The discussion and debate about the Pope’s teaching document Amoris Laetitia continues, with some Catholics worried that the Pope will condone giving Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics.
I am as concerned as anyone else about this issue, and feel that the rule cannot be changed without changing the Catholic understanding of marriage.
Indissoluble marriage is part of the revelation from Adam and Eve through the teachings of Jesus himself. We can’t mess with it. I don’t think the document needs to be read that way and have written about it here.
When we stop and look at the reality, however, has it struck anyone else that the fuss over admitting remarried people to Communion is a bit like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?
Marriage in our culture is a mess, and it is a heck of a lot bigger mess than the question of whether remarried people can come to Communion or not.
Consider the present state of marriage in our society. It looks like the aftermath of a tornado in a town.
Divorce rate is higher than it has ever been. Old people who have been married for 40 years are divorcing. Meanwhile the old people are hooking up like rampant college kids. With Viagra and other stimulants to keep them active, the rate of sexually transmitted diseases in old people’s communities is skyrocketing.
Let’s continue the litany of disaster:
An increasing number of young people don’t bother to get married at all. They don’t see the point.
Most couples who do come to get married in church are living together. They are not ashamed of this fact and are usually supported in their decision by their parents. Many of them are living with a boy or girl after having cohabited with a previous partner. They think nothing of it.
What about the rest?
Same-sex marriage? The resurgence of polygamy? Transgendered people marrying? One parish priest told me that a young couple came to him to prepare for marriage and after the interview the “girl” said, “I guess I should tell you that I am transgender.” It was two fellas.
There have been a number of cases of a transgendered man marrying a transgendered woman. The “man” was once a woman and the “woman” was once a man. They both kept their “plumbing” and the man (who presented as a woman) impregnated the woman (who presented as a man) so it seemed that the “daddy” gave birth to the baby while the “mommy” looked on as the proud father.
I was told of one family in which the oldest child became a lesbian, “married” her partner and convinced her teenaged brother to donate sperm to impregnate her “wife.” So the child has three parents, two “mommies” and the “father” is really his uncle.
With artificial insemination, surrogate mothers and multiple sperm and egg donors, with in vitro fertilization and frozen embryos our control of human reproduction is complete.
And we’re worried about whether remarried Catholics can come to Communion or not.
Don’t get me wrong. I realize this is an important discussion and believe the Church should not depart from the traditional view, but in the face of the larger marriage mess, what are we going to do? What can we hope to do?
If people don’t think this matters they had better think again.
The marriage mess is, of course, the result of the most revolutionary and radical invention of mankind: the contraceptive pill.
This invention has changed everything.
Once sexual relations were separated from procreation everything else has disintegrated.
Traditional marriage in our society is one huge mess. It is a total free-for-all and in total free fall and I, for one, can think of only one thing to do about it:
Catholics (especially young Catholics) need to live out their faith through their marriages and their families. We have to be faithful in love and faithful in hope so that the examples of simple human love and family life will shine as a light in the darkness.