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Pornography and Marriage

24 Feb

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Let us start with the very basics – sex is not just about a biological drive especially for husbands! Husbands see sex as an affirmation of their worth as human beings, a confirmation of the love of their wives, and the sexual act as proof that they are still loved and desireable. Any honest husband will not deny this. Guess what, the vast majority of the wives see it the same way. While we are vastly different in the nature and mechanics of our physical needs from our spouses – our emotional and spiritual needs are the same.

I want you to stop and think, remove the idea of one person being a victim and one person being an aggressor in this whole debate. Married couples are one flesh – so the couple is essentially one person hurting itself. Blame neither solves the problem, nor does it improve the odds for a successful resolution. Second, we need to understand that you cannot change another person’s behaviour by force or coercion of any kind and have any real or lasting positive effect. Third, we need to accept the truth that love is a choice we have promised to make every day as part of our sacramental matrimonial vows.

Most men and women who feel driven to this are longing as much for the emotional and spiritual side of the marital act as they are the physical release it brings. Unable to obtain what they really need – they often start with substitution by self-pleasuring. Husbands are especially prone to this because their emotions become volatile – not because they feel pent up sexual need, but in reality because the sting of the rejection by their spouse they feel. Do not think women are immune – in the long course of writing this blog and in my personal experience and observation I have seen more wives needs ignored, than I have husbands needs ignored. If your wife needs your undivided attention, your love, and your acceptance – you turn off the Super Bowl and give it to her. Let her know that she is important and desirable. Not in your words, but in your actions. If you are choosing a game, Facebook, or a television show over intimacy with your wife then what are you saying to her about your love or her importance?

Wives, the same applies to you. Imagine how you would feel if it took two hours of begging or badgering to get him to agree, now hold that thought. Whatever that would do to your self esteem it does the same to him because a man in a sacramental marriage is not expecting every woman in the world to love him – and yes, find him desirable. He is hanging a great deal of his self-image and self-esteem on your response to him. If you want a husband who is bold and confident then you need to build him up and not tear him down with rejection or criticisms. Too many times I hear things like “He just needs to deal with it”. I think it is time for women who think that way put on their big-girl panties and deal with their issues preventing them from committing to love their husbands every day without laying all the blame and responsibility on him. This commitment both parties must make every morning to love each other is imperative because Love is a Choice. It’s long past time for both men and women to discover the joy of lighting up another person’s face, or making their day with a kind word, romantic gesture, or enthusiastic intimate affirmation. This would be in contrast to doing what is necessary only to fill our own desires as the need builds, which focuses only on what we want and is not service to another – but rather is use of another.

Rejection is the next phase. This is where the husband or wife has now tried repeatedly, even if unclearly, to initiate intimacy and failed or been rebuffed. Each time the rebuff happens without a clearly stated and valid reason, a piece of your spouse’s self esteem is torn away. Even worse are situations where one spouse submits half-heartedly or less, which often leaves the other spouse feeling used and dirty. Husbands are as susceptible as wives to this feeling, and it cannot be fixed with any words afterwards. Further, it does lasting serious damage to the marital relationship. It leaves husbands feeling filthy like they just had sex unfaithfully with an unenthusiastic gum chewing prostitute, or worse have just raped their wives. Women end up feeling either raped or used and dirty. When sex is not a gift to your spouse given out of love, such results are inevitable. The self esteem of both parties is diminished, and the intimacy dies little more with each passing day. Until one day nothing remains of it.

When the rejection becomes more than they think they can handle – they will withdraw. At this point the spouse that has withdrawn will either lash out in anger, and/or turn to masterbation and pornography in a misguided belief that it is less harmful than adultery. It is adultery, Jesus was clear about that. When they withdraw they will cease to initiate intimacy because they cling to the idea that if they do not allow themselves to be rejected again that there is still some vestige of the intimacy they can later salvage. It is of of course a self-defense mechanism and not an attempt to hurt their spouse. It is a thorny problem to solve when dealing with husbands, as too many wives will watch the spiral and refuse to initiate intimacy boldly enough to convince the husband they truly want to unite with him and that they do not act out of a sense of pity or duty (as some husbands also do to their wives gravely damaging their self-esteem). No self-respecting husband wants just sex, nor does he want just sex under those circumstances. For that matter, no spouse would want the other to consider intimacy an unpleasant chore or duty. To reach such a point is to admit there is no love left between you and in sacramental marriage that is a terrible and devastating thing to be faced with.

Once both sides have rejected each other long enough, and torn down their spouses self esteem in the process, they leave each other vulnerable to outside temptations. While the spouse pulling the trigger is responsible for their actions, there was a great sin against them done by the spouse who helped to load and hold the gun that shot both of them in the head. Both of them are inevitably deeply or gravely wounded. The children are deeply wounded and will bear scars from that wound their whole lives. What is even sadder is that the marriage rarely recovers, even if the couple is later reconciled. If they are not, a divorce simply leaves both parties unhappy and in relative poverty dragging any children along on the downward emotional and financial spiral. I find that the end results are generally horrific for both parties and any children involved. Of course – if one spouse rejects and disparages the other being overweight, some facet of their appearance, or other superficial physical attribute; Then the need for that spouse to find validation, acceptance, and desirability comes much more quickly because their self esteem has been ripped apart much more quickly and directly. Regardless of their gender, infidelity follows almost invariably as the disparaged and rejected spouse seek to confirm their desirability with a member of the opposite sex, or to find the intimacy lacking at home with a person outside their marriage.

The solution is easier said than done. Always make a choice each morning when you first wake to love your spouse, body and soul, without reservation. Always speak well of your spouse, to them and to others. Build your spouse up, as they will rise to meet your expectations if praised honestly and spoken to kindly. Always be affectionate with your spouse. Always remember you cannot fix your spouse – but you can inspire them to greatness. Always accommodate your spouse when they initiate intimacy or explain why you cannot and set up a rain check so they do not think it is a rejection of their person – then keep the rain check with joy and enthusiasm to remove all doubt.

Give it some thought. It costs nothing to make time for intimacy, but you must make the time and the effort so that your spouse feels wanted and desired. Make a point of giving you spouse a gift when and where you can. Remember that not only will it create a much deeper bond between you, but it will also ease so many other facts of marital life and communication. You may even find a joy in each other long forgotten when sex stops being driven by biology, and begins to be driven by love – and no man willingly trades a woman who loves him for his hand and a wrinkled magazine or dim computer monitor, nor does any woman trade a husband who loves her for a harlequin romance novel and a massaging shower head.

Pax Christi…

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The Sorrow of Ashley Madison and How to Fix It

19 Aug

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I know many of you have heard the news that Ashley Madison’s entire client list was hacked and published. That sheer number of people involved is staggering at 37 million! I find myself at a total loss to describe the level of failure the the replacement of Sacramental Matrimony with civil marriage has been. Clearly people are not happy, and clearly people (especially children) are being harmed by this abusive and destructive behaviour. The saddest part – there is an easier path to marital happiness.

While I can do nothing about what is happening on a national level – You can. Start with yourself, and pay it forward. I would like to relate to you a true story about what HAS HAPPENED that I was personally involved in many years ago. It even has a happy ending.

Almost 20 years ago I was working remotely on a job and was travelling quite frequently. One of the men under my direction was clearly having trouble with being away from his family and began to flirt with a waitresses. He was firmly rebuffed – being an engineer without the good looks, charm, or social graces necessary to entice a waitress to divulge her phone number after dozens of failed attempts. Yes I admit – I laughed about a few – and you would be rolling on the floor if you had witnessed some of the ludicrous and inept attempts. One evening he came to me, trying to set up an account on a website for cheaters but frightened to death because he didn’t want for his wife to see the credit card charge. There was a look of desperation in his eyes. His marriage was hurting with their first child recently delivered, a wife with no sleep and alone at home time, and the sexual rejection he thought he was receiving at home because he was too selfish to think past the end of his wee-wee and realize both of them were in the same exhausted boat.

When I found out the child was being bottle fed thanks to his mewling, I had an idea – and it didn’t involve helping him hide a credit card charge. With some help from his coworkers we got together and hatched a plan. I called the father in law from his phone left behind at dinner. I explained the plan, and got his support (seems the wife was feeling very down as well – and he loved the plan). Next we pitched in to buy the wife a round trip weekend ticket ($39 on southwest – like I said years ago) to be picked up at the airport, and then arranged for a dozen roses to be delivered with a note including the flight information Friday morning. I scheduled myself that weekend in his place to give him Friday night through Sunday night off. One of the guys also made a reservation at a romantic and moderately priced restaurant for him with a gift card to cover dinner, another pitched in a set of movie ticket gift certificates from the theater around the corner….

Friday morning and he didn’t know anything yet, on our way in to work I handed the hotel concierge the envelope with the dinner and movie things and explained why it had to be “hush hush”. Come dinner Friday night I ordered a large Guinness, and about 90% finished said, “Oh my lord, look at the time! I have a VIP to pick up at the airport!” I grabbed him and said, “I need a favor, you have to drive me to the airport to pick up the VIP. I can’t let a bigwig even think I would drink and drive!” He said, “Sure, my weekend is shot stuck here with you lot again… so whatever.” I stayed composed, openly fretting about whether I smelled of the luscious creamy stout I had downed, while we waited for our VIP at the gate (You could actually wait at the gate back then!)

When she came out of the gate, he almost knocked me off the seat running. Grandpa and Grandma had the baby for the weekend, and he had no idea she was coming. Surprise, joy, even kissing and hugging involving lifting people off their feet (not me).

I dozed in the back seat on the hours drive back to the hotel hoping and praying he would have a good weekend, and his wife too. When he got to his room the key didn’t work, he had to go back to the front desk – only to find out the concierge had moved them to a luxury suite for the weekend at no charge (including all his things), and thrown in a fruit basket and champagne. In all fairness we had almost lived in that hotel for most of the year – but this was above and beyond even for them. We didn’t see them until after lunchtime when they headed out for coffee, a walk, and a movie before dinner. Sunday night when it was time to take her to the airport, I drove them as they whispered in the back seat and held hands. He kissed her goodbye and put her on a plane. We went back to the car.

It was the trip home, amidst his gushing thanks – that I reminded him that only a few days ago he was willing to risk his marriage and his relationship with a woman who clearly loved him and thought he hung the moon – for a waitress he didn’t know, and then a stranger on a website. It hit him like a ton of bricks… his face fell and he started sobbing. I stopped in a parking lot and explained to him that he just learned the most valuable lesson a man can know at his age without actually screwing things up, and for that he should be profoundly happy that he had dodged that particular bullet. I also pointed out that the cost and effort to make such arrangements was trivial for someone at his salary level and he needed to focus on just putting a fraction of the effort into wooing his wife as he did trying to find some woman to provide sex. I told him truly that if he would do that he would have all the sex he could handle, and a wife that would never look at another man the way she looked at him.

2 Years later – The grandparents were still helping out with the kids (yes they had another) and the wife was living her dream of seeing the world, as the husband uses his frequent flyer miles on companion tickets and free flights for her to visit him in countries across the globe. Instead of being estranged, they are still like two teenagers in love.

Many years later – We run into each other on a large job where he is working under me again. After the others filtered off after dinner, he waited behind to thank me. He told me, “I could never repay what you did for me and my wife, so I am doing it for others.” I think I had some beer foam in my eye and I had to wipe it away, but I thanked him and wished him a very long, prosperous, and happy life and marriage.

If you somehow missed the moral of this true story – and no, it has nothing to do with having a stout with dinner. It is that if you would put half the effort you put into attracting other women’s attention, and directed it instead into your wife and marriage then everything changes. It’s a matter of priorities. When you invest in your wife and your family you always come out way ahead, and you simply can’t lose because there are never any regrets when you act honorably.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Apologetics from a Non-Apologist

29 Jun

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Fair Warning – I am not an apologist, nor do I aspire to be one. However, a great many of the hateful emails I receive are from protestants upset by authentic Catholic teachings espoused in my blog. I present a Catholic perspective and make no apologies for being a speaker of uncomfortable truths for many. To demonstrate how horrible an apologist I am, I have laid out a 3 minute case for the Catholic Church below. Hopefully, you will be inspired to think deeply about your own beliefs if you are not Catholic.

3 Minute Apologetics 

Jesus was a Rabbi, he was literate. He did not sit in a cave and write us a book. He led by example, he instructed his disciples by example for several years. He left us a Church – not a book. He he told Simon that he was “Rock” (Petras) and that on this rock he would build his church. This set Peter as first among equals among the disciples whom he sent to all lands to found his church. Not to write a book,  not to record his actions or document his life – but to spread his teachings that as he taught them so that they might teach others. Christ specifically promised that his Church – not any book, would endure until the end of time and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it.

The Church assembled the Gospels and new testament incorporating it with the Old Testament Judaic cannon about 500 years after it’s founding as a teaching aid for the faith. Not as an all encompassing guide, nor as a replacement for the Church itself. The church has stood for over 2000 years and seen the rise and fall of nations and religions just as Christ promised. The Bible did not even survive the protestant reformation of the late 1600’s outside the church. Others co-opted it and used it to found their own man made religions so that they could reject aspects of Christs teachings they did not like. This trend continues to this day with thousands of denominations so split from the original splitters – each with different doctrines and beliefs unique to them. Such sowing of confusion is NOT the work of God.

Open your bible to Tobit if you don’t believe me (if you’re not Catholic you will find it missing). The Douay-Rheims is the only Vatican approved English translation and it was completed in 1582. It’s beautiful, pre-existed the 1611 King James Version – and oh yes – Tobit among many other books are present. Most of the books were removed by men outside the Church during the reformation because they contained ideas that ran contrary to protestant theology. Tobit sets a great case for sacramental marriage, and sexual relationships – it obviously had to go (It’s a favorite of mine if you cannot tell).

As for all the bible only “scholars” – name me one honest academic or scientist who would study only one book from a period and base their entire understanding on that one book, regardless of the fact that a myriad of other sources existed. Throwing away all the writings of the early church fathers, local historians, and Doctors of the Church? This was done because the writings of the early church fathers provided detailed understanding of the gospel messages as passed from Christ, to the apostles, to them, and now onto you through the Catholic Church in the Catechism. **Note that the USCCB has approved other translations for use in America – The King James however continues to be rejected by not only the Vatican, but even by the bishops conferences. One need go no further than the missing books and edited (shortened) version of Daniel to understand why.

As Christ taught the rich man, Salvation is an “All-In” proposition. When the rich man asked what more he should do and Jesus told him he walked away. Jesus did not soften his words. Jesus did not chase the man down. Jesus let him make his choice and walk away. Are you walking toward him or away from him because your fallen nature has blinded you to the truth?

In summary:

  • Christ left us a CHURCH
  • He Promised us it would endure until the end
  • He promised that The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it
  • He gave it Apostolic Authority to Bind and Loose on heaven and Earth
  • He Gave it Apostolic Authority to Forgive Sins
  • If you believe the Church to have fallen and the reformers correct, then Jesus’s promise was false – so how can you have any faith in anything else he taught?
  • If the church is fallen, then Christ is false and Christianity nothing but a lie
  • The bible is a book – the protestant version heavily edited by men (especially in the 1600’s by martin Luther and his compatriots), and often translated to change word meaning and semantics. The writings of the early church fathers and apostolic tradition are critical to properly understanding this tool of the faith created by the catholic church
  • If you reject the church – then you reject Christ, and God… Heaven help you

RCIA Classes are available at any Catholic Parish and you are welcome to attend even if you choose not to embrace the faith – Make an appointment today to learn more about the faith. If you are a Catholic who has never been confirmed, or never been to RCIA, you should sign up too – to be properly catechized and develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the faith.

Pax Christi,

Colin

A Rash of Unwanted Divorces – Prayers Needed

21 Apr

Recently I have personally witness a seeming rash of divorces by long married couples with wives leaving husbands of 20-34 years. The wives have left without saying a single word prior – and in several cases gutting the couples financial resources just before retirement. The husbands are left confused and conflicted. One thing that has stood out to me is that the husbands all did not see any signs that the divorce was coming – until the day it happened.

This is a subject near and dear to my heart. My wife has pointed out that there is definitely a failure to communicate in many instances and cited some examples for me. I was not shocked by anything she said. I was however shocked that small wounds were allowed to fester to a boiling point before anything was said. Often, these women have suffered in silence for years. It was not generally the size of the wounds which were killing the marriage, but rather the untreated festering infection.

What is the solution? As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. One thing I observed is that some of these women feared their husbands in some way – some even physically. These bother me the most – your wife should never fear being physically harmed by you as her husband.  Others were just averse to conflict. You need to learn to listen carefully, and reply thoughtfully. You can chew your food before you swallow – do the same with your thoughts – chew on them a bit before you blurt them out. Words are the single most dangerous thing we have in a marriage. Be careful with yours always, think before you speak – and speak kindly always. We can blame the wives all we want for what they did or did not do, but it won’t save your marriage from divorce or make your wife happy. The fix requires more than being attentive, it means serious effort on your part. Remember that you cannot change other people – you must accept and love her as she is. Instead change yourself as that is something you do have control over and can change.

Trust is paramount. She has to be sure she can share honest feelings with you without facing retaliation emotionally, verbally, or physically. You have to listen, consider, and find ways to address her concerns in a matter that resolves them to both of your satisfaction. I highly recommend the tactical approach of listening carefully while repressing negative facial expressions or comments, then thinking carefully about how to respond, only after that – do you open your mouth and do so. Peoples tongues are the source of more self inflicted marital wounds than many realize. DO NOT tell her it is her fault, denigrate her, or blame her in your response. Focus your response solely on what you can do to alleviate her concerns and then do it. This is NOT a negotiation, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT say things like I’ll do X if you do Y.

Keep in mind that often women just need to vent their feelings in a safe environment. They do not expect you to necessarily fix it – what they want is for you to listen. Letting her get her feeling out by listening attentively. Act when it is appropriate, and listen and hold her when action is not required.

Your wife might trust you with her life and well being, yet not trust you with her heart. This is where the problems fester and grow. You need to regain her faith in you to counter this, and open deep lines of communication. While you might want to say that telling her to make changes would make more sense – it does not. The only person you can change is you, so work with what you have. Make sure you are attentive to her feelings, emotions, and the little things she says. You won’t get this right most of the time being male, but she will appreciate sincere interest in her and her feelings. For what you have done, and what you have failed to do… Often we hear Catholics say this mantra, but fail to heed it. Have you given your wife cause to think that there are things important to her that she cannot accomplish within marriage – things in keeping with sacramental marriage, of course? Maybe it’s travel, education, learning to play an instrument, learning to ride a motorcycle, learning to hunt/shoot/fish, or becoming a HAM radio operator. Don’t fail her by ruling things out. Don’t put unnecessary impediments or barriers on your marriage. Married life is like a dance, it works best if both parties move together as one. If your wife takes the time to tell you about her dreams and goals – listen and then start working to make them happen. Learn to take a hint, and act on it.  Where such is feasible it is an opportunity for you to grow together – find joy in it. Service to your wife does not have to be a sacrifice – it can be a source of unending joy and discovery for both of you. Don’t fail to make sure your wife knows that there is nothing she can accomplish outside marriage that cannot be accomplished within marriage more easily. Don’t fail to support and work towards her goals as well – after all you expect her to work towards and support yours.

Intimacy is always of paramount importance – I cannot stress this enough. It is through intimacy that the bond between man and woman is strengthened and maintained. Sexual relations are a byproduct of intimacy, not the other way around.  So many marriages suffer from unresolved sexual issues because people refuse to communicate. Do not assume you are “doing it right” – even after years of marriage. Do not ask for a critique of your performance. Instead, do ask your wife what would please her – and then follow her guidance exactly and without hesitation. Too often women are shortchanged here because they are making a sacrifice to protect their husbands ego and self-image. Frustration builds over time, never deny her the marital embrace and accompanying intimacy – ignoring her or refusing her is a rejection. Rejection destroys intimacy at the root.. Give her the opportunity to protect your self-esteem, your marriage, and have her needs met by opening lines of communication. You may find yourself surprised at the changes in your experience when you stop worrying about yourself and focus every fiber of your being on pleasing her. You may also be astounded by the levels of intimacy that can be achieved when she does not feel sex is a sacrifice or worse that she is being used as a repository for your sexual angst. It is that intimacy that will keep your bond both sealed and renewed.

Pax Christi,

Colin

How Americans have Failed the Church – and our Children

19 Apr

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You know, I keep hearing people arguing about the Church losing a whole generation because it was focused on moral issues out of tune with society and not focused on serving as the public demanded, and ignoring their lesser sins to keep people interested.

Crap – Total crap. When we lose young people it is because we have failed to instill proper moral and ethical values through religious education. When we waffle on issues of doctrine and faith, how can we expect them to hold firm? When we embrace with open arms and acceptance that which is antithetical to our faith and tell them it is good and must be accepted outside the Church, but inside the Church say something else – our faith loses both credibility and moral authority. We are losing because we do not follow our own faith except on Easter and Christmas. Our children do not go to church because we do not. They do not share Catholic Values when their parents and peers do not. They divorce because they came from broken homes and that’s what their parents did – you can fool yourself but the statistics are clear that children of broken homes are far more likely to end up divorced. If you don’t have an annulment don’t remarry. All of these kids rejecting the Church means more than a few Parents are failing to instill not just the values, but display an open example of faith for their children. When we don’t properly Cathechize our children we make them easy pickings for those who would talk them out of their faith with lies and misconceptions. When we ignore our faith – they see it. When we place God first in all things they see that too. America must accept that God has not failed us, nor has the Church failed us – WE FAILED THEM. Stop passing the blame to others, address the issue penitently and start LIVING OUR FAITH IN OUR DAILY LIVES!

Pax Christi,

-Colin

Quit Apologizing for the Catholic Faith

6 Apr

CATHOLIC AND NOT AFRAIDI have been watching events unfold in more than one arena inside the Catholic Faith. Too often we have allowed ourselves to be bullied into apologizing for our Doctrine on issues of faith and morals. Things like the prohibition on Gay Marriage, the belief the homosexual sex is intrinsically evil and a mortal sin, remarriage without an annulment leaving people doomed for the unrepentant and willful mortal sin of adultery. Need I really go on?

People try to engage Catholics in debate about doctrinal and dogmatic issues like abortion or birth control, or some aspect of the Mass. Even though science and history support our Doctrine the faithful mistakenly think that their position needs to be justified to those outside the faith with some rational explanation. It does not. When that fails, either the name calling or the demanding of an apology begins. Don’t even go there!

Don’t ever apologize for the faith. Don’t allow people to blame the actions of a few bad priests on the theology and doctrine of the Church – you are dealing with criminal actions by individuals and not a matter of faith, morals, or dogma which has caused their criminal behaviour -rather a lack of those things is at the problems root. Don’t apologize because remarried people without annulments are offended because they cannot partake of the sacraments. They freely chose to remarry, in willful defiance of the Church Christ founded. Why should anyone apologize for another person’s sin? Pushing their guilt onto you and “making you the bad person” for not telling them it is A-OK to willfully be in mortal sin. To  just pretend like they are any other couple, is NOT OK.

Next we hear the compassion argument – we must show compassion. Jesus himself offered the rich man a place following him, but the man turned away. Did Jesus grab his shoulder and say wait a minute – you can keep all you money and things and it will be just the same, come on. No he did not – he watched the man make his choice and walk away. We have a society today addicted to sin. Just as they people are addicted to any combination of drugs and alcohol. Their sin like the other addictions. It brings them pleasure and the removal of it will cause them discomfort. Would you ever think that providing an alcoholic, puking and dirty in the gutter begging for money and booze, with another fifth of liquor was an act of compassion? I wouldn’t either. Would you give a heroin addict in withdrawals in an alley a big bag of heroin and call it compassion? I wouldn’t either. Such things are not what they need, in fact – they are just exactly what they do not need.

Then why on earth would you give a person in willful mortal sin a pass either – the compassionate thing to do is to save their immortal soul, not to pander to their feelings. Never say you’re sorry that the Church’s belief is “such and such”. Never acknowledge that there are special circumstances that make willful mortal sin OK. Never assume that someone’s suffering or discomfort because of the doctrine of the faith is truly assuaged by you demeaning the Church or the faith in an effort to make them feel better. In fact, when you do that you actually make it worse and just make the recovery harder. Love them support them and assist them in reconciling their sin with the Church – this is compassion that saves the soul. Telling them it’s OK, that their circumstances are special, or that “rules were made to be broken” – that is not an act of compassion, but the facilitation of evil, and I want no part of it.

Think about it –
Pray about it –
Act on it –

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

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