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Sunday, July 10, 2016

The church on not-really-married sex

In the news, Catholic Bishop Wants to Ban Married Sex: A conservative bishop in Philadelphia says remarried Catholics can take communion just as long as they aren’t having sex. And gays? Fuggedaboutit.

Yep, Catholic views on people's sex lives has reached The Daily Beast ;) What makes it news is that conservative Archbishop Chaput is willing to put into public words the church's belief (a belief shared by Pope Francis, BTW) that people who are divorced/remarried and LGBT people who are married are not really married. And since the church only allows married people to have sex (in theory), divorced/remarried people and married LGBT people must refrain from sex in order to be in good standing.

This is why there's the dust-up over whether divorced/remarried people can take communion - given the church's doctrine, these people are living in continuous sin if they're having a sex life. They can't even confess their sin, be forgiven, and then go to communion, because they plan to continue to sin .... what's weird is that if they had murdered their spouse instead of merely divorcing them, they actually could confess, be forgiven, and go to communion.

And when I wrote that Catholics in good standing are not supposed to have sex outside of marriage in theory, what I meant was that at any given time about half of the celibate clergy is having sex, and that almost all Catholics have sex before marriage and that most cohabit before marriage. Yet there's no great campaign to stop all these people from going to communion, as there is with divorced/remarrieds and LGBT marrieds.

But, anyway, there's a way out for these not-really-married people (well, unless they're LGBT). Just buy an annulment from the church in which you and the church enter into the fiction that you were actually never really married the first time. Then your second marriage becomes your first (wink wink) and the church gets to preserve the falsehood that it follows Jesus' advice not to allow divorce.

The level of cynicism and dishonesty is depressing. And what is never discussed is whether the church has got the view of what Jesus meant wrong. That is the one bridge too far for the church - admitting it might be mistaken.

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