Upcoming Synod, marriage confusion and ‘Casti connubii’

Pius XI

From a professorial reader concerned about the Church’s teaching on marriage, divorce, and the reception of Communion by the “remarried” come a helpful contribution.  He describes it (slightly edited):

I have to admit that I am concerned about the upcoming Synod, not because I think the Holy Spirit will allow the Church to teach error, but principally because [there is a great deal of] chattering, misunderstanding, and false opining as possible beforehand, creating a situation just like that which reigned before Humanae Vitae, when the “majority opinion” was in favor of contraception but the Pope disappointed everyone by re-affirming the traditional teaching.

If all of this hullaballoo is just a prelude to reaffirming the teaching, why bother to cause so much agitation, false hopes, and national schismatic behavior among Germans and Swiss, etc.?

Anyway, I believe it is time to spread, far and wide, authoritative statements of the Church’s unchanging teaching about the indissolubility of marriage. We may take it for granted, but it seems as if vast numbers of people have never even heard the teaching spelled out.

To that end, I gathered some especially clear and strong passages from Pius XI’s great encyclical Casti Connubii and hope that you might consider posting them in some fashion.

He put together a little document of helpful quotes, HERE.

A teaser:

34. And this inviolable stability, although not in the same perfect measure in every case, belongs to every true marriage, for the word of the Lord: “What God hath joined together let no man put asunder,” must of necessity include all true marriages without exception, since it was spoken of the marriage of our first parents, the prototype of every future marriage. Therefore although before Christ the sublimeness and the severity of the primeval law was so tempered that Moses permitted to the chosen people of God on account of the hardness of their hearts that a bill of divorce might be given in certain circumstances, nevertheless, Christ, by virtue of His supreme legislative power, revoked this concession of greater liberty and restored the primeval law in its integrity by those words which must never be forgotten, “What God hath joined together let no man put asunder.” Wherefore, Our predecessor Pius VI of happy memory, writing to the Bishop of Agria, most wisely said: “Hence it is clear that marriage even in the state of nature, and certainly long before it was raised to the dignity of a sacrament, was divinely instituted in such a way that it should carry with it a perpetual and indissoluble bond which cannot therefore be dissolved by any civil law. … And so, whatever marriage is said to be contracted, either it is so contracted that it is really a true marriage, in which case it carries with it that enduring bond which by divine right is inherent in every true marriage; or it is thought to be contracted without that perpetual bond, and in that case there is no marriage, but an illicit union opposed of its very nature to the divine law, which therefore cannot be entered into or maintained.”[1]

35. And if this stability seems to be open to exception, however rare the exception may be, as in the case of certain natural marriages between unbelievers, or amongst Christians in the case of those marriages which though valid have not been consummated, that exception does not depend on the will of men nor on that of any merely human power, but on divine law, of which the only guardian and interpreter is the Church of Christ. However, not even this power can ever affect for any cause whatsoever a Christian marriage which is valid and has been consummated, for as it is plain that here the marriage contract has its full completion, so, by the will of God, there is also the greatest firmness and indissolubility which may not be destroyed by any human authority.

Now that’s a Pope who knows how to Pope.  Crisp.  Clear.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Nicholas Shaler says:


    The picture says Pious XI but it is tagged Pious IX. Great article thank you for it.


  2. Natalie Anne says:

    What exactly are they going to be discussing anyway in this synod? Isn’t the teaching of the Church enough? What else is there to discuss/explore/debate?

  3. McCall1981 says:

    The reader asks: why allow all this hullaballoo if youre just going to end up reaffirming Traditional teaching anyway? I’ve wondered this too.

    I think their answer would be that they think the PROCESS of “dialogue” is valuable in and of itself, that they want to make people feel “listened to”. So going through this process is a positive, even though you just end up reaffirming the traditional teaching.

    Now I don’t agree with this plan, I think it’s a terrible idea, but I’m thinking this would be their answer.

  4. tcreek says:

    No ambiguity here – The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
    1650 Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ – “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery”158 The Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.
    There will be some who advise that the solution to the “problem” is to ease the annulment process.
    —John Paul II address to the Roman Rota, 5 February 1987—
    7. For the canonist the principle must remain clear that only incapacity and not difficulty in giving consent and in realizing a true community of life and love invalidates a marriage. Moreover, the breakdown of a marriage union is never in itself proof of such incapacity on the part of the contracting parties.

    8. … It is a ministry of charity towards the ecclesial community which is preserved from the scandal of seeing the value of Christian marriage being practically destroyed by the exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity of marriage in cases of the failure of marriage on the pretext of some immaturity or psychic weakness on the part of the contracting parties.

  5. Midwest St. Michael says:

    OP: “If all of this hullaballoo is just a prelude to reaffirming the teaching, why bother to cause so much agitation, false hopes, and national schismatic behavior among Germans and Swiss, etc.?”

    To which McCall1981 replies: “I think their answer would be that they think the PROCESS of “dialogue” is valuable in and of itself, that they want to make people feel “listened to”. So going through this process is a positive, even though you just end up reaffirming the traditional teaching.”

    I don’t agree with it either, McCall.

    So-called “progressives”, “liberals”, “dissenters”, “we are church”, or whatever-the-Purgatory you want to call them, use the very concern of the OP – “why bother to cause so much agitation, false hopes” – for virtually *all* the hot-button issues to argue that *they can be changed!*

    “See?”, they say, “Why did Paul VI have a committe drawn up, and add more people to it year-after-year before 1968, to ‘dialogue’ about the contraception issue if it could not possibly one day change?”

    For these folks (“progressives”, et al) it is all about *dialogue to change*, not merely dialogue to get a better understanding of *why* this teaching cannot change.


  6. McCall1981 says:

    @Natalie Anne,
    Here is an article on a recent interview with Card. O’Malley in which he addresses what they will be talking about (the article is MSM blech, but his comments are informative):

    “The Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston and the closest American adviser to the popular new pontiff, O’Malley said says it would also be unrealistic to expect the church to consider allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments, even though Francis himself once appeared to signal openness to the idea. “The church needs to be faithful to the Gospel and to Christ’s teaching,” O’Malley said.”
    “But O’Malley said that although the pope is concerned about the plight of remarried Catholics who want to be close to the church, “I don’t see any theological justification” for relaxing the rules.”
    “On annulments, O’Malley said, the church’s Church’s system must be made become more “user-friendly,” perhaps by allowing cases to be brought to conclusion at the national level without appealing them to Rome. “Sometimes the process can drag on for years, and that shouldn’t happen,” he said.”


    I found these statements pretty encouraging. Card O’Malley seems to be saying they will be discussing the administrative processes, not the teaching itself.

  7. Cordelio says:

    Why all this hullabaloo?

    1. The liberals who want the Church’s teachings changed in this matter, don’t believe that the teachings in question are immutable (and very likely, don’t believe that any teachings are immutable).

    2. While the Church (as in the Pope, or the bishops together with the Pope) cannot teach error when it defines, by virtue of its supreme apostolic authority, a truth of faith or morals that must be believed by the whole Church, churchmen of all ranks and positions can and do put forward error left and right these days in degrees short of that – not to mention confusing and/or or ambiguous restatements of teachings that were previously perfectly clear (usually in the name of being “pastoral”). The liberals can – perhaps not unrealistically – at least hope for this.

  8. Joseph-Mary says:

    This is a disconcerting issue. From what I understand, there was a build up before Humanae Vitae and many thought the Church would go along with the world. The majority advice was to approve contraception. But The Holy Spirit stepped in and the Pope did not go with the world but many high ranking prelates along with the laity chose to ignore the teaching and did so very publicly. That attitude still reigns.

    The fact that the Church has allowed tens of thousands of annulments is also a problem. We had a deacon married 20 years with 5 children and was given an annulment. Quite often there is prospective spouse waiting in the wings. It does appear that a number of bishops are going to do their own thing, no matter what the Synod comes up with.

  9. Kevin says:

    Any change I fear will centre around broadening the interpretation of what constitutes a valid marriage to the ridiculous. Say allowing an annulment for anyone who can claim that leading up to their wedding day they did not to have a crystal clear and though understanding of the sacramentality of marriage it’s challenges and permanence.
    This will mean that every marriage ever is possibly invalid. This will make a second effort at marriage possible to anyone who wants it.

  10. The Masked Chicken says:

    “This will mean that every marriage ever is possibly invalid.”

    It would also mean that every newly married couple should have a doubtful conscience about having sex, since their marriage might, possibly, be invalid and they would have a moral obligation to resolve the matter before the wedding night. If this were the case, then every marriage should be subjected to a Tribunal before it is consummated (with the wedding night taking place, possibly, two years later, assuming the paperwork is properly filed). That would save a lot of time later on, of course, but over-burden the system at the front-end. Forensic discovery of psychological states twenty years after the wedding day is very similar to casting lots. Put people on trial before the marriage, hehe. That way, there will be nothing (or almost nothing) but indissoluble marriages later. Yeah, that’s the ticket :)

    The Chicken

  11. moon1234 says:

    Isn’t more probable that this situation will devolve to the point that traditional Catholics, who follow the immutable truths, will begin to see the divorced and remarried (err. sorry annulled and remarried) catholics as protestants? Doesn’t this already happen?

    The Church in many ways is splitting down traditional and modern lines. I can see it in my own parish. As people learn more and more about their faith they become more traditional. People who used to poo poo ideas of traditional family, roles, etc. have slowly become more and more conservative as they learn more about their faith.

    I have watched them loose roles in companies, the parish council and other “public” roles because they are part of the “Traditional Crowd”. In no way did these people change how they acted to the “modern crowd”. They were simply living their Catholic faith in a more open and traditional manner.

    I can think in my own diocese of parishes that look nothing like they are Catholic Churches. They have swimming pools inside the Church for full body immersion, resurrection crucifixes, no tabernacle anywhere visible, Roman canon is never used, priest doesn’t distribute communion, etc. Then you have the opposite end, TLM parishes with traditional Churches. If a member of one parish were to set foot in the other they would think they were different Churches.

    These “dialogues on marriage” make me sick to my stomach. It would be like having a conference on what constitutes water. As if the elements that make up water can be changed by dialogue. Water is H2O. It is never Hydrogen alone or Oxygen alone. When you separate the two it is no longer water. It takes both elements to make water. To try to argue otherwise at best shows that one is ignorant of the Truth and at worst that one is trying to hide the truth.

  12. Justalurkingfool says:

    I do not know how I can say this without being inflammatory but such is not my intention.

    Within a matter of weeks, I may cease attending Mass and, certainly, intend to stop all monetary support and other support(whatever that means) for the Catholic Church over this very situation.

    Presently, at the end of last month, I wrote to the bishop where my wife lives, the bishop where I live and to the Holy Father to, once, yet again, ask them to intervene on behalf of our valid, sacramental marriage to bring my wife’s long standing adultery, since 1990, to an end, first pastorally but then, if that fails, via formal excommunication. I have informed them that I will “leave” the Catholic Church if such is not done. This story is more than two decades old and I do not want to rehash all it for this post.

    I told them that our son will be married on May 31, 2014 and that I do not want to attend his wedding, at a Cathedral, as a former Catholic but I am preparing to do just that. I told them that I would much rather attend his Nuptual Mass with his mother and walk up to receive Holy Communion with my wife.

    I have had enough. I have sought intercession from the Catholic Church on numerous occasions over the past more than two decades but have been ignored, as this “couple” has been openly received as if they were married in the Catholic Church. I will no longer tolerate this and support this institution. Circumstances such as this must no longer be allowed to occur in the Catholic Church. There must be actions taken to address such injustices. If our marriage does not matter enough to these three bishops to cause them to take my plea, very seriously, then I see no obligation on my part to continue to do the “right thing” when, essentially, almost nothing is done in the cause of either reconciliation or justice.

    There is something terribly wrong when a marriage has been found valid after an intial twelve year court battle in Church Courts but nothing is done to help heal that marriage or to “encourage” its healing. Then, another battle over another ground, more than twenty years later is started all over again and I am facing Church Courts, yet again, over charges that have no proof except in my wife’s mind. This marriage can be mutilated and attacked but in the “hospital” of a Catholic Church, even life-support, has been denied this Catholic marriage. No more.

    This man has had enough. If this case, alone, and I know many others like it and worse, is not enough to change the course of the pastoral practices of the ENTIRE Catholic Church and drastically alter Canon Law and its application through Tribunals and their abuse of marriages, then I can no longer believe in what I was taught as a Catholic.

    May God have mercy on my wife, her lover, all of our children, myself and all who are and have been Catholic. I do not recognize this Church. It is a stranger to me.

    Father Z, forgive me for posting this if it is something which you deem inappropriate. But, people need to know just what is going on and has been going on in the Catholic Church for most of my lifetime and, perhaps, longer.

  13. Peyton says:

    We left the Episcopal Church after “dialog” led to the overturning of primary dogmas — including that there is dogma. “Dialog” means we will talk and talk and push and push until you give in. Nothing less. Be ye ware!

    An no, we didn’t convert to Catholicism because it is safe — we know better.

  14. RichR says:

    +1 Peyton.

    Dialog= “Don’t close the discussion until we can get enough supporters on our dissenting side.”

    There was only one public opinion poll in Sacred Scripture where the People of God were consulted, and the consensus was, “Crucify Him!”

  15. RichR says:

    Another thought:

    With the plague of “same sex marriage”, wouldn’t it be empowering to have a bit of clarity on the nature of marriage rather than sowing seeds of doubt and confusion?

    Dialog never inspires martyrdom.

    Prayers for our shepherds. I pray they will stand strong against public opinion. Look where public opinion is leading….

  16. Ben Kenobi says:

    “I think their answer would be that they think the PROCESS of “dialogue” is valuable in and of itself, that they want to make people feel “listened to”. So going through this process is a positive, even though you just end up reaffirming the traditional teaching.”

    The problem is that within the hegelian dialectic, dialogue is the process by which the antithesis and thesis reconcile. The expectation is that through dialogue, the doctrine would compromise with ‘not doctrine’, and a synthesis would form between doctrine and not-doctrine. This is why the dialectic is extremely corrosive to the faith in general.

  17. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Justalurkingfool,

    You wrote,

    “There is something terribly wrong when a marriage has been found valid after an intial twelve year court battle in Church Courts but nothing is done to help heal that marriage or to “encourage” its healing.”

    I, for one, do not want you to leave the Church and I am truly sorry for the heavy Cross you must bear. The Church is sinless, but the people within the Church are not and history is littered with injustices in every type of relationship (single, religious, married) caused by the action or inaction of someone who should have known better. Sometimes, all you can do is cry and so, I will cry with you.

    There has been a small healing, in any case, since at least you know and recognize the truth about the status of your marriage. The factual truth has been healed. That much, the Church has given you (the sinless Church), but even the Church is powerless in the face of Free Will and, sometimes, it is difficult or almost impossible to work out a right ending in this life because of it. If you have done all that you can (and it seems that you have), the only thing you can do is pray and pick up your Cross. You are not to run from it, try to escape from it, or deny it. You are sinless, as far as I understand the issues involved, but no matter how much a bishop might intervene, even if they did, Free Will is still Free Will and what can the Church do? They can not compel anyone to be virtuous. A public decree of excommunication might bring some people to their senses, but not others. It is always possible to move to another town and hide in the dark. You already have a public decree in the statement of validity of the marriage, anyway. That is where the battle really lies – in getting the other party to understand and recognize what that means, however, is not typical to excommunicate someone simply for mortal sin – even repeated mortal sin (otherwise most of us would be, at one time or another). Excommunication, under current law, is reserved for manifest public sin and local adultery in a town by a person known to only a few does not rise to that level.

    What is leaving the Church going to gain you, except falling into mortal sin, yourself. Two wrongs do not make a right. I know the pain these sorts of things can cause. I, also, know, that in every case, the better outcome is always achieved, either in this life or the next, if the injured party stays in the Church. I won’t kid you – you have a long struggle ahead of you, but by your courage in the face of evil, you will win many to Christ – people you cannot see and people you do not know. Please, take that to heart. Either that is true or everything we suffer is for nothing.


    That is all the Church could do after Christ was crucified. Only Mary’s faith kept her from sharing in the anxiety of the disciples. You must keep that Faith alive in your heart. Justice may not be yours in this life, but it will be in the next and you have to get there. The Church has spoken the truth, but that truth often falls on deaf ears. Stay close to the sacraments. No conversion of others can be expected to take place if you, yourself, are unwilling to be converted. Sometimes, according to Mnsr. Knox, other people can only be freed to change when the heart of the wounded one forgives them. Lack of forgiveness can, sometimes, bind up graces needed for conversion. I don’t know if that is that case here, but I do know that forgiveness is the hardest thing a Christian is called to do. Being a martyr of forgiveness is much harder than being a bloodied martyr in an arena. After you have forgiven your enemies, being fed to the lions is no big deal.

    I know of police officer who was shot, crippled, and confined to a wheel chair in constant pain. He had to endure many surgeries and once, when he was out to dinner with his wife and priest I know, he had to be rushed to the hospital in excruciating agony. While he was lying on the examination table, cruciform, half-delirious, all he could be heard to be saying was a name and pleading for God to forgive him. The doctor asked the priest, who was standing nearby, what the officer was saying. They went out into the hallway and the priest explained to her that he was saying the name of the man who had shot him and was offering up his suffering for him.

    Well, that officer died last year and the priest visited in prison the man who had shot the officer. He was due to be released. He was, also, dying from cancer. The priest kept in touch and a few weeks before his death, the man asked to be baptized and brought into the Church. He died in the odor of sanctity. One can only imagine that the officer and the shooter have been reconciled, at last. Prayer does matter. Suffering does matter.

    I will pray for you situation. I hope others do, too. That is the Church functioning well. Hang in there. Stay in the Church. Remember that the purest suffering produces the purest graces. You will see, if you persevere, that it will all work out, in the end, although not our will, God’s will be done.

    The Chicken

    P. S. I know this is a touchy issue and we should not be going on about it in the combox, but I fear this might be the last we see of you and as much as you want to bring your wife back to your marriage, that is how much and more, I feel called to bring you back to the Church. Ask yourself which of those two things are more foundational. Your marriage is only meant to last for this life, but your relationship with the Church is meant to last forever. How can you set an example for your wife if you divorce the Church as she has divorced you? Will you find a false-lover Church? Show your wife what commitment means. Show your good example. She may ignore you. She may not learn, but you will not know until Heaven how much good you really will have done.

  18. Imrahil says:

    What the dear @Chicken said.

    [A general note to EVERYONE! Can we please stop using the Twitter @? This isn’t Twitter, even though the Chicken is poultry.]

  19. RafqasRoad says:

    ‘Just a Lurking Fool’,

    My soul aches for your plight at this moment and for what its worth, through the bleakness and rank injustice of it all, I have lifted you up in prayer before our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, His Blessed Mother and the Communion of Saints. As the Chicken has so eloquently and tenderly reminded, within God’s Church, His ministers tragically at times discharge their duties disgracefully , deeply wounding Christ’s innocent lambs in the process. Whilst you traverse the depths of the valey floor, it is at this very present moment that the Sacraments become most essential for life – the faith life in this world and eternal life in the next.

    As a convert I have previously tarried with the ‘other churches’ the Chicken alludes to and while they may seem to offer a ‘holy, sober and upright’ alternative in sharp contrast to all too much that passes for ‘Catholic’ today, they are not the answer. Cleave to Christ and His bride, hide yourself beneath the Mantle of our Lady, and step alongside our Saviour, shouldering your cross as He shouldered His – that, though it looked all but certain, did not defeat Him in the end!!

    Along the way, take heart from men and women of the past of all ages who endured injustice and difficulty in marriage, not to mention difficulty at the hands of imperfect and at times arrogant churchmen. Might I suggest, if you have not already done so, cultivating a knowledge of several such saints whose intercession, prayer and support you can call upon.

    Here is a fantastic orthodox Catholic saints resource that I have followed since Adventist days (secretly reading it at home after church on ‘Sabbath’


    May our Loving Heavenly Father bear you in His arms as spiritual, emotional and psychological exhaustion and agony beset you.

    I will offer prayers before Our Lady of Perpetual help tomorrow morning in Church for Her aid to be poured out upon you.

    St. Fabiola of Rome, pray for you,
    St. Edward the Confessor, pray for you,
    St. Godelieve, Pray for you,
    St. Mary MacKillop, pray for you,
    St. Margaret ‘The Barefoot’, Pray for you.

  20. StWinefride says:

    Dear Justalurkingfool,

    I wholeheartedly agree with the Masked Chicken’s wise words. Please don’t leave, I also am in a messy situation to which I see no immediate end, so I understand your frustration. The devil is very clever, he’s that roaring lion seeking to devour. But he is powerless when faced with our trust in God. I take great comfort from Cardinal Newman’s wise words and in a way they mirror what the Chicken is proposing (taken from the second part of the Cardinal’s famous meditation on Service):

    “…Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends, He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me—still He knows what He is about.

    O Adonai, O Ruler of Israel, Thou that guidest Joseph like a flock, O Emmanuel, O Sapientia, I give myself to Thee. I trust Thee wholly. Thou art wiser than I—more loving to me than I myself. Deign to fulfil Thy high purposes in me whatever they be—work in and through me. I am born to serve Thee, to be Thine, to be Thy instrument. Let me be Thy blind instrument. I ask not to see—I ask not to know—I ask simply to be used.

    I will be praying for you!

  21. Justalurkingfool says:

    The course that my life will take will be determined by the response of Pope Francis and the two bishops with jurisdiction over my wife and myself. Unless the pastoral practices and tribunal practices of the entire Catholic Church turn significantly away from the course, apparently, desired by most Catholics, certainly desired by most of the German Bishops and I think most of the current Bishops, then I cannot be in full union with the Catholic Church.

    Pray that in spite of my personal sin, I may stay both the course of faithfulness to the vows I spoke on my wedding day and to how I was raised as a Catholic. It is I who have been faithful. It is Rome and my wife who have strayed from their obligations.

    I have tried to live an example of commitment. This has been seen by many, including all the children from my wife’s relationships. Most people find my faithfulness to be a waste of a good man. Many tell me that my choices run contrary to what has long been practiced in the Catholic Church and what God wants. Someone close to me, a close relative of a Catholic bishop and soon to be Cardinal, in a sincere, but, incorrect plea, told me that I was keeping some good woman from finding happiness with a man such as myself, because this person knows, well, the quality of my character and how my upbringing plays into my life. Such confusion rests at the foot of the Bride of Christ. Her long course is in error.

    You are unquestionably correct about forgiveness, Chicken, for the most part. But, I disagree regarding matrydom in a horrendously, painful death as being less difficult than what seems to be being asked of me. Now, if the choice were for a righteously quick and painless death that would not send me to Hell, I would agree that such a martyrdom was easier than being a martyr for forgiveness. It simply seems that the Catholic Church has upped the ante. If she stays her present course and does not give my wife an example of the necessity of change in her ways, then my money is on God, over both the Catholic Church and my wife. I can only fulfill my obligations to both, in Him.

    May He give me the graces to do that. May he give Pope Francis the grace to listen to others, in the trenches, who know and see, everyday, the errors of the Catholic Church, in practice. However, the magnitude of the error of the Catholic Church is such and so public and so scandalous that it can lead and will lead to more and more doubt and uncertainty regarding God, Himself, unless Pope Francis does just that. We abandoned, faithful, spouses are his graces from God.

    His answers are before Francis but they live among the laity, not in the clergy and , certainly, not in his group of eight. Some are even women, like Bai Macfarlane and numerous others I know.

    His answers are so very easy. We are already paying the price for the ease of his answers.

  22. Imrahil says:

    Dear Just a lurking fool,

    forgive me if I am brief, or express less of compassion into words than I should, or feel.

    It is I who have been faithful. It is Rome and my wife who have strayed from their obligations.

    You have been faithful. Your wife has strayed from here obligations. Rome has not. You could, perhaps, argue that generally and in other cases there may be said that – but we won’t say it here. It is not part of the question. Rome has not betrayed you. Rome has judged your marriage valid.

    A sexual relationship outside marriage is not a reason for excommunication in current law, where there idea to use excommunication on constant sin is not even treated. Why would you assume that the Church should change that? And even if she would, what good would come of it? (You know, the hierarchs have to work for the good of the Church after all.) Does an excommunication make your wife return to you? As for the Church solidarising herself with you, that she has – in your case – done, by declaring your marriage valid.

    I delete all the comment I was just writing below. They would be probably helpful and, for sheer making-a-point, would sound like criticism of you which you don’t deserve. I have no idea to be pastoral – which reminds me (though you probably already have), why not speak with a good orthodox pastor about the thing.

    You were wronged. That’s not your fault. I suggest – seriously – to retreat into a courner, licking your wounds, sing the blues, be embittered, regularly appear in Church and drink a morally allowed amount of beer in the evening. You’re entitled to all of that. However, as a member of the Body of Christ, what you are not entitled to is cut yourself off the Body of Christ.

    Stay. Please.

  23. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Justalurkingfool,

    You wrote:

    “The course that my life will take will be determined by the response of Pope Francis and the two bishops with jurisdiction over my wife and myself. Unless the pastoral practices and tribunal practices of the entire Catholic Church turn significantly away from the course, apparently, desired by most Catholics, certainly desired by most of the German Bishops and I think most of the current Bishops, then I cannot be in full union with the Catholic Church. ”

    Actually, the course your life will take will be determined by your own responses, alone. No one is going to stand before God for judgment but you.

    I thought, last night, that we were simply dealing with a profound sense of an injustice being done to you, but I see from this comment that there is also a problem of a misunderstanding of ecclesiology – the essential nature of the Church. You seem to have gone, in one fell swoop, from wanting your marriage restored to wanting the Church in-the-large to modify her teachings. Her teachings cannot be wrong – to believe otherwise is to blaspheme Christ’s promise of that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church. She may misapply Her teaching, but that is a different matter and subject to human prudence aided by grace. Eventually, the Church’s teachings and her applications of them will coalesce into a single unity of perfection, but the Church is still in the process of becoming Christ grown to full stature and although She has the essential DNA of Christ (the dogmas), just as any growing person can break a leg or favor a certain stance that causes a temporary growth deformity (both of which have to be corrected), so, too, the Church, as it grows, can torture, but never break, its essential nature, its DNA. It is the Body of Christ, forever and always. Eventually, the misformed growth spurts will be corrected, but not always according to anyone’s preferred timetable.

    I am sorry. This is a Cross that must be borne by pretty much everyone and some more than others. There are many other situations for which the Church doesn’t even have effective legislation, yet, such as for spiritual abuse, because a true understanding of it is still wanting. I know the Church will eventually get there, but, probably, not in my lifetime. The Church will, eventually, have not only a good theology of marriage, but a wisdom of applying the theology that is borne of a deep understanding of the nature of humanity in marriage. It isn’t there, yet. It may not be there for centuries. People will suffer, but. along the way, the memory of the Church is pondering these things in Her heart.

    You have to take the long view. That is the only view that a Christian can take.

    The dogma of the Church is correct, since it was given to Her by Christ: marriage, properly done, is indissoluble; some people are not called to marriage, but celibacy; adultery is still adultery. These are the things your wife does not understand, because she seems to not understand the Church and what it is. That is what you need to work on in prayer and by any other moral means, not holding your breath until the Church changes to do what you think is best. All will happen, but in God’s time, not yours. Marriage is and always will be a personal issue, first, and a corporate issue, second. It is in the realm of the personal that most battles must be fought. JFK jr. not only had his annulment invalidated and the original validity of his marriage upheld, but he was also excommunicated. Yet, this did not change his mind. There is only so much the Church can do and there are bishops who have incorrect notions. It has always been such.

    There is a little (I mean little) touch of pride in your deciding to be done with the Church if it doesn’t do the right thing as you see it, right now. You cannot see as God sees. You cannot know what God knows. He wants theory and practice to be united more than you do and since He has the power to bring that about (unlike you), you must ask yourself why He hasn’t just snapped His fingers and made the practices of the Church perfect? If God is not going to do that, who are you to huff and puff and walk away? Do you think God has?

    So, here’s the deal – you get to walk away from the Church when God walks away from the Church. Do you think that God has walked away from the Church? Are our Masses in vain? Are our Confessions without power to forgive?

    You are dealing with the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people. Welcome to the mystery of evil. God is in the mix and you must be appreciative of every moment of grace you can perceive, but the best thing that any Christian can do is pray that God’s Kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven. The Church has got the Heaven part down, but why do you think Christ left us a commandment to pray that God’s Kingdom come on Earth if he thought it would happen overnight or at some definite time, later? The Our Father is an on-going prayer, meant to be prayed until the end of time. At that moment, God’s Kingdom will have come on Earth as in Heaven, but don’t expect it to happen before then.

    I’ll say it, again – when the waves were pitching the boat on the Sea of Galilee, the disciples did not know what to do and they cried out to God in their anguish. The one thing they did know to do, the only thing they knew to do, was to STAY IN THE BOAT! Imagine they had left. Christ would have returned to an empty boat, a lesson would have been lost, the disciples would have all been dead, and Christ would have had to comment that faith can move mountains and it can save a pitching boat, but what good is it if no one stays on the mountain or everyone leaves the boat? Christ said that we must persevere to the end, not leave when we think things are rotten. Every generation has had its moment of crisis in the Church. Ours may be a Crisis of Marriage. I think, instead, it is a Crisis of Commitment. I plead with you, do not add another victim. I cannot promise that the Church will not continue to be hobbled by the events of the last fifty years well beyond our generation, but I can promise that, one day, “all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

    The Chicken

    P. S. I have done all I can by way of counsel. My conscience is clear. I can and will pray for you and all parties involved, but you know what you have to do. I hope you have the courage to do it (and, by that, I mean stay in the Church). Otherwise, this is the same old boring story of a Protestant leaving the Church because of some hurt or harm. Scott Hahn contends that this is the most common reason for people leaving the Church in modern times. Well, why don’t we just throw the Cross out of the window? Only the Church has a concept of redemptive suffering that makes pain productive. For all other Churches, pain is nothing more than an enemy to be overcome. You may leave the Church for greener pastures, but you will never understand your Cross without Her.

  24. Justalurkingfool says:

    “Actually, the course your life will take will be determined by your own responses, alone. No one is going to stand before God for judgment but you.”

    “She may misapply Her teaching, but that is a different matter and subject to human prudence aided by grace.”


    Now, I think I will enjoy that single 11.2 oz (3.2% alcohol) little bottle of Seagram’s, Calypso Colada, after I have a small personal size pizza. I am too old to subject my body to much more alcohol than that, at least at a single sitting.

    Imrahil and Chicken, thank you. Oh, yes; Father Z, thank you for not bouncing me.

  25. Justalurkingfool says:

    To RafqasRoad and StWinefride,

    Thank you, for your kind words of encouragement and your prayers. I neglected you both, earlier, and for a couple days, I was one of those who was “locked out”. I presumed it was for my opinions and I figured it was perhaps better that way. I am glad I have had this chance to add my thanks, sincerely…to all, as well.

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