The Catholics who left the church are not coming back. Not surprising. Some of the church teaching is sometimes counterproductive. Here is an example.
The Messenger, the Catholic diocesan newspaper, had an interesting article on family and church recently. It discussed ideas how to make it possible for civily remarried Catholic couples to come back to church. One of the ideas was to make them go through a “path of conversion,” testing their sincerity prior to rejoining the church through abstinence from sexual relations for a period of time. I see a few problems with the idea.
First it is not verifiable unless Apple invents a device to monitor couples’ “lovey-dovey” activities. Second, asking a married couple to abstain from something that unites them in the most intimate and loving way is rather awkward. Only a celibate would suggest that. God created male and female, the two of them to become one and that oneness is most meaningfully expressed through their sexual relationship. Their sexual act of love is the most visible expression of God’s creative power within them because it enables them to procreate another human being.
And last, it is common knowledge that a large number of remarried Catholics already fully participate in sacramental life of Church, leaving the judgment of their actions to merciful God himself. Church should leave marriage life and its challenges to married people, and be a place where everyone is welcome, saints and sinners alike. That’s what Jesus did.