“Antinomianism in high places” – Canonist Ed Peters on divorce, remarriage, Communion

From Prof. Ed Peters, canonist, and his blog In The Light Of The Law - which has not an open combox.

Antinomianism in high places is still antinomianism

We live in pervasively antinomian times, and basic unawareness of law is all around us. [Two related yet distinct problems.] Yet ignorance of what law is, of why we have it, and even of how one needs to talk about law in order to make good sense, hampers the cause of clarity and reform.

The recent comments of Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, [Factoid: He is Titular Archbishop of Diocletiana... which was also the titular see of the late Annibale Bugnini.] new Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, regarding possible changes in the canonical discipline of withholding holy Communion from Catholics divorced-and-remarried outside the Church, seem a good example of antinomianism. But, while several recent Roman statements benefit by interpretation secundum leniorem (in particular, not taking every unhappy phrase as a harbinger of doctrinal disaster), I think that Archbishop Baldisseri’s remarks require something more. They require, I suggest, direct response.

“A new approach needs to be taken with respect to the administration of the sacraments to remarried divorcees.”

Simply put, [NB] there is no pastorally plausible middle-ground between admitting one to holy Communion and not admitting one to holy Communion. (What is one to suggest? Allowing divorced-and-remarried Catholics to take Communion every other Sunday?) [Absurd.] Setting aside some rare fact patterns that even now would countenance divorced-and-remarried Catholics going to Communion (e.g., living in a brother-sister manner), [The "Yah, right!" Factor is high on this one.] the only “new approach” to prohibiting Communion to divorced-and-remarried Catholics would be to permit Communion to divorced-and-remarried Catholics. Trying to pass off a reversal of discipline by describing it as a “new approach” is a disservice to this important issue.

“The Church needs to apply Church doctrine taking the circumstances of each specific case into account. This approach does not mean making general conclusions and rules for everyone.”

Good grief, “general conclusions and rules” are for everyone because that’s whom “general conclusions and rules” are for! [Do I hear an "Amen!"?] If one wants to suggest the possibility of exceptions to rules, or even whole new rules, fine, suggest them, and let the debate proceed. But do not try to claim that “general conclusions and rules” mean not having “general conclusions and rules”—unless, of course, one’s intention to abolish “general conclusions and rules”.

“…even in the case of marriage annulments, we deal with each case separately. This is what pastoral care is all about; it is not a set framework.”

What can one say? Every court worthy of the name deals with (the facts of) each case separately, but courts do not make up separate rules for each case. [BINGO!] A tribunal is expressly about working within a doctrinal and disciplinary framework set by the Church; to imply that a tribunal apply ‘rules without a framework’ is the essence of antinomianism. [This should go on a billboard.]

“…the [synodal] intention is to discuss the issue [of Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics] without any taboos, otherwise it would not have been mentioned.”

This is perhaps the most vexing line in the prelate’s remarks, for it implies that Church practice against administering holy Communion to divorced-and-remarried Catholics might be a “taboo,” that is, a superstitious practice which, once brought into the light of reason, should be abolished with an alacrity that admits we were silly ever to have thought this way at all. I suggest, we do not need to rid ourselves of “taboos” in regard to Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics because there are no “taboos” associated with the prohibition.

What there is, on the other hand, is Christ’s teaching on marriage, the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist, and the long-settled practice linking one’s observance of our Lord’s teaching on the former with receiving Him in the latter, that need to be clearly and forthrightly explained, defended, and observed as, indeed, Abp. Gerhard Müller recently did in a manner approaching brilliant.

In the meantime, antinomianism in high places, no matter how it got there, is still antinomianism. And I trust it’s not taboo to say so. [It isn't.]

Big Fr. Z kudos to Dr. Peters!

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Fr. Z KUDOS, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to “Antinomianism in high places” – Canonist Ed Peters on divorce, remarriage, Communion

  1. Supertradmum says:

    Excellent article, of course, from Dr. Peters. Too bad that it seems some dioceses are heading for schism. As I noted on my blog regarding Henry VIII, ssm, and now this, why is it that marriage laws cause so much of a hassle for the Church and those who rebel against the Church? Lust? Wanting to make marriage into something God did not ordain?

    Thanks for this post.

  2. Magpie says:

    Ya right is right Father. If a divorced and remarried couple were so saintly as to actually live as brother and sister, they’d be saintly enough to get out of the situation they are in by going their separate ways. [That would indicate a a willingness to suffer. Willingness to suffer hasn't be high on the list of values for many in this day and age in wealthy countries.]

  3. Legisperitus says:

    I’m glad he highlighted the use of the word “taboo” and gave a definition that exposes its inherently condescending tenor. Quite sick of the media using that insulting and bigoted word in reference to Catholic doctrine and natural moral principles.

  4. jacobi says:

    Good for Prof Peters, some straight talking at last. Such a rare phenomena today. A sin is a sin, end of story.

    What he discusses is, or is very close to, the Protestant doctrine of Sola Gratia, a major issue in the Protestant Reformation, and if we, or Baldisseri, or anyone else pursues this line, then the result is inevitable – another Reformation.

    I have said elsewhere, and you don’t have to be terribly perceptive to see it, that we are now close to another major schism in the Catholic Church and it is up to all Catholics whether laity, priests, bishops or even the Pope himself to face up to it. Sooner or later we are all of us going to have to choose which side we take.

    How Pope Francis handles this will determine the fate of Christ’s Church, and of course his place in history.

    Acceptance of sex outside of valid marriage, would be heretical, would be a savage blow to loyal Catholics who have kept their marriage vows, (not to mention innocent parties ) or the homosexually inclined who have heroically led a Catholic life, or the unmarried who have just observed Christ’s call to keep his Commandments

  5. mjb99na says:

    Magpie: I would caution against a rush to judgment.

    There are two potential sins for a couple living together outside of marriage: persistent and unrepentant fornication, and public scandal.

    Persistent and unrepentant fornication is not unlike other persistent and unrepentant sins, and I think you would agree that none of us should rush to judge the hearts of those who struggle with any such sin. Compassion, yes. Charity, even the “tough love” charity of an excellent confessor who instructs them to no longer receive the Eucharist — yes.

    It becomes a public matter when there is potential for public scandal. How would you, or for that matter a parish priest, know whether or not the couple approaching for communion is living in a state of sin, unless that couple has brought that matter into the public forum by their own admission. Then the matter should be dealt with publicly, which is what I think the point of Dr. Peters blog post was all about, particularly when the couple is persistent and unrepentant.

    However… and this is my point… if a couple were living together, in all likelihood raising children together, and yet penitent enough in their hearts to:
    a) Register in the parish, which is where it likely comes to light they are not married in the Church
    b) Meet with the pastor to discuss their living situation
    c) Agree to live celibate and chaste as brother and sister while pursuing legal and canonical means to reconcile their state
    d) or agree to perpetually live celibate and chase for the good of the children involved

    I would be slow, very slow indeed, to rush to judge the saintliness such a couple.

  6. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    Consider that this might be an overture to the separated Churches of the East, who do this and more. There are potential concessions and solutions that could be made for the Filioque, the nature Papal supremacy, our understanding of Original Sin vs. Ancestral Guilt and its import on the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, and the nature of the travails of those in purgatory. Some issues are non-issues: e.g. their confusion of cenobitism with monastacism and the resulting impoverishment of the value of priestly celibacy, azymes, baptist by immersion, intincture. It can all be worked out.

    But divorce and remarriage and contraception will be the sticking points. The Greek and other Eastern Christians still in schism will never reunify if they are forced to concede on these issues. They are spiritual austerity measures that they will never accept.

  7. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Fr. Z aptly observes, “This should go on a billboard.” Perhaps Professor Peter’s should consider generating some ‘ swag’…

  8. Bosco says:

    “Setting aside some rare fact patterns that even now would countenance divorced-and-remarried Catholics going to Communion (e.g., living in a brother-sister manner), [The "Yah, right!" Factor is high on this one.]…”
    @Father Z. and Magpie,
    I shouldn’t be so callously dismissive of the possibility of heroic continence through God’s Grace and Mercy even though, as Ed Peters observes, it is rare.
    Just sayin’. [Not being dismissive at all. And certainly not callous. I'm just sayin']

  9. Margaret says:

    Why has this clear-cut issue become so muddied recently? Are we just afraid to use politically-incorrect language? We’re talking about people living in an ongoing, unrepentant state of adultery, because that is what attempted, invalid “re-marriage” is.

    I think everyone pretty much understands that adultery is a mortal sin, and that hence unrepentant adulterers ought no to present themselves for Holy Communion. What’s so complicated about this?!?

  10. Austin Catholics says:

    On any given Sunday, how many divorced and remarried people receive Communion at US Catholic churches? (my guess: tens of thousands)

    What percentage of regular mass-goers know this rule? (my guess: less than 50%)

    How many US Catholics have ever, even once, seen anyone turned away from Communion? (my guess: not many)

  11. anilwang says:

    Perhaps Eastern Catholics/Orthodox has a solution to both the problem of divorced and remarried, and for people/children who go up for a blessing at the communion line (a common practice that’s been discouraged in the past but I suspect will spread under Pope Francis).

    In addition to the Eucharist, Eastern Catholics have blessed bread ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antidoron ) . Blessed bread can be taken by anyone, even Protestants (though that might vary with jurisdictions), and is a way to extend fellowship for people who are not in communion for one reason or another. This practice apparently used to be a part of the ancient Western liturgy but disappeared in modern times except in a few cases.

    Rather than violate the Eucharist or provide blessings in the communion line, couldn’t blessed bread be readopted by the Western Church as a way of extending mercy to those in irregular marriages, conciliation and training for children who want to receive the Eucharist but haven’t had their first communion, and fellowship with non-Catholic visitors. If the pressure to give the Eucharist is reduced, perhaps fewer people will go up to receive when they shouldn’t and fewer priests will play fast and lose with the Eucharist. The blessing can even be explicitly tailored for this purpose “May the blessing of this bread strengthen and prepare you to eventually receive the Eucharist”.

  12. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    …should read “their confusion of cenobitism with monastacisim and the resulting impoverisment of their understanding of the value of priestly celibacy.” Which is to say, to be a “monachos” or unmarried person is not the same as to live in a lavra. One might lead an eremitical life, or a secular life as well. Nearly ALL of our priests so understood are “hieromonks,” both priests and unmarried for the sake of the Kingdom, whether they live a cenobitic life or not. They have no end of patience for their own hieromonks, but seem to regard ours as an unfortunate aberation.

  13. Andrew says:

    Cicero comes to mind (pro domo sua, 43):

    Vetant leges sacratae, vetant XII tabulae, leges privatis hominibus inrogari; id est enim privilegium. Nemo umquam tulit; nihil est crudelius, nihil perniciosius, nihil quod minus haec civitas ferre possit.

    The sacred laws, the laws of the Twelve Tables, forbid bills to be brought, affecting individuals only; for such a bill is a privilegium. No one has ever carried such a bill. There is nothing more cruel, nothing more mischievous, nothing which this city can less tolerate.

    Privilegium = private law

  14. Jerry says:

    re: EoinOBolguidhir – “But divorce and remarriage and contraception will be the sticking points. The Greek and other Eastern Christians still in schism will never reunify if they are forced to concede on these issues. They are spiritual austerity measures that they will never accept.”

    Then they don’t reunify. Simple enough. The members of those churches who wish to follow Christ’s teachings are always welcome to join the Roman or Eastern Catholic churches with open arms.

  15. Bosco says:

    @Father Z.,
    I know what you’re sayin’, of course. But I did use the term ‘heroic continence’ and perhaps, for those who sincerely repent of having broken the sign of the covenant, are prepared to endeavour to practice continence and chastity, and are desirous of receiving Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, there might be an active outreach/apostolate created for those few that they might be supported in their efforts to remain chaste and faithful to the Church.
    @Magpie,
    “If a divorced and remarried couple were so saintly as to actually live as brother and sister, they’d be saintly enough to get out of the situation they are in by going their separate ways.”
    Think so? If you do, you haven’t thought through all the permutations and ramifications. I suggest to you that, counter intuitive as it may seem, there may be instances where the “saintly” thing and the martyrdom consists in remaining.

  16. mightyduk says:

    “there may be instances”? Exceedingly unusual situations make for bad law, and that still does not protect the community from scandal, INCLUDING the children one might use to justify remaining in the apparently sinful situation.

  17. anilwang says:

    @Magpie,
    “If a divorced and remarried couple were so saintly as to actually live as brother and sister, they’d be saintly enough to get out of the situation they are in by going their separate ways.”

    There are a few things to recognize.

    The first is that as people get older, sex isn’t anywhere near as important as companionship and mutual support, so abstaining might not even be that big a sacrifice but giving up someone that cares and stops you from feeling lonely might be.

    The second thing to recognize is that some abandoned women or women who are divorced against their wills see that their children need a protector, a male role model, and stability for their children. There are many men out there that long to fill the role of a knight that sweeps in and “saves the maid” and is her hero. They may love children, but for one reason or another have never found someone to marry or are only able to find women that take advantage of their knightly fantasy. Some a woman and man complement each other and aren’t primarily together because of sex, so sacrificing sex isn’t really a big deal.

    I’m extremely surprised that people, even here, have bought into the idea that we’re animals and that total abstinence of any kind is impossible. Religious make these vows all the time, as to monks of Eastern sects, and people with health conditions that are aggravated by some foods. It’s not something limited to saints. The Stoics and Aristotle would argue that, it was one the the properties that distinguished men from animals.

  18. Austin Catholics makes a very valid point imo when s/he asks what percentage of Catholics even know that they should not receive if they are in the state of sin. I would like to add: what percentage of Catholics do even know what it is they receive? (Surveys tend to show that many Catholics have no idea about the Real Presence.) Imo it is the responsibility of the clergy to make it clear (maybe spelling it out at the end of every homily, Sunday and weekday, if necessary), that when you come out for Communion, you receive the Body of Christ and if in mortal sin, you are committing sacrilege, a mortal sin in itself and thus you risk eternal damnation. Once this is made clear to all communicants-to-be, it is the individual’s responsibility. We needn’t bother any more about who lives “as brother and sister” with whom; who has true repentance and who hasn’t; nor do we need to put complicated measures like unconsecrated hosts and blessings in place. Apart from the odd small child who might “slip through”, communicants tend to be adults – they carry the responsibility for their actions.

    Jacobi, if the Church allowed to communion those who are practising extramarital sex, it would not be a “blow” for me, as a person not engaging in this practice. I (try to) keep what God my Father asks of me out of love for Him, and because I believe that the process of living the way He wants me to live is the best for me in terms of growing in Him. And Holy Communion is not a reward for heroic abstinence. Even if (which I hope will never happen) one day I find myself receiving alongside someone openly engaging in extramarital sex, I will not feel shortchanged; nor will I feel that that person has had “the best of both worlds”.

  19. McCall1981 says:

    I guess it comes down to whether they are talking about streamlining the anullment process, educating people on how they can get anullments etc, vs talking about outright giving communion to people they know are living in a state of adultery.

    The thing I found interesting/strange is that in the statement the German Bishop gave where he said they would defy the CDF, he stated plainly that “marriage is indissoliable” and that this is a “non-negotiable” issue for the Church:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/german-bishops-will-defy-vatican-on-divorced-remarried-receiving-communion

    I don’t get it…

  20. anilwang says:

    CatholicCoffee says: “what percentage of Catholics do even know what it is they receive?”

    As someone who only received first communion (not confirmation), I’d say that until only a few years ago, I knew that the Eucharist was special, but that’s was the extent of my knowledge of the Eucharist. I know that many Catholics were not confirmed for one reason or another could likely have a similar understanding, although I’m certain that most Catholics I know don’t know the full sacrificial theology of the Eucharist or be aware of “1 Corinthians 11:23-30″.

    CatholicCoffee says: “it would not be a “blow” for me, as a person not engaging in this practice.”
    Not true. We are the body of Christ. What harms one of us, harms all of us. Unlike Cain, we are our brother’s keeper.

    CatholicCoffee says: “And Holy Communion is not a reward for heroic abstinence.
    That’s the wrong theology. Giving the Eucharist to someone in mortal sin will harm them, see “1 Corinthians 11:23-30″ and is an act of sacrilege. Yes, it is the “medicine of immortality”, but only to those who are properly disposed to receiving him (i.e. without mortal sin).

    And abstinence is not heroic. It’s something all Catholics should be able to engage in, even if we sometimes fall. It’s no heroism to stay chaste before marriage. It’s no heroism to have a religious vow of chastity. It’s no heroism to “abstain” from all other women except your wife, or even to have non-contraceptive sex with your wife. Granted, today’s world makes it more difficult, but I’d rather live in today’s world than be a recusant at the height of the Church of England apostasy and persecution of Catholics. Call me weak, but I don’t much fancy being hanged, emasculated, disemboweled, beheaded and quartered. I’d rather be guillotined and have it over with quickly.

  21. jacobi says:

    Catholic Coffee
    Thank you for that comment.

    It leads me to another idea which I have expressed before , namely, that many are required to observe chastity. The clergy, the homosexually inclined, the unmarried, for whatever reason, widows/ers, not to mention those undergoing lengthy separation.

    What is so special about those who have freely chosen the sinful way of life of divorce and remarriage, and why should they expect special treatment?

    The answer is, I suspect, for who am I to judge, that many of them seek not the Body and Blood of Christ, but rather respectability and social acceptance of their freely chosen sinful lifestyle. Yes if I may use another expression, so many of them want to have their cake and eat it!

    Sacra Tridentina forbids reception for reasons of routine,or vain glory,or human respect.

  22. Bosco says:

    @mightyduk,
    “there may be instances”? Exceedingly unusual situations make for bad law, and that still does not protect the community from scandal, INCLUDING the children one might use to justify remaining in the apparently sinful situation.
    Thanks for the opportunity to seque visa-vis your ‘bad law’ comment. Before retirement I was a judge for 25 years. I strove (not always successfully) to exercise mercy insofar as the laws of the Commonwealth and prudence demanded.
    ‘Protect the community from scandal’ as you will. I dare say precious few have a clue about who in their community might be divorced and remarried even those remarried following an annulment. If remarried are known at all, it likely is because the so called ‘scandalized’ have granted themselves a dispensation from their own sin of detraction before queueing- up in line to receive the Holy Eucharist.

  23. Sissy says:

    jacobi said: “It leads me to another idea which I have expressed before , namely, that many are required to observe chastity. The clergy, the homosexually inclined, the unmarried, for whatever reason, widows/ers, not to mention those undergoing lengthy separation.”

    Exactly. Every person who is not in a lawful marriage is called to celibacy. That’s why I don’t understand what seems to be a sneering/mocking tone towards those remarried couples who actually are keeping a vow of continence until things can be made right. Many formerly-protestant converts find themselves in a surprising and unhappy position when they enter the Church. For those who shoulder this cross, it’s disheartening to find that Catholic brothers and sisters mock sincere attempts to live rightly with eye-rolling “yeah, right” comments. I’ve heard protestants say that about priestly celibacy, too.

    Magpie: there are couples in which one party is seriously or terminally ill, there are couples in which one party is disabled and unable to work, dependent upon the other, there are couples with young children who need both parents under the same roof. If Pope Benedict can recognize there are situations in which it would be uncharitable and unjust to demand physical separation, isn’t that good enough for you?

  24. kpoterack says:

    I am still trying to understand Pope Francis, but I feel that I made a kind of a “break through” last night contemplating this particular issue. I find that I have to put three things together:

    1) He is doctrinally orthodox. (“The teaching is clear . . . I am a son of the Church”)

    2) He puts a BIG priority on mercy.

    3) He seems to use as his modus operandi “messiness.” This is so unique to him, and the most controversial part of him that I think we could reasonably call him “Pope Lio I.” He seems to see this “messiness” as a necessary and creative way to come up with solutions for how to hold #1 (doctrinal authority) and #2 (merciful application of #1) together. I get the impression that this explains how he can have Archbishop Mueller, Cardinal Erdo and the hermeneutic of continuity on the one side – and yet tolerate people like Archbishop Zolltisch, Forte and Baldisseri on the other side. He, perhaps, thinks that a creative practical solution might come out of this, like in a debate between two sides. Maybe he thinks that a creative spark might come out of these two pieces of flint coming together.

    I am not saying that I agree with this. In fact, I think that it is downright risky. I do not think that he is interested in changing doctrine at all (even Archbp. Forte admits that) – or necessarily even with dispensing with the canonical process (witness his Nov. 8 address to the Apostolic Signatura and his choice of the Canon Law Super Star Cardinal Erdo as relator for the Synod). I think he just wants to hear many voices and all possible solutions, so that he can come up with a merciful application of the doctrine (probably some sort of reform of the annulment procedure) – and if this creates a mess, then its OK with him.

    IMHO at some point I think he is going to have to decide between “making a mess” and holding the Church together (which necessarily involves saying ‘no’ to people – whether laity or bishops – for the sake of the salvation of souls).

  25. yatzer says:

    There are also injuries, illnesses, and surgeries that can prevent a couple from engaging in the marital embrace. If divorced and remarried outside the Church could be receiving communion, why not those who find a congenial partner who can “fill in” so to speak for the incapacitated spouse? There are those who do this, you know. Wouldn’t that also be compassionate? After all, you are speaking about someone who can not have sex with their spouse or anyone else under any circumstances if the current “taboos” stand.

  26. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I have read that the background of Orthodox practice was a law recognizing various grounds for divorce passed in 541, but do not know how to find out more about this, readily. That was long before the great Schism, and before the time of such excellent Latin and Greek relations as those of Sts. Maximus and Pope Martin I, for example. What happened, or did not happen, in this context in the half-millennium prior to 1054?

  27. Acceptance of sex outside of valid marriage, would be heretical, would be a savage blow to loyal Catholics who have kept their marriage vows, (not to mention innocent parties ) or the homosexually inclined who have heroically led a Catholic life, or the unmarried who have just observed Christ’s call to keep his Commandments

    Indeed. If divorced and remarried Catholics can receive Holy Communion while living as husband and wife, why can’t I cohabit and do the same?

    Or in fact, why can’t I commit mortal sin in other areas and still front up for Holy Communion? I have plenty of evidence to suggest that many other people are doing this regularly, and they haven’t been struck by lightning, and heaven knows our local Ordinary never says anything about it in the local Catholic newspaper, so it must be OK.

    Mustn’t it.

    Dr Peters has once again hit the nail on the head. Antinomianism not just in high places, but throughout. We live in a fog of unreality.

  28. robtbrown says:

    Bosco says,
    ‘Protect the community from scandal’ as you will. I dare say precious few have a clue about who in their community might be divorced and remarried even those remarried following an annulment. If remarried are known at all, it likely is because the so called ‘scandalized’ have granted themselves a dispensation from their own sin of detraction before queueing- up in line to receive the Holy Eucharist.

    If by “community” you are referring to those in a parish, then I would have to disagree with you. It is usually well known in a parish who is separated, who is divorced, who has an annulment, and who has remarried.

  29. Bosco says:

    @robtbrown,
    “It is usually well known in a parish who is separated, who is divorced, who has an annulment, and who has remarried.”
    Really? Perhaps at St. Fishbowl’s parish in Lower Jabip.
    In my 64 years I have been a member of 8 parishes (not counting parishes of my tender years) and have directed a CCD program for years, instructed altar ‘boys’ (Latin Mass), coached boys’ and girls’ CYO sports, been involved in (boy) scouting programs, been a member of parish councils, a lector, hosted the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, etc. and I do not recall ever having known or inquired about the marital status, regular or irregular, of my fellow parishioners.
    Perhaps I wasn’t listening. Perhaps I wanted to avoid encouraging others from committing the sin of detraction. Dunno.

  30. Pingback: St. Nicholas, Bringing Presents, Punching Heretics - BigPulpit.com

  31. Siculum says:

    Good.

  32. Aspie says:

    Archbishop Baldisseri said sacraments instead of sacrament. so maybe he was talking about other sacraments too?? The Eucharist is just one sacrament. Why is the S there?

  33. Justalurkingfool says:

    As an abandoned spouse forced to defend the marriage that bore six children, five of whom are still living, twice, before Catholic marriage tribunals and who has watched my wife and her lover be long accepted as a married couple in the Catholic Church(where ever they have lived for the passed two decades) as I have been completely marginalized and ignored(or worse), I am thoroughly disheartened with the Catholic Church and with this Pope.

    Were it not for the love of our children, I would openly renounce Catholicism, deny Christ and take my life. This is not a joke. I am so disgusted with everything about the Catholic Church. I have little real respect, any longer, for those who defend the Catholic Church.

    I hang on for our children and the two other children of my wife’s adultery to give them some hope that there are still people who try to believe in marriage. But, in my heart I just cannot believe in a God who puts up with this garbage. Sorry, Father Z. If you want to remove this, go ahead. Until one has seen what I have seen, it is difficult to imagine how demoralizing all of this stuff is.

    If Jesus is really God and if he cares, perhaps he can forgive this despair.

    I am not going to read any possible responses, sorry. I am not interested in them.

    Thank you.

  34. dallenl says:

    As one who went through the lengthy, somewhat exhaustive but generally sympathetic annulment process BEFORE re-marrying in the Church, I have little sympathy for those who want to skirt the process or ignore it alltogether and be treated sacrementally as if nothing was amiss in an irregular subsequent marraige. It does a disservice to the obedient and loyal Catholic who struggles in situations, not always responsible for, to do the will of God. Jesus forgave everyone who asked (and some who didn’t) but always with the admonition of “sin no more”. The preceeding entry is disturbing and I understand the feeling of being left out but I knew that my petition might have been denied and I was prepared, with my children, to accept the decision of the Church. Without that faith in the Church, I doubt I could have met the challenges that arose.