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Ross Douthat on Mercy and Marriage

Sometimes what seems like mercy is unmerciful.

In this particular case, the case of a contemplated change to church teaching on remarriage and divorce, that injustice might fall on those children (or spouses) who currently feel protected, secured, and supported by the line the church draws on marriage and the ideal it upholds, and who might be more easily betrayed or abandoned in a world where the church’s attitude toward divorce seems to be rapidly converging with the wider culture’s laissez faire. Or, in a more complex way, the injustice might fall on those Catholics, like Mensch, whose personal situation conflicts with church teaching in a way that feels like a cross, but one that seems to them worth carrying; or on those Catholics who stand to benefit in various ways, practical and spiritual, from going through an annulment process that, in a world where the remarried could take communion with having their prior marriage declared null, might atrophy and disappear.
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