There was that case a few days ago of that woman who was charged with bigamy, having been married five times. I thought it was interesting that the state is comfortable with the idea of prosecuting a bigamist, yet the Church is much more ambiguous, at least in this country.
This case pricked my conscience. At one time for Catholics there was a great deal of stigma for those who separated, went through a civil divorced and then -attempted- remarriage. According to the Gospel remarriage equals adultery. The "pastoral approach" most priests take to the divorced and remarried, I must confess, I do it, is simply not to ask, and to assume the relationship is one of "brother and sister". In the Church we assume that people are innocent until proved guilty.
The problem is that even when there are signs of obvious "guilt", having got into the mind set of assuming innocence, we still assume innocence. Ultimately of course this "pastoral approach" is terribly destructive of the Lord's teaching on the permanence of marriage, it whittles away at it. The next step, again which many priests turn a blind eye to, is that so many divorced and remarried -adulterous- Catholics have no difficulty with is the reception of Holy Communion.
Today there are many divorced and remarried Catholics in public life, some occupying leading positions in the life of the Church, at least as journalists and commentators on Church life, is it too much to suggest that we could go at least as far as the State and suggest that these men and women are committing bigamy?