Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civilta Cattolica and close confidant of Pope Francis, was quick to Tweet today the latest insult to the Sacrament of Marriage:
“The welcoming of those young people who prefer to live together without getting married…”
Now it would seem that Rome is extending de facto recognition of cohabitation as simply a matter of preference (sin’s such an ugly word after all) and by no means something requiring (immediate) correction.
Apparently fornication doesn’t quite carry the stigma or baggage that it once did. Consider the words of St. Paul, that rigid apostle to the Gentiles. Admonishing the Corinthians he (infallibly) wrote:
Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:9-11).
For those today who consider straight talk to be unmerciful, it would seem that St. Paul’s words are best ignored.
Mind you, no one is opposed to “welcoming” those in a perpetual state of mortal sin. The Church has been doing that since day one. There would be no need for confessionals and confiteors if sinners weren’t welcome.
What is significantly different over the past couple years, however, is the desire to recognize-and thereby extend a level of acceptance to-certain sins, namely adultery and fornication.
If you don’t believe that, look to the other expression making an appearance in Fr. Spadaro’s article (he links to it in his Tweet). New on the scene is this post-synodal phrase the “fullness of marriage.”
Introduced in the final relatio of the 2015 Synod on the Family, it would appear that the “fullness of marriage” serves as a goal of sorts for those living in sin today. But, since language such as sin and grace is viewed as rigid and lacking mercy, we instead get welcoming of fornicators (with a big smile to boot). For priests like Fr. Spadaro, it would appear that sacramental marriage is simply an ideal that we aspire too, rather than God’s design for us. In his article he writes:
All these situations must be addressed in a constructive manner, trying to transform them into an opportunity to journey towards the fullness of marriage and family in the light of the Gospel.
One wonders why we don’t welcome others who simply prefer their favorite sins?
Maybe the Church should welcome those who prefer pederasty over marred, adult, sex.
How about those who prefer polygamy instead of traditional sacramental marriage? Where are they at on the “fullness of marriage” scale?
Finally, why aren’t we welcoming those who simply prefer stealing over legitimately earning a wage for a hard days work?
After all, if we have moved past pesky concepts such as mortal sin, presumption, judgement, and hell, then let’s not waste time. The direct language of St. Paul becomes a stumbling block to those who view clarity and absolute truth as being unmerciful. Why preach against sin and concern ourselves with the eternal soul when we can simply welcome the unrepentant.
It is important to shine a light on these rapidly progressing developments of language and practice in the Church. There is a sense of urgency among those looking to radically change the manner in which the Church defines family and marriage.
Don’t waste your time looking for doctrinal change; the Church cannot err on matters of faith and morals. She can, however, create confusion where there was once clarity through actions and word.
Continue to pray for those courageous priests and bishops who are holding to the immutable truths of the faith and valiantly defending marriage from the purveyors of false mercy.