Monday, October 13, 2014

Would the Real Pharisees Please Step Forward? The Debates on Marriage


I posted on this issue already, and took the post down because it was not stated with enough precision.  But upon further consideration, I believe my essential contribution was correct, and wish to restate it more accurately.

In the context of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, there has been an attempt by some to characterize the position of those who support current Church teaching and practice on divorce and remarriage as “Pharisaical,” while associating those who wish to accommodate some form of ecclesiastical blessing of second marriages within the Church with the evangelical mercy and love of Jesus.

This is extremely ironic, because in point of fact, it was the Pharisees who were very open to divorce and remarriage, but Jesus who opposed it. 

Let’s review the relevant texts:


Matt. 19:1   Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan; 2 and large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

Matt. 19:3   And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?”  4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?  6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”  7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”  8 He said to them, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.  9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity (Gk porneia), and marries another, commits adultery.”

Let’s discuss the background for this text.   First of all, divorce and remarriage were legally and morally permissible in Pharisaic Judaism.  There were differences among different schools of Pharisees concerning what were considered valid grounds for divorce, however.  The school of Shammai held that one could only divorce his wife for a serious offense, whereas the school of Hillel held that one could divorce for virtually any reason.  This is why the Pharisees come to Jesus and pose the question.  It was a debate within their own school of thought, and they wanted to know what the impressive young rabbi from Nazareth taught on the subject. 

Jesus endorses neither school.  His teaching on marriage is more conservative and more “restrictive” even then the school of Hillel.  The only valid grounds for divorce in Jesus’ teaching is porneia, which Christian interpretation has understood as an “unlawful union.”  Thus the Catholic understanding, based on the teaching of Jesus, is that marriage may not be dissolved unless it was never valid in the first place.

Of all the schools of thought among religious Israelites in the first century, Jesus’ teaching most closely resembles that of the Essenes, some or all of whom appear not to have countenanced divorce and remarriage, because they criticize other Jewish school(s) of thought (either or both of the Sadducees and Pharisees?) for violation of the principle of monogamy in the Damascus Document: “The ‘Shoddy-Wall-Builders’ are caught … in fornication, by taking two wives in their lifetimes, although the principle of creation is “male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27) [CD 4:20-21].

For the Pharisees, especially for the school of Hillel, divorce and remarriage were neither illegal nor immoral.  There was nothing wrong with either practice at all.  It was perfectly lawful according to the “command of Moses.” 

In Catholic teaching, one must be in a state of grace to receive the Eucharist.  A state of grace means, among other things, being essentially right with God and with the Church. 

If the question were posed to the Pharisees, “Can a man who has divorced his wife and remarried be essentially right with God and with God’s human community?” they would have responded, “Yes, of course!  Divorce is commanded by Moses!”

If the question were posed to Jesus, “Can a man who has divorced his wife and remarried be essentially right with God and God’s human community?” Our Lord’s response would be the same as above: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery,” which is a violation of one of the Ten Commandments, the summary of divine and natural law.  Adultery is of a different, graver order than a violation of liturgical rubric or a local Church custom. It is not "legalistic" or "traditionalistic" to be opposed to adultery.

So I return to my point.  Those who defend current Church practice and teaching on divorce and remarriage are formally aligned with the teaching of Jesus, whereas those proposing various relaxations of doctrine or practice on this issue are more alike, formally, to the teaching of the Pharisees.  So there is no legitimacy at all, exegetically considered, for the attempted association of the position of, for example, Cardinal Burke with the Pharisees, and that of Cardinal Kasper with Jesus.  It is, rather, inverted and ironic: precisely the opposite of the actual state of affairs.

[I am not commenting here on the merits of different pastoral proposals put forward by different synod participants.  My colleague Jacob Wood has already written here with great precision to demonstrate that some proposals are impossible to reconcile with the Church’s doctrinal commitments. ]

Returning to the issue of the Pharisees, let us remember that Jesus elsewhere criticizes them for using convoluted or strained moral or legal reasoning to avoid the straightforward application of divine law.

For example:

Mark 7:9   And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!  10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die’; 11 but you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God) —  12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,  13 thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do.”

Here Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for using a legal ruse concerning the donation of property to the sanctuary to avoid supporting their own parents.  The moral principles of the Ten Commandments—divine and natural law—should override cultic and ritual requirements developed within the community, not vice-versa.

Many within the Church already feel that the widespread ease with which decrees of nullity are granted by tribunals threatens to undermine the clear teaching of Jesus on the indissolubility of marriage—how much more so if the validity of one’s previous marriage were to be left to the conscience of the individuals, as some are reported to have proposed!  The great number of grounds upon which nullity can be established run the risk of appearing to be a new form of religious casuistry to avoid the challenge of divine law.  It is not always clear to many of the faithful why Jesus would not direct the following words to the Church in the 21st century:

 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting my commandments, in order to keep your tradition!  For I said, “He who divorces his wife, except for porneia, and marries another commits adultery, but you say, ‘If a man obtains a decree of nullity from a tribunal—then you no longer permit him to do anything for his wife, and allow him to remarry, thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do.”

I am not affirming or denying anything about current Church practice, of course, but only pointing out that the frequent dispensation of decrees of nullity in the Church are causing doubts within the minds of the faithful concerning the Church’s commitment in practice to the principle of indissolubility.  Although the Church formally acknowledges indissolubility, in practice annulments appear to function as “Catholic divorce,” and appear to be as easy to obtain as civil divorces.  And proposals to make annulments even easier to obtain do nothing to allay the impression many have that the Church is not communally committed to living out Jesus’ radical call to discipleship in practice.  This results in a degradation of the Church’s moral authority and a failure to take her teaching seriously, because many cannot recognize that teaching as coherent.

Finally, let us reflect for a moment on the fact that, in the Sermon on the Mount, Our Lord consistently raised the moral requirements of true discipleship vis-à-vis the Pharisees and contemporary Jewish practice, rather than lowering them. 

He says clearly: “I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:20).

The Pharisees were content if one did not murder; Jesus forbids even unjust anger.

The Pharisees were content with avoidance of adultery; Jesus forbids even lustful glances.

The Pharisees were content if a certificate of divorce were legally issued; Jesus forbids divorce.

The Pharisees were content with keeping oaths; Jesus forbids oaths.

The Pharisees limited retaliation to the lex talionis; Jesus forbids personal retaliation.

The Pharisees were content with love of neighbor; Jesus advocates love of enemies.

The idea—which seems to be widespread—that Jesus’ morally teaching was somehow less demanding or more relaxed than that of the Pharisees is quite incorrect.  It is true that Jesus did not endorse the plethora of ritual washings and other purity regulations practiced by the Pharisees, but on matters of moral law he was more, not less, stringent.

The challenge with which the Synod struggles is how to balance Jesus’ demanding call for holiness of life—“ You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48)—with Jesus’ willingness to go virtually anywhere, and meet with anyone, in order personally to issue that call to repentance and holiness to them.  It is not an easy pastoral balance to achieve, and the synod fathers need our prayer.

37 comments:

Susan Moore said...

Well put! Awesome. Thank you!
Also, in the past 6 years when iI have been trying to learn how to prioritize where to put the time, talent and treasure God gives me, friends have all counseled me to first make sure my biological family, particularly my parents, were taken care of. They could never give Scriptural support for it, but it seems it may come from that Mark 7:9 verse. Affter getting ridof all my stuff and 17 animals, the first people Jesus had me to tend to were my parents, who were both ill. I was estranged from them, again, so it was an interesting experience to willingly move into their condo and care for them, thus immediatly immersng my self in the whole family and community that I was also estranged from due to my previous psychosis.
What a ride my life has been. Glory to God in the Highest.

De Maria said...

I don't agree with your assessment.

You say,

In the context of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, there has been an attempt by some to characterize the position of those who support current Church teaching and practice on divorce and remarriage as “Pharisaical,”

But the website which you recommended to me was composed of Catholics whom you characterize as supporting current Catholic Teaching and practice on divorce and remarriage chastising and insulting those who are in favor of obeying Pope Francis call to re-evaluate the current discipline.

I'm still not sure what dilemma you see in the question being considered. As I understand the Pope, he is NOT asking for a reconsideration of the Doctrine. But in a reconsideration for our response to the Doctrine. The words of Christ are indissoluble and absolute truth. It is not those words which they are considering to change. What is being reconsidered is how we implement the discipline to address those who have violated His words.

As it is now, it is almost as though those who divorced and remarried have committed the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the unpardonable sin. But in the Old Testament, Moses recognized the hardness of men's hearts and gave a certificate of divorce. So, if God pardoned this sin in the Old Testament, why is the Church incapable of pardoning this sin in the New?

Isn't the Church given the authority by God to:

"John 20:23New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

23 [a]Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Sincerely,

De Maria

De Maria said...

Oh yea, and current Catholic Teaching commands us to obey the Pope. That forum to which you provided a link was not composed of people whom I would characterize as supporting current Catholic Teaching on ANY matter. It is composed of people whom I would characterize as supporting and defending their own definition of what the Church Teaches.

Susan Moore said...

Why would God grant grace to someone worshiping an idol?

John Bergsma said...

De Maria: Pope Francis is a very humble man, who called for open debate on these subjects. Pope Francis has made no decision on anything yet, so it is impossible for me to be disobedient to him. Moreover, I am acting in obedience to him by offering my testimony and point of view. Pope Francis is a shepherd who wants to hear from the sheep. I am a stinky sheep with a degree in Scripture, so I'm just offering my perspective for his consideration and the consideration of the Church. And by linking to Jacob Wood's article, I am not thereby endorsing the entire website that hosts the article. I am only endorsing the article I linked to, which is perfectly in accord with the teaching of St. John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio.

Justin Melville said...

Many people, even in the Church, think that the church will adapt to the times. In fact, they expect it. The church can't change its faith. It can however change it's expression of it. I really hope they keep the same practice that's in place. Laxity in this area would in fact show that there is a lack of commitment to being radical. We did a lot of this after the second Vatican council in an attempt to adapt to protestantism..rather a misapplication of the council brought change that under the pretext of unity broke away from Jesus call to be radical as Jesus sets for us in the gospels.




De Maria said...

Susan,

Have you ever read "the Last Battle" by CS Lewis? Never underestimate the marcy of God.

De Maria said...

Hello John,


Blogger John Bergsma said...
De Maria: Pope Francis is a very humble man, who called for open debate on these subjects. Pope Francis has made no decision on anything yet, so it is impossible for me to be disobedient to him.


You're interpreting his words totally different than I do. Pope Francis is not calling for an academic exercise. He is calling for a solution to a problem. And yes, it is very possible for you and many others to be disobedient to him, if you go through the motions of obeying his word without obeying the spirit of his words in good faith.

Moreover, I am acting in obedience to him by offering my testimony and point of view. Pope Francis is a shepherd who wants to hear from the sheep. I am a stinky sheep with a degree in Scripture, so I'm just offering my perspective for his consideration and the consideration of the Church. And by linking to Jacob Wood's article, I am not thereby endorsing the entire website that hosts the article. I am only endorsing the article I linked to, which is perfectly in accord with the teaching of St. John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio.

Ok. If you're doing so in good faith and your conscience is not bothered, there is nothing more to say on that matter.

As for the article to which you linked. The title of that article is "Discipline changes Doctrine". On its face, that is false. Both logically and historically. Disicpline has changed throughout Catholic Church history, yet her Doctrines, remain absolute.

Susan Moore said...

I do not uphold the writings of humans above the inspired word of God, so please, if you have the time, help me to understand by showing me in His book where God grants grace to someone worshiping an idol.

De Maria said...

Anonymous Justin Melville said...
Many people, even in the Church, think that the church will adapt to the times. In fact, they expect it.


The Church has always adapted to the times, Justin. Have you ever heard of usury? There was a time when the Church forbade the charging of any interest for a loan. The Church no longer forbids the charging of interest. That is adaptation to the times. The Church understood that by forbidding the charging of interest, she was actually placing obstacles to the alleviation of certain economic problems.

The church can't change its faith.

The Church will never change its faith. Unfortunately, there are cold hearted and self centered people who attribute any change to a change in faith. The ultra traditionalist faction of the Church left the Church because the Church accepts the Baptism of the heretics. More left when the Church went from the Tridentine Mass to the Novus Ordu. Not realizing that the Church has always accepted the baptism of certain heretics but rebaptized others. Or that the Tridentine Mass was once the Novus Ordu of its day.

Yes sir, the Church has changed plenty, but the Church has never changed the absolute aspects of the Faith of Jesus Christ.

It can however change it's expression of it. I really hope they keep the same practice that's in place. Laxity in this area would in fact show that there is a lack of commitment to being radical.

Leaving the practice unchanged is a form of laxity in my opinion. There are already other groups in our faith who are in similar situations and the Church has adapted to include them in the Sacraments. Take the men who have sterilized themselves, for example. The Pastoral practice in response to this mortal sin is not to demand that they reverse the procedure. But, even though they commit a mortal sin every time they unite themselves with their wives in now sterile act of sexual intimacy, they are forgiven this sin.

I see no big difference between that set of people and those who are divorced and remarried. If men who intentionally sterilized themselves in direct and flagrant disobedience to Catholic Teaching concerning the marriage act, can be forgiven and admitted to the Sacraments, I see no reason why the divorced and remarried can not also be admitted.

We did a lot of this after the second Vatican council in an attempt to adapt to protestantism..rather a misapplication of the council brought change that under the pretext of unity broke away from Jesus call to be radical as Jesus sets for us in the gospels.

We're not talking about helping people who are hardened against the Catholic Church.

According to the Catholic News Service,

"The pope had told reporters accompanying him on his plane back from Rio de Janeiro in July that the next synod would explore a “somewhat deeper pastoral care of marriage,” including the question of the eligibility of divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion."

Anonymous said...

So, you want Dr. Bergsma to take the words of Pope Francis in the "spirit" they are offered but you disagree with the article based on its title?

De Maria said...

Anonymous Susan Moore said...
I do not uphold the writings of humans above the inspired word of God, so please, if you have the time, help me to understand by showing me in His book where God grants grace to someone worshiping an idol.


Some of the writings of humans will help you understand the inspired word of God.

The book is about a brave warrior, who follows an evil king and worships a false god. The brave warrior does so in good faith and dies. When he goes to the after life, God pardons him, because, as Jesus said from the Cross:

Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Susan, if Jesus counsels us to forgive our brother every time they ask forgiveness, do you think that He will do any less?

De Maria said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
So, you want Dr. Bergsma to take the words of Pope Francis in the "spirit" they are offered but you disagree with the article based on its title?


Are you saying that the title is misapplied? If so, then the comments following the article seem to have misunderstood the article.

If not, give me an example of a disciplinary change in Church history which has changed Doctrine. . However, based upon the comment section, I understand the title to be a summary of that which it purports to teach.

Justin Melville said...

@ Susan Moore: Read 1 Samuel 5:6-7 Fear of the Lord is a hidden grace. In fact I am willing to bet that many of the philistines were converted and no longer believed in their false god because of it.

Susan Moore said...

If someone who is asking for forgiveness, who is approaching God with a humble and contrite, remorseful heart, therefore worshiping an idol? No, that person is worshiping the Almighty God.

Thank you, but I have no use for man-made fables. Man is sinful and therefore full of lies and
deceit. St. Paul thought the Berean's noble when they took his teachings and compared them to Scripture in order to discern if St. Paul was speaking the truth (Acts 17:5-16), therefore, I have no desire to do otherwise.

So,so far no one has shared with me an example from our Holy Bible where someone was worshiping an idol and God turned His back to that behavior and granted grace that was not sought. Come on, it's a big book, surely there is one example?!

Justin Melville said...

@ Susan Moore: There is a very clear one in the book of Exodus. Shortly after God delivered his people from the promise land, what did they do? They fell into idol worship..God wanted to turn his back on the people but Moses reminded him that if he did that, look what the people of Egypt would say. So instead he turned his back on the sin itself and granted grace even though Israel deserved their own flood. That said, I think the whole old testament is an excellent read. I think as Catholics we get lost and fixated on the new testament. I think we become numb to the words of God in the old. If we could focus on the words of God being the same as the words of Jesus (that its actually God himself), then I think perhaps we would be able to view it differently. That's helped me at least. Anyhow I hope this sample from scripture helps more than the previous one. It's the most obvious one from the old testament. God bless.

Susan Moore said...

Hi Justin,
Thanks for playing with your sister (me)! This beats doing homework anytime!!
I was taught that grace is when God gives us something (Himself) we don’t deserve, such as salvation, healing, or eternal glorification with Him. On the other hand, mercy is when God does not give us something we do deserve, such as suffering, pain or eternal hell.

It seems the Exodus 32:5-14 passage is a great example of God’s mercy, in that He relented from destroying the idol-worshiping Israelites with His wrath, which they deserved. Furthermore, it gives a great example of the importance of intercessory prayer and sacrificial love (just think, God was ready to give Moses that land as his own!!).

So, thank you very much. Having been at one time a strong-willed and oppositional Child of God I, too, am grateful for that Exodus example. But my question must remain, why would God grant grace to someone worshiping an idol?

De Maria said...

Susan,

My question in turn, to you is, "Why shouldn't God grant grace to those WHOM YOU BELIEVE are worshipping idols?"

The Synod is gathering to consider many questions. One of them is about those Catholics who are divorced and remarried. If these Catholics have repented of their sin, why do you call them idol worshippers?

As I said before, there are other people in similar situations of their own making which forces them to commit sin continually, yet the Church has pardoned them. So, what is so heinous about this group that they should be, essentially, excommunicated?

Susan Moore said...

Nope, I asked first. Just one example.

De Maria said...

Susan,

What was wrong with my previous answers and examples? Did you read them? Or did you reject them out of hand and then pretend that I didn't answer your question?

Justin Melville said...

Susan, the answer to the question is found in mercy itself. Mercy is the very reason for why God would grant grace to someone worshiping an idol. As you stated yourself: If someone who is asking for forgiveness, who is approaching God with a humble and contrite, remorseful heart, therefore worshiping an idol? No, that person is worshiping the Almighty God.

Of course with the analogy, they never asked for mercy. Perhaps then the answer at least in the Exodus example is that God takes mercy on our lack of faith itself in human frailty. Your still dealing with the subject of mercy, though now your factoring in their ignorance or lack of full understanding...They had been exposed to the Egyptians God for years and there was a degree of human impatience for this promised land ahead of them. In their impatience and their previous exposure to the idol gods of Egypt, God chose for mercy. Though I'm pretty positive that even then they in one way or another paid the price... Scorpions, desert sand...snakes....lots of walking...hardly seeing green shrubbery cold desert nights, no plumbing, no electricity (not that it was needed with the divine presence..that functioned like a giant street lamp for the entire camp), but you get the picture. It certainly wasn't a rose garden for them. Anyhow I hope this helps a bit. Its a valid question and a good one.

Nick said...

Annulment isn't divorce, it's a process that means a marriage didn't take place - thereby protecting the sanctity of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, lest evildoers use it for evil means: abusers marrying their victims to continue abusing them, same-sex marriage, zoophilia, incest, polygamy, forced marriage, etc. In other words: because God made man male and female and made marriage between man and woman, so we have annulments.

On a historical note, annulments in medieval times were called divorces because the man and woman separated - not because the marriage didn't end, since there was no marriage in the beginning.

Susan Moore said...

De Maria, your previous answers and examples are not even close to being in the same spiritual playing field as the divorce/remarriage issue. Your being bossy and bullish with your words is not impressive, or loving. But I understand your frustration, both by living through a disastrous marriage and resultant divorce, and also because it's not a fair question.

There is one example in the Bible that I have found, and it took me 6 weeks of frenzied study to find it and understand. It's Ezekiel 14:1-11.

Justin, I don't think suffering can stand in for mercy, their suffering didn't remove their sin, only the risen Christ could pay the price for their sin (and ours), but I greatly appreciate your perseverance and heart! Check out the Ezekiel verses! He does grant an idol worshiper grace, my own life seems to teach me that He meets an idol worshiper, Himself, directly and addresses [my] idolatry (vs 4), as a way of recapturing [my] heart (vs 5). He, in my case, referring to my indwelled Spirit.

Nick said...

Susan Moore,

You have many good words, but it is best to talk less and pray more. As Saint John of the Cross says, "...Then they develop a somewhat vain - at times very vain - desire to speak of spiritual things in others' presence, and sometimes even to instruct rather than be instructed;..."

From: http://www.catholictreasury.info/books/dark_night/dn3.php

De Maria said...

Susan Moore said...
De Maria, your previous answers and examples


But you do acknowledge that I gave answers. And, you have not answered my question.

are not even close to being in the same spiritual playing field as the divorce/remarriage issue…..

1. You didn't ask about divorce/remarriage.
2. What spiritual playing field are you talking about? Who even mentioned such a thing?

Anyway, I can see you're getting flustered. Bye.

Susan Moore said...

No, actually I was greatly enjoying our conversation. Sooooorry, I'm also trying to do homework, I know that multitasking is beyond the scope of my pee brain, but I was actually enjoying both. I was reading, "On the Unity of Christ" by St. Cyril of Alexandria for my Christology class.
Anyway, perhaps God will have us to chat another time. I pray thee well, friend.
Blessings!

Justin Melville said...

De Maria, I would actually have to agree with Susan. Your a big bully.

Susan: My answer is sufficient. Get back to your homework.

De Maria said...

Justin Melville said...
De Maria, I would actually have to agree with Susan. Your a big bully.

Susan: My answer is sufficient. Get back to your homework.


Ha, ha! Good one! Yeah, Susan, do as he says!

Susan Moore said...

:-D
Praying...

Justin Melville said...

You! I was gently correcting her while at the same time diligently encouraging her to study. I did this out of genuine concern for her well being.

Justin Melville said...

@ susan: Good. You just ignore DeMaria. I'm on your side for this one. I've got your back! :) But still, dont give up on your studies. That needs to be your principle focus at this pivotal time in your life: Prayer and studying. Nick is right in that you need to limit your sacred page postings and put more into your education.

Justin Melville said...

In fact on that note, your studying is actually a form of prayer. Not that we shouldnt pray apart from our duties. By all means we are called to have a set prayer time where we can make our petitions known to God. But the beautiful thing is that prayer never has to stop.

Justin Melville said...

Sorry but one last thing: DeMaria, I do not wish to insult you. In fact I dont think at heart you are a bad person. But your making me and others on here upset. You are not entering into discussion, your entering into attacking people.

You did it to Susan Moose and even though you have never done this to me, I am still feel insulted. You have to be careful what you say. You have great potential with the knowledge that you have. You just have to work on actualizing it so that it can be a conversation instead of an insult. I guess what I'm trying to say is: Become the better you!

Justin Melville said...

oh geeze!! Susan Im so sorry I didnt mean to call you Moose! That was NOT intentional. If I were to say that after that whole speech... Speak about watching what you say. Susan MOORE, you are a great woman of God. Good night everyone.

De Maria said...

Justin Melville said...
Sorry but one last thing: DeMaria, I do not wish to insult you. In fact I dont think at heart you are a bad person. But your making me and others on here upset. You are not entering into discussion, your entering into attacking people.


What precisely upset you? Did I insult someone? Did I call them a name? Disagreeing with someone is not the same thing as attacking someone. We live, or at least, I live in America. I reserve the right to express my opinion.

I could see you being upset if I called someone stupid or cursed them or something. But getting upset because I don't agree with everyone's opinion? C'mon, really?

Justin Melville said...

Really. Listen to your words: "Ve live, oz at least, I* lize in ZAmerica. I* reserze ze right to express ze opinion!"

Are you right in a certain theological matters? You do have some good things to say. You have been on this blog long before I even heard of it so I don't really know your theology to fully critique you. However, I do believe you are right on certain points and actually make some really good ones....

But I also know that your very words: "I reservze ze right/Im Ze American god of ceology" are the very reason why this country is no longer a safe place for the unborn. The right to do something doesn't necessarily mean you should do something. I guess my point to you, presuming you accept it instead of seeing it as another argument, is that not everything has to be an argument. Theological discussion entails diologuing with individuals even if you think your 100% right or in fact are 100% right. Jesus was always 100% right. But if he had said to the pharasites "your wrong! its this way!" instead of giving examples or wanting to convert them beyond saving the people who they were corrupting, they would have never converted.

Mary Angelica said...

Good stuff Dr. Bergsma! i will say one thing about the leniency of annulments. My mother and step father had to obtain declarations of nullity for previous marriages, both of which it would not take a canon lawyer to realize they were invalid. However, the process for each annulment was starkly different. My mother had to obtain hers in the United States, and here the annulments are known for being efficient (perhaps too much so). On the other hand, my step-father had to obtain his in South America, since he was married there, and the process took no less than 15 years. The problem is that over there, annulments are not necessarily attended to for a very long time; sometimes, they are left in some file bin and forgotten if there is any sort of alteration in leadership. In my step-father's case, the priest actually went crazy and burned the whole place down, including the annulment papers not only of my step-dad, but also of pretty much anyone else who might have been seeking an annulment in Caracas. He had to then restart the process after not hearing for over 10 years what happened.

This is probably why were are hearing a lot of "streamlining" of annulments. I don't think the US of A would really benefit from it all that much. 1-2 years really shouldn't be much of a strain, and we as a nation are responsible for 70% of annulments, even though we make up less than 10% of the Catholics. But South America can be woefully bad with its paperwork, and that doesn't help those who really were in invalid marriages.