Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Impending Catholic debate on divorce: more serious than birth-control dispute

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Mar 14, 2014

In the Light of the Law, the blog run by canon lawyer Edward Peters, is always informative and sometimes more. This post, on the “gathering storm” over the possibility that divorced and remarried Catholics might be admitted to the Eucharist, is more.

Peters shares my belief that when the dust settles, the Synod of Bishops will uphold the Church’s clear and constant teaching. But he also shares my fear that before and after the Synod, that teaching will be attacked and undermined in many Catholic circles, leaving the faithful confused and creating the impression that the teaching is optional. This has happened before, he notes, in the treatment of Humanae Vitae, with the net result that the Church’s condemnation of artificial contraception is widely ignored.

But there is a crucial difference, Peters observes. Pastors must know that most young couples are using contraceptives. But they cannot know (outside the confessional) whether any particular couple is using contraceptives, because that is a private matter. Marriage, however, is a public act. Thus Peters concludes:

For ecclesiastical officialdom to look the other way on contraception was, in a sense, possible; but for it to do so in regard to divorce, remarriage, and the reception of holy Communion would be immediately recognized as the practical abandonment of a major doctrino-disciplinary point.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our July expenses ($16,437 to go):
$35,000.00 $18,563.29
47% 53%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Jeff Mirus - Mar. 19, 2014 2:26 PM ET USA

    Dan raises a significant question, but it has to be properly phrased and then properly answered. I attempt to do both in Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, Fidelity, Communion, Vocation.

  • Posted by: Dan - Mar. 18, 2014 5:52 AM ET USA

    In an age of no-fault divorce (a device created to "liberate" women from abusive marriages), good Catholics (ironically, mostly women) have divorce forced on them against their will. Is it just for the Church to deny these victims access to the Sacraments?

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Introducing the Church Fathers 13 hours ago
Straws in the Wind July 25
Hans Urs von Balthasar on Renewal that Matters July 25
Wrongheaded diocesan legal defenses in abuse cases July 24
New HHS Mandate must truly eliminate complicity July 23

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
New management, new changes coming for reformed Vatican bank CWN - July 8
Sweeping reforms to Vatican's media, financial operations CWN - July 9
‘Even Genghis Khan didn’t do this’: Mosul emptied of Christians CWN - July 21