The Bad NewsHeretofore, 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....
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.'"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.'
"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.
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
"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]....
- "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'....
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
- "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'
"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
"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):
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."