[quote="JRKH, post:10, topic:194302"]
I apologize for being adament about this, but perhaps I am highly sensative because I was in, what turned out to be, and invalid marriage for nearly 19 years. Your position is that, during all of those 18+ years, each time I engaged in sexual relations with my (then) wife, I was committing an act of "fornication", a sinful act. This I cannot accept. Even with the retractions and alterations you had made since your intital comments on the other thread, I remain convinced that the acts were not even "objectively" fornication do to the fact that both parties - as well as the church - believed the marriage to be valid at the time.
People who go through the horrors of a failed marriage, and then submit themselves and their marriage to the scrutiny of the Annulment Process, know what I am talking about.
The last thing we need is for someone to tell us - after the fact - that we had been "objectively living in sin" all the time we were with that person.
Such a view only opens up old wounds and serves no practical purpose.
That is why I have been saying that I want to see something dcoumented from canon law or another official source of Catholic teaching that supports your postion.
As to your example of the speed limit, the person used the instrument given him and never exceeded the speed limit. I'm also sure that he knew that his neighbor's squad car was behind him many times. Since the neighbor (An official charged with enforcing speed limits) never pulled him over he had no reason to concern himself with whether he was "objectively" over the speed limit. He believed he was legal, his speedometer told him he was legal, and the authority charged with checking this also told him he was legal (by not "pulling him over"). So by every objective measure available to him, the man was NOT exceeding the speed limit.
Same with my marriage. The Church believed the marriage was valid, my wife and I both believed the marriage was valid (though troubled), our families believed the marriage was valid. Every objective measure told us that it was valid. We struggled for many years to make that marrige work. Therefore sex within that marriage was valid.
It was only after the breakdown of the marriage that, under the scrutiny of the annulment process, it was discovered that there was an impediment to our being able to consent fully to the marriage. This impediment would likely never have come up during the marriage, even during councelling and such. That is how deeply it was buried. So deeply in fact that I believed, initially, that I would not be able to get an annulment and so did not apply for one until 13 years later. It was only by the patience and Grace of God that I was able to come to terms with these issues, received an annulment and have my second marriage convalidated in The Church. Praise God for His Mercy on this sinner.
So now - Perhaps you will understand that this is not just a matter of "academics" for me, or for anyone who has been through it. It is a matter of real, painful, spiritual history and growth. Couch it in whatever terms you care to, but the facts remain - There was no "fornication" with my (then) wife - period. That is, unless you can demonstrate by official, documented, church teaching that there was. In which case I will happily apologize to you and hurry off to confession to clear the matter from my soul and my conscience.
I sincerely apologize that this has been such a painful issue for you. The details that you provided actually help to prove my point, however. you are absolutely correct in that there was no possible way for the speeder in my example, or you in your actual life, to realize that a law was being broken. This is why there was no actual SIN in what you did, which I have mentioned any number of times since Saturday morning. But the fact remains, that a law was broken, both in my example, and in your life. In the example of my speeder, one could argue that since it is illegal for an officer to pull you over for speeding unless you are exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 MPH, the neighbor didn't even have cause to mention it, which is why I chose the 7MPH example. Was the man in actual fact speeding? Yes. Did he have any reasonable means to know it? no. The police neighbor didn't even have a legal cause to pull him over! Were you, or anyone in that situation breaking a commandment? yes. did you have any reasonable means to know that? Of course not, hence the fact that no sin had been committed.
...So why bring it up in the first place? Because an opportunity for grace, however small, was blocked, and damage, however small, was done. This combination was one small chink in your spiritual armor, and an opportunity for Satan, however small, to get in and work in your life. A single grain of sand may not seem like much, and yet that is what it takes to start a pearl. This is one more reason why we should, as I have also stated, be better witnesses to others, especially those who have not yet entered into marriage, to help them understand more clearly the Sacramental nature of Matrimony. As much pain and heartache as you had to endure, would it not make sense to use that evil (the heartache and pain) as a witnessing tool to others, that they might be spared from that?
Incidentally, I brought this example up with one of our deacons yesterday, and he agreed with me. Both that there is no sin here, and that that does not mean that an opportunity for grace had been blocked. (That was actually his contribution, not my own). We (my wife and I) are looking to have my priest over for dinner sometime in the next few weeks, and I will bring it up with him as well.