More proof that any Catholic magazine that uses America or U.S. in the title sucks. From U.S. Catholic comes this travesty.
Are cohabiting Catholics always “living in sin”? Two respected family ministry researchers argue “no” and suggest the recovery of an ancient ritual for those moving toward marriage.
…Recent focus groups of young Catholic adults on “problematic aspects of church teaching” found that they disagreed with church teaching on premarital sex and cohabitation and do not see a fundamental difference in a loving relationship before and after a wedding. Our experience with young adults leads us to doubt the claim that they are living in sin. It would appear closer to the truth that they are growing, perhaps slowly but nonetheless surely, into grace.
Woooh Nelly! Wow do I have my ecclesiology wrong. Foolish me I thought development of doctrine had something to do with the authentic teaching Magisterium. Scouring Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman’s An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine I totally missed the part about focus groups. I don’t recall reading about focus groups in Dave Armstrong’s excellent A Biblical Defense of Catholicism that included a section on true doctrinal development. What is the Latin words for focus group? Maybe that would help me to track it down.
Now they are right that cohabitation involves grace. “…but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” (Rom 5:20) God is always throwing us a lifeline (and thankfully He continuously does so for us poor sinners), but this is not growing in grace. When Catholic magazines equate objectively grave sin with growing in grace what we have here is pure evil. Though this is not a new development, but a continuing one.
The most recent and respected marriage research identifies two kinds of cohabitors: those who are not committed to marriage, whom we name “non-nuptial cohabitors,” and those already committed to marriage, perhaps even engaged, whom we name “nuptial cohabitors.”
Surely Uncle Screwatp had something to do with that last sentence if not the whole article. Both being objectively grave sin won’t help you on judgment to claim “but I was a nuptial cohabitator!”
Although only non-nuptial cohabitation is linked to an increased likelihood of divorce after marriage, the fact that many Catholics believe otherwise leaves current pastoral responses to cohabiting couples both uninformed and outdated.
Just when I had ranked the inanity scale of this article at 10 on a 1 to 10 scale they make me have to recalibrate the scale. Facts say one thing, but because the couples believe otherwise well that will changes everything! Charlie Brown believing Lucy is finally honest in holding down the football will only leave him flat on the back. Surely pastoral responses do have to change with the times to address the current situation. But they are still always pastoral responses to a sin. This article is dishonest in talking about pastoral responses when what they are saying is that fornication is not sinful and thus requires no pastoral response in the first place.
It also raises questions about church documents based on old research and the pastoral approaches they recommend. Church documents continue to lump all cohabitors together, focus narrowly on the sexual dimension of relationships, and ignore the variety and complexity of the intentions, situations, and meanings couples give to cohabitation and its morality.
Thankfully I have a gag reflex that is quite permissive so I can read such a statement without spewing. This word cohabitors is just so silly where fornication fits much betters. Now surely there are different levels of grave sin, but hey they are still grave sins regardless of future intentions. You can’t steal from a store because later you plan to buy the business.
Given the current research that demonstrates that not all cohabitors are alike, we propose the re-introduction of an ancient ritual of betrothal for nuptial cohabitors, followed by intensive marriage preparation in the Catholic pastoral tradition.
Committed for life
In his 1981 encyclical Familiaris Consortio (On the Family), Pope John Paul II taught that conjugal love “aims at a deeply personal unity, the unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul; it demands indissolubility and faithfulness in definitive mutual giving; and it is open to fertility.” This describes the commitment not only of married spouses but also of nuptial cohabitors who have definitively committed to a loving relationship with one another but who have not yet celebrated their wedding.
The sound you just heard was my jaw dropping several yards or meters for those on the metric scale. The term “nuptial cohabitators” is so ridiculous on so many levels it is hard to start. Now lets pretend that they are right (though you might have to use some drugs to do so). How about a situation where one person is cohabitating and plans marriage and the person they are “living” with does not. So by their distinction it would be sinful for one, but not the other. So without knowing for certain somebody’s commitment how in the world can you raise children in this environment when a pregnancy could result in revealing the true commitment of the other? How can their be a “deeply personal unity” when you can’t be sure that the other person is not just leading you on and using you? Yet this is exactly the conscience that this type of bad theology and thinking leads to.
This type of logic also makes the martyrdom of Saint Maria Goretti worthless. She died rather than to allow Alexandro to commit a sexual sin. Yet in the circumstance described above persons involved in “nuptial cohabitators” could never know for certain whether both were “nuptial cohabitators” or just whether that was only their intention and the other was sinning.
I also find it theologically sick to twist a letter on families by Pope John Paul II to apply in these situation. He won’t be turning in the grave over this misuse, but surely turning to prayer for these misguided article writers and all who belive such conscience. Something that we should all turn to.
In the 12th century, Gratian, the master of the school of law at the Catholic University of Bologna, introduced a compromise in the debate between the Romans and the northern Europeans over what brought about marriage. That compromise, still embodied in the Code of Canon Law (canon 1061), is that mutual consent makes a marriage ratified and valid, and sexual intercourse makes it ratified and consummated and, therefore, indissoluble.
Whenever a progressive spouts Canon Law you know immediately detect the fragrance of the species Rattus rattus. They cite Canon 1061 as if mutual consent was all it takes to create a valid marriage and that it can occur without the Church being involved. No mention of course is made of subsequent Canons that address preconditions to marriage and the norms and form they must follow. The type of logic they use would mean that once a couple decided to get married they were in fact already married. A marriage Mass in these supposed cases would just be a play acting of what had already occurred.
Now what about “nuptial cohabitators” who change their mind later and never in fact enter into marriage? Do they have to seek a decree of nullity before they can enter another “nuptial cohabitation?” If somebody such as myself can poke so many holes into such theological vapidness how in the world does such nonsense as this magazine make it into a Catholic magazine in the first place? But then again this magazine published by the Claretans has no problems with homosexuality, contraception, women’s ordination, etc so sadly this is not an exception.
Hat Tip: Roman Catholic by Choice.