Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict
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Sunday, 21 September 2014

Mercy in the Marriage Debate

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard... Mt 20:1-16


One of the insights I gleaned from today's gospel is that you cannot legislate mercy. The householder gave the latecomers a free gift for such is the nature of mercy. If he had somehow changed the rules and the agreed upon wages then this would have no longer been a gift but the required wages. The ones who worked the entire day, the ones who followed the rules, grumbled saying they expected more. They felt cheated. They wanted the rules to change so they would be paid more.

The press coverage leading up to the upcoming synod seems to reflect the sentiments of the workers who labored all day. Everyone seems to want the rules to change regarding marriage and communion and that is the one thing that will not happen. These things are matters of doctrine and cannot be changed. This sort of change would not be an act of mercy but legislation. 

Let me switch the discussion to another, more obvious example. Murder is morally wrong and almost universally a crime. Now offering a pardon to a murderer for extenuating circumstances of some sort would be an act of mercy. This is at least a conceivable situation... I will leave it to your imagination. Offering a pardon to all murderers regardless of their circumstances would not be an act of mercy but a change in the law. You would be saying to people that murder is no longer a punishable crime. It would be a license to kill.

The mass media seems to be leaning in this direction. They want a change in the law so that people will be given a license to commit adultery. This is completely consistent and quite understandable given their bias but it is utterly deplorable. Moreover the thing they want changed is no human invention but divine revelation. The synod fathers are quite aware of this. No one in the synod is going to stand up and say that Jesus was mistaken in his comments on marriage.

There may well be specific situations and circumstances that require special consideration. There may well be opportunities for the exercise of mercy. But it will not be in the pages of your newspaper, in a CNN newsbyte or even in the interviews given by prelates. And it most certainly will not be a license to commit adultery.


1 comment:

Lawrence and Susan Fox said...

I've run into women who are celibate divorcees, faithful to their marriage vows. And they are heartbroken by the false news coming out about the conference. They feel their cross they carry for the Lord has been thrown aside by the Catholic Church. This is really a time to pray. God bless you Freyr. Susan Fox www.christsfaithfulwitness.com