One of the most disquieting traits of our time is the tendency to look at concrete, everyday situations without a general view of what is right and wrong. This attitude is typical of children – who can’t understand why the dangerous dog should be put down – and shortsighted, when they are in good faith, adults – who can’t understand why a murderer should be executed -.
The right answer is always the logical, not the emotional one. The dangerous dog should be put down because the interest of safety comes before the child’s desire that the dog may live; similarly, the execution of the murderer should be carried on so that elementary needs of justice and deterrence may be satisfied, even if the crying girlfriend of the assassin is on TV all day telling us what a sweet, good-as-pie, misunderstood man he is. The child, and the girlfriend, will plea for mercy. But it is false mercy that puts others in danger, and takes away from criminals the fear of their own destruction.
Logic must come before emotions. Laws – both legal and moral – can’t be bent to accommodate feelings. Lex, dura lex, sed lex. During the reign of Blessed Pius IX there were hundreds of executions, in a State with a population of merely a couple of millions.
This obvious reasoning applies also to the Sacraments; the more so, because the things of God are so much more important than the things of man.
Marriage, it is said, is in bad shape. We have in front of us the suffering of so many who have made a mistake. Should we not have mercy, and spare them?
Marriage is a sacrament. Once validly contracted, it stays. Whatever suffering the marriage causes, the once chosen bond stays. If the wife goes to bed with the entire regiment, she is still the wife. If the husband become violent, or alcoholic, he is still the husband. His becoming violent afterwards is nothing to do, absolutely nothing to do with his having married before. The once validly celebrated sacrament stays. Hitler didn’t stop being baptised because he became the Fuehrer, either.
If you’re married, you’re married. “But if he has become violent, then it means that he did not intend to marry me” must be among the most stupid things that can come out of the mouth of a human being.
The man wanted to marry, which is why he did it. He could take this decision because he could think. He was considered an adult able to make his own decisions: drive a car, enlist in the army, buy a home. All decisions which have a big influence on his life, or can be deadly to others. Still, he was considered able to make them. No one doubts this.
If a soldier rapes a girl in an occupied enemy village his superiors do not say “evidently, you never wanted to become a soldier”. He still is very well a soldier, which is why he will be court martialled. The decision, once validly taken, stays. An adult is, by definition, one who is able to make his own decisions and will answer for them. Retrospective rearrangement of a taken decision is neither here nor there. If you validly bought a house and discover the mortgage is too big of a burden, you can’t just make your decision null and void because “you didn’t really know what you were doing”. Was the house legally purchased? Yeah? Then it’s all yours, my boy…
Therefore, any argument aiming at persuading you that the church should be “flexible”, “merciful”, or whatever else, and ignore the reality of a decision once validly taken in order to pretend the decision was never there in the first place is not only factually and logically flawed, but radically sacrilegious. It is very obvious that the current climate encourages spouses to lie about the bond they once freely chose; the recent “simplifications” go even further down that road, encouraging a narrative in which the spouse is a victim (of his or his spouse’s “inexperience”) and therefore, implicitly but clearly enough, authorised to lie.
This isn’t mercy, this is a fraud, and a sacrilegious one at that. God will not be fooled. At seven, a boy can theoretically send himself to hell. Imagine an adult trying to fool God about his own marriage. Congratulations, Pope Francis. You have just made the devil a huge favour.
Mrs Pious Adulterer will, we have said, insist that she could not make the choice. But ask her whether she would be ready to consider null and void the purchase agreement of her house because, ten years later, the seller discover he wasn’t “mature enough” to make such a decision, and see what she answers.
The same person who would be insulted at your implication that she should be incapacitated – because obviously not able to buy or sell cars, houses, heirlooms, and the like – will eat you alive if you tell her that if she was able to make an important decision like buying a car or a house, the more so she was able to make the obviously far more momentous decision to marry; a decision taken almost always very formally, very solemnly, with great pomp and ceremony, in front of all relatives and friends, and with all the attached, well-known emphasis on this bond being “forevah and evah”, and now suddenly discarded like a bad joke.
“Me? Promise? Solemn? Oh no, I wasn’t really serious, you see!”
“What do you say? Incapacitation, guardian, protecting me from myself? You b@st@rd!!!”