Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Meaderings about the current level of observance of the Church's teachings on marriage

Two funny things about what I know about a certain couple. I hear a lot about them from Annette. She told me that Don left his first wife and one of his complaints was that the wife was cramping his sex life because she had a crucifix in the bedroom. Now he's married to Sue who is an ex-nun and who incidentally is pretty as can be, but the funny thing is that their home is chock full of religious art everywhere you look. She plays a rosary tape so often when she is driving that she wears the tapes out.

Another funny thing is that even though I have never been invited, I have been inside their townhouse two or three times when they are away. Annette takes care of their cats while they are travelling, and so a couple of times I went over with her and read their magazines while she emptied cat boxes, changed the diaper on one of the cats, and fed them.

A few years ago, the McRays went to the Philipines and were upset by the poverty. Sr. C. brought them to an orphanage run by her order there and it pained them the way the kids try to ingratiate themselves, probably hoping for adoption. But it especially pained them how badly the cats are treated.

One time at breakfast at Baker's Square, the subject became a little risque, Sue jumped on the theme and started joking about how Don has four woman rubbing up against him in bed in the mornings looking for a little affection. Three of the four women in question are cats, of course, so Sue doesn't mind.

When I first came to St. John's in 1990, they were newlyweds. I didn't know them, but I could tell. It bothered me to see the big white haired overweight guy and his pretty young wife clinging to each other in the church. I always think of the first wife and the disruption and pain of divorce when I see or hear of such a thing. And about how the Church's position on the indissolubility of marriage is being weakened by liberal marriage tribunals who have a set of exceptions big enough to drive a truck through.

The McRays have the blessings of the Church on their marriage, so Sue must have been excused from her vows as a Dominican, and Don's first marriage must have been annulled. Even though they have done the right thing according to their lights, I think the Marriage Tribunals are going too far these days and are far too liberal in how they dispense annullments.

"In the old days," annulments were granted only for non-consumation of the marriage. Now the liberal marriage tribunals grant the annulments for "impaired consent," saying that a marriage that wasn't freely entered into isn't valid. As examples of "impaired consent" I see "the couple was too young," "they were pressured to marry." So if they conceived a child and married while pregnant, that can be used as grounds, for one example.

Or if they decide later that they really didn't mean it . . . . Or the wife is cramping the husband's sex life with a crucifix in the bedroom, stuff like that
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