Honestly, sometimes I think that the Catholic Church goes out of its way to make itself look ridiculous. A prime example is the recent document issued by the archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput. It concerns divorced Catholics who remarry without an annulment of their first marriage which means that the church does not recognize the second marriage as valid. Since they are living in sin, they are forbidden from taking part in the communion rite. But Chaput says that there is a way that they can receive communion, and that is if they abstain from sex and live together as “brother and sister.”
But the greatest attention in the guidelines is focused on couples who are divorced and civilly remarried who have not obtained an annulment of their first marriage.
While divorced and remarried couples should be welcomed by the Catholic community, and not be seen as outside the church, the archdiocese said they are required by church teaching to refrain from all sexual intimacy.
“This applies even if they must (for the care of their children) continue to live under one roof. Undertaking to live as brother and sister is necessary for the divorced and civilly remarried to receive reconciliation in the Sacrament of Penance, which could then open the way to the Eucharist,” the archdiocese said.
Hmmm, let’s see. These married couples have to choose between having sex and having communion. A really tough choice, no?
I suspect that most such couples will ignore the archbishop and simply do both, have sex and take communion, the way they ignore the church when it says that they must not use contraception. The more rules that people think are silly and ignore, the less relevant the church will become.
I also wonder if Chaput’s name is pronounced ‘kaput’, which would be appropriate.