The issue of the sacraments for the divorced and remarried has certainly caught on like fire. Mostly among people who are not affected by the doctrine and discipline it represents. It may be illustrative that remarried Catholics are not picketing, marching in holiday parades, or otherwise pursuing their “aggressivist” agenda in the public square. It seems to me all the heavy lifting is being done by clerics and non-divorced people.
It makes me wonder just for whom we think all the foment is. It might be that too many Catholics have already been chased out of the smaller, purer church. In the end, perhaps nobody will return to the sacraments. Cardinals Kasper and Burke will have nudged their publishing engines to the sound of crickets in the Communion line.
My friend Scott Smith has been dogging me persistently at PrayTell–you caught one of his comments here yesterday, perhaps. I asked for Patristic sources. He gave me Cardinal Burke and one Professor Adam Cooper. He insists he’s not trying to convert me, but I’ve talked to a lot of JW’s and Saints on my front doorstep in my day. I know when “those” expectations float like little balloons in a one-way conversation.
Gathering ancient sources for a survey and discernment is not quite the same as finding the most convincing support for one’s position. When church figures give us their 100% case for no-Communion with a smile, I grow suspicious. Especially when they fail to apply the same rigor to other teachings of the Lord, like waging war.
I don’t recall any such rigorist approach when it comes to organized human violence. Sure, pacifism has its advocates. And perhaps we root for pacifism in select cases … when we don’t want Ferguson to erupt next door or lunch counters to get torn out from in front of the coffeemakers. Or when we can watch Ben Kingsley on the big screen from a safe distance of a chunk of a century.
But there never has been a cited passage of Jesus where he caved in on the issue. And please don’t embarrass yourself by citing his parable about going to war or suing for peace in advance.
I am fully aware that 1 Cor 11:27ff is cited in connection with divorce and remarriage. But the truth is that this instance is not given as a reason for receiving the sacrament unworthily. Rigorists today make the connection. They don’t adopt the patristic/medieval view of how to treat soldiers returning from battle. Imagine the howlers if Catholic military chaplains began to cite the Gospel and the practice of the early Church and suggest a soldier needed some time before returning to the Eucharist.
I think it was John Thavis who reported from an Italian agency that Cardinal Burke’s no-no-no talk yesterday was received with “icy silence.” Do we see where this is going?
For the record, I’m not at all scandalized that people other than myself, people with the reality of broken first marriages, might need the sacraments as much or more than I do. I’m satisfied that the Church seems to be taking an open discernment seriously. I feel fairly sure I can accept what comes from the synod. I don’t anticipate any personal problems, of course, so it’s easy for me to say that.
But however much I think pacifism (to cite one example) is the way to go, and the way we could be considering more strongly, I’m not, unlike my friend Mr Smith, going to suggest that the Just War faction isn’t standing with Jesus because they have set aside his discomfiting statements about hate in the heart. Unlike Cardinal Burke, I believe I can distinguish between accepting life’s paradoxes and difficulties. I’m not scandalized by human failure. And I don’t mind standing up and speaking out in favor of mercy–whatever that might entail within the good bounds of Christianity.
I suggested Scott bring the discussion here from PrayTell. You other readers are certainly welcome to join.