I just finished reading A Rival Good to God’s: On Cardinal Kasper’s Divorce Proposal from Crisis Magazine. You really should read the whole think at the link above. My summary of the article would be that you cannot fix the divorce and ‘re-marriage’ problem within the Church and within society by dumbing down the rules established for marriage by Jesus. If the Church were to implement Cardinal Kasper’s proposal it would only make the number of divorces go up and not down. My favorite parts are quoted below.
…in the many centuries when the Gospel informed the law, divorce was impossible in the West, or nearly so. The result was not widespread misery, but durable marriages that produced children who themselves entered into durable marriages. Lifelong marriage is not some ethereal ideal; it was the lived reality of the great majority of people in the West for most of history. The prevalence of divorce in today’s West is not the result of marriage becoming harder, but the result of divorce being made far easier. In the past, when people encountered problems in their marriages, they knew they had to find a way to work through them. Now, they think they can do what they want instead. Cardinal Kasper’s proposal seems to put an imprimatur on this way of thinking. It essentially accepts a Western world with 40 percent or so of marriages ending in divorce as a reality that cannot be changed, even though the Christians who emerged from the catacombs managed to change a Roman world where divorce was free and easy into a Christian world where marriages were expected to be permanent and generally were.
The article closes with the following:
A respectable argument can be made that the corrupting influence of the modern world has so degraded the popular understanding of marriage that there are more marriages that may properly be annulled today than in the past. But if this is indeed the case, what is needed is a clear and unambiguous reaffirmation of the Church’s teaching on marriage, so that the divorce revolution can be resisted and eventually undone. What is not needed is succumbing to the perennial temptation of choosing a rival good to God’s.