24 March 2017

Adulterii laetitia multiplex ...

 ... or, in English, Adultery is a many splendoured thing. Let me focus on just two particular and contrasting modes of Adultery ... two among so many .... [I am not unaware of other models, or of the tragedies of innocent parties.]

(1) Covert Adultery. Jack (or it might be Jill) keeps his sinful activities secret from wife, children, friends, neighbours.

(2) Overt Adultery. Jill (or it might be Jack) obtains a civil divorce, and then goes through a ceremony of 'Marriage' with her partner in her sin. The couple thereafter conduct themselves as Mrs and Mr Overt and wear nice rings on their wedding fingers and function as 'Eucharistic Ministers' and School Governors.

Both cases, of course, according to the canons of traditional morality to which I adhere, equally involve Mortal Sin. But ... we all enjoy an entertaining diversion into an Alternative Universe, don't we? So let's examine the differences between Jack and Jill from the perspectives of classical Utilitarianism; and the 'situation ethics' of the 1950s and 1960s condemned in Veritatis splendor.

Jack Covert wants to have things both ways. He wishes to indulge his lust, but at the same time not to hurt or to risk losing his wife and family. Let us assume the best of him: he may promise himself that he will repent, but "not until tomorrow"; he may even prefer not to weaken Matrimony as a social, public, and Christian institution. Let us accept that he is ashamed at the idea of being yet one more person who troops through the courts publicly affirming (in the most solemn way possible) the lie that a valid and consummated Sacramental Marriage is soluble. He is a sad picture of incipient movements of Grace being stifled by his servile bondage to his sin. But there is one thing which, happily, he does still have: the knowledge that Sin is Sin.

Jill Overt, on the other hand, noisily demands that her incontinent lust be validated in each and every possible public forum. She would certainly not be prepared to leave open any possibility of her own repentance and reconciliation with her true spouse ("my Ex", as she now cheerfully and routinely calls him). Happy in her new "marriage", she might talk about "the importance of moving on". To describe her, the Victorians would have reached for the adjective 'brazen'.

[When I was in the Church of England, I once heard, at a clerical lunch, two women clergy, each of whom planned to "move on" from a "failed marriage" to a new union, complaining (not very quietly) about the Bishop's desire to "talk things through" with them: this, they warmly agreed, would be "Opening Up Old Wounds".]

You know what I'm going to say: it seems to me that Jack Covert, seedy little deceiver that he is, has the better of it in terms of the ethical systems at which I have nodded.

And it also seems to me that Jill Overt and such "remarried Divorcees" score lowest on the scale of "How Moral is your Adultery?".

The Award for Most Moral Adulterer ... the John Stuart Mill Gold Medal (in four-and-ahalf carat gold) ... would surely have to go to the adulterer who most covertly used the services only of prostitute women or men, having checked carefully that they had not been trafficked.

And yet ... and yet ... in our Bergoglianist Ethosphere, things seem to be exactly the other way round. Nobody seems to give a damn for poor Jack Covert endlessly tortured by his fear of being found out.  It seems that Herr und Frau Overt receive all the sympathetic attention; it is for them that we must all lean over backwards until our spines snap; for them the Verba Domini are to be curtly and irritably set aside; for them the constant Magisterial teaching of two millennia is endlessly vilified as Rigidity and Pharisaeism by an angry mouth which seems incapable of shutting except when confronted with Dubia.

Why don't we just give up trying to regulate Sex altogether? I'm sure that resourceful Archbishop Fernandez could easily draft for the Holy Father an Exhortation along the lines of Fay ce que voudras.

6 comments:

Joshua said...

"...an angry mouth which seems incapable of shutting except when confronted with Dubia."

Rem acu tetigisti, Pater reverende.

The Catholic Shoemaker said...

This is quite helpful in cutting through all the doubletalk we get about the issue. It's refreshing to hear someone speak plainly on the matter. I've tried to so the same in a YouTube video, which you can check out if you wish (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f308T1oiWLc)

Another thing that's been striking me lately is the push not just for allowance of divorce and remarried, but for approval. Hence the talk you get about "blessings" for these new unions and so forth.

kiwiinamerica said...

Spot on, Father.

Stan Metheny said...

Fr. Hunwicke wrote:
Why don't we just give up trying to regulate Sex altogether? I'm sure that resourceful Archbishop Fernandez could easily draft for the Holy Father an Exhortation along the lines of Fay ce que voudras.
****
If this news clip is correct, then it would appear that Cardinal Schönborn has already moved in that direction.
https://catholiccitizens.org/views/70460/archdiocese-website-suggests-not-commit-adultery-doesnt-ban-sexual-sin/

Highland Cathedral said...

Regarding women clergy in the Church of England, do they tend to be of a type or are they as varied in their views and practices as their male counterparts? Are there, for example, many 'High Church' women clergy and are there many of an Evangelical persuasion?

www.inquisition.ca said...

Hilarious! Father, you just hit that baseball so hard
it's not only out of the ballpark, it's on its own orbit!

SJJ