Sister Joel Gubler asks us to imagine divorced and remarried people approaching Jesus and being told “Go back to your pew.” But why imagine? Jesus teaches: “Whoever divorces his wife (her husband) and marries another, commits adultery against her (him)” (Mk 10:11-12). It is Jesus who prohibits divorce and remarriage, not “a group of men years ago.”

 Much as we want communion for someone like physically abused women remarrying for assistance with childrearing, the fact is Jesus’ unconditional teaching covers even that rare, unfortunate circumstance. Any imaginary window of mercy circumventing Jesus’ law would overturn both, except couples living as sister and brother.

 It’s a false dichotomy to portray today’s church in opposition to an imaginary accommodating Jesus, since Jesus said of his church leaders, “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Lk 10:16).

“Love over law” is another false dichotomy that violates Jesus’ teaching. Note well! Jesus equates obeying His law with love (Jn 14:15). He saved the adulterous woman from stoning, yet didn’t excuse her from the law against adultery (Jn 8:1-11). He came to fulfill the law, not abolish it (Mt 5:17). He called anyone relaxing the law “least in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 11:11). Ritual was the only law he relaxed (Lk 6:1-5), though sometimes he didn’t (Mt 23:23). Jesus always preserved Divine law, and told the apostles to teach all his commandments (Mt 28:20). He even corrected Moses for relaxing Divine law (Mt 19:1-9), and criticized toleration of divorce as “hardness of heart” (Mt 19:8)! 

Regardless of circumstances, it is Jesus who unconditionally prohibits divorce and remarriage. Therefore, obeying his teaching isn’t unmerciful, it’s faith-filled, but without condemnation. We welcome those struggling with divorce and remarriage into our faith community.

Rick Blackstone, Terry Cormier, Claude Culross, Joe Goodson, Errol Lemoine, John Stuart Jr.

Baton Rouge