Helen Weir
With apologies to Jack alone
Chapter Six
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By Helen Weir
July 1, 2017

"Because, while Amoris Laetitia chinked the armor only for the thinnest of lances, that lance was long enough to thrust through the vital chambers of the Church's very heart. Directed at the outset merely towards one statistically insignificant demographic, the amicable choice to 'bend the rules' for a few of the 'divorced-and-remarried-living-more-uxorio-without-benefit-of-an-annulment,' proved to be universally applicable. True; in actual practice, it took both some massaging by means of social messaging, along with some spectacularly draconian threats, to bring about the desired result; the proverbial carrot and stick, as it were. But these prudent manueverings were only insurance, in the end. The Replacement Cornerstone had been successfully positioned in the Apostolic Exhortation itself, and from there Bergoglio as Pope could in fact be counted on to 'tear down and build up,' as he once explained on an accidentally 'open mic' to Bruno Forte.

"Think about it. In the depths of our own hearts and minds, let's be fair, shall we? If Marital Self-Reformers can elect, seek, and bring about the 'highest possible well-being' for themselves – a 'well-being' to which, in Fletcherian terms, everything has implicitly been subordinated in principle – then this Magisterially-bestowed right must in justice be extended to any and all. Post- Amoris, there is no inherent reason that determinative discretion wouldn't apply to every lifestyle outcome, saving only (of course) the inherently self-contradictory and therefore uniquely rejectable Richardian stance of refusing to choose for oneself in the first place. After all, is there any good reason that what has been hierarchically recognized as legitimate in the case of the divorced-and- remarried et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, should be limited only to them?

"No, there is no good reason! Amoris shouldn't be restricted! It can't be! We won't allow it to be! Where, then, does its inexorable logic actually end, if followed fearlessly, consistently, and without prejudice? It doesn't end – ever! It ends up nowhere at all!

"Which is why I say we take things even a step further. Forward! Forward, always! My friends, you will never again hear me degrade my Brethren, Sistren, and Othren by referring to them as 'divorced- and-remarried-without-benefit-of-an-annulment' in the first place. Scratch the surface, and you will find that this very terminology is freighted with the most objectionable presuppositions – presuppositions deliberately built into it by the opposition; presuppositions of which the undignified and undignifying implications are to be here, now, and henceforth entirely purged.

"I propose that we select a term which would well describe not only those individuals who have served, through Amoris, as our revered pioneers, but which would also aptly designate those of us who have followed, each in our own way, along the ever-widening trail that they have so selflessly blazed. If necessary, let us even coin such a term, insisting that it then be used exclusively and in preference to all others, as was done during the Great Pronoun Readjustment. Far be it from me to agree with the Critics, but even a blind pig stumbles across the occasional acorn. For when you stop and think about it, there really is no such thing as 'remarriage,' quote-unquote, in the first place.

"Now, what the Critics mean, and what I mean, are (it goes without saying) worlds apart. They mean that individuals, once having entered freely into a relationship of ennobled gratification with a valued Other, should, however illogically, be forbidden from exiting that relationship just as freely. But I mean that 'Spouses Are As Spouses Do.' Let's take a look at the relative metaphysical values of these two irreconcilable perspectives for a moment, shall we?

"When it comes to moving on after a relationship has ceased to serve either party's best interest in any appreciable way, Critical objections range from the frankly magical to the self-centered and sentimental. First off, there is the – in Their thought, so-called – 'indissoluble bond' to consider. Now, this 'bond' is something you can't see, smell, or touch; the only thing we really know about it is that it is more important than the actual people involved. And here's where things get a little complicated, so bear with me for a moment.

"The Critics have a big, black book, you see, which only approved ecclesial experts can decipher, on the pages of which are inscribed all the formulae that either whip up the 'indissoluble bond' from the very beginning, when properly recited, or else fail to. Because in the case of any particular relationship, the 'bond' was always there, or else it never was. If it was, then it is so strong that even the Critics can't make it go away. And if it wasn't, you're in luck; you've drawn the coveted 'Get Out of Jail Free' card. But here's the rub. The Critics insist that They Themselves and only They get to make the call. The reason given for this brazen appropriation is that, and I quote, 'no one can be the judge in their own case' – as if anyone else ever could!

"Pretty handy for Them, don't you think? Abracadabra! Hocus Pocus! Merlin, perhaps, would be proud. But some of us, sadly for our would-be controllers, have long since left the playroom with its security blankets (both literal and figurative) far behind. We prefer reality to the Round Table, thank-you-very-much.

"And secondly, behold the embarrassing whining of the so-called 'abandoned spouses' – the self-centered and sentimental complement to the frankly magical aspect of the bankrupt Critical worldview. 'What about our home? What about our children? What about me?' On and on they drone, their one concern being to stop anyone else from achieving the available satisfaction they reject for themselves: 'What about me? Me? Me? ME!' Do we begin to detect a certain theme, here?

"If such people would leave off with all the thumb-sucking for a moment and take a look around, they would correctly perceive that there is no lack of suitable Others that they, too, could find self-fulfillment with, if only they chose to do so. Cardinal Cupich once tried to explain it all, but did anyone listen? The paradox is that growing up only makes sense, evidently, to those who are all grown up already. Such is the magnitude of the task by which we must not be daunted – we who, in our charity, would do everything possible to reach not only my dear friend Richard, but even the rest of his ilk.

"In contrast to the troglodydic nonsense proposed by the Critics, my perspective is that there's no such thing as 'remarriage' in the first place because individuals who enter into mutual support systems in which physical expression plays a part are spouses, plain and simple, regardless of any comparable relationships that have been entered into and exited previously, or which may be either contemplated or actually opted for in the future. I don't so much object to the designation divorced, constituting as it does merely a factual record of having passed through a given personal growth experience, that's all. The term ought rightly to be regarded as a badge of honor! But in any case, it is oxymoronic to call such people 'bound to a former spouse,' since the concept of something being 'former' is intrinsically contrary to the concept of someone being 'bound.' The past is the past, not the present! And the Critics want to lecture us about the advisability of conforming to the dictates of the Law of Non-Contradiction!

"Still, if you do happen to find yourself, most awkwardly, 'bound to a former spouse,' not to worry! Our ecclesial worthies are, mirabile dictu, standing by. Pouf! and you're free – for a fee. Towards people who do approach their friendly diocesan MatrimonialTribunal with a Petition for a Declaration of Nullity, I've always taken the attitude: go ahead and pony up the cash, if it makes you feel any better. It's your money. But I honestly don't understand why anyone should 'spend their wages for what is not bread,' myself.

"What good is an 'annulment,' quote-unquote, in the end? Does having one make you more compassionate, empathetic, self-giving? Does being denied one take such qualities away? It's all hogwash, I say! Manipulation! Power brokery! I have to tell you plainly, I for one have had quite enough of it all. Haven't you?

"Which is why, from now on, I am going to start speaking of certain people as being married rather than remarried, regardless of whether or not a formal determination of 'validity' concerning defunct situations either has or has not been reached. According to me, human beings electing to view themselves as such are spouses, on a perfectly equal footing with all others sharing that designation, for as long they say so. But only for that long. Even the Critics agree that the ultimate basis of the 'Sacrament of Matrimony' is consent! So how about we start calling the 'divorced- and-remarried-without-benefit-of-an-annulment' just the 'divorced-and-married-now' instead? (The more uxurio part, both here and in Amoris itself, given the context, goes without saying. After all, without it there would be nothing at stake in the first place.) And that is exactly how I myself plan on referring to such people from here on out, urgently inviting you to do the same.

"Why the extra emphasis on the word now, as in 'divorced-and-married-now'? There is actually a profound metaphysical reason for it, the reason being that time is greater than space! I will try to explain this principle simply, for those of you less well versed in the Aristotelian-Thomistic conception not so much of the Pneumatospatial Confluence envisioned as an interpolation of the existential complement of reconciled opposition – which is not in any way to imply, of course, that an admittedly attenuated Hegelianism doesn't also come into play, where the evolutionary theism attributed popularly to Teilhard but certainly not originating with him is concerned – as of the essentially phenomenological approach to what otherwise must be considered a less fixed . . . which is to say, a more fluid . . . could somebody please get me a glass of water? Thank you. Thank you very much. You shall not want for your reward!

"But truly, the niceties of temporal teleology are a bit beyond the scope of our present investigation. I must also be mindful of the Question-and-Answer Session scheduled for the conclusion of our little evening together. Far be it from me to infringe upon it for reasons of rhetorical excess! And I've run a little long in this particular segment as it is. So let's 'cut to the chase,' shall we, as the youngsters like to say?

"What time is greater than space comes down to, translated into plain English from AL's more sophisticated phraseology, is that we get to be with whomever we want to be with, whenever we want to be with them, and there's nothing anybody else can do or even say about it, either. And since this salutary style of 'loving oneself as one's neighbor' can encompass every realm of human endeavor once its moral legitimacy has been established for cases of the physical expression of elective intimacy, anyone else who wants to do so can also become an Honorary Member of that in itself numerically negligible group which Amoris was initially and overtly intended to benefit.

"Let us therefore claim for ourselves a nomenclature which indicates not only the trajectory which we have specifically elected to follow, but one which simultaneously evokes that Omega Point to which all intentional Fletcherian 'best-being' finally tends. Let recognition be accorded to the 'selves' that all of us following in the footsteps of the 'Divorced-and-Married-Now' have sovereignly determined to become, each in our own case. Adopting the Amoris acronym as our own, we request – but, did I say request? Nay; we demand! – to be identified henceforth and forever as: The DAMNed!"

© Helen Weir

 

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