In Pennsylvania's

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The bad news, the possibly good news, and the need to spread "The Gospel of the Sanctity of Marriage"

The Bad News

Heretofore, there have been mounting attacks on marriage/family, largely waged by public figures who identify themselves as "Catholic."  This past week, these attacks culminated in Illinois, where they did not go unanswered by Springfield's courageous bishop.... 

    "Scheduled for approximately the same time that Gov. Pat Quinn signs into Illinois law the redefinition of civil marriage, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki will offer 'Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-Sex Marriage'....'The context for this prayer service may be understood by recalling the words of Pope Francis when he faced a similar situation as Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010,' Bishop Paprocki said.
    "Regarding the proposed redefinition of civil marriage in Argentina, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote on June 22, 2010: 'The Argentine people must face, in the next few weeks, a situation whose result may gravely harm the family. It is the bill on matrimony of persons of the same sex. The identity of the family, and its survival, are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children. The life of so many children who will be discriminated beforehand due to the lack of human maturity that God willed them to have with a father and a mother is in jeopardy. At stake is the total rejection of God's law engraved in our hearts. ... Let us not be naive: it is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [which is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project (this is a mere instrument), but rather a 'move' of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.'
    http://books.google.com/books?id=-FJePalai4AC&pg=PT138&lpg=PT138&dq=The+Argentine+people+must+face,+in+the+next+few+weeks,+a+situation+whose+result+may+gravely+harm+the+family.+It+is+the+bill+on+matrimony+of+persons+of+the+same+sex.+The+identity+of+the+family,+and+its+survival,+are+in+jeopardy+here:+father,+mother,+and+children.+The+life+of+so+many+children+who+will+be+discriminated+beforehand+due+to+the+lack+of+human+maturity+that+God+willed+them+to+have+with+a+father+and+a+mother+is+in+jeopardy.+At+stake+is+the+total+rejection+of+God%E2%80%99s+law+engraved+in+our+hearts&source=bl&ots=zH4fjsr9Wc&sig=yvV4E3DKwasVxWeX8U0niQWqCO0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=cyeSUrHuEYXNsQSYqoGgBg&ved=0CFQQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=The%20Argentine%20people%20must%20face%2C%20in%20the%20next%20few%20weeks%2C%20a%20situation%20whose%20result%20may%20gravely%20harm%20the%20family.%20It%20is%20the%20bill%20on%20matrimony%20of%20persons%20of%20the%20same%20sex.%20The%20identity%20of%20the%20family%2C%20and%20its%20survival%2C%20are%20in%20jeopardy%20here%3A%20father%2C%20mother%2C%20and%20children.%20The%20life%20of%20so%20many%20children%20who%20will%20be%20discriminated%20beforehand%20due%20to%20the%20lack%20of%20human%20maturity%20that%20God%20willed%20them%20to%20have%20with%20a%20father%20and%20a%20mother%20is%20in%20jeopardy.%20At%20stake%20is%20the%20total%20rejection%20of%20God%E2%80%99s%20law%20engraved%20in%20our%20hearts&f=false
    "Bishop Paprocki noted, 'The pope's reference to the ''father of lies'' comes from the Gospel of John (8:44), where Jesus refers to the devil as ''a liar and the father of lies.'' So Pope Francis is saying that same-sex ''marriage'' comes from the devil and should be condemned as such'....
    Bishop Paprocki said that since same-sex marriage is contrary to the plan of God (see Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9), those who contract civil same-sex marriage are culpable of serious sin. He also noted that politicians who enacted civil same-sex marriage legislation are 'morally complicit as co-operators in facilitating this grave sin.'

    "'It is scandalous that so many Catholic politicians are responsible for enabling the passage of this legislation and even twisting the words of the pope to rationalize their actions despite the clear teaching of the church,' he said. 'All politicians now have the moral obligation to work for the repeal of this sinful and objectionable legislation. We must pray for deliverance from this evil which has penetrated our state and our church.'
    http://dio.org/communications/press-releases/349-bishop-to-offer-prayers-of-supplication-and-exorcism-in-reparation-for-the-sin-of-same-sex-marriage.html#sthash.NmvF2A6s.dpuf
    "Bishop Paprocki concluded, 'Pope Francis has also urged us to be mindful of God's mercy, so it is good to recall the profound expression of divine mercy uttered by Jesus as he was dying on the cross to save us from our sins, ''Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do'' (Luke 23:34)'" (Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, 11/14/13).
     

The Possibly Good News: Illinois Can Be the Last Stop for Railroading Against Marriage/Family

"Illinois is the last state where gay-marriage advocates have an advantage in both the governor’s office and statehouse, and defenders of traditional marriage say the political playing field will be far more level in the remaining 34 states in the years ahead....activists 'have run out of easy targets,' Mr. Brown [of the National Organization for Marriage] said.  The 'false narrative of "inevitability" ends here,' he said, because most of the remaining states either have constitutional amendments that recognize only man-woman marriages or have significant popular opposition to same-sex marriages....The state-by-state battle over gay marriage was set up by the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in June....Although gay-marriage supporters hailed the ruling as a victory, the high court declined to take the more ambitious step of invalidating all laws at the state level banning gay marriage....Three states that do not have constitutional provisions on gay marriage — West Virginia, New Mexico and Pennsylvania — already are embroiled in 'freedom-to-marry' lawsuits" (Washington Times, 11/19/13).


"The Gospel of the Sanctity of Marriage"

If Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage is correct, we may experience somewhat of a respite from the attacks on marriage/family.  We need to re-group and better acquaint ourselves with what Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller calls "The Gospel of the Sanctity of Marriage."

No matter what may be reported in the press, the pontificate of Pope Francis is NOT deviating from what the Church has always proclaimed about marriage, as reiterated in Pope Pius XI's Casti Connubii, Vatican II's Gaudium et Spes, Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae, Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  While the secular press might like us to believe that Pope Francis would like to dilute the Truth, NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!


As per Pope Francis' Lumen Fidei (6/29/13):

    "52. In Abraham’s journey towards the future city, the Letter to the Hebrews mentions the blessing which was passed on from fathers to sons (cf. Heb 11:20-21). The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family. I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage. This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan. Grounded in this love, a man and a woman can promise each other mutual love in a gesture which engages their entire lives and mirrors many features of faith. Promising love for ever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love. Faith also helps us to grasp in all its depth and richness the begetting of children, as a sign of the love of the Creator who entrusts us with the mystery of a new person. So it was that Sarah, by faith, became a mother, for she trusted in God’s fidelity to his promise (cf. Heb 11:11)."



As per Pope Francis' Press Conference on the Return Flight From World Youth Day (7/29/13):

    "if a person, lay or priest or Sister, has committed a sin and then has converted, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is important for our life. When we go to confession and truly say: 'I have sinned in this,' the Lord forgets and we don’t have the right not to forget, because we run the risk  that the Lord won’t forget our [sins].... I think so many times of Saint Peter: he committed one of the worst sins, which is to deny Christ, and with this sin he was made Pope....If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him?" 


As per Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller's The Power of Grace (10/23/13):

    "The comparison drawn by the prophets between God’s covenant with Israel and the marriage bond includes not only the ideal of monogamy, but also that of indissolubility.  The prophet Malachi expresses this clearly:  'Do not be faithless to the wife of your youth ... with whom you have made a covenant' (Mal 2:14-15).
    "He [Jesus] distanced himself explicitly from the Old Testament practice of divorce, which Moses had permitted because men were 'so hard of heart', and he pointed to God’s original will: 'from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and ... the two shall become one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together let not man put asunder' (Mk 10:5-9; cf. Mt 19:4-9; Lk 16:18).  The Catholic Church has always based its doctrine and practice upon these sayings of Jesus concerning the indissolubility of marriage.  The inner bond that joins the spouses to one another was forged by God himself.  It designates a reality that comes from God and is therefore no longer at man’s disposal....
    "Christian marriage is an effective sign of the covenant between Christ and the Church.  Because it designates and communicates the grace of this covenant, marriage between the baptized is a sacrament....
    "In the Orthodox Churches today, there are a great many grounds for divorce, which are mostly justified in terms of oikonomia, or pastoral leniency in difficult individual cases, and they open the path to a second or third marriage marked by a penitential character.  This practice cannot be reconciled with God’s will, as expressed unambiguously in Jesus’ sayings about the indissolubility of marriage.  But it represents an ecumenical problem that is not to be underestimated.
    "In the West, the Gregorian reform countered these liberalizing tendencies and gave fresh impetus to the original understanding of Scripture and the Fathers.  The Catholic Church defended the absolute indissolubility of marriage even at the cost of great sacrifice and suffering.  The schism of a 'Church of England' detached from the Successor of Peter came about not because of doctrinal differences, but because the Pope, out of obedience to the sayings of Jesus, could not accommodate the demands of King Henry VIII for the dissolution of his marriage [Emphasis added]....
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14689c.htm
    "The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio...emphatically confirms the Church’s dogmatic teaching on marriage....They too belong to the Church, they are entitled to pastoral care and they should take part in the Church’s life....And yet they cannot be admitted to the Eucharist.  Two reasons are given for this:
      a) 'their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist'
      b) 'if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage'....
       
    "if for serious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, the new union cannot be dissolved, then the two partners must 'bind themselves to live in complete continence'....
    "the faithful concerned may not present themselves for holy communion on the basis of their own conscience....If doubts remain over the validity of a failed marriage, these must be examined by the competent marriage tribunals....
    "He [Pope Benedict XVI] confirms 'the Church's practice, based on Sacred Scripture (cf. Mk 10:2- 12), of not admitting the divorced and remarried to the sacraments', but he urges pastors at the same time, to devote 'special concern' to those affected: in the wish that they 'live as fully as possible the Christian life through regular participation at Mass, albeit without receiving communion, listening to the word of God, eucharistic adoration, prayer, participation in the life of the community, honest dialogue with a priest or spiritual director, dedication to the life of charity, works of penance, and commitment to the education of their children'.  If there are doubts concerning the validity of the failed marriage, these are to be carefully examined by the competent marriage tribunals.  Today’s mentality is largely opposed to the Christian understanding of marriage, with regard to its indissolubility and its openness to children.  Because many Christians are influenced by this, marriages nowadays are probably invalid more often than they were previously, because there is a lack of desire for marriage in accordance with Catholic teaching, and there is too little socialization within an environment of faith [Emphasis added.]....Where nullity of marriage cannot be demonstrated, the requirement for absolution and reception of communion, according to the Church’s established and approved practice, is that the couple live 'as friends, as brother and sister'....
    "the ideal – built into the order of creation – of faithfulness between one man and one woman has lost none of its fascination....Moreover, one must not forget the anthropological value of indissoluble marriage:  it withdraws the partners from caprice and from the tyranny of feelings and moods.  It helps them to survive personal difficulties and to overcome painful experiences.  Above all it protects the children, who have most to suffer from marital breakdown [Emphasis added.]....
    "If anyone should doubt whether the marriage bond is ontological, let him learn from the word of God:  'He who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said: for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  So they are no longer two but one flesh' (Mt 19:4-6)....
    "The Church cannot respond to the growing incomprehension of the sanctity of marriage by pragmatically accommodating the supposedly inevitable, but only by trusting in 'the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God' (1 Cor 2:12).  Sacramental marriage is a testimony to the power of grace, which changes man and prepares the whole Church for the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Church, which is prepared 'as a bride adorned for her husband' (Rev 21:2).  The Gospel of the sanctity of marriage is to be proclaimed with prophetic candour [Emphasis added].  By adapting to the spirit of the age, a weary prophet seeks his own salvation but not the salvation of the world in Jesus Christ.....  
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R2XXSI3WNZ2F6N
    "Admittedly there are situations – as every pastor knows – in which marital cohabitation becomes for all intents and purposes impossible for compelling reasons, such as physical or psychological violence.  In such hard cases, the Church has always permitted the spouses to separate and no longer live together.  It must be remembered, though, that the marriage bond of a valid union remains intact in the sight of God, and the individual parties are not free to contract a new marriage, as long as the spouse is alive.  Pastors and Christian communities must therefore take pains to promote paths of reconciliation in these cases too, or, should that not be possible, to help the people concerned to confront their difficult situation in faith....
    "It is frequently suggested that remarried divorcees should be allowed to decide for themselves, according to their conscience, whether or not to present themselves for holy communion.  This argument, based on a problematical concept of 'conscience', was rejected by a document of the CDF in 1994.  Naturally, the faithful must consider every time they attend Mass whether it is possible to receive communion, and a grave unconfessed sin would always be an impediment [Emphasis added.].  At the same time they have the duty to form their conscience and to align it with the truth.  In so doing they listen also to the Church’s Magisterium, which helps them 'not to swerve from the truth about the good of man, but rather, especially in more difficult questions, to attain the truth with certainty and to abide in it' (Veritatis Splendor, 64).  If remarried divorcees are subjectively convinced in their conscience that a previous marriage was invalid, this must be proven objectively by the competent marriage tribunals [Emphasis added]....'If the prior marriage of two divorced and remarried members of the faithful was valid, under no circumstances can their new union be considered lawful, and therefore reception of the sacraments is intrinsically impossible.  The conscience of the individual is bound to this norm without exception' (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 'The Pastoral approach to marriage must be founded on truth' L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, 7 December 2011, p. 4)....
    "Jesus encountered the adulteress with great compassion, but he said to her 'Go and do not sin again' (Jn 8:11).  God’s mercy does not dispense us from following his commandments or the rules of the Church.  Rather it supplies us with the grace and strength needed to fulfil them, to pick ourselves up after a fall, and to live life in its fullness according to the image of our heavenly Father....
    "Insofar as the parties make an effort to understand the Church’s practice and to abstain from communion, they provide their own testimony to the indissolubility of marriage."


Synod of Bishops' Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization (11/5/13):

"I. Synod: Family and Evangelization....
"The social and spiritual crisis, so evident in today’s world, is becoming a pastoral challenge in the Church’s evangelizing mission concerning the family, the vital building-block of society and the ecclesial community. Never before has proclaiming the Gospel on the Family in this context been more urgent and necessary. The importance of the subject is reflected in the fact that the Holy Father has decided to call for a Synod of Bishops, which is to have a two-staged itinerary: firstly, an Extraordinary General Assembly in 2014, intended to define the 'status quaestionis' and to collect the bishops’ experiences and proposals in proclaiming and living the Gospel of the Family in a credible manner; and secondly, an Ordinary General Assembly in 2015 to seek working guidelines in the pastoral care of the person and the family.


"Concerns which were unheard of until a few years ago have arisen today as a result of different situations, from the widespread practice of cohabitation, which does not lead to marriage, and sometimes even excludes the idea of it, to same-sex unions between persons, who are, not infrequently, permitted to adopt children. The many new situations requiring the Church’s attention and pastoral care include: mixed or inter-religious marriages; the single-parent family; polygamy; marriages with the consequent problem of a dowry, sometimes understood as the purchase price of the woman; the caste system; a culture of non-commitment and a presumption that the marriage bond can be temporary; forms of feminism hostile to the Church; migration and the reformulation of the very concept of the family; relativist pluralism in the conception of marriage; the influence of the media on popular culture in its understanding of marriage and family life; underlying trends of thought in legislative proposals which devalue the idea of permanence and faithfulness in the marriage covenant; an increase in the practice of surrogate motherhood (wombs for hire); and new interpretations of what is considered a human right. Within the Church, faith in the sacramentality of marriage and the healing power of the Sacrament of Penance show signs of weakness or total abandonment....

"II. The Church and the Gospel on the Family

"The good news of divine love is to be proclaimed to all those personally living this basic human experience of couples and of a communion open to the gift of children, which is the family community. The teachings of the faith on marriage is to be presented in an articulate and efficacious manner, so that it might reach hearts and transform them in accordance with God’s will, made manifest in Jesus Christ....


"The Plan of God, Creator and Redeemer

"The beauty of the biblical message on the family has its roots in the creation of man and woman, both made in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:24-31; 2:4-25). Bound together by an indissoluble sacramental bond, those who are married experience the beauty of love, fatherhood, motherhood, and the supreme dignity of participating in this way in the creative work of God.

"In the gift of the fruit of their union, they assume the responsibility of raising and educating other persons for the future of humankind. Through procreation, man and woman fulfill in faith the vocation of being God’s collaborators in the protection of creation and the growth of the human family....

"Jesus Christ restored the beauty of matrimony, proposing once again the one plan of God which was abandoned because of the hardness of the human heart, even within the tradition of the people of Israel (cf. Mt 5:31-32; 19:3-12; Mk 10:1-12; Lk 16:18). Returning to the beginning, Jesus taught the unity and faithfulness of the husband and wife, refuting the practice of repudiation and adultery.

"Precisely through the extraordinary beauty of human love — already celebrated in a heightened manner inspired by the Song of Songs, and the bond of marriage called for and defended by the prophets like Hosea (cf. Hosea 1:2, 3.3) and Malachi (cf. Mal 2:13-16) — , Jesus affirmed the original dignity of the married love of man and woman.

"The Church's Teaching on the Family

"Even in the early Christian community the family appeared as the 'domestic church' (cf. CCC, 1655)....

"Over the centuries, especially in modern times to the present, the Church has not failed to continually teach and develop her doctrine on the family and marriage which founded her. One of its highest expressions has been proposed by the Second Vatican Council in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes....
"After the Second Vatican Council, the successors of St. Peter enriched this teaching on marriage and the family, especially Pope Paul VI with the Enyclical Humanae vitae, which offers specific principles and guidelines. Subsequently, in his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, Pope John Paul II insisted on proposing the divine plan in the basic truths of married love and the family....
"The Catechism of the Catholic Church gathers together the fundamental aspects of this teaching....

"The doctrine presented in the Catechism touches on both theological principles and moral behaviours, developed under two separate headings: The Sacrament of Matrimony (nos. 1601-1658) and The Sixth Commandment (nos. 2331-2391)....

"The recent encyclical of Pope Francis, Lumen fidei, speaks of the family in the context of a reflection on how faith reveals “just how firm the bonds between people can be when God is present in their midst” (LF, 50)."


As per Pope Francis' Address to Members of the Apostolic Signature (11/8/13):

    "the Defender of the bond....must propose all sorts of proofs, exceptions, recourses and appeals that, in respect of the truth, foster the defense of the bond....it is necessary to always keep alive the connection between the action of the Church that evangelizes and the action of the Church that administers justice. The service to justice is a commitment of apostolic life: it requires to be exercised by keeping one’s gaze fixed on the icon of the Good Shepherd, who bends down to the lost and wounded sheep."

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