Newt wasn’t married after all!

Newt Gingrich is on his third marriage, but the Roman Catholic church, which does not believe in divorce, has granted him  at least one and maybe two annulments!  According to canon law,  annulled marriages were never marriages at all.  So if there was no marriage, there was no adultery, no divorces, and Newt is a once-married paragon of family values.

From the New York Times:

In 1980, Mr. Gingrich left his wife of nearly 20 years, the former Jackie Battley, for Marianne Ginther, with whom he was having an affair. In 1981, Mr. Gingrich married Ms. Ginther, but he later left her for Callista Bisek, with whom he had been having an affair for several years. They married in 2000.

The third Ms. Gingrich is a Catholic, and in 2002, Mr. Gingrich asked the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta to annul his second marriage on the ground that the former Ms. Ginther had been previously married. “We were married 19 years, and now he wants to say it didn’t exist,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In 2009, Mr. Gingrich converted to Catholicism. It is not clear if he ever tried to have annulled his first marriage, which, if between two baptized Christians, would be considered valid by the Catholic Church. Mr. Gingrich’s spokesman, R. C. Hammond, could not be reached by telephone and did not reply to e-mails.

OK, so we don’t know if Newt got an annulment for the first marriage, but apparently he is a communicant member of the church, which must be satisfied with his status.  Here is a Catholic take on the question:

To the fact that Gingrich has re-married twice, as part of his coming into the church he went through the annulment process and as a result of those findings is validly married in the eyes of the church. This may not impress those who do not like or understand the church’s annulment process, but it does give Catholics who wish to forgive Gingrich his previous infidelities some evidence that he has attempted to make right. Catholics, as often as they encounter scandal and disappointment in their elected leaders, want to hope that forgiveness and conversion is possible, too.

via The Catholic Case For Gingrich, For Now.

How a valid, legal, consummated marriage that lasted nearly two decades–with children, who thus must be considered illegitimate–can be annulled by the church staggers the mind and the moral imagination.  Surely that practice is worse than divorce, bad as that is, since divorce at least faces up to what the breaking of a marriage is and does not cover it up with a pious facade.  (In effect, annulments are divorces granted by the church, even as it (commendably) teaches against divorce!  Protestant churches may be too tolerant of divorces, but at least they don’t grant them!)

This is not a matter of simply undoing church actions.  The Gingriches were not Catholic at the time of their marriage.  I have heard that annulment simply recognizes that a marriage was not valid.  In this case because the previous Mrs. Gingrich had been married before.  But other reasons for annulment include such things as immaturity at the time of the marriage or the two not knowing what they were getting into so as to prevent proper consent.   So what I want to know is how any of us can know if we are really married.   I could go on and on citing other problems with this, but I’ll stop.  This just seems like ecclesiastical over-reaching of the sort that necessitated the Reformation.

Maybe I’m missing something.  I’d be glad to hear from a Catholic who could justify this practice.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    If only the Pope would have been so lenient toward Henry VIII.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    If only the Pope would have been so lenient toward Henry VIII.

  • Pete

    Phooey – beat me to it @ #1, Rev. McCain!

  • Pete

    Phooey – beat me to it @ #1, Rev. McCain!

  • Chanan Mykola

    What you don’t include is that you are dealing with two contending parties within the bosom of the Catholic Church. There is a Catholic Church faithful to Holy Tradition and there is a modernist unfaithful post-conciliar “church” unfaithful to Holy Tradition. The present practice is a travesty of the hypocrisy of modernism, wheras Holy Tradition has a practice which only the devout can accept. Holy Tradition rarely ever granted an annulment. That is the way it was, and Protestants hated it more than Catholics who suffered through it, but wisdom is granted of all her children. Justice remains “just” only if the wielders of it have jurisprudence in their hearts. But such a grace is not limited to the Reformational churches. The facts are we are in a time period of the Great Apostasy, and this Fall has no favourites. Both Protestant reformational churches and the Catholic Church have fallen under this ugly and vast heresy of modernist theology. Since we have a common enemy we have both fallen to, it behooves us now, in trying to recover, to work together with the means of grace to try and expose so that God eventually will defeat this great human enemy. And when that is done, when Kingdom comes, there won’t be any need for annulments, nor for divorces. Scanning the political field, I don’t really find other candidates that are more deserving of our rectitudinal praise. “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish!”

  • Chanan Mykola

    What you don’t include is that you are dealing with two contending parties within the bosom of the Catholic Church. There is a Catholic Church faithful to Holy Tradition and there is a modernist unfaithful post-conciliar “church” unfaithful to Holy Tradition. The present practice is a travesty of the hypocrisy of modernism, wheras Holy Tradition has a practice which only the devout can accept. Holy Tradition rarely ever granted an annulment. That is the way it was, and Protestants hated it more than Catholics who suffered through it, but wisdom is granted of all her children. Justice remains “just” only if the wielders of it have jurisprudence in their hearts. But such a grace is not limited to the Reformational churches. The facts are we are in a time period of the Great Apostasy, and this Fall has no favourites. Both Protestant reformational churches and the Catholic Church have fallen under this ugly and vast heresy of modernist theology. Since we have a common enemy we have both fallen to, it behooves us now, in trying to recover, to work together with the means of grace to try and expose so that God eventually will defeat this great human enemy. And when that is done, when Kingdom comes, there won’t be any need for annulments, nor for divorces. Scanning the political field, I don’t really find other candidates that are more deserving of our rectitudinal praise. “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish!”

  • Patrick Kyle

    Have a friend who was granted two annulments. His first marriage was almost 20 years and produced two children. He told me that even though they were both Christians at the time, the RC church did not consider a marriage conducted in an evangelical church to be valid according to Canon law.

    Make your own application…

  • Patrick Kyle

    Have a friend who was granted two annulments. His first marriage was almost 20 years and produced two children. He told me that even though they were both Christians at the time, the RC church did not consider a marriage conducted in an evangelical church to be valid according to Canon law.

    Make your own application…

  • Booklover

    Three women on the planet thought Newt was Cute?????
    :D

  • Booklover

    Three women on the planet thought Newt was Cute?????
    :D

  • Trey

    So basically the Roman Catholic church, is calling something evil, good purely because they say so. The church does not determine what is sin, rather they same-say (confess) what God says. This reminds me of RCs casuistry in the Middle Ages. Their view of repentance influences this by far.

  • Trey

    So basically the Roman Catholic church, is calling something evil, good purely because they say so. The church does not determine what is sin, rather they same-say (confess) what God says. This reminds me of RCs casuistry in the Middle Ages. Their view of repentance influences this by far.

  • Dan Kempin

    Chanan #3 makes a good comment above. There really is such a thing as an annulment in the fringes of the Church’s casuistry, but the problem is the larger issue that the church is simply deluged with divorce. We are a culture of divorce.* How does the Church, following the word of Jesus, function in such a pervasive culture?

    In catholicism, the coping mechanism has been the annulment–a brilliant sophistry that circumvents the divorce problem by saying there was no marriage. It is a bald and shameless avoidance of the spiritual issue.

    But before we start the pile-on of the Romanists, let’s consider how the other churches have coped with the crisis. I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but in general the approach has been (in practice, if not in confession) to either ignore the issue, or else to justify the divorce. It has not become a climate in the church of whether divorce is wrong, but under what circumstances divorce is acceptable.

    At least the papists still hold to the doctrine that divorce is wrong, however tortured their logic.

    *I must confess that the ESV, the new bible translation for the LCMS, perpetuated my pet peeve of translating Joseph’s intent to break his engagement to Mary as “divorce.” Blech. The culture of divorce is everywhere!

  • Dan Kempin

    Chanan #3 makes a good comment above. There really is such a thing as an annulment in the fringes of the Church’s casuistry, but the problem is the larger issue that the church is simply deluged with divorce. We are a culture of divorce.* How does the Church, following the word of Jesus, function in such a pervasive culture?

    In catholicism, the coping mechanism has been the annulment–a brilliant sophistry that circumvents the divorce problem by saying there was no marriage. It is a bald and shameless avoidance of the spiritual issue.

    But before we start the pile-on of the Romanists, let’s consider how the other churches have coped with the crisis. I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but in general the approach has been (in practice, if not in confession) to either ignore the issue, or else to justify the divorce. It has not become a climate in the church of whether divorce is wrong, but under what circumstances divorce is acceptable.

    At least the papists still hold to the doctrine that divorce is wrong, however tortured their logic.

    *I must confess that the ESV, the new bible translation for the LCMS, perpetuated my pet peeve of translating Joseph’s intent to break his engagement to Mary as “divorce.” Blech. The culture of divorce is everywhere!

  • kenneth

    Luther did the same on one occasion and he was sorely repentant as many condemed him, both the new protestants and Roman Catholicism. Politics never seem to change for the better, the recent case for this is Obama, Communism wiped out the very concept of marriage and Obama would do the same. Europe has done it also. The real culprit is the socialism running rampant through out this country.

    Gingrich ought to own up jto his Lutheran heritage and take back the dignity of marriage and it’s sanctity. The gag-gay movement is largely the culprit for moral sickness in many ways.

  • kenneth

    Luther did the same on one occasion and he was sorely repentant as many condemed him, both the new protestants and Roman Catholicism. Politics never seem to change for the better, the recent case for this is Obama, Communism wiped out the very concept of marriage and Obama would do the same. Europe has done it also. The real culprit is the socialism running rampant through out this country.

    Gingrich ought to own up jto his Lutheran heritage and take back the dignity of marriage and it’s sanctity. The gag-gay movement is largely the culprit for moral sickness in many ways.

  • Paul Beisel

    Why not just recognize something as sin, confess it, and receive the forgiveness of Christ? Why all this annulment stuff? If Newt were a Lutheran, before I would officiate at his wedding, I would ask that he acknowledge his sin in the first two instances, and be absolved.

  • Paul Beisel

    Why not just recognize something as sin, confess it, and receive the forgiveness of Christ? Why all this annulment stuff? If Newt were a Lutheran, before I would officiate at his wedding, I would ask that he acknowledge his sin in the first two instances, and be absolved.

  • Chanan Mykola

    Because acknowledging past sin in the field of marriage DOES NOT entitle one to a brand new marriage – it doesn’t work that way. St Vincent of Lerins important consideration that the truth is what the whole of Christendom has believed applies here – Lutheranism quickly becoming evangelicalism is in the minority. You have to see what the churches taught and practised over the majority of the years of their existance, not in this time of the Great Apostasy. The Anglican Church traditionally would not have allowed Gingrich a new marriage, just as the Catholic Church traditionally would not have. The Orthodox Church would not have. I also think a large part of the Lutheran churches and the Reformed churches could not have allowed him to remarry. But Paul, forgiveness does not make something lawful to do again. They would have all taught he could be forgiven. But most of Christian tradition, no matter what church, would NOT have allowed Gingrich to have a third wife for such specious reasons. ONLY in the case of abandonement could one be remarried in the vast majority of churches (meaning you were abandoned, not the one doing the abandoning. His was a very serious sin and no church in their better days would have encouraged MORE sinning.) My whole point is NO CHURCH whether Catholic or Protestant would have allowed Newt another marriage traditionally. The vast number of annullments taking place are in rebellion to the true Church – they are merely contradicting themselves and shame on them. Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI are red hot mad about all these annullments – mostly in North America!

  • Chanan Mykola

    Because acknowledging past sin in the field of marriage DOES NOT entitle one to a brand new marriage – it doesn’t work that way. St Vincent of Lerins important consideration that the truth is what the whole of Christendom has believed applies here – Lutheranism quickly becoming evangelicalism is in the minority. You have to see what the churches taught and practised over the majority of the years of their existance, not in this time of the Great Apostasy. The Anglican Church traditionally would not have allowed Gingrich a new marriage, just as the Catholic Church traditionally would not have. The Orthodox Church would not have. I also think a large part of the Lutheran churches and the Reformed churches could not have allowed him to remarry. But Paul, forgiveness does not make something lawful to do again. They would have all taught he could be forgiven. But most of Christian tradition, no matter what church, would NOT have allowed Gingrich to have a third wife for such specious reasons. ONLY in the case of abandonement could one be remarried in the vast majority of churches (meaning you were abandoned, not the one doing the abandoning. His was a very serious sin and no church in their better days would have encouraged MORE sinning.) My whole point is NO CHURCH whether Catholic or Protestant would have allowed Newt another marriage traditionally. The vast number of annullments taking place are in rebellion to the true Church – they are merely contradicting themselves and shame on them. Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI are red hot mad about all these annullments – mostly in North America!

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    I would like to take Pastor McCain’s statement seriously, and broaden it. How different history would have been if Rome would have swallowed the Lutherans rather than spitting them out! Had they understood that Lutherans are the loyal opposition with the spiritual life of the Church catholic as their chief concern, and if both sides would have worked out the issues with love and peace (especially physical peace, as in not burning anyone at the stake etc.) then we would today have a unified Church better able to witness orthodoxy to the world. Ut unum sint!

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    I would like to take Pastor McCain’s statement seriously, and broaden it. How different history would have been if Rome would have swallowed the Lutherans rather than spitting them out! Had they understood that Lutherans are the loyal opposition with the spiritual life of the Church catholic as their chief concern, and if both sides would have worked out the issues with love and peace (especially physical peace, as in not burning anyone at the stake etc.) then we would today have a unified Church better able to witness orthodoxy to the world. Ut unum sint!

  • Lori B

    @#9Paul – Amen! I did an internship at a RC diocese newspaper when I was in college. The editor was an Anglican turned RC. He used to rant about divorce being the only ‘unforgivable’ sin in the RC church. (Although, I guess suicide would be another.) He told a story about a woman who had been married for decades who attended Mass constantly, taught Sunday School, etc. but had not been able to take communion in decades because her husband had been married before. It always made me that much more thankful to be a Lutheran – not that I think divorce is good, but I know Christ died for all sins!

  • Lori B

    @#9Paul – Amen! I did an internship at a RC diocese newspaper when I was in college. The editor was an Anglican turned RC. He used to rant about divorce being the only ‘unforgivable’ sin in the RC church. (Although, I guess suicide would be another.) He told a story about a woman who had been married for decades who attended Mass constantly, taught Sunday School, etc. but had not been able to take communion in decades because her husband had been married before. It always made me that much more thankful to be a Lutheran – not that I think divorce is good, but I know Christ died for all sins!

  • Chanan Mykola

    No pope on earth to this day could have justified the serial adultery and murderous regicide of Henry VIII! Look, if you people claim to be Pro-Bible, then listen to what God says in the last thing of the Old Testament. “I hate divorce!” saith the Lord (in Malachi) And Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ: “Whosoever putteth away his wife to marry another committeth adultery against her! And whosoever marrieth her that has been so put away also committeth adultery!” You might say these are the facts, boys. And it necessitates there being a Church that can either grant a divorce or not, which is exactly why Christ said in his granting of the keys to Peter, “And whatsoever you bindeth on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loosen on earth shall be loosened in heaven!” And therefore divorce was extremely rare, as we know – and it is meant to be rare because Divorce ruins a nation! The mere fact the Pope could not grant a divorce to Henry VIII is reason to trust that it should be rare because even kings were refused it!

  • Chanan Mykola

    No pope on earth to this day could have justified the serial adultery and murderous regicide of Henry VIII! Look, if you people claim to be Pro-Bible, then listen to what God says in the last thing of the Old Testament. “I hate divorce!” saith the Lord (in Malachi) And Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ: “Whosoever putteth away his wife to marry another committeth adultery against her! And whosoever marrieth her that has been so put away also committeth adultery!” You might say these are the facts, boys. And it necessitates there being a Church that can either grant a divorce or not, which is exactly why Christ said in his granting of the keys to Peter, “And whatsoever you bindeth on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loosen on earth shall be loosened in heaven!” And therefore divorce was extremely rare, as we know – and it is meant to be rare because Divorce ruins a nation! The mere fact the Pope could not grant a divorce to Henry VIII is reason to trust that it should be rare because even kings were refused it!

  • Chanan Mykola

    Lori those are old wives tales based on misunderstanding of Catholic teaching. The twentieth century popes wrote down clearly in their encyclicals that she need not be refused communion as long as she doesn’t commit fornication; they were instructed by Pope John Paul II for instance that they could sleep in separate beds. IS that the end of the world? No! Remember Our Lord saying how narrow the way that leads to life and many refuse to take it, but how broad the way that leads to death and many take it! Its only todays generation that so idolizes copulation that would think that if the Church was offering, which they did, a way for you to have communion after all, we who believe in Christ would be very grateful to avail ourselves of the opportunity – and maybe we should have listened to the Church in the first place and we wouldn’t have married someone illicitly!

  • Chanan Mykola

    Lori those are old wives tales based on misunderstanding of Catholic teaching. The twentieth century popes wrote down clearly in their encyclicals that she need not be refused communion as long as she doesn’t commit fornication; they were instructed by Pope John Paul II for instance that they could sleep in separate beds. IS that the end of the world? No! Remember Our Lord saying how narrow the way that leads to life and many refuse to take it, but how broad the way that leads to death and many take it! Its only todays generation that so idolizes copulation that would think that if the Church was offering, which they did, a way for you to have communion after all, we who believe in Christ would be very grateful to avail ourselves of the opportunity – and maybe we should have listened to the Church in the first place and we wouldn’t have married someone illicitly!

  • larry

    Exactly Paul. Because the Roman church, like most protestants function under the legal scheme (both overt legalist and covert legalist ‘antinomians’). So, under the legal scheme sin is never really recognized as such but “new law” is put into place to justify this. This is what Paul meant when the Law is shown in the natural fallen heart when Gentile’s conscience accuses them (this we get) AND also (the part we glaze past on Paul’s statement and “don’t get”) excuses them.

    The old Adam using “free will” or “post conversion old Adam” using (free) will labled “the Holy Spirit” (sometimes a “grace”) always misses the point of the Law, its proper function, to kill all other “trusts” outside of Christ and thereby sees a crack of light to finally rush towards for the will to do (pre- or post-conversion).

    In the legal (religious) paradigm this is how the law is then misused and delusionally used, to then accuse the conscience to then exercise the will toward moral repair, OR else excusing the conscience so that no such (futile) hub bub is really necessary. Either way, accusing and then try harder (free will, pre- or post-conversion), also falsely labeled “repentance”, or excusing becomes a false way to function in a legal paradigm and using the Law for what it never was for, to create ontologically a righteousness in, with and under (to borrow a Lutheran phrase) the self, and thus trust (faith) in the self (i.e. original sin). In all, variations on the legal paradigm, the sin is excused, both gross sin and pious sin…confession of such thereby evaded…grace (i.e. forgiveness of sin for Christ’s sake) fled from…and the ultimate goal retained, the old Adam trusting in himself via a delusional use of the Law for the “free will” often relabeled so as to give it plausible deniability as such; “grace”, “grace infused”, “the work of the Holy Spirit”, and/or “the Holy Spirit”.

    When confession and absolution ONLY free one, i.e. Christ and Him crucified and the proper work of the Holy Spirit (i.e. “you are forgiven for Christ’s sake). Can’t get there delusionally using “law” to keep from recognizing sin as sin (gross or pious). See how bound the will of man is. What does bondage of the will “feel like”, it feels like free will or “grace as power to do post conversion”, “grace infused”, the (so called) work of the Holy Spirit, and/or the Holy Spirit.

  • larry

    Exactly Paul. Because the Roman church, like most protestants function under the legal scheme (both overt legalist and covert legalist ‘antinomians’). So, under the legal scheme sin is never really recognized as such but “new law” is put into place to justify this. This is what Paul meant when the Law is shown in the natural fallen heart when Gentile’s conscience accuses them (this we get) AND also (the part we glaze past on Paul’s statement and “don’t get”) excuses them.

    The old Adam using “free will” or “post conversion old Adam” using (free) will labled “the Holy Spirit” (sometimes a “grace”) always misses the point of the Law, its proper function, to kill all other “trusts” outside of Christ and thereby sees a crack of light to finally rush towards for the will to do (pre- or post-conversion).

    In the legal (religious) paradigm this is how the law is then misused and delusionally used, to then accuse the conscience to then exercise the will toward moral repair, OR else excusing the conscience so that no such (futile) hub bub is really necessary. Either way, accusing and then try harder (free will, pre- or post-conversion), also falsely labeled “repentance”, or excusing becomes a false way to function in a legal paradigm and using the Law for what it never was for, to create ontologically a righteousness in, with and under (to borrow a Lutheran phrase) the self, and thus trust (faith) in the self (i.e. original sin). In all, variations on the legal paradigm, the sin is excused, both gross sin and pious sin…confession of such thereby evaded…grace (i.e. forgiveness of sin for Christ’s sake) fled from…and the ultimate goal retained, the old Adam trusting in himself via a delusional use of the Law for the “free will” often relabeled so as to give it plausible deniability as such; “grace”, “grace infused”, “the work of the Holy Spirit”, and/or “the Holy Spirit”.

    When confession and absolution ONLY free one, i.e. Christ and Him crucified and the proper work of the Holy Spirit (i.e. “you are forgiven for Christ’s sake). Can’t get there delusionally using “law” to keep from recognizing sin as sin (gross or pious). See how bound the will of man is. What does bondage of the will “feel like”, it feels like free will or “grace as power to do post conversion”, “grace infused”, the (so called) work of the Holy Spirit, and/or the Holy Spirit.

  • helen

    Paul Beisel December 27, 2011 at 9:14 am @9
    Why not just recognize something as sin, confess it, and receive the forgiveness of Christ? Why all this annulment stuff? If Newt were a Lutheran, before I would officiate at his wedding, I would ask that he acknowledge his sin in the first two instances, and be absolved.

    I’ve been taught that a second marriage is possible “for the innocent party” in the LCMS. [So anyone who wants to re-marry is the "innocent party"... never mind that the one with re-marriage in mind right after the divorce is highly unlikely to have been "innocent"!]

    Chan Mykola @ 10
    My whole point is NO CHURCH whether Catholic or Protestant would have allowed Newt another marriage traditionally.
    One of my LCMS Pastors believes that, if divorced, a couple should live celibate or reconcile. [He admits this is not the church's "official position" (but the church doesn't honor its "official position" either); witness Pr. Beisel!] If he were still Lutheran, would you really do a third marriage for Newt Gingrich, Pr. Beisel!?

    Confession and absolution may not remove temporal consequences. If your kid attempts to steal apples from your neighbor’s tree, falls out and breaks his arm, your neighbor may forgive him the apples but he still has to deal with the broken arm.

  • helen

    Paul Beisel December 27, 2011 at 9:14 am @9
    Why not just recognize something as sin, confess it, and receive the forgiveness of Christ? Why all this annulment stuff? If Newt were a Lutheran, before I would officiate at his wedding, I would ask that he acknowledge his sin in the first two instances, and be absolved.

    I’ve been taught that a second marriage is possible “for the innocent party” in the LCMS. [So anyone who wants to re-marry is the "innocent party"... never mind that the one with re-marriage in mind right after the divorce is highly unlikely to have been "innocent"!]

    Chan Mykola @ 10
    My whole point is NO CHURCH whether Catholic or Protestant would have allowed Newt another marriage traditionally.
    One of my LCMS Pastors believes that, if divorced, a couple should live celibate or reconcile. [He admits this is not the church's "official position" (but the church doesn't honor its "official position" either); witness Pr. Beisel!] If he were still Lutheran, would you really do a third marriage for Newt Gingrich, Pr. Beisel!?

    Confession and absolution may not remove temporal consequences. If your kid attempts to steal apples from your neighbor’s tree, falls out and breaks his arm, your neighbor may forgive him the apples but he still has to deal with the broken arm.

  • Booklover

    Does any church handle our country’s rampant divorce and remarriage rightly? There is the evangelical pastor who marries a man to his second or third wife because his previous marriages took place “before he accepted Jesus personally into his heart,” even though he may have been a baptized Christian before that.

    I feel sorry for pastors who have to make these decisions nowadays.

  • Booklover

    Does any church handle our country’s rampant divorce and remarriage rightly? There is the evangelical pastor who marries a man to his second or third wife because his previous marriages took place “before he accepted Jesus personally into his heart,” even though he may have been a baptized Christian before that.

    I feel sorry for pastors who have to make these decisions nowadays.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Regarding Patrick Kyle’s comment about someone’s marriage not being considered valid because it wasn’t in a Catholic church–oh my goodness, we could have fun with that one, couldn’t we? If our Lord didn’t clarify the Catholic doctrine of the sacramental nature of marriage, I guess Adam and Eve were living in sin prior to the Fall, weren’t they? If only He had had a priest around to set him straight!

    I’m going to stick with Genesis on what defines a marriage here and leave canon law behind, I think.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Regarding Patrick Kyle’s comment about someone’s marriage not being considered valid because it wasn’t in a Catholic church–oh my goodness, we could have fun with that one, couldn’t we? If our Lord didn’t clarify the Catholic doctrine of the sacramental nature of marriage, I guess Adam and Eve were living in sin prior to the Fall, weren’t they? If only He had had a priest around to set him straight!

    I’m going to stick with Genesis on what defines a marriage here and leave canon law behind, I think.

  • larry

    This creates some (new and old) Buddhist philosophical quips:

    If a marriage didn’t occur before a Roman church congregation did it ever happen?
    If you feigned faith and where immersed in front of a congregation did anyone see a baptism?
    If a guy at a bar didn’t drink a beer but ordered a Shirley Temple, did you see a Christian?
    Is grape juice transubstantiated into, cosubstantiated into, or a sign pointing to the reality of wine?
    Is the “inner call” of “the spirit”, the sound of one hand clapping?
    If a tree falls in the forest and no one was there to see it, did it make a noise?

  • larry

    This creates some (new and old) Buddhist philosophical quips:

    If a marriage didn’t occur before a Roman church congregation did it ever happen?
    If you feigned faith and where immersed in front of a congregation did anyone see a baptism?
    If a guy at a bar didn’t drink a beer but ordered a Shirley Temple, did you see a Christian?
    Is grape juice transubstantiated into, cosubstantiated into, or a sign pointing to the reality of wine?
    Is the “inner call” of “the spirit”, the sound of one hand clapping?
    If a tree falls in the forest and no one was there to see it, did it make a noise?

  • steve

    Maybe it’s just me but it seems like the attempts to explain away the sin at least as bad as the sin itself. But I’m voting for President, not saint.

    On the other hand, if he is 1) elected and 2) actually successful in in helping turn things around in this country, he might have the two miracles necessary for beatification.

  • steve

    Maybe it’s just me but it seems like the attempts to explain away the sin at least as bad as the sin itself. But I’m voting for President, not saint.

    On the other hand, if he is 1) elected and 2) actually successful in in helping turn things around in this country, he might have the two miracles necessary for beatification.

  • Suzanne

    Newt G. is the old time snake oil salesman and I am not buying. If he’ll screw over two wives, think what he’ll do to the country.

  • Suzanne

    Newt G. is the old time snake oil salesman and I am not buying. If he’ll screw over two wives, think what he’ll do to the country.

  • Jonathan

    So…what would happen if Newt were LCMS?
    On what condition would an LCMS or WELS pastor officiate at his 3d marriage? And if the answer involves Newt repenting of divorces 1 and 2, what would such repentance look like?

  • Jonathan

    So…what would happen if Newt were LCMS?
    On what condition would an LCMS or WELS pastor officiate at his 3d marriage? And if the answer involves Newt repenting of divorces 1 and 2, what would such repentance look like?

  • Donegal Misfortune

    So biblical law, types, and shadows do not apply to Catholics…got it.

  • Donegal Misfortune

    So biblical law, types, and shadows do not apply to Catholics…got it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chanan (@3) said:

    You are dealing with two contending parties within the bosom of the Catholic Church. There is a Catholic Church faithful to Holy Tradition and there is a modernist unfaithful post-conciliar “church” unfaithful to Holy Tradition.

    If so, then the “Catholic Church” is not one church — much less The Church — is it? It is, then, many churches with many different teachings, but one name. A curious admission from an apparent Catholic.

    Since we have a common enemy we have both fallen to, it behooves us now, in trying to recover, to work together with the means of grace to try and expose so that God eventually will defeat this great human enemy.

    Well, no. Because God has already defeated our “great human enemy” — on the Cross — and with no help from us, thank you very much. You propose a very Catholic solution — human works plus “means of grace” — in the guise of ecumenism.

    And when that is done, when Kingdom comes, there won’t be any need for annulments, nor for divorces.

    Really? The message I get from Scripture is not that we humans are going to fix things by the time Jesus returns. But you are right that, in Heaven, there won’t be need for annulments or divorces — because we will be made perfect, and not given to marriage.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chanan (@3) said:

    You are dealing with two contending parties within the bosom of the Catholic Church. There is a Catholic Church faithful to Holy Tradition and there is a modernist unfaithful post-conciliar “church” unfaithful to Holy Tradition.

    If so, then the “Catholic Church” is not one church — much less The Church — is it? It is, then, many churches with many different teachings, but one name. A curious admission from an apparent Catholic.

    Since we have a common enemy we have both fallen to, it behooves us now, in trying to recover, to work together with the means of grace to try and expose so that God eventually will defeat this great human enemy.

    Well, no. Because God has already defeated our “great human enemy” — on the Cross — and with no help from us, thank you very much. You propose a very Catholic solution — human works plus “means of grace” — in the guise of ecumenism.

    And when that is done, when Kingdom comes, there won’t be any need for annulments, nor for divorces.

    Really? The message I get from Scripture is not that we humans are going to fix things by the time Jesus returns. But you are right that, in Heaven, there won’t be need for annulments or divorces — because we will be made perfect, and not given to marriage.

  • Arfies

    I seem to remember that one of my RC priest friends explained to me that as far as the RC church is concerned, if a non-RC marriage looks and acts like a marriage, it is a marriage. Period. Maybe he w.as wrong, or maybe my memory is imperfect, but that’s what I remember.
    As far as we Lutherans are concerned, I believe that there is forgiveness for divorce, but the question of subsequent marriage(s) is not answered by that forgiveness–for me, at least–because the divorce continues after the forgiveness, while repentance and forgiveness require that the sin come to an end. Yes, we may sin again and need forgiveness again, but divorce is a continuing, not an intermittent, event. How can we handle that?

  • Arfies

    I seem to remember that one of my RC priest friends explained to me that as far as the RC church is concerned, if a non-RC marriage looks and acts like a marriage, it is a marriage. Period. Maybe he w.as wrong, or maybe my memory is imperfect, but that’s what I remember.
    As far as we Lutherans are concerned, I believe that there is forgiveness for divorce, but the question of subsequent marriage(s) is not answered by that forgiveness–for me, at least–because the divorce continues after the forgiveness, while repentance and forgiveness require that the sin come to an end. Yes, we may sin again and need forgiveness again, but divorce is a continuing, not an intermittent, event. How can we handle that?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kenneth (@8), if you want to be taken seriously, you’re going to have to ditch the histrionics:

    Communism wiped out the very concept of marriage and Obama would do the same. Europe has done it also.

    Um, pretty certain people got — and get — married in Communist countries. And in Europe. I’m also pretty sure Obama has done nothing of the sort. One may notice that he is, himself, happily married. A real family guy.

    The real culprit is the socialism running rampant through out this country. … The gag-gay movement is largely the culprit for moral sickness in many ways.

    Oh, I see. The “real culprit” is … Them? Those … bad people? I would’ve thought that maybe you might have noticed at some point that divorces happen not infrequently among straight people in countries with strong capitalist cultures. That is to say, among people just like us … like you. But it’s other people’s fault? Oh.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kenneth (@8), if you want to be taken seriously, you’re going to have to ditch the histrionics:

    Communism wiped out the very concept of marriage and Obama would do the same. Europe has done it also.

    Um, pretty certain people got — and get — married in Communist countries. And in Europe. I’m also pretty sure Obama has done nothing of the sort. One may notice that he is, himself, happily married. A real family guy.

    The real culprit is the socialism running rampant through out this country. … The gag-gay movement is largely the culprit for moral sickness in many ways.

    Oh, I see. The “real culprit” is … Them? Those … bad people? I would’ve thought that maybe you might have noticed at some point that divorces happen not infrequently among straight people in countries with strong capitalist cultures. That is to say, among people just like us … like you. But it’s other people’s fault? Oh.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Paul B. (@9) said:

    If Newt were a Lutheran, before I would officiate at his wedding, I would ask that he acknowledge his sin in the first two instances, and be absolved.

    Is that it, though? I could see situations in which a pastor would correctly do as you’ve said here — namely, if Newt’s first two wives had gone on to get remarried. In such a situation, there would be no way to redress his injustices to them without further injustice being done. Likewise, if the divorces were truly mutual, such that the former wives refused to consider reconciliation with Gingrich, then what else could be done but ask him to repent of his sins?

    Or is it wrong to think in terms of earthly restitution? Certainly the Israelite law was chock full of the notion that you should do your best to mitigate the harm you’ve done. I’m not sure I can think of any obvious prescriptive counterparts in the New Testament, off the top of my head.

    Anyhow, I guess I’d be a bit disturbed if no attempt was made by a hypothetical Lutheran pastor to counsel Gingrich against a new marriage — assuming, that is, that he had divorced his previous wife against her will.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Paul B. (@9) said:

    If Newt were a Lutheran, before I would officiate at his wedding, I would ask that he acknowledge his sin in the first two instances, and be absolved.

    Is that it, though? I could see situations in which a pastor would correctly do as you’ve said here — namely, if Newt’s first two wives had gone on to get remarried. In such a situation, there would be no way to redress his injustices to them without further injustice being done. Likewise, if the divorces were truly mutual, such that the former wives refused to consider reconciliation with Gingrich, then what else could be done but ask him to repent of his sins?

    Or is it wrong to think in terms of earthly restitution? Certainly the Israelite law was chock full of the notion that you should do your best to mitigate the harm you’ve done. I’m not sure I can think of any obvious prescriptive counterparts in the New Testament, off the top of my head.

    Anyhow, I guess I’d be a bit disturbed if no attempt was made by a hypothetical Lutheran pastor to counsel Gingrich against a new marriage — assuming, that is, that he had divorced his previous wife against her will.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chanan (@10) said:

    Forgiveness does not make something lawful to do again.

    This doesn’t really make sense. It’s not marriage that God hates, it’s divorce. If Newt has repented of his divorces, he is not asking to divorce again, but rather to marry again.

    ONLY in the case of abandonement could one be remarried in the vast majority of churches (meaning you were abandoned, not the one doing the abandoning. …)

    But if Newt’s previous marriages were ended mutually, and his former wives refuse to reconcile with him, isn’t he thereby “abandoned”?

    Chanan continued (@13):

    It necessitates there being a Church that can either grant a divorce or not, which is exactly why Christ said in his granting of the keys to Peter, “And whatsoever you bindeth on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loosen on earth shall be loosened in heaven!”

    Wow, um, that’s not what the passages about binding/loosing are about! It’s not about “granting a divorce”. I mean, look at the context (Matt. 18). It’s about forgiving others. Marriage is nowhere to be found in that context. Besides, there is no marital “binding” in Heaven, as you surely know (Luke 20:35), so how could that passage be about marriage, as you claim?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chanan (@10) said:

    Forgiveness does not make something lawful to do again.

    This doesn’t really make sense. It’s not marriage that God hates, it’s divorce. If Newt has repented of his divorces, he is not asking to divorce again, but rather to marry again.

    ONLY in the case of abandonement could one be remarried in the vast majority of churches (meaning you were abandoned, not the one doing the abandoning. …)

    But if Newt’s previous marriages were ended mutually, and his former wives refuse to reconcile with him, isn’t he thereby “abandoned”?

    Chanan continued (@13):

    It necessitates there being a Church that can either grant a divorce or not, which is exactly why Christ said in his granting of the keys to Peter, “And whatsoever you bindeth on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loosen on earth shall be loosened in heaven!”

    Wow, um, that’s not what the passages about binding/loosing are about! It’s not about “granting a divorce”. I mean, look at the context (Matt. 18). It’s about forgiving others. Marriage is nowhere to be found in that context. Besides, there is no marital “binding” in Heaven, as you surely know (Luke 20:35), so how could that passage be about marriage, as you claim?

  • helen

    Booklover December 27, 2011 at 8:23 am
    Three women on the planet thought Newt was Cute?????

    I imagine the second two fell for power and money….
    [The one who keeps him in hock to Tiffany's is clearly realistic, and building a retirement package.]

  • helen

    Booklover December 27, 2011 at 8:23 am
    Three women on the planet thought Newt was Cute?????

    I imagine the second two fell for power and money….
    [The one who keeps him in hock to Tiffany's is clearly realistic, and building a retirement package.]

  • larry

    The lawyers come out of the woodwork. No wonder the watching world unanimously identifies Christianity with works and making one’s self righteous before God, as if the “christian church” only has anything to do with marriage and not general fallen man.

  • larry

    The lawyers come out of the woodwork. No wonder the watching world unanimously identifies Christianity with works and making one’s self righteous before God, as if the “christian church” only has anything to do with marriage and not general fallen man.

  • larry

    The U.S. Christian divorce rates by denomination:

    Non-denominational 34%
    Baptists 29%
    Mainline Protestants 25%
    Mormons 24%
    Catholics 21%
    Lutherans 21%

    U.S. divorce rates by major religion:

    Jews 30%
    Born-again Christians 27%
    Other Christians 24%
    Atheists, Agnostics 21%

  • larry

    The U.S. Christian divorce rates by denomination:

    Non-denominational 34%
    Baptists 29%
    Mainline Protestants 25%
    Mormons 24%
    Catholics 21%
    Lutherans 21%

    U.S. divorce rates by major religion:

    Jews 30%
    Born-again Christians 27%
    Other Christians 24%
    Atheists, Agnostics 21%

  • steve

    Larry, #31, I think we’ve discussed this here before. Divorce statistics for various religious groups, in the absence of marriage statistics is largely meaningless. A person’s religious affiliation does not necessarily say anything about their religious devotion. Also, the more religious a person is the more likely they are to be married. Divorce rates among the never-married are likely to be quite low. :)

  • steve

    Larry, #31, I think we’ve discussed this here before. Divorce statistics for various religious groups, in the absence of marriage statistics is largely meaningless. A person’s religious affiliation does not necessarily say anything about their religious devotion. Also, the more religious a person is the more likely they are to be married. Divorce rates among the never-married are likely to be quite low. :)

  • Chanan Mykola

    Todd, your arguments are so missed-the-point they’re not worth responding to. What does need to be cleared up is the total mis-perception that the Catholic Church does not recognize the marriage of other Christians as valid. That is totally false. When you proceed toward an annullment, the Protestant party is told that it is in their interest that the annullment proceed because then they will be deemed free (in the opinion of the Catholic Church) to remarry. So Protestants are not told that their marriages are not valid, because in the opinion of the Tribunals as well as the Rota, their previous marriages have to be looked at whether they were catholic OR NOT. The Catholic Church does not re-baptize, for instance, when you convert. Instead they ask for your baptismal papers, if you have them. If you were baptized according to the universally accepted Trinitarian formula, then your baptism is valid. Similarly marriage. People seeking to remarry in the Catholic Church have to have their previous Protestant marriages looked at AS WELL as their Catholic ones. So these myths that are prejudicial, that is to say that you use as the basis of anti-catholic prejudice, need to be cleared up. And with that, I bid adieu; I know when a Catholic is going to be attacked and mocked for his Church and not welcome. But the truth remains, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!” You will reply that this is a mis-interpretation. My response is – How can you be so sure? Who made you interpreter of the word of Christ? Christ? Or yourself alone?

  • Chanan Mykola

    Todd, your arguments are so missed-the-point they’re not worth responding to. What does need to be cleared up is the total mis-perception that the Catholic Church does not recognize the marriage of other Christians as valid. That is totally false. When you proceed toward an annullment, the Protestant party is told that it is in their interest that the annullment proceed because then they will be deemed free (in the opinion of the Catholic Church) to remarry. So Protestants are not told that their marriages are not valid, because in the opinion of the Tribunals as well as the Rota, their previous marriages have to be looked at whether they were catholic OR NOT. The Catholic Church does not re-baptize, for instance, when you convert. Instead they ask for your baptismal papers, if you have them. If you were baptized according to the universally accepted Trinitarian formula, then your baptism is valid. Similarly marriage. People seeking to remarry in the Catholic Church have to have their previous Protestant marriages looked at AS WELL as their Catholic ones. So these myths that are prejudicial, that is to say that you use as the basis of anti-catholic prejudice, need to be cleared up. And with that, I bid adieu; I know when a Catholic is going to be attacked and mocked for his Church and not welcome. But the truth remains, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!” You will reply that this is a mis-interpretation. My response is – How can you be so sure? Who made you interpreter of the word of Christ? Christ? Or yourself alone?

  • Bob

    Nondenoms and Baptists have the highest divorce rates? Wow. Who’da thunk it?

    These are the groups that are always crowing about the importance of marriage and family. Maybe a lot more walkin’ and a lot less talkin’ might be in order for them.

  • Bob

    Nondenoms and Baptists have the highest divorce rates? Wow. Who’da thunk it?

    These are the groups that are always crowing about the importance of marriage and family. Maybe a lot more walkin’ and a lot less talkin’ might be in order for them.

  • larry

    Steve,

    You’ve missed the point of why I (sarcastically) posted that in context of this “lawyer conversation” (i.e. non-Christian) over Newt. The reason I posted it is PRECISELY for what you say. Everyone “lawyers up” when “law” comes into play and tries to say “my law” (i.e. religion/denomination, including secular atheist) is the “best” way (implication “good with God”). And orthodoxy destroys its witness when it enters the vain conversation of heterodoxy (false) denominations as much as pure secular atheist on concerns of the law. The statitistics I listed are largely unconsequentially and essentially insignificant if one is “proving” “my religion/denomination/antireligion-religion is the way” and “who best measures according to the law. When (pretend) Christianity portrays “this is our religion that differentiates ourselves from ‘those’ over there” (fill in the blank religion/secular) by way of the or a law, this (false) christianity largely looks essentially no different (a few percentage points better or worse is largely statistically insignificant). And thus this form of (false) Christianty just looks like another religion among a pool of religions, i.e. a false Christ.

    And gross “sin” becomes at last, pretend sin, the use of the law becomes false (i.e. try harder), repentance thus false or pretend repentance (I’ll try harder), and thus no forgiveness CAN be given to this false (try harder unto the law) “repentance because it has failed to realize it is SIN and not (pretend) “sin”. So the pretend repentance over the pretend sin via the law repair job plan, seeks not REAL grace and REAL foregiveness for REAL sin, but rather surrepetitiously seeks false grace (power to do better) and FLEES Christ and God, and finally despises God and Christ (all along thinking they seek and love him).

    In order for repentance and absolution to actually work REAL law must be proclaimed in its killing office (not false try harder delusion), where REAL repentance can occur and REAL absolution can occur. And this requires that the PASTOR do the REAL law for REAL sin and REAL Gospel REAL foregiveness to the one and not the false law and false gospel for pretend sin and rather than REAL forgiveness “try harderness absolution” (a.k.a. “give me a second chance”).

    And thus you get a false Christ/Christianity proclaimed to the world by the “church”.

    And as a bonus, regardless of who you like politically, you get assinine arguments like, “Newt G. is the old time snake oil salesman and I am not buying. If he’ll screw over two wives, think what he’ll do to the country”…ad naseum; which can be re-written thus,”Romney is the old time snake oil salesman and I am not buying. If he’ll committ utter adultry against God, think what he’ll do to the country.” and so forth for every candidate out there.

  • larry

    Steve,

    You’ve missed the point of why I (sarcastically) posted that in context of this “lawyer conversation” (i.e. non-Christian) over Newt. The reason I posted it is PRECISELY for what you say. Everyone “lawyers up” when “law” comes into play and tries to say “my law” (i.e. religion/denomination, including secular atheist) is the “best” way (implication “good with God”). And orthodoxy destroys its witness when it enters the vain conversation of heterodoxy (false) denominations as much as pure secular atheist on concerns of the law. The statitistics I listed are largely unconsequentially and essentially insignificant if one is “proving” “my religion/denomination/antireligion-religion is the way” and “who best measures according to the law. When (pretend) Christianity portrays “this is our religion that differentiates ourselves from ‘those’ over there” (fill in the blank religion/secular) by way of the or a law, this (false) christianity largely looks essentially no different (a few percentage points better or worse is largely statistically insignificant). And thus this form of (false) Christianty just looks like another religion among a pool of religions, i.e. a false Christ.

    And gross “sin” becomes at last, pretend sin, the use of the law becomes false (i.e. try harder), repentance thus false or pretend repentance (I’ll try harder), and thus no forgiveness CAN be given to this false (try harder unto the law) “repentance because it has failed to realize it is SIN and not (pretend) “sin”. So the pretend repentance over the pretend sin via the law repair job plan, seeks not REAL grace and REAL foregiveness for REAL sin, but rather surrepetitiously seeks false grace (power to do better) and FLEES Christ and God, and finally despises God and Christ (all along thinking they seek and love him).

    In order for repentance and absolution to actually work REAL law must be proclaimed in its killing office (not false try harder delusion), where REAL repentance can occur and REAL absolution can occur. And this requires that the PASTOR do the REAL law for REAL sin and REAL Gospel REAL foregiveness to the one and not the false law and false gospel for pretend sin and rather than REAL forgiveness “try harderness absolution” (a.k.a. “give me a second chance”).

    And thus you get a false Christ/Christianity proclaimed to the world by the “church”.

    And as a bonus, regardless of who you like politically, you get assinine arguments like, “Newt G. is the old time snake oil salesman and I am not buying. If he’ll screw over two wives, think what he’ll do to the country”…ad naseum; which can be re-written thus,”Romney is the old time snake oil salesman and I am not buying. If he’ll committ utter adultry against God, think what he’ll do to the country.” and so forth for every candidate out there.

  • Steve P.

    “it seems like the attempts to explain away the sin at least as bad as the sin itself.”

    Well said; and it wouldn’t keep me from voting for Gringich, either.

    Whatever the best biblical answer is, it has to be logical and rational:

    Some kind of ecclesiastical annulment must be a possibility in the same sorts of cases where civil annulment is a possibility–coerced weddings, for example, or married couples discovering that they are actually brother and sister. There must be a way, especially in contemporary times when the state is beginning to define “marriage” as something unrecognizable to the church, for the church in an official way to say that a Christian marriage is annulled, that it never was a real marriage. Churches that have a legal annulment procedure are not fundamentally wrong to have it. What’s wrong is the abuse of the procedure.

    As for divorce, it seems to me that there are only three possible approaches, broadly speaking, if Christian polygamy is not to be tolerated:

    1. The church must say that Christian divorce is impossible, and refuse to remarry people who are already married, except in the specific situation described in 1 Cor 7. The pastor must say “I’m sorry, Mr. Gingrich, but you already have two wives and their families to support, I cannot help you to sin a second time by taking on another wife.” If the state is going to allow Newt to marry more women, or perhaps men or boys, that just shows how decadent the state is, it has nothing to do with real Christian marriage or the Christian church.

    2. The church must definitely say when divorce for Christian couples is permissible and unless the person wishing to remarry has met those requirements pastors must refuse to remarry them (so Newt’s pastor should tell Mr. Gingrich that he must fulfill his responsibilities to his two other wives and remain alone as long as he has a living spouse. If the person wishing to remarry has met those definite divorce requirements, there must be a way for the Pastor to declare the previous marriage divorced (an “official” ecclesiastical divorce). Allowing the state to tell the church who is and who is not married is no longer a viable option.

    3. The church must let Christians freely divorce their own spouses, and accept the divorced person’s fiat in the matter.

    The third option is more liberal than what even the state allows, but that seems to be the corner that most churches have backed themselves into. Maybe I’m wrong but I think the Eastern Orthodox church has ecclesiastical divorce, which is option 2, and option 1 is what a minority of the more conservative churches still practice and what the Roman Catholic church apparently gives lip service to but violates by its annulment abuse.

  • Steve P.

    “it seems like the attempts to explain away the sin at least as bad as the sin itself.”

    Well said; and it wouldn’t keep me from voting for Gringich, either.

    Whatever the best biblical answer is, it has to be logical and rational:

    Some kind of ecclesiastical annulment must be a possibility in the same sorts of cases where civil annulment is a possibility–coerced weddings, for example, or married couples discovering that they are actually brother and sister. There must be a way, especially in contemporary times when the state is beginning to define “marriage” as something unrecognizable to the church, for the church in an official way to say that a Christian marriage is annulled, that it never was a real marriage. Churches that have a legal annulment procedure are not fundamentally wrong to have it. What’s wrong is the abuse of the procedure.

    As for divorce, it seems to me that there are only three possible approaches, broadly speaking, if Christian polygamy is not to be tolerated:

    1. The church must say that Christian divorce is impossible, and refuse to remarry people who are already married, except in the specific situation described in 1 Cor 7. The pastor must say “I’m sorry, Mr. Gingrich, but you already have two wives and their families to support, I cannot help you to sin a second time by taking on another wife.” If the state is going to allow Newt to marry more women, or perhaps men or boys, that just shows how decadent the state is, it has nothing to do with real Christian marriage or the Christian church.

    2. The church must definitely say when divorce for Christian couples is permissible and unless the person wishing to remarry has met those requirements pastors must refuse to remarry them (so Newt’s pastor should tell Mr. Gingrich that he must fulfill his responsibilities to his two other wives and remain alone as long as he has a living spouse. If the person wishing to remarry has met those definite divorce requirements, there must be a way for the Pastor to declare the previous marriage divorced (an “official” ecclesiastical divorce). Allowing the state to tell the church who is and who is not married is no longer a viable option.

    3. The church must let Christians freely divorce their own spouses, and accept the divorced person’s fiat in the matter.

    The third option is more liberal than what even the state allows, but that seems to be the corner that most churches have backed themselves into. Maybe I’m wrong but I think the Eastern Orthodox church has ecclesiastical divorce, which is option 2, and option 1 is what a minority of the more conservative churches still practice and what the Roman Catholic church apparently gives lip service to but violates by its annulment abuse.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chanan (@33) said:

    Todd, your arguments are so missed-the-point they’re not worth responding to.

    Um, thanks? But you’ll forgive me if “not worth responding to” looks an awful lot like “I can’t respond intelligently to” or “I don’t actually want to listen to”.

    And with that, I bid adieu; I know when a Catholic is going to be attacked and mocked for his Church and not welcome.

    Oh, brother. Who, exactly, is teaching so many Catholics to use the Persecution Card as a (non-)debating tactic? Did you learn it from Bill Donahue?

    For what it’s worth, I’m more inclined to mock you for barging in here, tossing your opinions about, and then completely failing to defend them, bowing out by feigning offense, than I am to mock you for the particulars of your beliefs.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chanan (@33) said:

    Todd, your arguments are so missed-the-point they’re not worth responding to.

    Um, thanks? But you’ll forgive me if “not worth responding to” looks an awful lot like “I can’t respond intelligently to” or “I don’t actually want to listen to”.

    And with that, I bid adieu; I know when a Catholic is going to be attacked and mocked for his Church and not welcome.

    Oh, brother. Who, exactly, is teaching so many Catholics to use the Persecution Card as a (non-)debating tactic? Did you learn it from Bill Donahue?

    For what it’s worth, I’m more inclined to mock you for barging in here, tossing your opinions about, and then completely failing to defend them, bowing out by feigning offense, than I am to mock you for the particulars of your beliefs.

  • helen

    Chanan Mykola @33
    Expect some disagreement here but don’ t go away, especially “don’t go away mad”.
    You’ve told me, at least, one or two things I didn’t know. Thanks!

    ” When you proceed toward an annullment, the Protestant party is told that it is in their interest that the annullment proceed because then they will be deemed free (in the opinion of the Catholic Church) to remarry.”
    As I recall, this was not too satisfactory to a Lutheran woman who had been married to a Lutheran man for about 30 years and raised several children. He hit the “roving eye” fifties and wanted an annullment to marry his RC “second time around” choice. It didn’t sit too well with the kids, either, to be told that their parents were never married, in someone’s opinion!
    [Even if you agree with the "innocent party" philosophy, the odds for remarriage of a woman over 50 are not all that good. So, " thanks very much for nothing".] :(

    Re your parting shot: What has it got to do with this discussion?

  • helen

    Chanan Mykola @33
    Expect some disagreement here but don’ t go away, especially “don’t go away mad”.
    You’ve told me, at least, one or two things I didn’t know. Thanks!

    ” When you proceed toward an annullment, the Protestant party is told that it is in their interest that the annullment proceed because then they will be deemed free (in the opinion of the Catholic Church) to remarry.”
    As I recall, this was not too satisfactory to a Lutheran woman who had been married to a Lutheran man for about 30 years and raised several children. He hit the “roving eye” fifties and wanted an annullment to marry his RC “second time around” choice. It didn’t sit too well with the kids, either, to be told that their parents were never married, in someone’s opinion!
    [Even if you agree with the "innocent party" philosophy, the odds for remarriage of a woman over 50 are not all that good. So, " thanks very much for nothing".] :(

    Re your parting shot: What has it got to do with this discussion?

  • Paul t

    When a “church” or an individual changes the plain teachings of scripture, they set themselves above its authority. The foundational beliefs of New Testament churches has already been defined by Christ, and built upon by the apostles. To change their plain teachings is to abandon the faith “once delivered to the saints”.

    Sin can be forgiven through the atoning work of Christ, but it does not change the facts of history. Forgiveness does not always mean the removal of the consequences of our preconversion actions, and no man or organization can absolve us from them. For instance, suppose one gets AIDS through illegal drug use. Then suppose he is later converted . Can someone declare that he no longer has AIDS? And supose somone stole a million dollars, and is later converted. Can someone declare that the million dollars in his possession is now his, and the money not stolen?

  • Paul t

    When a “church” or an individual changes the plain teachings of scripture, they set themselves above its authority. The foundational beliefs of New Testament churches has already been defined by Christ, and built upon by the apostles. To change their plain teachings is to abandon the faith “once delivered to the saints”.

    Sin can be forgiven through the atoning work of Christ, but it does not change the facts of history. Forgiveness does not always mean the removal of the consequences of our preconversion actions, and no man or organization can absolve us from them. For instance, suppose one gets AIDS through illegal drug use. Then suppose he is later converted . Can someone declare that he no longer has AIDS? And supose somone stole a million dollars, and is later converted. Can someone declare that the million dollars in his possession is now his, and the money not stolen?

  • Bill T

    The question for me is: Was Gingrich accepted into the ROMAN CATHOLIC Church in accordance with the norms of the ROMAN CATHOLIC Church?

  • Bill T

    The question for me is: Was Gingrich accepted into the ROMAN CATHOLIC Church in accordance with the norms of the ROMAN CATHOLIC Church?

  • Mrs Winters

    I’ve had 4 annulments from the Catholic Church because I married 4 men outside the church while I was suffering with out of control addiction. I have been in recovery for some time and I going to be validly married in the church in two months.

    Clearly those were not “marriages” as each one lasted less than a year and as an addict under the influence of my addiction I was suffering from a form of temporary insanity which prevented me from making such a commitment. Also, civil marriages with judges aren’t considered valid for Catholics. All these annulments, while excessive and embarrassing for me, are completely valid. They have also helped me to heal from my addiction.

  • Mrs Winters

    I’ve had 4 annulments from the Catholic Church because I married 4 men outside the church while I was suffering with out of control addiction. I have been in recovery for some time and I going to be validly married in the church in two months.

    Clearly those were not “marriages” as each one lasted less than a year and as an addict under the influence of my addiction I was suffering from a form of temporary insanity which prevented me from making such a commitment. Also, civil marriages with judges aren’t considered valid for Catholics. All these annulments, while excessive and embarrassing for me, are completely valid. They have also helped me to heal from my addiction.

  • Anonymous

    If Gingrich was married twice in the Catholic Church then obviously he was granted two annulments.


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