Monday, June 3, 2019

Are We Actually Married?

So here’s part of our story so far . . .

My husband proposed to me on a bridge overlooking a river that runs through what used to be a golf course in our old neighborhood.

The bridge rotted away because the river kept flooding and it eventually had to be torn down.  At the time, I had actually thought about preserving a piece of wood from the bridge, but heaven only knows what disgusting things were on its boards.

Speaking of disgusting, about a year later, we got married by a beloved priest whom everyone adored . . .except the children he was sexually abusing (we didn’t know about it, of course.)

So then we moved into our first apartment, in the building where we first met. Yes, I literally married the boy next door.  I met him the day he moved into his apartment.

A number of years later, after we had long-settled elsewhere, our apartment burned down.

So our bridge rotted, our priest turned out to be a pedophile, and our apartment burned down.

Geesh.  I wonder what the future might hold.

But seriously, the good news is that this year we celebrated 37 years together.  Like I told my husband, the glue has stuck, even in spite of the trail of destruction left in our wake, none of which was our doing, of course!

Now you may be wondering if our marriage was valid so many years ago if our priest was in a state of mortal sin.  Do his horrific offenses affect the sacrament?

The following excerpt is a good summation of whether the sacrament’s validity is affected.  I would encourage, though, you to read the entire, short explanation found here:

“With respect to the intention required for the valid administration and reception (by an adult) of the sacraments, the Council of Trent requires only that the minister or subject intend to do at least what the Church does.

This is a fairly minimum intention and means that a sacrament would be valid even if a minister lacked faith in the sacrament, or were in a state of mortal sin. It is enough for him to intend to do what the Church does when administrating this sacrament.  This refers only to the intention; some sacraments, such as matrimony and hearing confessions, have additional requirements for validity such as formal authorization or proper canonical procedures.” 

Basically, the priest’s intention makes the sacrament valid, because, as it says in the summation article, “St. Thomas Aquinas says: Christ may act even through a minister who is spiritually dead.” 

God is so great, he can work beyond the sins of his people.  I guess that might be a good reason for staying with a battle-scarred church as the Catholic Church has notably become.

You see, the Sacrament of the Eucharist, where Christ is made present under the appearance of bread and wine, is the gift Jesus himself left the Church at the Last Supper.  He didn’t leave a symbol of himself, he gave his very self. It is what we continue to celebrate today at every Catholic Mass.

The truth is, there isn’t one disgusting, unimaginable sin that could be performed by the people or leaders of his Church that could cause me to walk away from Jesus in the Eucharist. 

He is so much greater than all that.

Janet Cassidy

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