That's an interesting and informative answer, Fr. Gregory. I suspect, from the experience of one of my Catholic friends, things there are equally complex from the point of view of Canon Law.
He found himself in an interesting situation when, having anguished about it for years, he actually tried to join the RCC. Everything went well with his RCIA and the date was set when, in a casual conversation, his priest discovered that his current marriage was not his first one. The RCC, it seems, had no problme with his being married to a non-Catholic, but since his first marriage, some thirty years before, hasd been in the C of E, the RCC recognised it as a sacramental marriage and did not recognise the divorce or the marriage.
I remember talking it over with him. He found it hard to understand how a Church which did not recognise the validity of Anglican orders could regard one of its marriages as sacramental; the answer was 'welcome to the wonderful world of canon law'. For a while this meant he could not be received into the Church at all. This propmpted an interesting correspondence in which, inter alia, he asked whether, effectively, a past sin was barring him from that salvation which, he sincerely believed, was only available in the One True Church. Of course, after about two years, the Canon lawyers sorted it out, annulled his first marriage and everything went as he had wanted.
My own reflection on that was not dissimilar, Fr. Gregory, to my reaction to your helpful advice, which is that Canon Law and the complications of modern life in pluralistic societies sit unhappily together which, in turn, causes a great deal of personal unhappiness.
As I understand it the current Pope, Shenouda III, unilaterally tightened up what had been a humane/liberal,/far too lax (delete according to taste) practice in the Coptic Church, and caused a great deal of disturbance as a result.
I remember talking about this not long ago at a local 'Churches together' meeting, and the Roman Canon lawyer there got very close to saying that his own Church operated a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy on the ground that once someone was receivedm he or she was received.
It sounded both sensibly humane and slightly not quite right when he said it, but as he explained to me over coffee afterwards, did I have any idea how difficult it was to change canon law, or how many couples in this one diocese would be in trouble with it if personal questions were asked?
I took his point, but still felt, as I do on this one, that this is not quite how the Lord Jesus would have dealt with it. His earthly delegates have the powers to bind and loose, but seem to prefer the thickets of the law.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)