Archive | July, 2013

The War on Women

31 Jul

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This has been really bugging me. It seems many vocal people seem to feel that The Catholic Church is waging a war on women. They say this, of course, while ignoring another growing religion which I have seen to be barbaric in its treatment of women. I’d like to think that they have been brainwashed and do not actually know what Catholics believe about women and marriage, but they are too well conditioned to accept words. I feel the time has come to do as St. Francis admonishes us and preach the Gospel always, using words only when necessary.

The War on Women, is it really being waged by men, or by a few women trying to accomplish I know not what? Everyone has a scapegoat for their unhappiness that they vilify to make themselves feel empowered rather than trusting in God. Ask a woman and its all about gender, ask a black person it’s all about race, ask a devout Christian and it all about the proliferation of non-Christian beliefs into the main stream. The point is that nobody wants to admit its really about them.

Now the part that’s going to really bake your noodle, if it’s all about them then why am I writing this? Lets us start with some basic background, and then move to how you as a husband, father, fiancée, boyfriend, or single man looking for the right woman can help to change things for the better.

Given the state of women in today’s society, I don’t see the liberation they thought they were signing up for. I see a lack of respect, a lack of responsibility, and a general lack of good manners in how men are seeing women thanks in large part to the attitude changes some women have propagated. Those of us left who try to hold a door for a lady, stop to help change a tire, or carry groceries are frequently reviled and or rebuffed for our efforts. Sexual liberation hasn’t accomplished much either. I see women being passed around like a tap at a keg party. Used, and then handed off to the next person. Sex is so frequent and liberal that men expect it by the second date (or sooner) – because women have been obliging and in doing so set that expectation themselves. The number of rapes and sexual assaults continue to rise as liberated women have imbued men with a false expectation of no-strings sex. Divorce runs rampant as women have become disposable. Think of the term “Starter Wife” which came into vogue only in this generation.

When a man sees a scantily dressed woman acting seductively, is he thinking marriage or sex? Is he thinking wife or sexual plaything? Does he see the mother of his children? A woman whose company and counsel he will value forever? For men this is rhetorical question, but for many women it becomes problematic. A woman may feel pressured to dress and act a certain way to compete when it comes to being noticed, but by dressing and acting a certain way men will tend to assume her intentions are carnal and short term with little thought that they might be otherwise. Whether we like it or not, how we dress and act sends very clear messages to those around us. We accept this as fact when it comes to success in business but not in pair-bonding. Why not?

As a husband, I have to admit that I enjoy when my wife dresses seductively or uses body language to say the same thing to me. The feeling I get when such signals are sent to me by the one person in the universe I want most to receive them from are one of the great gifts the sacrament of matrimony bestows. I also admit it makes me uncomfortable when others ogle or send signals of their own, especially when they persist in spite of the ring she is wearing or her making her disinterest clear. It bothers me most that so many in this world ignore the sanctity of marriage, it’s not like a wedding band is hard to miss. I don’t feel alone in this though, as I can be pretty oblivious at times and my wife has noticed other women sending such signals even when I missed it, until it became blatant, and also had a definite reaction to it. There is a sense of exclusive belonging between bonded partners in a sacramental marriage that manifests itself in a sense that you belong to your spouse and they to you. Before you get all worked up, open your bible (even you protestants) to 1 Corinthians 7:4 where it will say:

“The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”

Pray on it, think on it, sleep on it… Take note that each has authority over the other, one of the hardest things in marriage can be surrendering yourself to your wife and for her the same issues can exist. You must care for each other, nurture each other, and work together in achieving salvation.

As a man you can make a huge difference by acting with a sense of chivalry and respect. Open doors for ladies, be respectful in your speech both with and around them, avert your eyes when faced with lust provoking sights, treat all women as though Christ were standing next to you watching your every move. Teach your daughters what they should expect in a husband, and show other women that they can be respected and recognized without resorting to degrading themselves in dress or action. Build up your wife and daughters. Their self esteem will be both a sword and shield. Ensure that they know with certainly that they do not wear their value on their face or chest, nor do they carry it in their groin. With a proper example, they will demand better from then men around them. Change will not be instant – but neither was the decline, but change will happen and things will improve if we persevere. If this constitutes a war on women then so be it, but I prefer to think of it as winning the hearts and minds of women to restore the partnership between couples which God himself ordained.

A sacramental marriage must be freely chosen by both parties. A couple must remain free to choose throughout their marriage. Love itself is a choice one must make anew each day, as husbands you must work to make that choice an easy one. No husband wants a wife who’s heart is not in the marriage, who’s love and commitment are forced, half-hearted, or given with reservations. Marriage is like making love, it’s always at its best with an enthusiastic partner who is fully focused and actively participating.

Sacramental Marriage has lost its revered place in society. Why are women who take pride in the husbands, homes, and families ridiculed, belittled, or even scorned for doing so? Why are women who choose to be homemakers asked by other men and women alike why they are wasting their lives? What about being a success and having a career? Since when was being a Mother not a full time Job? How is letting strangers raise your children, teach them their ABC’s, witness their first steps, anything but a destruction of motherhood? All for what? A few dollars that barely pay for day care and other expenses associated with working only because a woman has been convinced it is necessary for her to feel important? Why the shock and surprise in our society when a woman freely chooses such a life and finds great joy and fulfillment in her labors? In the end is that not what we all seek, but few ever find? Can we not be happy for those who have found it instead of looking down on them? Motherhood is the most important job in the world, you’ll only have children a short time in your lifespan. Focus on them, you can have a career later. Teach them well all the things one cannot learn in school. You’ll get one shot at this only, there are no do-overs.

A husband has a duty to ensure that he does whatever he can to ensure his wife’s hopes and dreams become reality, especially because he realizes that as they become one, her dreams become their dreams and her happiness becomes their happiness. As a husband and father of 3 daughters, I fear for them greatly in finding a man who understands commitment and responsibility. Being married should help a woman achieve her dreams within her marriage and not end them. A sacramental marriage should provide the freedom to explore interests, not quash them. Granted there are restrictions and both must work before play, but it is in both working and playing together toward each others goals that an unbreakable bond is forged. If you expect your wife to support your dreams you must support hers. Sharing in those dreams with her will be your greatest source of joy and happiness. I’ve found myself exposed to all manner of things I would never had pursued of my own interest by sharing some of my wife’s dreams like becoming a HAM radio operator, and I discovered that in encouraging and sharing her dream I also shared in the joy and happiness the hobby has brought her. When was the last time your wife expressed a dream or desire and you went to work to make it happen for her? If its been too long, then maybe it’s time to do it again.

Remember one man cannot hope to singlehandedly change the world, but one man’s actions in the imitation of Christ can change another’s persons life and outlook. Paid forward, it can become a wave of positive change the world over.

Most Influential Blogger Award Nomination

29 Jul

most-influential-blogger

Huzzah!

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. Answer 7 questions.
  4. Nominate ( no limit of nominations ) other bloggers for this award and link back to them.
  5. Notify those bloggers of the award requirements.

QUESTIONS:

1. If you could create your own planet what would it look like? Novus (Stargate Universe)

2. If you could visit one nation you have never visited before, what nation would that be? The Vatican

3. Who is your favorite saint? St. Michael

4. What is your favorite animal? Green Treefrogs

5. What is your favorite song? Adagio For Strings, Samuel Barber

6. If you could meet one person who is still alive who would you choose to meet? Jesus Christ

7. Name a book that you have read (other than the bible) which has influenced your life and describe how it influenced you. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis, as it was key to understanding how to live my faith rather than practice it.

And now for the Nominees……

1. Praying For One Day

2. Brutally Honest

Papal Comments on Gays and Divorcees in the Church

29 Jul

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Today Pope Francis is being accurately quoted by the media HERE but they are drawing some very disturbing conclusions which the Catholic Church has not expressed support for.

While the issue of Gay Catholics was the most sensational, the most disturbing was the medias insinuation that divorcees who had remarried might be allowed to partake of communion, despite willfully and defiantly living in a state of mortal sin – compounded by the fact they the cause another to sin in the process. I’ll address them both now…

The church’s stance on Gays is not new, it is the behavior and not the person which is judged by church teaching. See the catechism 2357-2359. Compassion and acceptance of the person is required of Catholics, acceptance of the behavior is explicitly forbidden. This cannot and will not change.

As for the divorcees receiving communion – since the church cannot recognize a civil divorce nor grant one ever, then without an annulment any Catholic divorces and their new pseudo-spouse are barred from communion for living in a willful state of mortal sin. The cardinals may review this issue, but unlike the author of the article I fully expect that the result will be a retention of the status quo. Anything else is going to require theological justification that I cannot see happening, and would degrade all of the Catholic teachings on marriage and family – perhaps causing a schism.

Pope Francis has been very compassionate, but also very orthodox. The prohibition on divorce is a core Catholic belief as taught by Christ himself, it is Dogma. To attempt to change it is unthinkable, as is any attempt to remove adultery as a sin. I have to expect the Pope was misquoted or taken out of context.

According to the teaching of the Church, if a couple is validly married, nothing but death can break the marriage bond. A valid marriage cannot be annulled, and an invalid marriage must be proven as such to the Church prior to an annulment being granted.

A valid Catholic marriage results from four elements:

(1) the spouses are free to marry
(2) they freely exchange their consent
(3) in consenting to marry, they have the intention to marry for life, to be faithful to one another and be open to children
(4) their consent is given in the presence of two witnesses and before a properly authorized Church minister. Exceptions to the last requirement must be approved by church authority.

Read more about sacramental marriage and requirements HERE.

This teaching is hard to accept, but Christ never claimed it would be easy. This is a mandate from Christ himself – not some ordinary man. In fact, the divorce issue was the reason Henry VIII declared himself Gods representative on Earth. The sad truth is that there are songs sung to this day about how many wives he burned through. If you are divorced and remarried (unless your spouse has since deceased) you are living in mortal sin and the only way to fix it is to either obtain an annulment (nowhere near an easy or cheap process) then marry again, divorce your false spouse and choose to live a chaste life, or reconcile with your rightful spouse. It is in knowing that the union is indissoluble that we find both comfort and great strength to overcome obstacles together. Without that knowledge and certainty it is all too easy to give up, and even easier when society hangs no shame on the failure. God weeps not just at the covenants broken, but at the pain we cause ourselves in doing so.

In short, divorce is not allowed. An annulment is not a divorce. You can separate from a spouse and remain chaste until their death, or reconcile your marriage. This teaching of the Church is key to the Sanctity of Marriage and the stability of the family in a world that has run amok with narcissism, hedonism, and selfishness.

“Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18; Mark 10:11-12)

“A married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives . . . Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive” (Rom. 7:2-3)

“To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband)–and that the husband should not divorce his wife” (1 Cor. 7:10)

Yours in Christ,

Colin

Self-Defense and the Catechism – What you Must Believe

15 Jul

There have been a lot of things flying around the Internet since the Zimmerman verdict. Most of them overly emotional, inflammatory, and obvious props for one political agenda or another. Based on what I have been reading, a great number of poorly catechized Catholics out there on both sides are twisting and misrepresenting the Church teaching on the subject.

While I am not a Priest or Deacon, I can read at a 4th grade level and thereby understand the very simple Catholic teaching on the subject. It all boils down to this one quote:

2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not.”65

If you want to read the rest then click here.

The content of anyone’s heart is impossible for anyone to judge but God. For God, intent in ones heart is the crux – are you seeking to stop an attack or are you seeking to kill? One is moral and one is not. The laws in many states attempt to enshrine this morality in their code of justice.

Anytime a life is taken by an act of man, it affects us all. Whether it is right, or wrong, is irrelevant to the grieving family. The person who takes the life is also changed forever as well – whether it was right or wrong, it remains a tragedy and our Heavenly Father weeps for both souls.

The sanctity of life will never be protected by Gun restrictions, more laws, more police, or longer prison sentences. It will only be protected when everyone comes to recognize this simple moral truth that we have lost:

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72

Until the truth of the natural law is recognized, nobody will be safe. All those gun restrictions make you less safe by denying you the right of self-defense, all those laws burden society further, and longer prison sentences just assure that the problem perpetuates itself. We must have the faith to face each other with respectful words not fists, to disagree respectfully instead of threatening force, and treat others with respect and courtesy at all times, and of course when attacked – defend ourselves as appropriate with appropriate and moral force in keeping with the Catechism.

It is in setting this example for our children and communities that we will find the peace and security we seek, not in the machinations of the state, nor in a restriction of liberties which simply make us weaker, angrier, and more wary of intent of our fellow human beings.

Imagine what might have happened if one night a neighborhood watchman asked a youth, “Excuse me young man, I don’t recognize you – could you please explain your business here?”. Then imagine if the youth replied, “Of course Sir, I’m going to wait for my father at his girlfriends house #123 on Blueberry Lane”. My point is, that respect alone by both parties could have prevented a tragedy – and that is why God weeps for all of us – his prodigal children.

Colin

Understanding or Faith vs. Rationalism

14 Jul

Faith vs. Rationalism, it’s the David vs. Goliath of our age. There are those people who will only believe in that which can be scientifically measured, categorized, and quantified. Then there are those who have faith, a sense of self assuredness that what they believe is true regardless of their ability to prove it. Last and most certainly least, are those pitiful few, like myself, who have neither anymore. Those who have experienced death, experienced the change in outlook which immediately precedes it, felt the terror which accompanies it’s icy grip, the darkness and confusion which follows, and a short relative glimpse of what lies beyond, no longer have need of faith. They have the proof of their own memories and experiences that survive resuscitation. This does not mean that they have all the answers. I later learned that it is not uncommon to retain only key concepts and not be able to express the supporting precepts. It would be like a blind man trying to describe colors he saw in a dream which don’t exist in nature, with no common frame of reference there cannot be effective communication. There seems to be just as much that can only be remembered and not understood, once one is back in corporeal form.

Rationalism will explain what happened as the effects of drugs administered before and after resuscitation. Rationalists will blame hypoxia for causing hallucinations. They will call the darkness, light, and presence of the divine as the machinations of a dying mind comforting itself as it approaches it final end. Any retained memories will be attributed to coma-like dreams, since with no brain activity memories could supposedly not have formed. The very common distortion of time itself around the death experience is also attributed to hypoxia. the funny thing is that too many peoples across too many cultures and backgrounds report experiencing basically the same thing – a rationalist would call this suggestion. I for one, spent a good bit of time in a coma and I also fully recollect the eclectic dreams – some exhilarating and some terrifying which I experienced between periods of interminable consciousness which were undetectable to anyone but my wife. Dying is a different from a coma as is night from day. I also question how so many, across the whole world have had experiences so similar that when specific religious idealogical constructs were removed the core components are identical. No matter what the evidence, they will rationalize what they want to believe to be the case and invent alternative theories for everything. The root of the problem is that they know that what they are doing and thinking is wrong, deep down, they know… and they are using their rational mind to try to overcome the natural law and allow themselves to bury the truth so that they can better accept pop psychology and science as their “Gods”. The rational atheists who have had NDE’s and come back devoutly religious speak volumes on the subject. In truth, all rationalism can say about faith and God is that since they cannot prove the existence of God that he does not exist. This is narrow-minded view espoused by supposedly broad minded people who tend to have a tendency to belittle anyone who dosen’t agree with them. I could just as easily argue that if they cannot disprove the existence of God then he must necessarily exist. Our own history shows scientists all too readily make grievous errors and erroneous assumptions, clinging to them like a shipwrecked sailor who finds a piece of flotsam in a storm. Until, the evidence is so overwhelming that it can no longer be denied. More importantly, rationalism will never offer any answers to the truly meaningful questions like the enigma of our condition, the meaning of life, and the truth of our existence.

Faith is based on the acceptance of “Mysteries”, which by definition cannot be understood, at least not in our current existence. Take for instance the size of the galaxy – your mind is incapable of grasping it in totality, much less the size of our universe. It is readily apparent that there are truths which we are not able to grasp or only able to grasp in the most rudimentary way. As for mysteries, I have learned that they must simply be accepted since all the introspection or measurement in the world makes them no clearer. We might put a number on the size of the universe, but the meaning of that number and the ability to adequately comprehend such distances and size is beyond our limited capacity. They mysteries of God, and our existence, are the same. They are incomprehensible and, therefore, we are required to take on faith that which we cannot truly understand. Miracles happen every day. They have happened for ages. Those with faith recognize God working in our lives, while rationalists insist there must be another explanation which they just cannot posit at the moment. In doing so they reveal that their bias is to disprove that which does not agree with what they want to be true, and when that fails, denigration and name calling abound. Faith is a beautiful thing. It is a gift which allows us the understanding necessary to prepare for our salvation. For a species with such a relatively short lifespan, we seem overly preoccupied with worldly things. Instead of preparing for the next life, we revel in this one to the exclusion of all else.

Belief is not a sign of a weak mind, but rather a strong one that is willing to persevere in the face of scorn and ridicule. This is exemplified in Jesus’s example through his arrest and Passion. Belief is not a refuge for those who cannot think. Many of history’s greatest philosophers and scientists were religious. Even Albert Einstein famously said with great conviction that “God does not play dice with the universe.” He very much believed in God, as did Newton, Oppenheimer, St. Thomas Moore, and Thomas Aquinas. Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates all believed in a supreme god in a pantheon who guided the universe. A number of highly respected quantum physicists including Gotswami and Tipler have “fallen off the wagon” and professed that new developments in quantum physics prove the existence of God, in at least a basic sense of a creator of and guiding force in our universe. They are not the only ones, nor are they crackpots. Both are highly respected professors and researchers in their fields who felt their convictions so strongly based on the evidence that they were willing to challenge the secular and atheistic amalgam of the scientific community to much derision. Both have even written detailed books explaining their research and providing the supporting mathematics. One might find fault with some of their assumptions about God and existence after our corporeal bodies are gone, but the core belief that there is a God and that our consciousness survives death are not in doubt for them. They believe. They believe because they have faith that they are right in their belief.

The most important thing is that it does not have to be a contest. Faith is not necessarily at odds with science. In fact the Vatican strongly supports scientific exploration and discovery in all fields. Nor is it necessary to argue or belittle the existence of something which cannot be proven or disproven. Those who have experienced death and seen even a glimpse of what lies beyond are sure. This issue will never be settled by rational arguments or heart rending testimonials. In the end, it remains a mystery we all will know the answer to in time. If you die and simply cease to exist, then it will not matter what you believed. However, if you die and experience what I did, then it will matter more than you could have imagined. Very few get my opportunity for a second try.

Some tidbits I learned from my experience:

  • All you can bring with you is Love, Regrets, and Memories. Love as much as possible, regret as little as possible, and create as many happy memories as you can for yourself.
  • Small acts done with great love are more important by far than large acts done for other reasons.
  • Do nothing of which you will be ashamed. Every little thing, good and bad, will be reviewed and weighed. It is not about being better than another person but meeting a fixed standard. Less evil than your peers is still evil. Life is not a contest of strength or power, but one of Love.
  • Diligent effort in the right direction counts in your favor, it is about recognizing the Natural Law and struggling to stay the course. My conversion to Catholicism was driven by the efficacious sacrament of reconciliation and the fact that what I remembered from my experience about what I needed to be doing fit the Catechism perfectly.

You can take or leave these as you choose, it is not for me to determine if any of them even apply to you.

Colin Corcoran
cc70458@gmail.com

**Please feel free to write or comment on this post, I’d really like to hear from those that are able to have this experience and how it is changing their marriage, their wives, and their lives.

Has Religion Fallen from Grace or Have You?

13 Jul

Today I read an article in the Wall Street Journal here which expressed the idea that religion is in trouble, that people are turning away in droves from organized religions which they view as rule based and corrupt. More importantly, the article says that people are fed up with religion which does not change with the times. It says in brief, that they are seeking their own path and finding happiness in spirituality and their own self-defined morality instead. The article even claims that very word religion has fallen from grace.

One thing we know – people in today’s society, they don’t seem to be willing to accept any moral or religious truth that does not conform to their expectations, wants, and desires. They will blindly follow any theology that preaches what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear.

People have become all too comfortable and selfish, they know that what is right but it’s not what they want – so they look to charlatans or each other for affirmation. The natural law is written on the hearts of mankind by God. We are endowed with an innate knowledge of God’s existence and his expectations of us through it. It’s why the belief in God in some or another form pervades every culture on earth.

I disagree with the article however, on one critical point. While I agree that many are seeking affirmation of their beliefs and leaving the Catholic Church and religion in general – the author failed to mention the ever growing traditionalist movement which you can read about here.

Just as many are fleeing to the truth, hard is it may be for them to accept. They are seeking the truth. Seeking to hold themselves and be held by their communities to a higher moral standard. Moral truth does not change, only social whim. Many see the unchanging Catholic Church as a solid foundation, and take comfort in the teachings of Christ as handed down from Peter and the other popes in unbroken succession since the crucifixion of Jesus.

When you are traveling to a distant destination, you must stay the course if you are to ever arrive. if you wander aimlessly, not only will you not arrive, but you will become hopelessly lost. Many now see clearly the benefits not only to themselves but society, but most importantly it is filling the void in their hearts and souls which agnosticism has failed to do for so many.

Colin

Treatise on Tolerance

13 Jul

Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Many of you know my thoughts on tolerance. Some even question them on occasion. In truth I am not a very tolerant person, its just that I am not tolerant of Ideals. People are imperfect, they utilize their free will to make bad choices which I believe are part of God’s plan to bring them back to Moral Truth and the Natural Law. I try very hard to be tolerant of people (I don’t always succeed – but that is not for lack of effort). I think of Jesus words NOT condemning the adulteress, he was clearly condemning the ideal and not the person. Then one day I stumbled across this particular gem from Archbishop Sheen and it went straight to my heart, where it has since taken up residence, along with the St. Bernadette’s “Mine is not to convince, but only to inform”.

In 1931, Monsignor Fulton J. Sheen wrote the following essay:

“America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance-it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.”

“Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil … a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. Tolerance applies only to persons … never to truth. Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error … Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory.

Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability.”

Given my own imperfections, I feel incompetent to judge others. I have made my share of mistakes and it took more than a tap on the shoulder by God to bring me to my senses. As he loves each of us unconditionally, I strive to do the same for each person – not their actions, and not their ideals. By separating the two and focusing on individuals, I find the task much less insurmountable. Not condemning a person is not the same as condoning their actions and I frequently find myself in a position where I have to stop for a moment and remember to separate the two. This can take some practice, but it can also bring you greater peace – especially when espousing uncomfortable moral truths in the hopes that others might avoid the rocks and shoals in the sea of life.

Sincerely,

Colin

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