The People Speak Out

Local voices connecting globally

This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.  (Pope Francis)

Canon Law 212 calls upon the laity to speak up:

2 - The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

§3. - According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

I am a member of the Roman Catholic Religious Congregation..

Many years ago my younger sister married a man, in a civil ceremony, who was an alcoholic with whom she had four children. She did so for numerous reasons, part of which I believe was to escape an oppressive situation at home. A year or so later, his and our mother persuaded them to have their marriage blessed. My sister suffered through many years of physical and mental abuse with this man because, as with so many good persons, she believed her marriage to be indissoluble. Finally, she divorced this man and entered into a civil marriage with another man.

Because she thought she was violating church teaching, she stopped receiving communion and going to Mass. As a result, her children and grandchildren ended up being unchurched.

My sister is a very good and loving person. She bore two other children with her second husband and continues to be a strong support for all of them despite some of them suffering from mental and physical ailments. For many years she felt deeply pained because of her separation from the church and, at my first Mass, declined communion when I offered it to her.. Thankfully, after many years she came to the realization that her first marriage was invalid, proceeded with an annulment and had her second marriage blessed (by me, I might add).

My question has long been this: what was gained in isolating her from communion and the church due to her remarriage. She not only lost the consolation of the church community and sacraments but her children and grandchildren are unchurched.

Somehow, the church’s teaching on divorce and remarriage must be reexamined and changed. I do not know anyone who takes their marriage commitment lightly, especially when made in the name of God and the church. It’s about time this absolutely good will on the part of married couples be acknowledged and honored. Divorced and remarried Catholics must never be taught they are sinners. Knowing as I do the struggles for holiness by so many, I can’t believe that God considers them sinners and outside the communion of the church.

I chose to remain anonymous to protect my family.{jcomments on}