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Considering the rules for divorce in the Catholic Church

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Michael Sean Winters brings up the coming Synods to consider how the remarried might come back to the Communion table. You can read his comments at http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/divorce-remarriage

My response follows:

Experience does have a lot to say. While some pastors have experience counseling, experience staying married or going through divorce is probably more valuable. As for Communion, the Episcopal Church awaits for those Catholics who need it if the Catholics don't get it right. I found out first hand that children of divorce are more likely to do the same (and married one). That should be grounds for annulment right away and a matter investigated more fully pre-marriage.

On the sacramental marriage of nature - the clergy needs to remember that the priest does NOT perform the marriage - the couple does. The pastor is not the stand-in for parents making a property transaction in acquiring a wife for their son. That should also cover the Church on the marriage equality debate.

The Orthodox approach is not the solution, but it does indicate that a solution can be devised. Marriage existed as a sacrament before the Church and would survive its destruction. That is where the humility on Marriage should come from.

God's mercy is important in this debate - and that does not just mean not withholding Communion. I would suggest that Adultery be a cause for a kind of sacramental divorce - with the offending party never allowed to marry again unless forgiven by the offended party - whose freedom to remarry should be unobstructed regardless of whether he or she holds the other party bound. The same structure should also govern cases of abuse, alcoholism and mental illness (although sometimes both parties may have a mental diagnosis - so severity must come into play as well). A diangosis should not bar either party from marrying again - but should be a concern on remarriage.

Will the Church get down to brass tacks on these issues? I hope so, but I do not hold my breath.

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