With a new year just beginning, the same controversies that plagued the last continue. It appears that all the discussion surrounding Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Latetia (AL) will continue into 2017. In an interview, Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the four cardinals who submitted the dubia, explained that a formal correction could appear in the new year if the dubia were not addressed. Things are getting pretty serious, and how things will play out is anyone's guess. I sincerely pray there will be no division and all will be resolved by God's grace. I've read a lot of commentary on the issue, and had some discussions with others on this as well, and it all seems to boil down to a couple of issues that are the clear "elephant, or elephants, in the room". One of those, taken from a conversation I was a part of can be seen below:
"Is the idea that refraining from sexual intercourse from a civilly-married partner is too large of a burden and too great of an expectation?"
"It may be that this question is THE elephant in the room re[garding] AL.
"From my own... experience re married couples, especially a Catholic woman married to a non Catholic man, yes, this may well be an unreasonable ask (sic) for a variety of reasons."To which another person replied, citing the Council of Trent, Session VI: "CANON XVIII.-If any one saith, that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep; let him be anathema."
What's being referred to here is the apparent (not actual) contradiction found in one interpretation of AL's footnote #351 (on page 237) and section 84 of Pope St. John Paul II's Familiaris Consortio (FC) which reads:
The rest of the conversation, or at least the relevant portions, will follow below. I believe this conversation was very fruitful, and I was able to learn quite a bit, especially by reading more of the papal documents promulgated by Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI; documents I had never given the time of day to read, but now realize the entirety of these documents are a great treasure of the Church. My words will be in blue, my main interlocutor's in red, and other people chiming in during the conversation will be in other various colors:"[T]he 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. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage."Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they 'take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.'"
|Pope St. John Paul II|
Mary: Neither, when put that way.
If one had to choose between 2000 years of authentic and repeated Catholic teaching which encompassed not only all those years of experience of human nature, plus Divine Guidance and the words of Jesus Himself (no 'additions'), and an out of context interpretation/application of a not-approved-by-two-thirds majority addition, ambiguously phrased, of a non-magisterial document, OTOH. . .
Harry: I have said this before and I will keep saying this. Begging the question. The Bible records no instance of Jesus ever addressing the reception of communion. For that matter, he never mentioned annulments or pastoral process, or the on-going state of adultery.
Nicholas: He didn't have to mention it. Have you seriously forgotten?
“I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you." (John 16: 12-15)The Holy Spirit works through the Church always. The Holy Spirit speaks for Jesus. Jesus is Head of the Mystical Body, the Church. Therefore, Jesus as head of the Church has already made declarations, and has already addressed, the reception of Communion. Do the guidelines for reception of the Eucharist and the way annulment procedures are laid out in canon law, and in our doctrine, throughout the centuries not stem from the Holy Spirit then?
This was not begging the question. Mary is simply turning the tables on Tom, who had refused to address the points made [above]. And instead of telling us how [this poster] had taken the section from Trent out of context, proceeded in basically saying [this poster] is a misguided ideologue who is too young.
A short while later, another person quoted an article from The Crux by Austen Ivereigh. Here is the section quoted, which I immediately replied to:
"To take an obvious example, a woman abandoned by her abusive husband who remarries to provide for her children might be in the same legal category as the philandering playboy who ditches his wife for a younger model, but no one could claim that both are in the same moral category.
"Imagine that the woman in the first case, over time, experienced a radical conversion in her life, and is today an active member of the church community. Let us suppose she cannot, for technical reasons, obtain an annulment (these are rare cases), and the first husband has long since remarried.
"The case of the abandoned woman came up frequently in the synod as an example of where the law identifying all divorced and remarried as adulterers was simply too crude to capture particular human realities, and where discernment was necessary. This was the approach agreed to by the synod, developed in Amoris, and explicitly rejected by the cardinal’s supporters.
"Yet none of them have explained why this hypothetical woman should be treated as an adulterer. No one has convincingly shown how the simple application of the law is adequate and necessary in her case.
"No one has even commented on that, or any other, concrete case. Instead, the law has been repeated and reaffirmed - that adulterers may not receive the Eucharist, and that Amoris is heretical to suggest otherwise.
"In other words, we have here two radically divergent approaches: one which seeks to discern and integrate, attentive to the different circumstances, the other which seeks to apply the law uniformly and refuses even to discriminate between different cases, for fear it will lead to conforming to divorce."Nicholas: I remember when I was days away from getting married, I was at work sitting down for lunch in the stairwell of the building I was working at with my partner and our foreman. My partner was about 20 years old, the foreman in his early 50's. We started talking about my upcoming nuptials and my partner asked me what would happen to me if my wife cheated on me. I told him I'd be hurt, but it wouldn't change anything, we're in it for the long haul. He pressed me again, totally incredulous, and asked what I would do if she cheated on me, got up and left with the other guy and left me completely. Shouldn't I be able to go find another woman too?
And my answer was this: "No. I will have made a vow by that time, to be committed to her no matter what happens. If she breaks our vow, that's on her and that's her problem. You both might find this cheesy, but I don't break my promises. And I made a promise before her and before God that we will be united until one of us dies. Just because she breaks our vows doesn't mean I must, or that I should have to."
I expected our foreman to burst out laughing, as he was a lapsed Catholic, but he surprised me and said, "No, I actually find that very admirable". He went on to say that he was engaged once, but broke off the engagement because he wasn't sure that he could make that vow to be faithful until death; he couldn't promise to make that commitment. He's lived the single life ever since.
Now, if this were to ever happen to me (and I have no reason whatsoever to think it should, my wife and I are 100% committed to each other), perhaps I would try for an annulment. I have multiple children right now to worry about; remarriage might be helpful. But if it was found our marriage was as presumed before she left me, valid, then I would submit to the Church's teaching and resolve to live the rest of my days alone and chaste, no matter how hard that may be.
In the example of the abandoned woman given, I feel absolutely horrible for her. She can't be put in the exact same category of her philandering husband. While the article from Crux makes some good points, the author goes a bit too far in saying "Yet none of them have explained why this hypothetical woman should be treated as an adulterer. No one has convincingly shown how the simple application of the law is adequate and necessary in her case."
Have we forgotten, that by engaging in a sexual relationship with her civilly married (second) husband, she too has broken her marital vows? The old, simple saying, "Two wrongs don't make a right" fits here. What happened to her was unjust, unfair, unloving, and just plain wrong. But to break those vows she made before her lawfully wedded husband and her God is also wrong. Perhaps she has had a radical conversion since she civilly married her second husband... but does that change the fact that the vows she exchanged with her first husband are presumed to be from a valid marriage until a decree of nullity is issued? If she has had such a radical conversion, then would not that radical conversion to obey our Lord compel her to turn away from all sin, including fornication, as St. John Paul II tells us, specifically, in FC 84?
Of course, this would be difficult to do. But thankfully God doesn't leave us hanging. He gives us the grace we need to live up to His commandments. Such a woman wouldn't be treated as an adulterer simply because her husband left her and their children for another woman. I would not be treated as an adulterer if my wife suddenly made a 180, got up, and left me and our children for another man. But I would, and should be, treated as an adulterer if I have a sexual relationship with someone who is not my wife, much less begin living with her after marrying civilly outside the Church, thereby giving scandal to my young children instead of showing them that one does not need break the vows of their valid marriage because the other party did.
Joe: [In response to Ivereigh,] where has it been determined that such "rare cases" are the only ones at question here?
It seems to me that in the example Ivereigh gives of the "woman abandoned," that despite the horrible actions of her husband, it doesn't mean she was not in marriage that was valid. And if her marriage was valid, and would be determined to be valid if looked at in a tribunal, that would mean she wouldn't be able to receive Communion if she remarried. If the status of her marriage cannot be determined in a tribunal, their can surely only be doubt as to the status of her former marriage, that it could have been valid or it could not be valid, and what is being dealt with here is a Sacrament and when your dealing with such situation of doubt, that is surely not a good situation to be somebody (sic) Holy Communion in.
Tom: Nicholas said: "...What happened to her was unjust, unfair, unloving, and just plain wrong. But to break those vows she made before her lawfully wedded husband and her God is also wrong."
This is probably the central point of the whole issue of "adultery".
Even Jesus distinguished between those who actively commit adultery and those who are made to do so passively as it were.
An abandoned wife with kids, failing a compassionate and wealthy patron, was doomed to poverty and death in Jesus's time. Prostitution or remarriage would really be her only de facto options for keeping her children alive.
Yet we would allow such a repentant prostitute to Communion provided she confessed regularly and tried to extricate from her circumstances but we will not so allow the same woman who remarries instead.
Sure, the physical necessities/circumstances today are not so bleak...but the psychological barriers and limited choices still remain just as strong. Is this not shameful and inconsistent Church practice?
I am heartened we have another Pope who recgonises these difficulties but also has the courage and imagination to devise and implement a solution.
Nicholas said: "Of course, this would be difficult to do. But thankfully God doesn't leave us hanging. He gives us the grace we need to live up to His commandments."
I do not see it quite this way. My own pastoral experience indicates to me and most clergy that in fact God does leave many people hanging in this imperfect world.
Sure, some people possess the natural discipline from upbringing or circumstances or genes that bring abstention or heroic life choices within their reach even if difficult. Others must be prudentially judged as not being able to do so in the short or medium term even with the benefit of grace. Normal graces simply do not work instantaneously any pastor worth his salt knows such things take time for some people even with all the best will in the world.
Nicholas said: "Such a woman wouldn't be treated as an adulterer simply because her husband left her and their children for another woman."
Of course not.
Nicholas said: "But I would, and should be, treated as an adulterer if I have a sexual relationship with someone who is not my wife..."
I do not believe this is the import of Mt 5:32, at least not for the woman abandoned which is the situation we are discussing rather than the man who abandoned her or the man who received her.
I believe we must be careful not to confuse natural fortitude (heroism) with God's grace. They are two different categories . As they say, martyrs are such by their love not their heroic deeds. There are many non-heroes who may well be closer to God in their failures before God than heroes in their successes for God.
Sometimes men are more proud of being strong,keeping their vows, than actually loving God...and those who failed to be strong may well have the greater love.
While the poverty of the English language requires us to say that even abandoned wives who remarry for the sake of their children are technically guilty of "adultery"...I believe Jesus was clearly making a distinction between two sorts of "adultery" in Mt 5:32. Only one sort was targeted in the Commandments...the other may not be unworthy of Jesus's loving gaze...and Communion as Pope Francis and other Cardinals indicate.
"I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife...makes her the victim of adultery..."
Nicholas: Tom said: "This is probably the central point of the whole issue of "adultery".
Even Jesus distinguished between those who actively commit adultery and those who are made to do so passively as it were."
Tom said: "Yet we would allow such a repentant prostitute to Communion provided she confessed regularly and tried to extricate from her circumstances but we will not so allow the same woman who remarries instead. Sure, the physical necessities/circumstances today are not so bleak...but the psychological barriers and limited choices still remain just as strong. Is this not shameful and inconsistent Church practice?"
No, it is not shameful nor inconsistent, because the premise you've given is false. The Church does allow that remarried woman, like the repentant prostitute, to receive the Eucharist provided she goes to Confession and resolves not to fall into sin by having sexual relations with her second husband (from the civil marriage). If she slips up, then like the prostitute she should return to Confession, make her Act of Contrition, and resolve to not slip up again.
But we are human, so slip ups happen; that's what concupiscence does to us, right? However, what we see some proposing (i.e., the guidelines from the Diocese of San Diego) is that the woman in this case doesn't need to have a firm purpose of amendment. She doesn't need to "firmly resolve, with the help of [God's grace], to sin no more"... she can make up her mind to receive the Eucharist while still knowingly engaging in fornication, without the intention and resolve to stop, or while failing to extricate herself from her circumstances by remaining chaste with her civilly married (2nd) husband. This is wrong.
Tom said: "I do not see it quite this way. My own pastoral experience indicates to me and most clergy that in fact God does leave many people hanging in this imperfect world... Normal graces simply do not work instantaneously any pastor worth his salt knows such things take time for some people even with all the best will in the world."
Of course; obviously God works on His own time and the graces we receive from Him might not (and usually won't) manifest instantaneously. But they can and will in the long term, provided we cooperate with our Lord.
I find your first two sentences I quoted here pretty scary, I honestly mean that. "God does leave many people hanging?" Does He give us trials, or maybe even chastise us? Of course! As St. Alphonsus Liguori said: "[W]hen God chastises us upon the earth, it is not because He wishes to injure us, but because He wishes us well, and loves us. ...God does not afflict us in this life for our injury but for our good, in order that we may cease from sin, and by recovering His grace escape eternal punishment." But to say that He will leave many people hanging in this world indefinitely... I don't believe that for a second. I have more faith in our Lord than that.
|St. Alphonsus Liguori|
First off, the Church has always taught that man must cooperate with the grace given to us from God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states, emphasis in original:
"The preparation of man for the reception of grace is already a work of grace... God brings to completion in us what he has begun, 'since he who completes his work by cooperating with our will began by working so that we might will it.' God's free initiative demands man's free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him." (CCC 2001, 2002)We Christians have free will to choose or accept God's grace in our lives; if we reject it, we can't blame God for leaving us or another one hanging. We must be sincere in our willingness to combat sin when we are tempted by it (and that temptation would be admittedly very often for one who cohabitates with a second civil spouse) so that we may be disposed to receive God's grace.
Furthermore, this is reiterated very clearly and lucidly by Pope St. John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor. In the third chapter of this encyclical, St. John Paul fittingly entitled it "Lest the Cross of Christ Be Emptied of Its Power- (1 Cor 1:17) - Moral good for the life of the Church and of the world". I believe this is effectively what your statement implies by declaring that "God does leave many people hanging". The saving Cross of Christ is strong enough to pick anyone up left hanging, granted we work with our Lord.
In this chapter, St. John Paul speaks directly to this thought that the Cross is not powerful enough to help us, and I'll quote him at length because it's so relevant to our discussion and full of amazing insight. Italic emphases are original, bolded emphases mine:
96. The Church's firmness in defending the universal and unchanging moral norms is not demeaning at all. Its only purpose is to serve man's true freedom... [O]nly by obedience to universal moral norms does man find full confirmation of his personal uniqueness and the possibility of authentic moral growth... When it is a matter of the moral norms prohibiting intrinsic evil, there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone.
102. Even in the most difficult situations man must respect the norm of morality so that he can be obedient to God's holy commandment and consistent with his own dignity as a person. Certainly, maintaining a harmony between freedom and truth occasionally demands uncommon sacrifices... But temptations can be overcome, sins can be avoided, because together with the commandments the Lord gives us the possibility of keeping them: "His eyes are on those who fear him, and he knows every deed of man. He has not commanded any one to be ungodly, and he has not given any one permission to sin" (Sir 15:19-20).
Keeping God's law in particular situations can be difficult, extremely difficult, but it is never impossible. This is the constant teaching of the Church's tradition, and was expressed by the Council of Trent: "But no one, however much justified, ought to consider himself exempt from the observance of the commandments, nor should he employ that rash statement, forbidden by the Fathers under anathema, that the commandments of God are impossible of observance by one who is justified. For God does not command the impossible, but in commanding he admonishes you to do what you can and to pray for what you cannot, and he gives his aid to enable you. His commandments are not burdensome (cf. 1 Jn 5:3); his yoke is easy and his burden light (cf. Mt 11:30)".
103. Man always has before him the spiritual horizon of hope, thanks to the help of divine grace and with the cooperation of human freedom. It is in the saving Cross of Jesus, in the gift of the Holy Spirit, in the Sacraments which flow forth from the pierced side of the Redeemer (cf. Jn 19:34), that believers find the grace and the strength always to keep God's holy law, even amid the gravest of hardships. As Saint Andrew of Crete observes, the law itself "was enlivened by grace and made to serve it in a harmonious and fruitful combination. Each element preserved its characteristics without change or confusion. In a divine manner, he turned what could be burdensome and tyrannical into what is easy to bear and a source of freedom".
Only in the mystery of Christ's Redemption do we discover the "concrete" possibilities of man. "It would be a very serious error to conclude... that the Church's teaching is essentially only an "ideal" which must then be adapted, proportioned, graduated to the so-called concrete possibilities of man, according to a "balancing of the goods in question"... [i]f redeemed man still sins, this is not due to an imperfection of Christ's redemptive act, but to man's will not to avail himself of the grace which flows from that act.
104. [W]e should take to heart the message of the Gospel parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (cf. Lk 18:9-14). The tax collector might possibly have had some justification for the sins he committed, such as to diminish his responsibility. But his prayer does not dwell on such justifications, but rather on his own unworthiness before God's infinite holiness: "God, be merciful to me a sinner! " (Lk 18:13). The Pharisee, on the other hand, is self-justified, finding some excuse for each of his failings. Here we encounter two different attitudes of the moral conscience of man in every age.In section 102, St. John Paul quotes a section from the Council of Trent that had been posted in this subforum recently, and was dismissed for being out of context in regards to the divorced and remarried receiving Communion. St. John Paul uses it in context perfectly here. It might be really hard to keep the commandment to not fornicate and commit adultery with a second, civil spouse; it might even be perceived as too much a burden to live as brother and sister as I've seen some say here... but nothing is impossible with God. So long as we cooperate with His grace, we will persevere. I have the utmost faith in that. St. Andrew of Crete is right on, "enlivened by grace... what could be burdensome... is easy to bear".
107. In the moral life the Christian's royal service is also made evident and effective: with the help of grace, the more one obeys the new law of the Holy Spirit, the more one grows in the freedom to which he or she is called by the service of truth, charity and justice.
Tom said: "I do not believe this [that one would, and should be, treated as an adulterer if one has a sexual relationship with someone who is not one's spouse] is the import of Mt 5:32, at least not for the woman abandoned..."
I disagree. If I break my vows at any time by having sex with someone who is not my spouse, I have committed adultery, fornication. The day I was married to my wife, I vowed to "be faithful to her... all the days of my life." I did not vow to "be faithful to her... all the days of my life, unless she cheats on me, doesn't regret it, and leaves me." Indeed, Pope Francis reminds us in AL that "It needs to be stressed that these words cannot be reduced to the present; they involve a totality that includes the future: 'until death do us part'... Indeed, let us consider the damage caused, in our culture of global communication, by the escalation of unkept promises..." (AL 214)
|Council of Trent- Pasquale Cati Da Jesi|
Again, two wrongs don't make a right. If my wife breaks her vows, I do not have the right to break mine. If she breaks her vows in the future, that's her problem. His Holiness remarks that the exchange of consent "includes the future". I won't dismiss my vows if this occurs. As [someone] said above, in the case of the abandoned wife we're discussing, "who is to say that this husband possibly through the prayers of the wife may not have a change of heart sometime in the future and then want to be reconciled back to his wife?" If she commits adultery too, thereby breaking her vows, is she really in a position to pray for the marriage's reconciliation? And if a reconciliation is out of the question, again, there is no right on the part of the wife to break the vows of a presumed valid marriage.
Tom said: "Sometimes men are more proud of being strong, keeping their vows, than actually loving God...and those who failed to be strong may well have the greater love."
The implications of what you’ve said here are pretty serious; you claim to know the hearts of “some” men. Which men? This is very judgmental, and I for one won’t judge the hearts of men who keep their vows, because I don’t claim to know what’s in their hearts. For my part at least, I am NOT more proud of being strong than loving my God. I keep my vows because I love my wife, and even more so, because I love my God. Pride is something all men struggle with, but I do my best, with the help of God’s grace, to come to an even greater conversion so that I may put Him first in all things, loving Him with all my heart.
Tom said: "While the poverty of the English language requires us to say that even abandoned wives who remarry for the sake of their children are technically guilty of 'adultery'..."
Generally, I'd agree with you regarding the English language. But not here. I'm still not convinced by your reasoning of an "indirect" adultery, as the word "adultery" in the English language is very direct and clear: "voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband." So no, a woman whose been abandoned by her lawful husband, yet voluntarily has sex with another man hasn't just "technically" committed adultery... she just simply has, without qualification.
Tom said: "Only one sort was targeted in the Commandments...the other may not be unworthy of Jesus's loving gaze...and Communion. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife...makes her the victim of adultery..."
What is "the other" then? The "indirect" adultery you speak of? How do you define it, and how do you prove Jesus did not consider "the other" to be a sin?
I believe your application of this verse to the abandoned and civilly remarried wife we're talking about is off. Jesus is talking about a woman who has been left by her husband; He mentions nothing about this woman remarrying elsewhere, so it's safe to reason He's talking about a woman who has not remarried. You've quoted the NIV here; it's virtually the only Bible translation that translates this verse as "makes her the victim of adultery". None of the Catholic Bible translations do so. As Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. notes [in the book "Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church:
"limiting ourselves to the New Testament Greek usage, the most natural translation of poiei autēn moicheuthēnai... would be the conventional 'he makes her commit adultery'. By putting more weight on the active and middle attestations with female subjects, one might stretch the range of the passive infinitive to find a gentler nuance (cf. the RSV-2CE: '[he] makes her an adulteress')."Now that we have the right translation, what does this mean? "How does a man by divorcing his wife make her an adulteress?" Fr. Mankowski explains here, in the paragraph immediately after the 22nd footnote:
"Not by forcing her into sexual congress with other men. The point is that she cannot marry- at least not in righteousness- inasmuch as and as long as the man who has known her carnally as her true husband is still alive. Thus she bears the taint and the disqualifications of the adulteress in virtue of a decision made not by her but by her husband, and it is this injustice that Jesus condemns. Note that Jesus is not inveighing against Judaic restrictions against divorcées; nowhere does He suggest that a more equitable or godly dispensation would permit a divorcée to remarry. The weight of the opprobrium falls on the man who makes his wife subject to such hardships.Given this analysis, I don't see how Matt. 5:32 can be used to say that an abandoned wife, who civilly remarried, is somehow allowed to receive Communion while actively committing adultery without the resolve or intention to stop.
Tom: You misunderstand my observations. If a woman is forced to marry another to survive then she is also forced/obligated to pay the marital debt as an integral part of that victim "choice".
If it is accepted by the Church that sometimes the remarried should continue to cohabit for the sake of the children then it is somewhat inconsistent to not accept the wife willingly pay the debt to her sincere husband...not all husbands can suddenly accept a change of heart by his wife 5 years into their happy marriage.
So I am with Pope Francis if he is allowing an opening for some couples in this situation to receive Communion if abstaining cohabitation is discerned by the PP to be an unrealistic demand as it would destabilize the very cohabitation already accepted as the best moral option available in their situation.
...we obviously have different understandings of moral acts as opposed to physical acts.
Just as not all killing offends "Thou shall not kill"...I am willing to ponder the possibility in the light of AL that not all adultery offends Thou shall not commit adultery.
You may like to research a few more respected commentaries [regarding Matt. 5:32] to see if your historical suppositions about the likelihood of her remaining single are well grounded. I believe there are other views.
Nicholas said: "If I break my vows at any time by having sex with someone who is not my spouse, I have committed adultery, fornication. The day I was married to my wife, I vowed to "be faithful to her... all the days of my life." I did not vow to "be faithful to her... all the days of my life, unless she cheats on me, doesn't regret it, and leaves me." "
I think it is fairly clear that you breaking your vows is not comparable to either what Jesus said of the abandoned woman or the sort of related cases Pope Francis had in mind.
|Jesus Being Tempted by the Pharisees- Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg|
Brad: Tom said: "If a woman is forced to marry another to survive then she is also forced/obligated to pay the marital debt as an integral part of that victim "choice".
There is no debt, as there is no valid marriage. Ergo nothing needs to be repaid.
And if one partner does not accept the change of heart, is that a loving relationship? If it not a loving relationship, what grounds does the Church have for encouraging it's continuation?
In the situation that you describe, one partner is*forcing someone into economic prostitution against their will. Should not the Church be doing everything possible to end that that relationship, and*direct the partner that is seeking to live a holy life to other resources.
Nicholas: Tom said: "You misunderstand my observations."
In good faith, I don't think you are trying to empty the Cross of Christ of its power... but this is the logical conclusion of the statement you made, that is, "God does leave many people hanging." If that's true, that is tantamount to saying that what Jesus effected for us on the Cross was not enough. The graces we receive from Him, in cooperation, aren't enough to help some people who are divorced and civilly remarried. St. John Paul reiterating the words of the Council of Trent couldn't be any clearer: "Keeping God's law in particular situations can be difficult, extremely difficult, but it is never impossible."
Tom said: "If a woman is forced to marry another to survive then she is also forced/obligated to pay the marital debt as an integral part of that victim "choice". If it is accepted by the Church that sometimes the remarried should continue to cohabit for the sake of the children then it is somewhat inconsistent to not accept the wife willingly pay the debt to her sincere husband..."
You keep talking about this specific woman being "forced", or having to go into "survival mode". We have free will, don't we? Was she truly "forced" to marry another for survival? Or did she feel forced, like her hands were tied, when in fact they weren't? Instead, wouldn't we be correct in saying it would be very difficult, in some cases, for a woman to continue living without a husband around? First off, Jeanne and Brendan make valid observations. The "sincere" husband isn't actually this woman's husband at all. Civilly they are recognized as such, but not in the light of God's Truth. She is not obligated to pay any marital debt to her civil, second husband (as there is no true marriage), unless she would rather put the laws of the State above the laws of God. There is no marriage debt when there is no marriage to be had.
Second, let's say that your supposition is true on its face: this woman was forced to remarry civilly. If that's the case, then this marriage would be invalid prima facie whether this was a civil second marriage, a first marriage, or a second marriage following an annulment or death of a first spouse. CIC 1103 states: "A marriage is invalid if entered into because of force or grave fear from without, even if unintentionally inflicted, so that a person is compelled to choose marriage in order to be free from it."
Tom said: "...not all husbands can suddenly accept a change of heart by his wife 5 years into their happy marriage."
I agree, this would be very difficult. But if the wife truly has come to a greater conversion, and realizes she must avoid all sin, then through God's grace, one would hope that over time this civil second husband's hardened heart would be softened until a time came when the marriage could potentially be regularized and con validated (i.e., death of the woman's true, and first husband). Again, as St. John Paul says: "Man always has before him the spiritual horizon of hope, thanks to the help of divine grace and with the cooperation of human freedom." And for the record, I in no way find any Sacrament to be "overrated". Your bias is showing, in that statement, and while your marriage may be wonderful, happy, and fruitful, it in no way makes the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony received in a convalidation "overrated". To suggest that is, honestly, ridiculous.
Tom said: "So I am with Pope Francis if he is allowing an opening for some couples in this situation to receive Communion..."
That's if he is willing to change timeless Catholic teaching. I'm not convinced that he is, as he is a son of the Church, and I believe that AL can be read in accordance (and without contradiction) with FC, Veritatis Splendor, and the rest of the Church's teaching on Communion for the divorced and remarried.
Tom said: "...if abstaining cohabitation is discerned by the PP to be an unrealistic demand as it would destabilize the very cohabitation already accepted as the best moral option available in their situation.
Really, to the bolded? If anyone discerns that cohabiting without sexual relations is an unrealistic demand, then they have emptied the Cross of its power. They have declared that the commandment to not commit adultery is too hard, and that the commandments of God (as found in the Decalouge and in FC, among other magisterial pronouncements) are impossible, in some situations, to keep. Cooperation with God's grace has ended. To reiterate to the point of becoming redundant, but I find it necessary: "Keeping God's law in particular situations can be difficult, extremely difficult, but it is never impossible. This is the constant teaching of the Church's tradition... God does not command the impossible, but in commanding he admonishes you to do what you can and to pray for what you cannot, and he gives his aid to enable you. (VS 102)
The cohabitation may be the best moral option for the abandoned wife and her second, civil husband if they have children together... but the woman made the free will decision to break her marriage vows, and must live with the consequences, as we all do when we sin. The consequences here, are that she is barred from the Eucharist (and perhaps from receiving absolution, as you can't show contrition for a sin you're not sorry about) until she firmly resolves to avoid the sin of fornication or adultery.
Tom said: "...Just as not all killing offends Thou shall not kill...I am willing to ponder the possibility in the light of AL that not all adultery offends Thou shall not commit adultery."
I'm willing to ponder this too. But I see no evidence to think that this is in any way analogous to the distinction between "killing" and "murder", and you have yet to here, or in the other thread... to give any compelling source that a spouse who is abandoned, and then breaks their marriage vows is not guilty of the sin of adultery.
Tom said: "You may like to research a few more respected commentaries to see if your historical suppositions about the likelihood of her remaining single are well grounded. I believe there are other views.
My research has shown my "historical suppositions" are well grounded. If there are other views you think I may not be aware of, you're free to post them here. But I'm not going on a wild goose chase; the onus is on you to present them.
Tom said: "I think it is fairly clear that you breaking your vows is not comparable to either what Jesus said of the abandoned woman or the sort of related cases Pope Francis had in mind."
Isn't it, though? Married people typically have sex, do they not? If the abandoned wife has sexual relations with any other man on Earth, is this fornication? Yes or no? Cheating on one's spouse breaks the promise one gave in the exchange of consent at their wedding, yes or no? It's clear that the two situations you described are comparable, especially if my wife abandoned me. I work a long hours of overtime every now and then. If my wife leaves me, there's no one to watch our multiple young children. Am I forced to get married? Am I forced to break my vows in order to care for my children? These same questions can be asked of the abandoned wife.
|Christ at Simon the Pharisee- Peter Paul Rubens|
John: [Tom,] would it not be better to focus on the core issue: "Should a person in the state of mortal sin (by reason of adultery) be permitted to receive Holy Communion?"
Tom: The traditional Catholic meaning of "to be in a state of mortal sin" is to be without sanctifying grace. See the Baltimore Catechism which provides a very hard to find definition...modern Catechisms do not, and in fact I believe the expression is used only once in the whole of the current 1992 Catechism...
Second... the very act of being divorced puts one into this mortal state. So adultery must be seen to be a word that in fact defines two distinct types of unfaithfulness...divorce or remarriage. We already accept that passive divorce is not immoral so noone calls this adultery ...but strictly speaking it seems to meet the definition in Jesus's day. So no, adultery is not at all plain and simple as you think.
Nicholas: Except, it is. True, the culpability one possesses for the sin of adultery can make the sin either venial or mortal. But a venial sin is an affront to God as well, isn't it? And we need to show contrition even for venial sins, do we not?
I think it's interesting to note here, that in the first question of the Cardinals' dubia, there is no mention of mortal sin, but of a couple living more uxorio. Let's look at that first question again, emphasis in original:
"It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 (305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?"Instead of simply referring to a state of mortal sin, which would certainly disallow someone from receiving the Eucharist, the question asks whether a person can receive absolution or the Eucharist if the civilly remarried couple continues to live more uxorio. To live more uxorio is to live "as husband and wife". Such a couple is not living as "brother and sister" as FC 84 proscribes these couples to do, if they wish to be absolved and receive absolution in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This is the "condition" the question refers to.
So we do not see a direct claim to living in a state of mortal sin, but that pretending to live as husband and wife with someone is incompatible with receiving the Eucharist. What do the documents cited in this question say about this? Emphases mine in all quotations:
No mention of a state of mortal sin here, but St. John Paul shows that these situations people find themselves in, whether fully culpable as to be sinning mortally or not, bar said people from the Eucharist and Reconciliation. There is such a thing is false mercy and false compassion. St. John Paul exhorts us all not to fall into this trap:I consider it my duty to mention at this point... certain situations, not infrequent today, affecting Christians who wish to continue their sacramental religious practice, but who are prevented from doing so by their personal condition, which is not in harmony with the commitments freely undertaken before God and the church. These are situations which seem particularly delicate and almost inextricable.
Numerous interventions during the synod, expressing the general thought of the fathers, emphasized the coexistence and mutual influence of two equally important principles in relation to these cases. The first principle is that of compassion and mercy, whereby the church, as the continuer in history of Christ's presence and work, not wishing the death of the sinner but that the sinner should be converted and live, and careful not to break the bruised reed or to quench the dimly burning wick, ever seeks to offer, as far as possible, the path of return to God and of reconciliation with him. The other principle is that of truth and consistency, whereby the church does not agree to call good evil and evil good. Basing herself on these two complementary principles, the church can only invite her children who find themselves in these painful situations to approach the divine mercy by other ways, not however through the sacraments of penance and the eucharist until such time as they have attained the required dispositions.
On this matter, which also deeply torments our pastoral hearts, it seemed my precise duty to say clear words in the apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, as regards the case of the divorced and remarried,(199) and likewise the case of Christians living together in an irregular union. (Reconciliatio et Paenitentia 34)
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. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage. (FC 84)No mention of mortal sin there in FC 84 either, yet it should not be thought to be excluded. Instead, St. John Paul focuses on how admitting the abandoned wife and her second, civil husband to the Eucharist is a "contradict[ion of] that union and love between Christ and the Church", His Bride. This is a specific reason, as well as the scandal, as to why the divorced and civilly remarried cannot be admitted to the Eucharist unless they live as "brother and sister", resolving to no longer live more uxorio.
The Eucharist and the indissolubility of marriage
If the Eucharist expresses the irrevocable nature of God's love in Christ for his Church, we can then understand why it implies, with regard to the sacrament of Matrimony, that indissolubility to which all true love necessarily aspires. There was good reason for the pastoral attention that the Synod gave to the painful situations experienced by some of the faithful who, having celebrated the sacrament of Matrimony, then divorced and remarried. This represents a complex and troubling pastoral problem, a real scourge for contemporary society, and one which increasingly affects the Catholic community as well.
The Church's pastors, out of love for the truth, are obliged to discern different situations carefully, in order to be able to offer appropriate spiritual guidance to the faithful involved. The Synod of Bishops confirmed the Church's practice, based on Sacred Scripture (cf. Mk 10:2- 12), of not admitting the divorced and remarried to the sacraments, since their state and their condition of life objectively contradict the loving union of Christ and the Church signified and made present in the Eucharist.Again, no mention of mortal sin, but that the "state and their condition of life objectively contradict the loving union of Christ and the Church signified and made present in the Eucharist". No matter how you slice it, adultery is sinful; there is not such a thing as "good" or "permissible" adultery. If there is, show me. And it certainly doesn't matter if the adultery being committed is venial or mortal; sin is sin, and we should abhor it and resolve in the confessional (and throughout our lives) never do to that which offends God.
Yet the divorced and remarried continue to belong to the Church, which accompanies them with special concern and encourages them to live as fully as possible the Christian life through regular participation at Mass, albeit without receiving communion, listening to the word of God, eucharistic adoration, prayer, participation in the life of the community, honest dialogue with a priest or spiritual director, dedication to the life of charity, works of penance, and commitment to the education of their children. (Sacramentum Caritatis 29)
[As Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich said,] "Why are we so indifferent to the great danger and real harm of venial sin? Why? Because as long as we keep out of hell we are satisfied; that is, as long as we know we will not suffer eternally... And this is why the soul that habitually says, 'It's only a venial sin,' cannot have sincere contrition, because of its affection for the evil. If the will embraces the evil, and it certainly does, because it finds repeated delight in it, it cannot at the same time embrace the opposite good, namely, God."
|Pope Benedict XVI|
Tom: Sorry Nicholas, I am not going to continue this with you...you have so many assumptions about life and Catholic teaching that I do not share that trying to work through that just so we can have a meaningful discussion about AL would render the venture impractical. God bless.
Joy: If the woman does not engage in sexual activity after being abandoned, how will she be in a state of adultery? How does the act of being divorced automatically confer charges of adultery upon an abstinent woman? How is she forced into adultery?...
The Haydock commentary on this is available here. It seems to point to remarriage as the problem.
Tom: To be honest JT it is an issue I have not yet studied closely.
It stems from Jesus's strange comment in Mt 5:32 where a husband who divorces his wife "causes her to commit adultery."
Now there seems to be an unresolved debate over how this can be. I tend to agree with Biblical historians who say that a woman with kids cast adrift like this would likely perish if she cannot attach herself to a patron (perhaps a well off and compassionate sibling) or re-marry. In this sense, for the sake of survival, she is "forced" into adultery.
Others, like Nicholas, explain this by saying that this statement of Jesus would be true even if she remained single. This sounds like a meaning to adultery that most of us are not familiar with. See [the comment] by Nicholas below where he references a Fr. Mankowski.
While I tend not to agree that Nicholas' exegesis is the only one, or even the ascendant Catholic view, it does have plausibility.
Regardless, I consider this definition of "adultery" (even if no longer current) a valid one.
We can see this even in the treatment of couples who simply cohabit as brother and sister...they are still not allowed public Communion. Why, because their state still objectively contradicts Jesus's teaching on permanent faithfulness. Simply walking out of a marriage (even if staying single) is being unfaithful to the commitment to live together as man and wife.
Even divorcees who never remarry are called to Confess the state of having divorced as it is a situation of "grave matter" - though for the one passively abandoned there may well be no actual personal sin involved.
In short, in the old old days the Biblical realities we translate as "adultery" seem to have had a much broader significance and could mean forms of "unfaithfulness" other than the sexual one.
More summer reading for me...
Don't tell Nicholas [about the Haydock commentary], he is so sure of his view he doesn't need to check other commentators as you laudably have. ;)
Mary: It appears from this remark that you are able to read Nicholas' mind; you're sure he has never checked other commentators, and you then address another poster instead of having the courtesy to make your 'haha' joke to him personally.
Objectively speaking it is difficult to engage with those who, when they disagree with you intellectually, cannot address the actual intellectual arguments but insist on ad hominens, personal putdowns, sarcasm, 'dismissals' of others as being 'unworthy to address' due to their 'lack', repeated assertions which have been shown to be problematic but simply 'bulldozed' through, etc.
I say it is difficult, not impossible, because obviously, people are capable of taking constructive criticism to heart and making a change. In this New Year, it might be something you--indeed, any or all of us--should consider, if we search our 'consciences' with due diligence and find ourselves not without guilt...
Fair enough, Tom. I thought we had been having a pretty amicable discussion, as evidenced by you calling the view I presented to you as having "plausibility".. But then you have to shoot unnecessary barbs, as Mary pointed out, by claiming to read my mind that I haven't done other research. I have, and earlier you said there were other views I should look at, and I simply asked that you post them, as I had no way of knowing if I had read the commentaries you had in mind.
I'm not so "sure of myself" or "view" as you claim, I'm just reiterating what the Church has always taught on this issue. I conform my view to that of the Church, and I have not yet been shown that what the Magisterium has taught us is incorrect. I see no inconsistencies where you claim they are. Neither do the writers of the papal documents I quoted in my last two posts see inconsistencies in the practice of asking these couples to live in continence whole not receiving Communion... unless you can show me where they do. After looking at several sources, the proposition put forth by Fr. Mankowski (and others) makes the most sense in light of Church teaching.
I do hope in due time we can engage in a further, meaningful discussion on this topic, because I still think it's been amicable and fruitful over all with the exchange of ideas. However, I don't believe what I've presented regarding Catholic teaching are simply assumptions, although I'm sure you disagree. I've mainly quoted from magisterial documents that I believe speak for themselves.
If I am guilty of "assumptions about life and Catholic teaching", then I have to say you have made many assumptions as well, i.e., that adultery can be "indirect" and that "indirect" adultery is permissible, that "scandal argument thing [is] a bit of a crock", etc. If the scandal that St. John Paul refers to in FC 84 is crrap, then you should be prepared to plainly say that St. John Paul is wrong regarding the scandal that can (and does) occur in this situation regarding the divorced and civilly remarried, and that St. John Paul's argument is wrong. It's sad to hear from you that pastors disregarded the commandments of Christ and His Church, and allowed those that are barred from the Eucharist to receive it. That in itself is scandalous.
Anyway, it's not that I "advise that the Church's current rule of permanent abstention for irregulars who wish to receive Communion is difficult but possible and advisable for all"... No, I simply reiterate the teaching of the Church and submit to her teachings that she has received from Christ our God. This is why I, and many others, do not find inconsistencies, where you regrettably and unfortunately do.
God bless to you and yours as well.
Tom: Nicholas this is not a big deal. Because my views differ from yours does not mean I view yours as unacceptable. We live in a Church where many things are undecided and grey. Your exegesis of the text is plausible as I noted to Joy. God bless and thank you for the above.
Nicholas: Again, fair enough. I'll close in saying I agree there are some gray areas, but I do not believe all aspects of what we discussed fit in this category, i.e., that someone freely fornicating with someone who is not their true spouse is indisposed to receive the Eucharist per FC 84 and SC 29. But, some aspects may. In any case, please keep me and my family in your prayers, and be assured I'll do the same for you and yours.