For Argument’s Sake…

I found this article linked from Ironic Catholic’s blog:

ROME (Reuters) – An Italian couple who were caught having sex in a church confessional box while morning Mass was being said have repented and made peace with the local bishop.

The couple, in their early 30s, were detained by police earlier this month after they had made love in the confessional box in the cathedral in northern Cesena. They were cautioned for obscene acts in public and disturbing a religious function.Their lawyer said they had been drinking all night and realised they had gone too far.

The lawyer told the area’s local newspaper on Wednesday the couple met with the local bishop on Tuesday night, asked for his forgiveness and that he had given it.

Last week the bishop celebrated a “Mass of reparation” in the cathedral where the confessional box incident took place to make up for the sacrilege.

Okay, now calling all canon lawyers, etc., who may come across my blog — kindly pick this apart for me, the almost-still-a-neophyte Catholic and explain all the ways in which this was wrong, and in what ways might it be in very poor taste, but not technically wrong.

I suppose first, we should determine whether the act itself was a sin.  Was this a married couple or not?  Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that they are married.

During Mass.  Obviously, really poor timing.  I mean, it’s great to give yourself to your partner and renew with your bodies the vows that you made at your wedding, but how does that compare to actually taking the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ into oneself?  If people (including me sometimes, eh) really got it, what was taking place during the Mass, they would be lining up for miles, prostrating themselves in front of the Lord and going out into the world and shouting from the rooftops that they received the Creator of the Universe into their very person.  I have heard of other things (most notably, confession) taking place during Mass, so other things can kind of be there, but Reconciliation is another sacrament, which is to say another encounter with Jesus.  Sex with your spouse — not a sacrament.

Point two:  the article states that the couple had been drinking all night.  I think that an inordinate consumption of alcoholic beverages is a sin, and more to the point, how can you truly make a sincere gift of yourself if you are plastered out of your gourd?  I would think that that would interfere with your will, and cheapen the encounter to a pleasure-only experience.

Point three:  we are not really loving our neighbor, are we?  I mean, it might be fine and all for a married couple to have sex, but there is a huge ICK factor for the people who need to use that room following them.  I would hope that they were quiet, but there is the possibility that they, um, disturbed people attending Mass.  Again, not loving your neighbor there.

What does this say about people’s understanding of the Theology of the Body? 

Okay, I’ve given up the first three points that crossed my mind.  Now, it’s your turn!

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