On the Feast of the Holy Family, December 29, 2013, the Archbishop of Bologna, Cardinal Carlo Caffarradelivered a homily defending the family against attacks and from laws “issued on the basis of fashionable trends”. The following translation is by Italian journalist and CWR contributor Alessandra Nucci:
“May God keep us from fearing decrees or laws that are issued on the spur of fashionable trends”
…The Gospel shows us what the situation of the family is even today.
The family is the place where the power of this world clashes with the voice of God.
And where does this confrontation take place? First of all, in the heart and conscience of every man and every woman. It is here that the voice of God rings out; it is in the heart that God’s divine project for marriage and the family is written.
But on the other hand powerful lobbies which are quite often in control of the means of producing consensus endeavor to distract men and women from listening to the voice of God speaking to their consciences; from reading that divine law that is inscribed in the human heart. […]
But the clash does not take place only within the hearts and minds. It also takes place on a public level, in the places where laws and made and decisions are taken; as an ideology, a plan of action and where behavior takes shape; as a public delegitimization of any and all dissent from that ideology.
Dear brothers an sisters, dear spouses and parents, how did Joseph defend his family? Simply by obeying God’s plan. He had no other tool at his disposal.
And what about today, dear friends? “The Church, by following Christ, is seeking the truth, which does not always coincide with majority opinion. The Church listens to conscience and not to power and in this way it defends the poor and despised” [Bl. John Paul II, Ap Exh. Familiaris consortio 5].
Herein, dear brothers and sisters, lies your strength: in your docility to the voice of God as it rings out in your conscience. How does it ring forth? By giving you the light of some original evidence. I would like to state them here.
The first: marriage is between a man and a woman.
The second: children have a right to be with a man and a women who are their father and mother; and therefore can not be replaced by two adults of the same sex who are not father and mother but “act” as father and mother.
Let us pray, especially today, that the Lord may always keep an upright conscience within us; so that we may never set aside a healthy sensitivity to right and wrong. And may God save us from fearing decrees or laws that are issued on the basis of fashionable trends. (…) (Source)
Don’t worry everyone, when Pope Francis faces his first showdown with the German bishops over marriage, the light’s gonna blink about the whole collegiality business and giving more power to Episcopal conferences. Not. such. a. good. idea.
Remember the about-face when it happens and which blog predicted it.
There appears to be a lot of confusion and angst about why Catholics who divorce and remarry cannot receive Holy Communion. For some, this seems cruel, legalistic and unforgiving. However, a deeper understanding of the true nature of marriage and the Eucharist leads us to only one possible conclusion: it can’t be any other way because remarriage and the Eucharist are exact opposites. Read the rest of this entry »
In a lengthy essay strongly reaffirming the Catholic Church’s teaching on the impermissibility of divorced and remarried Catholics receiving Communion, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also linked the validity of Catholic marriages to the couple’s openness to children – a requirement that, he said, is often sadly lacking in marriages today. (Source)
The great thing about the whole redefinition business which is going on in society today is that the Church has a chance to recover some of that nasty triumphalism that has garnered bad press in these past number of months. The fact is the Church is triumphant because Jesus is her Head and Jesus is triumphant. Why shouldn’t we be happy and glorious? We’re the champs. We got the belt…not because of our own deeds but because Jesus has deemed that we wear it. So we’re gonna wear it…the Wrestler’s Urim and Thummim of sorts. Check it out:
Anyhow, the great thing about the confusion about marriage is that the Church can step up and actually teach about what marriage is and what it is not. So decent people can be attracted to her common sense answers among an ocean of really stupid definitions and even worse rationale, not the least of which is sodomy-inspired marriage, polygamy, marriage to a dolphin or a chair. The depravity of humanity knows no boundaries.
If we get our mojo going, it’s going to be the Champ vs. the Chump, the latter being the dolt we use to see during the wrestling matches who everyone knew was going to lose to the Belt holder.
You thought that Pope Francis was making questionable and confusing statements? Here’s what the Catholic Register and the chief marriage canonist of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops are saying about marriage:
Most people on their wedding day are thinking about love. But the Catholic Church rule says that the necessary condition for a sacramental marriage is free and informed consent — not love. When marriages break down and after divorce Catholics seek a declaration of nullity, they are not asked “Did you love him?” They are asked “Did you know what a marriage is and did you freely enter into it?”
“When (I) talk to people who are not canonists, I’m very embarrassed to say that according to canon law it’s not love that makes a marriage but consent,” Canada’s top canon lawyer told The Catholic Register. (Source)
That’s a sloppy and misleading thing to say. It’s borderline defamatory towards Christ and his Church. It makes the Church seem like a cold, arbitrary law firm.
It’s true that the exchange of vows between the spouses is the key element that ties the knot. But why create a false dichotomy between consent and love? Just what exactly are the spouses consenting to? They’re not consenting to “being married”, as if they were applying for citizenship. They’re consenting to love as Christ loves us, the Church. This involves a complete and unconditional gift of the spouses to each other, holding nothing back. As the Catechism says:
The consent consists in a “human act by which the partners mutually give themselves to each other”: “I take you to be my wife” – “I take you to be my husband.” This consent that binds the spouses to each other finds its fulfillment in the two “becoming one flesh.” (CCC #1627)
The wedding vows of indissolubility, fidelity and openness to children are precisely designed to manifest the same qualities of free, total, faithful and fruitful love that Christ has for the Church. A withholding of consent that leads to a decree of nullity really means that at least one the spouses, at the time of the vows on their wedding day, did not intend to love as Christ loves. So consent has everything to do with love and it makes no sense to create a dichotomy between the two.
Perhaps the men in the article were speaking of “love” in the Hollywood sense of the term, meaning a fleeting emotion, infatuation or other elusive state of mind. But that’s not the Christian meaning of love in the context of marriage.
It may be convenient for some circles in the Church to make marriage seem like a legal proceeding devoid of love, because that makes people more pre-disposed to demand changes. Nobody likes legalism and lawyers, right? It’s the good ol’ straw man rhetorical approach.
But there’s another angle they’re missing. Given that the sacrament of marriage is a special sign of Christ’s unconditional and faithful love for the Church, what sacramental image would we be sending by diluting the indissolubility of marriage? The dirty sacramental implication is that Christ isn’t faithful, that he will only love and forgive us until he gets bored, at which point he may dump us any time. You see, the indissolubility of marriage goes to the very heart of the revelation of God to humanity. Good luck evangelizing with a notion of an unfaithful god.
“We shouldn’t say, ‘You’re not worthy to receive the sacraments,’ as if the sacraments are a reward for good behaviour,” he said. “Here the Pope is talking about these people like they are one of us, like they are still loved by God. And the sacraments are there to help us become better people who are able to go into a deeper relationship with God. They’re there to strengthen us, to give us faith, as opposed to being a gold star for being good people.” (Source)
This is not just about marriage. This is about attacking the authority of Christ’s Church. No one who is separated from their spouse or has obtained a civil divorce is barred from the sacraments or not loved by God. The claims to the contrary are purely hubris and bullkaka.
However, the presumption of matrimonial validity remains with the bond of holy matrimony which Christ himself elevated to a sacrament.
To saturate or weaken the bond for one couple, means to weaken it for all. That’s the same principle we apply to same-sex “marriage” when proponents of sodomic unions attempt to ape the covenant between a man and a woman. There’s not one rule for you and another for me. There is one truth and it applies to everyone equally, under God’s kingdom.
Therefore, it is a mortal sin on two fronts to contract a faux marriage outside of the Church’s binding witness:
2) Usurpation of the sacrament
This is not simply about attacking the Sacrament. It is about attacking the permanency of ALL sacraments and the Catholic Church’s involvement in administering (or witnessing) to those sacraments.
I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit will guard the sacred deposit of our holy faith during these deliberations. It will be interesting to see how this will work, pastorally. There are indeed pastoral solutions which may be found to help people go through an annulment process, and for that we can all rejoice. However, the game afoot is not really about that, is it? It’s about legitimizing divorce in all but name and, in so doing, superceding the authority of the Church in applying Christ’s radical teaching on marriage.
The same fools who want to water down all of the Church’s teachings from abortion, to contraception, to sodomy to just about everything else, are generally the people who are salivating over this “opportunity”.
And let’s not forget about those poor wives and husbands who have asked that the bond of their marriage be defended and the Church has risen to the occasion to hold the other party to account and upheld the marriage bond. There are two sides of this story. All we are hearing from the bedsheet theologians at The Catholic Register is the bleeding heart side who want a loosening of the “bedsheet dogmas”. Far be it for them to interview the heartbroken spouses who depend on the Bond to call their partners to repentance. But then again, that’s really never been The Catholic Register’s shtick, has it?
That if there is to be any hope that we will not merely be laughed at (as happened last month at the U.S. Supreme Court) when we point out the common sense truth that gay “marriage” cannot really be marriage because marriage and procreation go hand in hand, and gays cannot procreate, it will only be because we are joyfully welcoming children into our own marriages; or because we have not deliberately rendered our own marriages sterile through mutilation or contraception; or because we ourselves have rejected the use of technologies that violently wrench the process of procreation from its only rightful place within the beautiful act of marital intercourse and transplanted it into to a laboratory.
And if there is to be any hope of not merely appearing ridiculous when we say that true marriage is infinitely better than gay “marriage” for children because it gives them both their biological mother and father and is more stable, it will only be because we ourselves have done the hard work of building stable, faithful marriages; or because we ourselves have not voluntarily deprived our own children of either their mother or father.
And if we are not to be scoffed at when we say that sex is “sacred” and only properly expressed within the confines of a marriage between a man and a woman, it will be because we ourselves are living emblems of the joy of living chastely; because we ourselves have rejected promiscuity, pornography, and infidelity; and because our pastors preach and our churches teach that sex is sacred and have refused to compromise with the culture of divorce and promiscuity.
In other words, if there is going to be any hope of saving traditional marriage, then we will have to discontinue this charade, in which all of us are implicated to one degree or another, of accepting or indulging in our favorite portions of the Sexual Revolution, but then complaining bitterly when the revolution leads precisely to where it promised to lead.
We simply cannot convincingly stand guard over the citadel while at the same time plundering its spoils. No. If we are ever to see the restoration of a culture of true marriage, then we are going to have to start being consistent. And that starts with you, and me, today. (Source)
At the end of the day, it’s all about the Sacraments of Separation. Divorce and “Remarriage”, Adultery, Contraception, Sterlization, Abortion. You can’t defend marriage, if you don’t know what it really means. Deep inside the human consciousness, people can smell BS. If you don’t really believe in marriage as the Catholic Church defines the term (whether you are Catholic or not), it’s only a matter of time before every filth and depravity enters human civilization and starts to tear it down, one child at a time.
Don’t bother with the politics or the legalities of the issue. It’s a pipe dream to believe that people will practice what you preach when you preach something which is not really marriage, anyhow.
Only authentic witness and practice will change the culture. Only holiness and discipline. Everything else is bullkaka, and the other side knows it, too.
A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS — St. Paul High School presents Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons on Friday April 12 & Saturday April 13 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets ($10 for adults & $8 for elementary and high school students) are available at the door or can be reserved by contacting the school. St. Paul High School is located at 2675 Draper Avenue. Phone 613-820-9705 or email Paul.High@ocsb.ca. When King Henry VIII forced his subjects to choose between loyalty to him and faithfulness to the Church, Thomas More, the Lord Chancellor of England, followed his conscience and thereby lost the favour of the king, his friends, his position, his wealth, his freedom, and ultimately his life. The martyr, St. Thomas More is patron of lawyers and civil servants, but serves as an inspiration for all men and women.
When one reads something like this, one is struck in awe and amazement of how so completely lost our Canadian episcopacy is in navel gazing questions of the 1960s:
“Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist…calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be.”
The great joy with which families from all over the world congregated in Milan indicates that, despite all impressions to the contrary, the family is still strong and vibrant today. But there is no denying the crisis that threatens it to its foundations – especially in the western world. It was noticeable that the Synod repeatedly emphasized the significance, for the transmission of the faith, of the family as the authentic setting in which to hand on the blueprint of human existence. This is something we learn by living it with others and suffering it with others. So it became clear that the question of the family is not just about a particular social construct, but about man himself – about what he is and what it takes to be authentically human. The challenges involved are manifold. First of all there is the question of the human capacity to make a commitment or to avoid commitment. Can one bind oneself for a lifetime? Does this correspond to man’s nature? Does it not contradict his freedom and the scope of his self-realization? Does man become himself by living for himself alone and only entering into relationships with others when he can break them off again at any time? Is lifelong commitment antithetical to freedom? Is commitment also worth suffering for? Man’s refusal to make any commitment – which is becoming increasingly widespread as a result of a false understanding of freedom and self-realization as well as the desire to escape suffering – means that man remains closed in on himself and keeps his “I” ultimately for himself, without really rising above it. Yet only in self-giving does man find himself, and only by opening himself to the other, to others, to children, to the family, only by letting himself be changed through suffering, does he discover the breadth of his humanity. When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child – essential elements of the experience of being human are lost.
The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.
…The European future is rapidly disappearing, or perhaps it is better to say that the European past has raided the future for so long that there is nothing left for the present. Europe gave up on its future long ago, most fundamentally by not having children, which is the single most enduring tie to the future. A nation that chooses not to replace itself does not intend to stick around.
Once the decision is taken to live in the present, why not defer to the future the cost of as much of the present as possible? It was once accepted that one generation should not burden future generations, but that argument is far less persuasive when the future generations comprise fewer and fewer people.
Thus the Mediterranean model was born (pardon the pun for a continent without babies): low birthrate, generous welfare, rampant tax evasion, early retirement, expansive pensions, rigid labour markets and low productivity. How to pay for this? Borrow recklessly. And hope you die before the pillaged future arrives. Alas, sometimes the future arrives sooner than one thinks. The future arrived for Greece last month and Italy last week. It’s due to arrive in Spain shortly…(Source)
This article hits the nail on the head. But it’s not so much the article which is noteworthy, it’s the responses which really show that people are very, very blind.