Outmaneuvered


But don’t let it get to you.

The usual St Blog’s suspects have posted on Michael Schiavo’s marriage to the woman with whom he’s lived for the past several years. It’s an outrage, and all, most are saying. But is it? Is it really?

I can’t help but see a streak of misplaced and unhealthy vengeance in those who have renewed their criticism of Schiavo, his new wife, the priest who married them, the bishop, and just about anybody else who gets in the way of self-righteous anger.

May I make a suggestion?

Give this one a rest.

Here’s why:

1. Schiavo said he intended to marry the woman who has borne their children once he was free to do so. If there was a canonical problem with the validity of this marriage, why weren’t the armchair canon lawyers in operation before this? Why wait until after the vows?

2. Are we not glad that a cohabiting couple has made their relationship a regular and moral one? The outrage seems misplaced when it criticizes an attempt to resolve what would appear to be an immoral situation.

3. By bringing the pro-Terri crowd to life again and get involved in canon law, this has ceased to be a pro-life issue. And as an issue of Church law (which may or may not apply to this case) it draws attention and energy away from authentic issues for which human beings are dying this very minute: abortion, human trafficking, unjust wars, etc.. I’m not saying the only good outrage to muster is on life issues, mind you. But I don’t think you can call it a pro-life issue, no matter how little we might thinnk of Michael Schiavo.

4. Schiavo did all he could to minimize the publicity on this one. While some might say he’s pulled a fast one on the Church … again … I’m thinking that modesty and decorum on the issue has been torpedoed by his detractors.

5. The exaggerated claims made in attacking him have resurfaced. That should tell you this is a dogfight to stay out of. I’ve already read someone who questioned how his once-divorced new wife could get an annulment so quickly. Easy answer: if she and Schiavo had planned to wed, she had years to procure the procedure. Why make suggestions that the bishop, the tribunal, and the parish priest are involved in a conspiracy to pour salt in a pro-life wound? It’s not always about you.

This uproar boils down to simple gossip. Not much more. Canon lawyers think they have the law on their side, but guess what: you’re too late. Pro-lifers may see the connection, but though it may hurt to admit it, Schiavo is more or less a private citizen now and there is no longer a pro-life issue connected with him. And if Schiavo is truly and deeply evil, he’s pretty much out of reach of those outraged by him. He can continue to be the target of attempts that only serve to make his detractors look bad.

Eventually, one must come to grips with losing, and attempt to do so with grace.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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