Catholics begin synod on marriage & sexual morality

The Extraordinary Synod on the Family is underway at the Vatican.  Two hundred bishops of the Roman Catholic Church summoned by the Pope will discuss the church’s teachings about marriage, divorce, contraceptives, annullments, and sexual morality.  In particular, the bishops will study the pastoral issues such teachings raise, such as whether divorced Catholics should receive be allowed to Communion and the fact that most Catholics ignore the church’s teachings about birth control, among other teachings on sex and family. [Read more...]

Singles’ nation

For the first time since records were kept, a majority of American adults are single. [Read more...]

Luther on changing a baby’s diaper (rerun)

[Mollie Hemingway's quotation from Luther's "The Estate of Marriage" (1522) reminded me that I blogged on that sermon in 2007, several platforms ago.  So I thought I would rerun it.]

In working on an article about vocation, I was looking for the source of Luther’s famous saying about the holiness of changing diapers. I found his sermon “The Estate of Marriage” (1522) posted online here. A priceless excerpt:

Now observe that when that clever harlot, our natural reason (which the pagans followed in trying to be most clever), takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, “Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores, and on top of that care for my wife, provide for her, labour at my trade, take care of this and take care of that, do this and do that, endure this and endure that, and whatever else of bitterness and drudgery married life involves? What, should I make such a prisoner of myself? 0 you poor, wretched fellow, have you taken a wife? Fie, fie upon such wretchedness and bitterness! It is better to remain free and lead a peaceful. carefree life; I will become a priest or a nun and compel my children to do likewise.” [Read more...]

Federal judge throws out ban on polygamy

A federal judge in Utah has ruled that the state’s law banning polygamy is unconstitutional.  If the ruling is upheld on appeal–and how could it not be?–that would have a big impact not only on radical Mormons but on American Muslims.  And, of course, anyone else who might like to try that lifestyle.  (Think there would be many takers?) [Read more...]

When your mother is a man and your father is a woman

Feminists make a distinction between “sex,” which has to do with biology, and “gender,” which has to do with culture; thus, gender roles are changeable and interchangeable with those of men, having nothing to do with an individual’s sex.  But now sex is held to be changeable too, determined not by reproductive organs or the DNA of every cell in a person’s body but by the individual’s choice, which can be reinforced by surgical and hormone treatments.  And transgendered (technically, transexed) individuals can marry each other.  And, if they do so before the surgeries are complete, have children.  So now there are children whose mother is now a man and whose father is now a woman.  The account of two cases after the jump. [Read more...]

Half of marriages aren’t valid?

Roman Catholics don’t believe in divorce.  But they do allow for annulments.   These involve ecclesiastical tribunals that rule that a valid marriage never existed in the first place.  If it was determined that a couple was too young and didn’t know what they were doing or that they didn’t understand the Catholic theology of marriage, their marriage could be declared invalid.  Despite receiving the sacrament of marriage in their wedding, despite living together for decades, despite having children and raising them to adulthood, they weren’t really married, thus ratifying their civil divorce and allowing them to marry someone else.

Catholics who do get a divorce and remarry without an annulment (which is a very expensive and time-consuming process) incur automatic excommunication, meaning that they are not allowed to receive Holy Communion.  This affects lots of people, as you can imagine, and cuts seriously into church attendance.  So the church is reconsidering its practice, trying to find a way to allow remarried people to take Communion.

A leader of that effort is the retired German archbishop Cardinal Walter Kasper, who, in the course of an interview in Commonweal Magazine, dropped this bombshell that, strangely, has drawn little attention: “I’ve spoken to the pope himself about this, and he said he believes that 50 percent of marriages are not valid.” [Read more...]


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