Is Catholic teaching on marriage an ideal or a norm? | Russell Shaw | CWR blog
The key to understanding the struggle that surfaced at last October’s Synod of Bishops
Is the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage, including indissolubility, an ideal or a norm? Although the question may sound abstract, even esoteric, it has urgent, immediate practical implications. To say one admires the Church’s teaching as an ideal is, intentionally or not, to undermine that teaching in the act of admiring it.
Here is the key to understanding a struggle that surfaced at last October’s Synod of Bishops on marriage and is likely to continue at the synod next fall.
Most obviously, it’s an argument about the correct approach to take to people in “irregular unions”—cohabiting couples, same-sex couples, and divorced and remarried Catholics whose first marriages haven’t been annulled. In particular: should some of those latter be given communion or should they not?
This is where the question of norms and ideals becomes crucial. To see why, some definitions are necessary.
Start with the Church’s teaching on marriage.