Tag Archives: church

The Indissolubility of Marriage

3 Dec

conjoined ringsGiven the recent state of the Media and some very suspicious statements from an unidentified Vatican Representative also in the news have led to the wildest of speculation bringing joyful adulation from the progressives and furtive searches for the nearest SSPX parish by faithful “Traddies”. Saying something will be discussed in a Synod is not in any proof that heresy will occur. It is both right and good for the Catholic Church to look for ways to reconcile them or ease the suffering of these divorced and remarried Catholics who have trapped themselves in grave mortal sin while respecting Doctrine and the Sacraments. Nothing has been said thus far which indicates any other purpose to the Synods’s deliberations. In fact the Vatican has already clearly reaffirmed that permitting Divorce is not on the table.

The Indissolubility of Marriage is an Infallible Catholic TeachingBTAR  – Navy Radioman lingo for “Break Text, End Transmission, No Response Required” commonly used by crotchety Chiefs and Petty Officers to quiet the protests of mewling Seamen. It is not up for debate, nor can the Pope change this teaching or attempt to without becoming the first Pope in History to teach Heresy.

Here is the basis for that infallibility –

“Matrimony was not instituted or re-established by men but by God; not men, but God, the Author of nature and Christ our Lord, the restorer of nature, provided marriage with its laws, confirmed it and elevated it; and consequently those laws can in no way be subject to human wills or to any contrary pact made even by the contracting parties themselves.  This is the teaching of Sacred Scripture (Gen. I, 27-28); it is the solemnly defined doctrine of the Council of Trent, which uses the words of Holy Scripture to proclaim and establish that the perpetual indissolubility of the marriage bond, its unity and its stability, derive from God Himself (Council of Trent, Sess. XXIV).”  (Pius XI: Encycl. Casti Connubii, 31 Dec. 1930, M. 267.)

Or we could fall back on the words of Jesus Himself, don’t worry it does not take a rocket scientist to understand this, it’s quite simple and clear –

Luke 16:17-18

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fall.

18 Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery.

Next, we can discuss about how it is also Infallible Church Doctrine that one must be free of mortal sin in order to receive communion. This poses a serious problem for divorcees who have remarried as they are Adulterers in God’s eyes regardless of society’s permissive attitudes. This means that they are always in a state of GRAVE MORTAL SIN and therefore ineligible for communion. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is abused if the recipient does not truly intend to cease the sin and sin no further – so unless the adulterer discards his false spouse and reconciles with his rightful one or discards his false spouse and lives chastely, there is no valid way to just give them absolution before each mass. Abuse of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is again in itself a GRAVE MORTAL SIN – which would once again prevent participation in the Sacrament of Communion.

There is some hope, as the Catholic Church will grant an Annulment if the marriage can be proven invalid. This is easier said than done, as many will attest. It is a long and painful process designed to heal hearts and restore the spirit. You might think of it like physical therapy for the soul, it hurts – but it is not done to hurt you but to help you. The problem with this approach is that people who have grounds for an annulment usually already have them, those who have no legitimate grounds simply waste their money and the Church’s time needlessly.

Why is this a big deal, you ask? Because, many people end up divorced through no fault of their own, and even over their explicit objection. While the spouse who left goes on to marry their paramour, to keep in communion with the Church and it’s Sacraments they must remain Chaste. They deserve our compassion, our love, our caring, and our community to rally around them. The errant spouse also deserves compassion and love, but never acceptance of their adulterous relationship.

While some might argue that this is an issue of Justice for the aggrieved spouse who must remain single but can still receive the sacraments. A greater injustice is perpetrated by forcing them to sit in Church next to their adulterous spouse and their false spouse/adulterer while they too receive the sacraments in a state of grave mortal sin. It would serve as a tacit endorsement by the Church of Divorce in contradiction of Infallible Doctrine (Heresy). Such a thing demeans The Church, The Sacrament of Marriage, and the Sacrament of Communion, and the Papacy. What does it say to the children in the congregation? What does it say to the other married couples – especially those going through a trying time in their marriage but determined to make it work because their faith requires it of them? In fact, the Church of England was formed over the Church’s refusal to grant a divorce to King Henry VIII – many were martyred for their faith in this infallible teaching at that time. Such an action would be spittle in the eyes of those martyrs. The persecution of Catholics in the UK over the split caused by upholding this doctrine remains to this day, one only needs to think of Ireland or the fact that Tony Blair did not convert until he was out of office because a Catholic cannot be prime minister in the UK.

So what does the Church already do? Those adulterers are always welcome in Church. They may receive a blessing from the priest in lieu of communion. They may sit in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and they may be counseled by a priest about how best to remedy their situation – often one which becomes even more heartbreaking when children are involved. They may receive assistance in filing for an annulment if there are bonafide grounds for such. The Church did not create their sin, they did – and only they can reconcile it with God and the Church. These rules of the faith are so basic and fundamental that even children know them. The Church is eternal and not progressive, God does not change his mind.

The fact is that any solution has to be grounded in doctrine, and not opposed to it. Doctrinally, there can be no Communion for remarried divorcees, nor any other soul with unreconciled mortal sin. As Catholics, we take our Sacraments very seriously because we experience their power in our daily lives. The fact that these people feel the heartbreaking suffering because they have distanced themselves from God by their sin and further still by knowing he is but a decision away. The solution is that a decision must be made, one cannot have their faith and subvert it too. Each person must decide whether or not God is more important than whatever they think their adulterous marriage has gained them and make a choice. It is a basic choice between good and evil – and then they must make penance and reparation as is possible to their spouse and the heart rending suffering they have caused them through their actions. Even if reconciliation is no longer an option.

What we can do as Catholics is to keep all such Catholics, trapped in a living Hell of their own making, in our prayers. Most especially the children and spouses whom have been dragged innocently into this hell with them. I would also pray for the Synod that they can find some way within the confines of Cannon Law to improve the spiritual lives of the afflicted individuals and help them to bring them into full communion. May God grant them the strength and faith to do what is right.

Sincerely,

Colin

Distributism – Catholic Economics and Social Justice

13 Sep

Three_acres_and_a_cow

Today I’m going to talk about the many US Catholic’s anger and revulsion that Pope Francis “dared” to call a spade a spade and pointed out that both Socialism and Capitalism as economic systems are equally flawed and exploitive. Many poorly catechized Catholics are unaware that there is an alternative system based on private property and private ownership of production which is based on, and follows exactly Catholic Social Teaching. It is called Distributism and you can read about it on Wikipedia HERE.

Given the name Distributism, it probably evokes a really negative reaction – but I encourage people to read first and judge only after reading. I know a large number of “Catholics” who seem to find the Social Justice teachings just as impossible to follow as those on Birth Control or Divorce. They’re not guidelines or recommendations. – they’re rules of the faith laid down in the Catechism. They are not optional beliefs. We seem to have tried both of the other systems (Capitalism and Socialism) and they have failed. We have tried mixing the two together in various combinations, and still they fail.

Catholics are the single largest religious group in the USA comprising over 25% of the total population. We have an opportunity to lead here by not only learning our faith, but by putting the tenants of Social Justice based economics onto the table and hopefully into practice for the benefit of all. If all of them were better educated on the requirements of their faith in economic matters and made an effort to implement those principles in their lives and businesses. Better still if an effort was made to educate others who may not be Catholic about this economic alternative. It may be an uphill battle at first, but I like to think that people don’t know truth when they hear it, or even see it, they only recognize it when they truth when they directly experience it.

The challenge is to start taking the Social Justice teachings of the Church seriously and put them to work in our own lives, families, and businesses. In doing so we can spread the teachings by example – and allowing those around us to experience it for themselves.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments, especially how aware you were of distributism before reading this article! This is a good follow-up for those looking for some additional reading:

http://distributistreview.com/mag/2011/08/g-k-chestertons-distributism/

Yours in Christ,

Colin

Impediments to Embracing Catholicism

27 Aug

Buddy_christ

So many seem so lost and confused about the faith today. I’ll call a spade a spade, say the unpopular,  and attribute it to poor catechesis and an overly permissive clergy and catechists who have allowed a few bad apples more concerned with “butts in the seats” than the truth to run with the ball. Take this for example before you get your shorts all in a bunch about my thoughts.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23473169

The job of the Catholic Church is to lead you to Heaven, not to coddle you and make you feel good. Sometimes that means telling you uncomfortable truths and rebuking you for heretical beliefs, gently sometimes – but firmly always. God is my father, not my “Buddy”, and to think of him otherwise demeans both Him and our relationship.

Here are some of the most common issues people struggle with. If you answer “Yes” to any questions below immediately consult the Catechism and keep reading and rereading all the references until you understand – understanding is at the root of believing. Keep questioning and investigating your Catholic faith. I have, and the more I learn the more I find that the faith comforting rather than conflicting. It also becomes easier to trust, and surrender to yourself to God and his will as expressed through the magisterium.

  • Faith – Are you struggling with submission to God? Do you still believe some things, but not all of what the church teaches as required beliefs? Do you avoid the confessional at all costs? Have you participated in any way in an invalid sacrament (such as a wedding involving a divorcee who does not have an annulment)?
  • Sex & Marriage – Do you think that the sexual morality taught by the church is out of touch with reality? Do you think the Church is morally “out of date”? Do you support Gay Marriage? Do you think that Divorce is OK? If you are married do you use artificial contraception?
  • Sin – Do you have trouble accepting that which the church defines as sin? Do you have issues believing that sin creates a barrier between yourself and God? Do you think that the Church needs to revise what it defines as sinful to keep up with modern standards? Do you doubt the efficaciousness of confession?
  • Real Presence – Do you not believe in the literal real presence of Christ in the eucharist or believe it a symbolic only? Have you ever received the Eucharist with unconfessed mortal sin?
  • Infallibility – Do you think that the Pope is infallible in all things? Do you truly understand how limited and tenuous the thread of instability is?

To be honest NFP was the biggie for me. I was adamant about not letting the church dictate my sex life. It made me angry, it frustrated me, and in the end it changed me. Learning the church was right and understanding why in a very personal way very much put the whole issue of obedience into perspective. It is only when we have humbled ourselves that we can truly learn and grow in faith. You can read about that experience here:  https://catholichusband.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/sex-intimacy-and-nfp/

Remember that faith is a work in progress, not a destination. We will all fall and falter. The important thing is to pick yourself up and keep pressing towards a goal you will only attain when this life has ended. Never let doubts or hesitation keep you down – root out heresy and disinformation in your faith and stay the straight and narrow path.

Godspeed on your journey,

Colin

My Birthday, and The Gift that Keeps on Giving

24 Aug

20130824-150643.jpg

Today I get another day older. I’m a little wiser, and a lot less narcissistic. I also know that nothing material of this world will last, but that small things done with great love are eternal. One small act of kindness, love, or compassion can change a persons life. At the very least it can bring a moment of happiness to another.

That said, my birthday wish this year is that everyone who reads this post might perform some small act for another with great love. It can be something as small as a kind word to someone in need or as large as you desire, as everyone has different gifts and different means at their disposal. Be creative, and bring a moment of happiness or solace to another – I promise you that you will not regret these actions when you face judgement.

This does not have to be to a stranger. Learning to love, be kind, and be compassionate begins at home – but it should not stop there as we are all God’s children. Even the grandest designs are accomplished in steps. If you finds it suits you, then by all means keep walking – we all have a long journey together ahead.

Pax Christi,
Colin

The Hard Truth of Contraception and Abortion

16 Aug

sauppe_pic2-240x336

The picture above is Fr. Timothy Sauppé, S.T.L. is pastor of St. Mary’s Church, Westville, Illinois, in the Diocese of Peoria. He wrote an article you really need to read.  It addresses the heart and soul of the Catholic Church and the next time someone tries to tell you that their marital choices aren’t affecting other people, or that  it’s none of God’s business – direct them to his article (or mine if you’re feeling generous). Contraception and Abortion are destroying the body of the Catholic Church, it is wasting away like that poor hamster your 7 year old can’t seem to remember to feed. Very literally, what you do to HIM you do to yourself, and if this article does not help you see the hurt you are inflicting on the Church, or if you are one of those many selfish cafeteria Catholics, then you may be beyond any compassionate outreach.

He opens like this:

June 24, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A stranger came into the sacristy after Sunday Mass. In an incriminating huff he said, “I have been away from the area for fifteen years; where are the people? And now you are tearing down the school? I went there as a kid.”

I put my hands up to quiet him from further talking and I calmly said, “Let me ask you a question: How many kids did you have?” He said, “Two.” Then I said, “So did everyone else. When you only have two kids per family there is no growth.” His demeanor changed, and then he dropped his head and said, “And they aren’t even going to Mass anymore.”

Go here to read the rest:  http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/priest-youve-contracepted-our-parochial-school-out-of-existence/

Yours with Prayerful Meditation,

Colin

Meditations for the Assumption of Mary

15 Aug

Fulton Sheen

I’m a huge fan of Fulton Sheen. For the feast of the assumption I have taken a few selected quotes of his to recommend for meditation. The Assumption seems like an excellent time to pray for our wives, the mothers of our children, entrusted by God to be the vessels and caretakers of his ongoing work of creation. It’s also a good time to meditate and pray for ourselves that we might be worthy of them.

Here are the four quotes to meditate on:

“In every friendship hearts grow and entwine themselves together, so that the two hearts seem to make only one heart with only a common thought. That is why separation is so painful; it is not so much two hearts separating, but one being torn asunder.”

― Fulton J. Sheen

“When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”

― Fulton J. Sheen, Life Is Worth Living

“It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God. Without God people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other soon find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty life is unfinished.”

― Fulton J. Sheen, Seven Words of Jesus and Mary: Lessons from Cana and Calvary

“Most of us love a non-self, or something extrinsic and apart from our inner life; but a mother’s love during the time she is a flesh-and-blood ciborium is not for a non-self but for one that is her very self, a perfect example of charity and love which hardly perceives a separation. Motherhood then becomes a kind of priesthood. She brings God to man by preparing the flesh in which the soul will be implanted; she brings man to God in offering the child back again to the Creator.”

― Fulton J. Sheen, Life Is Worth Living

 

Yours in Christ,

Colin

Catholic Sexuality and the Marital Embrace

12 Aug

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

There is nothing in the world more contentious among Catholics themselves than what is permissible in their bedrooms by their religion. While the Catechism is fairly clear on this issue (and the Catechism represents that which must be followed and believed), many follow a variety of philosophies. These range from what I call the “Augustinian” view that sex is only for procreation and nothing more, only in one set position, and God forbid the woman actually enjoy it because an orgasm for her is a sin – all the way to the “Progressive/Rationalist” view, that what happens between consenting adults in their own bedroom is none of the Church’s or God’s business and basically anything goes.

The truth is a fair distance from each philosophy and it is clearly laid out in the Catechism (read it here for yourself  http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm). No matter who you ask you will get different answers on what is acceptable and what is not (trust me, I’ve asked priests and never gotten the same answer twice). The answers are in the Catechism for those who will take a moment to read it, and greatly expounded upon in the series of sermons that make up the Theology of The Body.

The “Augustinian” view is derived primarily from the writings of St. Augustine who though a Doctor of the Church and very wise did not write with infallibility, nor do his writings and recommendations constitute Dogma, nor Canon Law. Due to Augustine’s rather debauched early life and his need to reject his own sensuality, as he wrote in “Confessions” which is still widely read today, his harsh recommendations were his prescription for combating the lust and sin so prevalent in his earlier life which of which he was extremely averse. In paragraphs 2360-2363 of the Catechism it is made clear that sex is for bonding a couple, bring joy a pleasure as a gift from each to the other, and that it must always remain chaste and open to life. There are no prohibitions on positions, or frequency – but there are prohibitions on using your partner solely for your physical gratification. In remaining open to life and chaste, marital sex must be performed with no barriers to contraception and only with the person to whom we are sacramentally bonded in marriage.

The “Progressive/Rationalist” view throws the Catechism out the window. People tell themselves that anything they want to do with their partner is OK regardless of whether it fits in the context of sacramental marriage. Masterbation, trying to avoid pregnancy by pulling out early, bringing other partners into your bed, and using your spouse for relief instead of in a mutual giving where both of you give the other a gift of themselves and the other graciously receives it – are right out.

Sex in a Catholic Marriage is a chaste expression of love, the giving of a gift of oneself to another and receiving that gift in return. We men especially, often fail here to recognize that 30 seconds of foreplay and 10 seconds of thrusting, followed by 8 hours of snoring does not constitute a gift to our wives. Such crude behaviour masquerading as marital intimacy only breeds resentment, distrust, and unhappiness in the recipient of your “gift” who you just treated like a common whore, or inflatable female facsimile. The marital embrace should always be open to life and a spiritually bonding experience for the loving couple. This does not mean that a quickie in the morning as a gift from your wife is wrong, so long as it is a gift freely given and not demanded. Such gifts are much more likely to occur if there is a whole-hearted attempt to return that gift at an appropriate time and place when you can focus yourself on returning that gift rather than your own gratification.

Exercised in the proper context and within the principles of the Catechism, the marital embrace can bring Husband and Wife both to new levels of both pleasure and intimacy – bonding them inseparably in the process. Outside the confines of the Catechism, sex becomes the greatest  weapon in damaging relationships that there is. Infidelity, using your wife as a receptacle for your lust, and making demands instead of accepting gifts do more to damage marriages than anything else I know of. Such actions destroy the trust and intimacy that is the basis for both Love and the sacramental marriage and hurt both parties physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you have concerns about a particular issue, then open the link to the Catechism above and see if it qualifies there as well as being loving gift to your spouse which is open to life. Ask yourself if you are having to apply pressure to your spouse. Even fearing your anger, disappointment, or disapproval will constitute an inability on her part to give herself freely to you. Take the time to learn each other both physically and emotionally and let your wife surprise you with her gifts. I assure you, a woman in love can be more creative than you can imagine in your wildest fantasy when she wants to please you. You should be setting an example for her to follow.

I know this post will likely produce a plethora of comments and additional questions, I welcome all of them – but ask that you keep them civil and polite.

Colin

What to Expect when #5 Comes Along

9 Aug

Pregnant

First of all – this is reblogged with permission from the friend who wrote it. She is expecting number 5 and is catching the wave of popular public interest. I know this drill all too well as my wife and I have only 4 and even just having the youngest 3 in tow in the supermarket checkout often generates stupid questions and ignorant comments. Anyone with a large family will identify, and those expecting one – brace for impact.

She has managed to couch in humor something very serious – I’ll start you with this:

“Here, let me just answer all the questions and save folks the trouble of asking. I want to spare you the trouble, and also spare you the dirty looks you’ll get, plus the tone of voice, and sharp responses of which I’m capable of providing. Because like I said: It’s lame, and it does nothing to entertain me. And it’s just not funny. I’m easily amused, but the same questions just don’t do it for me. Step up your game already. Be original and humorous. Give me something I haven’t already heard.

Are you ready for it? Here goes:

1. Yes, we know what causes it. We’ve had 21 years of practice. We’re damn good at it. We like it. We’re married to each other, so we’re SUPPOSED to be doing it with each other, not someone else. It’s not wrong to actually LIKE your spouse. We’ve worked a lot of years to get where we are, and we like where we are. Don’t be jealous that you can’t get in on our party, ok? Just go get your own.

2. Yes, we have tv, cable, dvd’s, etc and we utilize them. We actually have multiples of each. Oh, ANNNND we have computers with internet access, plus smartphones. We have friends. We have access to entertainment. And we have access to each other – you know like I said up there^ in that spousal thing.

3. Yes, *I* am Catholic, but my husband is not. Our inter-faith marriage is always a work in progress, and we don’t follow any one strict tenet versus another. Ours is an interesting dance of sorts, melded together the last 21 years with a lot of compromise after a lot of trial and error. Apparently, I’m a better Catholic than I thought I was, though. And apparently, I’m the kind of Catholic girl the Southern Baptist boys like. Take that as you will.

4. Yes, we’ve heard of birth control, and condoms, and at some points, we HAVE utilized a variety of all of them. I don’t have to share this topic with anyone outside of my husband, I am not going to share the details of why, how, etc of what we do in that regard. I don’t say a word about your decision to do permanent sterilization, hormonal birth control, barrier methods, etc. Be respectful of what we do, just like I’m respectful of what you do. In short, I stay out of your uterus, you stay out of mine.

5. Yes, everything OBVIOUSLY functions just normally, nothing is broken, so please tell me what is there to fix?

6. Yes, I have my hands full. I have a head and heart full too. The van is full. The house is full. The garage is full too. Our lives are full. How is yours? Is it full of good stuff or just junk and drama and crap?

There are people who completely ache and pay lots of money to ATTEMPT to even get a tenth of what we have. I’m truly and completely blessed, while my heart breaks for those who long for the simplest part of my life, and some may never have it. Don’t tell me the obvious, because somewhere in earshot of your comment is someone else who you’re insulting in the opposite manner, by reminding them of their empty hearts and arms. And there are those who have suffered the losses of 4, 5, even 8, or 12, or more babies and pregnancies. They are so grateful to have a baby make it into this world, while forever mourning the loss of those who grew wings before seeing light of day. They happily bring as many into this world as they humanly can. It hurts and it stings and it drives the knives deeper, while you twist them. Do you still feel brilliant saying that one?

7. No, I don’t know how YOU do it with just one, or two. Seriously, I need balance in my life, and I need my own interests and hobbies. I don’t know how you can helicopter- and lawnmower-parent a completely normal child who has zero no neuro-challenges and come out the other side with your dignity and sanity intact, or theirs for that matter. I delegate stuff to the kids to do, as they become independent and capable enough to handle things. I’ve blogged about that before. Simply put, it’s my job to create independent people who can function outside of me, and handle the hiccups of life. I have my own interests because one day those buggers will fly the nest and I don’t want to be that mother-in-law that gets ranted about on the internet. I want my children and their families to feel like I respect their adulthood, and parenthood, and I will do my best to allow that by knowing my place in their world and not encroaching where I do not belong. I blessedly have a fair selection of wise in-laws who may not agree with how we do things, but they know it’s not their family or household.

8. No, I didn’t realize that we didn’t need to have any more kids. Thank you for telling me that. I didn’t realize I was still 6, and asking for a second dessert an hour before bedtime. Last I checked, we are well beyond age 18, and still married to the same person after all these years. If I have my wits about me, we have kids who are 20 and almost 19. So unless there’s some strange science or miracle, I think we are qualified to decide what my husband and I need, or don’t need. I think your words simply speak of your own insecurities, and lack of time spent with us and getting to know us sufficiently. We are raising our kids in a manner that rivals most any other way modern parents do nowadays, and we’ve got one who was trained for management at his job as soon as he graduated high school, and another about to head off to MCRD Parris Island for boot camp. The Marines don’t take *just* anybody. Our oldest daughter has life skills her peers can’t fathom, and a perspective they won’t achieve till they’re much older. Our preschooler is articulate, funny, well-adjusted and capable of handling things kids her age still have a tantrum over happening, and she’s fiercely independent. But they’re still capable of being kids. We haven’t robbed them of anything. We’ve sacrificed our own self-serving desires to give them what they need. We have indulged in some things, because we need balance and they need to see us doing our own thing, chasing our own goals and dreams, and they need to see us sacrifice for the greater good or to achieve those goals. Despite the fact that I’m running headlong toward 40, and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, either.

9. Yes, they were all surprises. No, we didn’t plan or try for any of them. They were all not in our radar at the times they appeared on it, and now we can’t imagine that radar without them there. Then they brought friends to the party, who we mistreat just the same as we do our own. I have birthed and borrowed children, and never imagined this many people would call me Mom. I’m just glad I didn’t have to change all of THEIR diapers, or potty train them.

10. No, we don’t know if we’re done yet. We thought we were done with the last 5. No, we don’t know if we’ll have any more. Every time we have thought “done” and laid plans of our own, another mini human comes along and mucks up the plans. But it’s cool. We make pretty babies with brains and a sense of humor. And they think it’s pretty neat that mom & dad ride motorcycles. Well, dad does, mom’s just good at dropping them and then getting pregnant again.

One other side note about the variations of these questions: Again, when you’re asking a parent of one, or ten, about the number of kids, you’re insulting them. And the ones who only have one or two who like previously mentioned, utterly ACHE for more kids and can’t attain that are once again stabbed by your words. Why must you be so intrusive? Don’t be offended if one of us snaps back with “Why? were you looking to hire me as your surrogate, because I don’t know if I’m the one you want doing that. I might not want to give up a child to be raised by twits like you.”

11. No, I’m not easily offended. I married a Marine and had a bunch of children with him. When you have that combination, you recognize when God laughs at you (in my case, it’s almost daily since the early 1990s), and you learn to live by that other Marine motto: Semper Gumby. If you think you can offend me, you can, but it requires extreme stupidity, lack of consideration and forethought, no sense of humor, and downright intrusive and demeaning foolishness. I am not sure you want to test the mettle of this Feisty Irish Wench. Some of the things slung at me verbally by strangers, meant to offend, really didn’t do that. I’ve survived a number of things, including two teens at once – and one was a daily test of my faith and ovarian fortitude. I have reasonably thick skin, and some of you will be lucky I don’t have him with me when you open your mouth.

So, please, I absolutely encourage you to get creative when you see me or my larger-family cohorts. Ask us something we have NOT already been asked. Or for poops n giggles, maybe say something encouraging to the mom whose day is shot because of that series of wackadoodle events instead of “well you chose to have that many”. Yep, we ultimately did. Someone has to combat the stupidity of the world, and it may as well be us, because YOU are sucking at it.”

And encourage you to take a moment and read the rest here: http://feistyirishwench.blogspot.com/2013/08/originality-and-humor.html

Remember being hateful and hurtful never helped anyone, and whatsoever you do to the least of his pregnant people – that you do unto Him DOUBLE.

Many thanks to “FeistyIrishWench” for letting me reblog her post!

Colin

The Veil – A Husbands Experience

6 Aug

Beautiful Mantilla image from http://rosamysticamantilla.com/

Beautiful Mantilla image from http://rosamysticamantilla.com/

When I was a boy, I remember that women in the church always wore the most beautiful chapel veils at mass. Never to hide themselves, as the veils were generally fine lace, but rather to stand out as women of faith.

1 Corinthians 11:10
Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

Paul was very specific about this because it was important. The apparitions of the Virgin Mary are always veiled as well. There is a very good history on the veil here: http://christianfamilyoutreach.com/pamphlets/theveil.pdf. It’s a good read and will clear up many incorrect assumptions and impressions people have about the use of the veil in the church.

The issue of the veil (or Mantilla) is making all kinds of waves in the church right now. Long favored by “traddies” and the old alone, many of the younger Catholic women have been adopting the veil in a growing movement. This movement has not been pressed by priests or husbands. It has not been pushed onto women by peer pressure, but rather peer pressure has been applied to women to abandon it. As their numbers have grown in many parishes, the snide comments and the murderous glances get more frequent – yet they persevere. My wife is one of those women who felt this call, I’m going to do my best to tell her story as seen through my eyes in the hope that others will better understand the veil and the power of the Lord’s call to those who wear it.

One day my wife came back from her adoration hour very troubled, she felt the Lord was calling her to cover her head during adoration. This carried into later evenings until one night she grabbed a floppy tigger hat because it was the only one she could find and an went back into His presence. It was at that moment that she knew. She knew that she should always have her head covered in the Lord’s presence as a sign of her submission and obedience to God. To her it became a strong outward sign of God’s authority over her.

Over the intervening weeks she used a variety of makeshift methods for covering her head. Hats, scarves, bandannas, and other options were tried but she was mesmerized by an old lady who came to pray in the middle of the night wearing a mantilla. The beauty of it and the grace it seemed to endow this woman with made a tremendous impression on her and she resolved to get her own mantilla. At this time we were attending a Novus Ordo parish primarily and veils were almost never seen at mass. Worse, nobody locally carried one for her to purchase. We searched the internet and quickly found several locations from which they could be reasonably purchased. She choose one that suited her and ordered it.

At first, she would wear it only during adoration and switch to a hat or scarf at mass. Even then, she could sense the stares and uneasiness especially among the women wearing tanks tops, short shorts, and miniskirts at mass.  She looked so very pretty in her sunday dress with her scarf or hat that she did stand out. From my perspective she practically shone, and it was as if whenever a beam of light entered it fell on her. Yet she was still troubled. The Lord was still calling her to obedience it seemed, and very the next week she took a very deep breath as we left the car and put her Mantilla over her head and walked into the church.

I don’t know which of us was more uncomfortable with the initial stares, but I do know this – she was much more at ease in the Lords house than I had ever seen her. She had a peace and serenity I  had never seen before when she prayed, and I was stuck with a sense of awe and beauty just watching her. Then reality struck and on my way to the lavatory as I was pulled aside and admonished to “get that rag off my wife’s head before she embarrassed herself”, on the way back another person informed me that I was a “neanderthal for making her wear the veil” and that she was “setting women back 100 years” by wearing it. I was shocked – the veil wasn’t my idea, I would never have forced any such thing on her, nor even thought to ask it of her. I couldn’t understand the hostility until the following mass when one or two more women showed up with their heads covered, then a few more, soon a small cadre of veils dotted the congregation. It didn’t take me long to find out that it was the courage of the first few who listened to the call which paved the way for the others to act as well. This call had not been exclusively to my wife but to many women throughout the parish. A few thanked me for “allowing” my wife to wear the veil, as it set the example they needed to see. Apparently, many husbands had forgotten that God’s calling to their wives was far more important than their desire not to make waves. I was never against her following both her heart and The Lord’s instruction on this issue.

My wife still veils, as do my daughters – and we usually attend the Latin Mass where the veil is the norm, rather than the exception to the rule. To be honest she was not the only one of us feeling the Lords clarion call to orthodoxy in our Catholicism. Both of us have felt the call – not to practice our religion, but rather to live our religion – and there is a difference. For me the chapel veil represents more than her commitment to God, it represents the commitment of our entire family to the obedience of God. Whenever I see another woman entering the chapel with her husband and children in tow with all the girls wearing their veils, it gives me hope. Hope for the church and the world, that if only a few have to respond to the call that it will give others the courage to follow. Her example of leadership has taught me that I can make a difference in the smallest ways, even if I influence only a few other people in being a faithful Catholic husband. It is by doing the little things in obedience with great love that we build a sense of community and an understanding of who we are as Catholics. We also serve as a candle in the darkness for those trying to discern their path – and like candles, the more of us that stand together the brighter our light becomes.

When I think of the candle analogy I remember the last time a hurricane took the power out. When you’re used to being in brightly lit areas a single candle does not seem to give off much light. However, when you are accustomed to the darkness the light from one candle is enough to bring calm, hope, and light to every corner of the room – the darkness is dispelled with just a single flame.

Sincerely,

Colin

The War on Women

31 Jul

20130731-190524.jpg

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.

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.

Why you should be concerned about Marriage

29 Jun

20130629-172738.jpg


“Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right.” — Fulton J. Sheen, 1953

If you do not believe Archbishop Sheen, then think about lemmings for a moment – and hold that thought…

Now right up front, I have my beliefs and they cannot be swayed by science or reason. I have faith and surety – and science and reason have all too often been wrong because they were based on incorrect assumptions or conclusions. Science does not hold all the answers to the mysteries of existence. Neither can it answer any of the really important questions like “Why am I here?”, “What is my purpose?”, or “Is this all that I am? Is there nothing more?”. Just because you cannot understand or measure something it does not follow that thing does not exist. There is so much we simply do not understand, and I have come to understand that we cannot understand everything as limited human beings, as wonderful a creation as we are. I also know that others have their beliefs which they have faith in that do not agree with mine. This defines the human struggle for a truth we will only know at the termination of this existence, and only God can judge our worthiness. To quote St. Bernadette, “It is not my job to convince, only to inform”. For me this lifestyle of being obedient to the tenants of the Church and the accompanying beliefs must be freely chosen. Coercion does not produce a true change of heart or mind; it only strengthens the resolve of those whom it oppresses. Debating is pointless as neither side has an open mind and will rationalize or refuse to rationalize in order to preserve their position. We must lead and convert by a loving example.

Coercion takes many forms. Banning religious symbols in the workplace lest they offend someone is no less than a gag order. Funny how we can do that to our own people while giving religious extremists arms and support to slaughter Christians wholesale for opposing a government that would make the possession of a Bible or just being a Christian a capital offense. Here though we do no less. The fight for rights has been hard fought by many subgroups (including various Christian ones), and that fight was protected by the very constitution those now deemed politically correct seek to shred via legislation, in the hopes that the inevitable swing of the pendulum will not erase their gains. Hoping that by making it a hate crime, forbidden speech, or heavily punished speech that they will be able to subvert not only God’s plan, but the pendulum that allows some form of balance. Any historian can see the repeating pattern from the roaring 20’s to the tent revivals of the early 50’s – but this time we have allowed the game to change by criminalizing thoughts and words, not actions. Their idea seems to be to push the pendulum so far in one direction that it sticks.

Marriage is the purview of those churches who manage covenants between God and Man, civil unions are the purview of the state. I have no issue with civil unions regulated by the state, but the current ruling as I read it, is a small step onto a slippery slope which aims to turn churches into “hate groups” when they fail to marry some due to the sex of their chosen partner or partners. Never-mind that the Catholic Church already refuses marriage to divorcees, couples not intending offspring, and non-Catholics unless marrying a Catholic and agreeing to raise the children in the Catholic faith. Redefining marriage has opened a Pandora’s box of consequences. If it can be redefined to include two women then why can it not be redefined to include two women and a man? Or two men and a woman? Why not three? Four? Five? More?

You see there is a difference between a marriage and a civil union, one is a sacrament of God and one is a legal construct of man. One is indissoluble by man and one is not. One is a sacred vow before and to God with specific promises between the man and woman exchanged just as he ordained, and one is not. The sacrament of marriage is unique in that husband and wife enter into a covenant with each other with God as their witness and in doing so are making a sacred promise to honor that covenant not just to each other but to God. For Catholics, matrimony or marriage is one of the seven sacraments on which our faith is grounded. Any erosion of those sacraments constitutes an erosion of the faith, and thereby a direct attack on the Church.

A wife is by definition female and a husband male. The titles are accompanied by responsibilities – where once there was a religious contract defining those roles and responsibilities and now there is also a civil contract and that contract is controlled by the state not the churches. The purpose of the state is to recognize those contracts, not to interfere or control them. The idea that a person married in the Catholic Church would be unable to obtain a divorce, and though they could put their spouse aside would be forbidden remarriage and ostracized from the sacraments if they acted immorally – it is a consequence of entering the sacrament of marriage as defined by the Catholic Church. While the sacrament may seem harsh, it is not because it is easy that it holds great rewards. It is because they are not easily broken; It is because they are immutable that people take those vows, and choose wisely when they make them.

Marriage does not exist for your happiness, but rather happiness is something you make within a marriage. At the root of marriage is a sacramental vow you both made (one many think they can change, to make it more politically correct). The vow you took was based on feeling in love, but it obligated you beyond those feelings. It was not dependent on those feelings, nor is it dissolved because one or both of you have allowed those feelings to wither away. In the end, it’s more about character than anything. Can you keep a promise made to both God and another human? What sacrament of the Church does not ask great things of people, stressing love, self-sacrifice, duty, chastity, and honor? A calling to married life is not, contrary to popular belief, one of the easiest but rather one of the harder paths God calls us to. Even in the best of marriages there are physical and emotional hardships to overcome. They are harder because they are designed for two people to overcome with God’s assistance, and not one man standing alone against the universe. It is a responsibility, a joyful one if approached as God intended, but selfishness and a dogged sense of entitlement, carefully fostered by popular culture, have turned it from a refuge and sanctum into a prison and torture chamber for many. The worst of this is that the wounds are self inflicted, and our growing sense of popularism and political correctness twists the knife and dooms many to a perpetual search for something which cannot be found where they are located.

Make no mistake – in every marriage we will all be carried at points by our spouse, God, or both. Other times, we will do the carrying. And while love is important to any marriage, there will be times in most marriages, when in a period of hardship, that duty, honor, courage, chastity, and commitment will be your limited sustenance and purpose. Keeping your vows will demand that you love and do without the expectation that it will be returned to you for some indeterminate period of time. This can be a bitter pill to swallow, but it is necessary to show such strength of character in order to remind your spouse of her vow and to rekindle her respect, and only then will she remember why she loves you. It does not take many such reminders for her to know that she can count on you to keep your commitment, and that knowledge builds both confidence and trust – both critical to true love and the success of any marriage. You made this choice when you freely entered into the sacrament of marriage and accepted a life of service to others, not a life of being served by others.

We must change the idea of marriage and children being an ending, or a fallen state, and raise it to the beginning and higher state that it is. We must restore the dignity of fatherhood – restoring it a responsibility for not just the child but the mother of that child or children. A man’s responsibility cannot be abrogated by a check, nor can a woman’s responsibility allow her to separate the child from its father. Choices have consequences, and when any of us consents to the marital embrace we also accept those consequences. One of those consequences is a responsibility to the child – therefore both parents have an obligation to provide a home together and raise the child – any personal goals either party might have need to be pursued secondarily to providing for the needs of the child or children. True love takes years of time, and youthful love can be transformed into one of the strongest bonds when properly nurtured over time.

For all of the “Neville Chamberlin” mentalities who think appeasement is the answer, I would ask you to pay attention to the reaction after the ruling by SCOTUS – when CNN ran a report about “Still a long way to go on LBGT issues.” They were right. The Supreme Court ruling just struck down DOMA, it did not abrogate the states ability to regulate and define marriage, it only required the Federal Government to recognize gay marriage in states where it is legal. Proposition 8 was sent back to the state supreme court in California, and their governor and attorney general dropped their appeal, forcing its immediate death. For now the fight will continue through a process of indoctrination and political correctness using public schools and mass media until such time as the few faithful remaining are shunned as backwards outcasts and become an oppressed minority. In essence will will become strangers in a strange land, without ever leaving home. The alternative is to redefine politically correct, and while we cannot and should not try to “roll back the clock”, we should remember that there is a difference between tolerating individuals right to choose for themselves, and tolerating their choices being taught as moral truth or morally acceptable. We have a sacred duty to uphold the first and reject the second in the example of Jesus himself. Allowing the legislation against moral truth instead of actions only, is a two-edged sword upon which we have now impaled ourselves. It allowed for the espousing of Christian ideals held for over 2000 years to be reclassified as hate speech. Let us never make that mistake again, nor allow it to be made – no matter how noble or good the cause may seem.

To remove the sword and heal the wound requires true conversion, we must win hearts and minds – not bend society to our will. Nor can we allow society to bend us to theirs. It is time to stop being sheep afraid of their shadow – and declaring the loudest voice, not the morally correct one, the winner. It is long past time for us to speak up, all of us – in the grocery, on TV, in the workplace, both about and in support of traditional marriage before it is a hollow memory of times past. Speak positively of your marriage, share your joy so that others can see, and take pride and honor in your covenant. Keeping such a covenant is a greater victory than any other worldly achievement, your recognition of their confusion will let them know where the path is and that you have no interest in wandering aimlessly in sin with them. Walk with you head high, and nothing more need be said to a rationalist or progressive than that you are very happy and that you will pray for God to touch their hearts as well. You will not win hearts and minds with derisive rhetoric, nor can you win by force – you must win by setting an example for others to follow, making sure they see you joy and happiness, your support for each other, and your faithful devotion to the covenant. In doing this you will win hearts and minds. Ours is to inform and live by example, not to judge and convict – judgement is reserved for God. Ours is to speak the moral truth with tolerance for individual actions, and not for forced ideals and political correctness. We must make them realize that peer pressure works both ways – but gently and with great love.

Keep in mind that every person is what they are. God both created them and loves them. They each play a part in Gods plan. We are each sustained in existence only by the Love of God and should God cease to love any of us we would not die, but literally be erased from creation instantly. Understanding that fact makes loving and accepting the person, but not the immoral behavior, possible. It is a weakness of faith, cowardice, and fear, that requires the use of force to address an ideal. We must never display such a weakness, much less concede it.

And about those Lemmings, a few always stay behind to rebuild – convinced that the majority are wrong and the cycle begins again. Cling to your spouse in these troubled times, teach your children their faith well (read the catechism), do your best to be a light unto each other and not just the outside world. Most importantly trust in God, and be not afraid. The pendulum swings back and the faithful persevere.

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.

Finding a Community or Ode to the Latin Mass

26 May

The Latin mass is a thing of great beauty, timeless and awesome. From the beginnings of the church mass was celebrated, but at the Council of Trent in 1592 the mass was standardized across the known world and said in the common language of the people, Latin. Greek was the language of culture and education which is why the early gospels were transcribed into Greek while Latin was the vulgar or common language, hence the Latin Vulgate translation of the bible by St. Jerome. This meant that wherever the faithful gathered to celebrate mass, they had a common language to bind them together regardless of their local tongue. It also prevented misunderstandings and mistranslations from altering the message and meaning of the mass.

I would think it was just me, but I have personally witnessed all too often just what a huge emotional and spiritual impact the extraordinary form of the mass can have on people. It is during the latin mass that I feel closest to God, not as my friend but as my Father and Creator. I know that I am not the only person who finds the “Buddy Jesus” aspects often preached and ascribed in the Novus Ordo with the contemporary music and homilies carefully constructed not to make anyone uncomfortable. I need to be challenged spiritually. I also find great comfort in the ritual, in hearing the mass in the very language Peter himself would have used in Rome. I also had some Latin and brushed up a bit more because of the mass, and it is amazing how dramatically different the meaning of the Mass changes when I translate it for myself than listening to the modernized translations in the Novus Ordo. In addition my wife can veil herself without scowls from all the other women in the church, and snide comments about setting women back 100 years.

I realize that a great many people find comfort in the Novus Ordo, and there is no question about it being a valid form of the mass. However, it doesn’t touch my soul in the same way. It doesn’t bridge me to the timelessness of the church, and for whatever reason I wasn’t able to appreciate the majesty of God in the same way. I take great comfort in the ritual, unchanging for over a thousand years. I also admit that “traddies” as we are often called, a semi-derogatory term for those who follow the teachings of the church – all the teachings — seem to gravitate there. Yes that includes Birth control, fasting before mass, and accepting that once we have entered into a sacrament before God such as marriage that backing out is just as unthinkable as the though of Jesus changing his mind about the salvation of mankind.

I would encourage everyone, including non-Catholics to visit an extraordinary form mass (a Latin mass) if for nothing more than to see and hear living history in the music and unchanging ritual. Most groups have translations of the mass with instructions for participation available and they have veils available for those women who do not own a mantilla of their own. If nothing else you should see if it touches your heart the way it touched mine.

At this point you’re probably wondering what this has to do with marriage. For me, holding my wife’s hand during our first extraordinary form mass together at St. Patrick’s in North Little Rock, AR., where we had gone after hurricane Katrina had just unraveled or lives was an amazing experience. I felt as though I was one with her and close to God at the same time. The sermon was by a French priest in thickly accented English about the arrogance of Americans not only in the social issues of our world but in our failure to live our faith, as a group, by assuming that the Natural Law and Catholic Church teachings change to meet the current political philosophy of the day. He blasted “Cafeteria Catholics”, Divorce, and birth control in addition to our reticence to address social issues.

The congregation stayed respectfully put, unlike at my home parish where the one priest with the moral courage to speak unpopular truths was regularly disrespected by people making a show of putting away their check books or walking out of mass early. It was in that Latin Mass that my wife and I first tasted the joy of a supportive community who shared our dedication to living the faith in joy and acceptance instead of paying it lip service. To have an awe of The Lord restored in this life and to experience a sense of being completely at home was inspiring beyond words. Yet it would be years before such a community formed close enough to our home to allow for active participation, years during which I faithfully attended (and still do from time to time) the Novus Ordo while praying that I would be granted the blessing of such a community.

This is important because in order to have a happy stable marriage you must situate yourself with like minded couples who are equally dedicated to their vows. They, and later you, pay it forward by providing support to younger couples, assisting them with life’s ups and downs as well as constructive advice for those critical hurdles all marriages seem to face from time to time. If you as a husband choose divorced men, womanizers, adulterers and the like as friends you will be not only influenced by their bad example and bad advice, but you will also be tempted to think their behavior is acceptable and normal – that you were wrong about your marriage vows and that your wants should come first. This also applies to the wife as well. If your friends or the communities you currently participate in are hostile to monogamous lifetime marriages, or even just friendly to those touting alternative lifestyles then its time to find new friends or a new community. If you find this difficult, then keep in mind that in marriage you pledged yourself to the love, care, and welfare of your wife before everything else save God. If your “friends” are getting in the way of your sacramental obligations and you refuse to break with them then you are lost, and your marriage will suffer.

Surround yourself with a supportive environment and you will flourish, surround yourself with a hostile environment and you will wither and die. Jesus used this analogy in a parable about sowing seed – something along the line of seed sowed on barren ground will never grow, seed which falls among brambles will be choked out and die, but seed which falls on fertile ground will flourish. Though he was speaking about Faith rather directly, it also applies equally to your marriage. Just as in any garden fertile soil must be cultivated and weeded – apply those methodologies to your life and the results will be far more gratifying than any prize winning tomato or orchid could ever be.

Sincerely,

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.

%d bloggers like this: