Does she still have to be celibate for the wedding? Does she have to stay married to her ex-husband? How does her Catholic identity affect her relationship? These and many other questions, as a divorced Catholic, are the focus of our book, “Being Catholic: Questions & Answers on Being Catholic and Divorce.”
As the former chief editor and publisher of the Washington Post and Washingtonian, where we publish several book titles a year, I also spent 10 years as a Catholic chaplain to troops in Iraq. I am deeply involved in the efforts of the Franciscan Friars network to increase the visibility of the work done by Catholic chaplains and to strengthen the Church’s commitment to the pastoral care of its members. When we speak on behalf of Catholicism, we think as members of our religion. We are not just Catholics.
We believe Catholics are bound by marriage and by marriage bonds to their spouses and to God. This is the foundation of the Church’s teaching on marriage. Those committed to their spouses must honor them and must respect them in all ways. For the divorced, the same is true.
As Catholics, we are called to the service of the Church in the world. We are called both by our duty and our conscience to help those in need in their quest to be reunited with their spouses and to seek healing in all the ways we can.
Dramatically expanding the scope of Catholic teaching on the sacrament of marriage has not, I think, been the only change to do with our people of all sexual orientations. While some have made strides toward more accurate expressions of Catholic teaching about same-sex relationships, many other aspects of Catholic sexual theology that are now understood simply as the view of the Church have been obscured or completely ignored in our own time. These include:
– the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage;
– the Church’s teaching on the moral value of sexual activity as a lifelong commitment to a partner, in marriage or otherwise;
– the Church’s teaching on the dignity of human sexuality, including a desire for marital happiness;
– the Church’s teaching, in particular in the document On the Eucharist, that the Eucharist is the very Body and Blood of Christ;
– the Church’s teaching that, in Jesus Christ, marriage is a sacrament and that all Christians are called to the sacramental life;
– the Church’s teaching that, in addition to its general teaching on human
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