Barred from communion

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  • The editor writes that “… the Catechism also acknowledges that “the unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realise”.”

    The editor has used only a partial quotation of #1615 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I believe that it is important that the whole of paragraph #1615 should have been quoted, not only the part which the editor has presented, because the rest of the paragraph contains an essential message. So essential that it cannot, must not, simply be ignored or left out. It is a crucial message that helps us Christians persevere when the going is tough and when we face challenges that seem unfair and too much to bear. Below is the entire paragraph #1615 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    “This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy – heavier than the Law of Moses. By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God. It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to “receive” the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ. This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ’s cross, the source of all Christian life.”

  • Another point on the subject of Catholics and divorce that is not mentioned above and must be clarified is that the Church does not teach that Catholics are forbidden to receive Holy Communion if they are divorced.

    Rather the Church teaches that a Catholic who has been divorced and remarried, without having first obtained an annulment of the first marriage, is not permitted to receive the Eucharist.

    Note these words of the Catechism: “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.” (CCC #2386)

  • P.R.Margeot

    Thank you to the commenter above who pointed out that the quotation was incomplete. In all that we deal, there should be no ambiguity whatsoever. We will all take note of the importance of being clear at all times.

  • Bryony Klugman

    Law, Canon or otherwise, should always be tempered by Justice. There are situations where an injured party has grounds for annulment, but the guilty party, often civilly remarried, deliberately and spitefully refuses to cooperate or cannot be found, effectively exercising a veto on the abandoned spouse. Moreover, criteria for annulments are applied very unequally across the world, so that it can be something of a diocescan lottery. Even leaving aside the issue of the civilly remarried, there is much scope for improvement of the Church’s existing processes which would involve no sacrifice of principle whatsoever.

  • John E Cunha

    I too am most thankful to Mark Nel for his fully explanatory comments. It makes much more sense and truly paints the picture of the whole matter, and most importantly that of the position of the Church, in a much more positive light.

    I am concerned with the one sentence that states “There are those who argue that since Jesus fed the hungry rather than those with lots to eat, such Catholics should be allowed to receive Communion publicly. The Church evidently sees no way of endorsing this view, even as many bishops wish it could.” Do we have statistics available which shows what our good bishops “wish” to endorse on any contentious matter or one of debate? Such a generalizing statement should surely be based on some level of hard fact otherwise it is very misleading. I almost get the impression that what this states is that most bishops wish for certain Church rules to change but Rome refuses to bow down, thus painting Rome (The Pope) in a bad light.

  • Editor

    John, the issue is being continually raised by bishops and priests, most recently at the Synod of Bishops. Even Pope Benedict has acknowledged that there is a pastoral problem. Like the pope, the editorial acknowledges that the Church’s teachings cannot be easily changed, if at all.

    Mr Nel, given the limited space there is for editorials, there is only so much that can be quoted. The catechism is quoted to illustrate that the Church has compassion with those who are excluded from the Eucharist — that is particularly salient to the point of the editorial.

    The editorial is careful to speak only about those who are divorced and civilly remarried, as staked out clearly in the opening paragraph. The question of divorced Catholics receiving Communion is, of course, valid as well, but it was not the focus of the editorial.

  • Rosemary Gravenor

    For a transcript of a talk given by Fr Sean Wales on the subject of Communion for the divorced and remarried go to: http://wearechurchsa.blogspot.com/

    This was given to the WAACSA members during October.

  • Derrick Kourie

    Thanks for the very interesting link, Rosemary.

  • Editor your editorial questions the difficult choice divorced people, such as young women, must face and you therefore conclude that the “difficult challenge facing the Church is to reconcile the dimensions of doctrine with those of compassion”.

    That portion of the Catechism, which you chose to leave out, is a clear answer to the questions you pose in your editorial. It effectively invalidates the entire point of your editorial. Your editorial ignores the fact that there is a supernatural element and that we cannot fall into the trap of always expecting natural man made solutions to the challenges we face. This is the problem with the modern world in which we live. Let’s consider again what the Catechism teaches in response to the questions you ask in your editorial:

    “This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realise. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy – heavier than the Law of Moses. By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God. It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to “receive” the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ. This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ’s cross, the source of all Christian life.” (CCC #1615)

  • Karl

    The Catholic Church has become a joke, regarding marriage, in the United States of America. Go ahead and delete this post.

    Recently, my wife filed her annulment second petition, twenty one years after her first, which took twelve years for the Church to deny. Now, twenty two years into her adulterous relationship, which has been supported in all ways, but a Church wedding, by the Catholic Church she is claiming to have deceived me into marriage. One would think that such an admission, were it true, would have been mentioned so many years ago(Yes, Simulation existed as a basis for nullity in 1991) and seriously pursued, If it were true. NOPE. There was not a single mention of deceit in the twelve years our marriage was investigated, now suddenly, there appears to be “legitimacy” afoot?

    Rather, this is the fruit of self-convincing through selective remembrance of historical reality, which occurs when one’s self interest becomes more important than truth. Such is NOT a Catholic position. But, this is exactly what the Church annulment process fosters, as it is practiced.

    I informed the Judicial Vicar of the diocese in which I live of my adamant opposition, citing solid reasons, and informed him that should this travesty of injustice proceed to a Joinder of the Issues, which forces a formal trial, he can do so in my absence. I will, then, wash my hands of his monkey court.

    I shall, God willing, continue to observe the vows we spoke in 1980, in witness to our five adult children and eleven grandchildren, regardless of the findings of such a misguided and evil process. Once again, I will appeal this case, as last time, to the Roman Rota, even if the court of First Instance, if convened, finds against nullity. I have learned that the Catholic Church is a real enemy of marriage and I have written, as such, to the Holy Father, who is a large part of the problem, as he is sympathetic to public and permanent adulterers but not to those of us who are faithful to our vows.

    The Catholic Church has turned its back on marriage, in spite of rhetoric otherwise. God, help us!

    Please, people, wake up. Your bishops, priests and Pope are not faithful to God’s vision for marriage. They are about subterfuge, not the pursuit of truth. They listen to unrepentant adulterers, with great sympathy and empathy, as they mock or ignore those of us struggling under great persecution for our faithfulness to our vows. Why, why is there any wonder at the
    state of the Catholic Church. Why, why are there NO BISHOPS, apparently anywhere, who hear
    or are concerned over what we, faithful abandoned spouses are saying and have been saying for generations and many decades.

    God, is leaving His Bride to her own adultery.

  • Sheryl

    Divorced/remarried Catholics cannot receive Communion; however, the rest of the story,which is never told these days, is that if they die like that, they go to hell. It makes no sense to simply say, “You cannot receive,” without adding the really bad news which is that, “You are living in adultery and there is no place in heaven for adulterers.”

    Where is the love for such people when God’s judgments are not made perfectly clear to them?

  • MJ

    True love and true charity speaks the truth. Real love warns people of the judgment to come and the urgent need for their repentance. It also stands on the side of righteousness and defends the one who is being faithful and following Christ. Children and spouses suffer while the whole church remains silent.

    Paul taught not to associate with any so-called brother who is sexually immoral and to remove the leaven…because it spreads which is what is happening in the church (all churches, not just catholic). Scripture doesn’t just teach that they should be removed from taking communion, it teaches that they should be completely ex-commmunicated until they repent. Making some feel comfortable in their sin is not love.

    In Jeremiah God talks about the prophets who say you will have peace and not calamity in your sin, and God says “I have not sent them.” The truth about marriage (which represents the gospel) is so important that John the Baptist lost his life speaking out and standing for it. A far cry from what we see today. Sadly, 50 years ago (before no-fault divorce) even the government felt more of an obligation to preserve the institution of marriage then the modern church does today.

  • P.R.Margeot

    To Karl above, please allow a simple, ordinary Catholic to say to you : courage, always. Keep your Catholic Faith, your suffering (you also mention ‘persecution for our faithfulness’) is shared by many. Many also will understand what you say.

    Again, all this confusion , general apostasy, liberalism, modernism happened in the early 70’s and became worse in the following decades. Now, the conciliar Revolution has been stemmed, slowly sanity is returning to our Holy Church, which cannot compromise on Truth. The ultimate charity is Truth, which cannot be mixed with Error…

    I for one am enthusiastic about the mass of all time which is already flourishing and slowly gaining acceptance. Without that mass, we forget about the Restoration of the Faith, Simple and clear. Courage , Karl.

    Oremus pro invicem

  • MJ

    It’s not possible to be a “virtuous catholic” while persisting in unrepentant adultery and defiant rebellion to God. There is nothing virtuous about that.

  • Paul

    I write from the perspective of the USA, from personal experience. Civil divorce is a tolerated abomination by bishops. Worse, it is required before annulment petitions are accepted. Even worse, pastors seed thoughts of remarriage by pre-judging marriages as “non-existent” contrary to canon laws stating the opposite. Civil remarriage after divorce is not condemned but condoned by welcoming these bigamists to attend Mass. What are children and other spouses to believe? They are told “not to judge!” My wife has done this (entered into accepted bigamy). Recently, Pope Benedict XVI taught that such spouses should avail themselves of receiving (virtual) spiritual communion as a worthy substitute for Holy Communion! God called such “worship” “dung” (Malachi 2) in connection with expressing His hatred of divorce. Likewise (cf.), God instructed His expectation of faithfulness to the “spouse of one’s youth”!
    St. Paul, reiterated God’s marital commandment (1 Cor. 7:10-11) when he told spouses to remain single if they divorce, and to seek to be reconciled.
    When a believer divorces Catholicism, does God rejoice when they remarry in a church-divorced-from-Catholicism that accepts their polygamous status? The article seems to suggest that Catholicism should emulate/join its heretical offshoots: “—which in this case are seemingly in conflict—”? God forbid it!

  • Thanks Karl, MJ and Sheryl. Well said.

  • P.R.Margeot

    Sheryl, you have written something which I have NEVER seen written anywhere in the past 45 years. What you wrote is SO true, so obvious, Thank you for writing what you wrote. May the priests and Bishops read your short comment : That could well save millions of souls from perdition. May the Editor of the SC have an editorial soon about this very point. We are talking of the salvation of souls here.

    You wrote : ” the rest of the story, which is never told these days, is that if they die like that, they go to hell. It makes no sense to simply say ‘You cannot receive…’ without adding the REALLY bad news which is ‘You are living in adultery and there is no place in Heaven for adulterers’.

    That Sheryl , that is pure modernist/liberal thinking which has sent so many to perdition. Modernists are the curse of the Church. Just look at what THEY DID NOT DO. To tell the Truth.
    The people can be excused: they had bad priests and Bishops who lacked courage or failed lamentably in their duty. But then I ask, where do these priests and Bishops come from? From what seminaries? Which lecturers did they have ? And where all this mess, terrifying mess, come from. where/when was it cristallized? Very roughly, from when did things start going very wrong ? Roughly ? 1965 onwards.

    It boils down to this : how can a modernist dare tell a brother or sister that they are in the wrong, what about their rights, their choices, their sacro-sanct freedom ? The modernists say in their funerals that we all go to heaven, directly. Some good people do, no doubt(take the martyrs for their Faith), but the point is : they never mention even the word ‘Purgatory’. In some funerals, it is a party, we have good memories of the departed, we have eulogies, we have happy music, often the music that the departed loved, then there is a great get-together in the hall, with excellent cakes and teas. Plus LOTS of flowers which cost a fortune. A jolly good time is had by all….

    We keep Faith, we pass the good message around, we start asking questions to our priests and Bishops, we keep asking for the Mass of all time, we are not discouraged, we pray our Lady in Heaven, we keep the rosary, we pray St Michael to protect us from the Enemy, who roams the earth, unchained these days. We keep asking for the Tridentine Mass which is our right, let nobody say the contrary.

    Finally, we are aware of the titanic struggle in which we find ourselves against the forces of Evil, which manifest themselves in all sorts of depravations, laxity, permissiveness, all vices, abortions, euthanasia, and I ‘ll stop here.

    May the good Pope do the consecration of Russia urgently.
    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us,
    St Pius X, pray for us

  • Deborah Nuzzo

    I agree fully with what Karl, Sheryl, and Paul said. It is
    extremely frustrating that this travesty of false compassion
    and the phoney annulments that follow continue unabated.
    Why is it so hard for these bishops to simply proclaim the
    truth? No means no. If these adulterous couples were serious
    in their desire to receive the Eucharist, they would do whatever
    was necessary to rectify their situation. It seems more like they
    want it both ways. They want the Church to bend the rules to
    accommodate their sin. Or is it perhaps because they want to
    be “validated” as faithful Catholics when in fact their situations
    are sinful. The Church should feel compassion for them because
    the state of their souls and their reluctance to change. They
    should not coddle them in it as this will only hold them there.

    I would like to add that there is another whole segment of the
    Catholic population that needs real compassion but is totally
    disregarded and they are Catholic spouses who have been
    abandoned and had divorce forced upon them with the
    Church’s knowledge, encouragement and approval many
    times because the abandoned petitioned for annulment. It is a
    new unwelcome state in life that these spouses must live in
    order to remain faithful to Christ and His teachings. When we
    cry for help or ask the Church to do its job, we are treated with
    contempt. There is not an once of compassion shown to those
    of us who are living out the true faith.

  • Deborah Nuzzo

    Correction in my post. “abandoned” should be changed
    to “abandoner.”

  • Derrick Kourie

    Karl, I hear your pain, and I feel truly sad for what has happened to you. Forgive me if this sounds patronising: I do have the sense that you might benefit by consulting a wise and prayful spiritual councillor, if only to pray with and for you.

    Upon reading subsequent comments threatening hell and damnation, and comments relishing the fact that the subject of hell has at last been brought up—that subject which liberals allegedly avoid—my bleeding liberal heart needed some balm. So I went and re-read what Blessed John Paul says:

    “The Church has never made any pronouncement in this regard [i.e. as to who is in hell]. It is a mystery, truly inscrutable, which embraces the holiness of God and the conscience of man. The silence of the Church is, therefore, the only appropriate position for Christian faith. Even when Jesus says of Judas, the traitor, ‘It would be better for that man if he had never been born’ (Matt 26:24), His words do not allude for certain to eternal damnation.” (Crossing the Threahold of Hope, p185). I felt a little better after reading that. In fact, I felt the need for some silence.

    But then I read about the how scripture teaches that those who divorce should be excommmunicated until they repent. I read that Benedict’s meek attempts to reach out to the divorced by encouraging a spiritual communion should be rejected because God would call such “worship” “dung” (Malachi 2). I read about false compassion and phoney annulments. I read all this and I felt a sense oppression at what seemed to me to be hard-heartedness making routine bows in the direction of love. I reached for my Shakespeare and read once more the famous piece from Portia’s speech in The Merchant of Venice:

    The quality of mercy is not strain’d.
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
    It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
    ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
    The throned monarch better than his crown.
    His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
    The attribute to awe and majesty,
    Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
    But mercy is above this sceptered sway;
    It is enthroned in the heart of kings;
    It is an attribute to God himself;
    And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
    When mercy seasons justice.

    Even though not scripture, I felt a little better for wanting to leave it to God to judge the divorced. I do not pretend to have answers to the question of divorce. It is a state which no-one deliberately seeks (just like homosexuality—oops, I tend to bring up the subject in pavlovian fashion whenever I see the words “Tridentine Mass” written in these postings). I understand the dilemmas of priests and bishops and popes who respond with too much mercy where others would like to see much more justice. I will not condemn their actions and decisions. I acknowledge a multiplicity of messy situations, of deep hurts, of bureacratic bungling and long lead times in the annulment processes that are in place. Perhaps one way to start addressing the problem of divorce is prior to marriage: solid extended courses in relationship skills presented by professional councillors (not necessarily your local parish priest). I would even encourage such courses in Catholic schools, before young people start the courting process. (Note, I am not talking about sex education, but about relationship education.)

    The editor has stated: “Even Pope Benedict has acknowledged that there is a pastoral problem.” Someone recently told me that he, Benedict, is “agonising” over the matter of communion for divorced people. I will rejoice at any liberalising he might propose in the future. If he does not lift the rules at all, my bleeding liberal heart will continue to weep for the pain of those who remain in the Church but feel like outcasts, and for those who leave the Church because they find its laws too burdensome. I will leave it to other good and faithful Catholics to insist on justice, threaten hell fire, and scorn mercy.

  • Karl

    I do not see the Catholic Church surviving as a world institution unless
    it radically defends marriage. To me it is simple. But, Derrick, my friend,
    we are not going to solve her problems in this forum. I responded as I
    did because this article so cut me to the quick.

    The bishops could choose to address things on a case by case basis but
    do not. They opened the gates of nullity and are draining the life from
    marriage. In our case, there is a vast amount of knowledge and history,
    in fact there was the same more than twenty years ago, when I was
    already asking for help to save/restore our marriage.

    There were no takers. It would have made a trenendous difference then,
    but I am not about to debate that here. It could still make a tremendous
    difference but there remains, no takers. Now, there are two additional
    generations dealing with consequences of this unjust divorce.

    They seem to be lining up to grant my wife’s annulment, but uninterested
    in the fallout.

    This, my brother, is how the Catholic Church, now, operates and refuses to
    acknowledge that such behavior is not Catholic, at all.

    I am broken by what I have had to live through, and my suffering is little,
    compared to others whose circumstances, marriage-wise, have, to my
    knowledge, been unbearable. Still, the Catholic Church holds up the
    carrot of nullity but refuses to address, the carrots consequences.

    This behavior of inscentivizing divorce via nullity, is monstrous. It creates
    devastation throughout society. The Pope, does not care, nor do the bishops,
    nor the clergy. These men are truly criminals; not because they conceived
    and put into action a poorly designed system. Who among us has done
    something revolutionary and unique and known, ahead of time, how it would
    turn out? Certainly not me. So, certainly there was and even still, may leave
    room for mercy. However, those of us suffering terrible consequences from
    the fallout from this process, yes our children, their children, frieds……, have
    beeseached the Church for decades for help and been ignored, as the Church
    has materially and formally assissted our spouses and their lovers to destroy
    us, our marriages, our children….

    For this, unless they make an accounting for their heinous disregard for these
    terrible injustices and those of our spouses and their lovers, if Catholic doctrine
    is true, there MUST BE an accounting before God.

    No, I am not the judge in this but I have been a witness.

    The Church is supposed to exercize real charity. Nothing of the sort has ever,
    ever been operative in this process in our regards. The innocent have paid,
    and paid and paid and paid……

    For those who claim, by virtue of their office, to represent the teachings of the
    Catholic Church, the hierarchy have been, regarding marriage, catostrophic
    failures on a monumental scale and seem not to care, one iota.

    This is an historical, epoch scandal and Benedict twiddles his thumbs.

    To those of us living in the wake of his disregard, it is agony, everyday.

    I wish, with my whole heart, that he would listen to this husband, father
    and grandfather. What is going on must be addressed by him, in person,
    on behalf of every victim of this process and this must be, only, the start.

  • “It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to “receive” the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ.” (CCC 1615)

  • Karl

    We who remain faithful to our vows in spite of this scandal, have taken up our
    crosses and each day are attempting to join our burden with His, in hopes of
    reaching out to our spouses and their lovers, in the name of Christ, to try to
    bring them to the understanding of the real consequences of their behaviors
    and to try to reach out to the clergy to help them come to realize what it is
    they are really a part of, which is diametrically opposed to the teachings of the
    Catholic Church and to try to enlist their help in working to heal our wounded
    souls and marriages, which CANNOT happen while the Catholic Church openly
    welcomes our errant spouses and their lovers into its flock, without requiring
    that their behaviors change, not to living as brother and sister, which still
    violates their marital promises, but toward public separation from their lovers
    and working to heal the brokenness in the marriages they have abandoned.

    This living, apostate, contradiction, practiced by the Catholic Church and
    supported openly by Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI must come to an
    end and Benedict must repent of it, on his knees, in St Peter’s as he ends
    the frivolous cult for sainthood on behalf of the scandalous, regarding
    marriage, John Paul II, and acts to truly defend marriage in more than the
    empty words he has, thus far.

    It is time the title of “The Great” be removed from the vocabulary of Catholics
    and disappear from the pages of Catholic periodicals and publications, in
    regards to Karol Wojtyla and be replaced with prayers for his soul and with
    prayers, sacrifice and fasting for those hundreds of thousands of marriages
    his poor Church governance and disregard for our pleas for his help, have
    laid to waste.

  • Louise

    Abandoned spouses need pastoral support to remain faithful to their vows. There needs to be support to mitigate the economic and emotional fall-out from that abandonment.

    Abandoning spouses need to be disciplined by the Church and told to return home or be excommunicated.

    Reconciliation of the spouses must be the long term goal and at the very least, neither party should be permitted to “remarry” either in the Church or out of it.

    It is unlikely that the Church will survive in those places where a lax view of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is prevalent.

  • Paul

    “Year of Evangelization”?

    I can’t convince myself that this present hierarchy is faithful to God’s Words. I’m told the family is the primal cell of Church and of society but both seem content to stand-by while no-fault divorce and cohabitation turn monogamy and the nuclear family upside down!

    My life’s vocation as husband/father/head-of-household has been thwarted, discarded, rebuked, mocked, and legally disemboweled/mutilated. I’ve been told to “move-on!” to what? Another marriage/family only to repeat the cycle?

    Raising “Godly offspring” was my prime concern. Now, it seems, all I’m supposed to care about is “happiness”. I feel betrayed by my wife, our Church, our society.

    If marriage is the Sacrament Christ meant to build His Church upon, then it deserves the support it needs to succeed. Each-and-every-one.

    Someone once wrote: “God does not make ‘junk’ ” to emphasize the sacredness of every human life. Even though God says He hates divorce, it seems His Church was developed a standing tolerance toward it. Apparently many/both spouses can become “junk” when they marry.

  • Paddy Ross

    I was married in a Catholic church fifty years ago and was the guilty party in that marriage ending in divorce. I have been “married” for a second time for thirty five years now and we have been blessed with an exceptionally happy union. My “wife” is very supportive of my faith (you hypocrite, I hear you say?) and comes to Mass with me every Sunday and helps in parish work. I broke the rules and it is no-one’s fault but my own that I have been denied the joy of Communion for thirty
    five years now. There were no grounds for an annulment and I did not seek one. What would the “hardliners” have the Church do? Bar me from entering a Catholic church ever again? Say that you are destined for hell and beyond redemption? I believe in a merciful God and I ask God for mercy every day. Marriages do break down but all I ask is for those who would have me damned, to allow me to continue with my life in which I try to lead as close a life as I can to the Bible and teachings of the Church knowing that the day will come when I will have to account for my actions on this earth.

  • Victor Victoria

    Dear Paddy,

    I read your post with a great deal of sadness. Sadness because you have been denied communion for the past thirty five years. That is such a terrible thing to hear.

    I am ashamed that some Catholics would dare to suggest that you be barred from entering a Catholic Church, or that you would be destined for hell … as if they might actually know the mind of God. That smacks of idolatry.

    I’m afraid that the legalism of the Latin-rite mind can be debilitating. But there are glimmers of hope on the horizon. For instance, I read today with great joy that Pope Benedict XVI has declared that Christianity is not just a moral or ethical code, but is an experience of love, of welcoming the person Jesus.

    In this regard (divorce and remarriage), I believe that the Orthodox Churches have a much better insight. For them, the primary purpose of marriage is that of spiritual growth: in the words of Bishop Athenagoras of Sinope, this primary purpose is for “the seeking after God, the mystery of oneness and love, the preparatory portrayal of the Kingdom of God, [rather] than a necessity for reproduction.” Sacramental marriage is primarily a mystery ordered to relationship, and to completion in Christ.

    As St John Chrysostom says, “there are two reasons for which marriage was established … to cause the man to be satisfied with one single wife and to give him children, but it is the first which is the most important … as for reproduction, marriage does not necessarily include this … the proof is to be found in the many marriages for which having children is not possible. This is why the primary reason for marriage is to regulate the sexual life, especially now that the human race has already populated the whole world.”

    Make no mistake, the Orthodox indeed regard marriage as holy an indissoluble, and they exalt monogamy. But they recognize in Matthew 19:9 that Jesus himself allowed an exception to the indissolubility of marriage! As Cyril of Alexandria pointed out, “It is not a writ of divorce that dissolves marriage before God, but bad actions.”

    Bishop Athenagoras further explains that “according to the spirit of Orthodoxy the unity of the married couple cannot be maintained through the virtue of juridical obligation alone; the formal unity must be consistent with an internal symphony. The problem arises when it is no longer possible to salvage anything of this symphony, for “then the bond that was originally considered indissoluble is already dissolved and the law can offer nothing to replace grace and can neither heal nor resurrect, nor say: ‘Stand up and go’”. The Church recognizes that there are cases in which marriage life has no content or may even lead to loss of the soul. The Holy John Chrysostom says in this regard that: “better to break the covenant than to lose one’s soul”.”

    When the marriage is deemed to have ceased to be a reality, the Orthodox may permit a second marriage … St Basil himself said that a man is pardonable should he remarry if he has been cheated by his wife, echoing the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:9. [A bit of a patriarchal view, but the essence of the point is clear.]

    This is regarded by Orthodox Bishops as a practice of “economia” … and what I find particularly attractive about the Orthodox theologians and hierarchy is that they do not feel duty bound to attempt to define every jot and tittle of the indefinable! They find it sufficient to say that “ecclesiastical economia is an image of the divine economia and love and kindness.” Orthodox canon law loosely defines “economia” as “the suspension of the absolute and strict applications of canon and church regulations in the governing and the life of the Church, without subsequently compromising the dogmatic limitations. The application of economia only takes place through the official church authorities and is only applicable for a particular case.”

    “Economia” has never been officially defined. Attempts to do so have been abandoned “because economia is something that is rather experienced than described and defined … in the Orthodox Church, in which it is a characteristic and ancient privilege.”

    This seems to mirror the words of St Paul: “for now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am.”

    And the application of “economia” seems to mirror Jesus’ words that “the Sabbath is made for man, and not man for the Sabbath”

    Bishop Athenagoras’ wisdom shines forth in his concluding words: “Economia is based on Christ’s command to his apostles: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven” (John 20, 22-23). This is the case when the human marriage experience becomes impossible, due to the spiritual death of love. It is then that the Church – as the Body of Christ – with understanding and compassion and out of personal concern, can apply the “economia” “by accepting the divorce and not rejecting the sinful humanly weak believers, or depriving them from God’s mercy and further grace.” It is the precise goal of economia that the weak person not be irrevocably banned from the church communion, according to Christ’s example, who came, after all, to save the lost.”

    Perhaps the overly-legalistic Latin-Rite mindset needs to contemplate the mystery of sacrament, and the loving-kindness of the Divine spark … and perhaps it could learn something from the deep wisdom of our Orthodox sister-churches. The tradition is already there. As the Holy Father, the Hierarchs, the theologians and the laity wrestle with this issue, perhaps we can pause to reflect on the eminently pastoral dimension of our Orthodox brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • Derrick Kourie

    Thanks, Paddy, for your honesty, faith and humility. They are an inspiration.

    Here is another quote from the book by JPII mentioned above that seem to me to speak to your situation as you have described it:

    ——————
    “Be not afraid!” These are not words sent into a void. They are profoundly rooted in the Gospel. They are simply the words of Christ Himself.

    Of what should we not be afraid? We should not fear the truth about ourselves. One day, Peter became aware of this and with particular energy he said to Jesus: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” (Lk 5:8)

    Peter was not the only one who was aware of this truth. Every man has learned it. Every successor to Peter has learned it. I learned it very well. Every one of us is indebted to Peter for what he said on that day: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Christ answered him: “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men” (Lk 5:10). Do not be afraid of men! Man is always the same. The systems he creates are always imperfect, and the more imperfect they are, the more sure he is of himself. Where does this originate? It comes from the human heart. Our hearts are anxious. Christ knows our anguish best of all: “Christ knows that which is in every man” (cf Jn 2:25).
    ———————-

  • P.R.Margeot

    I could not agree more with Mr Kourie. Thank you for reminding us of the words of Jesus Christ: “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men”. Man is always the same indeed: marked and tainted by original sin. Hence the necessity of Baptism.

    We can indeed see the systems/ideas he created in the last two centuries alone : socialism, communism, marxism, liberalism, modernism, masonry, fascism, to name a few. The commenter above says the more imperfect the man-made systems are, the more sure he is of himself. So true.

    I won’t elaborate here, but would only remind the readers of the ravages of Modernism in our Holy Church during the past 100 years. Examine the errors which came through and with modernism, and we are seeing the results /ravages until this day. And the crisis following the council is not over yet, but we know that Jesus will not abandon His Church, even if is made of a few, a remnant with the Faith. Man in his pride, his arrogance, really thinks that he has taken the place of G-d on earth. He has his science, his discoveries, his self-assurance, his ‘love’ of freedom, his attachment to material things and possessions, his conviction that G-d being Love and infinitely good to his creatures, well, He just could not punish them. That’s your modern man who is looking for happiness on earth. He wants the best of both worlds : here and thereafter, and the notion of carrying a small little cross does not enter his mind.

    Dominus vobiscum

  • P.R.Margeot

    In the second paragraph, add exploitive capitalism and oppression of the poor.

  • Paddy, you ask: “What would the ‘hardliners’ have the Church do?” I dont think there are any so called hardliners who want you barred from entering a Catholic church. In fact the exact opposite is true.

    The Church teaches this in respect of people in circumstances such as your own: “toward Christians who live in this situation, and who often keep the faith and desire to bring up their children in a Christian manner… manifest an attentive solicitude, so that they do not consider themselves separated from the Church, in whose life they can and must participate as baptised persons: They should be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts for justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace.” (CCC 1651)

    You have shown great humility and given a wonderful example to others through your acknowledgement that the Church did not bar you from Holy Communion but that it was your own actions, not those of the Church, that led to this situation in which you now find yourself.

    You have also clearly set a wonderful example for others in similar circumstances as you. If only more people would do as you have done for 35 years, despite being unable to receive Holy Communion. You are almost certainly holier than most Catholics and this is testament to God’s continued love and grace despite you not being able to receive Holy Communion.

    I hope you will continue to share with others what you have done during the last 35 years as testament to them that they need not despair or lose hope. The Church loves everyone, always.

  • Derrick Kourie

    Thanks, Mark, for refocussing the thread on the commendable behaviour of Paddy, and away from the ideological biases of PRM. The CCC indeed reflects a genuine concern for the spiritual well-being of divorced people that has come increasingly into focus after Vatican II. (Vatican II’s Guadium et Spes has a whole section of marriage, but very little on divorce.) John Paul II’s encyclicals precede the CCC text, and the recent synod of bishops has spoken in similar terms.

    My citation above was not intended to provoke a sterile ideological debate on the imperfections of human systems. I would have thought that the human systems that have evolved within and alongside the Church are subject to the same critique uttered by JPII: “Do not be afraid of men! Man is always the same. The systems he creates are always imperfect, and the more imperfect they are, the more sure he is of himself.” Perhaps this critique applies to the SSPX, to the Vatican Bank, perhaps even to the Curia and the various systems of government set up by the Church, including the human systems provided for examining annulments, etc.

    So it seems to me that JPII, in echoing Jesus, is saying to Paddy and the rest of us: Do not be afraid of men! Do not be afraid of those who, with utter self-assurance, believe themselves to be spokespeople for God and His Church; those who remorsely hammer home the justice of God and talk very softly of His mercy; those who with complete confidence believe His Church was led into error by Vatican II (just a little, you understand—not in all things); those who cling tenaciously to the letter of the law and do not want you to love freedom. Do not be afraid of self-styled prophets who mock the sincere efforts of the secular world to create a more humane society; who turn their noses up at the notion of human rights even though they are specifically commended by, for example, Pope John XXIII’s (in Pacem in Terris). Do not be afraid of those who cannot countenance development in doctrine; who are still fighting battles of the nineteenth and eighteenth centuries; who imagine that the future of the Church and and the world depends on making use of a particular Latin-based liturgical format. If, in the presence of such Catholics you feel unworthy and afraid of yourself because of a divorce or other personal doubts and inadeqaucies, know that Peter and JPII also felt unworthy and afraid of themselves, and that Jesus says to you too: Be not afraid.

  • P.R.Margeot

    Indeed, do not be afraid of men and his various systems. So true. Be careful of men who are clever at always lowering the bar, to suit themselves first. They are the ones who want the Church to adapt to them, not vice versa. We’ve seen through them.

    They also do not stand being challenged, they then inevitably fall back on G-d’s love for us, His magnanimity, His understanding of us frail and sinful creatures. Of course all thus is true, His love for us is beyond comprehension.

    These people also inevitably fall back on the 17th ,18th centuries Catholics who just can’t ‘adapt’ to the modern world, they have not ‘evolved’, they have not studies the sciences, they are backwards, they have not been enlightened by the great liberal and progressive minds( you know Voltaire, and others), they are narrow-minded,. These people on the other hand,when challenged, always fall back on Charity, Magnanimity, G-d’s Love for us, dialogue, Openness, brotherhood, They have realized that their time is up, they know that changes are coming, they know that the turmoil ,chaos, liberalism which made the past 50 years are being replaced , slowly-slowly, by a more authentic Catholic approach and ways, which have proved themselves over 2000 years. And do we know what will be the main tool in the true restoration of the Faith ? The mass, without which there is no Catholic Church.
    The Church is traditional, it cannot be revolutionary. THAT is what the liberals cannot digest.

  • Victor Victoria

    Mark answers Paddy’s question “What would the ‘hardliners’ have the Church do?” by saying “I dont think there are any so called hardliners who want you barred from entering a Catholic church.”

    Let’s have a look at what some have posted on this very thread:

    Sheryl shares her belief that “Divorced/remarried Catholics cannot receive Communion; however, the rest of the story,which is never told these days, is that if they die like that, they go to hell.”

    PRM immediately gets very excited, and posts how he couldn’t agree more.

    Louise shares her belief that “Abandoning spouses need to be disciplined by the Church and told to return home or be excommunicated.”

    To the best of my knowledge, being excommunicated essentially means being barred from entering a Catholic church.

    So now we know why Paddy Ross posts the questions “What would the “hardliners” have the Church do? Bar me from entering a Catholic church ever again? Say that you are destined for hell and beyond redemption?”

    In the light of such posts already having been made on this very thread, Paddy’s post is seen to be all the more courageous!

    I have pointed out that the Eastern Orthodox Churches allow, under certain conditions, divorce and remarriage, without barring these remarried couples from full communion. This is an application of the ancient principle of “economia,” which is supported by the early Church Fathers, and has never been a point of contention between the churches of the East and the West (certainly not in the first millennium, before the Great (mutual) Schism).

    What I would also like to point out is that the Uniate Churches, when formed in the 16th and 17th centuries, retained their Eastern Orthodox practice of economia as regards divorce and remarriage … and they were in full communion with Rome! I believe that it was only as recently as 1917, with a revised code of canon law, that the Latin-Rite legalism was enforced on the whole Catholic Church, Uniates included. This was surely a hermeneutic of discontinuity thrust upon the Uniates by the Latin-Rite. A rather interesting set of circumstances, I would dare say!

  • Victor Victoria

    PRM is perhaps a little too triumphal in his claim to “not be afraid of men and his various systems.”

    It is worth realizing that our Church traditions include certain aspects and dimensions that are the stuff of men rather than the stuff of the Divine. We need a discerning eye in helping us sift out what is of Divine origin, and what is the addition of mere “men.”

    Pope Benedict himself has cautioned us to be supremely aware of this caveat: “Not every tradition that arises in the Church is a true celebration and keeping present of the mystery of Christ. There is a distorting, as well as legitimate, tradition … Consequently tradition must not be considered only affirmatively but also critically.”

  • P.R.Margeot

    Tradition: yes, always, tradition like firing crackers on Guy Fawkes Day ( !!! ), we don’t care that much. This type of traditions come and go.
    I also say : do not be afraid of men and their innovations/experiments. These are stained by sin, original and otherwise.
    We take our cross (which is tailored to our size and importance) and we follow our Lord. There is no pain that we cannot bear through corresponding graces from G-d.
    Exciting times are indeed coming.
    Ave Maria.
    St Bernadette , pray for us.

  • Victor Victoria

    Well, PRM, we have the Tradition of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who says in Matthew 19:9: “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

    So even Jesus has allowed an exception to the indissolubility of marriage!

    What has happened to //that// tradition? It has been superseded by the traditions of mere men, methinks!

  • Victor Victoria

    And waht of the Pauline and Petrine privileges? Are they not the traditions of mere men?

  • Victor Victoria

    Why am I being so timid? Let me be a little more frank.

    We have a veritable political campaign by many Catholic Bishops, the Pope included, to protect //civil// marriage as the union of a man and a woman … but when it comes to certain civil marriages, they can be dissolved in the twinkling of an eye (Pauline & Petrine Privileges) … why the appalling double standard? Why is civil marriage to be “protected” at all costs in one breath, and yet so very easily rescinded in the next? My mind truly boggles!

    Are these Jesus’ traditions? Or the ad hoc traditions of mere men*? I truly wonder!

    * and there is nothing sexist about the use of the term “men” here – I actually mean men as in males!

  • Victor Victoria

    And it is no secret that annulments are, in some instances, being dished out like sweets … in effect, allowing for divorce under the //pretext// of a marriage never having existed in the first place.

    Here we have canon lawyers trying to discern the internal fora of people when they took their marriage vows … I’m afraid that I just don’t buy the capacity of mere men to make such a discernment to any degree of real accuracy or precision.

    The Orthodox principle of “economia” is at least wary of mere men being able to discern or probe the sacramental mystery with definitive legal precision. “Economia is something that is rather experienced than described and defined” … what a truthful concession to the Divine, and to her admonition to //all// mere men: ” “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” “

  • VV, effectively what you are proposing as a solution to the problem of divorce and remarriage. Is it some other system that relies on … What precisely does it rely on? A feeling? An experience? Something that cannot be defined? So how does this work? Who decides? No-one? Does each person just base it on his or her own experience? I don’t get it?

  • Victor Victoria

    Dear Mark,

    I don’t recall proposing any solution to anything.

    I was simply marvelling at the pastoral wisdom of the Orthodox Churches, and suggesting that we in the Latin-Rite might benefit from reflecting upon their Tradition … which is also an Apostolic Tradition.

    Does that help?

    AS regards your questions, I would suggest that there is a profound difference between the calculating mind and the contemplative mind. The calculating mind is informed by the systems of our world (the systems of “men” which PRM often derides and yet paradoxically often employs), while the contemplative mind is informed by the Holy Spirit.

    I’m afraid that it is quite impossible to //explain// the contemplative mind to one whose entire framework is based upon the calculating mind.

    I hope this helps …

  • Quite interesting that a limitation is placed on the Holy Spirit’s ability to inform: “The calculating mind is informed by the systems of our world… while the contemplative mind is informed by the Holy Spirit.”

    I was always taught that for God nothing is impossible, however maybe my understanding is faulty because I am “one whose entire framework is based upon the calculating mind”.

    I have read comment after comment, in this and in other threads on this website, by the fault-finding VV, regarding the Latin Rite Church. I can only pray for VV. It must be absolutely dreadful to be so exceptionally unhappy with one’s Church.

  • Victor Victoria

    Actually, Mark, I’m thoroughly delighted with the Mystical Body of Christ, which is mystery, and sacrament to the world …

    I am thoroughly delighted, for instance, that many Catholics were able to see past much of the political rhetoric of the US Catholic Bishops, for example, in the recent US polls, and vote for the civil rights of an often-persecuted minority group. A concrete example of social justice and catechesis in action.

    So you are quite wrong to presume that I am “exceptionally unhappy with [my] Church.” Au contraire, I’m thrilled and delighted by the heartening unfoldings I witness around me every day. I’m not one to be holed up in a laager, Mark …

    And where, exactly, did I say that //your// entire framework is based on the calculating mind? Kindly refrain from putting words into my mouth.

  • You are lost. The US Catholic Bishops were rightly promoting the teaching of the Church and it is terribly sad that Catholics have been confused to the extent that they elect a president who is attacking religious liberties and is intent on destroying the domestic Church by condoning gay marriage. Gay marriage will be one of the greatest evils the Church has ever witnessed and will do more harm than we can even begin to imagine. All because we have allowed a minority group – LGBT – to impose what it wants on Christians and society as a whole through what can only be described as extremely aggressive and uncharitable behaviour. Gay marriage is contrary to natural law and is intrinsically disordered. It must be resisted at all costs, as must any attempts to change the Church’s teaching on divorce. The solution is not to change Church teaching, because there is nothing wrong with Church teaching, but to find ways to help, both those who are divorced and gays, to live their lives in accordance with the Church’s teaching. What you are getting excited about is not social justice but the complete reverse. What minority groups are trying to force through is, to say e least, extremely unjust.

  • P.R.Margeot

    About that issue that is a shame on the world( the gay-‘marriage’), just heard that in France, today, big demonstrations have taken place (Paris, Lyon, etc). Hundred of thousands have taken part. They demonstrated FOR the true blessed union of a man and a woman,as ordained by G-d but also against the law that the socialist government has decided to impose on France, which was the eldest daughte of the Church. She will of course regain her title one day.

    Tomorrow, there will be an even bigger demonstration in Paris, this time by tens and tens of thousands of traditional Catholics who will be joined quite naturally by other Catholics. After all, when confronted by such a monstrous law, there will surely be many non-Catholics as well who will join to protest. However, the socialists are cock-sure of themselves, they are convinced that they are the Enlightenment itself, they work cold-bloodedly and relentlessly for this Law which will destroy France, the Family, the children, the genealogies, the lot. Well, they may well be stopped: all the decent, ordinary citizens, Catholics mainly, need to do is to carry on with the protests indefinitely.

    Those who do not march may not complain when their liberties, their centuries-old customs and history are removed by the G-d-less, liberated, secular, progressive, enlightened, socialist new world order. Charming perspective for France.

    In France 73 Bishops have expressed an opposition(fairly timid though) to THAT law…Now, that’s progress in my simple reading book…The Church is waking up. The Pope has the Grace from Above. Exciting times are coming. We are in witnessing the turning of the tide, the stemming of the Revolution which nearly carried the Church away, we have also witnessed how a small group of Catholics have,with the help of the Holy Spirit assuredly, saved the Tridentine mass from the bottomless poit…Deo Gratias.

  • P.R.Margeot

    Bottomless pit ( above)

  • Archbishop Nichols criticised George Osbourne last night in speech and spoke of the deep unease he felt existed over the redefinition of marriage. http://marymagdalen.blogspot.com/2012/11/vin-on-marriage-redefinition.html

  • Derrick Kourie

    “The US Catholic Bishops were rightly promoting the teaching of the Church…” They were not. They were expressing an opion about a piece of legislation.

    The CCC indeed teaches that homosexual acts “cannot be approved”. And the Magesterium does not approve of prostitution, divorce, remarriage, pornography, adultery, etc. However:

    There is no teaching that legislation governing homosexual relationships cannot be approved.
    There is no teaching that legislation governing prostitution cannot be approved.
    There is no teaching that legislation governing divorce cannot be approved.
    There is no teaching that legislation governing remarriage, pornography, adultery cannot be approved. etc.

    The Church has a duty to express opinions about legislation, especially if the legislation infringes on the rights of others. Indeed, Vatican II encourages us as citizens to be engaged in society and to try to positively influence legislation in order to create a society “fit for God’s children”. (BTW, our bishops have a Parliamentary office that does excellent work in this regard.) But opions about legislation expressed by the pope and bishops should never be conflated with doctrines or teachings. Their opinions should of course be noted and considered with due respect, but they are not binding in any sense on the consciences of Catholics.

    Note that laws that directly violate the human rights of others are in a different category: for example abortion and the apartheid laws. It is interesting, however, that even though our bishops vigourously opposed many apartheid laws, they did not prescribe to Catholics who they might for. There were White Catholics who voted for the Nat government, some for purely selfish reasons, but some because they calculated that it was the best option open to them at the time.

  • Derrick Kourie

    Correction: “they did not prescribe to Catholics who they might vote for.”

  • Victor Victoria

    “You are lost.” Some would argue that many of the US Bishops are a wee bit lost in some areas [particularly as regards the complexity of human relationships] … but the catechesis of the laity will hopefully do much to heal this wound.

    Sr Joan Chittister has just written an interesting piece (see http://ncronline.org/blogs/where-i-stand/future-church-discernment-or-intimidation ) reflecting on the current period of cultural and social turbulence and transformation.

    Some pertinent snippets for us to reflect upon:

    “It is possible to repress change temporarily — to slow change, to resist change, to deny change — but it is impossible to stop a change whose time has come. It is impossible to ignore change once it has begun to well up through the cracks in the cement of a society, however rigid the barriers to it.

    Repressed, people will resist. Ignored, people will remove themselves from an arthritic society. Unheard and unheeded, blocked and obstructed, the seed of a new idea simply grows like ground pine until the ideas break out everywhere and evolution that could have been handled by a process of peaceful reform gives way to unmanageable revolution. Ask the King and Queen of France.

    Clearly, for the sake of the society itself, it is imperative that people minister reflectively and consciously at a time like this. Otherwise, in trying to preserve its past, an institution may well destroy the life of its living mission. People will ignore it, deride it, resist it or abandon it.”

  • Victor Victoria

    And, PRM, let us not over-exaggerate the rather poor turnout in France … police estimate 70 000 people turned out in Paris, while organizers put the figure at 200 000 (lol). Police put the total turnout in the whole of France at around 100 000. This in a country with 65 000 000 people. That’s 0.15% of the population.

    As a matter of interest, surveys indicate that an overwhelming majority of French citizens (the overwhelming majority of whom claim to be Catholic) are in favour of gay marriage. Surely that must count for something?

  • However:

    There is no teaching that legislation governing homosexual relationships cannot be approved.
    There is no teaching that legislation governing prostitution cannot be approved.
    There is no teaching that legislation governing divorce cannot be approved.
    There is no teaching that legislation governing remarriage, pornography, adultery cannot be approved. etc.

    Maybe read the Catechism again.

  • It is possible to repress change temporarily — to slow change, to resist change, to deny change — but it is impossible to stop a change whose time has come.

    As usual the focus is on what people want. Not on what God wants.

  • P.R.Margeot

    For good measure, in January, in France still, a MAJOR demonstration is planned on the 20th (or a week earlier, depending on what the ‘opposition’ does) to carry on the protests against THAT law which would strangle France, kill her, her Families, her traditions, her genealogies, her SELF…
    That law is the ‘marriage’ of the gays.
    People are angry in France, and yet that strange country keeps on voting socialists,masons, free thinkiners,. liberals in power….It is indeed a strange country which in the past gave SO MUCH to the world, I mean good things. Not the Revolution which changed the course of the History of mankind for the worse and we see the fruits today. Our poor Church did , alas, follow, that path…and we see the fruits all around us….but now she is coming right. The pendulum is swinging back to the normal position.

    Sanity is slowly returning to our Holy Church. We have not been abandoned by G-d. His ways are inscrutable, we must never question Him. He knows better. We submit with humility to His will, we try to keep His commandments. We pray to have the Final Perseverance to avoid sin and have a good death with a good priest giving us the good sacraments, the extreme-unction, etc,to confess our sins…

    Soon, some may well be running around in circles looking for a good priest to confess their sins. If they can find one, that’s what is meant by that. We ain’t got much time, good readers of the SC-on-line…

    Have a lekker sunday in our Lord.

  • Victor Victoria

    “As usual the focus is on what people want. Not on what God wants.”

    I wouldn’t be too sure about that one, Mark! The sensus fidelium appears to be in action, Yahweh is speaking through His Holy People.

    Come Holy Spirit, enkindle in us the fire of your love!

  • Victor Victoria

    I find PRM’s comments above to be “superficial, exaggerated, inexact, emotional and false”.

  • Victor Victoria

    Might I conclude with the exceptional words of Blessed John XXIII?

    “We are not here on earth to guard a museum, but to cultivate a flourishing garden of life.”

  • Victor Victoria

    Mark’s earlier comment that “it must be absolutely dreadful to be so exceptionally unhappy with one’s Church,” a comment which displayed a potentially poor understanding of precisely what is meant by Church, came to mind when I just read Andrew Sullivan’s take on the HBO documentary “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.” Andrew says that the poor handling of the clerical sex-abuse of children “will one day surely bring the whole house of cards down, so that the church can be rebuilt amid the ruins created by deeply sick and psychologically crippled men at its core.”

    Andrew says that the crisis of credibility for the US bishops effectively means that now there are “two Catholic churches in America: those few in the pews who still listen to the bishops and those who exist almost in a parallel church, focused on their own parish, their own priest, and their own faith, which remains, for many of us, undimmed.” As regards the hierarchy, Sullivan says “This is where we are. It feels like the last days of the Soviet Union.”

    Scary stuff indeed!

  • P.R.Margeot

    There is a third alternative here in what the commenter above wrote : in fact it would be the ///only/// alternative. And that is for Tradition and the M.O.A.T to naturally take their rightful place on the main stage. It’s coming. It is inevitable.The apocalyptic ///void/// created after the council will naturally be filled by the traditional forces which were never obliterated by the forces of ‘progress’… Deo Gratias. So,dear Catholics, we keep the Faith, our rosaries, the mass, we pray for the Pope that he does the consecration of Russia to unlock the situation and we watch…

    We live in exciting times,dangerous times, depressing times also,admittedly, but we are Catholics, we are privileged to have the good sacraments who are given by good priests who celebrate the mass that St Pius V said should not be changed ever because it was/is the perfect mass.
    The rest is History. Watch the scene : that mass is gradually, gently, being re-introduced everywhere.

    P.S. am waiting for news of the massive demonstration in Paris organized by Civitas, a Catholic organization. They were protesting against the law mentioned above, that law which in effect could well destroy the world….
    Will revert.

  • P.R.Margeot

    There were between 10,000 and 15,000 marchers, that’s one source. There will be other sources, including the Police.

    Whatever the exact figure, the main thing is that it was a very successful march clearly focused on the ///FAMILY///, because, make no mistake, if THAT law is passed, next there will be one on polygamy, the marriage between a sister and a brother(why not, in the logic of these people: if they LOVE each other, why not : do you see the devil grinning in the shadow)), and all other monstrous diabolical proposals.

    These people are pushing, pushing as if their time was counted. Actually it is counted. They probably know deep inside their soul that they are against nature, against the original Plan of our Creator Almighty, they just do not have the humility to recognize their error. What will it take to make them see and realize that History is marching, that the balance is being re-introduced, that man should show some humility, now more than ever. We ain’t got much time…

  • Victor Victoria

    The universe is 13 700 000 000 years young, PRM. Why do you keep insisting that we don’t have much time? Surely you don’t subscribe to the fundamentalist view that we are living in the end times?

    I appreciate that you are concerned about THAT law, I really do. But how can a soul be against nature when it is created by the Divine? And when everything created by the Divine is indeed very good?

    THAT law is also focussed on the flourishing of the family, PRM. It really is.

    When the Americas were discovered, what was not previously known became known! Maps had to be redrawn, reality had to be reconceived to accommodate this new knowledge. Same thing here … and if you think that the tsunami of change that is currently underway is going to be reversed, let me assure you, that is nigh impossible. A sea-change of consciousness is underway … a veritable quantum leap in consciousness. There is no going back. As the older generations pass on to their eternal reward, the younger folk are filling the gaps, and to the vast majority of them in many parts of the Catholic world, there is just no issue. The next generation of clerics and bishops will come from their ranks, and soon we’ll all be wondering what the issue was about … much like the miscegenation laws of not so long ago.

    Our interpretation of the Natural Law needs to be updated in the light of modern scientific knowledge. We cannot proceed as if the Americas had not been discovered, PRM. We need to factor the new knowledge into our accounting of the Natural Law. We need a contemporary Thomas Aquinas or three to undertake a fresh synthesis of faith and reason in the light of this new knowledge. And while we’re at it, we should refrain from denying folks at the frontiers of change the sacraments, since these sacraments are the very things that will sustain them in their fleshing out a new synthesis! (I note with much sadness the refusal of a Catholic priest to confirm a seventeen year old youngster simply because of his having expressed his opinions as regards the discovery of the metaphorical new lands, and the effect they have had on his support of certain civil laws … http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/15/lennon-cihak-minnesota-teen-denied-confirmation-gay-marriage_n_2140109.html . He is barred from the sacrament of confirmation, and his family is apparently also barred from the sacrament of communion. So much for “unity in necessary things, liberty in doubtful things, charity in all things.”)

  • P.R.Margeot

    2000 hrs: From Paris, the official number is 18,000 marchers for the family and against THAT law and the adoption of children by gays.
    The commenter above, who is very clever, will find it in no time. Look at a tiny counter-demonstration in Paris a few hours ago. He will see naked women with blasphemous words on the bare bodies, bare bodies in the street of Paris, words that I dare not write here. THAT, is the type of devilish people some commenters here support. Associate with. Unless we hear now from that commenter a solemn condemnation, a formal detachment from these people who are really devilish, who provoke to enrage people, who disturb the good order of life, then that commenter has lost credibility here. Mr Victoria, you have lost credibility, you are defending the indefensible, when you are cornered, you revert to your grandiose ideas, and you seem convinced that your views are Catholic. I’d better stop here. Dissociate yourself completely from all these perverts who bared their bodies in Paris with terrible words written on these bodies of sin.

  • P.R.Margeot

    The commenter above also wrote this ::
    “THAT law is also focussed on the flourishing of the family. It really is”.

    Flourishing of the family, when two men are ‘married’ ? He has lost his, ///all/// credibility as an intellectual, an academician, a scientist, Is he serious ? I know he hates hearing this : but I will pray for him that he sees some light. If he prays for me as well, I ‘ll be glad. I also need prayers from outside.

    Credibility lost. That’s serious stuff.

  • Victor Victoria

    I do not need to dissociate myself from anyone I have not associated myself with. PRM should remember that homosexuals, just like heterosexuals, cut across all sectors of society, from popes, cardinals, bishops, priests and religious, to politicians, academics, members of the press corps, motor mechanics, captains of rugby and other sports teams, you name it, saints AND sinners … I am not responsible for the behaviour of anyone in Paris.

    In conclusion, I find PRM’s comments above to be “superficial, exaggerated, inexact, emotional and false”.

    Thanks for the morning chuckle, though.

  • Victor Victoria

    Some pertinent definitions of “family” (OED) [Etymology: Latin /familia/ = household, from /famulus/ = servant.]

    {Please note: words embraced by “/” are simply intended to be italicised … unfortunately the combox, though it supports a range of extended characters, doesn’t appear to support italicised text. Words embraced by “//” are intended to be bold font.}

    The descendants of a common ancestor; a house, a lineage.

    A race; a people assumed to be descended from a common stock.

    A group of people living as one household, including parents and their children, boarders, servants, etc.; such a group as an organizational unit of society. (extended family, joint family, nuclear family, single-parent family, etc.)

  • Victor Victoria

    Two men, or two women, and their adopted children (if any) clearly constitute a family, and deserve to be protected by the civil law. They //all// belong to an extended family (they have parents and siblings, aunts and uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents, cousins and close friends and acquaintances).

    Most ordinary Catholics in the so-called “developed world” appear to appreciate this simple fact.

    The question arises as to who might have really discredited themselves by campaigning (at great financial cost) against such basci civil protections intended to ensure the flourishing of ordinary citizens, many of whom are hard-working contributors to the flourishing of society in general.

  • Victor Victoria

    I am worried that we have now deviated from the topic of this thread, and will refrain from any further contributions … but reserve my right to rebut as and when unduly provoked.

  • P.R.Margeot

    It may be better to leave it at that. The commenter appears, if I read him correctly, to be all for the ‘marriage’ of gays and the adoption of children by them. We leave it at that.

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