Is marriage just a piece of paper?

Empathologism has an excellent post up dissecting a FamilyLife/Dennis Rainey memo on marriage.  See the link for Empath’s post and the ensuing discussion, but what struck me about the FamilyLife piece is how utterly devoid it is of a sense of biblical morality.  After explaining that at least two thirds of divorces have no possible biblical justification*, Rainey urges his Christian audience:

If you know people in that situation, urge them to fight for their marriage. Tell them not to quit without taking another lap around the track–without stopping to realize that the best marriage to be in is the one they already have.

The advice to not give up isn’t bad from a practical perspective, as statistically divorce doesn’t tend to make people happy.  But by focusing soley on the quality of the romantic relationship, modern Christians like Rainey have accepted the modern secular view of marriage.  They have abandoned all that truly makes marriage moral and sacred, and substituted in its place a pledge of allegiance to the fickleness of emotion.

In this new Oprafied view of marriage, marriages need constant “fighting” to ward off the ever present risk of divorce, as if divorce was some magical beast which picks out the weaklings from the herd.  Rainey uses this framing throughout the piece:

One researcher told me that if a couple can find as little as 20 percent of their marriage that they would call satisfactory, they have a better than 90 percent chance of making their marriage better in two years–if they stick with it, if they keep fighting, if they don’t give up and throw in the towel too soon.

This overlooks the simple fact that there is one surefire way to avoid divorce, and it doesn’t involve fighting, going to marriage weekends, or watching the latest “Christian” marriage video series.  The surefire way to avoid divorce is simply not to file for divorce.  Not divorcing doesn’t require fighting for your marriage, but instead honoring your sacred vow.  Should a divorce occur (absent biblical justification) the person who filed is solely responsible, not some failure on the part of the couple to “fight for their marriage”.  But this simple fact disarms the apparatus designed to keep husbands in line, and also doesn’t sell books, videos, and marriage retreats.

This leaves the modern marriage defender completely naked to a very common form of criticism.  Seeing the reality of modern marriage, the question many astute young people will ask is:

Isn’t marriage just a piece of paper?

The answer sadly is yes.  This new definition of marriage focused on warding off mysterious spirits of unhappiness instead of honoring traditional roles and (true) lifelong commitment really is no different than living together.  And living together is itself merely a subcategory of boyfriend and girlfriend.  This new form of marriage modern Christians have adopted is truly nothing more than a state registered form of boyfriend and girlfriend.

The truth of all of this is evident with the great difficulty modern Christians face when trying to explain why this new form of marriage has moral meaning.  Back in 2008 FamilyLife spilled a great deal of virtual ink attempting in vain to explain why marriage isn’t just a piece of paper.  This should be very easy for any Christian to explain, but they just couldn’t do it.  What is it about marriage which makes it different from other forms of romantic relationships?  What makes it moral and sacred?  Is it the certificate from the government suitable for framing?  Or, perhaps it is the fact that when a woman ends this form of serial monogamous romantic relationship she is rewarded with cash and prizes?  Perhaps it is the fact that married people wear rings, as Director Stanton argues in the title of his book?

As Christians we must stop trying to justify the modern definition of marriage and be honest that the question as posed is spot on.  Biblical marriage is sacred, holy, and moral, but it isn’t what the vast majority of Christians are thinking of when they answer this question.  We have a great deal of baggage here which we must overcome, but once we do we can answer this incisive question with something other than gibberish.

*This is an area where Protestants and Catholics disagree, as Protestants tend to accept a very limited list of reasons as biblically permitted while the Catholic position is that there are no valid reasons for divorce.  However, there is also some disagreement between Protestants on what is biblically permitted and either way in practice the very short list of biblical exceptions tends to be ignored.  In addition, from a practical perspective the Protestant and Catholic positions aren’t that far apart, as divorce and annulments are taken incredibly lightly, and very few cases of Catholic divorce turn out to actually involve a marriage after all.

This entry was posted in Book of Oprah, Church Apathy About Divorce, Denial, Dennis Rainey, Divorce, FamilyLife, Focus on the Family, Glenn Stanton, Headship, New Morality, Romantic Love, Submission, Threatpoint, Wake-up call. Bookmark the permalink.

236 Responses to Is marriage just a piece of paper?

  1. Pingback: Is marriage just a piece of paper? | Manosphere.com

  2. LiveFearless says:

    Marriage, as it is commonly known now in the U S, is a contract with the state.

  3. Elspeth says:

    This:

    This overlooks the simple fact that there is one surefire way to avoid divorce, and it doesn’t involve fighting, going to marriage weekends, or watching the latest “Christian” marriage video series. The surefire way to avoid divorce is simply not to divorce. Not divorcing doesn’t require fighting for your marriage, but instead honoring your sacred vow. Should a divorce occur (absent biblical justification) the person who filed is solely responsible, not some failure on the part of the couple to “fight for their marriage”.

    And this:

    This new definition of marriage focused on warding off mysterious spirits of unhappiness instead of honoring traditional roles and (true) lifelong commitment really is no different than living together.

    Excellently stated, sir.

    Bottom line, as someone recently commented on my blog (“Is modern marriage marriage at all?”) is that most people are lying when they stand in front of the preacher and vow to stay for better or worse. What’s more, everyone including the preacher, knows they’re lying which makes the whole debacle even worse.

  4. Very well said. I’ve thought before that people used to stay married not necessarily because they were living happily ever after, or because the sex was great, or because they had lots of things in common. They stayed married because they never considered not staying married. They’d made the vow, and that was it. And because they didn’t sit around weighing their options, it was easier to be happy. There’s a feedback loop there that works either positively or negatively.

    Now, very few people have that kind of commitment, but everyone who’s in the middle of a romance thinks he or she does. It’s pretty hard to sort out those who mean it. I’ve even talked to women who said, “My parents divorced, and it was brutal on me, so there’s no way I’d ever divorce.” A couple years of “fighting for their marriage,” and they were ready to make an exception.

  5. John Derbyshire wrote a great article about the TV show Married with Children a decade ago. I’ve always liked this bit:

    You might even stretch a point and say that the show was a celebration of marriage, as that institution has been experienced by most Western people through most of history. I am thinking of an exchange in one of Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time novels. The narrator, Nick Jenkins, a sophisticated metropolitan type, has been commissioned in a Welsh regiment during WW2. He is in conversation with one of his sergeants, a man with a working-class background from a small town in Wales. The sergeant has mentioned a relative of his, who got married a few years previously. “And how are they now?” asks Jenkins. “Why, all right,” replies the sergeant, somewhat puzzled. “Why should they not be?” For the worldly, upper-crust Londoner it is natural to ask how a marriage is going; for the provincial proletarian, the question is baffling. They met, they got married, that’s the end of it. How could anything else happen to them now? The sergeant has, to use Orwell’s words again, “the working-class outlook which takes it as a matter of course that youth and adventure — almost, indeed, individual life — end with marriage.”

    He goes on to talk about how people used to see marriage as a duty: you stuck with it because you said the words so you had a duty to follow through — a duty to yourself, to your spouse and children, to God, to your community. With luck, you were more happy than not, but mostly you just got on with it and didn’t check in with your navel every day to make sure you were still properly fulfilled and content. You didn’t fight for the marriage; you just lived it.

  6. Tom C says:

    Pirate ships functioned very much as early democracies, with their “pirate codes” and “distribution of justice” and their system lasted for centuries.

    Oh wait, no women were allowed onboard.

  7. The surefire way to avoid divorce is simply not to divorce

    This. I normally say it slightly differently, “The surefire way to avoid divorce is simply not to FILE divorce”
    Seems a small difference but I’m serious about the value of the different wording. Not to not pick Dalrock, but one way of wording it allows the language twisting thing to afford cover to the offending woman woman room to maneuver.

  8. Robert What? says:

    “Should a divorce occur (absent Biblical justification)…”

    What are the Biblical justifications for divorce? I didn’t think there were any. (Except for fraud: eg, woman claiming to be a virgin when she’s not.)

  9. Dalrock says:

    Good point Empath. I was basically already there with the follow on sentence. I’ve fixed the wording in the post.

  10. Dominic says:

    I think this blog has the best explanation for how marriage turned into a mere piece of paper.

    The gist of her arguments involve the concept of an illusory promise from contract law. In contract law, a promise or contract which leaves the fulfillment of its term voluntary to the participants involved is an essentially an “illusory promise”, a promise which has no legal meaning and which the courts cannot enforce. For example, if I promise to give you $50 with the clause “provided I feel want to”, then that is an illusory promise because that promise contains no real obligations, since an “escape route” out of the promise has already been encoded into the contract itself.

    The advent of no-fault divorces meant that all marital contracts are illusory promises. A marital contract where people can end simply on their say-so, as and when they want, would essentially be an illusory promise, a contract which contained no real obligations and which fulfillment is left to the choice of the parties involved.

    One can read the rest here: http://theviewfromhell.blogspot.sg/2012/07/the-right-to-marry.html

  11. Dominic says:

    Argh, my comment is full of grammar mistakes, can you help me amend it? Thanks.

  12. ballista74 says:

    @TFH

    The weirdest thing of all is that the place where the marriage occurs (the church or equivalent for different religions) is not the same institution that handles divorces (courts and lawyers).

    Both are State officials. I think the disconnect in most people’s minds on what marriage really is begins on this one, though there’s much more. “That priest, minister, rabbi or whatever can’t be acting as an official of the State now can he?” People don’t think of it that way, so the deception is begun.

    Though people don’t choose to see it, it is all about the State all the way through.

  13. Pingback: Life is a Paper Trail | Unmasking Feminism

  14. Anonymous age 72 says:

    I did legal research for 10 years, as a counselor for divorced men. At one point in time, I looked for what the courts felt a marriage was. As far as I could tell, it was all about property rights.

    The old laws which guaranteed sex to a man: gone.

    The old laws which prohibited a wife from testifying against him: gone.

    The old laws which required a woman to live with her husband: gone.

    Even the old law which guaranteed his children would have his surname; gone.

    In fact, nothing sacred or holy. Strictily property rights. She owns him, to be facetious about it.

    My view of marriage changed dramatically after coming to Mexico. Like most folks in the Anglosphere I assumed marriage was filing a paper with the government marriage offices, period. Anything else was shacking up and immoral..

    In Mexico, they have Free Union, which on the surface sounds like shacking up, but isn’t.

    It’s like a private, Old Testament marriage. The couple moves in together, and announces they are husband and wife, period. And, they do truly consider themselves married. And, their families and neighbors also consider them truly married.

    I noted in the local hospital on the office window were two sets of instructions. One for legally married couples, the other for privately married couples. So, essentially, in a mattter of speaking, they are also considered ‘married’ by the government. Though the government refuses to give tthe woman many of the protections of lawful marriage.

    So, women have to simply trust their ‘husbands’ to take care of them. What a concept, yes?

    I tell foreign men moving to Mexico, do not pretend to be married, in a private marriage, unless you really mean it. If a woman trusts you enough to live in Free Union with you, she deserves to be treated like a wife. And, if it turns sour, the divorce courts don’t own all your past; present; and future property. But, do not treat a good Mexican woman like a cheap ho’ just because she agrees to a private marriage. If she loves you and trusts you enough to ‘marry’ you without government protection, treat her as she deserves.

    Several years ago, I had a talk with my wife. I told her if I pass away, sell this house, and take the money to the USA, and help build a joint house with her daughter and son and husband.

    She asked me what I would do if she passes away. She was furious when I told her, “There will be babies in this house.”

    And, though she thinks it is Bravo Sierra, her cousins told me, yes, there would be a number of young widows or unwed mothers of good character (such things exist in Mexico) who would be willing to be my woman, for food and housing for them and their children (child for unwed mother; unwed mothers of good character have only one child unless there were twins.)

    My wife was angry enough to try to write a will leaving the house, not to me, but to her children. Alas, under Mexican law we are married and in the absence of papers filed for separate properties we have joint ownership.

    She fussed that it wasn’t fair she worked so hard to pay for this house, and some young woman who did nothing would get it. I suspected a bad case of dementia. Does she not understand any young woman who inherits this house is going to DO A LOT FOR IT. HEE, HEE.

    Besides I paid for most of it, anyway.

  15. David J. says:

    “The surefire way to avoid divorce is simply not to file for divorce. Not divorcing doesn’t require fighting for your marriage, but instead honoring your sacred vow. Should a divorce occur (absent biblical justification) the person who filed is solely responsible, not some failure on the part of the couple to ‘fight for their marriage’.”

    I have often said that I was at least 50% responsible for the problems in our marriage, but she was 100% responsible for the divorce — because there was no biblical justification for the divorce, and it was entirely unilateral. My Answer to the divorce Complaint objected to the divorce, but of course in our current system that was token opposition only.

  16. David J. says:

    @Elspeth: “Bottom line, as someone recently commented on my blog (“Is modern marriage marriage at all?”) is that most people are lying when they stand in front of the preacher and vow to stay for better or worse. What’s more, everyone including the preacher, knows they’re lying which makes the whole debacle even worse.”

    This is even more obviously true when the wedding isn’t the first for either party. Seeing pictures of my ex-wife’s wedding (to a twice-divorced man), I couldn’t help but wonder what my four children (and the rest of the relatively sparse audience) were thinking as they heard her vow “til death do us part” to her SECOND man and heard him vow it to his THIRD woman. How could any self-respecting person, particularly a Christian (and even more particularly a pastor), sit still for such a “ceremony”? What a travesty.

  17. bluedog says:

    TFH June 17, 2014 at 6:39 pm writes,
    “The weirdest thing of all is that the place where the marriage occurs (the church or equivalent for different religions) is not the same institution that handles divorces (courts and lawyers).”

    Indeed. The willingness to be the instrument of feeding people into the system seems to be a tacit advocacy for the same system. The Catholic church, through the annulment process and Judaism with beth din, maintain some integrity on these points. Not that that integrity is well spent with annulments seeming so easily acquired, but I think there’s some “opposition research” in order for Protestants.

    MGTOW like Barbarosssa and Stardusk seem to take personal autonomy to their logical conclusion – assuming the human condition is a monad – though when Stardusk gets in “boys against girls” and “there can be only one” MGTOW Highlander mode his monadism comes across as a disengenuous cover for profound misogyny.

    What is going on here – and at Rationalmale – has in common a faith or commitment to human dyadism. The trick is in the technique(s) to make it work. I know this: if it is 2 parts “red pill”, it had better come too with 10 parts Christian love and community.

    Anecdotal fact that seems relevant: I am a happy divorcee. Every male peer of mine who is divorced, I know to be happily so. All of us would be miserable returning to our marriages.

  18. Bluepillprofessor says:

    Married guy for 20+ years over here and have almost failed to make it more than a couple times. Most recently I had given up before I discovered the Red Pill because we were a textbook /r/deadbedrooms marriage. I made a decision to start gaming my wife rather than cheat and used relationship game ala Athol Kay’s Captain/FO- along with the hard Dread. It worked and we have never been happier.

    What kept us together? Pure stubbornness. No matter how unhaaaaappppy we were I as the man sure wasn’t going to give up. Yes I almost “cheated” but I had that hamstered away (if she’s not giving it up, then I am not taking anything from her so…squeak squeek…) My wife, a Godly woman, decided against an I’m not haaaapppy divorce a long time ago. So we stayed unhappy for a long time until I Alpha’d up and finally was able to (as Rollo says) “get it.”

    TLDR: Marriage takes patience, game, stubbornness, and a rejection of I’m not haaapppy divorce.

  19. Cane Caldo says:

    @Bluepillprofessor

    What kept us together? Pure stubbornness.

    Might I suggest the word “perseverance”?

  20. AnonS says:

    “The weirdest thing of all is that the place where the marriage occurs (the church or equivalent for different religions) is not the same institution that handles divorces (courts and lawyers).”

    And if marriage is treated like an illusory promise (great insight there), is there anyway around the system?

    Do you have to avoid any states with common law marriage, write your own contract, and then never officially marry? Since you can’t get out of child support (is that a federal deal?) and losing kids, that doesn’t seem much better than a pre-nub (assuming a state that is better at honoring them).

    Can you get yourself and your kids duel-citizenship then exclude your ex-wife?

    Are women considered by the government to be unable to agree to a contract (like children), why is no one fighting for ‘equal rights’ there?

  21. AnonS says:

    “@Bluepillprofessor

    What kept us together? Pure stubbornness.

    Might I suggest the word “perseverance”?”

    “Love is long suffering”, strange how it is only ever preached to men.

  22. Steve H says:

    Brilliant piece, Dalrock. Further destroys the hypocritical bleatings of ‘Christians’ who shamelessly continue to advocate for culturally Marxist psychotherapy modalities as the preferred, legitimate prescription for negotiating difficult marriages.

    David J – I recently attended a wedding, out of a sense of duty to a now-deceased family member, where the ‘what a travesty’ sentiment was something I felt palpably. In those moments of teary eyes and grandiose aisle-walking, I experienced a ‘slow motion’ effect where decades of dysfunction all logically culminated in an overriding fatalistic certainty, like pieces of a cross-longitudinal puzzle, in surmising the eventual impossibility of sustaining this fledgling ‘marriage’. And I am not a religious man whatsoever, but it was rather sickening. But intriguingly so.

  23. JDG says:

    Another home run Dalrock.

  24. BrainyOne says:

    The truth of all of this is evident with the great difficulty modern Christians face when trying to explain why this new form of marriage has moral meaning.

    I couldn’t agree more, but the reason Christianity got to this point is the difficulty faced in even trying to explain why the old form of marriage had moral meaning. Merely by saying you are going to stick to something come hell or high water implies more commitment to the thing yes, but that alone is insufficient to give the thing moral meaning. (If the thing is bad, for instance, this is stubbornness, not commitment.) Merely saying that a given arrangement is optimal for society is insufficient to give that thing moral meaning, even it can provide a sufficient reason for societal enforcement of that arrangement. (And, it should be noted this assertion can possibly be falsified if societal conditions change and the arrangement becomes sub-optimal.)

    I’m coming from an ex-Catholic perspective, so I’m not familiar what was taught in Protestant denominations, but I don’t think it diverges that much. But in Catholicism we were taught (or at least pre-Vatican II Catholics were taught) the primary purpose of marriage is the procreation and education of children, the secondary purpose of marriage is the mutual help afforded both parties, both through the “reduction of concupiscence” through sex, and through living together according to traditional sex roles. The problem is that marriage is necessary for none of those things. The argument becomes akin to “the primary purpose of eating steak is survival”; but we can also survive by eating fish.

    But what about romantic love, about husbands loving wives as Christ loved the Church and so on? All very well and good, but if you make that the basis for marriage then logically the marriage should cease if that love is no longer there. The posters at CAF are being completely logical when they say wives should frivorce if this is the newfound basis for marriage (which it is).

  25. But in Catholicism we were taught (or at least pre-Vatican II Catholics were taught) the primary purpose of marriage is the procreation and education of children, the secondary purpose of marriage is the mutual help afforded both parties, both through the “reduction of concupiscence” through sex, and through living together according to traditional sex roles. The problem is that marriage is necessary for none of those things.

    Marriage is necessary to have those things in a healthy way. Procreation without traditional marriage leads to all the dysfunction of illegitimacy and and adult children spending years in therapy. Slaking one’s lusts outside marriage means the carousel: serial monogamy at best, rutting like diseased animals at worst. Marriage is the proper context for those things, the only context in which they are more likely than not to be positive.

  26. Many people in the Christian Community claim there are grounds for two Christians to divorce. This is not so. If one reads Matthew 19 as viewed through the lens of Mathew 23 (In his earthly ministry, Jesus was under the authority of Moses), one finds a fascinating outlook on divorce. First he said ‘What God has therefore joined together, let no man separate.” When asked about the judgment of Moses, allowing divorce, He said “But from the beginning it was not so.” However, with the question laid squarely in front of Him, He replied saying “And I tell you the truth that any man who divorces his wife for any reason other than immorality causes her to commit adultery.”

    That’s what He said in His earthly ministry, but it seems obvious that he was opposed to divorce. Interestingly enough, when we read 1st Corinthians 7:10-11, we find the Apostle Paul being very careful to say that this was instruction directly from the risen Lord. Wives are not to separate from their husbands, but if they do they are to remain single or be reconciled with their husbands… and husbands MUST NOT divorce their wives.

    There are no Biblical grounds for divorce between two believers. Period, end of discussion. Adultery is not grounds for divorce. Read 1st Peter 3:1. What Paul did in 1st Corinthians 7 was to restate the law of the Bondservant with respect to marriage. Only when someone leaves the service of the Master and departs from the believer can there be a divorce…

  27. Don Quixote says:

    Some say marriage is just a piece of paper, but I would say that divorce is just a piece of paper. If your interested in a critique of divorce apologetics please have a look at Once Married Always Married. http://oncemarried.net

  28. Don Quixote says:

    Robert What? says:
    June 17, 2014 at 8:41 pm
    “What are the Biblical justifications for divorce? I didn’t think there were any. (Except for fraud: eg, woman claiming to be a virgin when she’s not.)”

    Exactly.
    The importance of the brides virginity is reflected in the exception clause [Matt.5:32 & 19:9]. This vital point if nearly _always_ missed by todays preachers. Instead of explaining how important it is to marry a virgin, they use the same exception clause as a loophole to recycle divorcees….

  29. Sasha_ says:

    The original purpose of marriage was to legally ensure the transfer of financial resources from a man to a woman and children, in exchange for the sexual exclusivity and reproductive potential of a woman to a man. This entailed mutual support and cooperation, within a context of life-time commitment.

    The introduction of middle-class women into the workplace has depressed wages and increased competition, has also increased housing and cost-of-living due to the creation of double-income households, thus undermining mens’ ability to provide financial support, while no-fault divorce/welfare/child support has substantially undermined the interest of women in maintaining life-time commitment/support/cooperation.

    Within this new reality, I would argue marriage is now outdated for any man who cannot be confident of at least maintaining a life-time income 2x to 3x times the national average without interruption, and quite possibly without substantial potential for inherited wealth to offset the increased cost of buying a home.

    The result is an increasingly polarized and unequal society of atomized and rootless individuals.

  30. Eliezer Ben-Yehuda says:

    >> “That priest, minister, rabbi or whatever can’t be acting as an official of the State now can he?” People don’t think of it that way, so the deception is begun.

    Nah… not deception. Willfull ignorance.

    Marriages are “solemnized”, and every jurisdiction has laws about who may do it.

    When the Sovereign takes official judicial notice of a relationship – that is a solemnization.

  31. Opus says:

    State Registered Room Mate (not necessarily with Benefits)

  32. Johnycomelately says:

    Control the language…

    Since no-fault divorce Marriage as a separate entity no longer exists, once the definitions were changed the structure changed, marriage as it exists now is some sort of non-binding at will quasi partnership agreement between separate entities.

    Conservatives aren’t defending marriage they’re defending Partnership Agreements, they’re in a humorous bind fighting valiantly to defend a liberal institution. Under the auspices their efforts makes sense.

    “Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob.”

  33. Novaseeker says:

    Excellent post.

    A key point, I think, is that this is seen as a good thing. Not divorces — they don’t want a lot of divorces. So they will focus on ways to lessen the divorce rate. But the shift of marriage from something about a sacred relationship with parallel duties to a certified romantic love match is considered by almost everyone — including almost all Christians — to be a profoundly *good* thing.

    The argument is that marriage is supposed to be about love (based on some messy exegesis, in turn based on cultural trends), and that people are happier in marriages when they are in love with their spouse, so this is all good for everyone.

    The problem arises in that romance typically ends at some stage. That is, it is well known that BF/GF relationships normally end when the romance peters out for whatever reason. No-one bemoans this (although we may console people who are in emotional pain from a breakup of a non-marital relationship), and we expect it — romance is a fragile and fickle thing by its nature, and we all know and accept this. So, when we base marriage on romance and romantic love, of course we also “know” that this also in many cases has an end date on it — romance peters off, and the decision comes as to whether to spend the rest of one’s life with someone to whom you are married or get into another romance with someone else — and that decision can’t, of course, be based on romance because the romance has cooled/petered out/morphed. Yes, I know there are a small number of couples who remain madly romantically in love for five decades, but we all know this isn’t that common. The “fantasy” hope is that you will be one of those rare couples, but the reality is that you likely won’t be, so you need another basis for your relationship to persevere once the romantic phase cools, or is killed off by something.

    Societally, because we view marriage as a kind of certified BF/GF relationship based on romantic love, this implies an acceptance of marital breakdown in a much broader sense — because, again, we all know that romantic love can and often does go away at some stage, or at least cool. So, like the BF/GF who are not married, we console the hurting, but we also think it’s for the best so that both can find someone “whom they truly love and who truly loves them” so that they can become the fantasy couple who is madly in love for five decades with no cooling off whatsoever. That is, again, divorce is *good*, because it helps people restart their romantic lives and get another chance at the roulette wheel to find that special person and so on. We bemoan the effects on children (some of us do), or we bemoan the religious implications (some of us do), but at bottom we kind of want people to sort together with a mate whom they will reciprocally passionately and romantically love for a lifetime, and divorce is a path to achieve this as much as marriage is when marriage fails — which, again, we expect it to do, since most romantic-based relationships do, in fact, eventually fail.

    This is all fairly clear, I think. But the problem is that people are glued to the notion that romantic love is the only legitimate basis for relationships, or at least the only basis that should matter and have widespread support as a legitimate basis — even if it is fickle and often temporary. Because, there is always the chance of hitting the jackpot, and riding off into the sunset in lifelong bliss. It’s a dysnfunctional model that is based on a fantasy, largely, but it is what it is, and that fantasy is pervasive. Dislodging it from people — Christian or not – is extremely difficult to say the least, and even doing do gets one accused almost immediately of cynicism. That is, if you don’t embrace a Disney fantasy model of m/f relationships, you’re a bitter cynic.

  34. hoellenhund2 says:

    6:35 am

    And the obvious reason for all that, of course, is that we’ve witnessed the wholesale destruction of communities that used to give the average person an identity. People no longer attach themselves to tribes, ethnic groups, trade unions, religious denominations, extended families, nothing. Nobody believes in the afterlife either. The logical conclusion is hedonism. You only have one life to live to the fullest, and you won’t derive pride and identity from being part of something bigger than yourself, so the best idea is to experience as much pleasure as possible. One way to do that is to enter a relationship (well, serial relationships) based on nothing but mutual pleasure and romance. You’re supposed to seek it, to enjoy it, because it’ll give meaning to your life. This is your only way to escape complete alienation and solitude in an atomized society. And you better do it fast, because once you become old, you won’t even be able to enjoy sex anymore. What will be left for you? Nothing.

  35. jf12 says:

    If marriage is so easily burned by a little spark, then yes it is just a piece a paper.

  36. Michael Neal says:

    As a Catholic I will divorce my wife if she is adulterous without thinking twice about it

  37. jf12 says:

    @Sasha, re: “Within this new reality, I would argue marriage is now outdated for any man who cannot be confident of at least maintaining a life-time income 2x to 3x times the national average without interruption”

    I would argue that marriage-as-a-piece-of-paper is MOST outdated for those men. But those are the men that women want most to marry, of course.

  38. deti says:

    1. BluePillProf: “What kept us together? Pure stubbornness.”

    Cane: “Might I suggest the word “perseverance”?”

    Sounds an awful lot like “fighting for your marriage” to me.

  39. deti says:

    “the eventual impossibility of sustaining this fledgling ‘marriage’. And I am not a religious man whatsoever, but it was rather sickening. “

    Even among the irreligious, there is an overriding sense that a marriage promise is supposed to be forever. It should be until one of you dies. It should be not taken lightly or frivolously. It should be taken soberly and after great reflection. Marriage should be difficult to get into and difficult to get out of.

    Except when “the difficult stuff” happens to you or a family member (especially a female family member).

  40. jf12 says:

    @Cail Corishev re: “They stayed married because they never considered not staying married. They’d made the vow, and that was it.”

    Yes. But now with divorce too easy to get, it’s too easy to consider not staying married. The vow is what’s keeping me within marriage. I’m certain I vowed “to love and to cherish”, but not “to feel love and to feel cherished.”

  41. jf12 says:

    Time for some maudlin nonsense.

  42. deti says:

    “I’m coming from an ex-Catholic perspective, so I’m not familiar what was taught in Protestant denominations, but I don’t think it diverges that much.”

    Actually, as a lifelong Prot (increasingly unfortunate, I would add), I can say the teaching is quite a bit different. The order of importance of the reasons for marriage is reversed. This is crucial, as I’ll illustrate. But the practice diverges from Catholic teaching very much so.

    The official teaching of the Prot church I grew up in was that marriage is primarily provided as the only biblically sanctioned place for sexual expression. Children are secondary, mutual happiness and support are secondary but important. The primary purpose of marriage is to keep women and (mostly) men from sexual sin. So, if you want to have sex, and most people do, then you need to find someone you love and/or are attracted to, and get married, and then you can have sex. Problem solved.

    Of course, there are (hopefully) more things binding the two, like the intertwining of their lives and children and mutual interests and so on, but the raison d’etre for the two of them getting married is so they don’t get caught up in sexual sin (or to get “delivered” from it).

    Of course, the Catholic teaching seems to be more geared toward lifelong commitment, because people are not sexually attractive in general or even to each other for 20, 30, 40 or 50 years. And this lays bare the entire problem with the Prot mainline approach to marriage as simply keeping people from sexual sin. There has to be more “glue” holding the two together other than mutual sexual attraction/desire, or the marriage will probably fail.

    It’s a bit like using duct tape to hold your ailing car radiator together. It will hold for a short while, but eventually it will fall apart and you’ll have to get under the hood and make some very, very expensive repairs after the car’s out of warranty.

    The practice of marriage, divorce and remarriage is very, very different from Catholicism. I’m given to understand that divorced Catholics are absolutely forbidden from remarriage in the RCC; and their subsequent unions are viewed as adulterous and not recognized. There’s a lot of variance among Prot denominations – the LCMS and the Southern Baptists are more conservative; the United Methodists and United Church of Christ more liberal. Many of them allow divorce for “the four “A”’s: adultery, abuse, addiction and abandonment.

    Marriage is to be carried on for the purpose of mutual fulfillment and happiness, with the husband and wife having loosely defined roles. Individual marriages can be conducted any way the participants see fit, with the primary purpose being the furtherance of the participants’ satisfaction and happiness. A marriage is in trouble if, and only if, someone (usually the wife) is “unhappy” or dissatisfied. (All this has been gone into in great detail elsewhere and I won’t rehash it here.) Staying together “for the children” is a nonstarter. The only reason to persevere is for happiness or the chance of it. If it becomes clear that either H or W (usually the W) are intractably “unhappy”, then it is time to divorce.

    Remarriage is allowed liberally, depending on the circumstances and the denomination. In the United Methodist Church, for example, remarriage is permitted liberally. There is literally no reason to prohibit remarriage even if the prior marriage ended due to “unhappiness” (usually described as “incompatibility”).

  43. deti says:

    Of course, I quite like the Catholic prohibition on divorce. The usual Prot exegesis on permitting divorce for adultery because Christ mentioned it has expanded to the other “three A’s”.

    And the respective definitions of the “four A’s” has been quite elastic over the last 500 years or so. “Adultery” now includes “he looked at porn”. “He yelled at me once” is “abuse”.

  44. jf12 says:

    See the “Dogmatic Decision on the Indissolubility of Marriage” regarding the absolute indissolubility of any marriage that has been consummated.
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05054c.htm

    The definition of consummation is squishier than you might think. Traditionally, having a child is the best sign of consummation, but since the liberalization of annulments it must not be absolute. Since this is such a Catholic question, I put it here. We know impotence is grounds for annulment; so is the piv penetration, alone, the fundamental definition of consummation, or is it the ejaculation up where it could do some good?

  45. Cane Caldo says:

    @deti

    1. BluePillProf: “What kept us together? Pure stubbornness.”

    Cane: “Might I suggest the word “perseverance”?”

    Sounds an awful lot like “fighting for your marriage” to me.

    Then I will debase myself further in your eyes and say that if we are speaking of fighting, then it is more true to say “fighting for your wife” against the spirit of this age. Divorce is prevented by choosing not to file, but wives are improved by God, and He is fighting for our wives. I got no shame to fight by His side.

    @Novaseeker

    But the problem is that people are glued to the notion that romantic love is the only legitimate basis for relationships, or at least the only basis that should matter and have widespread support as a legitimate basis — even if it is fickle and often temporary. Because, there is always the chance of hitting the jackpot, and riding off into the sunset in lifelong bliss. It’s a dysnfunctional model that is based on a fantasy, largely, but it is what it is, and that fantasy is pervasive. Dislodging it from people — Christian or not – is extremely difficult to say the least, and even doing do gets one accused almost immediately of cynicism. That is, if you don’t embrace a Disney fantasy model of m/f relationships, you’re a bitter cynic.

    Or a kook

  46. Opus says:

    One cannot help but notice that all the well known examples in literature of oppressed women needing to divorce come from male writers of the Nineteenth Century: Tolstoy’s Karenina, Ibsen’s Nora Helmer, Flaubert ‘s Mme Bovary and Galsworthy’s Irene Forsyte. Things get worse in the Twentieth: Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly, Hemingway’s Brett Ashley, Tennessee Williams’s Blanche. I am at a loss immediately to think of an example of a female novelist whose male leads are either bullies or sexually impotent (or closet homosexuals) on the contrary the more brutish or taciturn they are the more they become attractive Austen’s D’Arcy, Bronte’s Jane Eyre come to mind. Opera is no better with the hypergamous Violetta Valery, the deluded Cio Cio San or the sulky Mimi coming to bad ends through imaginative suicide (if the budget will run to throwing oneself down the laundry shoot into a sewer – Mascagni’s eponymous Iris or throwing oneself in to the erupting mouth of Mount Vesuvius, Fenella in Auber’s La Muette de Portici) or that old standby Consumption.

  47. jf12 says:

    @Opus, maybe things started going awry when the pitiful nonvirgin Fanella threw herself into the volcano. Afaik the accepted tradition was pitilessly throwing a bound virgin into it.

  48. Scott says:

    On the issue of “just not divorcing” I think this might help.

    I haven’t done any marital therapy in a while, but there was always these two things that stood out. They were the two most ubiquotous problems that transcended married couples central issues.

    If I asked the man to tell me what he wasn’t getting that he felt he really needed, it was almost some derivitive of “respect.” He might not always articulate it that way, but if you drilled down deep enough, the men wanted to be appreciated for their hard work, their integrity, their moral leadersship, their accountability. As I said, this was the most common type of complaint, by far.

    However, if you asked the woman the same question the most common response had to do with being “known.” She would say “I know his favorite color, his favorite sex positions, his favorite meal, his favorite sports team, his hopes and dreams…but he doesn’t know anything about me.” She would complain about how she resented him for this and because of it was not interested in showing respect.

    In general, because of the heavy-handed fem-centric approach I was taught in graduate school, i would be much more empathic to the woman and say to the man “you see, she wants you to ask questions about her. If you show interest THEN she will respect you.” This of course, is BS and is not anything like what the Bible prescribes should be done in this situation.

    However–take that problem and compound it with the second issue I noticed (and was absolutely the case in the breakup of my own first marriage)

    When my divorce was almost final, I was able to have several, calm conversations with her about what went wrong. In a rare moment of candor she admitted the following: “When were dating, I looked at you and thought ‘that’s a good start’ and then I proceeded to get to work on changing you. I shouldn’t have done that. It just set me up for dissapointment when you didn’t change the way I wanted you to.”

    This, too, was a common theme in the marriage counseling I have done. The woman sees the man as an unfinished project and the man sees just the opposite. He thinks “stay like that. Don’t change! That will be perfect.”

    In fact, I would go so far as to say these two problems are the biggest contributors of female-instigated divorce. This idea of chaging the man is reinforced as the correct way to proceed in a marriage. How often do you hear that she “trained him” to start leaving the toilet seat down, or whatever? Can you imagine a husband speaking that way about a wife in public?

    I think in the current cultural environment, it is the man is who more likely to have this position–which is the one I usually hear from married men:

    “Sure there are some things I don’t particularly like about her. Heck, I reserve the right to complan about them until we are dead. But if she never changes her most annoying habits, I love her. I picked her, just like this. I will even learn to love the things about her I can’t stand.”

    What a man is doing when he proclaims this is a sort of guided imagery. He is actually imagining her, decades later–old, gray, hunched over with the all the exact same personality quirks and annoying habits she has now and STILL being married to her. And he is OK with that.

  49. @deti

    Everybody points to Matthew 5:31-32 as evidence of grounds for divorce, but that was within the context of the judgment of Moses allowing men to divorce their wives. What is totally overlooked is the point that God will not accept an illegitimate divorce. The woman could only commit adultery if she were still married. Jesus clearly stated in Mathew 23 that the scribes and Pharisees had seated themselves in the seat of Moses and the people were to obey them. Jesus, as a member of the tribe of Judah, was likewise under the authority of Moses and the Law. Within that context, Mathew 19 becomes very clear. Jesus vigorously objected to divorce, but in the end He upheld the judgment of Moses in the strictest of terms.

    It was the risen Lion of the tribe of Judah who gave Paul instruction for believers concerning marriage in 1st Corinthians 7:10-11. Wives (who never had the authority anywhere to divorce their husbands) were instructed not to separate; but if they did, they were to remain single or be reconciled to their husbands. Husbands were commanded not to divorce their wives. The judgment of Moses concerning divorce was reversed for a union of two believers. This puts Matthew 5:31-32 in a much different light. The woman who has separated herself from her husband commits adultery if she marries another. However, the husband who takes another wife after his first wife separated herself from him now has two wives.

    The only legitimate divorce for a believer is when the unbeliever departs from the believer. In that case the believer is free. However, for two married believers there is no divorce. The woman might separate, but she still has a husband she could reconcile herself to. The husband is commanded not to divorce his wife but there’s nothing to stop him from taking another wife.

    The various flavors of Protestants all hold to doctrines that permit divorce (which God clearly said He hates). The RCC allows annulments as a semantic sidestep that accomplishes the same thing. While everyone claims they don’t want divorce to happen they all maintain the option. The hypocrisy becomes clear when examined through the lens of polygyny, which all the churches claim is wrong. Something God said He hates, which He forbid for married believers is permitted, yet something God permitted and regulated is forbidden.

    Both of these things support the feminist imperative.

  50. jf12 says:

    “God will not accept an illegitimate divorce.” but supposedly He tolerates unwarranted annulments just fine …

  51. greyghost says:

    Is marriage just a piece of paper?
    Yes it is by law. A man has no place putting romance into marriage or any other relationship with a women. Not in this culture. And as long as women vote it not changing ever.

  52. jf12 says:

    Re: unbelievers. Unbelievably, I raise this issue again. What is the Catholic teaching on Once-A-Believer-Always-A-Believer? Yes, I know they would like to believe the answer is Once-Baptized-Always-Baptized but that’s not the question.

  53. @jf12

    1st John 2:3-4 is the answer to your question.

  54. Boxer says:

    The RCC allows annulments as a semantic sidestep that accomplishes the same thing.

    Truth. An annulment is, as I am reliably informed, supposed to be reserved for a fraudulent marriage– a case of bigamy the other partner was never informed of, for example. It was never intended to be granted to people who have young kids in the home who miss riding strange dick, or who aren’t haaaappppy.

    Go discuss this on CAF and see what Blue Eyes and Xanthippe make of it. (lol)

  55. jf12 says:

    @Artisnal Toad, while I do believe that a believer can become an unbeliever, and shows this e.g. by repeatedly engaging in sin (a point more, er, pointedly made in Titus 3:8), the point I was trying to make is that it is Catholic teaching also: those who fall away (Hebrews 6:6) or backslide are (currently) unsaved.

  56. mikediver5 says:

    After a life time of experience with women and marriage I have come to the conclusion that the only system that works is one where if you marry there can be no divorce. Absolutely cannot be divorce. This means there is no escape clause in the contract. This is what my parents believed down to the bottom of their souls, and their marriage was not all sweetness and light. After a long life I finally figured out that they knew what they were talking about. Hence I married a Filipina and registered that marriage in the Philippines. The Philippines is the only country in the world where divorce is not legal. You may separate, but there is no divorce. This is the only system that works.

    We are where we are now with parents pushing their daughters to go to college (I am guilty too) and prepare to support themselves and, if necessary, their children is because of the possibility of divorce means they may have to. If we could be sure, as they are in the Philippines, that there would be no divorce then the whole dynamic of how we raise our daughters would change. Our concern that our daughters must not put their trust in a man (any man) is what drives the entire enterprise of feminism and the feminine imperative. Our society is under immense pressure and is self-destructing around us because men and women cannot trust one another in the contract of marriage. It has become an illusory promise and is no longer a contract.

  57. Michael Neal says:

    I can’t agree with that, if you came home and found your wife gangbanging 6 guys are you saying it is best to grit your teeth and bear it for the sake of marriage? What if she said she was going to continue and do it indefinitely without regard to you at all?

    “Except for pornea,” Christ himself gave us an out under certain circumstances regardless of how the Church wants to interpret it. I would take my chances and divorce.

  58. BrainyOne says:

    @Cail:

    Marriage is necessary to have those things in a healthy way. Procreation without traditional marriage leads to all the dysfunction of illegitimacy and adult children spending years in therapy.

    This is a consequentialist argument, not a deontological one (marriage is optimal). That doesn’t mean it’s completely devoid of significance though.

    This is the ball which the Church needed to pick up and run with but instead the ball was fumbled close to its own goal line with all the glorification of single motherhood. The Church has utterly failed to confront the cultural idea that marriage is nice, certainly, but not absolutely necessary, for proper child development. But it wasn’t prepared to. In fact the Catholic language that “the purpose of marriage is procreation and education” doesn’t say anything about child development. According to poster deti, this is even worse in Protestant denominations, where children aren’t even mentioned at all as a reason for the existence of marriage.

    I think though it is going to be difficult to make the case that marriage is intrinsically and necessarily connected to better child development, rather than merely extrinsically so (factors such as married families being better off economically than single mothers on welfare, etc.) But no Church has even tried, despite all the wonderful talk about the “sanctity” of marriage.

    Slaking one’s lusts outside marriage means the carousel: serial monogamy at best, rutting like diseased animals at worst. Marriage is the proper context for those things, the only context in which they are more likely than not to be positive.

    “Because you might get an STI” is also a consequentialist argument (and there are techniques for risk minimization). Lots of things in life are risky, like skydiving, and are not stigmatized as immoral. The argument here needs improvement.

  59. Societally, because we view marriage as a kind of certified BF/GF relationship based on romantic love,

    That’s it exactly. Nearly everyone, regardless of faith, sees marriage as a way to make official or sacramentalize a BF/GF relationship that seems to have enough romance, compatibility, and shared interests to last until one dies. So it becomes an educated guess: based on how hot we are for each other now, how long does it seem like we’ll be able to stay happy? But the guess isn’t very educated at all, because romance and sex blind us to reality.

    That’s why the time to decide whether you’re willing to commit to a lifelong vow is before you meet that special someone, before you even start dating, when there’s some hope of objectivity.

  60. hurting says:

    jf12 says:
    June 18, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Youi have distilled in one brief comment the problem with the institution of marriage in the Catholic church in the USA. No one seems to understand that easy annulments drive the demand for divorce among Catholics, not the other way around.

    The Catholic church in the USA is so wrongheaded on the issue of marriage it is difficult to comprehend, even for a cradle Catholic like myself (even on catechized post Vatican II). In my most charitable moments I ascribe the problem to ignorance on the part of the clergy; when I’m not feeling so generous it’s easy to envision a more purposeful intent.

  61. greyghost says:

    The only thing that can’t be trusted is the woman will feel romantic love for life. In a no fault men’s custody marriage seems to last for life. banking on a woman’s gina tingle is a poor bet and the collapse of western civilization is the stake.

  62. @jf12

    On one hand, I believe that once someone becomes a ‘new creation in Christ’ and receives the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that they are forgiven of all their sins; past, present and future. However, the question is whether they’re actually one of His. We have His own testimony on this.

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ Matthew 7:21-23

    This is complicated, because the Kingdom of Heaven isn’t heaven, it’s the Millennial Kingdom that will be here on earth in which Christ will be ruling as King in Jerusalem and working as the High Priest in the temple. What isn’t really taught anymore is that there are three judgments. First, there’s the bema seat judgment in which Christ will judge His Christians based on their works, deeds and faith. Then there’s the White Throne judgment in which the graves are opened and the sea gives up its dead and God the Father will judge everyone who’s name is not written in the book of life. However, there’s a third judgment that occurs between those two judgments, and that’s the separation of the sheep from the goats when Christ returns to set up His Kingdom.

    After God has poured out His wrath on an unbelieving world, Christ will return in power and glory and set up His kingdom, where He will rule for 1000 years while Satan is bound. There will still be people alive on earth and they will be judged. Jesus spoke of this in His explanation of the parable of the wheat and the tares:

    And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. “So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:36-42

    That occurs at the end of the great tribulation and it initiates the reign of Christ on earth for 1000 years. I personally believe that all those babies who were murdered before they drew their first breath and all those who died before the age of accountability will be allowed to grow up and reach the point they can either accept or reject the gospel. God is just and nobody gets a free pass.

  63. @Michael Neal

    I can’t agree with that, if you came home and found your wife gangbanging 6 guys are you saying it is best to grit your teeth and bear it for the sake of marriage? What if she said she was going to continue and do it indefinitely without regard to you at all?

    You are commanded to love her as Christ loves the church. Reference Revelation 3:19 and reflect on what the word ‘chasten’ means. Reflect also on the proverb ‘The rod is reserved for the back of the fool.’ Choose your rod carefully and apply it vigorously.

    “Except for pornea,” Christ himself gave us an out under certain circumstances regardless of how the Church wants to interpret it. I would take my chances and divorce.

    This is incorrect. Christ did not give us an ‘out’ as you put it, Moses was the one who did so and that condition lasted until Christ reversed that decision in 1st Corinthians 7:10-11. For believers married to believers, marriage is for life. The only ‘out’ is if the unbelieving spouse departs and refuses to live with you. In the case of your gang-banging wife, the rod of correction, lovingly applied both vigorously and with a smile (but not more than 40 strokes) should get things off dead center. She’ll either repent or leave, but you’ll have fulfilled your responsibility to her as her husband in attempting to correct that behavior.

  64. deti says:

    The Catholic annulment issue is at least partially legitimate under Catholic canon law, from what I’m given to understand. If you go to one of the links in Dalrock’s OP there’s a discussion about how, at least under Catholic canon law, they estimate 80 to 90% of Catholic marriages contracted are null and void as Catholic marriages. They might be legal civil marriages, but they’re not Catholic marriages.

    The reason for the “nullity” is because one or both parties did not have the required mental and spiritual assent to a Catholic marriage. The required assent is to indissoluble marriage — no divorce, ever, for any reason, including adultery, criminal conduct, incarceration, etc. The argument is that if one party at the time believed that the marriage s/he was entering into could be ended for any reason short of one of their deaths, then the marriage is invalid from the get go.

    From what I understand, the usual basis for annulment is a claim by the party seeking it that s/he, or the other participant, didn’t agree to a Catholic indissoluble marriage. “Well, if I’d known that THAT was what I was agreeing to, I would never have married him/her.” or “When I married my spouse, I wasn’t agreeing to no divorce. I honestly and in good faith believed that if s/he cheated, we could divorce.”

  65. Michael Neal says:

    This was not from Moses it was from Christ

    But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity [porneia], causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery’ (Mt 5:32).

  66. jf12 says:

    @AT, although not a great example, “I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7) certainly indicates one could have had faith and then not have kept it.

  67. Michael Neal says:

    I certainly would have grounds annulment if I were to find myself in a situation with an adulterous wife, I did not understand the terms, I was always under the impression you could divorce in that case. I would not and will not agree to those terms.

    The problem would be remarriage, I couldn’t agree to a Catholic marriage again, I would probably convert to orthodoxy which i am considering right now anyways.

  68. jf12 says:

    @deti, that self-serving and avaricious interpretation is characteristically Catholic. “So, you deserve an annulment because you thought you could get an annulment. That’ll be $1322 for the initial filing fee, please.”

  69. Michael Neal says:

    @Artisanal Toad

    A rod correction is not a legitimate modern tool, illegal and I would go to jail. Regardless, a rod correction would nor be sufficient for me, the damage would be done and I would not stay in the marriage.

    This is hypothetical though, my marriage is perfectly fine.

  70. deti says:

    Jf12:

    Well, yeah, that’s the objection to the “I didn’t agree to indissoluble marriage” position on annulment. It smacks of after-the-fact fabrication, of one party to a marriage being willing to say anything to have a remarriage recognized in the Church. How can one know what was in one’s mind and heart at the time s/he stood on the altar, other than to ask that person and rely on receiving an accurate, truthful and complete response? One can look at the person’s conduct during the marriage’s course but even that isn’t completely reliable.

  71. Solomon says:

    lol annulments.

  72. Boxer says:

    The argument is that if one party at the time believed that the marriage s/he was entering into could be ended for any reason short of one of their deaths, then the marriage is invalid from the get go.

    Even though they both stood up in the church and recited (over and over) the vows that explicitly talk about permanence and til death and no man put asunder and on and on, they actually believed that it was revocable.

    Not to argue that people aren’t total idiots these days. We all know they are. Just illustrating the astounding stupidity of all this.

    Regards, Boxer

  73. My annulment was $10. The cost depends on how much time has to be spent on investigation. I also know people whose parishes paid the cost for them. The idea that Catholics can simply purchase an annulment if they’re willing to pay enough is false, though it’s surely happened in cases of corrupt officials.

    The fundamental problem for Catholics is that they’re getting married without knowing what Catholic marriage entails. That’s been going on for 50+ years, so now we have a generation of Catholics who not only weren’t taught by their churches, but weren’t taught by their parents because their parents weren’t taught either. Until that’s fixed, there will continue to be many divorces and annulments because people will be able to show that they didn’t know what they were committing to, at least under today’s relaxed interpretation of canon law. The annulment rules have become relaxed because marriage catechesis has been so relaxed (or actually wrong, or non-existent). Toughen up the education and requirements for marriage, and annulments will decline.

    Of course, there is a feedback loop there: if people think it’ll be easy to get an annulment, then they’ll act no differently from non-Catholics with regard to divorce, assuming that if things go bad they’ll be able to get out. There’s not much we can do about that until things improve at the other end with the people getting married in the first place.

  74. jf12 says:

    Ooh ooh, pick me! Pick me! There is One and only One True Marriage, that between Christ and His Church.

    Therefore, all these other marriages and just, kinda, well, you know, annullable.

  75. @Michael Neal

    If you read Matthew 19 you’ll find the issue is quite clear. When asked about grounds for divorce, Jesus said What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” The Pharisees came back at Him with the judgment of Moses, referencing Deuteronomy 24:1-4. You need to understand that this was not part of the Law that God gave to His people, it was a judgment made by Moses sitting as the supreme judge of Israel.

    Christ responded to that saying “For the hardness of your hearts Moses permitted you but from the beginning it was not so.” Only after that did Christ affirm the judgment of Moses allowing divorce and He did so in the strictest terms. At that point in His earthly ministry, He had no choice but to uphold the judgment concerning divorce. However, as I have referenced repeatedly, as the Risen Lord He overturned that judgment of Moses at 1st Corinthians 7:10-11. Divorce is forbidden to believers.

    Your comments are illustrative of the problem we have with divorce and they indicate to me that you don’t really care what the Bible says. You want your ‘out’ in case you feel like you need it.

    I would not and will not agree to those terms.

    Why would you refuse to obey the Lord you claim to serve? This is where 1st John 2:3-4 becomes applicable. Are you truly a Christian when you can clearly see that you were commanded not to divorce your believing wife and you say you would disobey that commandment if she was unfaithful?

    A rod correction is not a legitimate modern tool, illegal and I would go to jail. Regardless, a rod correction would nor be sufficient for me, the damage would be done and I would not stay in the marriage.

    Who do you fear more? The ones who can kill your body, or the One who can kill your body and cast your soul into hell? Idolatry is the spiritual form of adultery. Aren’t you glad your Savior is forgiving; and while He may rebuke and chastise you, He won’t reject you if you repent of your sin, confess and ask for forgiveness. I wonder if your wife would characterize your marriage as perfectly fine.

  76. Michael Neal says:

    Christ was referring to the law of Moses which permitted husbands to divorce their wives for whatever reason they wanted. Christ said no you can’t do that anymore.

    He then said “except for pornea” which means it is an exception, why else would he say that then? it makes no sense to mention the exception and then disqualify the exception through another statement.

  77. Michael Neal says:

    @Artisanal Toad

    Don’t assume to know anything about marriage, I said it was fine and it is. I was talking about a hypothetical situation with an adulterous wife, something that I would not put up with for one second.

  78. Elspeth says:

    Novaseeker said:

    The problem arises in that romance typically ends at some stage. That is, it is well known that BF/GF relationships normally end when the romance peters out for whatever reason. No-one bemoans this (although we may console people who are in emotional pain from a breakup of a non-marital relationship), and we expect it — romance is a fragile and fickle thing by its nature, and we all know and accept this. So, when we base marriage on romance and romantic love, of course we also “know” that this also in many cases has an end date on it — romance peters off, and the decision comes as to whether to spend the rest of one’s life with someone to whom you are married or get into another romance with someone else — and that decision can’t, of course, be based on romance because the romance has cooled/petered out/morphed. Yes, I know there are a small number of couples who remain madly romantically in love for five decades, but we all know this isn’t that common. The “fantasy” hope is that you will be one of those rare couples, but the reality is that you likely won’t be, so you need another basis for your relationship to persevere once the romantic phase cools, or is killed off by something.

    I have spent a significant amount of mental energy on this one, namely in the face of hearing women I really care about over the years talk about how unsatisfied they are in their marriages. There is always the assumption made that those who are satisfied are blessed to be in a perpetually romantic relationship, when that is rare enough that it is probably not the case.

    It really does come down to what you believe, what you think, how you view whatever it is you think. A long term marriage cannot maintain that new love smell because it just can’t. And for Christian counselors to counsel couples that they can have that is spiritual malpractice, for lack of a better term at present.

    However, what they can do is counsel those who come to them for help that they made a commitment before God (one must assume these people are counseling Christians), and that they have to keep it no matter how they feel or they are in sin.

    And then, rather than advise them to try to do the impossible, they can counsel them to do the next best thing. Study and meditate on what the Scriptures say about how to love and how to think, and do that. Love does not keep a record of wrongs, is not rude, is not puffed up, etc. Did I mention “love does not keep a record of wrongs”?

    Follow that up with an intensive commitment to Philippians 4 (it changed my life, revolutionized my marriage, and healed a lot of other family relationships), and don’t let them open their mouths in counseling about petty stuff. Ever. And make sure they have realistic expectations from marriage.

    What happens when this is practiced consistently is not a renewal of the kind of romance you had at the beginning, but it has to be as close as possible to the next best thing.

  79. Pingback: Must Read… | A Man, His Wife, and the Bible

  80. Casey says:

    What is a marriage contract?
    It is a fraudulent contract, backed by the state.

    Ask yourself this:
    What does a marriage contract offer a woman? Why, many things!
    Children,
    A home,
    Protection & security
    A man’s surplus labor & finances,

    And a woman gets to keep ALL this in the event of divorce.

    What does a marriage contract offer a man?
    Children,
    A home,
    Access to regular sex (ideally),
    A family to lead,

    BUT
    A man keeps NONE of this in the event of a divorce (which, statistically will be filed by his wife).

    In short, a marriage contract offers:
    1) a man NOTHING that cannot be taken away by his wife & the state.
    2) a woman EVERYTHING in perpetuity, under the auspices of ‘fairness’ (snort!)

    Marriage offers a man the unique privilege of halving his rights, while doubling his obligations.

    Save a brother, stop a marriage!

  81. @Michael Neal

    This little exchange of ours illustrates why the problem with divorce in the church is not going to go away. I’ve been pointing out that the Bible doesn’t say what you think it says and you don’t seem to want to hear it.

    There is a fundamental difference in what Christ said during His earthly ministry concerning divorce and what He said later after He’d ascended into Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit into the world. Believers are forbidden to divorce from believers. The one and only exception for a believer is if their unbelieving spouse leaves them.

    Your refusal to recognize the command in 1st Corinthians 7:11 “and the husband must not divorce his wife.” is telling. Everybody wants divorce as an option and your example of coming home to find your wife on the receiving end of a train is just as extreme as the feminists who say things like ‘So, the Bible says a husband can spouse-rape his wife after she’s been in labor for 20 hours and just given birth to his child because she’s not to say no?’

    As a Christian you want a savior that will save you and forgive any and all sins, but you’re saying that you would refuse to forgive an adulterous wife and restore her, even if she was repentant? That you would divorce her even in the face of the command that the husband is not to divorce his wife? Do you realize that your wife is commanded to submit to you even if you are disobedient to the Word (1st Peter 3:1)? To submit to you even if you’re cheating on her? To submit to you, as unto the Lord?

    The issue of divorce within the church is a matter of obedience to God’s Word.

  82. R.O.B says:

    Isn’t marriage just a piece of paper?

    Sadly no. For those foolish enough to enter into this once venerable instiution, with no fault divorce, marriage has evolved into slavery by force of law.

  83. Opus says:

    … you mean, like marrying your late brother’s widow. If ever there was a good case for annulment (especially as she has so far failed to provide you with a son) this is surely it. With the best legal brain’s in the country on the husband’s side the result is surely a foregone conclusion.

  84. Michael Neal says:

    Christ can’t contradict himself, yes he says you can not divorce, but he also says except for pornea, he provides an exception. He is talking to people who have been used to divorcing for whatever reason they wanted, he says no you can’t do that anymore marriage is permanent, but he also provides an exception which is sexual immorality. It is really quite clear, you have to use mental gymnastics to claim otherwise.

  85. Novaseeker says:

    That’s it exactly. Nearly everyone, regardless of faith, sees marriage as a way to make official or sacramentalize a BF/GF relationship that seems to have enough romance, compatibility, and shared interests to last until one dies. So it becomes an educated guess: based on how hot we are for each other now, how long does it seem like we’ll be able to stay happy? But the guess isn’t very educated at all, because romance and sex blind us to reality.

    Right — it’s just the “natural progression”. Romantic relationships progress, or not, until they run their course. That running of their course may happen as BF/GF (dating), may happen when shacked up, and may happen when married. It’s hoped that by the time people marry they are fairly certain that it won’t run the course thereafter, but when it does (the initial romantic relationship, I mean), its ending is accepted in the sense as being “the best thing for both people” precisely because it frees them up to find that one true love, etc. But the natural progression of relationships applies (even in not explicitly said) in people’s minds about this stuff.

    The problem would be remarriage, I couldn’t agree to a Catholic marriage again, I would probably convert to orthodoxy which i am considering right now anyways.

    That’s … well, I’ll say that most Orthodox priests wouldn’t receive you if that were a part of the motivation.

  86. Casey says:

    @ Artisanal Toad

    Wouldn’t coming home and finding your wife on the receiving end of a train be proof positive that she is an unbeliever?
    OR
    Is contravening the 7th Commandment the sign of a ‘true believer’

    I’d guess the wife in question ‘left’ her husband when she decided to ride the hobby horse with another man.

    Neither men nor women would accept a spouse tramping around on them with someone else.

  87. Michael Neal says:

    @That’s … well, I’ll say that most Orthodox priests wouldn’t receive you if that were a part of the motivation.

    It is something I am already considering for numerous reasons, the marriage thing would only be a small part and I probably wouldn’t mention it.

  88. greyghost says:

    I think you fellas are getting too cute.

  89. I think all denominations agree that you have the right to separate yourself from a gang-banging spouse. The disagreement is over whether you have the right to divorce and remarry.

  90. Michael Neal says:

    yep, it is quite possibly that I would simply choose not to marry again, then I would run into the problem of fornication or celibacy.

  91. Scott says:

    Michael–

    I think you will find Orthodoxy to be the closest high church environment to your position. A second marriage is still considered a sacrament, but the service itself downgraded significantly. It has a more repentant feel to it.

    Out of curiosity–which Autocephalous church are looking at? (Greek, Russian, Serbian..)

  92. Michael Neal says:

    Hi Scott, I really don’t know much about the differences, the once closest to my house is Antiochian and there is a Russian church about 30 minutes further away.

  93. Scott says:

    That is great. I am Byzantine Catholic, which essentially means I am of the same rite as the Orthodox, keep all the same liturgical and feast/days (and theology, though some think we shouldn’t) but in communion with Rome. Basically I practice Orthodoxy in every possible way, but I can receive the eucharist with my Roman Catholic wife.

  94. bluedog says:

    Deti and CC are providing valuable inputs into Catholic annulment.
    Another component of understanding to complete the picture is consequence.

    Of course one can divorce in civil law without an annulment, but doing so means one is ineligible to receive the sacraments and to become sacramentally married (note the non-use of “re-married”). If the process worked perfectly and care was taken to assure marriage partners on the intake of the sacramental nature of the marriage, and if the annulment were denied to participants so informed, the church is still helpless to prevent a family from being fractured under civil divorce, it can only impose consequences – those here being strictly spiritual in nature.

    Jewish beth din’s achieve some level of temporal consequence through stipulations placed in the kittubah, or Jewish marriage contract.

    Importantly none of these are innassailable. But one wonders if they need to be or even should be. The Catholic church and Jewish religions are ancient institutions and wisdom resides in them that is worth exploring. It is notable that they do not shut off the possibility of divorce – they merely assure that there are meaningful consequences of divorce. Shutting off the possibility entirely can both have tyrannical effects, and counter-productive effects.

    People seek Catholic annulments – presumably because they do not wish to be denied the sacraments. I think that says a lot. I dislike the use of market/commodity language in matters of humanism or the sacred, but to use it as a metaphor: it can be argued that the church is undervaluing its own product, and it might do everyone a favor – parishoners and the church itself and all of its satellites – if it charged a higher price and showed more regard for itself.

  95. Michael Neal says:

    My wife is not religious so it would not really impact her that much, she is just annoyed that I just converted to Catholicism 7 years ago and am now considering another conversion, and also how it impacts our son. It’s a hard decision but I don’t even go to Church anymore anyway because I feel so detached from it.

  96. @Michael Neal

    Your response perfectly illustrates the problem we face. You *WANT* there to be an exception, so that’s what you’re reading into the text. You want to be in a congregation that would allow you to remarry if you ditch wife #1, or if she ditches you.

    Yes, all the denominations have doctrinal positions that allow separation, at the least, in cases of adultery, but again, this is because everybody wants the option. Nobody allows the children to have a voice in the process and there is no accountability because any church that tries to exercise church discipline will see them walk down the street where they’ll be received with open arms at another church. At one level or another, churches are in competition with each other for members and their money.

    As to issues of divorce and remarriage, the wife was told not to separate herself, but if she does she is to remain single or be reconciled to her husband. He was flat-out commanded not to divorce his wife. Remarriage of the woman was thus forbidden but there’s nothing to stop the husband from taking another wife, but if wife #1 wanted a reconciliation it might get interesting because 1st Peter 3:7 commands husbands to live with their wives.

    @Casey

    That’s covered a little later in 1st Cor. 7:12-17. If the unbelieving spouse is content to live with you, you’re not allowed to divorce them. Nothing says you can’t apply the rod of correction though.

    Marriage is a type of the relationship of Christ to the church. For those who are joined to Christ, He will never leave them or forsake them. If they get out of line He will rebuke and chasten them. He will never divorce His bride. He gave the Holy Spirit to His servants and gave them the power to be overcomers. 1st Corinthians 7:39 says the wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. That’s repeated at Romans 7:2. 1st Peter 3:1-6 makes it clear that the wife is to be obedient to her husband even if he is not in obedience to the Word, which would include adultery.

    For two Christians to divorce is a public refutation of the Gospel and of the power of the Holy Spirit to heal and change lives.

  97. mojohn says:

    @Deti @ 11:27 asks “How can one know what was in one’s mind and heart at the time s/he stood on the altar, other than to ask that person and rely on receiving an accurate, truthful and complete response?”

    To the Catholics out there, does the Church require a bride and groom to sign some sort of writing that states they understand they can never divorce for any reason? If not, perhaps that should be considered because it should put the kybosh on any after-the-fact claim by one spouse that s/he didn’t know the Church’s position.

  98. Michael Neal says:

    @Artisanal Toad

    It says there is an exception, it is right there in print, I am not imagining it. It is people that come in later that try and interpret it to mean something else that I disagree with, I am not being disobedient to Christ I am being disobedient to men.

  99. Michael Neal says:

    @mojohn

    I got a dispensation from the Church to marry, my wife was not Catholic and I was non-practicing at the time, but I don’t remember being told that or I did not fully understand it if I was told. I have always been under the (correct according to the bible) impression that adultery was an exception to indissolubility of marriage.

  100. feeriker says:

    To the Catholics out there, does the Church require a bride and groom to sign some sort of writing that states they understand they can never divorce for any reason? If not, perhaps that should be considered because it should put the kybosh on any after-the-fact claim by one spouse that s/he didn’t know the Church’s position.

    A purely symboluc gesture under even the best of circumstances, since whichever of the two ultimately decides they’ve had enough (in most cases the wife) will run to the more immediately powerful and influential of the two competing gods in their life (that would the State) and get the frivorce they want, as soon as they want it.

    So let’s see now:

    – Not being allowed to partake of the sacraments, or being able to walk away with cash and prizes, along with a chance to be haaaaaaappy again (for the woman)?

    – Not being allowed to partake of the sacraments, or being able to jettison a ball-busting harridan (even with chilamony factored in as a pitential penalty) and be able to regain sanity and self-respect while free to find something hawter and more agreeable (for the man)?

    In both cases, can we say “no-brainer/no contest?”

  101. mojohn says:

    @Feeriker:

    I didn’t ask the question to elicit the response you provided. I realize a wife (or husband) can frivorce regardless of what a document says at the time they get married. I asked it in the context of whether a writing that clearly explains the Church’s no divorce for any reason position signed by both parties might very well take the wind out of the sails of the frivorcing spouse who later comes for an annulment so as to permit a sacrimental marriage following the civil divorce.

  102. Michael Neal says:

    I support ending civil marriage and allowing people to make their own contracts, maybe in conjunction with their church or whatever. The government can then simply enforce that particular contract, both side should seek legal advice beforehand as well as guidance from their Church about the ramifications of all provisions.

  103. mojohn says:

    @Feeriker: Supplement to my 2:36 comment.

    The writing should state explicity that the Church does not interpret the “exceptions” in Matthew 5 and 19 to be applicable to sacramental marriage. A provision like that would perhaps have flushed out the issue for our friend Mr. Neal.

  104. Michael Neal says:

    Yes the clarity would have been welcome and I probably would have chosen not to marry in the Church

  105. mojohn says:

    @Michael Neal at 2:41

    I second Michael’s sentiment. After all, for most of history and in most of the world, the State hasn’t been seen as necessary to create a valid marriage. But, sad to say, I don’t see the law changing to permit “non marriage certificate” marriages to occur as a matter of course.

  106. In other words, the Church should require that engaged couples sit down with their pastor and go through a document that lists the requirements for married couples, the impediments which might nullify a marriage (meaning that it shouldn’t take place), and the Church’s position on divorce, then sign it. No, I don’t think anything like that is current policy, though I’m sure some pastors do something like it. Bits and pieces of it may come up in pre-marriage classes which are required, but as far as a signed document to say, “We know about these rules and won’t claim to have been ignorant later,” no, I don’t think that exists.

    Sounds like a great idea, and something that could reduce the number of invalid marriages in the future. Unfortunately, like many other things, it won’t work unless you have orthodox bishops and pastors who follow the rules and are willing to tell beaming young couples “no.” Maybe in another decade.

  107. Don Quixote says:

    Artisanal Toad says:
    June 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    “There is a fundamental difference in what Christ said during His earthly ministry concerning divorce and what He said later after He’d ascended into Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit into the world. Believers are forbidden to divorce from believers. The one and only exception for a believer is if their unbelieving spouse leaves them.”

    I would question your interpretation of what Paul said [not Jesus] in 1Cor. 7:15. Please Consider how the New Living Translation interprets this verse:

    But if the husband or wife who isn’t a Christian insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases the Christian husband or wife is not required to stay with them, for God wants his children to live in peace.

    Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

    I’m not seeing any change in what Jesus taught in the above verse. Nor do I see grounds for divorce and remarriage based on Paul’s letters.

  108. mojohn says:

    Cail, I’m not a Catholic and I don’t know if it’s possible to do this, but could folks who are appalled at the travesty that annullment has become pressure their local priests – on a parish by parish basis – to take up this practice sooner than 10 years from now?

  109. amanhiswife says:

    I wish we could take this post, and the several you link back to, put it in a binder and teach it to every high school young men’s bible study/sunday school, every christian high school and college in the country. Thanks again-

  110. @Mojohn

    A marital covenant can be used but it would have to be styled along the lines of a co-habitation contract. Both parties would need counsel and you can possibly achieve your goal, but no guarantees that without a marriage license you can’t be ‘declared’ to be a married couple and have the judge process a divorce. If one or the other petitions for a divorce. Not having a licensed marriage wouldn’t mean anything, all it would take is cohabitation and the couple holding themselves out to their community as a married couple. That would allow either party to move to a state that recognizes common law marriages, file for divorce and the marriage contract would most likely be thrown out the window.

    Anything in the contract about children would be completely ignored or struck down as contrary to public policy. To the extent the contract could be treated as a pre-nup, both parties having legal counsel of their own and plenty of time to think over the provisions would go a long way toward keeping the court from throwing it out. A binding arbitration clause before an ecclesiastical court might fly in some jurisdictions, but courts view any attempt to limit their power as offensive.

    The only way I know of to get a marriage that can’t get dragged through a divorce court is to marry two or more women at once, no marriage license and use a marital covenant. Every provision could be laid out clearly and because it’s a group of three or more there’s no way the state could recognize it as a marriage and they’d be forced to treat the marital covenant as a binding co-habitation contract. One of the wives could claim she wasn’t happy and leave, but in all likelihood Dad would get the kid(s). With no cash and prizes and the likelihood of losing the custody fight, there won’t be much incentive to bail out. Even then, the proliferation of laws dealing with domestic partnerships might be used to help Cupcake obtain cash and prizes on the way out, but it wouldn’t be easy.

  111. Novaseeker says:

    Cail, I’m not a Catholic and I don’t know if it’s possible to do this, but could folks who are appalled at the travesty that annullment has become pressure their local priests – on a parish by parish basis – to take up this practice sooner than 10 years from now?

    It would be up to what the tribunals would do with that. A good advocate of the case of annulment before the tribunal would attack that kind of evidence pretty easily, I think. If the tribunal thinks there was a lack of actual consent, regardless of what was signed and what was said at the time, then they will annul.

  112. jf12 says:

    @Cail Corishev re: “Sounds like a great idea, and something that could reduce the number of invalid marriages in the future.”

    I disagree. There NEVER has been more required premarital counseling etc, and never has been more annulments. If anything, apparently the tribunals would prefer to annul well-taught couples.

  113. Mojohn, they certainly could do that. They also can (and do) ask their pastors to get rid of bad guitar music and 1970s decor, restore reverence to the liturgy, and give orthodox sermons. But most such requests are and will be ignored by the 1960s-70s generation that still controls most dioceses and parishes. Widespread change of that sort will have to wait until more of them have retired or died off.

  114. hurting says:

    Cail Corishev says:
    June 18, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    If the RCC in the USA really wanted to prevent bad marriages from going forward, it would administer simple tests of mental maturity and competence at the outset of the process (the Churhc has held for thousands of years that the requirements of marriage are comprehendable by young teenagers). Surely such assessments could be formulated quickly and cheaply and would be far more reliable than the ex post assessments that can supposedly detect defects in consent that were present sometimes decades prior. The Church does not do these things because for the most part, annulments are a pastoral tool employed to make people feel better about themselves, not to seek out truth; their current application has been to serve as de facto if not de jure divorce.

    BTW, my comments are directed at the situation in general, not your or any other individual’s situation.

  115. JF12, that’s because the premarital counseling sucks. Most of it is happy-clappy stuff about the importance of “communication” that you could get from any secular marriage counselor. We’re talking about hitting them with hard facts about the Church’s expectations, and saying, “Look, if you sign this, you’re saying you understand that Catholic marriage requires X, Y, and Z. If you come back ten years from now wanting an annulment because you didn’t understand X, we’re going to laugh in your face and reject your application out of hand. This will be your only marriage in the Catholic Church, and if you divorce and remarry outside the Church, you will be ineligible for the sacraments for the rest of your life. No Communion, no participation in parish life, no last rights. DO YOU UNDERSTAND? Now, go home and think about it for a couple weeks, and then I’ll meet with you individually to discuss whether you have any questions or doubts about this before you sign it.”

  116. Hurting, I agree completely. You won’t find me defending the Church’s handling of marriage over the past 50 years. And you’re right: even fairly young kids can understand the requirements — if they’re told — because they aren’t that complicated. I know homeschooled 13-year-olds who were taught from the Baltimore Catechism who know the rules just fine, better than most Catholics of my generation ever have.

  117. jf12 says:

    @Cail Corishev, I don’t think any annulments have, currently, anything to do with evidence at the time of the marriage vows of the couple’s lack of understanding. “‘Till death do us part”, for example, is clear enough. The reasoning process seems to go like this, like I said: “Since you *now* want an annulment, therefore your understanding must have been wrong *earlier* despite you not wanting an annulment *earlier*.”

  118. Dalrock says:

    @Novaseeker

    Cail, I’m not a Catholic and I don’t know if it’s possible to do this, but could folks who are appalled at the travesty that annullment has become pressure their local priests – on a parish by parish basis – to take up this practice sooner than 10 years from now?

    It would be up to what the tribunals would do with that. A good advocate of the case of annulment before the tribunal would attack that kind of evidence pretty easily, I think. If the tribunal thinks there was a lack of actual consent, regardless of what was signed and what was said at the time, then they will annul.

    I stumbled on a paper titled American Annulment Mills by Robert Kendra a while back, and he claims that if one can get an American annulment reviewed by the Roman Rota roughly 90% are overturned:

    However, American tribunals circumvent many of these canons to expedite production of annulments. Only when an appeal is made to the Roman Rota, which nullifies some ninety percent of U.S. annulments, is the mischief of American tribunals redressed. Unfortunately, the Rota only reviews about 10 to 20 U.S. cases per year. This is less than a miniscule 0.04 percent, or one case per 2,500 decisions.

    He also suggests that the problem is that noone knows they have this option to appeal (emphasis mine):

    Most tribunals carefully secure the confidentiality of cases largely to mask their own loose adherence to Canon Law and questionable judgments, and take short cuts to expedite annulments. The most blatant examples of ecclesiastical injustice are the erroneous interpretation of canon 1095, which U.S. tribunals interpret to permit an amorphous lack of discretion to declare a party incapable of contracting marriage, but which is contrary to Rotal requirements for extreme psychopathology; failure to initially appoint resolute advocates to guide and assist the parties (especially contentious respondents), who have no experience with the process; failure to honor a contentious respondent’s right of defense of the marriage; and failure to inform the parties that an appeal can be made to the Roman Rota which will probably overturn or remand a U.S. annulment, instead of an appeal being automatically sent to another U.S. tribunal for a conforming decision in the second instance and an inevitable rubber stamp of the annulment. U.S. tribunals dislike having appeals sent to Rome, not only because of the likely overturn or remand, but also due to the Rota’s backlog and a wait that could take years.

    I’m guessing it isn’t that easy in practice, but for one who finds themselves in this position it would seem worth pursuing.

  119. Bee says:

    AT,

    “Believers are forbidden to divorce from believers. The one and only exception for a believer is if their unbelieving spouse leaves them. ”

    I have thought this meant separation but not divorce. How do we know this means divorce?

    Is your understanding that this means divorce and the possibility of lawful remarriage?

    (I am genuinely interested in your interpretation of this topic.)

  120. Escoffier says:

    My (sadly somewhat cynical) view is that priests and other officials of the RCC will not take up the cause of curtailing annulment abuse because what they fear above all–above even the possibility of eternal damnation–is a shrinking flock, empty pews. This explains, I believe, a great deal of their cravenness on a variety of issues, including immigration (which has both a “principled” component, however much I may disagree, and a craven component: more Catholics!!!).

    When they hear anything that sounds like it will make being Catholic “harder” they recoil. That will scare people away! If they could be convinced by example that other faiths which hold to tradition and scripture actually thrive while those that “modernize” tend to shrink, that might have an impact. Except, of course, that this has been one of the main differences between Mainline Protestantism (way left, hyper-modern) and the Evangelical churches (which at least try to pretend to be faithful, and some even succeed) and the RCC has, as far as I can tell, not heeded that example at all. Similarly, pointing to the appeal of traditional Islamic practice even among some Western-born women does not move them.

    There is an attempt to do something on a parish-by-parish basis. That is, I know of parishes that have been “taken over” by a traditionalist priest or two who is/are strongly supported by a lay-volunteer group. Many of these parishes do very well. The hope is that other parishes will look to them and think about why those trad parishes are growing and theirs are not. So far it hasn’t happened.

    A big problem, it seems to me, is that right now the RCC seems to do the best in heavily immigrant areas and, oddly, among the UMC–at least on the coasts. The latter of course contribute a great deal of money, (wo)man-hours and prestige. I say “oddly” because when I was younger it was not like this. The upper classes had all but dropped out. Now they are back, largely “for the children” I would guess, but they show up. The RCC hierarchy in the US knows in its bones that it needs to keep these people, and also that it’s the women who drive attendance, giving, and volunteering. So saying anything that might alienate the women is just not something they are prepared to do.

  121. jf12 says:

    @Bee, 1 Cor 7:15 starts out “but if”. Note that there are clear distinctions made in the discussion about departers (and therefore remainers) and unbelievers (and therefore believers). Believers are not supposed to depart, and departers can’t remarry (verse 11), the reason being they are not free to do so i.e. “under bondage”. Therefore “but if” the unbeliever depart, the remainer believer is NOT “under bondage” and is therefore free to remarry.

  122. @Don Quixote
    @Michael Neal

    1st Cor. 7 10-11 has to be taken in context with Matthew 19. We start with the fact that God said “I hate divorce.” Then we look at what Jesus said when asked about grounds for divorce. “What therefore God has joined together let no man separate.” That was His teaching on the subject of divorce and ‘let no man separate’ is pretty clear.

    When they tossed the judgment of Moses at Him, He told them that for the hardness of their hearts Moses permitted them to divorce, but from the beginning it was not so. What should be seen here, and what can be seen with careful study, was that the bit about a certificate of divorce was not part of the Law that God gave to the people. It was a judgment by Moses and both Jesus and the Pharisees were all in complete understanding on that point.

    He then addressed that judgment, stating how it was to be interpreted. Yet, after just saying there was to be no divorce, how is it He reversed course and said it was OK for reasons of immorality? As Mr. Neal pointed out, Jesus cannot contradict Himself. So, how do we reconcile the position he’s laid out here and what we see in 1st Corinthians?

    That answer is found in 1st Cor. 7:11. The command to the believing husband that he must not divorce his believing wife effectively overturned the judgment of Moses allowing divorce and places things in harmony with what His first answer was: ‘What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” For believers married to believers, no divorce, no exceptions.

    The real problem is that people want the option to divorce open to them and they also want to feel good about playing church, so they studiously ignore what I’ve laid out several times in order to claim that there do exist grounds for a Christian to divorce his Christian wife. Keep in mind, from a Biblical standpoint, wives don’t have the authority to divorce their husbands*. Women in the church absolutely don’t want to hear it, but if they divorced their believing husband, as far as God’s concerned they’re still married. She was commanded to remain single or be reconciled to her husband. Yet, women somehow think that God will let them slide because they got a signature from some family court judge.

    There is nothing prohibiting the husband she separated from (in violation of the command not to) from taking another wife, but that isn’t remarriage, it means he has two wives. One living with him and the other separated from him. Women hate that as well, but note that at every step along the way, officially sanctioning something God says He hates (divorce) while officially prohibiting something God permitted and regulated (polygyny), it’s the women who have ultimately benefited with an increase in power. That situation has now reached the point at which it is destroying both church and culture. But that was the whole point all along.

    *Corinth was a Roman colony and women had the right to initiate a divorce as a civil matter. Some translations of 1st Corinthians 7:13 say the believing wife is not to divorce her unbelieving husband. Other translations use the term “send him away.” However, it was given to the man the authority to initiate marriage (Genesis 2:24) and later Moses permitted the man to divorce his wife (Deuteronomy 24:1-4) but nowhere in the Bible does the wife have the authority to divorce her husband except for the case mentioned in 1st Corinthians 7:15

    @Bee
    1st Corinthians 7:15
    Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.

    Not being under bondage for a woman would also mean not under the authority of her husband. He is the unbeliever who departed, he is dead to her. Her freedom to remarry is implied in verses 27 and 28 of the same chapter.

  123. Robert What? says:

    Don Quixote,
    I just realized there is another Biblical basis for divorce: 1 Corinthians 7:14. But it has a major caveat. You, the believer, are not permitted to initiate the divorce. In fact you must try to win the unbelieving spouse over with you living by example. Only the unbelieving spouse can initiate the divorce if they decide they cannot accept that you are a believer. Paul says it is acceptable to let them go in that circumstance. Any other Biblical justifications for divorce? I guess repeated, unrepented infidelity?

  124. bluedog says:

    @Escoffier, re: June 18, 2014 at 4:52 pm,
    Of course you have a point and probably a lot of us wonder at the same thing, but my inclination is that the RCC is one institution where the metaphorical equivalent of “Your are the Coach Handbag line,not the Walmart store brand” is a pitch that can and should have purchase. If you have Madison Avenue property you don’t try to compete with a suburban Big Box, not only do you get creamed in that market, but you as much as demean yourself. The word should be, “retrench”. You aren’t going anywhere, you aren’t going to disappear, so you may as well arrive with your dignity fully intact.

  125. Morgan says:

    The destruction of marriage was a two step process: 1) base marriage on love. 2) base love on emotion.

    You might add a third element which is a society so selfish and self absorbed to value their own individual emotions over the greater good of others and society. How do you convince some one to stay married when they value their own pursuit of happiness over a stable home for their children? You won’t, they’ll convince themselves their child will be happy if they are happy, not with two parents who put their children’s care above their own happiness.

  126. My (sadly somewhat cynical) view is that priests and other officials of the RCC will not take up the cause of curtailing annulment abuse because what they fear above all–above even the possibility of eternal damnation–is a shrinking flock, empty pews.

    That’s a lot of it. Another part is that many of the older priests and officials (and the diocesan offices are filled with laywomen these days) don’t believe in the rules themselves. They’re hardly going to be strict with marriage applicants if they themselves secretly (or sometimes not so secretly) think most of the Church’s rules are outdated and should be scrapped.

    As to the fear of empty pews, the worst part is that they’re wrong. The people who were likely to leave over some sort of offense already left years ago. The pews would already be far emptier, except that they’ve been closing churches and reducing the number of Masses, putting a smaller number of people into fewer Masses so it doesn’t seem so bad (and in some places, importing new ones, as you mentioned). But the Church has been hemorrhaging people (and priests and religious) since the 1960s, and the more they try to make it friendly and undemanding, the more people drift away. Whatever gains were available to be made that way have long since run dry.

    The parishes which are growing, both from large families and from drawing new people, are the ones that are going back to tradition, bringing back Latin, preaching a demanding orthodoxy, and so on. The dioceses and orders that are gaining priests are likewise the ones that aren’t afraid to present it as a challenge.

    There’s no doubt that if they got tougher on marriage and annulment, some couples would just say, “Heck with that; we’re outta here.” But I think we’ve reached a point where they’d gain more people than they’d lose by getting back to a stricter orthodoxy, and they’d also be building for a better future by not filling their pews with weak marriages between people who don’t know the faith.

  127. Zippy says:

    Michael Neal:

    I have always been under the (correct according to the bible) impression that adultery was an exception to indissolubility of marriage.

    That isn’t correct according to the Bible.

    Matthew 19:9 is interpreted by modern people to mean ‘adultery’, but what it actually refers to is two people who are shacked up without benefit of marriage. F***buddies can (and should) either separate or make honest people of each other and get married.

    Large swaths of Protestantism were founded on divorce (e.g. Henry VIII), and that has manifested itself in question-begging translation and exegesis for centuries. But folks who think that the Bible sanctions divorce in cases of adultery are wrong. It doesn’t.

  128. Zippy says:

    Robert What?

    I just realized there is another Biblical basis for divorce: 1 Corinthians 7:14. But it has a major caveat. You, the believer, are not permitted to initiate the divorce. In fact you must try to win the unbelieving spouse over with you living by example. Only the unbelieving spouse can initiate the divorce if they decide they cannot accept that you are a believer.

    True; where “believer” means “baptized”. Two baptized Christians may never divorce (when they attempt to do so the attempt fails: they remain married whether or not they agree that they are still married), even if one renounces the faith. Baptized Christians can’t be ‘unbaptized’ or ‘unmarried’. It is literally, ontologically impossible.

  129. Isa says:

    Very odd discussion re: Catholics. FWIW you can receive sacraments after divorce, but not remarriage. It’s the living in sexual sin that is the issue. Now, if said remarried couple repented and lived as brother and sister… yes they could receive the sacraments. Divorce is a legal construct and has no bearing on anything sacramental.

    Besides, no one has even touched the issue of contraception. How many catholic couples actually intend to live by it? Everyone contracepting saying the vows that they will accept the children God lovingly gives them is clearly lying and thus no marriage has taken place. They can covalidate later if they repent etc. but that seems like a good 90% chunk right there. It’s pretty impossible for Americans NOT to know about that little rule. Especially during the ACA kerfluffle. So I would estimate 90% of marriages being easily annulled is a conservative estimate… More like 99%.

    The “Free, Full, Faithful, and Fruitful” promise is pretty nonexistent in the west.

  130. Zippy says:

    The typical scenario was that one spouse of a non-baptized couple would convert to Christianity and get baptized. The marriage was not a sacramental Christian marriage: it preexisted conversion and, critically, baptism. Sometimes the other spouse would not go along and did not want to convert. Because this was a merely natural marriage, not a marriage between baptized Christians, it was not a sacrament, and the abandoned Christian spouse was released from the natural marriage by the Church.

    But divorce where both spouses are baptized Christians is never allowed. It is probably better to say that it isn’t possible: all sorts of folks may pretend to ‘allow’ it, but this is just a pretense. You can’t get ‘unmarried’ sacramentally any more than you can get ‘unbaptized’ sacramentally.

  131. The hope is that other parishes will look to them and think about why those trad parishes are growing and theirs are not. So far it hasn’t happened.

    True. Two reasons that I’ve seen personally:

    1) Once a town has a traditional parish, all the traditionalists go there, which takes the pressure off the other pastors to try to compromise with them. They no longer have those ladies in veils bringing six homeschooled kids to daily Mass, writing to the bishop every week to complain about the pastor’s violations of canon law.

    2) Their ideology trumps money and full pews. “Follow the money” doesn’t work here, at least not primarily. For priests and religious and lay officials who grew up in the 1960s and consider Vatican II and the other changes to be their personal gift to the Church, any rollback of that “progress” must be fought tooth and nail. I’ve watched people who wanted to have one — one! — Latin Mass at their parish negotiate for months before getting permission, after tying a large donation to it and assuring their pastor that it wouldn’t require any effort from him and scheduling it so that uninteresting parishioners wouldn’t be bothered by it. I’ve seen others be denied outright, no matter what they offered. Many of those in charge would rather preach to an empty church and see it shut down for lack of use than break out the Latin and the incense. Even their enthusiasm for immigrants isn’t about money, because they don’t give much, as you noted. Open borders is just part of their progressive ideology.

    That’s why I say there won’t be major changes on any of this until that generation is out of power. They’re not willing to give up any of their “progress,” and the fact that they’re starting to see that progress slipping only makes them more stubborn about it.

  132. Zippy says:

    Cail Corishev:

    “Follow the money” doesn’t work here, at least not primarily. For priests and religious and lay officials who grew up in the 1960s and consider Vatican II and the other changes to be their personal gift to the Church, any rollback of that “progress” must be fought tooth and nail.

    I agree. To outsiders it may look like it is a money or marketing thing, and that may even be true in some cases some of the time. But mostly it is a clash of true believers: what the kids call ‘entryist’ liberals trying to remake the Church into what they think it ought to be, in conflict with orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

  133. Scott says:

    Cail-

    The possible silver lining is this. At the Dallas Byzantine parish where my wife and I attend (about once a month–its 3 hours away) is a vibrant, young, deeply religious group of followers. I don’t know if you have ever visited a Byzantine rite church. There is no “Sunday” school–just divine liturgy. There are little children crawling all over the floor, acapella chanting, the parents are all very young. It is full of life and love. All the families have multiple children with young, head-covered pregnant wives everywhere. It is truly a breath of fresh air.

  134. Scott says:

    My point is, I think there is a real craving for some of the older, more traditional rites and liturgies. I almost sense it under the surface. Whether its RCC parishoners yearning for SSPX/pre VII stuff, Byzantine/Orthodoxy or even the analogs on the protestant side. I pray nightly for a correction in that direction. I pray for it to happen in my life time, if not at least in my children’s lifetime.

  135. klajicfamily says:

    As someone who grew up around the Roman Catholic church I have become disillusioned. I agree with my husband. The Byzantine divine liturgy is a breath of fresh air. People are actively participating in the service and children are not unwelcome. The women are all conservatively dressed to include head coverings. I love it. It’s totally not robotic.

  136. Mychael says:

    I have to agree with my husband. I was raised in the Roman Catholic church and have become disillusioned. In the Byzantine Catholic divine liturgy everyone participates and children are not unwelcome. The women are conservatively dressed to include head coverings. I wish the RC rite would take a hard look at how robotic mass has become

  137. @Cail
    The parishes which are growing, both from large families and from drawing new people, are the ones that are going back to tradition, bringing back Latin, preaching a demanding orthodoxy, and so on. The dioceses and orders that are gaining priests are likewise the ones that aren’t afraid to present it as a challenge.

    Same thing on the Protestant side of the street, but a different dynamic. As to drawing new people, the majority of effective evangelism is done by parents with their children. This is one reason why divorce is a blight on the church- the family is effectively destroyed. The other big problem is people are afraid to share their faith in this PC world in which Christians are the one group that’s fair game for all but not allowed to respond without retribution. That puts church growth on a beggar-thy-neighbor flight-path and that’s why holding the line and preaching sound doctrine is so important.

    @Zippy

    The level with which the two of us are in agreement is almost frightening.

    I don’t want to go into the area of what defines a marriage, but comparing and contrasting what the Lord said in Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:3-12 and Luke 16:18, trying to bring them into harmony with 1st Corinthians 7 was my beginning. Last year I spent a month or so studying the word adultery and came up with something along the lines of what you just said. My take, no doubt colored by my views that you consider heretical, is that the commandment literally said ‘thou shall not mongrelize. This applied to the law against miscegenation, which mongrelized the race and called into question their linear descent from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Within a marriage, it called into question the paternity of the children. It is an unlawful mixing of things which were not to be mixed and carries far more significance than the wrong penis in her vagina.

    The marriage bed is not to be profaned by allowing a stranger to enter. Yet, where are the Biblical references to pick-up artists? They don’t exist. There are plenty of warnings about women, and they knew all about solipsism back then: Consider Proverbs 30:20

    This is the way of an adulterous woman:
    She eats and wipes her mouth,
    And says, “I have done no wrong.”

    That it was a death-penalty offense means that it was an offense for which no reparations could be made, yet it isn’t grounds for divorce. For a marriage of believers, no such grounds exist. When the teacher looked for a righteous man, he found one in a thousand. He looked for a righteous woman but they were not to be found.

    You said:

    But divorce where both spouses are baptized Christians is never allowed. It is probably better to say that it isn’t possible: all sorts of folks may pretend to ‘allow’ it, but this is just a pretense. You can’t get ‘unmarried’ sacramentally any more than you can get ‘unbaptized’ sacramentally.

    I have one problem with this, and that’s Matthew 7:22-23. From the NASB:

    Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

    This has always been a very difficult passage for me and it should be for you as well. Within the RCC, a member of the church who was casting out demons and performing verifiable miracles would be beatified and cannonized in short order as a saint, yet Jesus is rejecting them because they aren’t His. They may know who He is and the power of His name worked miracles when they used it, but He didn’t know them because they practiced lawlessness. Maybe it should be acknowledged that the mere performance of certain ceremonies does not mean someone has been regenerated.

    @Scott

    I pray nightly for a correction in that direction. I pray for it to happen in my life time, if not at least in my children’s lifetime.

    I don’t think you have long to wait, but it won’t be pretty. Meditate on Isaiah 3. Then take a hard look at Isaiah 4:1-2. Israel is the root out of which Christ, the true vine grew. We gentiles are the branch that was grafted in. That makes that passage a Millennial Kingdom prophesy. We’re coming up on end-game and there is no mention of the west in any end-time prophesy. The US has to be taken down suddenly and violently in order for the last chapter to kick off. Revelation 18 is interesting reading. That great stone, like a millstone, sits on the western escarpment of Cumbre Vieja. Google it. As far back as 1997 Sec. Defense Cohen was openly talking about weapons which could cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. I don’t know what the timetable is, but anybody that can pop Cumbre Vieja can also pop the Yellowstone Caldera. And the New Madrid fault, along with the San Andreas fault. If it happens at the beginning of winter, you’ll see a 90% population reduction by spring. Again, it won’t be pretty, and those are just the birth pains.

    Think Russia is happy with our meddling in the Ukraine? Think China would like to flex its muscle? The world is a dangerous place, but God has His own timetable. I don’t think the blood of over 50 million murdered children crying out to Him from this land will be overlooked for much longer.

  138. This idea of chaging the man is reinforced as the correct way to proceed in a marriage.

    Ive written of the 70 something year old man, his shingle reads “PhD Psychology and Minister”. he is Doc of both. he stopped holding marriage counseling sessions because of wxactly what you say. The man sees marriage as an event, a time of great transition, from NOT married to married TO THIS WOMAN. Done….worth celebrating.

    The women see the wedding as her changing of the man being made official. he is locked in so that now she can reeeeeaaaally spend her life on her new project…..recreating HIM in HER image.

    What a man is doing when he proclaims this is a sort of guided imagery. He is actually imagining her, decades later–old, gray, hunched over with the all the exact same personality quirks and annoying habits she has now and STILL being married to her. And he is OK with that.

    Id quibble a bit. He is ok ENOUGH with it. His level of ok-ness when combined with his sense of commitment make it last, despite most issues

  139. Michael Neal says:

    @Zippy That isn’t correct according to the Bible Matthew 19:9 is interpreted by modern people to mean ‘adultery’, but what it actually refers to is two people who are shacked up without benefit of marriage. F***buddies can (and should) either separate or make honest people of each other and get married.Large swaths of Protestantism were founded on divorce (e.g. Henry VIII), and that has manifested itself in question-begging translation and exegesis for centuries. But folks who think that the Bible sanctions divorce in cases of adultery are wrong. It doesn’t.

    Well it actually does according to its words, look up the definition of pornea, it does not mean “shacking up before marriage.” It could include that but it includes a whole host of immoral acts including adultery.

  140. Zippy says:

    Michael Neal:

    Well it actually does according to its words, look up the definition of pornea, it does not mean “shacking up before marriage.” It could include that but it includes a whole host of immoral acts including adultery.

    See here.

  141. Goodkid43 says:

    To Hoellenund2
    Excellent comment; your observations of futility in light of certain societal alienations are closely related to the previous Dalrock post in which the discussion veered to ultimate meanings i.e. the discussion between brainyone and Escoffier which in turn justify or render meaningless ALL these discussions in the first place. If there is no God and no afterlife, meaning in life turns into being mean and ruthless in order to gratify our desires even if it leads through the door of unreason, deception and ruthlessness. People like brainyone appeals to logic but this is futile and the foundation of the postmodernist religion. You have stated it succinctly i.e “THE LOGICAL CONCLUSION IS HEDONISM”. And I would add ruthless and irrational hedonism. I will only use logic if it serves my ends and reject it when it doesn’t in order to achieve my aims to satisfy my lusts. And I will crush anyone in my way….and I am justified “scientifically” by the acceptance of the survival of the fittest (evolutionary biology…thanks “science”) mentality which supersedes my worship of logic. Anyway, the absurd conclusions of quantum theory which states that there is no order in the foundation of matter also justifies my pragmatic use of logic. The perverse conclusions of SOME scientists leads to a “soul crushing science”. Thank God for scientists like Roger Penrose who are pointing out the absurdity of such claims i.e. “mathematical mumbo-jumbo”.
    Why stay in a marriage if it does not make me happy? Why keep a relationship with my child if does not make me happy? Why be logical if it does make me happy? Why be good? What makes me successful is what I want and I will achieve it at all costs. I will then have people who look up to me and worship me i.e. Stalin, Hitler and Mao (the atheistic trinity).
    To be or not to be, that is the question, whether it is nobler in the eyes of men to survive the slings of outrageous fortune OR in a moment…..end it (suicide). Why in the hell should I survive in the cruel, uncertain and incessant world of attempting to satiate my endless drive for pleasure which is never satisfied. And when I am old, then what? Suffering old age with little pleasure? My answer is that people have been dying for centuries with 99% of them having no health care!!

    ”He who chooses a life of utmost striving for the utmost stake, the vital, matchless stake of God, feels at times as though the spirit of God rested upon his eyelids-close to his eyes and yet never seen. He who has realized that sun and stars and souls do not ramble in a vacuum will keep his heart in readiness for the hour when the world is entranced. For things are not mute: the stillness is full of demands, awaiting a soul to breathe in the mystery that all [good] things exhale in their craving for communion. Out of the world comes a behest to instill into the air a rapturous song for God, to incarnate in stones a message of humble beauty, and to instill a prayer for goodness in the hearts or men”. Abraham Heschel, I asked for Wonder, pg 4.

    That, my friends and those of good will, is something to live, to strive and to suffer for……

    This may be intellectual “salad” (boxer), but salad is good for you.

  142. Scott says:

    “Id quibble a bit. He is ok ENOUGH with it. His level of ok-ness when combined with his sense of commitment make it last, despite most issues”

    I would assent to that. I think loyalty and honoring commitments made are masculine traits.

  143. Scott, that’s the way it is at my Latin Mass parish too. It’s just frustrating that more people haven’t caught onto it yet, that we’re not growing faster. I think that will accelerate when that Boomer generation is gone, though. The younger folks may not be familiar with tradition, but they aren’t actually opposed to it. At the same time, I expect persecution by government to increase. Should be an interesting time.

  144. BrainyOne says:

    Well, interesting discussion about traditional-minded Catholics but any thought that the hope of resurrecting traditional marriage lies in the RCC dies here:

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_15081988_mulieris-dignitatem_en.html

    The author of the Letter to the Ephesians sees no contradiction between an exhortation formulated in this way and the words: “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife” (5:22-23). The author knows that this way of speaking, so profoundly rooted in the customs and religious tradition of the time, is to be understood and carried out in a new way: as a “mutual subjection out of reverence for Christ” (cf. Eph 5:21). This is especially true because the husband is called the “head” of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church; he is so in order to give “himself up for her” (Eph 5:25), and giving himself up for her means giving up even his own life. However, whereas in the relationship between Christ and the Church the subjection is only on the part of the Church, in the relationship between husband and wife the “subjection” is not one-sided but mutual…

    However, the awareness that in marriage there is mutual “subjection of the spouses out of reverence for Christ”, and not just that of the wife to the husband, must gradually establish itself in hearts, consciences, behaviour and customs. This is a call which from that time onwards, does not cease to challenge succeeding generations; it is a call which people have to accept ever anew…

    But the challenge presented by the “ethos” of the Redemption is clear and definitive. All the reasons in favour of the “subjection” of woman to man in marriage must be understood in the sense of a “mutual subjection” of both “out of reverence for Christ”.

  145. BrainyOne says:

    @Goodkid43:

    If there is no God and no afterlife, meaning in life turns into being mean and ruthless in order to gratify our desires even if it leads through the door of unreason, deception and ruthlessness.

    BZZZZT. Here is Theologic fallacy 101, refuted a million times. Or do you seriously believe that altruism only has “meaning” if it is done with hope of a reward in the afterlife? Or do you seriously believe, contrary to all evidence (yes, believe it or not, atheists do give to charity and help their neighbors in a gazillion other ways), that “altruism” only happens when there is hope of a reward in the afterlife; and in that case, how is it really selfless?

    The rest of your “salad” is truly incomprehensible. Except for the fact you hate the conclusion of modern science, do you really have a point to make?

  146. Spike says:

    Perhaps Dalrock, a solution may be found in the church a church serious about marriage – to avoid performing marriages.
    Couples would need to sign a legal contract under business law which is enforceable, before they go to church for ceremony and symbolism, if at all.
    In that way, women contemplating divorce can be held accountable for breach of contract under business law.
    Are there any lawyers among your readers that can produce such a mechanism?

  147. Gunner Q says:

    I second Cail Corishev and Zippy from the Protestant perspective about the empty pews and following the money. Those aren’t the Churchians’ motivations. Protestant church attendance is in freefall; “going mainstream” is only resulting in small churches closing because the members prefer the megachurch’s social scene… or just can’t find a reason to get up on Sunday.

    At the church I recently left, I was a youth volunteer and missionary funder on top of regular donations. It gave absolutely no weight to my objections against female pastors. The bitterness of that is still following me around, in fact. I can barely motivate myself to attend church these days because I realize how little a difference I am able to make.

    “I can’t agree with that, if you came home and found your wife gangbanging 6 guys are you saying it is best to grit your teeth and bear it for the sake of marriage? What if she said she was going to continue and do it indefinitely without regard to you at all?”
    Calmly nod to her, take a picture, then get out the twelve-gauge. Kill the wife en flagrante, immediately call the police and turn yourself in. Show the picture to the jury, explain the marriage vow specified “till death do us part” and see if they let you off. If not, a dime in the pen is easier and faster than frivorce and your next wife is much more likely to heed your wishes.

    I’m only half-joking when I say that. It’s terrible when a man has support from neither Christ nor country.

  148. migu says:

    Read the case (common) law derived from divorce.

    Your future rests on the whims of your wife if you are married. That is the law choose wisely.

  149. Anon says:

    Unrelated, but I couldn’t find an email address for you. This article was in my facebook feed, posted by a mid-20s gal who said it was the best one she’s ever read. She is very good looking, but, shall we say, has a reputation. Every few months she posts, wondering why there are no good men. Heh. It is sad. Every day she believes this nonsense decreases the likelihood she will marry a man she is (or even could be) permanently attached / attracted to.

    http://elitedaily.com/women/20-something-women-need-stop-thinking-like-30-something-women/634789/

  150. Zippy says:

    BrainyOne:

    I’m not going to try to rationalize the content of Mulieris Dignitatum (MD), especially to non-Catholics, but things Popes say and publish have to be taken as what they claim to be and not as what they don’t claim to be. MD doesn’t claim to be a doctrinal statement; it claims to be the Pope’s reflections prior to starting work on some specific ‘pastoral’ initiative.

    I’ll illustrate the difference.

    The same Pope for example declared as irreformable doctrine that women can never be priests in Ordinatio Sacredotalis (OS):

    Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.

    Note the words he used in making a doctrinal declaration.

    In MD the Pope refers to the document itself as “reflections”, and outright states that it is not a doctrinal document:

    The Fathers of the recent Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 1987), which was devoted to “The Vocation and Mission of the Laity in the Church and in the World Twenty Years after the Second Vatican Council”, once more dealt with the dignity and vocation of women. One of their recommendations was for a further study of the anthropological and theological bases that are needed in order to solve the problems connected with the meaning and dignity of being a woman and being a man. It is a question of understanding the reason for and the consequences of the Creator’s decision that the human being should always and only exist as a woman or a man. It is only by beginning from these bases, which make it possible to understand the greatness of the dignity and vocation of women, that one is able to speak of their active presence in the Church and in society.

    This is what I intend to deal with in this document. The Post-Synodal Exhortation, which will be published later, will present proposals of a pastoral nature on the place of women in the Church and in society. On this subject the Fathers offered some important reflections, after they had taken into consideration the testimonies of the lay Auditors – both women and men – from the particular Churches throughout the world.

    Popes say and write all sorts of things. The key word here is ‘pastoral’, which basically means stuff that has to do with leading the Church that doesn’t touch on doctrine. The Pope explains that MD isn’t even a ‘pastoral’ document, but is just some preparatory reflections prior to some anticipated ‘pastoral’ work.

    So again, I’m not going to apologize for the actual content of MD. Popes express all sorts of opinions about all sorts of things. But comparing OS to MD is like comparing the actual book of Matthew to some notes that someone took in the margins of his copy of the book of Matthew.

  151. Goodkid43 says:

    Scott said (quoting his wife)
    When were dating, I looked at you and thought ‘that’s a good start’ and then I proceeded to get to work on changing you. I shouldn’t have done that. It just set me up for disappointment when you didn’t change the way I wanted you to.”
    When My wife of twenty five years was contemplating divorce, I repeated on a regular basis that I was not the source of her discontentment. Now, with my current girlfriend of eleven months, I am implementing this philosophy into my relationship i.e. that marriage is primarily a means of perfecting oneself and only secondarily about perfecting the other. Real Christian peace is attained by perfecting the self and having the spouse as an intimate accountability partner in achieving that goal. And not assume that my discontent is because of my spouse.
    The false philosophy is this; if my immediate world and those around me are perfect, then I will be happy. The Christian and true philosophy is that contentment comes ONLY by perfecting oneself. In this, one’s peace is not dependent on the other which cannot be controlled and becomes precarious. We have much more control over ourselves than over others. This is the key. In Scott’s recollection, his wife’s assumption that perfecting Scott would bring her happiness. Since this did not occur, she assumed that her unhappiness was sourced in Scott not changing. This is a fundamental spiritual/philosophical error that permeates our secular and feminist culture.

  152. shunt says:

    I’m not a Christian or married but I have friends who are both. Your writing has provided me with more insight into their challenges (and fears/disappointments) than any other source. Thanks for doing what you do.

  153. Goodkid43 says:

    Brainyone;
    Yes, you are correct that atheist’s can be altruistic.. but they are justified in doing just the opposite. Atheism justifies altruism AND ruthlessness. You can choose to be good or evil (of course under atheism this is subjective) whatever you “feel” that day. However, under Christianity, we are compelled at the cost of salvation to be altruistic. Our eternal salvation depends on it. Whereas, an atheist can choose to be altruistic one day and decide to change his paradigm anytime. He can adopt children or let them die of starvation and is justified in choosing either or both and with no punishment (he believes) in the next life. But from a practical atheistic standpoint, it is foolish to spend any money on helping the poor because that means less for you. And also, why give to those poor who are being “selected” to be destroyed by the supposed truth of the “survival of the fittest”? It would be better to let them starve to death so those of us who are the strongest, survive? As one atheist put it, there is not difference in killing an ant or killing a human being; they are not good or evil, they just are.
    Also, criticism of pseudoscience does not imply a hatred for science. That is a CONSEQUENTIAL ARGUMENT, according to you.
    I have a poster that is displayed prominently in my home of the Hubble Deep Field photograph. This achievement of science has given me the self evident proof of the existence of God and that I have no excuse to doubt anymore. God bless, Michael

  154. David J. says:

    @Spike: “Perhaps Dalrock, a solution may be found in the church a church serious about marriage – to avoid performing marriages. Couples would need to sign a legal contract under business law which is enforceable, before they go to church for ceremony and symbolism, if at all. In that way, women contemplating divorce can be held accountable for breach of contract under business law.
    Are there any lawyers among your readers that can produce such a mechanism?”

    I’m a lawyer, though not a divorce lawyer, so what I know is primarily from my own divorce. The contract you suggest might (probably would?) be enforceable to foreclose alimony if the wife files for divorce without some specified cause (adultery by the husband, etc.) but would not be enforceable to dictate either child custody or the amount of child support. On those issues, the state deems the “best interests of the child” paramount and will enforce its statutes and CS formulas regardless of any prior agreement by the parents.

  155. …before they go to church for ceremony and symbolism…

    Properly celebrated, a wedding is far more than “ceremony and symbolism”, and a Church “serious about marriage” should be aware of this.

  156. Goodkid43 says:

    Quoted by Brainyone:
    “But the challenge presented by the “ethos” of the Redemption is clear and definitive. All the reasons in favour of the “subjection” of woman to man in marriage must be understood in the sense of a “mutual subjection” of both “out of reverence for Christ”.”
    As one who grew up in the Catholic faith, fell away, became a Methodist Evangelical for twenty years, and returned to the Catholic faith because of St. Pope John Paul the Second, this quote justifies traditional marriage for two reasons:
    1) both principles, subjection and mutual subjection are in the Bible.
    2) even under mutual submission, there needs to be one who makes the final decision in disagreements. This is actually common sense and experiential. In business, someone has to be the boss and make the tough decisions.
    Also, Pope John Paul counseled many woman in Poland in his early ministry who were living under traditional marriages and suffering from abuse. This abuse was not from a disordered structure but from a disobedience of the husband to love his wife like Christ loved the Church. In context of the time his pronouncements are precise. However, another Pope will need to address the current dilemma of the opposite abuse i.e. that of the woman (predominantly). This is the beauty of the Catholic faith in that it has done two thousand years of spiritual R/D (research and development) an no one pope, like no one scientist, can have all the answers to the truths of God and creation. The beauty of science and religion is an accumulation of knowledge combined with a rigorous desire to know the truth.

  157. Goodkid43 says:

    To Dalrock,
    May God give you health and peace in order to continue the good and necessary work you do. Oops, may God bless your wife and her health also!!

  158. BrainyOne says:

    @Zippy:

    I’m not going to try to rationalize the content of Mulieris Dignitatum (MD)…

    Then don’t. You’ve completely pretzel-twisted parts of the document to get John Paul II off the hook.

    MD doesn’t claim to be a doctrinal statement

    True but misleading. Not all Church and papal teachings concern matters of dogmatic definition strictly speaking. And yet they are still teachings. MD is an Apostolic letter, which is

    a formal papal teaching document, not used for dogmatic definitions of doctrine, but to give counsel to the Church on points of doctrine that require deeper explanation in the light of particular circumstances or situations in various parts of the world.

    http://www.adoremus.org/0902AuthorityChurchDoc.html

    In MD the Pope refers to the document itself as “reflections”, and outright states that it is not a doctrinal document..

    Of course deeper explanation can properly be characterized as “reflection”. He never “outright states” it is not a doctrinal document.

    The key word here is ‘pastoral’, which basically means stuff that has to do with leading the Church that doesn’t touch on doctrine. The Pope explains that MD isn’t even a ‘pastoral’ document, but is just some preparatory reflections prior to some anticipated ‘pastoral’ work.

    No, it doesn’t. You’ve completely misread the entire passage. Let’s look at it again:

    One of their recommendations was for a further study of the anthropological and theological bases that are needed in order to solve the problems connected with the meaning and dignity of being a woman and being a man. It is a question of understanding the reason for and the consequences of the Creator’s decision that the human being should always and only exist as a woman or a man. It is only by beginning from these bases, which make it possible to understand the greatness of the dignity and vocation of women, that one is able to speak of their active presence in the Church and in society.

    This is what I intend to deal with in this document….

    What he intends to deal with is a “further study of the anthropological and theological bases… of being a woman and being a man… which make it possible to understand the greatness of the dignity and vocation of women”. These “anthropological and theological bases” lead him to “innovate” Ephesians to mean “mutual subjection” of husbands and wives.

    Now the rest of the passage goes on:

    …The Post-Synodal Exhortation, which will be published later, will present proposals of a pastoral nature on the place of women in the Church and in society…

    It is the Post-Synodal Exhortation which is going to present the pastoral proposals later. The word “pastoral” describes the to-be-published Exhortation, not MD.

    What I like to do is apply the “Divinity of Christ” test. Just imagine that the document you are now reading says that the “Divinity of Christ” really needs a new understanding in our modern world, and that it is really a metaphor for Jesus being the perfect man, and how much credibility do you think your Church should have, even if of course this did not occur in a solemn Council or ex cathedra definition? If your response is, that would be terrible, and I’d leave tomorrow, but, well, really, the truth about marriage isn’t really as important as the truth about God, well then you have your answer to why there are the problems there are…

  159. embracing reality says:

    Sasha_ says: “Within this new reality, I would argue marriage is now outdated for any man who cannot be confident of at least maintaining a life-time income 2x to 3x times the national average without interruption.”

    As one such man that qualifies for this financial criteria I can say for myself that modern marriage is still outdated but worse yet exceedingly overpriced. Biblically sanctified sexuality has always been the motivator for men to marry but what exactly is that going to cost me? We all understand that a man who works his guts out for a lifetime supporting a wife and family in exchange for the companionship and infrequent sex of a selfish, demanding, manipulating, obese wife has gotten himself a very raw deal but what about the winners? In recent years I’ve come to believe that a man who works his life away in exchange for little more than pleasant companionship and regular sex from a reasonable and attractive wife has still made a poor trade. The sad truth is that marriage after the fall of man has always been a burden on a man and sexual desire is his affliction.

  160. If your response is, that would be terrible, and I’d leave tomorrow…

    I don’t speak for Zippy, but I’ve read enough of him that I’m confident in saying that even that would not cause Zippy to “leave tomorrow”. Nor would it cause me to leave tomorrow.

    Zippy, please correct me if I’m wrong.

  161. BradA says:

    Cail, I fail to see why Latin Mass is such a great thing. It is ceremony that most people don’t understand (except for a very few) and leaves most people farther from God, whatever their behavior afterward.

  162. BrainyOne says:

    @Goodkid43:

    Well glad to see you’ve moved the goalposts a bit – you now admit atheists can be altruistic, and that atheism does not imply complete selfishness. But now you focus on what atheists are “justified” in doing, and do not see that makes your argument worse rather than better. You’re correct: the Christian can’t really choose not to be altruistic, since there’s someone with a metaphorical gun to his head threatening dire punishment. It’s not a real choice. Would you say it was altruism if I forced you to give your money to someone else at gunpoint? In fact this is just the argument many conservative Christians make against government redistribution, whether via taxes, welfare, child support, or whatever: it’s redistribution at gunpoint. Now it’s true the atheist doesn’t have someone pointing a gun at him; but that doesn’t mean complete selfishness is necessarily “justified” in his philosophy. You make this whopper of an argument:

    But from a practical atheistic standpoint, it is foolish to spend any money on helping the poor because that means less for you. And also, why give to those poor who are being “selected” to be destroyed by the supposed truth of the “survival of the fittest”? It would be better to let them starve to death so those of us who are the strongest, survive?

    From a practical standpoint, societies with a lot less poverty are societies with a lot less violence. So, helping the poor can be “justified” simply from rational self-interest alone. And if you weren’t in such a rush to mock modern science, you’d realize that evolutionary biology has moved beyond the individual unit level and seen that altruism has evolved in the animal kingdom, because selection occurs at the group as well as at the individual level.

  163. DeNihilist says:

    Elspeth – “What happens when this is practiced consistently is not a renewal of the kind of romance you had at the beginning, but it has to be as close as possible to the next best thing.”

    Actually Elspeth, it is better then what you had at the beginning, for as Aquinas Dad has said repeatedly – “Love is an act of will”

    Most people are not in love when they meet, date or marry. Love, if it arrives at all for a couple, comes only after going through hell.

    Romantic feelings are hormones, animal.

    Love is grace, acquired by moving beyond the biology, which is only attained after living the hell of the biology.

  164. Buck says:

    BrainyOne says,

    “The rest of your “salad” is truly incomprehensible. Except for the fact you hate the conclusion of modern science, do you really have a point to make?”

    REALLY?!?!?
    This tired old trope, you know, the old… Christians-are-close-minded-bigots-and ante science too…
    Yawn, shrug, …ALL of America’s ivy league colleges were founded by Christians for the express purpose of opening minds, discovery, science etc. Throughout history the major scientific theories and discoveries were almost all made by clergy or highly religious people, most of whom were Christians.
    I find it a bit humorous that atheists spend so much energy refuting a being (God) they claim does not exist.

  165. Joe says:

    One key difference for me, as an Eastern Catholic, is that we have this notion of “sacraments” (Eastern Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic traditionally call them Mysteries, as an emphasis on that which we don’t know, due to our limited human condition; whereas Western Christians, both Catholic and more liturgically minded Protestants, tend to emphasize what we do know, likely due to the West’s scholastic movement), of which there are seven (baptism, the Eucharist, chrismation [anointing of holy oil, the imbuing of the Holy Spirit; called confirmation in Roman Catholic], reconciliation, matrimony, holy orders and anointing of the sick. Notice that marriage, matrimony, is included. Historically, marriage was essentially a social contract, whence husband and wife brought what they had to the table, and together had their own specific roles in rearing children. Christianity, a la Christ’s own teachings and life, took that and it is now viewed as an earthly image of both Christ’s relationship to the church, but also a mirror of the Holy Trinity: the Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father and their love is so great that we call it the Holy Spirit; the husband loves his wife, the wife loves her husband and their love is so great that 9-months later you have to give it a name.

    I’ll avoid the tangent, but this view of marriage as being defined by having the proper ingredients of one man, one woman and an openness to having children is why Christians have historically been morally opposed to contraception (as is documented in the Didache, and even Protestants were uniformly opposed to it until 1930). As an aside, the other six sacraments must also have the proper ingredients, so to speak: baptism must have water and an already baptized Christian, done so in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the Eucharist must have bread and wine and one who has the sacrament of holy orders, the ingredients of which must be a man (as he is a reflection of the fatherhood of God, a woman cannot do this as she cannot herself be a father) and done so by a bishop, who is a descendant of the 12 apostles (whether or not one ascribes the theological importance to that apostolic succession such as Catholics and Orthodox do, the lineage is real and is easily verified by history); reconciliation requires a sinner and, again, one having the sacrament of holy orders; chrismation is basically what developed out from the “laying on of hands” in the Acts of the Apostles, being the imbuing of the Holy Spirit (“they were filled with the Holy Spirit” after the Apostles laid hands on them in prayer); and, the anointing of the sick is exactly as the Apostle James describes it in his Epistle.

    All of that aside, Catholics are so opposed to divorce, recognizing it as actually impossible (“what God has joined, no man may put asunder”) the same as ones baptism may not be undone (being “born again of water and spirit”, as Christ told Nicodemus. However, just as ones baptismal white garment may be soiled by our foolish sinfulness, so, too, may marriage be soiled by either infidelity or control freak spouses (generally entitled and delusional feminists today, ignoring their very biology as God designed it, giving her a built-in job and identity with her womb and fertility, preferring instead to compete with men in corporate offices, whence men try and both find some identity and also to support his family. In short, feminists are little more than grown women with penis envy, and it is to their own detriment, as they tend to not even consider marriage or children until they are past their prime, thus selfishly increasing the risk of birth defects by waiting to have her first child until her 30s). Just as reconciliation, in my church, is how ones soiled baptismal garment is cleansed again (the church fathers thus referred to is as being like “a second baptism”), so too a soiled marriage is renewed anew by recognizing the gender roles of husband and wife which our culture has stupidly deemed as sexist and slavery of women.

    Anyways, I have written far more than I anticipated, and delved far deeper into my theology than I had initially intended. I am a man who regularly finds himself going down the rabbit hole, so to speak. I only hope that it was worth it for you, if you have made it this far.

    p.s. as an addendum, while my church does not believe in divorce, we do believe in annulments. I know that many view it as “Catholic divorce”, and there probably have been abuses of it before, but the idea is to quite literally do an investigation (via a canon lawyer, almost always a priest who is a scholar on church “law” and teaching, to determine, a la being a devils advocate, if the marriage was even valid in the first place, ie, were the ingredients there to make the recipe of a sacramental marriage? If not, then the “marriage” is rendered null and void, having never even existed in the first place.

  166. MarcusD says:

    CAF:

    What do you look for in a girlfriend/future wife?
    http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=890835

  167. Spike says:

    @David J.: Thanks for that. Should a would be divorcee be denied at least some of the cash and prizes, it might just help.
    I don’t fancy being able to get this idea off the ground without the (current) reluctance to rescind no-fault divorce though.

  168. Don Quixote says:

    @ Robert What?
    @Artisanal Toad
    The way I understand Matt19:9 is like this:
    Any study of the Hebrew marriage customs and laws reveals that the groom pays for the bride with a dowry paid to the bride’s father (Gen. 34:12, Exod. 22:17) . Many examples can be found in the Old Testament of this, e.g. David could not afford the dowry for a king’s daughter (very expensive) (1Sam.18:25). No better example of this is than the groom Jesus paid for His bride, not with corruptible silver and gold but with His own blood, revealed as a dowry in this example.
    Terms and conditions.

    No try before buy.

    Payment upfront in full before marriage.

    One exception only, if the girl is not a virgin the deal could be called off. Hence the reason why Jesus said “except it be for fornication”. This also reveals the importance of holiness: if we don’t maintain our chastity then we will be excluded from the marriage supper.
    If your interested in this interpretation please have a look at Once Married Always Married
    http://oncemarried.net

  169. Novaseeker says:

    I’m a lawyer, though not a divorce lawyer, so what I know is primarily from my own divorce. The contract you suggest might (probably would?) be enforceable to foreclose alimony if the wife files for divorce without some specified cause (adultery by the husband, etc.) but would not be enforceable to dictate either child custody or the amount of child support. On those issues, the state deems the “best interests of the child” paramount and will enforce its statutes and CS formulas regardless of any prior agreement by the parents.

    Yes, CS and custody are out. On the rest, whether it’s enforced is going to be subject to equity tests — basically whether there was full disclosure prior to signing, adequate independent legal counsel prior to signing, signing wasn’t too close in time to marriage (considered duress) and so on, generally, depending on the jursidction (need to check with a family law expert in specific states for specific advice, obviously).

  170. Elspeth says:

    @ DeNihilist:

    Actually Elspeth, it is better then what you had at the beginning, for as Aquinas Dad has said repeatedly – “Love is an act of will”

    That occurred to me later, only after I’d hit “post comment”, so thank you for correcting me on that. I am curious though what you mean by this exactly:

    Love is grace, acquired by moving beyond the biology, which is only attained after living the hell of the biology.

    Are you referring to working through when reality sets in (lifting of the romantic fog) as the “hell of the biology”?

  171. Michael Neal says:

    @Zippy

    I am unconvinced by that article, sorry. It is mental gymnastics in my view. Porneia means a variety of immoral acts including adultery, it was also often substituted quite frequently for the word moicheia, which has the specific particular meaning of adultery.

    Here is a good article

    I also remember reading that moicheia and porneia were often used to describe adultery in different classes of people, where moicheia would be used often for adultery of an upper class person and porneia used to describe adultery of lower class people.

  172. Zippy says:

    BrainyOne:
    I’ll just note that in order to determine the significance of the documents, I cited the documents themselves. In order to pretzel-logic your way out of that, to maintain your dubious polemic, you cited the opinions of some web site somewhere that makes a general characterization and isn’t even addressing the specific documents in question.

    Not very brainy.

  173. jf12 says:

    I am condescendingly amusedly disgusted by all those married folk who think it *better* to be done with all that biology stuff.

  174. Zippy says:

    Michael Neal:
    Now you’ve discovered a lynchpin of Protestant rationalization on divorce.

  175. Elspeth says:

    @Jf12:

    You’re misunderstanding what’s being communicated. I don’t think DeNihilist was saying what you think he was saying.

    And I certainly wasn’t, nor have I ever even implied that the shift from complete romantic infatuation to a more mature and purer type of love is supposef to signal the end of great sex.

    I am assuming that is how you interpreted our comments.

  176. Zippy says:

    malcolmthecynic:

    I don’t speak for Zippy, but I’ve read enough of him that I’m confident in saying that even that would not cause Zippy to “leave tomorrow”. Nor would it cause me to leave tomorrow.

    In a sense BrainyOne isn’t even wrong, because of the way he’s framed things: communication is a tenuous business to begin with even with friendly interlocutors willing to interpret words charitably in the light of tradition.

  177. Michael Neal says:

    @Zippy

    It only rationalizes divorce in the circumstance of adultery which was clearly written into scripture. I am not a fan of many things protestants do to rationalize things but this is one instance where they are clearly right.

    This is no different from the headship argument where Paul clearly stated that wives should submit to their husbands. But modernists now pull up a bunch of other scripture references to try and disqualify it; “mutual submission” “husbands love your wives” and all of that stuff. As if it somehow contradicts and therefore nullifies the statement where he says wives are to be obedient to their husbands.

    It is the same case with the adultery just because Christ says in another statement that marriage is permanent and no man should dissolve it, he offers an exception.

    If Christ said something he meant it, if he says something else that seems contradictory, maybe it is isn’t. Maybe he made both of those statement to go hand in hand with each other.

    Divorce is no longer permissible, Let no man break up what God has brought together, etc.

    Yes man can not make up his own reasons for divorce therefore no man should break up what God brought together. In cases of adultery, it is is not man breaking up what God brought together, God allows for it so it is not man doing it, it is God.

  178. BrainyOne says:

    @Zippy:

    I’ll just note that in order to determine the significance of the documents, I cited the documents themselves.

    As everyone can see, you completely misinterpreted what was said in the document itself. When shown that the document didn’t say what you thought it did, you refuse to admit it. You’re therefore quite intellectually dishonest.

    you cited the opinions of some web site somewhere that makes a general characterization and isn’t even addressing the specific documents in question.

    So? Care to attempt to refute the point that Popes actually do teach through the promulgation of Apostolic Letters and he doesn’t just use these for distributing his stream-of-consciousness thoughts to the entire world just for the heck of it?

  179. BrainyOne says:

    @Buck:

    REALLY?!?!?
    This tired old trope, you know, the old… Christians-are-close-minded-bigots-and ante science too…

    Just where did I say that… oh wait, I didn’t. Unlike goodkid, I am aware most Christians accept the theory of quantum mechanics, for instance.

    Yawn, shrug, …ALL of America’s ivy league colleges were founded by Christians for the express purpose of opening minds, discovery, science etc. Throughout history the major scientific theories and discoveries were almost all made by clergy or highly religious people, most of whom were Christians.

    And, therefore, any alleged conflict between science and religion is PURELY imaginary. Now THERE’s a tired old trope for you.

  180. Zippy says:

    I wrote:

    I’ll just note that in order to determine the significance of the documents, I cited the documents themselves. In order to pretzel-logic your way out of that, to maintain your dubious polemic, you cited the opinions of some web site somewhere that makes a general characterization and isn’t even addressing the specific documents in question.

    BrainyOne replied:

    So? Care to attempt to refute the point that Popes actually do teach through the promulgation of Apostolic Letters and he doesn’t just use these for distributing his stream-of-consciousness thoughts to the entire world just for the heck of it?

    Sure. The princes of the Church themselves regularly characterize different documents as having pastoral significance as opposed to doctrinal. For example, here is Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, characterizing the Second Vatican Council:

    The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.

    You are doing the same thing to MD, because doing so fits your polemic.

    Here is actual doctrinal teaching from the Catechism of Trent:

    It is then the duty of the husband to treat his wife liberally and honourably : it should not be forgotten that Eve was called by Adam ” his companion :” ” The woman,” says he, ” whom thou gavest me as a companion.” Hence it was, according to the opinion of some of the Holy Fathers, that she was formed not from the feet but from the side of man ; as, on the other hand, she was not formed from his head, in order to give her to understand that it was not hers to command but to obey her husband. The husband should also be constantly occupied in some honest pursuit, with a view as well to provide necessaries for his family, as to avoid the languor of idleness, the root of almost every vice. He is also to keep all his family in order, to correct their morals, fix their respective employments, and see that they Duties of a discharge them with fidelity.

    On the other hand, the duties of a wife are thus summed up by the prince of the Apostles : ” Let wives be subject to their husbands ; that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives ; considering your chaste conversation with fear : whose adorning let it not be the outward plaiting of the hair, or the wearing of gold, or the putting on of apparel, but the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptibility of a quiet and meek spirit, which is rich in the sight of God. For after this manner, heretofore, the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord.” 3 To train up their children in the practice of virtue, and to pay particular attention to their domestic concerns, should also be especial objects of their attention and study. Unless compelled by necessity to go abroad, they should also cheerfully remain at home ; and should never leave home without the permission of their husbands. Again, and in this the conjugal union chiefly consists, let them never forget that, next to God, they are to love their husbands, to esteem them above all others, yielding to them, in all things not inconsistent with Christian piety, a willing and obsequious obedience.

  181. jf12 says:

    @Elspeth, I Biblically mourn the loss of my first love, and rightfully account lesser passion as lesser.

  182. hurting says:

    Dalrock says:
    June 18, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    In additon to be time consuming and a bit of a long shot (as you describe), an appeal to the Rota could get prohibitively expensive (I checked with a canon lawyer about this at one time) especially relative to the fairly low low financial hurdle for the first instance.

    The fact that the Rota takes cases of the second instance directly from US tribunals is the single most damning bit of evidence that there is something extremely amiss with the situation in the states.

  183. Zippy says:

    Michael Neal:

    It only rationalizes divorce in the circumstance of adultery which was clearly written into scripture.

    But it isn’t clearly written into Scripture. The best you could say is that Christ clearly meant some sort of sexual immorality in Matthew 19:9; but that has to be interpreted in the light of the rest of Scripture. The only interpretation that makes sense in the light of the categorical condemnation of divorce elsewhere is that the ‘sexual immorality’ in question is the sexual immorality of the couple themselves: that they are shacking up without benefit of marriage. And this is how it was universally understood for more than a thousand years before Protestants started using it as a camel’s nose in the tent on divorce.

  184. jf12 says:

    The “husband of one wife” qualification speaks clearly to the non-extreme-rareness of remarriage in the early church, and not just prior to conversion either.

  185. Zippy says:

    hurting:

    The fact that the Rota takes cases of the second instance directly from US tribunals is the single most damning bit of evidence that there is something extremely amiss with the situation in the states.

    Yes, the annulment situation is a disaster. Protestants rationalize divorce, and Catholics rationalize annulments based on appeal to the ‘internal forum’. I think plenty of marriages may well be invalid because of internal forum (most terrible errors aren’t wrong about everything – there has to be some anchor in the truth to get traction), but as I’ve observed before it is impossible for even the parties themselves to be sure about those kinds of things, especially years after the fact. So the ‘way forward’ for internal forum cases (absent compelling objective evidence of invalidity) should always be convalidation, not annulment.

  186. Cail, I fail to see why Latin Mass is such a great thing. It is ceremony that most people don’t understand (except for a very few) and leaves most people farther from God, whatever their behavior afterward.

    Brad, if that was your experience, I’m sorry to hear it, but I don’t know why you’d assume that’s what happens to “most people.” A full list of the reasons for its superiority would be off-topic here, so I’ll just make two points:

    “By their fruit you will know them.” For 1500 years since Pope St. Gregory the Great, and for a good while before that in many places, the Mass was in Latin. During that time, the Church grew and did many great things. In less than 50 years since the Mass was changed, the Church has shrunk in all those countries where she was formerly strong, and anywhere between 75% and 90% of those Catholics who remain report that they ignore the Church’s teachings on matters like birth control and Confession, and most don’t believe in transubstantiation, the centerpiece of Catholic belief. These are the fruits of the new liturgy.

    The abandonment of Latin (which was never allowed by Vatican II; Latin was supposed to continue to be the standard language with the vernacular allowed in limited cases for pastoral reasons) was only one of many changes. The entire attitude of the Mass was changed from worship and sacrifice to communal meal. The altar was turned around and made a table; high, inspiring churches were replaced with pleasant meeting spaces that emphasize the people more than God; and language about the Sacrifice was clipped out in various places. If you look at the changes Martin Luther wanted to make, which helped to get him excommunicated, you start to wonder if someone owes him an apology.

    The Latin Mass isn’t easy, but standing at the foot of the Cross isn’t supposed to be. It was also never intended to be something that you stopped by to try out one Sunday and instantly understood. You either grew up with it, or as a convert you attended many Masses (the first half, at least) while learning the faith and preparing for your baptism. It’s not designed to be absorbed and understood in a sitting or two. Short version: it’s not for us; it’s for God.

  187. Michael Neal says:

    It is indeed things just like MULIERIS DIGNITATEM, and the fact they are making JPII a saint, that are illuminating my path away from the Catholic Church. I think he was a good and likable man but his failures were big, most prominently the sex abuse scandal as well as these modernist teachings that have done serious damage to the family, something he was trying to help instead.

    The Pope has way too much influence and there is too much temptation to let his personal ego get the better of him, the concept of first among equals keeps this in check and i think is needed.

  188. Zippy says:

    Michael Neal:

    The Pope has way too much influence …

    As a Catholic I actually agree with that. The strain of Catholicism that takes every utterance of the Pope as dogmatic truth is called ultramontanism, and I’ve been arguing against it for decades.

  189. Here’s the short version of Zippy’s long, good answer: Saints Peter and Paul outrank Pope Saint John Paul II.

  190. Michael Neal says:

    Zippy, the Pope can remedy it by just saying less, with Pope Francis we now get daily commentary on political and economic theories and they are treated like words from heaven.

  191. Zippy says:

    Michael Neal:

    the Pope can remedy it by just saying less

    I agree somewhat, although even then there would be people attaching doctrinal significance to how many times he uses the restroom in a given day. The problem is less with the particular Popes (we’ve had a lot worse and still managed to survive it) than it is with Catholics.

  192. Michael Neal says:

    If the Pope only spoke once every few years he could really have an a larger influence on big matters, could you imagine the attention that would generated if the Pope came out of a 3 year silence to speak about something important?

  193. Anonymous age 72 says:

    The postings come so fast at times, that it is difficult to answer some postings even on the same thread.

    A while back, I quoted several verses in the Bible. Someone immediately said I simply didn’t understand those verses, and that I was Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

    So how on earth can you be wrong with a direct quote? He explained that the Bible was not intended to be read and understood by one individual. No, you need a group of people led by the Holy Spirit

    It took me a while, but I found it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouija

    He believes in the Ouija Bible! It takes a group of people and an indeterminate spirit to read it, one letter at a time! No wonder we have man fault Churchianity!

    I want to point out that over my 72 years, every time I encountered someone who said his actions were guided by the Holy Spirit, without even discussing the Bible nor religion he was certifiable. I don’t know all the people in the world, so there may be exceptions but I never encountered one.

    There are other explanations for Churchianity, of course. Around 1990, I was attending a Fundamentalist Church. The pastor was a very slow reader, and asked people to mark up the most important parts of relevant books for him.

    Some national Evangelical association had funded a survey to find out just how many people attending Fundamentalist churches, really believed it. To their shock, the overwhelming majority, like 70% didn’t believe a word that their church preached. So, they funded a follow-up survey to ask why they would attend a church when they didn’t believe a word of it.

    Answers varied, but tended to be things like: I like being around those Holy People. And, I want my kids raised in that environment.

    Riddle: guess who sits up front and hollers, “Jesus Saves!” the loudest.

    I still have those notes, but they are on a Commodore 64 floppy, heh, heh.

  194. Elspeth says:

    @Elspeth, I Biblically mourn the loss of my first love, and rightfully account lesser passion as lesser.

    Whoa.

    I learned a while back not to argue with hopeless romantics and believers in soul mates. I just hope the loss of love and passion you mourn was with your present wife and that your romantic ideals create an environment where it can be recaptured.

  195. Zippy says:

    Michael Neal:

    could you imagine the attention that would generated if the Pope came out of a 3 year silence to speak about something important?

    How does that help though with the ultramontane problem of the Pope’s every word taking on more significance than it objectively should? In a way, the current Pope’s approach is actually helpful — because anyone who had ultramontane tendencies before this papacy will have a hard time hanging onto them without degenerating into self parody.

    One of my commenters, Peter Blood I believe, made the clever quip ‘discrediting democracy by practicing it’. I am starting to think of the current papacy (as a social phenomenon, not the Pope himself) as discrediting ultramontanism by practicing it.

  196. Michael Neal says:

    you may have a point there Zippy

  197. Opus says:

    I read the section of Vatican II (section 14 I seem to recall but am probably mistaken) on the subject of Music. I must say, that at the end of my reading, I was no wiser than I had been at the beginning. I dare say the failure to understand was mine or at least an inevitable consequence of not being versed in Catholic thinking. Still – like J.S.Bach – James Macmillan manages to turn out something each week for his local church and he implies that he simplifies his normal musical language so as to be useful and of course that is part of the trouble – neither J.S.Bach nor Haydn or Schubert in any way altered their usually harmonic language when writing for the Church. After that time (post 1830) some accommodation had to be made. Messiaen’s organ music just sounds like brothel music. Perhaps that was what Vatican II was trying to guard against but in the process aimed for dullness and mediocrity. As with movie scores it becomes music about music.

  198. jf12 says:

    @Elspeth, hopeless romantic, yes, believer in soul mates, no. I do not believe men ever recapture the in love feeling after losing it, although I understand women drift in and out of it.

  199. Zippy, the Pope can remedy it by just saying less, with Pope Francis we now get daily commentary on political and economic theories and they are treated like words from heaven.

    Yes. There’s a lot of pressure on him to write and speak about everything, both because of the ultramontanism that’s so popular these days, and because his two predecessors were both brainy guys with a lot to say. Also, every single time he gives a sermon, someone’s taking it all down and looking for gotchas, which of course didn’t happen before the age of ubiquitous media.

    I’d actually like to see him lead more by example. The humility and compassion for the poor and suffering that everyone sees in him would be better expressed that way than by making statements that are instantly interpreted as support for homogamy or socialism or whatever.

    But as Zippy says, maybe the silver lining here is that he’ll teach people to stop hanging on every word from the latest pope. This isn’t modern American politics, where each new leader’s edicts override all those of the past.

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  202. Thinkn'Man says:

    I grew up Catholic, and read the Bible from time to time. I didn’t realize I was an unbeliever, unregenerate, and lost.
    Even as an unbeliever, I started noticing some irreconcilable conflicts between what the Bible (NT in particular) plainly said, and what the RCC taught. It came to a head one night while praying the Rosary… saying the same prayer over and over and over. I kept quietly thinking “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” – Matthew 6:6.
    Sitting in Catholic Church, watching the priest perform some “magic” to “transform” the wafer into the “Body of Christ.” Praying to Mary & lighting candles (after making my “deposit” in the coffers.)
    Thinking “why is that bloody, dead Jesus statue STILL hanging on the cross, wasn’t He resurrected?”
    Make no mistake, the RCC has the outer trappings of the Christian faith, but there is so much distraction, and misdirection to keep you from true regeneration and salvation through Jesus Christ.
    It is, “a form of Godliness, but denying the power, thereof” 2Tim 3:5.
    One hears much talk today about “Christian unity”, with nearly all emphasis on the LATTER at the expense of the former. There was a good reason (95 of them) that Luther nailed to the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg.
    It began with “Out of love and concern for the truth, and with the object of eliciting it”
    (text here: http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/history/95theses.htm)

  203. Marissa says:

    Yes, Christianity was all wrong for 1500 years…

  204. AmicusC says:

    thought this was hilarious. not sure if you are aware of him but matt walsh has some good things to say until this article. which really fits with the topic here. i am not sure if he intentionally fails to address it but there is definitely the remaining question of Why? http://themattwalshblog.com/2014/06/19/dear-single-men-time-man-figure/

  205. Thinkn'Man says:

    “Yes, Christianity was all wrong for 1500 years…”

    The Christian faith revealed in the Bible was never “all wrong.”
    The teachings and traditions of men added on top of it are ALWAYS WRONG to the extent that they deviate from Scripture. It doesn’t matter how glorious the building looks, or how long the “tradition” dates back.
    Sola Scriptura.

  206. Boxer says:

    Sitting in Catholic Church, watching the priest perform some “magic” to “transform” the wafer into the “Body of Christ.” Praying to Mary & lighting candles (after making my “deposit” in the coffers.)

    It’s not magic. It’s a metaphor.

    From my perspective, the Catholic/Protestant/Jew/Mormon insults here are rather silly (and, just a touch feminine). It sorta resembles Marxist sectarianism in the philosophy department, or fundamentalist mullahs condemning each other over trivial interpretations over which hand one must use to wipe his butt. The bottom line is how we feel about intact families versus libertines and babymommas on welfare. Anyone who is right on those issues is a brother.

    Regards, Boxer

  207. Here’s the short version of Zippy’s long, good answer: Saints Peter and Paul outrank Pope Saint John Paul II.

    I don’t even think that’s quite right. Let’s say St. Peter made a casual, off the cuff comment that he hoped women would be made Priests one day (never happened obviously, but there’s a point to be made here). John Paul II’s Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (an extremely important document) would certainly override the non-doctrinal opinions of St. Peter.

  208. Thinkn'Man says:

    “It sorta resembles Marxist sectarianism in the philosophy department, or fundamentalist mullahs condemning each other over trivial interpretations over which hand one must use to wipe his butt.”

    Just a touch reductionist, don’t you think? Comparing the seriousness of trying to stay Biblical in ones faith in Christ, to Mullah butt wiping schisms?

    Surely, you see the irony in that?

  209. Thinkn'Man says:

    “Just a touch reductionist” – apologies. Maybe the phrase should have been “dismissive,” or “trivializing”.

  210. bluedog says:

    @BradA, re: June 18, 2014 at 11:10 pm
    “Cail, I fail to see why Latin Mass is such a great thing. It is ceremony that most people don’t understand (except for a very few) and leaves most people farther from God, whatever their behavior afterward.”

    Cail already answered but I have something to add. For one, what you are saying here is an argument from assertion without evidence.

    For another where it concerns evidence, no one here invented the terms “high church” and “low church”. Those terms have histories involving demographics and population distributions and as far as I can tell, neither has held a monopoly on morality or spiritual, adult formation.

    Lastly, the history of the former is not limited to impositions of tyrrany or culture. People freely choose it, and work to preserve it, because their experience leads them to believe in its efficacy.

    A Catholic church of 1.2 billion and a broader Christian church of 2 billion can find room for both and at least as I see it, they needn’t be set against each other.

    Sideways anecdotal tidbit: most “low church” by family history women I’ve known, when they had the option, opted for a high church wedding, or failing that, the closest facsimile that could be rustled together.

  211. bluedog says:

    @Boxer, re: June 19, 2014 at 11:55 am
    “…the Catholic/Protestant/Jew/Mormon insults here are rather silly (and, just a touch feminine). … The bottom line is how we feel about intact families versus libertines and babymommas on welfare. Anyone who is right on those issues is a brother.”

    …notwithstanding your choice of word “babymommas” where i’d ‘ve picked differently and where I would accept what some would consider an accusation of advocating certain suites of social market solutions to ameliorrate such phenoms …

    Amen, +1 to the rest

    If it’s a cross religious p^ss match, or just a bag-on-women session or site, it isn’t important.
    If it’s where we come from very different places but we “get” and value intact family, it is an important site and Dalrock is doing a service.

  212. Given the crop of clergy the Catholic Church has harvested for the last fifty years, I sympathize with the ultramontanist: “The pastor may be a sissy and the bishop may be a semi-Modernist, but we can always count on the pope in Rome to hold the line.”

  213. @Zippy

    But it isn’t clearly written into Scripture. The best you could say is that Christ clearly meant some sort of sexual immorality in Matthew 19:9; but that has to be interpreted in the light of the rest of Scripture. The only interpretation that makes sense in the light of the categorical condemnation of divorce elsewhere is that the ‘sexual immorality’ in question is the sexual immorality of the couple themselves: that they are shacking up without benefit of marriage. And this is how it was universally understood for more than a thousand years before Protestants started using it as a camel’s nose in the tent on divorce.

    While we are in agreement that there are no grounds for Christians to divorce, your analysis is incorrect. You are attempting to do exactly what you accuse protestants of doing by focusing on a single word while ignoring the context of what was being discussed in Matthew 19. The subject is divorce. Moses, in Deuteronomy 24:1 said When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house…” The controversy at that time was where the boundaries were on justification for divorce. What, specifically, did that word “indecency” mean?

    That was the initial question they put before Christ and He said “They are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man separate.” They asked Him a second question, about the ruling Moses made that became binding on them. It was in answering that question that He interpreted that ruling in the strictest of terms. He didn’t have a choice because His earthly ministry was not yet complete. However, later the Risen Lord overturned that judgment of Moses at 1st Corinthians 7:11. That means the whole ‘except for adultery’ argument is commentary about a specific ruling made by Moses that’s been overturned and no longer applies.

    I suspect the problem you’ve got with that exegesis is quite simple: It shatters the linch-pin of Catholicism. If Moses got it wrong then there goes the whole foundation for the idea that in addition to the Bible we need the accumulated baggage of church leaders dating back 2000 years. Because if Moses could get it wrong, Moses, who spoke to God face to face, then church leaders certainly got it wrong from time to time over the past 2000 years.

  214. jf12 says:

    It is not merely an untruth but an absolute deceptive lie to say that the Bible considers that a man and a woman who fornicated prior to marriage should not marry (see, e.g. Exodus 22:16 and elsewhere). The stated reason for that lie is to defend the Catholic teaching against the divorce *exception* for adultery, repeated for emphasis, in Matthew 5:32 and Mathew 19:9.

    In fact, the obvious reason for the divorce exception is to close the chapter on the marriage, to revoke the privilege of the adulterous spouse to the other spouse’s body, to make dreadfully clear to the adulterer that sexual reconciliation can NEVER be expected after adultery. All in perfect accord with all other Biblical teaching, such as Jeremiah 3:1.

  215. @jf12
    You need to take a hard look at this:

    “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”

    The marital relationship is clearly a type for the relationship between Christ and the church. The word you don’t see mentioned in that passage, but which forms the root issue, is forgiveness. To say that there are grounds for a husband to divorce his wife is to say there are grounds for Christ to reject His church. The exceptions you keep referring to (also at Luke 16:18) all refer to a specific ruling (judgment) made by Moses when he was sitting as the supreme judge (ruler) of Israel. IT DID NOT COME FROM GOD!

    As I have pointed out upstream, during His earthly ministry Jesus was 100% man, a member of the tribe of Judah, and by His own words in Matthew 23:1-3 He was under the authority of Moses. At that time He had no authority to overturn the ruling made by Moses, so He interpreted it in the strictest terms. However, His initial response is revealing and after He ascended into Heaven and was seated at the right hand of the Father He was given all authority. He exercised that authority when He ordered Paul to give instruction to the married believers, instruction that overturned the ruling made by Moses. and husbands must not divorce their wives.

    There is no *exception* to “must not.” Christians married to Christians are not to divorce. Period. Did you ever consider that the reason God is so anti-divorce is because He has been through that pain in divorcing Himself from Israel? Jacob did not sin when he married both Rachel and Leah, but in the Law a man is forbidden to marry sisters. Could it be that God heard their prayers of frustration and pain, and later forbid such a thing? I think so.

  216. Goodkid43 says:

    Boxer says,
    From my perspective, the Catholic/Protestant/Jew/Mormon insults here are rather silly (and, just a touch feminine).

    But calling me a “sock puppet” is not an insult but an example of intelligent discourse????

    Boxer says,
    Even though they both stood up in the church and recited (over and over) the vows that explicitly talk about permanence and til death and no man put asunder and on and on, they actually believed that it was revocable.
    Not to argue that people aren’t total idiots these days. We all know they are. Just illustrating the astounding stupidity of all this.

    No, they are implementing your religious beliefs of atheistic rational self interest. She is promising forever in order to get the cash prizes and he is promising forever to get in her panties. Perfectly rational and legitimate under your philosophy/religion.

    True idiocy is claiming evil of broken promises when your religion of atheistic rational self interest justifies the breaking of promises.

    Bluedog,
    I am sorry to break it to you, but your implied assertion that religion can be separated from ethics is irrational and has been tried and failed. Your appeal, whether you know it or not, is a vague appeal to natural law. This appeal is ONLY justified when grounded in a Judeo-Christian metaphysic.
    God bless, Michael

  217. bluedog says:

    Goodkid43 re: June 19, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    “Bluedog,
    I am sorry to break it to you, but your implied assertion that religion can be separated from ethics is irrational and has been tried and failed. Your appeal, whether you know it or not, is a vague appeal to natural law. This appeal is ONLY justified when grounded in a Judeo-Christian metaphysic.
    God bless, Michael”

    Quick – without using Google – name two theories of ethics, but not natural law or divine command.

    Such matters are not resolved by surveys, but you’ll find that people who think about this all the time, find divine command and natural law both to be lacking as persuasive moral theories. If I knew nothing but divine command and natural law that would pique my curiosity, but I’m sure you know better, since you are “sorry to break it to” me.

    Not a rhetorical – but something to think about: if God’s existence and consciousness imbue God with the power to create meaning, why doesn’t human existence and human consciousness endow men with the same?

    If you are not satisfied with the assertion that your existence and consciousness give you the power to create meaning – why would you believe meaning is any more valuable or meaningful if some other being is the one doing the meaning-making?

  218. margaret59 says:

    OK, I am gonna ask here. Dalrock, you say that anyone who insults a certain person’s daughter will be deleted. And yet, you allow insults to lots of others to stand? I don’t see Catholics or Jews whining and bitching about other religions, but you allow total insults to the Catholics, Jews, and Muslims? I really don’t get it. As a Catholic, I have never, repeat, never insulted Jews, Orthodox or Protestants. Why is this OK? Why is this one man’s daughter not to be insulted, but my family is fair game? I have Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Orthodox in my family. Why are we not somehow immune from insults as this woman is? Overall, I like what you do, but I still ask? Why are some insults all AOK, and others.. not?

  219. @Margeret59

    Please cite a couple of examples in which catholics are being insulted. Please include links to the relevant comments.

  220. JDG says:

    I didn’t see any insults either. Disagreeing with and / or believing differently about something doesn’t qualify as an insult. I’ve seen a lot of things said about non-Catholics (protestants in particular) that I don’t agree with, but I didn’t take these as insults.

  221. Oh, it definitely crosses the line into insults sometimes. I won’t bother looking for examples, because I ignore them, because I’m not a woman, so I’m not inherently solipsistic, so when I hear “Catholics suck,” I don’t think “He’s saying I suck,” so I don’t feel insulted and bound to respond.

    If Margeret can’t see the difference between random potshots at groups of people versus personal insults against a named private individual, then that’s probably something she should work on before spending much more time in comment threads.

  222. Opus says:

    I may have missed it but I do not recall seeing that anyone had specifically insulted any member of Margaret 59’s family either by reason of their religious beliefs or for any other reason. A general dislike of Roman Catholic history, dogma or ritual is not necessarily an insult personal or otherwise; the same goes for other religious groupings.

    It is also the case that men tend to throw insults at each other as a means of testing that other person. Women do not, I observe, get tested in this way by men – as men do not see themselves as in competition with women – consider all the insults I aim at my good friend TFH, but the smile on my face may not come across so clearly on-line.

  223. Matthew 5:32 & Mathew 19:9 give the only ground upon which a Christian may initiate a divorce. The word used is porneia, translated sexual immorality, or in the King James, Fornication. Fornication had a different meaning when the KJV was originally produced than it does now, and would be a poor choice today. OTOH, back then it meant pretty much the same thing as porneia – unrepentant sexual immorality. While there are many things that are sexually immoral, doing them once, then repenting of them, never to do them again, does yield ground for divorce. OTOH, if someone does not forsake all others, and shows they have no intention of changing, or they divorce for no good reason and remarry, then the Christian can either divorce the miscreant to end the legal sham, or know they are no longer bound in the second situation.

    I have spoken with a couple of Catholic Theologians (I’m protestant) and they had no problem with my position, even admitting that their position had come to be over time. One example I saw during my reading of Patristic writings was a situation where a widower, married a widow and was suspended from the church until he divorced her (I can’t remember the location at this time, but was post-Nicene as I recall). That act was ridiculous on the part of the Bishop and elders, but it gives an example of how things evolved over time.

    1 Corinthians 7 is quite explicit for the Christian, and deals with the second situation above. Abandonment is not on the part of the Christian, however. The Christian, however, as Paul says, is not to divorce. This however, does not preclude the situation Christ deals with in Matthew. Self initiated Divorce is to be undertaken only when the partner will not abandon sexual sin.

    More could be said on the matter, but this is the crux of what I see in scripture and how it impacts the Christian.

  224. Wm Tanksley Jr says:

    I don’t think the new wording is better; I think it’s dramatically worse. Horrifically worse. The original wording for that sentence wasn’t good either, even though the post as a whole is excellent.

    Instead, I’d say that the best way to avoid divorce is to not hardheartedly destroy your marriage. Repent of your sins. Confront the person who hasn’t yet repented with the goal of building them up.

    Is your sin filing divorce papers? Repent of them. Is your sin adultery? Repent of it. Is your sin coldness and physical distance? Repent. Let the gospel melt your stone heart, and pray that your victim will forgive you. If they do not, at least don’t let it be your hardheartedness that destroys the marriage.

    If filing divorce papers were the only sin that could destroy a marriage, as your current wording claims, then marriage is REALLY only a piece of paper (as the rest of your post correctly denies). It turns out that divorce papers can be repented of more easily than adultery — divorce papers falsely delivered do not cause STDs or pregnancy.

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  228. john03063 says:

    Another excellent way to ensure you never get divorced is to never marry in the first place….

  229. Branko says:

    Well, I’m an atheist, and I look at things from a secular viewpoint. What bothers me is dismissing the importance of something with the it’s “just a piece of paper” line.

    First, it’s frivolous, infantile and insultingly stupid to say that something is ” ‘just’ a piece of paper” – pieces of paper represent our word in written form. A contract is just legal form of the old custom of “giving your word”. I have contact with people from such cultures (eg. people from Albania) where defaulting on you word can get you killed – a man’s “word” is more respected then law. Nations wage war over things which could be described as “just a piece of paper”. England had a number of civil wars where men fought, killed and died en masse to get someone to sign “just a piece of paper”. If tomorrow, Russia would attack, say, Estonia, we would go to war where potentially millions of men would die – not because we’re happy to do so, but because we signed “a piece of paper” obliging us to fight. There can be no successful culture, in the long term, where someone’s word means nothing or can be broken on whim because you are not happy with the agreement. People who break their word, written or otherwise, are worthy of contempt. Civilization is words on pieces of paper.

    Secondly, a marriage is a union between man and wife. The “piece of paper” serves to formally codify it, but an union is an entity in itself. If that sounds incredulous to you, imagine your reaction if someone told you that the USA was “just pieces of paper” the states signed?

    Note: I don’t agree with the “remain married, no matter what” crowd – I certainly can understand people breaking the union if one side has severely breached the written or unwritten terms of the union (eg. adultery / cuckoldry), or in the case one of the partners is infertile (I personally could not accept a marriage without children), real abuse or similar unacceptable things.

    The problem is that most divorces aren’t like that at all. Tearing a marriage apart because you’re “not happy”, bored, “fell out of love”, “grown apart” is not acceptable. That the law subsidizes this is insane.

    It’s interesting that even in my somewhat “patriarchal” country, the clergy is dancing to a similar tune as the clergy there is. They won’t hand out annulments, but they won’t “shame” anyone because that is “wrong” under the new morality. It drives me up the wall how “we must not offend” and “we must not judge” is being pushed as some sort of new morality.

  230. Opus says:

    It is nice to see that someone recognises that England had more than one civil war, even though when people refer to The Civil War they always mean the war against the Stuarts in the 1640s. They might equally be referring to the war against the Empress Mathilda and King Stephen in the 1140s – a five hundred year gap makes that easy to remember.

    Easy to forget this earlier civil war however as inexplicably Shakespeare failed to write a play on the subject, but fortunately for us John Keats noticing the gap stepped up to the plate to remedy that omission.

    Field of Battles: Act 1 Scene 1

    Stephen: If shame can on a soldier’s vein swollen front
    Spread deeper crimson than the battle’s toil
    Blush in your casing helmets! for see, see!
    Yonder my cavalry, my pride of war
    Wrenched with an iron hand from firm array,
    Are routed loose about the plashy meads
    Of honour forfeit.

    I think that is enough of that: it just gets worse and not I think a little gay with Gloucester (who seems to be in every history play) going sentimental for Stephen. ‘A frost upon his summers’ say the Empress.

  231. steve heller says:

    “The only way I know of to get a marriage that can’t get dragged through a divorce court is to marry two or more women at once, no marriage license and use a marital covenant. Every provision could be laid out clearly and because it’s a group of three or more there’s no way the state could recognize it as a marriage and they’d be forced to treat the marital covenant as a binding co-habitation contract. One of the wives could claim she wasn’t happy and leave, but in all likelihood Dad would get the kid(s). With no cash and prizes and the likelihood of losing the custody fight, there won’t be much incentive to bail out. Even then, the proliferation of laws dealing with domestic partnerships might be used to help Cupcake obtain cash and prizes on the way out, but it wouldn’t be easy.”

    I’ve been trying to figure out the case that would end up with the Supreme Court deciding that multiple marriage was just as much a right as gay marriage. I think you have found it!

  232. Wm Tanksley says:

    //Even then, the proliferation of laws dealing with domestic partnerships might be used to help Cupcake obtain cash and prizes on the way out, but it wouldn’t be easy.//

    Piece of cake. Or cupcake. The _man_ is guilty of bigamy. Obviously the woman leaving is smitten by remorse, while the faithful woman simply deserves to share any punishment the man receives — unless she too decides to leave and thereby merit the other half.

    I’m speaking ex cathedra porcellana, of course. (A phrase I’ve invented to convey the merit I attach to this argument — Latin “cathedra”, chair; and “porcellana”, made of porcelain.)

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