Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Marriage is forever, unless it never happened

I didn’t quite realize how silly the rules were either. App Crit makes a few points in a comment on my Kidman-Cruise post, but I remain convinced that these rules are ridiculous. Andrew Sullivan points out that it is pretty funny that an institution pushing for a “sanctity of marriage” amendment routinely grants annulments. I guess with their reality-altering magic power they can make things un-happen or something. A quote from his post: "There is nothing that has a greater hold on the minds of people than ignorance fraught with technicalities."

3 Comments:

Blogger App Crit said...

Well, I never thought I'd be an apologist for the Catholic Church. How ironic!

5:38 AM, June 28, 2006  
Blogger grishnash said...

I think I have to also throw in a word of support here for the concept of legal fiction. Besides the religious issues, this sort of letting custom supercede reality is rife in secular law as well, and I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. For instance, to reduce abuses of the legal system we allow judges to throw out evidence. Jurors might see or learn of a huge bag of cocaine or a bloody shirt, then be told to act as though it didn't exist because it was found through an illegal search. Of course, the object doesn't disappear from physical reality, but within the context of the trial, it has ceased to exist. The concept of expungement of convictions works similarly, as does the conceit of "innocent until proven guilty" itself. Certainly the guilt or innocence of a given person is immediately established in reality at the time the crime is committed. We just have to pretend that it hasn't been until we can prove it. So, going back to religion I don't think it's that ridiculous of a concept that in order to maintain the laws of the church, the adherents and hierarchy of the church have to act as though something blindingly obvious to everyone else has absolutely no impact on them.

10:23 AM, June 28, 2006  
Blogger App Crit said...

Sullivan's quote is a good one. Anthony's comment to the ealier post also was a good one. I'll attempt to simplify it further: the rules of any institution, religious or otherwise, exist for its members.

A parallel: a person takes calculus at a community college. A year later the person is able to transfer to Princeton. Princeton will not accept the transfer credits for the calculus course. But why not? Calculus is calculus, and anyone who has lived through it can understand functions and differentials and the like. The work done certainly would look like calculus to anyone who saw it. Yet, Princeton won't accept it.

Instead they would offer a placement test, as a way to validate the experience according to their own terms.

Whilst this seems ludicrous, unnecessary, and perhaps condescending to anyone who has experienced calculus anywhere, you would find few in opposition at Princeton.

Princeton applies this rule universally, regardless of what others may say.

So, back to religion: this whole issue is a lesson in institutional psychology. Institutions think and work in a way that only has to be consistent with what those within it believe. Kidmman left the Church. Now she wants to return. She knows the rules. She doesn't have to return either, if she doesn't like them.

All institutions work this way.

Cheers

4:43 PM, June 28, 2006  

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