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What Dublin Catholics think about marriage, divorce and re-marriage

Friday morning, 28 February 2014: Mark 10:1-12 (Re divorce etc).
I read the Gospel. We picked up the sentences and words that stuck us I then asked: “What does that Gospel do to you?” There was an unusual quietness for a moment. Then Peter said: “I find it very hard. I know so many people that I love who thought they had the ducks in a line but everything then went wrong. I don’t think Jesus would condemn them.”
Finnie was loud and outrageous (as usual). “Marriage is impossible. How can any man live with a woman or vice-versa? This is beyond anyone. I know when I married my first wife; I was mad. I wasn’t in love. I was in lust. Marriage is extraordinary. It is a mystery. When it ever succeeds – It is a miracle.” (And much more)
Eddie said: “I can’t believe that the invitation to the Table where we gather together, would be or could be withdrawn from anyone, never mind their marital status. The Table is for everyone. That is real Communion. Eucharist is about Jesus calling us together – sitting us around a Table; telling our stories; feeding each other and being fed. When people come here to a funeral – everyone goes to Communion. There is a silence. There is reverence. Everyone knows and feels the presence of Jesus Christ at such a difficult moment. This is Communion.”
Marie said: “I hope that Communion happens. I see my family with their broken relationships and their new and old love affairs. I still know that God is there in the very mess. This is the Jesus I know.”
Cissie said: “I am sure that people now living together are searching deeply for the very mystery of love. It isn’t something wrong. We didn’t do that ourselves but we lived in a different era when life was less complicated. I believe that the Jesus of the Gospel is there in the midst of every little family however complicated it is.”
Others spoke of gay relationships and said something like this: ‘Isn’t God and Gospel and Jesus all about love? Wherever there is love; there is God. How can we condemn; how can we see nothing but wrong and problems when people are struggling to make sense of life and make sense of love? ‘
And finally several came in to say something like this: ‘Don’t forget ever the context. Never forget that this wasn’t a recording. This was written way after the life of Jesus. Remember too that the story is told around Jesus being tested. Wouldn’t any of us, in an argument – stretch the argument; be extreme in our response; push out the limits; fight hard with rhetoric??’
The above about covers what was said. It flowed better from each other but the ideas matters. How close this is, to the responses for the Snyod. Much more was said and all was said in a few minutes. I listened. These folks spoke out of their own heartbreaks in regard to family and friends and out of the faith they have and the Jesus they know.
This was Eucharist on a normal day. I found it real. There was also great laughter in the middle of this especially around Finnie who has told many women how much he loves then. And this happens at Mass!!!
Seamus Ahearne osa

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One Comment

  1. Con Devree says:

    “How close this is, to the responses for the Synod.” It would appear from what we now know that it is close.

    Two aspects of the piece are striking. Firstly there is the sheer lack of personal judgementalism, an obvious compassion among the group. This seems to be at the core of the approach of Popes Benedict and Francis to the issue facing the Synod.

    Secondly there is the nature of the Biblical exegesis: “Remember too that the story is told around Jesus being tested. Wouldn’t any of us, in an argument – stretch the argument; be extreme in our response; push out the limits; fight hard with rhetoric??”

    This is a bit stretchy. It fits with the notion of Liberal Christianity which pervades the piece. Jesus comes across as a human construct, extreme (exaggerated) in His response. Is this what happens to a revealed religion after human beings finish redecorating it to modern tastes?

    Father doesn’t say how he responded. Perhaps Jesus’s reply was a call to resist the world’s order and move instead towards marital fidelity and continence – to God’s kingdom. Given the keenness and acumen of the participants, (the result perhaps of Father’s work) were they entitled to a discerning response consonant with God’s reign of love? It seems a pity to cede it to a concept described by H. Richard Niebuhr, an American Protestant: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.”

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