Tag Archives: marriage

Pornography and Marriage

24 Feb

sex-987183_1280

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi…

Carrying A Spouse – Hard Truth about Marriage

18 Jan

 

YoungCoupleEmbracing-20070508

It will happen to you. That is just a fact. At some point in your marriage you will either carry your spouse, or be carried by your spouse. In reality – you will probably both spend a good deal of time carrying each other.

All to often today we see this as a major imposition. When we marry we do not think too deeply about the “in sickness or health, for better or for worse” part of our vows. Then when a spouse needs to be carried any significant period, we think it’s ok to tell ourselves “this isn’t what we signed up for”, or the even more nefarious “I deserve better than this”. I’m telling you now – this is exactly what you signed up for, and your spouse deserves better if you think you can come up with an excuse not to carry them.

Most of the time, it is not just physically – but emotionally that we must carry each other. It is in those times that the need for God in your marriage becomes the most obvious, followed only by a willingness to sacrifice everything for your wife or husband for as long as it takes.

For my wife it was several years of carrying… recurring tumors in my head, and then neurosurgery, radiation, chemo drugs, medical complications, and strokes that accompanied them made her life a living hell. She nursed me back to health when the doctors sent me home to die, she changed my bedsheets, bathed me, helped me every time I needed to use the bathroom, and worked with me for long hours each day – long after the physical therapy coverage had run out. All of this while I had mood swings, depression, and massive memory loss.

I was frustrated, angry, and often downright belligerent. I had trouble speaking – much less speaking clearly, and when I did I had trouble finding the right words. Even when I did find them – they came out wrong, word salad and endless stuttering were some of the joys of brain surgery. I was in and out of the hospital time and again – and always she was by my side and holding my hand.

She was infinitely patient, and though I am sure she sobbed herself to sleep many nights, and prayed all night on others. All I saw was an angel sent by God, ministering to me every day with infinite love and patience. She had a developed a glow about her, as if lit from behind with soft light.

I’m telling you this because of the effect it had on me. It made me wonder even in the deepest recesses of my soul what I could have possibly done to deserve her love and dedication. The kinder she was, the more loving and tender, the harder it was to hate myself for my inability to do common things. The more difficult it was to even think of letting go, and the more I really loved her. I’m ashamed to say that I did not love her in the way I had loved her before she carried me, as that was so much more superficial and pedestrian than this and I had no basis for comparison beforehand.

I fell in love all with her over again and resolved myself to love her as she loved me – which was the closest reflection to the love of Christ I had ever been personal witness to. I’m still not there. I strive everyday just to be worthy of her – but I keep trying. It changed everything for the better, in the midst of tragedy God worked a miracle on my body and mind, while working the most amazing miracle on my heart – and He did it through her, and her love.

The next time you encounter a time when you must carry your spouse through a bad patch (no matter the reason), especially an extended one… It is not a truly a burden, but an opportunity for your spouse to see Christ in you, and add a whole new dimension to the agape, storge, and eros love in your marital relationship. It will also deeply bond you together in new ways you cannot yet even imagine.

Pax Christi

Colin

Abandonment

5 Dec

mourning-360500_960_720

Abandonment… No single issue in Sacramental Marriage troubles me more greatly than this issue. Spouses of both sexes are equally represented when they have told me of their circumstances.  The suffering caused by this grave sin never ceases to tear my own heart asunder, just hearing about it is deeply moving.

Often, people do not seem to understand what love is. I think this is an issue compounded by the fact that we have only one word for love in English. Therefore, we cannot easily separate whether we are talking about Eros (Erotic/Romantic love), Agape (Unconditional Love), or Storge (Familial Love) when we discuss “Love”.

More importantly they fail to understand the obligations of Sacramental Marriage properly and their views of marriage are based on current civil interpretations of marriage wholly incompatible with Catholic Sacramental Marriage. This is likely based on the fact that in western society people frequently enter the sacrament of marriage under the influence solely of Eros and the misguided notion that the sole purpose of marriage is to make them happy. Such emotional attitudes are the primary cause of many failed marriages.

As I am going to shock many people – let me detail the purpose of marriage according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1601 “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”84

But wait, I see “the good of the spouses”! Does that not mean I am supposed to get everything I want and be happy in marriage? The answer is absolutely not. Marriage is for the spiritual good of the spouses, not to cater to their whims, extramarital lusts, or material gain. This means, in short, that one of your key jobs in marriage is to get your spouse to heaven!

What of happiness? Does it also have a place in Sacramental Marriage? Of course, but it is not the kind of happiness that lets you changes spouses frequently, nor is it the kind of happiness that comes from putting your interests first at the expense of your spouse and children. It is a deeper and more abiding happiness found in reciprocated service to the spouse. My grandmother expressed it best as she often reiterated that “We make ourselves happy.  Your husband or wife simply shares the joy you create.”

Then of course we come to the crux of the matter. The fact is that marriages, even Sacramental ones suffer from the grave mortal sin of abandonment. The Catechism has some harsh words for those who abandon spouses:

2386 It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.178

Read it again… Sobering is it not. Sacramental Marriage is bound by the MORAL LAW, not the civil law. The moral law is God’s law, and the civil law is just made up by men.

Now I want you to stop and think about why this would be a grave mortal sin that imperils your soul. We could start with the emotional and financial hardships it imposes on the abandoned spouse. It might be good to think of the effect of abandonment on the children. Liberal news outlets and talking heads will tell you how it does not affect or damage children – but I have seen this evil firsthand. It does tremendous damage to the children. But I will let the facts speak for themselves because in all honesty, someone reading this is going to be in denial of the truth.

No matter which spouse abandons the other – the net effect on the family is disastrous all around, especially with the odious no-fault divorce laws across the country which make a spouse as disposable as a tissue paper. To understand just how disastrous this is you need to understand the facts and the statistics on the effect that a choice to end the marriage will have. Effects not just on your spouse, but on your children. After reading this study linked to through the quote below, you will be unable to claim that a spouse dissolving a marriage does not harm the children, or the other spouse.

Child poverty is an ongoing national concern, but few are aware of its principal cause: the absence of married fathers in the home. According to the U.S. Census, the poverty rate for single parents with children in the United States in 2009 was 37.1 percent. The rate for married couples with children was 6.8 percent. Being raised in a married family reduced a child’s probability of living in poverty by about 82 percent.[1]

Now consider that the damage you are doing to your spouse and children is simply an additional sin against God, your spouse, and the children. Then take a selfish moment and consider you immortal soul. To repent this sin you must seek to sin no more. That means that the only path to repentance and reconciliation with God is to return to your spouse and reconcile, and if reconciliation is impossible to live your life chastely and pray for your spouse daily after making every possible attempt at reconciliation.

I know, it comes across as harsh. I would remind those in sacramental marriages that they entered them freely and accepted the responsibilities that the Sacrament of Matrimony entails. I would also remind those same people, that upon hearing Jesus declare that divorce was impossible his own disciples exclaimed “then it is better not to marry!”

Jesus’ Teaching about Divorce
9“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” 10The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” 11But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.…

The solution is easy. Make the commitment each morning to Love your spouse in the sense of Agape and Storge Love. Eros will come and go throughout a marriage. Marriage requires a choice to have a greater love than mere erotic or romantic love. If your relationship is damaged such that your trust is broken and your spouse is distant – I highly recommend reading and following The Love Dare a 40 day program to help rebuild your marriage. If you want to see what the love dare is about you can watch the movie Fireproof (unfortunately DVD only on netflix right now). In addition you should speak to your priest about what programs or ministries are available through your parish or diocese to assist you.

For the love of God, the welfare of your Husband or Wife, and for your Children, please make that commitment right now and again each morning to love your Spouse as Christ loves you. If you are separated or divorced this still applies to you as no Sacramental marriage can be dissolved by civil laws. Take a moment to save your family and your immortal soul and return to your rightful spouse and reunite your family.

Pax Christi,

Colin

The Sorrow of Ashley Madison and How to Fix It

19 Aug

102714266-large_unnamed.530x298

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi,

Colin

Miscarriage – and What She is going through…

7 Aug

miscarriage-sculpture

I know this one is going to be uncomfortable for a whole lot of people. As a husband, I hope you never go through this tragedy – but if you do, you need to know this. I know, because I’ve been through this myself. You’ll wonder what she is thinking. You ask yourself what you can do? You’ll be mourning for yourself the whole time.

Hopefully this brutally honest insight from a good friend of my wife and I who just had a miscarriage, will be a window into a woman’s soul for you at a time when you need it most. Your wife may be days, weeks, or even months after the miscarriage before she can even begin try to explain her feelings, as she has to understand them herself first.

When you’re done – please say a prayer for their very recently lost child, Francis Anthony (Last name Omitted to respect the Family’s Privacy)…

Uncertainty, Hope, and Waiting

This is a somewhat graphic, quite long, and emotionally charged post.

It was drafted as I traveled this journey over the course of several days. I am baring my soul in this post, and this is part of how I work to heal. My pain is not unlike almost every other woman’s in the world. There are millions suffering in silence. I refuse to be one of them. I will use my big mouth to help others. The world needs to know how this affects those around them, and that certain comments are best left completely unsaid. Be respectful in your comments, and if you have a point of disagreement, choose your words carefully.

              ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

All I am able to do at this point is pray, hope, and wait. And repeat.

As I type this while lying down, I am completely uncertain. I think my brain knows more than my heart wants to admit. And I hate that this is where I am.

I am on doctor’s orders for rest, and a follow up with my regular doctor in a few days. I am home from the emergency room because of spotting. I thought it was just because I overdid it on Sunday after church, shopping with 2 kids in tow while wearing wedge heeled shoes. Seeing it when I went to use the bathroom made me gasp loudly, and Devildog came to check on me. It was brown and it subsided after several hours of rest and plenty of water. Spotting is considered a normal occurrence in this situation, and as long as it’s not red, and cramping is not involved, it could just be a slight swish in the cycle. And then today, it resumed, increased, and at some moments blood-tinged. Plus there has been some cramping that feels like dull pressure. I was advised to go to the E.R. because all diagnostic tools were there, and if this was an ectopic pregnancy, I would need to be there anyway. It’s not ectopic. But I didn’t see a heartbeat in the ultrasound. I don’t have a trained eye, but having had 5 children before, I know what to look for and where. To the best of my ability, I was unable to see what I’d hoped to see. Every ultrasound tech is quick to point out fetal heart rate. There was no such point of conversation today.

CLICK HERE TO KEEP READING!….

St. Jerome on Both Marriage & Divorce and Remarriage

2 Apr

Caravaggio_-_San_Gerolamo

Of late I have heard many people spouting that the prohibition on Divorce and remarriage was not always so in the Catholic Church. I have heard them say that the early church was not firm in it’s teachings on this matter. I have heard it said that Jesus taught “compassion” trumped the Sacrament of Matrimony.

I beg to differ. More importantly, St. Jerome himself (author of the Latin Vulgate Bible), very strenuously objects. Read what he had to say on the indissolubility of marriage and then ask yourself if you truly accept and believe authentic Catholic Teaching from the very beginning of the Church.

There is a gem in the last paragraph that explains exactly why celibacy was considered better, because in the Catholic Church the Yoke of Marriage is a very heavy one, as the Apostles themselves realized.  It can be a joyful one only if men and women work together in marriage. This letter makes clear just how seriously Christians took marriage in great contrast to societies they lived in who openly supported divorce (romans, jewish people, etc..)

Oh yes – there is one other item to be pointed out – if the wife is put away for “fornication” it would mean that she was put away because it was discovered that she had been unknowingly promiscuous before the marriage. After the marriage it would have been properly termed “adultery”. Misrepresentation is one of the clear grounds for declaring the marriage nullified – meaning it never happened and thus she would not be an adulterer because her husband put her away and she remarried. St. Jerome is wonderful in his clarity.

Letters of St. Jerome 360 AD. Letter #55 Paragraph 3

3. I find joined to your letter of inquiries a short paper containing the following words: ask him, (that is me,) whether a woman who has left her husband on the ground that he is an adulterer and sodomite and has found herself compelled to take another may in the lifetime of him whom she first left be in communion with the church without doing penance for her fault. As I read the case put I recall the verse they make excuses for their sins.We are all human and all indulgent to our own faults; and what our own will leads us to do we attribute to a necessity of nature. It is as though a young man were to say, I am over-borne by my body, the glow of nature kindles my passions, the structure of my frame and its reproductive organs call for sexual intercourse. Or again a murderer might say, I was in want, I stood in need of food, I had nothing to cover me. If I shed the blood of another, it was to save myself from dying of cold and hunger. Tell the sister, therefore, who thus enquires of me concerning her condition, not my sentence but that of the apostle. Do you not know, brethren (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman which has an husband is bound by the law to her husband, so long as he lives; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then, if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress.Romans 7:1-3 And in another place: the wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.1 Corinthians 7:39 The apostle has thus cut away every plea and has clearly declared that, if a woman marries again while her husband is living, she is an adulteress. You must not speak to me of the violence of a ravisher, a mother’s pleading, a father’s bidding, the influence of relatives, the insolence and the intrigues of servants, household losses. A husband may be an adulterer or a sodomite, he may be stained with every crime and may have been left by his wife because of his sins; yet he is still her husband and, so long as he lives, she may not marry another. The apostle does not promulgate this decree on his own authority but on that of Christ who speaks in him. For he has followed the words of Christ in the gospel: whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, commits adultery.Matthew 5:32 Mark what he says: whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.Whether she has put away her husband or her husband her, the man who marries her is still an adulterer. Wherefore the apostles seeing how heavy the yoke of marriage was thus made said to Him: if the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry, and the Lord replied, he that is able to receive it, let him receive it. And immediately by the instance of the three eunuchs he shows the blessedness of virginity which is bound by no carnal tie. Matthew 19:10-12

Pax Christi,

Colin

Clarifying the RFRA Disinformation

30 Mar

anti-rfra_1427512085780_15709012_ver1.0_640_480

On the RFRA – so many are missing the point. This is not about hate.  Baking a wedding cake for a gay wedding is an act of facilitation or participation in an invalid sacrament, namely a gay wedding, as is catering, photographing, floristry. That is the core objection. It is not about their gayness, it is about the grave mortal sin of participation in an INVALID SACRAMENT of Marriage. This whole debate is so distorted by off topic rhetoric that it’s gotten ridiculous.

This is no different than it being a mortal sin to facilitate or participate in an abortion – meaning if you even if you just provide gas money or loan the car to transport someone to an abortion then you committed grave mortal sin.

If I was a baker I wouldn’t bake a wedding cake for a divorced couple marrying without annulments in place either. No Christian pastor should marry them either unless he bases his religion on his feelings, rather than the direct teaching of Christ.

Luke 16:18
Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.

This should not be hard to understand. There is no prohibition on selling them most any other things, or providing services that don’t cross the line (IVF and Abortion being examples of a service that crosses the line – because of the Doctrinal Teaching in Humane Vitae). This does not mean Catholics are going to refuse to serve them lunch, save their lives in a hospital,  sell them a stereo, or allow them to use a laundromat.

What this does mean is that no Catholic business owner will be sued for refusing to facilitate or participate in an invalid sacrament or a mortal sin like IVF or Abortion. If only we could get those protections to employees.

This law is not about Christians in particular. This law will also protect a Jewish or Muslim butcher from having to slaughter a pig – which is a grave mortal sin in both religions.

These laws are already in place in 40% of states, and most of them have been since the Clinton administration for many of them. Bill Clinton (D POTUS) signed the federal version of this law, and Chuck Schumer  (D, NY) (another liberal) was the one who sponsored the bill. So it confuses me as to why liberals and Democrats would be angry over a law that their own like minded people championed.Professor-Marci-A.-Hamilton-RFRA-State-Map-October-2014-MEDIUM

I’m filled with a combination of sorrow and disgust that people just don’t seem to get it, and keep banging on the “Hate” drum without even knowing what they are talking about. There are days I wish people would read the Catechism cover to cover before delving into public debate about Catholics, or what they believe.

Pax Christi –

Colin

Give up SELFISHNESS in your Marriage for Lent

20 Feb

selfless-selfishPicture_65

To understand what marriage is – we must first understand what it is not: It is not dependent on romantic love, it is not dependent on your spouse doing their fair share, it is not dependent on your spouse not making mistakes – even grave ones that wound you deeply.

What marriage is about: a vow you took before God when you bestowed freely the sacrament of Marriage on your spouse and gave yourself to her in service until your death, marriage is about forgiveness, marriage is about loving even when that love is not returned, marriage is about remaining faithful even when your spouse is not, marriage is about doing whatever is best for your spouse instead of what you think is best for you, marriage is about putting your spouse above everything else save God in your life.

By now you are likely angry. Obviously, you have not stopped reading. Let me explain as Jesus did in the beatitudes – to become first, we must make ourselves last; To become the master, we must become the slave.

What that means in practical terms is that marriage is not about YOU. It is a vow of perpetual service, and when that vow is practiced by both parties simultaneously unfathomable joy and love bloom like roses in the desert. You should also be realistic and understand that any marriage will have it’s ups and downs – some very severe. In order to achieve those joys one must often endure hardship and even sorrow with dignity and commitment. There will be times when nothing but your commitment to your promise and Christ himself carry you in your marriage.

Let your marriage be a reflection of the Love of Christ for humanity. For if you cannot love your wife, how can you hope to love God, much less the world.

Your impediment to doing this is SELFISHNESS. For Lent, please consider giving it up in your marriage and see the difference it can make in 40 days. Then stop and imagine the difference it can make over a lifetime.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Natural “Self-Selection”

8 Feb

natural_selection

This is all about abortion, contraception, and LGBT combined with the destruction of families. Where to begin…

Lets start with the basis of the biological imperative coded into our genome which is to reproduce. Whether or not you believe in God even – when you contracept and abort you reduce or dramatically limit the amount of your genome passed on to future generations. For what greater monument to your time on Earth can you leave than children well raised.

Many perform sex selection to weed out daughters – this is a fallacy. A son may carry your name, but a daughter carries your genetic legacy and passes it on more effectively. We can trace all people on earth to a common genetic mother “Mitochondrial Eve“, but have no information on the father.

By self-selecting yourself for elimination from the gene pool – one might consider this a form of suicide. Since it is occurring at the macro level we can not help but see a Malthusian mechanism at work.  We thought we had outsmarted God, and here it is – God suprising us. This applies if you contracept, abort, or engage in same sex or gender bending relationships. Your line ends right here. It goes no further. You have been “Self-Selected for Extinction”

From a perspective of natural biology, you become a failure since you do not reproduce. The results of that failure are being felt strongly in Japan, Russia, China, Denmark, and even in the United States. The links provided are quite informative and from mainstream respected news sources – not some tin hat online magazine. They are quite enlightening. *The Danish public service advertisement video is risque and direct, but not vulgar.

You see, our economy will never recover without workers to work – and consumers to buy things. Our aging population is a recipe for euthanasia and disaster, especially when combined with a birth rate well below replacement level. There simply arent enough young people coming up to maintain the services already in place – much less to expand them as more people in the generation ahead of me retire.

Social Security is a ponzi scheme collapsing because we turned the pyramid upside down (not just because congress robbed it). That too will be an issue – without stable monogamous marriages averaging 3 children or better for several generations and men earning a living wage that will support that family and allow them the time to maintain the marriage and raise the children then we are doomed. Doomed by our greed and arrogance to crash and burn as a society and be replaced anew by a society made up of the children of parents who did not contracept and abort themselves into extinction.

The legacy of the future belongs to those who reproduce. If you want to save America, what America needs to save itself are well raised children from stable nuclear families. The non-viable mutations will die off shortly as nature intended and are of little consequence.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Uplifting Teaching on The Catholic Faith

23 Jan

There are times in the life of all Catholics when our faith can be sorely tested. I find that the African Cardinals like Cardinal Arinze have a wonderful, uplifting, clear, and engaging way of explaining the truths of the Catholic Faith.

Whether you are questioning Catholic Teaching, questioning in general, or just interested in understanding the Catholic Faith better.

Then by all means watch this video of Cardinal Arinze responding to many questions from birth control to Liturgical dance. By the time the video is done, you will not just understand – you will be smiling.

Pax Christi,

Colin

My Hopes for the Synod on the Family

16 Oct

game night

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

 

About Big Expensive Weddings

14 Oct

Cutting the Wedding Cake as one

Like all of Marriage, How symbolic is the act of cutting the cake together. Showing that everything we do going forward will done by two working as one in purpose.

I have noticed of late that weddings are getting bigger and bigger, as well as more expensive. Shockingly people are starting their lives together in debt to finance live bands, open bars, lavish food, pricey venues, and other frivolities. On the flip side, so many seem to think that if they are too poor to afford these things then they are too poor to get married.

Full disclosure here – I was married in a small church, including the dress my wife and her mother made the wedding and reception cost under $1000 for everything. When we married we did not need fancy gadgets, expensive crystal or china, or any of the commemorative knick knacks (save the one person who did a wonderful framed wedding announcement for us). It was a family affair, but most important we were there to get married. We were not there to get drunk. We were not there to cater dinner to dozens. There was no booze, light refreshments, and wedding cake.  Our wedding gifts were practical things – study serviceable towels, pots and pans, kitchen utensils, recipe books, and from her parents a honeymoon cabin in Hot Springs, Arkansas. We were there to get married and start a lifelong journey together.

I do not feel I missed out or was slighted. All the other trimmings of the wedding are gone – but my wife remains. Her companionship for life as my spouse was the only wedding gift I wanted. Young love would grow and mature over the years – and the path would be rocky, even seemingly impassible at times. The truth is  – if you are going to throw a party to celebrate something, why not wait until you have an accomplishment together to really celebrate?

“If I ran the zoo”, said Gerald McGrew, “I know Just what I’d do!” – and Seussian rhyme aside, I do!

I’d celebrate big anniversaries with aplomb!
The 20th one would be quite a bomb!
The 25th would be a muted and private affair,
but the 30th would certainly include dancing bears.
40 and 50 seem so far away,
Big numbers they are,
so big bands will play.
By 60 and 70 we’ll just be glad to be there,
and watch the great grandchildren from our tandem rocking chair.
While old and decrepit our bodies may be,
By then a shining example of marriage,
to them we will be 🙂

Think for a moment about what is truly important, consider what is truly an accomplishment? Is is really appropriate to do a victory dance at the beginning of a marathon? Or is it more appropriate to dance a little jig and let out a whoop at each major milestone along the way. My thought is to set your own milestones – a long journey is taken one step a a time. Use your anniversaries to rededicate yourselves to your marriage and celebrate you successes thus far. Because in the end, the marathon never ends – and the real joy comes from happy memories and success which are celebrated on the journey.

Pax Christi,

Colin

On “Keeping Score” in Matrimony

6 Aug

1024px-Peoples_Bank_Field_Scoreboard

One of the biggest things to avoid in marriage is keeping score. It’s also one of the things we seem to do the most. Nothing is “Fair” and marriage is NEVER 50/50.

Marriage is 100/100 – It’s an ALL IN proposition.

Take your scoreboard down. You are supposed to be on the same team, not in competition. Think about how you can help each other – and don’t worry about who helps who more. It’s not about YOU anymore after you enter the sacrament of matrimony – you are third in line or further down in your own priority list which starts with God, goes to Spouse, then Children (if any), and then YOU, after all that – everyone and everything else. (YES I DID! I put Spouse before Children in that list!)

Take a moment out of each morning to recommit yourself to loving and serving God and your Spouse (Yes Husbands are bound by the SAME RULES). Much of the time when I see scorekeeping happening it is because the husband or wife is not putting their spouse first and compounded by a spouse who is keeping score – for what constructive purpose I cannot fathom.

Communication plays a critical role. Even the best husbands can be both oblivious and dense at the same time (as can the best wives). Is your scorecard part of a plan to humiliate them to action? Is it to prove how much more virtuous you are carrying most of the load? Could it be that it’s just being saved up for the next disagreement, where it will be used as a club in an unrelated argument? — No… Stop… Don’t…

I think I like my wifes method best – she has refined it over the years mind you, and it works well when I use it too. It goes something like this “Dear, WE need to (Accomplish X), could you be a love and (Do X) for/with me. I don’t think I can get this done without you.”. What I love about this approach is that there is no snip or ugliness, there is instead:

  • a term of endearment sincerely expressed (often with a pat or kiss)
  • a reminder that we are both one flesh with the word WE
  • a specific goal is laid out
  • a request – not an order to do a specific task accompanied by another term of endearment
  • A very truthful declaration that the help from me is necessary

Now for the good part – it works on Wives and Husbands equally well. compare your own response to the above method vs. “Get off your fat lazy backside, clear the table and do the cursed dishes or we just won’t eat tonight lazybones”.  *I’d like to think I can rest my case on this one example – but it applies in all kinds of ways in your marriage.

However if you must keep score – start keeping track of the random acts of kindness you perform for your spouse every day. Every morning, look at yesterdays total – and try to better it.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Initiating Intimacy is Important

4 Aug

Admonitions_Scroll_Scene_10

Here’s something you likely haven’t given much thought to. However, it is of just as much importance as the intimacy itself is to your marriage and the bond between spouses.

Everyone – Husbands and Wives alike, needs to feel loved, wanted, attractive, accepted. If the same party is always the one initiating Intimacy (anything and everything from verbal gestures and holding hands to the Marital Embrace qualifies here) then the initiating party begins to feel as though his or her feelings are not mutual. This can be devastating to our marriages in many ways.

When intimacy breaks down because one partners is not feeling that the intimacy is returned in kind then emotions like anger, resentment, disaffection, and distancing start to surface. Self Esteem is damaged severely, and the bond between the spouses is weakened and sometimes irreparably damaged.

The solutions are so simple, and yet so psychologically complicated. In short people must both realize that in marriage we are EQUAL partners. Both Spouses have EQUAL rights and responsibilities when it comes to maintaining the marital bonds and it is not possible for just one partner to do it alone. We must be honest and sincere in our actions when initiating intimacy – disingenuousness usually works longer on Husbands than it does on Wives — but the end result is the same. It destroys trust and the marriage. Both parties must overcome their fears and doubts and trust their Spouse with their heart, naked and exposed.

  • Take the time to initiate Intimacy (not necessarily the Marital Embrace) with your spouse. Since some spouses can be blind as moles or stubborn as mules you may have to stretch yourself to reach them, especially if you are the wife.
  • If you are the husband then you likely need to relearn subtlety – how to court your wife and make her feel loved and wanted as a person. Your wife is not ignorant of the endgame, but she should never feel your affection is based on, nor depends upon that endgame. It is through selfless acts of affection that you will build her trust that what you seek is her love and happiness and not a romp in the hay.
  • Wives – In addition to being stubborn, most husbands tend to be hypersensitive of rejection. Especially by you – and especially when they feel it is repeated. He can behave rightly toward you, but if you do not reciprocate his tenders of affection or turn them away he will feel rejected. Just as you would if he did the same to you.  Smiles, handholding, and appreciation of even the most inept attempts to be affectionate or romantic are very helpful in building his self esteem up and keeping his focus on you where it should be. You should also remember that it will take times for Husbands to learn the more subtle cues. They will miss them until they really know you. This means that being more forward and direct is often required, and from time to time doing so is very helpful in making them feel desirable, loved, and wanted as well.
  • Both of you must realize that the goal here is not to reward affection with the Marital Embrace. Do these things to instead create an environment where you BOTH desire to give that gift to each other, and environment where both of you take initiative and responsibility to keep the affection between you and strengthen your bond.

In short, you are creating an environment in your marriage where the Marital Embrace becomes a tender of both affection and desire for unity between both of you and more. It becomes for you both, the deepest way of expressing that affection; And when  driving biological imperatives are removed from the act by the increased increased frequency – it becomes something more beautiful and bonding that I can describe in mere words. This will build the epoxy that binds you to each other as one, and keeps your focus always on the other. Don’t let anything come between you, especially anger, pride, or selfishness. We all know where those feelings come from, as well as where they lead us.

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

Tail Wags Dog!

1 Aug

I don’t whether to laugh or cry that so many have been led so far astray from the faith that they now think the Catholic Church is a “Democracy” led by the will of the mob instead of guided by the Holy Spirit. Thinking that Holy Doctrine on Faith and Morals is molded by society, rather than society being molded by Infallible Doctrine. I guess I missed the part of the bible where Jesus asked the crowds what he should say or do and then catered to their whims in order to be popular. This is the worst kind of tail wagging the dog I have ever seen. This should be a call to arms for every priest and bishop to start attending their own Catechism classes (teaching them personally if necessary), to start Catechising from the pulpit every Mass, and to start stressing to the faithful that Moral Truth is NEVER determined by a majority vote.

From the Wisconsin State Journal:

In the Spirit: Petitions with more than 20,000 signatures to be delivered to Bishop Robert Morlino

Read more: http://host.madison.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/religion/in-the-spirit-petitions-with-more-than-signatures-to-be/article_d89014d3-94b9-58b8-ad5f-82b2120357e4.html#ixzz39C7y2syt

Pax Christi,

Colin

Why Traditional Marriage is NOT Discrimination

25 Jul

 

This video answers the question with Charity, Clarity, and Catholic Principles.
Fantastic! #DefendMarriage

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

#DefendMarriage

25 Jul

I spend alot of time talking about marriage and its importance. This is a cause I believe in wholeheartedly, and without reservation. If we do not take a stand now then marriage as God himself instituted will be lost to our society. Many of us are faced with the choice of talking or acting. This is an action everyone can take. This petition is important – and it provides a peaceful and democratic way to ensure our voices are heard and our numbers counted on this issue. If ever there was a time to step forward and be counted – this is it. Do it for your wife or husband, do it for your children and their children, but just do it. Take 3 minutes out of your life and sign the petition.

We will never be heard unless we speak aloud with one voice, in deafening solidarity.

After you have signed the petition – I would ask those of you so inclined to please share this post far and wide on social media and email. Bloggers are encouraged to Re-Blog this post.

Then do any or all of the following:

  • Go to your church and have a mass said for the intention of Sacramental Marriage
  • Add it to your intentions in Eucharistic Adoration
  • Pray the Rosary for this intention, or better yet form a rosary group to continue praying until Sacramental Matrimony is secure in America.

Click Here for the petition:
http://www.lcaction.cc/674/petition.asp

Pax Christi.

Colin

Human Sacrifice is Alive and Well

1 Jul

01_22

 

It’s not a baby, its a “Clump of Cells” according to the liberal left. This baby was a human being that was sacrificed on the altar of:

  • Financial Security
  • Greed
  • Convenience
  • Career
  • Education
  • Adultery/Infidelity
  • Fornication
  • Fear
  • Irresponsibility

I could go on – but in short, this Baby was a human sacrifice. Murdered to obtain something of comfort or value in this life at the price of an unthinkable sin against God. We all know murder is wrong – so we tell ourselves it’s not a person. Look closely at the picture above and tell me that’s not a baby. Tell me it’s a clump of random cells in a blob. Yeah, that’s what I thought – It’s a baby human. A gift from God and some mother to whose care it was entrusted murdered it before it was born. This is how far our society has fallen.

To give you an idea how far that fall is we need to examine Roman law that protected the unborn and made abortion illegal. They recognized the innocence of the unborn child and would not even execute a pregnant women. These people had zero respect for life in general and meted out death in a public manner and on a grand scale. They thought up amazing ways to kill people, especially focusing on how to keep them from dying too quickly. Crucifixion comes to mind, since it was a penalty too brutal to use to execute a Roman citizen. They could still kill a citizen by beating him to death though. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out just how badly damaged our moral compass is.

When a woman murders her unborn child – she is sacrificing its life because of her mistake or to make life easier for her in some way. We live in a society where we charge people with crimes for spanking children but we harbor criminals who participate or facilitate human sacrifice through abortions.  When a child with issues like down syndrome is murdered, it is not really concern for the child – it is concern for the time, effort, lifestyle changes, and fiscal costs necessary to care for that child. Let us not fool ourselves any further – dishonesty just compounds the evil.

Women need these fairy tales about how it’s just a clump of cells (No wonder Planned Parenthood doesn’t want women to see their babies on an ultrasound machine first!) to go through the sacrifice without going mad. Men should be ashamed of themselves. They need to start taking full responsibility. Don’t have premarital sex. If you do make sure it is with a woman you are willing to take to wife – because the very second conception occurs your life is forever changed. You now have an obligation to provide and care for that mother and child over any personal aspirations you may have had. To provide a home and family. Men used to be expected to marry young ladies they left in a family way – and treat them as sacramental marriage requires. The pregnancy alone is proof of strong chemistry – and true love develops over time anyway. Now so many men push the women to have abortions with threats and coercion, and failing those being efficacious – use any wrangling they can to get out of supporting their offspring.

The worst part is that those men push Human Sacrifice on the mothers for the same reasons listed above. Then to compound their sin, they induce others to sin. The family is the basis of civilization. Take the chivalrous path, let duty, honor, and sacrifice be things we once again admire. Let women choose young men more wisely making moral character the key quality they seek. Let women practice the Lysistrata defense and demand sacramental marriage prior to coitus. If a man will not make a commitment and wait, then he is not worthy of her anyway.

Stop the Human Sacrifice – you are bartering for things that do not matter (you cannot take them with you when you die – nor will they be your epitaph) and you are trading the most precious gift God bestows. Only one entity would encourage such a bargain – have you ever considered that in performing the Human Sacrifice of your child one might stop and ask themselves “Whom does this serve?” I guarantee “God” will not be the answer.

When the Obamacare demanded Catholic business owners and other persons of moral conscience not only support, but to personally fund this human sacrifice – they went off the reservation. Thanks be to God for the Supreme Court providing a moral compass. Mind you this does not stop all abortions – it just stops Catholics and others with similar religious convictions from having to pay for them. It’s the first step in the right direction in a long time.

Pax  Christi,

Colin

 

 

Let your Wife Drive…

15 Jun

photo 1

Let’s be realistic here. Too many men think Leading = doing everything for people. This can be especially disastrous in marriage, especially for wives – but also for families should you become ill or incapacitated. It has more localized effects and benefits as well, but the overall benefits to your relationship with you wife are the really important ones.

Have you ever been out fishing on a boat? I have spent an inordinate amount of my life on the water, and I noticed something different about our boat from the others for the first time yesterday. It was the only fishing boat with a woman driving. Why is that important you ask? Well I’ll ask you a few questions. If something happens to you can she pick you up safely and get the boat back to shore even if you’re unconscious? Could she do it in the same adverse conditions you could? In short, how can you truly function as a team if you can’t carry the other when necessary?

Stop for a minute and think how this lesson applies to your life together – everything from finances to basic property maintenance. To work as a team you need to help each other get the work done, not have one person helpless and dependent on the other for everything. A wife is not a thing to be kept, she is a fully capable human being ordained by God to stand beside you and be your helpmate. Don’t cripple her capabilities because of your insecurity and thwart God’s plan. You might even discover your wife is better than you at critical skills – this is a gift and makes you a better team. Never forget that you are on the same team, just as God himself ordained – and act accordingly.

Leadership in the family is not about doing for them and keeping them dependent. Leadership in the family is in loving them and making them fully self-sufficient, and not fully dependent on you. Make sure that you are never in a position where your wife thinks she couldn’t do something without you. Think about this, do you want her bound to you by need or by choice. Me personally – I want my wife to be with me because she wants to be with me more than anything else, not because she feels insecure and incapable of caring for herself. In fact, I have seen a number of relationships experience great difficulties when wives began to explore self-reliance much to the chagrin and disparagement, rather than than the active participation and encouragement, of their husbands.

If you lead your wife and family well, you will never question why your wife is with you, nor what binds you together. Fail to lead them and you will always wonder.

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

 

What the Church really needs IMHO

1 Jun

A meal shared in community after mass. (Local VFW since our parish hall is being renovated)

A meal shared in community after mass. (Local VFW since our parish hall is being renovated)

In a word – COMMUNITY.

I’ve been listening to people that keep espousing tripe like:

  1. Better Bands
  2. Hipper Priests/Married Priests
  3. Nicer buildings
  4. Women Priests
  5. Openly Gay Married Priests
  6. Drop the teachings on… Matrimonial Indissolubility, Artificial Contraception, Fornication, Homosexual Copulation, Homosexual Marriage, Murder and Abortion, Papal Infallibility, The Eucharist, Relic Veneration, Marian Devotion

I’m going to stop there for a reason. For the church to do ANYTHING past #3 it would cease to be the Catholic Church. In essence, most of the proposals I am hearing are superficial or simply out of the question.

Now for a dose of honesty in this conversation. The church teachings are used as an excuse not to come back – but the real reason in my humble opinion is a lack of connection to the Church. The Church is no longer an integral part of the family or the community. Without it families and communities  have fallen apart. The Church is wounded even more deeply by two generations of the poorest quality of catechesis, or lack thereof,  in history. We have too many who claim a lack of participation because they want to rule or govern some aspect of the church rather than humbly submit to her as willing servants and the current structure excludes them from doctrine and policy decisions. The sense of community has been lost. How long has it been since you had a social hour after church before people left? How long has it been since you shared a meal after mass with complete strangers in community (and not as a fundraiser – but one where not a penny was collected nor expected)? When was the last time you performed some act of service for your Church or Parish that involved real work from you – like cleaning the church, mowing the grass, moving things, repairing something — while working as part of a larger group of volunteers. The community must be made of people, not their cheques.

Just as fatherhood in this country has been erroneously abrogated to a monthly support check, so religion seems to have been abrogated to a tithing cheque or pledge. We have allowed both of these to happen. Worse still is a sense of entitlement that has accompanied this change. We have become arrogant and impetuous. Some have decided that because they write a cheque that suddenly they should have a say in Church policy and doctrine. It gets better still when people outside the church think that they too have a say. Acting as if the Church of Christ were a democracy. This represents nothing less than a confederacy of dunces in rebellion against God himself. God who personally founded the Church and set Peter at its helm. At some point it is my hope that we will see though it. Though it will not cure all ills, putting the church back at the center of the community is the surest way to bring people back. We need to have them fully personally invested, and teach the next generation the joys of serving lovingly without expectation or direct remuneration. All while notwithstanding the need for teaching them the faith.

You see the mass isn’t the problem, the doctrine and teaching of the Catholic Church is not the problem, faithful communities disappearing – that is the problem. Without those communities we are left standing alone, against a world which seeks to consume our very souls.  With strong communities we become a rock and the world an ocean, it can dash against us, and cover us, but we remain firm and faithful. Without those communities we are but gravel on a beach at the mercy of waves and tides.

To paraphrase JFK (our only Catholic President), ask not what the Church can do to serve you, but instead what you can do to serve the Church.

Pax Christi,

Colin

A Valid Marriage

18 May

couple-fighting-on-couchI know a man who is divorced with a child and just cannot let go of his ex-wife. The facts are simple: she left him, the marriage has been adjudicated invalid, there was a child produced by the marriage, former wife is now remarried with another new baby, he is now alone and paying child support for his child.

I’ve been pretty dry about all this emotionally. However, It is nothing if not: messy, sloppy, heartbreaking, fist-clenching, and gut wrenching. That said there is a distinct lesson to be learned from this persons experience. Take steps to ensure you enter only a valid marriage. This means you attend the Pre-Cana sessions and tell the truth. Expose yourself up front fully so that your heart will not be rent later. Choose wisely – you only get one shot at this, don’t allow your hormones to make a choice you’ll regret later.

Most of our friends who are long married started as we did: friends, best friends, more than friends, then married. In this progression all secrets and warts get shared up front, we learn to forgive, and we know them intimately in a way that allows us to truly asses our ability to get along, function as a team, and collaborate on things long before sex and other considerations can skew our viewpoint. We see our spouses as people, and not objects. The trick to long term marriage is to stay best friends always – the friendship provides a firm foundation for true love when the mutual feeling love is there, and provides a safety net in marriage for those times when we let that love die down or even go out for a time. When there aren’t any secrets or hidden pasts to fear in a relationship there is a real freedom. It comes from being loved for yourself, not the persona you donned to woo your wife but couldn’t maintain forever.

It’s a suggestion I hope more men will heed for the sake of their children and the sake of their hearts, as well as love and concern for their spouses future happiness. Nobody should ever feel cheated by their spouses lack of disclosure 2 years into a marriage.

Please take a moment and pray for this man, and all persons who find themselves in this position or affected by one like it.

Pax Christi,

Colin

The Pope Tweets on Marriage!

9 May

For my readers –
This will sound very familiar. Please share as widely as possible so that everyone might be blessed by this wonderful truth!

Pax Christi,

Colin

Annulment does NOT equal “Catholic Divorce”

7 May

nullcertificate170w170

There is a lot of talk about making annulments making more easily available, easing the annulment process and how it will fix all the churches problems. I would venture to say that people that make such proclamations ignore 50 years of history, and fail to understand just what an annulment is (Hint – it is NOT “Catholic Divorce”). In fact, divorce is a civil proceeding in which civil authorities terminate a marriage in direct contradiction of Christ’s admonition that “What GOD has joined, let NO MAN put asunder”. The very idea that a state has any authority as regards a Catholic Sacrament is both offensive and ludicrous. The state is simply terminating a civil contract – but the Sacramental Marriage remains. God not only does not recognize a civil divorce approved by men, but specifically forbade it. A Civil divorce does not dissolve an existing Catholic Sacramental Marriage – nothing can. An annulment is a finding by the Church that there was never a sacramental marriage in the first place (so in essence the marriage never happened and therefore rendering the ideal of dissolution a moot issue).

In order to make my point more saliently, I would ask you to to read this article by Msgr. Pope at the Archdiocese of Washington website here: http://blog.adw.org/2014/05/the-church-cannot-change-her-doctrine-on-marriage-and-divorce-concerns-for-the-upcoming-synod/

Pay special attention to this paragraph from his article:

Many troubling statistics could be presented to show that there has been a true explosion in the number of annulments granted. In the early 1960s, there were about 300 annulments granted per year in the United States. Today that number is over 60,000!

Stew on it it a bit. This is the number granted not the number applied for or appealed, and people are screaming and clamoring for many more to be granted for an ever expanding number of new reasons. They do not want to obey their vows or the Church – they want a shortcut back into communion with the Church that somehow makes their ongoing sin clean – or frees them from a binding commitment to God and their rightful spouse so that they can re-enter the Sacrament of Matrimony with another. The fact is that the church is granting more and more annulments every year – so many that even Pope Benedict Ordered a review of the process and criteria used in the US for granting them since our nation/society seems to be in the lead on this. Note that rather than slowing the disintegration of the Catholic families down, it has been like throwing gasoline on a fire to douse it. So much so that an exponential explosion of civil divorces and associated annulment requests continues to expand.

The rapid expansion in the numbers of annulment application has presented challenges for the Church aside from the increasing numbers of divorces by Catholics. This is before we address the very uncomfortable issue of the costs associated with obtaining an annulment. I know personally a number of people who spent huge sums on canon lawyers, application fees and appeals. I also know personally, that by the current levels of decentralizing the process,  people have been denied in their own archdiocese – even through the appeals process. Only to apply in another diocese where annulments are known to be more liberally approved, and quickly receive their annulment. Many of these people have come away with the impression that an annulment is something to be purchased at great fiscal cost from the correct diocese – even if the grounds for the annulment were solid. This impression must be combated with all vigor – as it brings scandal on the Church. The idea of further decentralization to increase volume and limit review is fraught with greater issues – not the least of which is inconsistent applications of standards and scandal in the Church. With proper Pre-Cana counseling, the ability of a couple to get an annulment should be extremely limited (all but non-existent without fraud being committed) – all because Pre-Cana properly documented that all steps were taken to ensure the validity of the sacrament up front.

An annulment is not a divorce – an annulment means that the marriage was invalid on it’s face. Invalid because it did not meet the requirements specified in the CCC 1625-1632. Annulment means that sacramental marriage never happened because of some impediment to sacramental marriage in place at the time of the original marriage. The idea of claiming youth as an impediment I personally view as a cop-out. Young people do stupid things, but an annulment is not a vehicle to undo a choice you regret. An annulment is supposed to be based on whether you understood the Catholic Teaching on Sacramental Marriage and had no impediments when you entered into it – nothing more.

Marriage is very hard work, you are essentially committing to serve your spouse (husband or wife) in union and fidelity no matter what happens in the future. People will change over time, this is not a reason for an annulment. People will be unfaithful, once again not a reason for an annulment. People will complain they do not “love” their spouse anymore. Love is a choice we make every day . The feeling we so often mistake for love is the hormonal rush that is a result of the hormones released when we successfully make that choice – but it is just a feeling, not love itself. Marriage is not about being in love – it is about service to God through the service to one’s spouse. Sacramental Marriage is about consecrating one’s words, actions, body, and heart to God and their spouse every single morning and then working together with a single purpose to achieve your shared goals.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have an answer people will like regarding this teaching of Jesus Christ himself on Marriage, but I will also be one the first to admit that it is through Sacramental Marriage that I maintain God in my daily life. I would remind people that even the Apostles were shocked and made Jesus repeat for clarity his statement on the indissolubility of Marriage. Jesus did not promise us the path would be wide, or pleasant – just that it would be worth it, nothing more. As for those claiming compassion as an excuse to contradict Christ himself – I would ask them if giving an alcoholic another bottle is true compassion. I would ask them if Christ himself made such a teaching crystal clear from his own lips; Then whom do they really serve that would propose to change it in His name, under the banner of “compassion”?

The indissolubility of sacramental marriage is a continual reminder of the indissolubility of God’s love for us, and serves as my compass and my shield. Take these from Matrimony and what you have left is no longer something precious and priceless which is beyond any earthly power to purchase, and instead it becomes something common, base, worldly, and pedestrian that can be bought and sold – and given and taken by mere men. Sacramental Marriage is a great gift from God – we should treat it accordingly with the respect and reverence it is due. In my humble opinion – Until the Church solidifies this teaching by requiring strict observance of the grounds for invalidity, the faithful will continue to waiver. Only when the magisterium takes a hard stance, will the faithful will start to take the teaching very seriously once again.

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

My Wife’s Surprise Facebook Post

26 Apr

Before you get all excited – the surprise was not in the content of the post. The surprise was in the eloquence and simplicity of the presentation. While our society may not agree, they would have to experience it first to have any basis for comparison.

Here’s her post –

Marriage isn’t just another relationship. It isn’t just about making you happy or making sure you always get yours. It isn’t about finding the perfect person who has nary a fault to annoy you. There is no room for selfishness in marriage. It is a sacrament, a life long covenant of love and service to one another, and a vocation, just as is the priesthood. It is not meant to be broken when you are no longer getting what you want. It is all about giving selflessly, 100%, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It’s about lifting each other up, facing all life’s challenges as one, caring for one another, and loving despite our faults. Marriage is not about you. It is about committing yourself to another, and the ultimate goal is to love your spouse right into heaven.

In our materialistic society, where it seems everyone is concerned with the question, “what’s in it for me?” this kind of relationship seems impossible. But with Christ’s grace, it is not only possible, but a little glimpse of heaven on earth. It will require, though, that you make a total commitment to your spouse. Give everything! Yes, this makes us frighteningly vulnerable, and you must trust your spouse to do the same. Therefore, choose wisely, not based on hormones and fleeting emotions alone, and pray for one another that you may keep Christ before you and both remain steadfast in your commitment to Christ and each other.

I am bothered by how often I hear things like, “I’m not doing that for him. If he wants it, he can do it himself.” Marriage is about what we can do for *each other* not because we can’t live without the other, but because we choose to live with and for each other! Or worse still, I hear, “If I do that for her, what’s in it for me?” A stronger marriage and more love in your life! Yes, you have to be willing to sacrifice for each other! We don’t get to plan on having only the better and never the worse, only the richer and never the poorer, or only health and never sickness! If you aren’t willing to go all in for your spouse, whether there’s something in it for you or not, you aren’t ready for marriage. If you’re already married and finding keeping it together a struggle, time to change your perspective! First thing to banish? Keeping score! It’s not a sports event.

Pax Christi,

Colin

A Rash of Unwanted Divorces – Prayers Needed

21 Apr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi,

Colin

%d bloggers like this: