Is a radically sanated marriage a true marriage without subsequent marital intimacy? The above question was swamped by high profile users who twisted and contorted it in an effort to make it fit a answer that should not have been given why is this abuse of the newcomer allowed?

  • Pam, I've altered my edit to the question title, and very slightly altered the question body edit. I've attempted to clarify in my answer here why I made the changes I did. Jan 16, 2016 at 3:52
  • This may illuminate things for you
    – user3961
    Jan 16, 2016 at 19:27

4 Answers 4


The edits didn't radically change the meaning. The edits pulled the core meaning that the OP intended and salvaged them while removing unnecessary personal details.

The original question was asking for what the official Catholic teaching was. Not explicitly, perhaps, but looking at how it was originally written, the question was clearly on-topic.

The question was not "what should I do?". The question was clearly asking, was "What is the status of my marriage?", with an implied "according to official Church doctrine".

The current version is much less personal and more in-line with what we want for the site, and the original meaning was preserved.

Editing a question for a new user and commenting about why, with some links to meta posts that explain the site guidelines that apply is a perfectly acceptable way to help newcomers to "get" the site, and it's a lot more friendly than shutting them down. if a user doesn't get it after a few attempts to help, then maybe simply closing, but I think in this case, editing was exactly the right way to go.


With the permission of the OP, this is an acceptable way to turn an off-topic pastoral care question into an on-topic official teaching question.

I am concerned though that the original question seems to be talking about a now sexless marriage rather than an unconsummated marriage (the OP confusingly did use the word unconsummated, but said "we have no consummated the marriage since then") whereas the current version seems to be asking about a completely unconsummated marriage. But I don't know if I'm understanding the Catholic jargon correctly to get that interpretation.


Reviewing the edit I made, I do need to change the title again; it doesn't correctly reflect either the original question or my edit. I do stand by the question edit, though. I attempted to extract the canonically relevant information from the original question, without any of the personal or pastoral information. That, as I understand it, is a standard way of converting a question closed for pastoral reasons into an actually answerable question; and the question as edited does not invalidate the one answer that was given. I will update the title to reflect the body more accurately.

  • 2
    There is no "standard way of converting a question closed for pastoral reasons" as this is not something we normally do.
    – ThaddeusB
    Jan 16, 2016 at 3:53
  • @thaddeusb I've seen it happen a few times on questions I've subsequently answered,and it w was done the same way. Jan 16, 2016 at 4:00
  • Please refer to the post ThaddeusB linked to - regardless of it being done in the past, editing Pastoral questions to bring them on topic is not recommended Jan 16, 2016 at 4:05
  • @Matt I didn't say it has never happened, but it is not the norm. (Obviously if the OP changes the question that is a different situation.) To be clear, I am not scolding anyone for editing and am sure all intentions were good. I am simply advising against it in the future.
    – ThaddeusB
    Jan 16, 2016 at 4:06
  • @bruisedreed I have read that post; I still feel what I did was reasonable. Jan 16, 2016 at 4:07
  • Many things that fall short of what is best are eminently reasonable Jan 16, 2016 at 4:09
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    @ThaddeusB So they do. Thinking about this, I think my ultimate objection is that I don't think it is a pastoral advice" question. It's a straightforward question about the canonical status of a specific relationship, that happens to include the original poster. It's not asking for pastoral advice at all. Jan 16, 2016 at 4:14
  • @bruisedreed Oops I should have tagged you in that last comment. Jan 16, 2016 at 4:49

I strongly advise members not to do this in the future. While it is technically allowed to edit any off-topic question to make it on-topic, it is unlikely to be helpful to the OP and more importantly bypasses the point of closing pastoral advice questions. As much as you want to help posters (I do too), you are more likely to do someone harm than good by answering such questions. The reason is simple - you do not know them. Real help involves, a minimum, a conversation. You don't get that with a question and an answer. Changing their question does not change this fact, even if it technically makes the question within site guidelines.

If you think the question brings up interesting doctrine or whatever and want to share your knowledge, ask a new question and self-answer it.

Please see Should we edit Pastoral Advice questions? and in particular Caleb's high upvoted answer.

  • 2
    I did see his answer; in particular the sentence It is worth considering when there is an obvious doctrinal issue just below the surface. I don't entirely agree with his answer, because I think that more often than not, there is such an issue; I certainly felt there was one here. Jan 16, 2016 at 4:04
  • 3
    But if you actually read the original question, it wasn't asking for pastoral advice. It was asking what her status was according to Church doctrine, but with a lot of unnecessary personal details. Jan 16, 2016 at 13:23

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