When prelates such as the Maltese bishops speculate about when
“living ‘as brothers and sisters’ becomes humanly impossible”, we can
infer that they are referring to [situations where a husband has left his wife and she has married another man, and where she fears being abandoned if she asks to live as brother and sister]. But whom should the Church side with in these situations?
The Catholic woman who wants to remain abstinent, or the husband who
puts his sexual frustration above his wife’s principles?
Theological problems aside, surely Catholic women deserve a more pastoral response than “Sorry, but you’d better give him what he wants.” If the Church were to adopt these guidelines across the world, it is women who would suffer most, with the Church cravenly looking the other way.
The wife of EWTN host Raymond Arroyo (as Mr. Arroyo himself mentioned on air) described the proposal of granting Communion to some divorced and remarried people, without an annullment or sexual abstinence, as "open season on first wives."
I agree that this change in pastoral practice (in those diocese where it is introduced) will hurt women especially. But I've also felt irritated on behalf of my own sex when I read some of the things written by its apologists. In all cases we are presented with the example of a woman abandoned by her husband and frightened to refuse her new husband sexual relations for fear he will leave her.
First of all, it's not unknown for wives to abandon husbands, not all of whom are furniture-throwing drunks.
But, more pertinently-- what a dismal view of men! What a low standard to hold them to! The male libido may be a fairly crude drive, comparatively speaking, but social history alone should tell us that it is perfectly capable of being restrained. Unfortunately we live in a culture where men are encouraged to think of their sexual urges as implacable demands, and their masculinity as validated through their satisfaction. It seems to me that the Church is bowing to this assumption, rather than fulfilling its traditional role of holding us all (and not simply 'inviting' us all) to a higher standard.