Berkeley Professor Wants More Catholics to Get Divorced

April 2001

Or so it would seem.

Michael Hout, a professor of sociology at Berkeley, is unhappy with Catholic teaching that divorced Catholics who “remarry” outside the Church may not receive Communion. Writing in America (Dec. 16, 2000), Hout says that the Church’s position is not only “harsh,” but it “induces 20 percent of remarried Catholics to leave the church.” Of this 20 percent, half convert to Protestantism and “they give 80 percent more money to their new church than their [‘remarried’] Catholic counterparts give to their [Catholic] parishes.” Hout says these defectors are “desirable.”

This is bottom-line talk. “Hey, bishops,” Hout seems to be saying, “it’s costing you money not to allow those who remarry outside the Church to receive Communion. Oh, a little simony won’t hurt you.” Obviously, even Berkeley sociologists understand the logic of capitalism these days.

(Curiously, Hout writes: “Remarried Catholics are nearly indistinguishable from Catholics in their first marriages when it comes to…aspects of their lifestyle” [italics added]. So, you thought you were married till death do you part. Oh, you poor benighted fool! No, no. You’re just in your first marriage. To be politically correct, the next time you introduce your wife to someone, say, “This is my first wife, Sally.” Uh, good luck!)


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New Oxford Notes: April 2001

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