Tag Archives: catechism

My Hopes for the Synod on the Family

16 Oct

game night

I had very high hopes for the Synod on the Family. To help you understand I will list many of the things I had hoped for.

  • I was hoping for a reaffirmation of traditional marriage, along with vast improvements to the pre-cana process.
  • I was praying for a recommended framework to establish parish marriage ministries that would facilitate young and troubled couples being paired with a long married couple to act as mentors.
  • I longed deeply to see both men and women’s marital support groups formed and led by priests or deacons (no lay leadership) to help people work through conflicts in marriage according to Catholic principles and provide a peer support group.
  • I wanted to see the tradition of a get together after mass either for a meal or just coffee and doughnuts brought back so that the faithful can meet in a social setting and really get to know each other and spend time together.
  • I prayed for list of family activities that should be preached from the pulpit such as families sharing meals at a common table, spending one evening a week playing games or reading books or plays together.
  • Spouses being strongly encouraged to spend one night a week as date night with the local Church helping with childcare arrangements and potential affordable activities.
  • The incorporation of NFP classes into pre-cana because most men are woefully ignorant of a woman’s reproductive system and how it really works.
  • New Catechesis books to emphasize the indissolubility of marriage and the true nature of marital love.

Instead I got an infallible doctrine defying progressive pro-homosexual marriage acceptance, pro-divorce, pro-broken family acceptance instead of healing diatribe. The best was yet to come, as apparently the Synod is being hijacked and there is an ongoing battle for control while Pope Francis who was always good for an off the cuff remark to the press now remains stoically silent. Cardinal Kasper makes horrifically offensive statements about African, Asian, and Middle Eastern Catholics. Faithful Cardinals like Pell, Burke, and Napier are fervently defending the doctrine and the Catholic faith against progressive heresies instead of discussing real solutions for improving Catholic Families.

At this point, I do not see real solutions to bind families closer, prepare people for marriage, and heal wounded families. More importantly, I do not see that such solutions can come forward. They did not even make the agenda according to the discussion points. I am saddened that such a wonderful opportunity was lost to anti-doctrinal political machinations which only damaged the faith and brought scandal on the church.

Pray for the Catholic Church,  pray early and often.
Then take one or more items from my list that you agree with to your pastor or make up your own, and ask your pastor to prayerfully consider implementing them under the principle subsidiarity. Good and workable ideas will shine through, and if they are repeatable they will spread on their own. Maybe while the Cardinals are still duking it out in the synod next year we can actually already have some viable solutions in place for the real problems families face. Solutions that don’t contradict infallible doctrine.

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

 

Dear Pope Francis

18 Sep

Pope Francis

I am writing this seeking understanding and clarification on the “new evangelization.” Many things are being attributed to Pope Francis in the media – and many clergy, bishops, and faithful are acting on them. The most concerning of these outcomes has been the vilification of traditional Catholics in the media and by other Catholics, and the foreshadowing of the elimination of sacramental marriage by either allowing divorce and remarriage or changing the basis of annulments so that they become the equivalent of a Catholic Divorce.

As a traditional catholic, I would like to assure you that our faith is not dead, we are not uncompassionate or unforgiving. Though our loyal devotion to the catechism leaves us open to ridicule when we refuse artificial birth control and have large families in our openness to life. We are thought mentally simple when we profess a deep and abiding belief in the real presence in the Eucharist. We are ridiculed when our wives and daughters wear mantillas in the presence of the Lord in the Eucharist and at Mass. Many of our wives are looked down upon because they find fulfillment as stay-at-home wives and mothers.  We are seen as deluded for considering the sacramental marriage covenant as much a promise to God, as to each other. I have been scolded many times for kneeling when taking communion, because I was holding up the line. We are derided for preferring the awe and majesty of the Tridentine Mass because it fills our souls. It is a mystical and moving experience beyond words to be joined to the sacrifice of the holy Mass in quiet and stillness, and allow yourself to be filled with God’s presence.

Often, we are accused of being intolerant as a group, especially of sexually active homosexuals, the divorced and remarried without annulments, and other people who are in less than fortunate circumstances. I reject this as patently untrue. We love the person, but we find the sin objectionable. For those seeking participation in the sacraments, we will provide whatever help we can to help them resolve their impediments. For some, that is helping find an annulment workshop, for others it is healing broken marriages, and for others providing loving support as they work to make a break from their sinful activities or attractions. Those who come to us are broken and contrite – they are seeking His Love and forgiveness. They know that to receive Him they must be free of mortal sin. I have a brother who struggles with homosexuality whom I love very deeply, and even now he struggles to be worthy of the sacraments. It is his certain knowledge of God’s real presence in the Eucharist that both pains him for his sins, and motivates him to be worthy to receive Him.

My own return to the Church necessitated deep personal change before I could be admitted to the sacraments. This process included months of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament for me to fully accept and comply with the teachings of the church, even if I could not fully understand. This was a painful  journey, whose value to the faithful should not be diminished just because it is so difficult. True love and compassion are shown by the support of penitents through the process of reconciliation for admission to sacraments.

Here in America the new evangelization is giving many people the impression that the Church is advocating that being free of mortal sin is no longer necessary to receive the sacraments. It has encouraged a revolution by the sheep against their shepherds, demanding change in infallible doctrine. I believe that God is everlasting and unchanging. His Church has survived the rise and fall of states, empires, anthropological regression, and has endured according to to the promise of Christ for over 2000 years. I am convinced that it our loyal devotion to the beautiful teachings of our Church that has brought unparalleled grace and joy into our family.

The curtailment of the Tridentine Mass or the devaluing of sacramental marriage would be devastating to the faithful. After many years of poor catechesis, I often wonder if many see the Church for what she truly is. I wonder if many Catholics are left unsure or, worse yet, in obstinate disobedience to the faith. It seems that a growing number of people want us to resemble the world rather than Jesus Christ. Whether it is Gay Marriage, Ordaining Women, allowing artificial birth control, or allowing abortion, they want God to “get with times.”. In St. John’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” Please, Holy Father, help us to strive for a holiness that “sets us apart.” Lead us to our heavenly reward! I am praying for your strong leadership each and every day!

Pax Christi,

Colin

PS: I hope everyone who reads this takes a moment to pray for the Pope.

 

The Dignity of Work – “Work is for man, not man for work.”

24 Jan

Dignity of Work

I saw some interviews with Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” fame recently. Apparently he has developed quite a deep understanding of the dignity of work. Over the years I too learned to appreciate the dignity of work and the rewards of a job well done. I think it was in the military that I had the biggest impression made on me. You see in a military unit – every single piece is important. If any one piece falls down on the job people die. It’s not a joke or a game, it literally is life and death. You might think a the drudgery of standing a firewatch is intolerable until you are the nozzleman on the firefighting team because someone else didn’t do their job and people are now dead and injured, property is destroyed, and the entire unit is exhausted all because one person did not think his job was important enough to pay attention and do it well. The Captain of a ship may be the “Quarterback” of the team, but he is also master and commander under God. You learn quickly that you work together or you die together – and make no mistake, people die in the military in peacetime as well as war. This means everybody – even the seaman recruit standing the fire watch is critical. There is no unimportant job.

Well that’s great you say, this isn’t the military and I’m not in the military. True for some of you. However, you could still take away a lesson from my experience. Treat every worker with dignity, their job is important whether you see it or not. Treat every job you do with the care, dignity, and love due it. Imagine how many would go hungry if there were no cashiers at the grocery store, or how many would starve if there were no more farmers, the sanitation disaster if there were no trash people, and so forth. We all labor together to make our society function and no person’s labor should be considered less than another person’s, in short we need to bring pride and dignity back to work, rather than glorify those who manage to avoid it or live off the labors of others without laboring themselves.

If you don’t believe me then here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say on the subject:

2426 The development of economic activity and growth in production are meant to provide for the needs of human beings. Economic life is not meant solely to multiply goods produced and increase profit or power; it is ordered first of all to the service of persons, of the whole man, and of the entire human community. Economic activity, conducted according to its own proper methods, is to be exercised within the limits of the moral order, in keeping with social justice so as to correspond to God’s plan for man. 209

2427 Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another. 210Hence work is a duty: “If any one will not work, let him not eat.” 211 Work honors the Creator’s gifts and the talents received from him. It can also be redemptive. By enduring the hardship of work 212 in union with Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth and the one crucified on Calvary, man collaborates in a certain fashion with the Son of God in his redemptive work. He shows himself to be a disciple of Christ by carrying the cross, daily, in the work he is called to accomplish. 213 Work can be a means of sanctification and a way of animating earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ.

2428 In work, the person exercises and fulfills in part the potential inscribed in his nature. The primordial value of labor stems from man himself, its author and its beneficiary. Work is for man, not man for work. 214 Everyone should be able to draw from work the means of providing for his life and that of his family, and of serving the human community.

I’m especially enamored with that second to last part – “Work is for man, not man for work”.  There is a serious misunderstanding about providing for a family in America today. They need to have food, a roof over their heads, a warm and safe place to sleep, healthcare, transportation as necessary, and the ability to pursue their dreams. What they do not need is a plethora of useless things, faster cars, million dollar houses, etc… All provided by money which is earned by sacrificing yourself to your job. You see, the most important thing your family needs is YOU. I suspect a great many marriages fail because people don’t get this one simple fact, money is not a substitute for “being there”. You can only take love, memories, and regrets when you leave this life – don’t let your love die because you mistakenly thought that all that “stuff” was making up for it. Don’t miss out on memories just to get more “stuff” which will end up going to a landfill someday, or a taxman if you don’t spend it all. Most importantly, remember this life can end at any time – find a job that you love to do, that provides so that you can live without need without having to violate your family time, personal goals, or most importantly you relationship with your wife. Remember your wedding vows to Love, Honor, and Cherish did not include getting filthy rich while destroying your marriage in the process. Do something you enjoy. Not only will you do better at it, but you will enjoy it more and your work will be a joy instead of a burden to share with your beloved.

This is one I had to learn the hard way; Please avoid that path for your sake, your wife’s sake, and the sake of your children. They need YOU as a father, not the just the money you generate as only a provider. Your marital responsibilities cannot be abrogated by a check. Please think about it. Nobody has “He worked really hard and ignored his family” on their tombstone. What do you want yours to say?

Prayerfully Yours,

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

Are You Really Catholic?

6 Jul

Eucharistic Adoration

Eucharistic Adoration

What a question! My question to you is whether you can answer honestly to yourself?

It’s probably not really your fault right? You think that, in truth – it’s the fault of people soft pedaling the truth to keep “butts in the seats”, watered down CCD classes, deficient PSR programs, and poor catechization in general. Have you ever been in a Catholic Church where the priest preached these uncomfortable truths and watched people walk out? Be honest… I have witnessed this myself. Imagine how parents react to children coming home with concerns that their CCD teacher or PSR teacher is contradicting what “Mommy and Daddy” say and do, or their example in the home? Ask yourself honestly, are you part of the solution or part of the problem. There is no debate, no rationalization, and no convincing to be done – these are the beliefs of the Catholic Church and they are immutable. None of this is open to argument or disagreement. These teachings will never change to meet the times, and their permanence is a reminder that God does not change his mind. It grants us a sense of security and surety in this life that right and wrong are in fact moral truths, and not subject to social whims or determined by a majority vote.

That seems to be the first and hardest step in making any lasting change. If that that query is too difficult then try the following easier questions and then judge your own answers, use them to determine if you are in keeping with the Catechism. Remember that Catholicism is not a cafeteria you can pick and choose from. Either you accept the teachings of the church in toto, or not. While you may think you are fooling others, the way you speak and conduct yourself will give you away. Catholicism is about teaching Truth – it is not based on majority opinions or votes, nor is it based on feel good psycho-babble spouted on television and popular media. Catholicism is unchanging, no Pope can or will refute dogma – thereby the stance on artificial contraception will stand until the end of days, whereas the issues of married priests is open to papal authority. If you seek to change the Catholic Church to meet what you want to believe then you are not really Catholic (yet). My advice there is to read the Catechism then pray before the Blessed Eucharist until you understand the teaching or teachings, in situ, and embrace them.

WARNING: This reflection of conscience is intended only for Catholics to better understand which areas of the faith they may have trouble with. Some or all of these teaching may make you uncomfortable, as may your own examination of conscious. None of these areas are optional, to be Catholic you must believe Church teaching on ALL of them.

Do you believe, and follow, ALL of the churches teachings in your daily life. This means the ones on capital punishment, birth control, abortion, social justice, heaven, hell, purgatory, the real presence in the Eucharist, Marriage and Divorce, etc…?

Everybody can get one or two, but be honest since you’re not even talking to me – I’m more a figment of your imagination created by your reading of this blog, think of me as an active conscious…

Do you think it’s alright to execute a criminal when an alternative exists? During the Gosnell trial did you want blood, or mercy? Did you remain silent or even agree with those around you who discussed the trial and supported death for Gosnell? Did you ever stop to consider that life is sacred, no mater how abhorrent the actions of the person? One cannot be Catholic and support the death penalty in our society (which has an alternative). Because this one is NOT OPTIONAL, so derisive to many, and evokes strong feelings by people with deep seated convictions, I am going to put the text from the Catechism inline here:

2267 Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.” 68

Abortion is wrong because it is cold blooded pre-meditated murder. The only choices involved are a choice to commit murder to cover up a mistake on our part, or to murder someone because they are inconvenient. Where does it end? When we start killing the old and sick because they are inconvenient? What about the poor, the mentally ill, or the uneducated? Who will stand up for you when you become inconvenient? Where again did Jesus kill anyone? How then, is murder in any form, following Christ’s example? Here is an excerpt fromt the Catechism to get you started in your reflection, then read the whole thing here (Euthanasia follows Abortion – so no need to search or skip around).

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

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.73My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.74

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76

2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,”77 “by the very commission of the offense,”78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

“The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.”80

“The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.”81

2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.

Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, “if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence.”82

2275 “One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival.”83

“It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material.”84

“Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity”85 which are unique and unrepeatable.

Do you think artificial birth control is acceptable? Here is a spoiler, I once did. I was wrong, but it was not until I understood the teaching more fully that i could not just accept it – but embrace it. Read about my struggle with this issue here. Do you think it doesn’t debase a woman to use her for your pleasure? Did you once think about the increased cancer or stroke risk she undertook for taking birth control hormones to provide her the ability to be used by you without fear of pregnancy? Did you ever resent your spouse for asking you to be open to life? Since the pill was introduced widely in the early 60’s did you see society moving forwards or backwards? Are marriages more stable? Do you consider a child a gift or a hinderance? Have you even read Humane Vitae? Do you deny that no matter how thin the condom, the barrier turns a deeply loving and spiritual exchange (including messy bodily fluids) into nothing more than assisted masterbation? Thanks to birth control, do you feel free to compartmentalize sex and pursue partners you would never consider for marriage or motherhood? Do you believe that sex outside the marriage covenant is always a sin? I could go on for hours – but by this time you know where you stand regardless of your rationale for that stance. Before you start contemplating, whet you appetite with this quote from Humane Vitae (Pope Paul VI) and then read the whole thing here and ask yourself if Pope Paul the 6th did not predict with perfection the results of the widespread use of artificial conception over 40 years ago:

17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

How do you view the catholic teachings on social justice? Have you even read the catechism and reviewed the teachings on the subject? Are those teachings compatible with your current political stance? Do you give of you time and resources to help the less fortunate or do you expect others to do it? To be honest, many right wing Catholics seem to have the hardest time with these teachings. They have bought into unfettered capitalism and exploitation of workers to increase profits to the point that they feel somehow entitled to continue doing it. Do you think that an employers have a responsibility to those they employ? If you employ people, do you conduct your relations with your employees according to the maximization of profit or catholic teaching? Do you feel entitled to live better than others, even at their expense and the expense of their children? Now are you beginning to see why Americans especially find these teachings difficult? Ask yourself truly if you are serving God in your life, Jesus set us an example of serving others – not being served by others. Take these thoughts and sit in an adoration chapel for one hour in silence, listen to what he says to you – then answer this question honestly. Do so after reading this directly from the Catechism, there’s enough stuff in here to have most Americans running for the hills, but these beliefs and their practice in your daily life are NOT OPTIONAL:

IV. ECONOMIC ACTIVITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

2426 The development of economic activity and growth in production are meant to provide for the needs of human beings. Economic life is not meant solely to multiply goods produced and increase profit or power; it is ordered first of all to the service of persons, of the whole man, and of the entire human community. Economic activity, conducted according to its own proper methods, is to be exercised within the limits of the moral order, in keeping with social justice so as to correspond to God’s plan for man. 209

2427 Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another. 210Hence work is a duty: “If any one will not work, let him not eat.” 211 Work honors the Creator’s gifts and the talents received from him. It can also be redemptive. By enduring the hardship of work 212 in union with Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth and the one crucified on Calvary, man collaborates in a certain fashion with the Son of God in his redemptive work. He shows himself to be a disciple of Christ by carrying the cross, daily, in the work he is called to accomplish. 213 Work can be a means of sanctification and a way of animating earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ.

2428 In work, the person exercises and fulfills in part the potential inscribed in his nature. The primordial value of labor stems from man himself, its author and its beneficiary. Work is for man, not man for work. 214

Everyone should be able to draw from work the means of providing for his life and that of his family, and of serving the human community.

2429 Everyone has the right of economic initiative; everyone should make legitimate use of his talents to contribute to the abundance that will benefit all and to harvest the just fruits of his labor. He should seek to observe regulations issued by legitimate authority for the sake of the common good. 215

2430 Economic life brings into play different interests, often opposed to one another. This explains why the conflicts that characterize it arise. 216 Efforts should be made to reduce these conflicts by negotiation that respects the rights and duties of each social partner: those responsible for business enterprises, representatives of wage- earners (for example, trade unions), and public authorities when appropriate.

2431 The responsibility of the state. “Economic activity, especially the activity of a market economy, cannot be conducted in an institutional, juridical, or political vacuum. On the contrary, it presupposes sure guarantees of individual freedom and private property, as well as a stable currency and efficient public services. Hence the principal task of the state is to guarantee this security, so that those who work and produce can enjoy the fruits of their labors and thus feel encouraged to work efficiently and honestly…. Another task of the state is that of overseeing and directing the exercise of human rights in the economic sector. However, primary responsibility in this area belongs not to the state but to individuals and to the various groups and associations which make up society.” 217

2432 Those responsible for business enterprises are responsible to society for the economic and ecological effects of their operations. 218 They have an obligation to consider the good of persons and not only the increase of profits. Profits are necessary, however. They make possible the investments that ensure the future of a business and they guarantee employment.

2433 Access to employment and to professions must be open to all without unjust discrimination: men and women, healthy and disabled, natives and immigrants. 219 For its part society should, according to circumstances, help citizens find work and employment. 220

2434 A just wage is the legitimate fruit of work. To refuse or withhold it can be a grave injustice. 221 In determining fair pay both the needs and the contributions of each person must be taken into account. “Remuneration for work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social, cultural and spiritual level, taking into account the role and the productivity of each, the state of the business, and the common good.” 222 Agreement between the parties is not sufficient to justify morally the amount to be received in wages.

2435 Recourse to a strike is morally legitimate when it cannot be avoided, or at least when it is necessary to obtain a proportionate benefit. It becomes morally unacceptable when accompanied by violence, or when objectives are included that are not directly linked to working conditions or are contrary to the common good.

2436 It is unjust not to pay the social security contributions required by legitimate authority.

Unemployment almost always wounds its victim’s dignity and threatens the equilibrium of his life. Besides the harm done to him personally, it entails many risks for his family. 223

Most of us believe in Heaven, but Purgatory and to a lesser extent Hell have a sparser following. Do you believe you will be judged at the moment of your death? Do you believe in purgatory? Do you believe in Hell? Do you believe in a final judgement where the good will be saved and the wicked will be punished? Do you believe that purgatory exists for the purification if souls, that they might enter into Gods presence? Do you think everyone gets into heaven or do you believe that mortal sin can bar your entry? Do you believe that only Catholics, Christians, or all good persons judged worthy achieve Heaven? Are you arrogant or prideful enough to think you would go to Heaven if you died right now? These questions are like my lower intestine, odious and loaded with danger. There is too much good stuff here to quote, so read it ALL for yourself here directly from the Catechism before you silently re-contemplate your understanding of eternity. I suspect most people will learn something new during this process.

Do you believe in the real presence in the Eucharist? Have you ever sat for an hour of Eucharistic adoration? Do you treat the Eucharist with reverence always, especially when receiving communion? Does the consecration portion of the mass touch your heart? Have you ever felt the need to drop to your knees when receiving communion? Do you attend confession regularly before communion? Have you ever accepted communion in a state of mortal sin? More importantly, have you ever not accepted communion because you knew yourself to be in a sate of mortal sin? For those not familiar with Eucharistic miracles – you should read this book by Joan Carrol Cruz (http://www.amazon.com/Eucharistic-Miracles-Phenomena-Lives-Saints/dp/0895553031) and educate yourself. It might even help you by providing the evidence you need to believe (Including some which survives to this day). I have found contemplation quietly in Eucharistic Adoration to be most beneficial in developing a personal surety in the real presence. One you have this surety the mass will NEVER be the same again for you. You can Read the Catechism about this subject here, where it will also cover Eucharistic Adoration.

Marriage and Divorce – One is a sacrament and one is an abomination. How many Catholics justify a civil marriage to a divorcee without an annulment – without truly believing they are committing adultery and mortal sin? How many long to come home, but unable to get an annulment are barred from the sacraments – basically outcast (usually becoming Lutherans, rather than accepting God’s plan and separating). This is one of the harshest teachings, you can put a spouse aside, but you cannot remarry unless the marriage itself was invalid. You cannot then take up without another without committing adultery yourself and lead taking another into sin with you. Further, the Catholic Church under the last few popes has been limiting the grounds of invalidation greatly. What makes marriage so special is that it is a covenant which cannot be dissolved by man. You cannot marry another persons spouse regardless of circumstance, including a civil divorce. Anyone married in the Catholic Church remains so in God and the Church’s eyes unless an annulment is granted. Are you faced with this predicament? Are you willing to take the painful steps to rectify it, or would you rather turn your back on God so that you don’t have to face the pain of undoing your sinful action? Is reading this making you uncomfortable? The permanence behind the sacrament is part of what gives it it’s power. Going to another Church does not make that woman your wife, any more than stealing a car transfers the title. Woe to those who father children in such a union. Do you consider the gravity of marriage when you interact with your spouse? Have you ever reflected on the permanence of the sacrament of matrimony with fear and trepidation rather than comfort and joy? Has the indissoluble nature of your marriage really sunk in? If so, how has it changed your interaction and attitudes with relation to your spouse? Is it a comfort and joy that there is surety in this sacrament? Do you really think that society knows better than the magisterium the natural laws of man handed down from God through the Church? Do you presume to think that our short history of social experimentation (which has failed in the past) holds the answers you seek? Are you willing to submit to your obligation to God and your spouse and fulfill it to the best of your ability through His grace? Since this is very important sacrament and the teachings cover so much ground – I recommend you read the Catechism on the subject entirety HERE before beginning your contemplation.

By now, chances are you’re pretty angry. Probably at me, but don’t shoot the messenger. The Church? Well, it never changed it’s stance on these issues – realize you changed to meet others expectations and in doing so began to worship the mob of humanity instead of being obedient to God. The fact is, you cannot truly be a Catholic unless you accept all of the teachings of the Church. Some of them are hard, very hard even. However, they are even, eternal, and balanced and they apply to all the faithful equally. The answer is not rage or upset, the answers you seek are found in prayer, study, and Eucharistic Adoration. I wish you well in your endeavors, and will pray for the success of all who are trying to reconcile with God and come home to the Church. Remember God is omnipotent and does not change his mind, he has a plan in which your salvation is an integral part. Confession and repentance are highly recommended, your local Catholic priest can handle the details.

PS: If you’re not angry, upset, or surprised by your answers and how they compare to the Catechism then congratulations you are a properly catechized Catholic. Unfortunately you are likely not the majority. Fortunately, after other people read this our numbers may grow as they begin down the road towards being catechized properly.

Yours in Christ,

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, their lives, and their perspective on the Catholic faith.

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