One thing I have heard a lot, is that in spite of the great sins and crimes of some members of the Catholic Church (from kings to monks, bishops and even Popes) the Catholic Church has never taught or been in error, merely been entagled with sin and temptation, like all of humanity.
However, I have noticed three stances or “issues” on which the Church, if it has not changed it’s teachings, has at least significantly evolved. Please give me your feedback and your perspectives.
- **Divorce. **The Church used to teach that divorce itself was a mortal sin. I recall my grandmother saying that when she was growing up her mother would tell her that she should never divorce not even if her husband threatens to kill her. Before (very recently) It seems most priests and bishops would agree that divorce in all circumstances was sinful, and that if a woman experienced domestic abuse or exploitation for herself or her children, “tough luck and offer it up:blush:.” In very Catholic countries (Italy, Ireland, Poland, Latin America etc.) Civil divorce was extraordinarly difficult to achieve if not illegal.
Now it is different. While there can be no “divorce” in a Church setting, the Church is fine with civil divorce if it is for the protection of the woman or children. I also get the sense that “annulments” are quite common and easy to obtain. I understand the difference between divorce and annulment, but for the vast majority of annullments, can one honestly say the marriage “never happened?”
I might agree if there was some coercian or lack of capacity from one party, but I think in all honesty those marriages “happened” but just one spouse or the other had problems, and wasn’t able to sort them out. Sometimes marriages fail, and the Church grants annulment even if they “occured” to most third party observers.
Suicide The Church used to teach that Suicide was a mortal sin, the worst sin a person could commit and would most likely damn you to hell. Suicides were refused Catholic burials up until the 1970s I believe, when science discovered the psychological element of it. I suppose the Church teaches that it is a grave sin too, but it seems there is far more compassion and sympathy for victims of it, than say 50 years ago, when the main sense was that the person was “weak and selfish.” I think most protestant churches had the same view unfortunately
The Jews The Churche’s attitude, if not official teaching on the Jews seemed to have changed dramatically since World War II. While I don’t think the Church ever taught that “the Jews killed Jesus” I sense a great antipathy/contempt for them as a people from various Popes and saints that the Jews were uniquely “blinded” as a people, worse than the average pagan for being in a “dead covenent” with God, refusing to accept the son he generously gave them. If I am not mistaken the Churche’s present, cordial attitude on Jews and Judaism is a signifact grievance/sticking point of SSPX/sedevecantists.