I can’t add much more to the title. I do think that the complexity of canon law is a definite barrier to Christian unity. I don’t think it will occur until our faith simplifies. If I were a non-Catholic and not already comfortable with the Catholic Church I would probably be very put off by all the complexities of our faith.
I wasn’t exactly sure where on these forums to post this.
In other words, you would rather the Catholic faith be “dumbed down”? Luther tried it, but it wasn’t good enough so Calvin tried it and it wasn’t good enough so now today it’s come all the way down to people who say they don’t need the Church, but can worship on their own and believe what they think God is telling them. It only leads to division, not unity.
I was a non-Catholic and saw the results of the lack of “complexity”. Churches split over the simplest ideas such as whether or not it is right to have a piano.
Jesus calls us to mature and seek him to grow in faith and understanding. Just read the Gospel of John, it’s full of this…Then again all of the Holy Scriptures are. “Comfort” is not what we are called to. It’s faith and obedience, then through these Christ will comfort us.
I don’t mean to sound like I’m bashing, but it seems that the the world society as a whole desires to have the standards lowered so it doesn’t have to work hard and excel, but rather just do enough to get by.
Take the challenge: Jesus says to get rid of all we find comfort in, give to the poor, and follow him.
I’m not an expert in canon code, but there are actually canon code lawyers, aren’t there? That shows how complex it is.
What brings this up is my different experiences at weddings recently. The Catholic wedding, where the bride and groom both had to go through complicated annulment proceedings, where many of the guests were confused and bored by the wedding Mass, had to be step by step instructed on what to do. Approaching the Catholic Church is intimidating for our Christian brethren.
The other wedding was just as reverent, much more comfortable for all concerned. The Protestants seem to have managed to make their faith simpler and more approachable. They don’t need to have a complex canon code requiring lawyers. The more conservative churches teach basically the same moral code as the Catholic Church with the visible results being that the people seem just as holy.
My teenage daughter says that she thinks that generally Christians (she meant non-Catholics) are more into their religion than Catholics. She sees them as being more on fire for God. It does seem to me that many people in my church are satisfied with fulfilling their duties on Sunday and that’s it. They don’t talk about God during the week like some of my other Christian friends.
Since you admit you are NOT really familiar with canon law, why are you presuming to make pronouncements on it?
Truth is ALWAYS complex, and is never simplistic.
As regarding the Catholic wedding you mentioned. it was NOT the couple’s wedding. It was the CHURCH’S WEDDING SERVICE, and was being bestowed on the couple. It was NOT about making the non-Catholic guests feel “comfortable”.
And finally, as we know, all teenagers have a depth of wisdom and experience and vision which enables them to plumb the depth of all mysteries and unravel them. Too bad they lose this when they grow up and find out how the world actually works.
Yes, when a person wants to see if a prior marriage was invalid, it is a very thorough process. It isn’t really complex as much as deliberate and through. The idea is that the Sacrament of Marriage should be defended. It’s an idea that many Protestants are taking on as well, BTW. My sister, for example married a Baptist. His minister wouldn’t participate in the ceremony since my now BIL had been divorced.
No one who is free to marry needs a canon lawyer in order to get married in the Catholic church. It is only if someone who is NOT free to marry but wants to anyway that things get more complicated. See my post above. If someone has complicated his/her life more, canon law may be required to help them get out of whatever mess they are in.
People being bored and confused at a nuptial Mass has nothing to do with Canon law either. For most Catholics, a nuptial Mass is anything but boring or confusing. If there are a lot of non-Catholics or non-practicing Catholics, it is often recommended to have the marriage without the Mass. To an outsider, this would look almost exactly like the Protestant wedding you wrote about and admired. It was the bride and groom’s choice to have the Mass, not anything imposed on them by the Church, let alone because of canon law.
I do agree that many Protestants, especially youth and young adults are more into thier religion than Catholics in the same age group. Catholics of all ages are more into thier **faith **than their religion. It is more about who we are than what we feel or do.
But then I started thinking about the question a bit more and I think that it’s not as bad as it seems on first blush.
One thing you see in a lot of protestant churches is things getting dealt with under the table and in secret. Got a problem with divorce or with living with a member of the opposite sex while unmarried? It’ll be dealt with by the pastor and ‘concerned’ fellow members of the congregation, and good luck with trying to figure out whether the process will be fair to you. Whole sections of congregations get purged in some churches, in what pretty much amounts to the dark of night, over things as simplistic as church budget disputes.
Anyone who has been caught on the outside of that process and has been forced to leave their church would agree that some kind of a formal process under canon law looks pretty good compared to the ‘process’ described above!
So, I think there are things to be said about at least writing things down so everybody knows what the score is.
I would venture to say that yes it is, but only a part of it. The others are ignorance, hatred, and fear. Ignorance to what is written. Hatred for those with differing traditions of Christianity or religion in general. Fear of the unknown and unknowable. Ie who is right who is wrong etc. Sometimes one just has to have a little faith. Just my two cents.