As a Cradle Catholic and a returning Catholic both it has certainly been an extraordinary time in the Church.I can recall a time when the Saint, Pope John XXIII, rarely left Vatican City.
Later to be succeeded by Saint John Paul II who became the most traveled Pope in Church history. Both were canonized saints;raised to the altar. Remarkable .Even more stunning
(and heartbreaking)was to live to see a Pope step down.I don’t think i have to give you a lesson in Church history though & that’s not why I’m writing you either.I’m only saying it’s been quite the journey seeing history play out before my eyes. I never expected this;to see 3 popes in my whole lifetime.The 3rd includes you!
As a Cradle Catholic I had two wonderful parents who saw to it we got a good Catholic education (back when we had the Baltimore Catechism)and a good example at home.
I spent part of my time as a Catholic in the traditional Latin Mass and the other part when the liturgy was said in the vernacular. I also spent part of my Catholic youth getting caught up in our secular culture and leaving the Church. I can’t begin to tell you what road that went down-it would take pages. I’ll spare you.
I can say when i returned (God’s mercy)i came to an appreciation of the Catholic faith i never had before. I would call it a rediscovery. The Church is an anchor and without that anchor through turbulence, it is too easy to either get taken away by the current or worse, drown.
Now it seems the Church itself has hit turbulence.. I praise God for his mercy but had I not feared His justice who knows where i might have ended up.
Here are some things i know that Holy Mother Church teaches and has always taught:
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:11–12)
The Church of course teaches the same. The Church does not grant divorces. The Church can grant an annulment and of course we understand that there are certain conditions that must be met.Divorce never ends a sacramental marriage. An annulment only concludes that there was never a valid marriage in the first place.
So what is stated here is, that if you divorce and marry another person you are committing adultery and putting another in the same situation. You do not receive communion until and unless the circumstances are changed. In fact a priest would advise the couple to take care of the situation;that is to not to live as husband and wife, reconcile with the Church,go to confession;then they would be able to receive communion.
I have to conclude it is better to get married and stay married.I have to conclude that if a couple does divorce they should not remarry. I also know that for the sake of salvation of souls the Church does not permit divorced couples to remarry and if they do they must abstain from receiving communion until they are in a state of grace.They would have to give up living as husband and wife.The wise choice would be to delay marriage and inquire about an annulment or not marry at all. One or the other would be worth the sacrifice made.
The Church also recognizes that there are circumstances where divorce is a terrible but necessary course;the Church would never demand people stay in an abusive relationship. Still,the couple would not be permitted to remarry because the Church knows that a divorce-while it may be unavoidable-does not end a sacramental marriage.
To be honest i appreciate the Church’s teaching on marriage. I think it was what helped my parents marriage endure for the 60+ years it did. It wasn’t unusual for persons of their generation to get married and stay married. Divorce was the exception;not the rule.
Unfortunately in our day and age marriage is under assault;more reason to be grateful to the Church for her infallible teachings on marriage. It doesn’t mean all Catholics will remain faithful to those teachings. It seems the divorce rate for Catholics has caught up with the divorce rate of the secular culture. i think for that reason alone the Church must proclaim those teachings with even more fervor,not less.
The Church of my youth preached hell fire and damnation.The Church of my young adulthood seemed to forget hell existed and the devil vanished from the sermons.He certainly didn’t vanish from the world. We found Jesus mercy but we forgot His justice. While Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict the VXI reigned we re-discovered both His justice and mercy;it was the time i had returned to the Church. The Church must continue on that same path;the hermeneutics of continuity as it’s called.We have always known that the Church cannot change infallible teachings. The world believes the Church should base her teachings on opinion. We know better. We have Sacred Scripture and Tradition. When Her teaching is clear,people return.
As as i side note, Holy Father,i am hoping one day to witness Saint Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict the XVI being declared Doctors of the Church.