marriage admits the old marriage dissolved. The other option is teaching that adultery or polygamy is acceptable in some instances.

The RCC may be to figure out a credible way of allowing the remarried to receive communion. I don't know. The RCC doesn't permit those not in a state of grace to receive communion. Adultery is a mortal sin. The RCC would have to find a coherent reason for allowing Catholics it believes to be continually engaged in mortal sin with no intention of changing to receive communion without their receiving communion making them guilty of a subsequent mortal sin. I can't see how the RCC does that without changing it's teaching.

How the Orthodox do it is as irrelevant as how Protestants do it.
 
Posted by Doublethink. (# 1984) on :
 
I believe that if a Roman Catholic murders someone and later genuinely repents, they can again enter into commuminion.

I don't see why that can not also be true of a marriage.

God created humanity, it doesn't make people incapable of destroying each other.
 
Posted by Planeta Plicata (# 17543) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
I believe that if a Roman Catholic murders someone and later genuinely repents, they can again enter into commuminion.

I don't see why that can not also be true of a marriage.

Because genuine repentance or contrition includes the intention of not sinning again (propositum de cetero non peccandi, as it was put at Trent). In other words, it is also true of marriage, but just as the murderer has to resolve not to murder again, the civilly-remarried penitent must intend to break off (what the RCC sees as) their adulterous relationship.
 
Posted by Doublethink. (# 1984) on :
 
I suppose my analogy to murder was chosen because I believe a marriage can die, or possibly be killed, by the action of one or both partners.

ITSM that the sin lies in the killing, or sundering of the marriage. Divorce being akin to burying a thing that is already dead.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Doublethink.

It's pretty clear why the analogy doesn't work for Catholics. Given the current doctrines, having sex with a second civil marriage partner is akin to recidivism i.e. no true repentance. That can only be achieved by accepting the teaching of the Church that you can only marry once - with all that follows.

Regretting the terrible mistake that the first marriage turned out to be doesn't get you off the indissoluble hook. But as PaulTH* observes, there may be a kind of solution in declaring many failed marriages as invalid at the start "due to the apostasy of the age". An interesting phrase, not too far removed from the Orthodox observations about the sexualisation and social fragmentation of the current age.

[I agree with quetzalcoatl about the condescension of this approach; "poor confused souls, they knew no better you know" but if something a bit similar gets Catholicism out of its present logjam, I'm not about to knock it.]

I still prefer Jimmy Dunn's view that Jesus' recorded fateful observations were more likely to be intended, primarily, as critical commentary on the parlous state of marriage/divorce arrangements in first century Judaism. And that the hermeneutical error I see (an understandable one) is the universalisation of this critique into a stern unbending doctrine. Jesus was generally generous to those who failed; unless their failure was self-righteousness or indifference. Then look out!

But that view of the scripture isn't likely to change very many minds, particularly those who sit under Holy Tradition. Too easy to write it off as a glib Protestant rationalisation. Rather than the more tortuous ones required over annulment reforms.
 
Posted by Doublethink. (# 1984) on :
 
If marriage does not die with the death of affection, it raises the question of a marriage actually is.

If your spouse tries to kill you, what is the remenant of the marriage bond ?
 
Posted by Planeta Plicata (# 17543) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
If marriage does not die with the death of affection, it raises the question of a marriage actually is.

If your spouse tries to kill you, what is the remenant of the marriage bond ?

Let's say that after your spouse tries to kill you, or your marriage otherwise "dies" by whatever criteria you choose, the couple -- against all odds -- reunites. Would you insist that they solemnize a new marriage, since their last one ceased to exist?

(It's worth noting the analogy with baptism. Obviously a baptized person can convert to another religion, or abandon religion altogether, and thus in some sense cease to be a Christian. But it's pretty uncontroversial that the "one baptism for the remission of sins" acknowledged in the Nicene Creed is "so far indelible, that it would always qualify the man that had received it, to be admitted to communion again after the greatest apostasy, only by a true repentance and reconciliatory imposition of hands, without re-baptizing." Even when all the baptismal vows are broken, the effects of the baptism remain.)

[ 25. October 2014, 20:59: Message edited by: Planeta Plicata ]
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Planeta Plicata:
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
If marriage does not die with the death of affection, it raises the question of a marriage actually is.

If your spouse tries to kill you, what is the remenant of the marriage bond ?

Let's say that after your spouse tries to kill you, or your marriage otherwise "dies" by whatever criteria you choose, the couple -- against all odds -- reunites. Would you insist that they solemnize a new marriage, since their last one ceased to exist?

I would presume, if they have been able to be reconciled, that the marriage had not ceased to exist.
 
Posted by PaulTH* (# 320) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Planeta Plicata:
Because genuine repentance or contrition includes the intention of not sinning again (propositum de cetero non peccandi, as it was put at Trent). In other words, it is also true of marriage, but just as the murderer has to resolve not to murder again, the civilly-remarried penitent must intend to break off (what the RCC sees as) their adulterous relationship.

I read an interesting story last year about a woman who had been an abused wife, frequently beaten and sexually abused by her husband, she had two children. One night when her husband was comatose with drink on the settee, she took a knife and stood over him, and her temptation to kill him was very strong. But she thought better of it and left him. He failed to provide for her and their children, and after 8 years of poverty, despair and depression, she met a nice, kind man.

They later married and had a child of their own. her second husband was a role model and example of love to all of her children and they grew into a very close and loving family. The parents did the right thing and brought up all the children in the Catholic faith, but were never able to take communion with their children. At the time or writing, this lady had gone for 33 years excluded from communion, and had seen children and grandchildren welcomed into the Church.

She wryly commented that, if on that fateful night, she's plunged the knife into her husband and killed him, she'd have been reconciled with the Church many years ago, but by living a life of love, she is unable to do so.

In Familiaris Consortio, Pope St John Paul II wrote:
quote:
However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist.
It's only during the last year while this debate has been current that I've realised how profoundly I disagree with this. What I disagree with is the use of the word "objectively." What is objective sin? And what of subjective sin? An Orthodox Christian who has been absolved of the sin of a divorce is subjectively (ie to him or her) in a state of grace and in good standing with God and his church. That FC says his life is in an objective state of sin won't nor shouldn't matter to him. There are Anglican bishops, clergy and laity who are divorced and remarried, who are leading good Christian lives. Again FC's claim that they are in an objective state of sin is irrelevant to their witness to the gospel.

If we are living our lives, as far as possible, according to the golden rule, in love of God and neighbour, we can't be held to be in an objective state of sin whatever rules are imposed on us.
 
Posted by Doublethink. (# 1984) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Planeta Plicata:
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
If marriage does not die with the death of affection, it raises the question of a marriage actually is.

If your spouse tries to kill you, what is the remenant of the marriage bond ?

Let's say that after your spouse tries to kill you, or your marriage otherwise "dies" by whatever criteria you choose, the couple -- against all odds -- reunites. Would you insist that they solemnize a new marriage, since their last one ceased to exist?

(It's worth noting the analogy with baptism. Obviously a baptized person can convert to another religion, or abandon religion altogether, and thus in some sense cease to be a Christian. But it's pretty uncontroversial that the "one baptism for the remission of sins" acknowledged in the Nicene Creed is "so far indelible, that it would always qualify the man that had received it, to be admitted to communion again after the greatest apostasy, only by a true repentance and reconciliatory imposition of hands, without re-baptizing." Even when all the baptismal vows are broken, the effects of the baptism remain.)

On average, in a domestic violence situation, a woman will have been hurt about 20 times before she calls the police. Even after that a cycle of trying to leave and being persuaded or threatened back is common. So i would be deeply suspicious of the resurrection of the marriage.

[ 25. October 2014, 22:05: Message edited by: Doublethink. ]
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
If marriage does not die with the death of affection, it raises the question of a marriage actually is.

If your spouse tries to kill you, what is the remenant of the marriage bond ?

If I've understood correctly, then the Catholic doctrine is that there is a metaphysical Thing which we might call the sacramental bond of marriage, which is the bit that is indissoluble. So that when the human relationship is dead, the humans have released each other from their promises to have sex with each other and no-one else, the contract has been voided in a civil court (the mechanism that deals with issues of contract law), the marital household has been broken up, when all the other aspects of the marriage no longer exist, the sacramental bond remains.

I'm not sure whether this sacramental bond is deemed to exist in non-Catholic marriages. In atheist marriages where neither party intends anything sacramental ? In cultures or sub-cultures where it is understood that divorce is possible ?

Whether reasonably or otherwise, a logically-consistent position always seems more convincing.

Best wishes,

Russ
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
I suppose my analogy to murder was chosen because I believe a marriage can die, or possibly be killed, by the action of one or both partners.

ITSM that the sin lies in the killing, or sundering of the marriage. Divorce being akin to burying a thing that is already dead.

Yes, there is something in that. But I find some Christian views of marriage very bleak and unforgiving. As I said earlier, I've worked with tons of people whose marriages were coming to an end, for various reasons, and they were better off out of it. To keep them in it, seems cruel and condescending to me. They have a new life that they can begin after all.
 
Posted by Planeta Plicata (# 17543) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
I read an interesting story last year about a woman who had been an abused wife, frequently beaten and sexually abused by her husband, she had two children. One night when her husband was comatose with drink on the settee, she took a knife and stood over him, and her temptation to kill him was very strong. But she thought better of it and left him. He failed to provide for her and their children, and after 8 years of poverty, despair and depression, she met a nice, kind man.

They later married and had a child of their own. her second husband was a role model and example of love to all of her children and they grew into a very close and loving family. The parents did the right thing and brought up all the children in the Catholic faith, but were never able to take communion with their children. At the time or writing, this lady had gone for 33 years excluded from communion, and had seen children and grandchildren welcomed into the Church.

She wryly commented that, if on that fateful night, she's plunged the knife into her husband and killed him, she'd have been reconciled with the Church many years ago, but by living a life of love, she is unable to do so.

Yes, cases like this are real issues for the Catholic teaching on marriage (in addition to being very sad in their own right). It's not surprising that the unfortunate effects of the doctrine are a favorite subject for Catholic novelists, from Evelyn Waugh to Paul Bourget. (Though maybe it also has something to do with the fact that this teaching makes demands of some straight people that most conservative Protestant churches only make of gays.) But it's also worth pointing out that cases where doing the right thing leads to a worse outcome for everyone involved are an issue for all ethical systems that are non-consequentialist, which the Catholic ethical tradition emphatically is.

How could God insist on moral laws that lead to situations like this? Well, all Christians are faced with the task of coming up with explanations (adequate or not) for why God permits bad things to happen through the operation of laws of nature. Maybe certain goods are only realizable through those evils (and outweigh the evils), or maybe it's sufficient that one day God will wipe every tear from their eyes, or [insert your favorite answer to the problem of natural evil]. Catholics have to believe something like this about cases where the Church's moral law results in obvious evils.

Of course, people mostly agree on what the physical laws are, but clearly disagree about whether the moral law actually forbids divorce, as the Church claims. My point is just that it's not impossible that a God who evidently permits all sor