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Posts Tagged ‘Marriage’

Prayerful Poems

In 07 Observations on 2016/08/26 at 12:00 AM

St. Anthony

We pray to St. Anthony when things can`t be found,
we ask him to please come around;

He never fails to fulfill my request,
for me he`s always done his best;

I remember to thank him for his guidance,
and especially for his presence;

His love and compassion he shares with us,
let`s us know in him we can trust;

God gave him the gift to help others,
to him we are all sisters and brothers.
.
by Jackie Duick
The Couple

I hold someone special in my heart,
with him there we will never part,

feelings of care,
make us a loving pair,

when a couple begins their life as one,
the task at hand will never be done;

their lives will always intertwine,
as they follow the pathway through time;

They strive in life to do what is divine,
praying God will say you are mine;

Time will separate us for a while,
but we`ll eventually meet again with a kiss and a smile.

by Jackie Duick
Praying to God

There are many ways to pray to God,
some with their head may just give a nod;

Others will whisper their prayers to Him,
while some may write theirs with a pen;

Many prayers are said aloud,
especially those united in a crowd;

Some praying only with their mind,
which makes praying convenient at anytime;

When ever or where ever or how we pray,
Our Lord is there night and day

by Jackie Duick

Divorce Statistics Indicate Catholic Couples Are Less Likely to Break Up

In 07 Observations on 2015/10/22 at 12:00 AM
by WAYNE LAUGESEN 
blog.adw.org 

WASHINGTON — An oft-repeated tale says Catholic marriages fare only slightly better than those among the rest of the American population — which is said to have a divorce rate of about 50%. If it were ever true, new research tells us it’s no longer the case.

“I’ve long been under the impression, without investigating the numbers, that this idea of Catholic marriages failing at about 50% is faulty,” said Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs, Colo.

So the bishop was pleased to see data compiled by Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate that shows Catholic marriages doing well, relative to marriages in the general population. Officials of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) share his enthusiasm.

“The lower rates of divorce among Catholics compared to the overall population is an encouraging statistic that we can learn from,” said Bethany Meola, assistant director of the Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Georgetown center reported in late September that a variety of national surveys show “Catholics stand out with only 28% of the ever-married having divorced at some point.”

While 28% remains a troubling statistic, the research suggests that this figure compares favorably with the 40% divorce rate for those with no religious affiliation, 39% for Protestants and 35% for those of other religious faiths.

Overall, 26% of all American adults have divorced, whereas 20% of Catholics have done so.

When statisticians looked more closely at the data dealing with Catholics, they found that Catholics who marry people of the same faith have a lower divorce rate than Catholics who marry non-Catholics.

Among mixed marriages, Catholics who marry Protestants or non-religious spouses have a divorce rate of 49% and 48% respectively. Catholics who marry someone of an “other” non-Protestant religion, such as Judaism, have a 35% rate, while Catholics who marry Catholics have a 27% divorce rate.

Not Surprising

“Practicing Catholics, especially those who enter matrimony with a practicing Catholic, have significantly lower divorce rates,” blogged Msgr. Charles Pope, pastor of Washington’s Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Catholic Church, after studying the new research. “Of course, it makes sense, doesn’t it? The faith lived seeks God’s help.”

Christian Meert, diocesan director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life in Colorado Springs, Colo., isn’t surprised by the numbers either.

“If they are both Catholics and practice the sacraments and pray together, they will grow through every event in their lives,” Meert told the Register. “They also have received an incredible grace through the sacrament of matrimony, a grace that helps them through the difficulties life brings.”

Though Bishop Sheridan says Catholic marriage rates must improve, he suggested that a growing number of Catholic dioceses have made progress with solid marriage-preparation standards and doctrinal teachings that forbid contraception and explain natural family planning (NFP) to engaged couples.

“From everything I have read and heard, NFP really does add to the intimacy of the husband and wife,” Bishop Sheridan explained.

“It calls the husband and wife to bring attention to the sexual relationship. I have heard a great number of testimonials about this.”

Bishop Sheridan welcomed Christian Meert and his wife, Christine Meert, into his diocese after meeting the couple about a decade ago. Together, the French immigrants founded and began running the growing business CatholicMarriagePrepOnline.com.

The interactive Internet-based curriculum has become widely used throughout the world to help Catholics discern and prepare for marriage.

“It became our program with a few tweaks and moderations, and they have marketed it internationally,” Bishop Sheridan said. “I know other bishops are paying attention to it.”

Different Approach

Meert said that, in the past, the Church’s typical approach to marriage preparation involved important instruction on practical matters of finance and communication, “even if not in an always very Christian way.”

He said many of the programs did a poor job of following up with couples and did not instruct them in important matters of the faith.

“Many of them were stuck in dealing with just communication and finances, when the duty of the Church is to catechize, evangelize these couples and help them encounter Jesus and convert,” Meert said.

“The duty is to help them learn about the teachings of the Church, the formation of conscience, the sacrament of matrimony, prayer and all that pertains to the spiritual life.”

Meert hopes the growing popularity of pre-Cana programs, which adhere strictly to Church teachings on married life, will make a difference and improve success rates of Catholic marriages.

The USCCB’s Meola credited a variety of modern diocesan marriage-preparation programs throughout the United States with strengthening Catholic marriages and lowering divorce statistics.

“One likely reason for this lower divorce rate is that the Church has been a leader in modeling the need for adequate time for marriage preparation and formation, and many high-quality marriage-preparation programs are available throughout the country,” Meola explained.

Marriage: A Lifetime Vocation

Meola said marriage-preparation courses make a difference because they instill what should be obvious but often is not among today’s young adults: Marriage is a lifelong vocation.

“It’s not a product to be bought and then discarded at one’s convenience,” Meola said. “The ‘pause’ of marriage preparation helps couples pray, discuss and reflect on the significance of what they are planning to undertake. … Hopefully, the more the good news about God’s plan for marriage can be promoted and witnessed, the more young people will be attuned and open to God’s beautiful plan for them.”

The Georgetown research also found a decrease in the rate of annulments in the United States, which accounted for a staggering 49% of worldwide annulments in 2011.

In 1990, one annulment was introduced for every 4.5 Catholic marriages. Though the United States continues to lead with this statistic, the number had dropped to one for every 6.5 marriages in 2011.

Bishop Sheridan expressed hope that the promising data indicate a strengthening of Catholic marriages, but he worries it may signify something else.

“We cannot automatically assume that a drop in annulments means marriages are doing better,” the bishop said.

“My concern is that fewer people who could potentially benefit from a decree of nullity are petitioning for it. A growing number may be unaware that it exists. I sometimes worry that divorced people are sort of looking away, going to Communion and living as if it’s just fine, and they don’t have to do anything. I think it’s a question we have to ask and begin to explore.”

Wayne Laugesen writes from Colorado.

National Catholic Register 11/14/13

Victory at Lepanto and the Rosary

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/10/10 at 12:00 AM
  • Last Tuesday the Church celebrates the victory of the Catholic naval fleet over Muslim Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. That autumn the Catholic Church and all of Europe was facing its most menacing enemy, and the very fate of Christendom was hanging in the balance.
  • Marauding Muslim Turks had been advancing from the East for several years. At this point in history they controlled most of Northern Africa and the Middle East, and the Turks had their eyes set on Venice and the whole of Europe.
  • The Catholics, led by the famous Don Juan, were seriously outnumbered. But Don Juan had something the Muslims didn’t have. He had the blessing of the pope; the help of Jesuit, Dominican and Franciscan chaplains who accompanied the fleet; the prayers of the faithful; and rosaries for all of his men going into battle.
  • Early on the morning of October 7, 1571, the battle of Lepanto began. And throughout the day, in the church of St. Mary Major in Rome, Pope Pius V prayed the Holy Rosary with the Christian faithful for the Catholic naval fleet, imploring our Lady for victory over the Turks.
  • By early afternoon the battle was over. With a loss of only 7500 men, the Catholics – against all odds – emerged victorious, and today, October 7, became known as the feast day of Our Lady of Victory. The Turks were vanquished, and Europe was saved from militant Islam.
  • Later this feast was renamed in honor of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, as it was because of thousands of people praying the Rosary that this victory was secured. It is for this reason that the month of October is especially dedicated to the Holy Rosary.
  • Sadly, Christendom is not done fighting! More enemies abound, and we have more battles to fight today, especially against atheistic secularism. Seeking to excise all religion from public life, secularists are waging what some have described as a “war on God.”
  • At its heart this war is based upon a selfish and proud refusal to submit to a higher authority, much like the non serviam uttered by satan so long ago. Nowhere is this battle more apparent than in issues concerning marriage and the procreation of new life.
  • Not only do secularists refuse to recognize the God-given nature and purpose of marriage and the marital act, and not only do they seek to redefine marriage and the marital act according to their own selfish desires and whims, but they also want the freedom to destroy the beautiful fruit of marriage and the marital act: human life. This is perverse. This is evil!
  • Both our first reading and our Gospel today talk about marriage. Our first reading from Genesis speaks of how it is not good for man to be alone, and how a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two become one flesh.
  • In doing so, this passage from Genesis, which is repeated by our Gospel, provides the very foundation for the Church’s teaching on marriage and the conjugal act.
  • As Catholics we believe that marriage and the conjugal act go hand-in-hand and are not to be separated. The marital act is sacred; it’s a holy act of love. Because it is so sacred, the conjugal act is not something we can just enter into as we please and with whom we please.
  • On the contrary, it’s an action that carries serious responsibilities, and thus it should only be entered into by people who have accepted and vowed to live out these responsibilities together: namely a man and a woman who are married to each other.
  • You see, the primary purpose of marriage is the procreation of children, and the secondary purpose of marriage is the intimate, exclusive, and indissoluble unity of the couple.
  • These fundamental purposes are most perfectly realized in the marital act. Thus, neither purpose should ever be divorced from the marital act because doing so distorts the purpose of the act and breaks down the marriage.
  • Because the primary purpose of marriage and the marital act is the procreation and education of children, we can see that in God’s design, the creation and protection of human life and the institution of marriage are inextricably bound up together.
  • Human life is meant to be created and nurtured within the context of a family, which is naturally formed through marriage. Therefore, we must do everything we can to protect the sanctity of marriage and resist anything that corrupts a traditional understanding of marriage.
  • But we have to do more than just protect the traditional understanding of marriage to protect human life. In today’s society we must also fight the very grave evil of abortion.
  • Since 1973 when abortion was legalized in our country, more than 50 million babies have been aborted in the U.S., and currently 22% of all pregnancies in the U.S. end in abortion (cf. Guttmacher Institute, August 2011 report). Truly, this is the greatest shame of our country.
  • Abortion is a very difficult issue emotionally because so many of us have been affected by it in one way or another. As a priest I’ve heard scores of confessions in which women and men have confessed to this terrible sin. The pain of this sin runs so very deep. But please know that God’s mercy runs deeper!
  • And so I must say: if you have been involved in an abortion in some way and haven’t yet confessed it, please do so. Please come to confession and receive forgiveness. If you are sorry, God will forgive you. So fear not! God wants to give you His mercy!
  • Abortion has also become a tricky political issue in our country because abortion supporters have been successful in framing this issue in terms of a woman’s right to determine if and when she will be mother, and Americans tend to place great value on personal rights.
  • Abortion supporters have also succeeded in categorizing abortion as a form of health care. But honestly I don’t care what President Obama, Hilary Clinton, Kathleen Sebellius, or any other abortion supporter say. Simple logic tells us that ripping an unborn child limb by limb from his mother’s womb is not health care!
  • Moreover, while women may have legal rights to an abortion, women do not have a moral right to kill their children. While abortion is a choice that is currently protected by US law, it is always in every circumstance a wrong choice, an evil choice, and must never be condoned.
  • Thus, abortion is something we must fight! We do this through our prayer, through our fasting, through peaceful demonstration and protest, and through voting for pro-life officials.
  • As this year is an election year, this last way of battling abortion takes on greater importance. While the Catholic Church does not explicitly tell us whom to vote for in any given election, Holy Mother Church does provide principles for us to follow in the voting booth.
  • Specifically, the Church says that when it comes to voting, we must first look to those issues that deal with that which is most important: life, specifically: abortion, same-sex unions, human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia.
  • These issues are of the highest importance because they are all intrinsically evil acts, and therefore as Catholics we cannot support candidates who promote or support these evils. To do so is to be complicit in their sins.
  • Moreover, while issues such as health care, immigration reform, and the economy are important and may certainly have a moral dimension to them, they must not be accorded greater value in our decision-making than the life issues because they do not deal with intrinsic evils. They are important, but not as important as the issue of life.
  • So my brothers and sisters, I urge you to study up on the candidates and their positions. And do the right thing by voting only for the viable candidates that best protect life.
  • Let us do this so that life in all its form may be protected and defended, that evil may be exposed and eradicated, that truth and goodness be defended, and that God may be praised.
  • May our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary aid us and intercede for us in this battle for the protection of all human life.

7 October 2012

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio .
To enable the audio, please go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

Proverbs: A Blueprint for Living

In 15 Audio on 2014/07/25 at 12:00 AM
Audio File Name – Click to download
1. Introduction
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
prov_bluepr_01.mp3
2. Marriage Problems and Good Communication
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
prov_bluepr_02.mp3
3. Speach and Silence
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
prov_bluepr_03.mp3
4. Wisdom of Work
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
prov_bluepr_04.mp3
5. Anger
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
prov_bluepr_05.mp3
6. Poverty
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
prov_bluepr_06.mp3
7. Government and Politics
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
prov_bluepr_07.mp3
8. Chastity and Love in Marriage
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
prov_bluepr_08.mp3
9. Government and Justice
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
prov_bluepr_09.mp3
10. Business and Commerce
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
prov_bluepr_10.mp3
11. Pride and Humility
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
prov_bluepr_11.mp3
12. Love in a Family
Host – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
prov_bluepr_12.mp3

 

“Saint Joseph, a teacher of the interior life”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/03/21 at 12:00 AM
Saint Joseph, father of Christ, is also your father and your lord. Ask him to help you. (The Way, 559)

Saint Joseph, our father and lord, is a teacher of the interior life. Place yourself under his patronage and you’ll feel the effectiveness of his power. (The Way, 560)

Speaking of Saint Joseph in the book of her life, Saint Teresa says: ‘Whoever fails to find a Master to teach him how to pray, should choose this glorious Saint, and he will not go astray.’–This advice comes from an experienced soul. Follow it. (The Way, 561)

Saint Joseph. One cannot love Jesus and Mary without loving the Holy Patriarch. (The Forge, 551)

There are many good reasons to honour Saint Joseph, and to learn from his life. He was a man of strong faith. He earned a living for his family ‑‑ Jesus and Mary ‑‑ with his own hard work. He guarded the purity of the Blessed Virgin, who was his Spouse. And he respected ‑ he loved! ‑ God’s freedom, when God made his choice: not only his choice of Our Lady the Virgin as his Mother, but also his choice of Saint Joseph as the Husband of Holy Mary. (The Forge, 552)

Saint Joseph, our Father and Lord: most chaste, most pure. You were found worthy to carry the Child Jesus in your arms, to wash him, to hug him. Teach us to get to know God, and to be pure, worthy of being other Christs. And help us to do and to teach, as Christ did. Help us to open up the divine paths of the earth, which are both hidden and bright; and help us to show them to mankind, telling our fellow men that their lives on earth can have an extraordinary and constant supernatural effectiveness. (The Forge, 553)

Love Saint Joseph a lot. Love him with all your soul, because he, together with Jesus, is the person who has most loved our Blessed Lady and been closest to God. He is the person who has most loved God, after our Mother. He deserves your affection, and it will do you good to get to know him, because he is the Master of the interior life, and has great power before the Lord and before the Mother of God. (The Forge, 554)

“Do whatever he tells you”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/02/28 at 12:00 AM
In the middle of the rejoicing at the feast in Cana, only Mary notices that they are short of wine. A soul will notice even the smallest details of service if, like her, it is alive with a passion for helping its neighbour, for God. (Furrow, 631)

Our Lady was a guest at one of those noisy country weddings attended by people from many different villages. Mary was the only one who noticed the wine was running out. Don’t these scenes from Christ’s life seem familiar to us? The greatness of God lives at the level of ordinary things. It is natural for a woman, a homemaker, to notice an oversight, to look after the little things that make life pleasant. And this is how Mary acted.

—Do whatever he tells you.

Implete hydrias (John 2:7), fill the jars. And the miracle takes place. Everything is so simple and ordinary. The servants carry out their job. The water is easy to find. And this is the first manifestation of our Lord’s divinity. What is commonplace becomes something extraordinary, something supernatural, when we have the good will to heed what God is asking of us.

Lord, I want to abandon all my concerns into your generous hands. Our Mother—your Mother—will by now have said to you, as at Cana: “They have no wine!…”

If our faith is weak, we should turn to Mary. Because of the miracle at the marriage feast at Cana, which Christ performed at his Mother’s request, his disciples learned to believe in him (John 2:11). Our Mother is always interceding with her Son so that he may attend to our needs and show himself to us, so that we can cry out, “You are the Son of God.”

—Grant me, dear Jesus, the faith I truly desire. My Mother, sweet Lady, Mary most holy, make me really believe! (Holy Rosary, Second Luminous Mystery)

Notification from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

In 14 Book Corner on 2013/10/17 at 12:00 AM

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith today published a “Notification Regarding the Book ‘Just Love. A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics’ by Sister Margaret A. Farley R.S.M”. The document warns the faithful that the work in question “is not in conformity with the teaching of the Church. Consequently it cannot be used as a valid expression of Catholic teaching, either in counselling and formation, or in ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue”. The English-language Notification is signed by Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and has been approved by the Holy Father.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote to Sr. Farley in 2010 enclosing a preliminary evaluation of her book and indicating the doctrinal problems it contained, however her answer failed to clarify those issues in a satisfactory manner. The Congregation therefore proceeded to examine the volume following the procedure for “examination in cases of urgency”. In June 2011 a commission of experts confirmed that the “book contained erroneous propositions, the dissemination of which risks grave harm to the faithful”. Sr. Farley was sent a list of the erroneous propositions and invited to correct them, but her response “did not adequately clarify the grave problems contained in her book” and the Congregation decided to proceed with the publication of this Notification, extracts of which are given below.

“The author does not present a correct understanding of the role of the Church’s Magisterium as the teaching authority of the bishops united with the Successor of Peter, which guides the Church’s ever deeper understanding of the Word of God as found in Holy Scripture. … In addressing various moral issues, Sr. Farley either ignores the constant teaching of the Magisterium or, where it is occasionally mentioned, treats it as one opinion among others. … Sr. Farley also manifests a defective understanding of the objective nature of the natural moral law”.

“Among the many errors and ambiguities of this book are its positions on masturbation, homosexual acts, homosexual unions, the indissolubility of marriage and the problem of divorce and remarriage”.

“Sr. Farley writes: ‘Masturbation… usually does not raise any moral questions at all’. … This statement does not conform to Catholic teaching: “Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action. … For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved”.

“Sr. Farley writes: ‘My own view … is that same-sex relationships and activities can be justified according to the same sexual ethic as heterosexual relationships and activities’. … This opinion is not acceptable. The Catholic Church, in fact, distinguishes between persons with homosexual tendencies and homosexual acts. Concerning persons with homosexual tendencies, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “they must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” . Concerning homosexual acts, however, the Catechism affirms: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved””.

“The Church teaches that the respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of … homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognise, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. … The denial of the social and legal status of marriage to forms of cohabitation that are not and cannot be marital is not opposed to justice; on the contrary, justice requires it”.

“Sr. Farley writes: ‘My own position is that a marriage commitment is subject to release’. … This opinion is in contradiction to Catholic teaching on the indissolubility of marriage: “By its very nature conjugal love requires the inviolable fidelity of the spouses. This is the consequence of the gift of themselves which they make to each other. Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement ‘until further notice’. The intimate union of marriage, as a mutual giving of two persons, and the good of the children, demand total fidelity from the spouses and require an unbreakable union between them. … The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble. He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law”.

The Notification also assesses Sr. Farley’s opinion that divorced people may remarry, saying: “This view contradicts Catholic teaching that excludes the possibility of remarriage after divorce. … In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ, … the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognised as valid, if the first marriage was'”.

“With this Notification, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith expresses profound regret that a member of an institute of consecrated life, Sr. Margaret A. Farley R.S.M., affirms positions that are in direct contradiction with Catholic teaching in the field of sexual morality. … Furthermore the Congregation wishes to encourage theologians to pursue the task of studying and teaching moral theology in full concord with the principles of Catholic doctrine”.

 VIS

“The value God places on marriage”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2013/07/26 at 12:00 AM
In the middle of the rejoicing at the feast in Cana, only Mary notices that they are short of wine. A soul will notice even the smallest details of service if, like her, it is alive with a passion for helping its neighbour, for God. (Furrow, 631)

The pure and noble love of husband and wife is a sacred thing. As a priest, I bless it with all my heart. Christian tradition has often seen in Christ’s presence at the wedding feast in Cana a proof of the value God places on marriage. “Our Saviour went to the wedding feast,” writes St Cyril of Alexandria, “to make holy the origins of human life”.

Marriage is a sacrament that makes one flesh of two bodies. Theology expresses this fact in a striking way when it teaches us that the matter of the sacrament is the bodies of husband and wife. Our Lord sanctifies and blesses the mutual love of husband and wife. He foresees, not only a union of souls, but a union of bodies as well. No Christian, whether or not he is called to the married state, has a right to underestimate the value of marriage.

We have been created by God and endowed with an intelligence which is like a spark of the divine intellect. Together with our free will, another gift of God, it allows us to know and to love. And God has also placed in our body the power to generate, which is a participation in his own creative power. He has wanted to use love to bring new human beings into the world and to increase the body of the Church. Thus, sex is not a shameful thing; it is a divine gift, ordained to life, to love, to fruitfulness.(Christ is passing by, 24)

Major Threat to Life

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2013/07/19 at 12:00 AM

While there are many topics that can be included under the banner of “threats to life,” there are two right now that stand out as the most dangerous to our society: abortion and same-sex unions.

Of course when it comes to abortion, it’s very easy to see why this is a threat to life. The good news is that an increasing number of Americans believe that abortion is wrong in every circumstance, and abortions are decreasing in our country.

Some states like our own are now enacting stricter abortion laws, and many abortion mills in the U.S. are experiencing financial difficulties. These are all reasons for us to be optimistic.

But the war on abortion is far from over, and as a Pro-Life community we must keep up the pressure through programs such as 40 Days for Life and by voting only for pro-life politicians.

Why same-sex unions are a threat to life, however, is not as easy to understand. And sadly, Americans are increasingly relaxing their attitudes toward this grave evil.

Before I go any further on this topic, I want to make it absolutely clear that the Church makes a distinction between those who suffer from same-sex attraction and homosexual acts. Certainly the Church teaches us to love the sinner yet hate the sin.

Experiencing same sex attraction is a disorder, but it’s not a sin. To be sure, there are many types of disordered attractions that humanity is subject to. But acting on this disordered attraction and engaging in homosexual activity is always gravely sinful.

Same sex unions are a threat to life because they change and pervert the very act by which new life is created. And they are a threat to our society because they undermines God’s plan for the family, which is the very building block of our society.

As Catholics we know that all human life is sacred because we are created in Gods’ image and likeness, and thus the act by which life is created is also sacred and is not to be misused.

When we use our free will to misuse the gift of procreation, we rob ourselves and others of our God-given human dignity. We become less than who we are called to be.

You see, the conjugal act is sacred and holy only when directed towards its purposes established by God: first, for the procreation and education of children, and second for mutual up building in love of a married couple joined together in a permanent covenantal relationship. Any conjugal act that is not open to these two purposes is intrinsically evil.

The very first chapter of the Bibles teaches us that: “God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27). God did not make them male and male, but male and female.

Thus, this passage teaches us that there is a necessary complementarity that must exist in the marital union, a complementarity that can only exist between a male and female.

The next verse continues: “God blessed them, saying: ‘Be fertile and multiply.’” Because they lack the complementarity necessary for true union, homosexual unions are not fertile and cannot multiply, and therefore they can never be open to the gift of life.

To the contrary, homosexual unions distort the marital act, destroying the procreative aspect of it as well as the unitive good, for love not rooted in Truth is not authentic love.

By legalizing same sex unions, we are not only consenting to grave sin as a society, but we are also changing the God-given nature of marriage. Salvation history teaches us that when we willfully turn away from God’s will, we set ourselves up for disaster.

Therefore, contrary to all the rhetoric we hear from the media, banning same sex unions is not a discriminatory act. It’s preventing the legalization of evil. It’s not a matter of denying someone happiness; it’s a matter of trying to save souls.

While I could talk for hours on the evils of abortion and same-sex unions, there is one evil that underlies and makes possible an acceptance of both abortion and same sex unions, and thus, it’s important to address this topic too. This root evil that has produced the rotten fruits of abortion and same sex unions is contraception.

Again, as with abortion and same sex unions, I have no intention of judging or condemning anyone who is caught up in this sin or has been in the past.

I know that many of you here right now are probably a bit uncomfortable. Well, I’ll tell you a secret: I’m uncomfortable too! Honestly, I don’t like talking about these topics. But considering the state of our society today, I can’t not talk about these things.

So I stand here today as both your spiritual father and your brother in Christ – as someone who loves you. And because I love you, I want you to have a fuller understanding of why these issues are evil so that you can make a more informed decision about them.

As I’ve said so many times before, truth is objective. It’s real and independent of us whether we like it or not. We don’t determine truth for ourselves. It simply is. And part of cooperating with God’s salvific grace is conforming our lives to Him Who is Truth!

In the parable of the landowner and tenants, Jesus tells us today of the consequences awaiting those who refuse to follow God’s will, and who instead do violence to those who represent Him: they do not inherit the Kingdom of God.

As Catholics, we are blessed that the fullness of truth has been revealed for us in Jesus Christ, who has enshrined this fullness of truth in the teachings of His Catholic Church.

As for contraception, we know that it is evil because it willfully sterilizes the marital act. By willfully eliminating the possibility of procreation, it distorts the purpose of the marital act.

By its nature marital love is meant to be fruitful and boundless. It’s like an intimate language in which spouses speak to one another and say: “I give myself to you fully.” When couples use contraception, it’s as if they are lying to each other when they engage in marital intimacy.

By contracepting we make the conjugal act something less than it was intended to be, and we take God out of the picture. This is why the Church teaches that using contraception is intrinsically evil and gravely sinful.

In essence contraception makes couples the arbiters of God’s plan for life rather than the servants of that plan. It’s an inherently selfish act and a refusal to accept the responsibilities that come with marital love. It’s a refusal of the fullness of marital love.

More than anything else, it is the widespread acceptance of contraception in western society that has led to the ill-begotten belief that the marital act can be about something other than the procreation of children. This is a terrible lie that has led to terrible consequences for us.

Pope Paul VI predicted that with the widespread use of contraception, there would be a general increase in promiscuity, adultery, and illegitimate births, as well as an increased divorce rate and the eventual acceptance and proliferation of abortion. Sadly, he was right.

This is because contraception teaches us that we can engage in the conjugal act without love and responsibility. It teaches us that we can use each other for our own gratification without consequence. This same mindset of using the conjugal act for our own selfish ends is now leading to an acceptance of same sex unions.

My brothers and sisters, look around at our society. We are drowning in an ocean of disordered sexuality. Every form of sexual perversion and impropriety is readily accepted and defended in our society as long as the people involved are consenting adults.

But we are mocking that which is sacred in God’s eyes. We mock God Himself. And it’s time that we Catholics fully embrace our faith and say “ENOUGH!” It’s high time that we rise up, speak out, and defend our society from these evils that are afflicting us.

I know that having children can be a scary proposition, and it’s often because of this that people turn to abortion and birth control. I also understand that embracing a life of celibate chastity can be lonely, which may lead those with same sex attractions to sinful unions.

But please remember that you will never find the peace and freedom we all desire apart from God’s will. And engaging in these evils is never part of God’s will for any of us.

Let us pray today for the courage not only to follow God’s will in all of these matters, but also to speak up and make these truths known

Marital Commitment

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2013/06/14 at 12:00 AM

• Both the reading and the Gospel today come from St. John the Beloved Disciple.  And both of these readings focus on love, reminding us that as the children of God, we are called to love one another just as God – Who Is Love Itself – has loved us.

• Indeed, love is one of those topics that we cannot over-emphasize in the Church because our Lord teaches us that the greatest commandment is to love. We are called first to love our Lord above all things, and then to love one another as we love ourselves.

• Love comes in many forms: there is the charitable love that exists between friends and neighbors, the nurturing love that exists between parents and children, the fraternal love that exists between siblings, and, of course, there is the life-giving love that exists between a man and his wife.

• While I could give homilies on any of these forms of love, I want to focus today on this last type of love: marital love, because in many ways this is the most important form of love that we exercise with one another.

• Marriage forms the basis of family life, and families are the building blocks of any human society. For better or worse, marriage is public; it’s not just a private arrangement between two people, and therefore the success or failure of a marriage has an impact on society as  a whole.

• Therefore, it’s important that we all be invested in protecting the institution of marriage, which is very sadly under attack today. It’s also important that we live out our marriages in conformity with God’s laws. But to do this, we must understand what marriage is all about.

• If you look at the documents of Vatican II (Gaudium et Spes) and Canon Law, you’ll find that marriage is the intimate, exclusive, indissoluble communion of life and love entered into by a man and woman. God designed this sacrament for the procreation and education of children and for the purpose of the spouses own good.

• “Marriage is a holy mystery, a symbol of Christ’s love for the Church.” It is a vehicle for  holiness! Marriage is not simply a social institution; it also has religious implications. Specifically, marriage is a conduit for God’s grace to flow to a couple and to their children.

• So marriage has both natural and supernatural dimensions, and both must be recognized.

• Thus, for Christians, marriages are actually triangular relationships: husband – wife – and God. All three are necessary to make a marriage work. And in living out a marriage, all three parties must be respected. All three must be willing to love.

• Furthermore, the love that is shared in a marriage is a particular type of love: a covenantal love, which requires an exchange of one’s whole self. A man gives himself fully to his wife, and a wife gives herself fully to her husband in a mutual embrace of love and fidelity.

• And this covenantal love that is shared in marriage is intimate, exclusive, indissoluble, and hopefully fruitful through a growth in holiness and the bearing and education of children.

• So the whole purpose for the covenant of marriage is growth in holiness and the bearing and education of kids. Sadly, one thing that our modern western society refuses to acknowledge is that marriage is fundamentally oriented toward the creation of life.

• We know this not just from revelation, but also from natural law. This is where Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body is indispensable. Pope John Paul has taught us that our bodies are designed to be in union with another body.

• Because the male body and the female body are complementary and actually “fit” together, we know we are called – in the very depths of our being – to give ourselves fully to another and to receive another fully unto ourselves.

• But even more than that, by creating man as male and female and calling us to be one flesh, God has stamped within our bodies an image of the reality that He desires to be one flesh with us. That’s why you often hear the Church being called the Bride of Christ!

• This is because we are called to be one flesh with God, as well as with our spouses!

• This one flesh union is meant to help us grow in communion with one another and with God, and thereby grow in holiness. But it’s this one-flesh union that also brings about children.

• Because the marital act is the one way that we participate with God in creating life, we know that the marital act is sacred. And it’s from this sense of sacredness that all of the Church’s sexual teachings are derived.

• Because it is so sacred, the conjugal act is not something we can just enter into as we please and with whom we please. It’s not simple recreation.

• On the contrary, it’s an action that carries serious responsibilities, and thus it should only be entered into by people who have accepted and vowed to live out these responsibilities: namely a man and a woman who are married to each other.

• You see, the primary purpose of marriage is the procreation of children, and the secondary purpose of marriage is the intimate, exclusive, and indissoluble unity of the couple.

• These fundamental purposes are most perfectly realized in the marital act. Thus, neither purpose should ever be divorced from the marital act because doing so distorts the purpose of the act and breaks down the marriage.

• This is why contraception is intrinsically evil and gravely sinful. Contraception and sterilization willfully undermine the marital act by suppressing or destroying one’s fertility. Contraception divorces the procreative purpose of marriage from the marital act.

• By eliminating the possibility of procreation, we severely limit the love of the act because we take away part of that gift of self that is fundamental to the act, for by its nature marital love is meant to be fruitful and boundless.

• Understanding that marriage is fundamentally oriented toward the creation of new life also helps us to understand why same-sex unions are wrong. By their very nature these types of unions can never be procreative, and therefore they can never be a true marriage.

• Because same-sex unions lack the fundamental complementarity that makes the procreative and unitive purposes of marriage possible, because same-sex unions are contrary to the natural law, and because same-sex unions close the conjugal act to life, the Church has always taught these unions are gravely sinful.

• Now I realize that the subject of same-sex unions is a very sensitive issue, and I am not here to condemn or upset anyone. I’m simply here to let you know what the Church teaches.

• Specifically, the Church is very clear that people who struggle with same-sex attraction are not to be discriminated against, but rather are to be supported, treated with compassion, and encouraged to live a life of celibacy. This is very important to remember.

• The Church condemns the sin, not the sinner. But She also recognizes and speaks the truth about the sinful nature of homosexual acts. Speaking this way is nothing more than true compassion combined with a frank recognition of the disordered nature of these acts.

• There is currently a movement in our country to legalize same-sex marriages in many states. So let’s be clear about something: the Church’s opposition to recognizing gay marriage is not a matter of the Church being prejudiced, unloving, or homophobic. It’s a matter of the Church speaking the truth. And speaking the truth is an act of love.

• The Catholic Church opposes homosexual acts because they are intrinsically disordered, and they abuse our human nature. Homosexual acts make us less than who God is calling us to be. And legalizing same-sex marriage will weaken an already damaged understanding of marriage in our society.

• In the Gospel today Jesus tells us that: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” And this notion of self-sacrifice is at the very heart of marital love. In fact, by dying on the cross, Jesus shows us that sacrifice is the very essence of love.

• If we are to be truly loving, we have to die to self. There is no other way to love. And in today’s world, that often means that we must sacrifice our own feelings and desires in order to love as God calls us to love.

• As we now prepare ourselves to become one flesh with our Lord by receiving Him in the Eucharist, let us pray that all married people will grow in their sacrificial love for their spouses and children.

• And let us pray as well that all people will grow in a greater understanding and respect for the sacrament of marriage, for the good of our society, and for the good of our souls.

Copyright 2009 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC