George A. Sprecace M.D., J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London, P.C.
www.asthma-drsprecace.com

WHAT’S RIGHT…AND WRONG…WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH #14

This is about MARRIAGE: the free-will  contractual and sacramental union of a man and a woman into a oneness of life and purpose, including the express desire and plan to conceive and raise children, a union to persist until the death of one of the parties, and a union entered into in accordance with the forms established by the Catholic Church.  

The good news is the fact that the Church places great…even foundational… emphasis on the central role of marriage in the life of individuals and of society.  Several references supporting this statement follow: 1) the Gospel of St Mark 10:2-16; 2) “Marriage and the Family: Humanity’s Future”, Zenit 10/1/09; 3) “Opportunity Knocks For Saving Marriages”, Zenit 10/13/09; “Teaching On Marriage Key For Justice”, Zenit 10/13/09. 

The troubling news relates to two issues:

1) the injection by the Church, in my opinion without jurisdiction, into the realm of the sexual life of committed married couples in the discharge of their responsibility regarding family size. This has already been addressed elsewhere in this series.  Related here is the issue of contraceptive use within the marriage bond, often perceived to be given the gravity of teachings on abortion – that act always gravely wrong except to save the life of the mother. 

2)  The issue of Annulments in the Catholic Church,  generally perceived as the Catholic marriage “Mulligan”.  Many books and articles have addressed this subject.  I refer the reader to only three: a) Annulments and the Catholic Church, by Edward Peters, J.D., J.C. D., a very useful exposition in question and answer form;  b) “The Annulment Crisis In The Church”, by Fr. Leonard Kennedy, (Catholic Insight.com, 3/18/2000, 15-37; c) “The Church’s ‘Loose Canon’”, by Sheila Rauch Kennedy, The Los Angeles Times, July 16, 2007.  The facts and statistics are overwhelming, especially with regard to the application of Canon 1095 as a massive breach in the otherwise protective wall around Catholic Marriage.  The problem is especially acute in the United States, where the vast majority of a very large number of annulment applications are granted…only to have the vast majority of those approvals reversed when appealed to the Vatican.  And the process is long, demeaning and expensive…and unavoidably harmful to the offspring of the now “invalid” marriage.  It thus becomes difficult, if not impossible, to avoid the conclusion that Catholic Annulment  is the Catholic “Mulligan”.  Is there any question about a prominent cause of the resulting cynicism, bitterness and loss of credibility of the Church in this and inevitably in other areas of Church dogma?  Another unnecessary and self-inflicted wound. 

I WOULD WELCOME A RESPONSIVE REPLY FROM A MEMBER OR MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH HIERARCHY, WHICH REPLY I WOULD POST in toto IN THIS SECTION.  I continue to seek responsible dialogue on any and all of the issues discussed in this on-going section.  Communication would be a welcome change.

GS


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