I’m Not at All Eager to Start Another Brawl Over the Pope, But…—Peter Robinson

 

An email from a friend:

Worry less about Francis on economics, but sweat the upcoming Synod on the Family instead.  To paraphrase George Gilder, economic growth can get switched back on in an instant.  All we need to do is set in place the right policies.

But the family?  Don’t mess with that. Damage to the family would be permanent.  You couldn’t repair that with lower tax rates. The upcoming Synod on the Family looks to be Humanae Vitae all over again. The 1968 crowd is getting ready to make their final push before they expire.

I wish he didn’t, of course, but I’m very much afraid that my friend has a point. The effort within the Church to persuade Pope Paul VI to overturn the Church’s traditional teaching against birth control back during the 1960s proved immense—a majority of the panel of experts the Pope convened to advise him on the matter recommended that he permit birth control, which, of course, would have altered the Church’s very conception of married love, marriage, and fidelity. Only a minority report, and the Pope himself — in a display of what might be termed holy stubbornness— led instead to the publication of Humanae Vitae, reaffirming the Church’s historic teachings. (If you’ve never read Humanae Vitae, by the way, you’re in for an intellectual shock. With astonishing accuracy, Paul VI predicted the ills to which the breakdown of marriage would lead. Even if you think we Catholics are crazy—a view I share from time to time myself, I admit—Humanae Vitae is worth a read.)

Now Pope Francis has called a Synod on the Family, and another major effort to alter historic teachings appears to be underway—an effort to make annulments easier to obtain, for instance, or to permit those who have remarried without annulments to receive communion. Here again, this sort of talk may strike a lot non-Catholics as crazy. But what’s at stake is the Church’s ancient and unchanging teaching that marriage is indissoluble—and the fundamental commitment that makes possible the permanence of the family.

Someone—anyone—tell my friend why he’s wrong.  Tell him—and me—why we don’t need to sweat the Synod.

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  1. user_3444 Coolidge
    user_3444
    @JosephStanko

    Tom Meyer: That Christianity caught on as a popular religion in spite of passages like that is rather miraculous in itself.

    Actually I read somewhere that this teaching was quite popular with Roman women.  Women living in most ancient patriarchal cultures faced the prospect that their husbands could divorce them for no reason and toss them out on the streets, homeless and penniless, having to rely on their relatives to support them in old age.

    So a religion that taught that men had a sacred duty to commit to their wives and support them “until death do us part” may have actually helped Christianity spread, or at least helped attract female converts.

    • #91
  2. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Joseph Stanko: Actually I read somewhere that this teaching was quite popular with Roman women.  Women living in most ancient patriarchal cultures faced the prospect that their husbands could divorce them for no reason and toss them out on the streets, homeless and penniless, having to rely on their relatives to support them in old age.

    Fair point; it depends on what you’re comparing it to.  As I recall, Christianity caught on much faster among Roman women than Roman men. Perhaps this is part of the reason.

    That said, my point had less to do with the reasons for allowing divorce than on the prohibitions against re-marriage after divorce and classifying it as a kind of adultery.  Frankly, I find that nuts.

    • #92
  3. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    Tom Meyer:

    Joseph Stanko: Actually I read somewhere that this teaching was quite popular with Roman women. Women living in most ancient patriarchal cultures faced the prospect that their husbands could divorce them for no reason and toss them out on the streets, homeless and penniless, having to rely on their relatives to support them in old age.

    Fair point; it depends on what you’re comparing it to.

    As I recall, Christianity caught on much faster among Roman women than Roman men. Perhaps this is part of the reason.

     Keep this up and I’ll convert to dispensationalism…

    • #93
  4. Salamandyr Inactive
    Salamandyr
    @Salamandyr

    As far as I’m concerned, the Catholic Church can regard re-marriage as adultery as long as they recognize that’s a “church rule” in the same way a libertarian Baptist recognizes the “prohibition on drinking” is something for him, and not something for people outside his church.

    Trying to legislate that sort of thing is roughly equivalent to trying to impose Sharia.

    • #94
  5. user_3444 Coolidge
    user_3444
    @JosephStanko

    From the Catechism:

    1646 By its very nature conjugal love requires the inviolable fidelity of the spouses. This is the consequence of the gift of themselves which they make to each other. Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement “until further notice.” The “intimate union of marriage, as a mutual giving of two persons, and the good of the children, demand total fidelity from the spouses and require an unbreakable union between them.”

    1647 The deepest reason is found in the fidelity of God to his covenant, in that of Christ to his Church. Through the sacrament of Matrimony the spouses are enabled to represent this fidelity and witness to it. Through the sacrament, the indissolubility of marriage receives a new and deeper meaning.

    1648    It can seem difficult, even impossible, to bind oneself for life to another human being. This makes it all the more important to proclaim the Good News that God loves us with a definitive and irrevocable love, that married couples share in this love, that it supports and sustains them, and that by their own faithfulness they can be witnesses to God’s faithful love. 

    • #95
  6. user_3444 Coolidge
    user_3444
    @JosephStanko

    Spouses who with God’s grace give this witness, often in very difficult conditions, deserve the gratitude and support of the ecclesial community.

    1649 Yet there are some situations in which living together becomes practically impossible for a variety of reasons. In such cases the Church permits the physical separation of the couple and their living apart. The spouses do not cease to be husband and wife before God and so are not free to contract a new union. In this difficult situation, the best solution would be, if possible, reconciliation. The Christian community is called to help these persons live out their situation in a Christian manner and in fidelity to their marriage bond which remains indissoluble

    • #96
  7. user_385039 Inactive
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    Salymander: #94 As far as I’m concerned, the Catholic Church can regard re-marriage as adultery as long as they recognize that’s a “church rule”

    You are concerned about how the Catholic Church sees something, as long as it agrees with your position.  That’s very noble of you.  Have you considered writing it up and sending it along to the pope, or at least the closest Catholic bishop to where you reside?  Perhaps they will be swayed by your wisdom?

    • #97
  8. user_385039 Inactive
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    Sabrdance #46

    1. Baptists are Protestants
    1. Christianity would survive the loss of the Catholic Church – nope
    1. God preserved the bible for 2500 years.  I believe that parts of the Old Testament are older than 2500 years.  The final form of the New Testament was decided at a Church council in the year 325AD, and a successor council concurred with that decision.  So parts of the bible are older than 2500 years, and parts of the bible are younger than 2500 years.

    2.  You might want to read up on the Landgrave Philip of Hesse and how he was permitted to take a second wife while his first wife lived.  Fascinating bit of history there.

    • #98
  9. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Joseph Stanko: 1649 Yet there are some situations in which living together becomes practically impossible for a variety of reasons. In such cases the Church permits the physical separation of the couple and their living apart. The spouses do not cease to be husband and wife before God and so are not free to contract a new union. In this difficult situation, the best solution would be, if possible, reconciliation. The Christian community is called to help these persons live out their situation in a Christian manner and in fidelity to their marriage bond which remains indissoluble

    Catechism citations and explanation appreciated.  As I often find myself thinking in regard to Catholic teaching of this kind, I understand the wisdom and thinking behind the position, but disagree with the conclusions drawn from it.  Dooming decent to lives of celibacy if they can’t reconcile with a spouse — or if their spouse refuses to reconcile with them — strikes me as too-high a price to pay for modelling God’s constancy.

    One thing I’ve found interesting is how stark the differences are between Jews and Christians; outside of matters of direct theology, it’s probably one of the biggest differences.

    • #99
  10. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Jude:

    Western Chauvinist:

    God bless your friend and his son. I suspect He has other plans for the priest-rapist.

    Thank you. I suppose being Catholic and Republican is 2/3 of a trifecta of organizations that frustrate. I’m not RC, but I am a Republican still and I do work at a university that is mashugana. My friend is having a lot of serious health issues since the trial. He understands that he can’t fix his problems with a baseball bat, but would like to. He has lost his connection with his church and is spiritually unmoored. Pray for my friend Steve, if you will.

    Absolutely. I’m one who knows firsthand how watching your child suffer can be a test of faith. Let him know I’m asking another such parent to intercede for him — our Blessed Mother. Ask him to hold onto that.

    • #100
  11. Salamandyr Inactive
    Salamandyr
    @Salamandyr

    Donald Todd: e concerned about how the Catholic Church sees something, as long as it agrees with your position.  That’s very noble of you.  Have you considered writing it up and sending it along to the pope, or at least the closest Catholic bishop to where you reside?  Perhaps they will be swayed by your wisdo

     No, please re-read what you quoted-EDIT: in context with the rest of what I wrote.  I don’t care whether they agree with me or not, as long as they don’t try to make me live by their rules.

    • #101
  12. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Tom Meyer:

    Matthew continues:

    “Why then,” the [Pharisees] asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

    Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

    The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

    Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

    Wow, I’d forgotten how tough Jesus was on that subject. That Christianity caught on as a popular religion in spite of passages like that is rather miraculous in itself.

     I’ve often thought of homosexuals as modern day eunuchs.

    KABOOM! Ducking for cover…

    • #102
  13. robertm7575@gmail.com Inactive
    robertm7575@gmail.com
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Peter, as much as I hate to say this, there is nothing to worry about with this Synod because the family has already been redefined, restructured, and destroyed by the powers of the Left.  You can see it in the dangerously low total fertility rates in every Western Civilization state, especially the southern European Catholic states.  The Church will just be rearranging chairs of the Titanic after it has completely slipped below the water.

    • #103
  14. Herbert Woodbery Member
    Herbert Woodbery
    @Herbert

    Salamandyr:

    As far as I’m concerned, the Catholic Church can regard re-marriage as adultery as long as they recognize that’s a “church rule” in the same way a libertarian Baptist recognizes the “prohibition on drinking” is something for him, and not something for people outside his church.

    Trying to legislate that sort of thing is roughly equivalent to trying to impose Sharia.

    i agree

     And other laws regarding marriage? 

    • #104
  15. Salamandyr Inactive
    Salamandyr
    @Salamandyr

    Herbert Woodbery:

    And other laws regarding marriage?

    Perhaps I’m dense, but I don’t see where you’re coming from with this question.  Could you please elucidate?

    • #105
  16. user_23747 Member
    user_23747
    @

    Western Chauvinist:

     

    It seems to me the spirit of the Anti-Christ is all around us, but I don’t presume to know this is the end of the end. I’m sure other Christians have felt this way in the past.

     That feeling has been around for a while.

    1 John 4:3
    and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

    • #106
  17. Grendel Member
    Grendel
    @Grendel

    Tom Meyer:

    Matthew continues:

    Wow, I’d forgotten how tough Jesus was on that subject. That Christianity caught on as a popular religion in spite of passages like that is rather miraculous in itself.

     How many times have I heard the trope “I don’t worry, ’cause Jesus was all about love and peace and tolerance.”?  It’s a self-serving excusing of any sort of licentiousness and utterly unscriptural.  Jesus did away with the strictures of Jewish ritual purity, but he doubled down on moral tenets, such as honoring God, relations between men, charity for the unfortunate, and sexual behavior.

    • #107
  18. user_385039 Inactive
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    Salamandyr:

    Donald Todd: e concerned about how the Catholic Church sees something, as long as it agrees with your position. That’s very noble of you. Have you considered writing it up and sending it along to the pope, or at least the closest Catholic bishop to where you reside? Perhaps they will be swayed by your wisdo

    No, please re-read what you quoted-EDIT: in context with the rest of what I wrote. I don’t care whether they agree with me or not, as long as they don’t try to make me live by their rules.

    Under the assumption that you are not Catholic, whatever makes you think that you’d have to live under “their” rules?  And, if the Catholic Church is the Body of which Christ Jesus is the Head, then Who’s rules are you concerned about?

    • #108
  19. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Tom Meyer:

    Joseph Stanko:

    Dooming decent to lives of celibacy if they can’t reconcile with a spouse — or if their spouse refuses to reconcile with them — strikes me as too-high a price to pay for modelling God’s constancy.

     Do I not remember your approving of McArdle’s essay on divorce? It seems self evident to me that the extreme cruelty of divorce in a world where women lack any form of agency ought to come with a stiff price tag of celibacy and shame. It’s not murder, but it’s the next worst thing (assuming one takes a mid-point for torture; it’s probably less bad than blinding one’s wife, but worse than breaking some bones).
    Male initiated divorce is less harmful to women today than ever in history, since women often have independent incomes, remarriage is entirely possible, women often get custody over their kids, and women have purpose to their lives that does not require a man or a religious vocation. It’s still terrible (hence McArdle’s article), but today comes only with a cost of celibacy, rather than celibacy plus shame, which seems commensurate with the reduced impact.

    • #109
  20. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Not ‘doom’, Tom, surely?…At least in North America, resources like the Nova retreats for divorced/remarried offer support re: blended families, the process of obtaining a decree of nullity, etc.  The myth of Catholic faith communities shunning people who’re impacted by divorce is just that…as I can attest – as the adult child of a broken-but-personally-amicable civil marriage.  (If you were dealing with other aspects, I apologize`for inadvertently side-tracking.)

    • #110
  21. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Nobody expects a Carthusian Juxtaposition.

    • #111
  22. Robert Lux Inactive
    Robert Lux
    @RobertLux

    James of Enland writes: “But you were appealing to historical example to derive the content of that standard… Changes in disgust really do dispose of arguments based on the universality of disgust… [A]ll the consequences in the world will not salvage an argument based on a claim that particular non-universal traits are universal.”

    James- I’m precisely not saying that we derive notions of right or wrong from emotion or from what makes us disgusted. This is the signal mistake of people like Martha Nussbaum: schooled in the notion that all moral claims are but projections of opinion — or, more precisely, projections of will — she simply hears something contrary to her will. Are there concrete grounds outside the will to guide the will itself? I’m appealing to nature via historical examples to make the distinction between nature and culture, the former being necessary for understanding the latter. An appeal to natural right or natural law is a claim that there are limits to government because there are limits to human nature. And so our federal government abrogating the right of individual states to deny SSM effectively gives government unlimited power, as SSM means government can redefine reality.

    • #112
  23. Robert Lux Inactive
    Robert Lux
    @RobertLux

    James- much more I have to write– perhaps a whole separate post. Very busy, and will pick this up tomorrow.

    • #113
  24. Salamandyr Inactive
    Salamandyr
    @Salamandyr

    Donald Todd:

    Under the assumption that you are not Catholic, whatever makes you think that you’d have to live under “their” rules?

    This should be pretty evident to you.  I presume you are a fellow American, or you are familiar with the First Amendment.   As a fellow conservative, I’m sure you’re aware of the importance of the Freedom of Religion clause.  

    And, if the Catholic Church is the Body of which Christ Jesus is the Head, then Who’s rules are you concerned about?

    Well, if this is true, then I will one day find myself to have been greatly mistaken about a number of things.  But I will still be opposed to enshrining Catholic doctrin into secular law.

    • #114
  25. Jude Inactive
    Jude
    @Jude

     Pray for my friend Steve, if you will.

    Absolutely. I’m one who knows firsthand how watching your child suffer can be a test of faith. Let him know I’m asking another such parent to intercede for him — our Blessed Mother. Ask him to hold onto that.

     I will. Bless you brother.

    • #115
  26. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Re: 115, Jude are you aware of the “Divine Help 2.0” post?  Lots of prayer warriors over there – including me…Praying with and for you and yours!  Peace be with you!

    • #116
  27. rnuding@buffalo.edu Inactive
    rnuding@buffalo.edu
    @Guerin

    There’s nothing to worry about.  One of the benefits of papal infallibility is that the faithful don’t have to worry about the pope teaching false doctrine or upending the church’s moral teachings.  Conservative-minded Catholics seem to lack faith that God will keep the church out of the ditch of falsehood, but this isn’t like politics, where we’re used to unprincipled men selling out.  The church’s teachings concerning sexuality and marriage will remain the same post-Synod as they are now.  Even should the Synod try and publish something to the contrary, either the pope will veto it like Paul VI, or a conclave will suddenly have to be held.

    That’s not to say that this Synod won’t be the occasion for all sorts of misinformed trouble-making by the media and the 1968 crowd.  They will set a narrative of change and hope that nobody actually reads what the Synod eventually puts out – a fair bet, since Rome isn’t exactly adept when it comes to PR.  That’s where the fight will be, the interpretation of the Synod.  There is no need to worry about the substance of the Synod.

    • #117
  28. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Guerin:

    There’s nothing to worry about. One of the benefits of papal infallibility is that the faithful don’t have to worry about the pope teaching false doctrine or upending the church’s moral teachings. Conservative-minded Catholics seem to lack faith that God will keep the church out of the ditch of falsehood, but this isn’t like politics, where we’re used to unprincipled men selling out. The church’s teachings concerning sexuality and marriage will remain the same post-Synod as they are now. Even should the Synod try and publish something to the contrary, either the pope will veto it like Paul VI, or a conclave will suddenly have to be held.

     Papal infallibility is a much less broad doctrine than you suggest. You can believe comprehensively in infallibility and still think that, e.g., papal twitters are profoundly mistaken, and that they thus teach false doctrine. It’s like the defense of “is Francis a Marxist? No? Then he’s clearly not left wing.” A lot of the misunderstandings of Vatican II, for instance, are examples of confusion stemming, in part, from John XXIII and Paul VI’s suboptimal discipline and communication.

    • #118
  29. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    One of the benefits of papal infallibility is that the faithful don’t have to worry about the pope teaching false doctrine or upending the church’s moral teachings.

    No, that’s not the case. They don’t have to worry about the Pope teaching false doctrine universally throughout the whole church through the Magisterium.

    • #119
  30. user_536506 Member
    user_536506
    @ScottWilmot

    Peter: if you’re still following this thread you may want to read this analysis by Sandro Magister and share it with your friend. Two quotes from the article:

    1. And yet Bergoglio is anything other than tender with what he calls the dominant “uniform thought,” atheist and “libertine,” the “new opium of the people.” <snip> He is not silent about his aversion to the advent of new self-proclaimed families without “the masculinity and femininity of a father and a mother.” He is inflexible in calling abortion an “abominable crime.”

    2. When Bergoglio proclaimed John Paul II a saint on April 27, he knew very well what pope emeritus Benedict had said about his great predecessor a few weeks before:

    “John Paul II did not ask for applause, nor did he ever look around in concern at how his decisions would be received. He acted on the basis of his faith and convictions, and he was also ready to take fire. The courage of the truth is one of the main criteria of holiness.”

    As expert as he is in cultivating public opinion, Pope Francis is not the kind to be let himself become its prisoner.

    • #120
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