Michael J. Lawler and Gail S. Risch are researchers at the Center for Marriage and Family at Creighton University, Nebraska, where they also teach theology. Lawler is director of the center. Both have written extensively about marriage and family.
Now, the article...
Are cohabiting Catholics always “living in sin”? Two respected family ministry researchers argue “no” and suggest the recovery of an ancient ritual for those moving toward marriage.
by Michael G. Lawler and Gail S. Risch
Consider two unmarried couples who are living together. The first couple, 25-year-old Tom and 23-year-old Sharon, have no plans to marry. He lived with two previous girlfriends, while she lived with her ex-husband before they married, which was just before their first child was born. The second couple, 28-year-old Frank and 24-year-old Molly, are engaged to be married. They are living together for six months while engaged. [...continue reading at US Catholic]
OK, now comes along comes Archbishop Elden Curtiss directing the young couple to the woodshed where he does not spare the rod......
June 5, 2007
Letters to the Editor
205 W. Monroe St.
Chicago, IL 60606
I would like to respond to the article in your June edition entitled "A Betrothal Proposal" by Michael G. Lawler and Gail S. Risch.
The teaching of the Catholic Church about fornication is clear and unambiguous: it is always objectively a serious sin (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church #1755, #1852, #2353). Couples who live together without marriage do in fact live in sin objectively.
Because the position of the authors is contrary to Church teaching about the intrinsic evil of fornication, I have disassociated the Omaha Archdiocese from the Center for Marriage and Family at Creighton University.
Neither Lawler nor Risch are reliable teachers of Catholic moral theology, and certainly are not spokespeople for the Church regarding human sexuality and sacramental marriage.
I remain sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Elden Francis Curtiss
Archbishop of Omaha
Ouch! I wonder if they can sit yet.
I don't know about anyone else, but it is so refreshing to see a bishop speaking out where catechesis is needed. Let me clarify - it is good to see a bishop stand up where morality is concerned. We need more of this. Thank God Bishop Curtiss is more concerned with the souls of the young couple and their readers than with their self-esteem.
Hmmmmm........I wonder how many souls have landed in hell over unrepented mortal sin with their self-esteem intact?
Archbishop Chaput in Denver had something to say about it as well (June 20th column):
...I believe in the intelligence and good will of the authors. I also believe that their argument is bafflingly naïve. If the Church, in her reflection on the Gospel, has always taught that sex outside marriage is morally wrong, then for the Church to now bless “nuptial cohabiters” amounts to colluding in sin. Ritualizing a sinful behavior, or calling it a nicer name, does not change its substance. The very last thing we need in a society already awash in confused sexuality is a strategy for accommodating it.
The greatest irony of the U.S. Catholic article comes in a comment by the authors that many young adults “cite confusion about Church teaching because Church leaders send mixed messages about sex, contraception, and divorce/annulment.” I very much agree. And one of the sources of that confusion might be Catholic publications, theologians and researchers who help feed it.
We need more support for marriage in society and the Church, not alternative arrangements. Cohabiting couples deserve the understanding and patience of the Catholic community, but above all they need to hear the Christian truth, persuasively offered, about the nature of marriage, the meaning of their sexuality and the importance of the family. We waste words and time when we focus on anything else
H/T to Curt Jester and Rich Leonardi
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