Sunday, September 14, 2014

Is There a Problem With the Weddings?

A Nice Day for a White Wedding

UPDATE II: How is this playing the press? Predictably. If there is an expectation game with the October Synod, this plays into the hands of those who want a "more merciful" Church, as Reuters has it.


  • Reuters: "...in the latest sign that the Argentine pontiff wants the Catholic church to be more open and inclusive."
  • Reuters: "The pope has said the Church must end its obsession with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality, and become more merciful, or risk collapsing "like a house of cards".
  • Time: "Some hope a major Vatican meeting next month on family concerns might lead to permission for divorced Catholics who remarry to receive Communion.


Why be negative about the grand weddings of cohabitating couples in St. Peter's Basilica? Isn't it wonderful that they are doing the right thing? After all, nobody's perfect. Do you imagine, Bear, that there are no improprieties before many Church weddings?

First of all, this is not the hill the Bear would pick to die on. In the great scheme of things, this is small potatoes. Nonetheless, it feels like there is something off about it. Is there, or is the Bear just being growly?

The problem is that these are couples who have approached a relationship God wants as marriage as some cheap imitation. The quaint expression "living in sin" really does capture it. One assumes they have gone to confession, but, even so, should we pull out all the stops? What message are we sending? That there are multiple paths to your big Church wedding, including concubinage? Shouldn't there be a whiff of the penitential?

Yes, by all means have the weddings, but do it in a way that does not ignore the irregularity of the situation. Not to punish anyone, but to avoid scandal, to send the message that it is good to get married if you are living in sin, but better not to have lived in sin at all. A nuance? Perhaps. But in religion, as in conversation, nuance matters.

UPDATE: The Bear and his mate seldom disagree. (It is foolish, after all, to disagree with someone called "Red Death.") The last time was over the baptism in the church of the baby obtained by the lesbian pair in Argentina. Her argument was, "It's a baby!" But she disagreed on the Bear's cautious disapproval of the weddings, arguing, "Who am I to judge?"

So the Bear must think upon this matter again, since he respects his mate. (In fact he respects her enough to have married her 35 years ago.)

The Bear's argument is subtle, and easy to mischaracterize.

First, let us stipulate that all of the Catholic parties have repented, gone to confession, and everyone concerned is ready to enter into Holy Matrimony as the Church sees it.

Second, let us all agree that their being married is better than their living together without being married. As far as they go, weddings are a good thing, and a joyful occasion that would ordinarily be unclouded by controversy.

Third, let us all cast aside opprobrium and not only hold nothing against the couples, but wish them the very best.

So on what grounds might one object?

Simple. Concubinage, or living in sin, or cohabitation, or whatever you want to call it is a public sin, and an ongoing offense against Holy Matrimony. Sorry to smudge the frosting on the wedding cake, but it is fornication plus a public, though no doubt, unintended, insult to the sacrament of matrimony, which, if you have not noticed, has taken a lot of flak lately.

Public sins cause scandal, and should be treated differently than private sins, because they can cause more evil. As noted originally, if years of concubinage end with the public approval of the pope himself, not to mention a white wedding in St. Peter's Basilica, what does that say about living together? That it is just another path to the nice church wedding? That the Church treats those who have cohabitated for years the same as the bright-eyed kids who have remained chaste? What message does it send about chastity in general?

Everything is a message with Pope Francis. One supposes his message here is, "If you're cohabitating, why, you should get married! We're all about forgiveness! The Church will welcome you!" The Bear doubts those cohabitating need the reminder, but let's hope the Pope is right.

On the eve of the October Synod, the Bear has to wonder if another message is intended. "The Church's old way of thinking about marriage is loosening up. We all need to relax about these matters and meet people where they really live."

What better way to frost the the Synod than with wedding cake icing?

24 comments:

  1. I didn't know this story was true. I thought you were joking below. A few things.

    1. The weddings are correcting the state of sin the couples have been in. This is good. We should rejoice in this correction. Whether it should be done modestly and quietly and w/o white dresses may be other Qs to consider.
    2. We don't know whether the couples were required to separate once they announced their intentions of marriage, do we? Do we know whether they confessed their mortal sin of cohabitation? If those things were done. If the couples confessed and lived in separation up until the weddings, then I think this is generally a good thing.
    3. They weren't just "blessed" as cohabitators, right? They were sacramentally married (today?)?

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  2. They were really, truly married. I don't know the answer to the other questions. I agree that it is good they got married. As stated, I am prepared to stipulate to the correctness of everything and argue whether public white weddings by the Pope at St. Peter's is a good idea or not. Obviously, this makes a statement (doesn't everything?). So was doing it in this way a good idea, or not?

    He did say that couples should have kids instead of dogs and cats, which was welcome, given the below-replacement birthrate in Italy and the rest of the West.

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  3. The Bear finds himself wondering why these couples -- all from the vicinity of Rome -- waited until now to tie the knot? Did they manifest the intention beforehand? Did word go out that the Pope was looking for 20 lucky cohabitating couples to get married in St. Peter's? What were the qualifications? Are chaste couples going to be given the same chance?

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  4. It's a mess. The message is ambiguous, which I think is precisely the point.

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  5. I have mixed feelings. Pope Francis spoke of the need to forgive those who have lived together. If that were the primary message, it would be good - but even if that is what he means I don't think it's what many people hear.

    I vaguely remember hearing that the Vatican reached out to local parishes to find couples who were already preparing for marriage. I can't find that now.

    The whole thing reminds me of the parable of the prodigal son. I have a lot of sympathy for the older brother.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like you, Elizabeth, I have a lot of sympathy for the older brother. And (wrt another parable) I've always had a lot of sympathy for the workers who toiled all day vis a vis the guy who only worked 20 minutes -- or whatever it was -- but got the same pay. I think we're allowed (or ought to be!).

      I did eventually come to understand the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, and it was my own son, aged about 6 at the time, who is responsible. My parents, who lived a long distance from us, kept a toybox for him to use when we visited. At the end of one of the visits, he accidentally left behind one of his many matchbox cars. It was over a year before we visited again, and when he found his matchbox car -- which he thought he had lost, having forgotten where he'd left it -- in the toybox, he was absolutely over the moon with elation, even though he had scads of other matchbox cars that he liked. It seemed to be about the fact that he had thought he would never see it again. It was lost, and now it was found. I finally "got" that parable :-D and I very much doubt I would have otherwise.

      (But dang -- I'd like to give the older brother a sympathetic hug, and switch plates with him at the banquet so he could have an extra dessert :-)

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    2. "But dang -- I'd like to give the older brother a sympathetic hug, and switch plates with him at the banquet so he could have an extra dessert :-)"

      :):):) indeed. (and I do think the Lord would smile at that effort)

      Delete
  6. Sadly, the tone of the media reports suggest that these cohabitating couples were married in spite of not meeting conditions expected, ie, separate and the like until the marriage...It remains somewhat unclear.

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  7. "Don't go all wobbly on me now George..."

    You are right; don't second guess yourself.

    This is the latest atrocity coming out of Bergoglio's old stomping grounds...

    http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1726765-se-realiza-el-primer-casamiento-por-iglesia-de-una-persona-trans

    ...don't forget; HE tee'd this up. The current bishop at least said the right thing, but somehow it was thought alright to give the initial ok for this abomination....where, oh where could they have gotten that idea?

    (Google translate the text to read it; the upshot is that a 'transgender couple' were given permission to 'marry' in a Catholic church in Argentina. Apparently the current bishop put the kibosh on it, but dollars-to-doughnuts the offending priest won't even be slapped on the wrist.)

    And let me ask this most politically incorrect query in re the subject of this post....did they even look for people who did everything right in following the laws of God in regard to Matrimony?...of course not; they would look too much like those awful holy card pictures, and we all know offensive that is to the BofR.

    Good for these people for wanting to get married. But when there is public scandal involved, do you not think it would have been better to do it privately, instead of literally being rewarded with a prominent, world-wide publicized papal Mass (the only marriage ceremony the Bof R has conducted)?

    Do you think this will lead to more or less cohabitation? More or less out-of-wedlock births to Catholics? More or less taking seriously the laws regarding Chastity?

    I think the answers are obvious, and that's why this is yet another scandal done under the false flag of "charity", and it is another portent as to what will (at least be attempted to) come out of this synod. We are run by sentimentality and emotionalism, and it will be the ruin of many souls.

    Kyrie eleison.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What Susan said. (And like Pete, initially I thought the Bear was pulling our leg! If only.)

    Afaic this is another crass, corrupting publicity stunt smarmily dressed up as charity, as Susan observed. It pretty much spits on those who have made the effort to live chastely prior to marriage, and sends the message that hey, at the end of the day it's cool to do, well, whatever! The Holy Father can now link arms and do the yes-you-can-can with Kim & Kanye and Brangelina. (And probably will, before this travesty is over.)

    Bear, I totally agree with you that nuance matters in religion as in conversation. It matters a whole bunch. Not so long ago, people didn't parade their misdeeds in the process of turning them around. Having once scorned humility and presumably repented, these couples ought to have married in a spirit of humility -- and Pope Francis ought to have helped them to do it.

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    Replies
    1. But then, what would be the point of the spetacolo?

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  9. I think I come down as: it is good these couples have married and "made things right." But, it should have been done modestly, quietly, out of the limelight. I am also sorry they weren't made to separate or confess. If they have not confessed and received our Lord, they have committed another mortal sin in so doing.

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  10. Was every single one of these couples living in sin? If so, there must be some kind of statement being made. I don't care for group weddings in general it looks too much like a something you'd see at a cult.

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    Replies
    1. That has been the exclusive interest of the media, so I don't know if there was anyone else. Clearly, that was the message, though.

      Delete
  11. I can't find articles about this any more, but when we were in Virginia, I was aware that at least one particular parish was preparing a wedding mass for several Latino immigrant couples who were in irregular relationships. The American parishioners were eagerly helping prepare the couples, the celebration afterward, dresses for brides. Not sure if the dresses were white or couples were separated and made confessions. I imagine while some prep time was needed, there was still some urgency to get this done to set those relationships right before God.

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    Replies
    1. The Hispanics in Virginia typically don't consider themselves married unless they have a wedding and big reception. If that's not possible they go to the courthouse or live together so the diocese has a big push to make it possible to have that wedding and fiesta afterwards. I don't have a problem with it.

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    2. I agree. The goal was to set things right for these couples. It was not to celebrate cohabitation.

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  12. I think the idea was to display people who were cohabitating, some with children. Whether all these people were already making arrangements in their parishes, I don't know. I am assuming yes, otherwise it would be beyond grotesque. I think the message is cohabitating isn't that big of a deal, and, when you're ready, you can have the deluxe white wedding (it must be said: gauche). And all of the predictable media chatter about "more merciful," and "inclusive'" is all directly on Pope Francis. It matters what people think the Church believes, doesn't it? The timing -- right before the Synod -- is suspicious. Is this the beginning of "fixing" everybody's irregular unions?

    Worse, I can't get the Billy Idol song out of my head!

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    1. God forgive me for saying so, but I think the idea was to showcase Francis as Mr. Mercy, the last word on making it all better.

      Bear: here's a new earworm for you.

      "Hey Jude"

      Hey Jude, don't make it bad
      Take a sad song and make it better
      Remember to let her into your heart
      Then you can start to make it better

      Hey Jude, don't be afraid
      You were made to go out and get her
      The minute you let her under your skin
      Then you begin to make it better

      And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain
      Don't carry the world upon your shoulders
      For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool
      By making his world a little colder
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah

      Hey Jude, don't let me down
      You have found her, now go and get her
      Remember to let her into your heart
      Then you can start to make it better

      So let it out and let it in, hey Jude, begin
      You're waiting for someone to perform with
      And don't you know that it's just you, hey Jude, you'll do
      The movement you need is on your shoulder
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah yeah

      Hey Jude, don't make it bad
      Take a sad song and make it better
      Remember to let her under your skin
      Then you'll begin to make it
      Better better better better better better, oh

      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
      Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude [fade out]

      Delete
  13. I think something else to consider is the way in which this is being reported. Now, these couples were apparently already in the pipeline to get married within the diocese. So, it is possible that they were meeting a priori conditions through local pastors. The media says they're all cohabitating couples. This Christianity Today article made me think. Some protestant pastors won't marry cohabitating couples. Maybe they would with conditions, but no one asked them.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2014/september/should-pastors-follow-pope-francis-marry-cohabiting-couples.html

    The media does not report on whether cohabitating couples (or previously married people) COULD be married in the Catholic Church. They can. But with conditions. The media is silent on the whether conditions have been met. It ruins their narrative to say they were met in some way....

    But yes, the Vatican and Holy Father have produced an ambiguous message. And the problem is that WE DON"T KNOW. But usually these are private things.

    See the Vatican is making it look like the impossible has been done. But it is not impossible for such couples to marry. They have conditions to meet. They may very well have done so...

    ANd the problem is we dont' know.

    John Allen, get on this!

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  14. aaaaand the follow up to my above link...

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/09/argentina-freak-show-just-in-time-for.html#more

    The bishop who allowed these travesties to go on is a Bergoglio appointee. Bergoglio shaped this diocese for many years; these are the fruits (no pun intended...ok, maybe a little bit)

    This IS his vision of inclusion....wake up!

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    Replies
    1. In today's article I almost said, "But nobody wants to hear the Bear rant. (Put your hand down, Badger!)

      Delete
    2. it's just so gall-darn-stinking bad (!!!)

      Delete

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