On the one hand, there was the view that the primary issue confronting the Church when it comes to marriage is the subset of Catholics in “irregular” situations, i.e. divorced and remarried. Some who held this view also supported modification of the Church’s teaching regarding the reception of Holy Communion, combined with a reliance on “gradualism,” to allow those who are hurting to evolve at a nonjudgmental pace toward…something.
The other view, seemingly espoused by a majority of the bishops at the Synod, was that traditional marriage, in all its richness and beauty, should be renewed, strengthened, and encouraged within the Church and the culture at large so that husbands, wives, and children can have happy and fulfilling lives and not get divorced to begin with.
Perhaps an oversimplification, but not so much. And it’s not to say that compassion and mercy for the suffering is incompatible with reaffirming true marriage. Nor should we be insensitive to those who find themselves in situations that they cannot help. But while one Synod approach seeks merely to address the sickness once it has occurred (or, if we are being conspiratorial, to subvert the healthy altogether by defining sickness down), the other strives to prevent the sickness from happening in the first place.
Which brings us to Scotland.
The Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh recently launched a new marriage preparation program whose goal is to help engaged Catholics discover the beauty and value of the sacrament. The program includes a questionnaire, several classes on the Church’s teaching of marriage, and numerous meetings with a priest. Archbishop Leo Cushley summed it up thus:
I hope this new initiative will create happy and holy Catholic couples – it’s as simple and as exciting as that. What we are proposing is a rediscovery of the beauty of traditional Catholic marriage and its value but to do that in a very positive, contemporary and open way through this new program which I am delighted to endorse.
This is great. It’s what marriage needs right now. It’s what the Church needs, and it’s what the culture needs.
Yes, there are people out there who are hurting. They need mercy, they need understanding, and they need the truth.
But this is what marriage needs. Bravo Scotland.
P.S. – And good example not getting divorced from England.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa“I love yeugh.” “…And I yeuoughh.”