One of the things that worries me about the current annulment situation in the Catholic Church and the attendant controversy about admitting those in irregular relationships to communion is the prospect of the rise of a sort of gnostic cult in the church of the ‘canonically married’, of those few deemed psychologically integrated and sexually mature and spiritually wise enough to actually be able to achieve a valid marriage.
Or who can afford the price of the annulment.
Conservatives fear the pope is tossing Catholic teaching on marriage , but they needn’t worry. The Church’s praxis has already effectively done that.
What the Church is wrestling with is not the notion of the indissolubility of marriage, but exactly how to deal with people in less-than-perfect situations, especially when everyone knows cases of scandalous annulments.
Dealing with moral imperfectioin shouldn’t be that hard. The Church has long understood that while Jesus calls us to perfection he demands far less. That is why men who make their living from exploiting workers are not forbidden communion, why soldiering and banking and voting against the poor and the enwombed is tolerated.
I say give communion to everyone who approaches, especially the babies. Give it to the nice old ladies who live together and the homeless man and the hooker who sends her kids to the parochial school and the flamboyant black drag queen.
Which I have actually seen in DC 25 years ago at the Latin Mass at St Mary’s downtown, the one where I worshipped with Justice Scalia and Pat Buchanan and tons of Christendom and TAC alumni and street people.
The one with the anti-Jewish conspiracy literature on the table during coffee hour and the glassy-eyed families in suits and long dresses.
For humans defy classification and are full of surprises.