What to do about divorced and remarried Catholics

I recently attended a Mass where at the homily the celebrant spoke about the need for compassion for divorced and remarried Catholics, about how the Church needed to re-examine her “traditions” and allow that people sometimes make mistakes.

I think the answer here is very simple (although the implications may not be). There are 2 kinds of tradition in the Church – those we call Tradition with a capital T which were passed on down from Jesus and the Apostles, including the authority of scripture, the sacraments, and so on. These Traditions are from God and cannot be changed.

Then there are small-t traditions which might include disciplines which the Church maintains for good reason, such as priestly celibacy, but which could be changed if there was good reason to do so.

So what we need to decide is which kind of tradition the doctrine that a marriage is permanent and only ends with the death of one spouse falls under. One could say that Matthew 5:32 is fairly definite in this:

But I say to you, that whoever divorces his wife – unless the marriage is unlawful – causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery“. (from the Mass Lectionary as quoted in the St. Josephs Sunday Missal)

Not sure how compassion for the divorced and remarried can be reconciled with this.


About lewistoncatholic

A new resident of the City of Lewiston Maine. My family moved here from Massachusetts. A lifelong Catholic that fell away from the Church in my teens and came back in 1999 after a journey through various Protestant faith traditions.
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