Nova et Vetera has published a detailed analysis of proposals to revise Catholic Pastoral practice for the divorced and remarried.
Cardinal Kasper has floated the idea of shifting from canonical adjudication of annulments to a more open-ended process of pastoral discernment that will allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion under certain circumstances.
As the analysis provided by Nova et Vetera makes clear, this is more than a pastoral adjustment. It implicates basic Catholic teaching about the indissolubility of marriage, the prohibition against adultery, and the integrity of the eucharist as a sacrament of unity.
This detailed but concise assessment of Kasper’s proposal provides background and greater substance to Robert Spaemann’s hard-hitting piece on divorce and remarriage in the current issue.
The authors of the Nova et Vetera analysis draw attention to an important social reality, which is that the Catholic Church has been one of the few institutions in the West to resist the sexual revolution. In the context of this many-decades struggle, what seems like a very minor change on divorce and remarriage is very likely to be interpreted as a capitulation that will have broad implications. If the remarried, why not the co-habitating? If the co-habitating, why not the same-sex couples?
As a former Anglican (a tradition the study adverts to as case study in what can go wrong) I can testify that when it comes to sex in the churches the slippery slope is both slippery and a slope.