The recent Extraordinary Synod on the family was fraught with controversy. Traditional Catholic teachings on the indissolubility of marriage, homosexuality and cohabitation before marriage were on the table. While the final document released by the Synod did not, of course, change Church teaching, some of its conclusions along with the Synod discussions and media reports of these discussions were sources of confusion which could not help but hurt the Church and its faithful in today’s pagan culture.
As reported by the UK’s Catholic Herald, Cardinal Raymond Burke said the other day at a Catholic Voice conference on family and marriage, “Even within the church there are those who would obscure the truth of the indissolubility of marriage in the name of mercy.”
Perhaps as an attempt to counter the confusion of the Synod, Pope Francis, in his opening address to the Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman, said:
“We know that today marriage and the family are in crisis. We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people are simply giving up on marriage as a public commitment. This revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.”
“I urge you to bear in mind,” His Holiness further noted, “especially the young people, who represent our future. Commit yourselves, so that our youth do not give themselves over to the poisonous environment of the temporary, but rather be revolutionaries with the courage to seek true and lasting love, going against the common pattern.”
Yet, the final document of the Synod says, “[T]hose who are divorced and remarried require careful discernment and an accompaniment of great respect [italics mine].” Why great respect? There is nothing to respect. They are committing sin – public sin – which not only affects the couple involved; but also any children they may have and, perhaps, one or both of their legitimate spouses.
I don’t suggest that one shouldn’t behave civilly towards such couples. Nor that one should be unkind to them or ridicule them. After all, the object isn’t to alienate them from the Church; rather to bring them back. Certainly they should be encouraged to continue to go to Mass; but not to receive Holy Communion.
One doesn’t combat crises in marriage and sexual morality by talking about changing the Church’s teaching or minimizing the seriousness of the wrongs done by those who marry outside the Church, practice homosexuality or cohabitate when they aren’t married.
Why can’t liberals understand that obfuscating truths accomplishes nothing?
On the other hand, it is clear that some want to obfuscate – or change – the rules, thus denying truth.