12 May, 2010

Austrian bishop questions celibacy - CTV News

Austrian bishop questions celibacy - CTV News


  1. Anonymous12 May, 2010

    Why has this Catholic Bishop "suggested that divorcees be allowed to have a new relationship blessed after a period of penitence?" First of all, we are allowed to marry again in the church if an annulment has been sought and granted. Second of all, and perhaps most important, why a period of penitence? Sweet Jesus in Heaven must be sad that someone has chosen a fool for a Bishop! What a pompus ass this Bishop is to suggest that we need penitence because we have suffered through a divorce! This shows how out of touch with real life this man is. The fact that he is in a leadership role is scary....

  2. Anonymous14 May, 2010

    So, Fr. Tim, how can this man make un-Christian statements like that without the Catholic Church forcing him to correct himself by issuing an apology to divorced Catholics?

  3. Anonymous,

    I'm not sure Tim can speak for the bishop. But there are a couple interesting things about this issue.

    Don't forget the present policy of the RCC is, if I am correct, not to accept divorced and remarried people(before a non RC minister or marriage commissioner) into full communion. Period. The RCC does not recognize divorce and does not recognize remarriage following divorce before a non RC minister or marriage commissioner. And the RCC does not re-marry people who have been married by the RCC unless they were able to get an annulment. These annulments are a sham; there is ample proof they have been handed out for the most unbiblical and dubious reasons and at times contrary to the wishes of BOTH parties.

    The point is the bishop is willing to see that changed, even in a partially positive way. That can only be a good thing. Presently, the RCC only recognizes it's own annulments, which incidently, have no basis in the Bible. Divorce is biblical on certain grounds. Jesus mentioned it. Paul also spoke about the subject. See if you can find anything about annulments in Scripture. From what I have read, somebody who was married for years and raised a family might be able to get an annulment, particularly if they were married outside the RCC and one party wants to join the RCC as a full member. This is wrong. Annulments claim the people were never married.

    The bishop's suggestion should be applauded. The RCC needs to get out of it's intrusive involvment in the marriage, divorce, annulment business, and recognize the civil courts decisions. But in my opinion, the sad reality is it is unlikely to change if the RCC can continue to find benefit to it's membership numbers or control over people.

  4. Anonymous17 May, 2010

    Small Town Guy,

    I believe you are wrong about the Catholic Church being able to annul a marriage when neither party wanted an annulment! One of the people need to apply for an annulment after their divorce takes place if they want an annulment. They church doesn't just annul a marriage without being asked. Annulments claim that an actual/real/true union never really took place. This is based on more than just a marriage ceremony, regardless of what church it took place in. Everyone knows that a marriage is more than a ceremony, regardless of who performs it. It is entirely possible to be married for many years without a true union having taken palce. Consider, if you will, a spouse who has secrets they have not shared with the person they are marrying. Secrets such as having an ongoing sexual relationship with someone else that continues on past the wedding ceremony. Do you think this person's partner entered into a true union with them when there was this kind of deceipt from the beginning? This is just one example and there are many more I am sure where a true and valid union never took place.

    I'm sure there is no mention of annulment in the bible. As Catholics we can chose to apply for an annulment after our divorce or not apply for one. Many Catholics continue to receive the sacraments after their divorce and why wouldn't they? Doesn't it say in the bible, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone?" I think we should leave the judging up to Jesus Christ. I personally don't know any priest who would refuse a divorced Catholic Holy Communion.

    It seems to me that the people who claim to know the most about annulments are people who have never had one!

  5. "I believe you are wrong about the Catholic Church being able to annul a marriage when neither party wanted an annulment!"

    Times may have changed, but I believe it was possible -- in cases of consanguinity, for example -- for the church to annul a marriage that is otherwise legal under civil law.

  6. Lady Janus: What you describe is prohibited by law and faith. The state and church believe in the same laws when it comes to which degree of consanguinity can be permitted lest genetically defective offspring are born. Such a relationship would be legally annulled and religiously invalid. Both parties would be free to marry another without impediment.

  7. I thought that civil law and church law had different definitions of consanguinity...that civil law allowed for a closer degree of relationship than church law allows.

    Cousins can marry under civil law, but I thought church law forbade them.

    But as I said, times may have changed. It's been so long since I looked it up, I'm not even sure where to begin.

  8. STG:

    Your inaccurate understanding of annulment and the process of annulment is HUGE.

    Annulment is biblical for example. "What God has joined let not man put asunder." A primary focus in the annulment process (which I have personal experience of) is determining whether in fact God did or did not join the two participants in the marriage in Holy Matrimony. Did they enter the marriage understanding the intent of marriage? Were they even capable of making the commitments that marriage entails?

    A couple who are divorced and remarry outside the Church are not in disagreement with the Church if they live in a state of celibacy.

    In order to receive an annulment, I had to apply, and go through a very lengthy process that was in fact very healing, and was also very loving. I understand the reasons that I received an annulment, and now particularly when I FINALLY have learned to love a woman with the depths of my heart, I understand what it takes to have a sacramental marriage with her.

    You trivialized a particularly painful healing process that is available to bring healing to faithful Catholic Christians, which you have chosen not to be yourself, because some moron of a Bishop over in Europe wandered off into never never land.

    You need to go back and take a look at the biblical fundamentals of every Catholic teaching. If you do it with an open heart and an open mind, you will discover as I did, that everything taught authentically by the RCC is based on the bible. If it cannot be supported by the Word of God, it cannot stand.

    We are called to love one another, not selectively and not judgmentally.

  9. Anonymous18 May, 2010

    "A couple who are divorced and remarry outside the Church are not in disagreement with the Church if they live in a state of celibacy."

    Come on now! That would be ridiculous! And no one's business either! Not yours not mine, not the priest's and not the Church's, any church. God must weep when he sees how humans have abused this gift he has given us!

  10. Anonymous:

    "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice."

    Although Dunninger said it about something else, it applies to Christianity and particularly to Catholic Christianity.

    Not ridiculous just because you don't get it. It is a matter of faith, and trust.

  11. MBrandon,

    "Annulment is biblical for example.

    The incredible growth of annulments within the RC church in the United States is considered by some RC authorities to have reached crisis proportions. A website called "Catholic Insight" has an article by Fr. Leonard Kennedy about a book on the subject. The author of the book is Fr. Christensen.


    The author reports 68% of annulments are granted on the basis of what is called "defective consent". This phrase apparently means one of the parties (or both) lacked sufficient knowledge or maturity to know what was involved in marriage. On this basis, matrimonial judges grant annulments. One matrimonial judge said "there is no marriage, that given a little time for investigation, we cannot declare invalid". It seems almost anybody can get an annulment in the U.S. if they are determined. The article also says the availability of annulments is advertised. It suggests that people who think they can find greener pastures in another marriage, and who would never think of separating or divorce, see the annulment process as an easy way out of marriage.

    The U.S. has 6% of the world's Catholics, but grants 78% of the world's annulments. From 1984 to 1994 there were 59,000 annulments granted annually. Pope John Paul II expressed his displeasure with this situation.

    But where in the Bible is there such a thing as "defective consent" taught as grounds for ending a marriage, whether by divorce or so-called annulment. The annulment process is a declaration that a certain marriage never existed in the first place.

    Did Jesus and the Apostle Paul have anything to say at all about when a marriage could be ended?

  12. Anonymous,

    "Secrets such as having an ongoing sexual relationship with someone else that continues on past the wedding ceremony."

    What you describing is adultery and Jesus said it is grounds for ending a marriage. (Matthew ch19 vs9). But if such a marriage is ended by divorce in a civil court, why would a person need to apply for a so-called "annulment" to have his marriage declared "it never existed" by the RC church? Where in the Bible is a church or church hierarchy given such authority?

    A book called "Roman Catholicism" by Loraine Boettner quotes another writer, "Paul Blanshard, in his "American Freedom and Catholic Power" in which he says "There is almost no type of marriage that cannot annuled under the complex rules of the Catholic marriage courts if a determined spouse is willing and able to go to the expense of prolonged litigation, and uses sufficient patience and ingenuity in constructing a plausible case."

    He says some mixed marriages can be annuled if a parent who was married by a priest sends a child to an American public school without the priest's permission. "In some cases it is also ground for the complete nullification of a mixed marriage..."

    Again, I ask what grounds did Jesus and the Apostle Paul teach for ending a marriage. Where in the Bible is there a hint that a marriage can be declared it never existed (annulment)?

  13. MBrandon,

    "A couple who are divorced and remarry outside the Church are not in disagreement with the Church if they live in a state of celibacy."

    I have to agree with Anonymous on that. If they were married, why would they have to live in a state of celibacy? Isn't that against the definition of what marriage means? All part of the RC church's unbiblical view of marriage and sex... Marriage is OK in some instances but sex is forbidden.

    The Apostle Paul spoke about the sexual relationship within marriage this way: "Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency."
    1 Corinthians ch7 vs5.

    One must wonder why the RC church would put a couple in temptation of sin by saying they can marry but not have sex? Does this sound biblical when the Apostle Paul said not to deny one another sex except by mutual consent for a time of fasting and prayer?

  14. STG:

    You have chosen to use Boettner as a reference. I suggest that you try John Salza - The Biblical Basis for the Catholic Faith, or Rome Sweet Home - Scott and Kimberly Hahn. There you will find that all Catholic teachings from the Magisterium come from the Bible, and must be supported by the Bible.

    The problem is starting with the answer, what we believe to be the truth, without having the humility to seek the truth fully. Since it is necessary to be right, then when the truth is presented in front of us, there is a compelling need to refute it, since it does not fit the paradigm we have chosen. Our version of the truth takes on a life of its own, and so the real truth cannot set us free, since we cannot embrace it.

    I lived most of my life in this model of needing to be right, and not being humble enough to allow the truth to seep into my consciousness. I have subsequently found it to be unfruitful to my growth in the Spirit.

    It becomes a choice to be God or believe that one can speak for God, rather than to follow God in humility. When Jesus said "Love one another", he did not say to beat them over the head with our own individual understanding of His word. He meant for us to receive each and every one who comes our way as Him.

    As you are Jesus for me, and I can appreciate your earnestness for the Gospel, and how you challenge me to know my own personal faith and relationship with Him better, I too am Jesus for you, and you alone can determine what Jesus coming to you in my flesh means for your journey to salvation.

    While you choose to ridicule me for my faith, thumping me with the bible as you see it, I would choose to open myself up to more of your ridicule, for reasons that I cannot fathom.

    My Dear Wife and I were not married in the Catholic Church, because at the time, only one of us had their annulment completed. Subsequently, the second annulment was received.

    We know that we should have waited to be married, because being married even in a Church other than our own, did not make for a sacramental union between us. That we know in our hearts. We do not require any other person on the face of the planet to know or accept that.

    Our annulments were not easy to come by. There was a very arduous process, and a great deal of soul searching, prayer and counsel required to complete it. Without the grace that came from that process I could never have learned to be the husband that My Dear Wife deserves, not withstanding our impatience to be married prior to completion of the annulment process. But, I do believe firmly in my heart that our previous marriages were in fact nullities in a faith sense. Yes, they produced children, and there was some love there, but Christ was never the center of either of our marriages, and so God never did join us.

    We have prayed fervently, and worked hard to build a union between us that honours God. It included an extended period of celibacy for us, I think the correct term is actually continence. During that time, I grew more in love with her every day. It was the most rewarding period of our marriage thus far. Of course the devil tempted me, but God's grace is and was sufficient for me to learn from the temptations, thereby limiting the power that the devil has to twist me around like a rag doll.

    As we draw closer to Jesus each and every day in our love for each other, and above all our love for Him, we know what a marriage based on a sacramental union with Him at the center means to us.

    I am actually somewhat sick to my stomach at the moment, expecting that you will twist this around in some other direction, and not just receive it as a brother in the faith sharing some of his heart with you, as a free gift.

  15. MBrandon,

    Actually, you are not correct in saying I am wishing to twist what you say around. I started out and continued to discuss the subject of annulments from a purely objective point of view as that is what this article was about with no intention of discussing your personal experiences. But then you appeared and posted your own experiences, which is fine. Each person's situation is unique. I too have gone through a previous marriage earlier in life and remarried about 35 years ago to a christian woman.

    I have no interest in judging individuals or their past histories in relation to divorce, annulment or remarriage. If they can find piece with God, that is important.

    I know there are people who cast stones at me because of their own interpretation of the Bible, which I believe is erroneous. However, by the grace of God, I believe God has revealed his truth in the Bible on the subject. I praise Him for His grace.

    I did not stick around in the RCC long enough to find out how their system worked at the time because I believe the Lord saved me by His grace in about 1979/80 through hearing the gospel preached over the radio (1 Cor. 15:1-4), and wished me to worship in a Bible-believing church with my wife who was already a christian. I have since taken some interest in and learned more about the RC system.

    You are fully convinced about the RC system. As far as the past, annulments, divorce, etc. are concerned, I would say forget the past and live the present, and look ahead. We cannot change the past. If you can keep an open mind about what is truth and what is it's source, that I think would be the best thing.

    The RCC made marriage a "sacrament" at some point in history so that it would have complete control of marriage, ending marriage, families, etc. But that is something else which is not biblical. Marriage was actually created by God in the garden of Eden beginning with Adam and Eve. God blessed them and said be fruitful and multiply. People outside the RCC are married and have their union blessed by God in front of ministers without referring to it as a sacrament. Making it a "sacrament" was simply for the purposes of control. Calling it a "sacrament" does not mean it is any more holy than what God had already made it.


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