Thursday, March 15, 2018

MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE

DIVORCE & RE-MARRIAGE

CIVIL DIVORCE

1. The introduction of divorce in any society abolishes the right to life-long indissoluble
marriage by making 'for life' become 'as long as'.

2. Inhibitions: Some spouses, fearing the ever-present threat of divorce, pull their punches
out of fear of provoking their partner into leaving.

3. The absence of divorce allows people to enter into marriage with a greater sense of commitment, and within marriage they will take their commitment more seriously. Where marriage is permanent couples are more inclined to struggle to make a success of their marriage; with divorce, they are more inclined to give up.

4. The absence of divorce invariably means that individuals are more cautious in selecting a
partner because marriage is seen as permanent.

5. The unity and indissolubility of marriage ensure a greater security and stability in the
relationship.

6. It is not simply failed and problematic marriages that are dissolved; divorce also destroys
happy marriages.

7. In difficult circumstances, once the option for divorce is taken, spouses are inclined to act
consistently and follow through on their decision.

8. The availability of divorce introduces instability and uncertainty into the marriage.

9. Children: There is little doubt that parental divorce is a major disruption in children's lives.

10. Divorce has no basis in human rights.

11. Law: It has been argued that the law cannot make people morally good. However, while
you cannot by Act of Parliament make a person morally good, you can by Act of Parliament
supply the conditions which facilitate the growth of moral goodness and remove conditions which obstruct it.

Moral convictions need the support of law. For example, legislators introduce controls
on video nasties or on pornographic satellite TV realising that moral convictions require such legal supports.

It is common sense that laxity in the law, e.g. through the introduction of divorce, makes decent living more difficult for all.

12. Divorce, once introduced, gathers pace.

13. The machinery of the State switches sides and actively facilitates people who wish to
abandon their pledge of lasting fidelity and who seek to remarry.

14. Good of Society: Because divorce damages society, a prohibition on it should not be seen as lacking in compassion but rather appreciated as an attempt by the State to help promote the
stability of marriage and family life and, in a particular way, to protect the welfare of women and
children.

15. While society highly prizes both marriage and family life, the universal experience is that divorce legislation results in more people availing of it.

16. Government Support: In the short term the government should provide adequate
support for the institution of marriage.

If society wants to have successful marriages and strong
family life then there must be a similar commitment to the legal and social conditions which will
encourage these.

17. The individual, rather than the family or the institution of marriage itself, is a starting
point in the realm of principle for many proponents of divorce.

18. The provision of a right to remarry rewards infidelity.

19. Divorce indirectly results in serious long-term social disorder.

20. Finance: Divorce is a very expensive activity. Many second families are broken up
because of the tension over supporting the first family.

SEXUALITY

Sexuality

• Human: Sexuality is essentially human; there has never been a normal human being who
was not sexual.

• Spiritualising: There is a danger in modern Catholic theology of a spiritualising approach
to sexuality and sexual intercourse in marriage.

To transfer human sexuality up to the exclusively spiritual level is just as untrue to human nature as is transferring it down to the
exclusively animal level.

• One Body: Becoming one person with another human being includes becoming not only
one spirit and one mind, but also one body.

Married love is agape, the love of the spouse for the spouse's sake, but it is also more than agape. Married love is philia, the love of the spouse as a friend, but it is also more than philia.

Married love is eros, the love of the spouse for one's own sake, but it is also more than eros.

• Selfish Love: Married love that leads two to become one body is never exclusively selfish
love, but it is unquestionably in part selfish love.

Married love is loving your neighbour (spouse) as yourself (Mt 22:39).

• Eros & Agape: Eros cannot be transformed; it is an essential form of human love.

We do better to accept it, to integrate it, and to give it a distinctively human form. That distinctive form appears when the power of eros is harnessed by human wisdom.

Eros, by definition, is the love of the spouse for one's own sake. Where eros dominates, I trample others and make them means to my ends.

Such an approach produces what it seeks to avoid, emptiness and loneliness. Where wisdom dominates, I recognise that my partner's happiness is the only way that I, too, can be happy.

In that wisdom, strangely, eros is not transformed into, but is allied to, agape.

It is precisely this alliance of eros and agape that allows married love to persist and to grow when those things that fuel eros, youth, beauty, health, grace, have long since passed away.

• Sexual Pleasure: Sexuality, sexual passion, sexual pleasure, eros, derive their sacramental
character not from any purpose that human beings might assign to them, but from the simple theological fact that they are from God.

They are God's gifts to us, and they are good gifts. For two human animals to become one body-person includes essentially,
though not exclusively, becoming one body physically.

Physical union is not all there is to becoming one body. Still it has a place in Christian marriage, as prophetic symbol of the
covenant uniting humanity and God, who does not shrink from proclaiming his love for his
beloved in that most beautiful, and most erotic, of love songs, the Song of Songs.

• Song of Songs: This Song has always posed problems for both Jews and Christians,
specifically whether it is a poem to divine or human love.

For centuries, unwilling to
consider that human, erotic love would have any place in the Scriptures, commentators
opted for an allegorical reading. The Song of Songs, they explained, was about divine love.

But even if it is, God, good communicator that he is, always reveals himself in the language of his hearers.

• Erotic Human Love: The emergence of the historical-critical approach to reading the Bible led to a growing consensus that the meaning of the Song was its literal meaning.

It is about the love of humans, male and female, who in love always seek the bodily presence
of the other.

This love is celebrated as gift, and as image of the Creator God and of his love for us.

• Acceptance & Integration: In response to the view that sex cannot be fully humanised, it
does not need to be humanised because it is already fully human, precisely as gifted to us
by the God.

Man and woman, husband and wife, do not become fully human by ignoring eros, or by negotiating their way carefully around it, above it or beyond it.

They become human only by accepting it and integrating it into the rest of their human and
Christian lives.

(From Michael G. Lawler, "Theology of Marriage: A Contemporary View," Chapter Four of Secular Marriage,
Christian Sacrament. Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 1985, pp. 56-80).

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Cardinal Kasper: Quit throwing around the word ‘heretic’

 German Cardinal Walter Kasper, retired president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity says think twice before calling someone a “heretic.”

That is the seemingly simple advice from Cardinal Walter Kasper, the prominent German theologian whose ideas have influenced Pope Francis, especially his view that mercy should be the guiding principle in pastoral practice.

Speaking in an interview with Alessandro Gisotti at Vatican News, the 85-year-old prelate addressed controversy about “Amoris Laetitia,” the pope’s 2016 letter on families, which includes a provision that allows some divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

“First of all I would like to say that debate in the church is necessary. There is no need to fear debate!” the cardinal said.

But he said the debate on “Amoris Laetitia” has become too heated—even though the “people of God” have accepted the teaching.

“Debate in the church is necessary. There is no need to fear debate!"

“There is a very bitter debate, way too strong, with accusations of heresy. A heresy is a tenacious disagreement with formal dogma.”

Cardinal Kasper rejected claims from some Catholics who accuse Pope Francis of undermining church teaching on marriage.

“The doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage has not been called into question on Pope Francis’ part!” he said. “Before saying that something is heresy, the question should be what the other person means by what has been said.

And, above all, that the other person is Catholic should be presupposed; the opposite should not be supposed!”

Cardinal Kasper praised “Amoris Laetitia” for its accessibility, saying it is “not high theology incomprehensible to people” and that the “people of God understand.”

“The pope has an optimal connection with the People of God,” he said.
A quick glance at social media finds charges of heresy aimed at Catholics are not uncommon, and last month Catholic News Service reported that in a January address to Chilean Jesuits, Pope Francis said he prays for those who call him a heretic.

“When I perceive resistance, I seek dialogue whenever it is possible; but some resistance comes from people who believe they possess the true doctrine and accuse you of being a heretic," the pope told a group of Jesuits during a meeting on Jan. 16 in Santiago.

“When I cannot see spiritual goodness in what these people say or write, I simply pray for them,” Pope Francis said in response to a question about the “resistance” he has encountered as pope.

The reception of “Amoris Laetitia” has differed around the world.Bishops in Germany and Argentina have thrown their support behind the document, while in the United States the response has been more tepid, with the implementation varying from one diocese to another.

Cardinal Cupich: Pope Francis’ family teaching is a paradigm shift in the church.

 Cardinal Blase Cupich and Cardinal Joseph Tobin, aimed at promoting “Amoris Laetitia.”

The idea of a pathway to Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics that includes a penentential aspect but stops short of requiring an annulment is often attributed to the cardinal and is sometimes referred to as “the Kasper proposal.” While the full proposal did not make it into the final document following synods in 2014 and 2015, a footnote included in “Amoris Laetitia” and subsequent interpretations by various bishops, sometimes with the approval of the pope himself, seem to have validated the notion.

The cardinal defended the idea in the interview, saying that individual believers must be able to discern their situation in life, perhaps with a priest as part of the “internal forum.”

“Sin is a complex term,” he said. “It not only includes an objective principle, but there is also the intention, the person’s conscience. And this needs to be examined in the internal forum—in the Sacrament of Reconciliation—if there is truly a grave sin, or perhaps a venial sin, or perhaps nothing.”

“If it is only a venial sin, the person can be absolved and admitted to the Sacrament of the Eucharist,” he continued, saying the teaching “is in complete continuity with the direction opened by preceding popes. I do not see any reason, then, to say that this is a heresy.”

No “right” to the Eucharist exists, but there is a right to be welcomed and to be heard.

The interviewer noted that Francis cited the cardinal’s book, Mercy, during his first Sunday address as pope. A couple of years later, Pope Francis declared 2016 the Year of Mercy.

The cardinal was discussing ideas in a forthcoming book, “Amoris Laetitia’s Message: A Brotherly Discussion.”

The interviewer asked Cardinal Kasper why mercy is so essential today.
“Many people are wounded,” the cardinal said. “Even in marriages there are many who are wounded. People need mercy, empathy, the sympathy of the church in these difficult times in which we are living today. I think that mercy is the response to the signs of our times.”

The interview was published just a few days after Italian Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano issued detailed guidelines for accompanying couples, including those who are divorced and civilly remarried.

Bishop Semeraro, secretary of Pope Francis' international Council of Cardinals, wrote that discussions during diocesan presbyteral council meetings made it clear that welcoming and integrating into parish life "those who approach us with the desire to be readmitted to participation in ecclesial life requires an appropriate amount of time for accompaniment and discernment that will vary from situation to situation.

"Therefore, expecting a new general, canonical-type norm, the same for everyone, is absolutely inappropriate,” he said.

No “right” to the Eucharist exists, the bishop said, but there is a right to be welcomed and to be heard.

Couples who have remarried civilly without an annulment of their sacramental marriage and who have started a new family will be asked “to make a journey of faith starting from becoming conscious of their situation before God” and looking at the obstacles that would prevent their full participation in the life of the church.

Material from Catholic News Service...#ppvisualparish

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