Tag Archives: compassion

Dear Pope Francis

18 Sep

Pope Francis

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi,

Colin

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

 

Quit Apologizing for the Catholic Faith

6 Apr

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

Papal Comments on Gays and Divorcees in the Church

29 Jul

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

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

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

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

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

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

A valid Catholic marriage results from four elements:

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

Read more about sacramental marriage and requirements HERE.

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

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

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

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

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

Yours in Christ,

Colin

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