Monday 3 March 2014
An Important Lenten Programme
Important Lenten Programme
I am proposing to the parish that during this Lent we offer a daily Rosary for the Synod on the Family, and that our penances and extra prayers be offered for the same intention. It is imperative that this Synod be supported by our prayers since it is dealing with the fundamental foundation of society; a foundation under heavy attack from secular forces (forces which have influenced too many in the Church and threaten to destroy the Faith).
I hope to be proved wrong, but I see danger ahead. If the Synod takes the orientation that Cardinal Kasper appears to offer, which seems to be that we can tolerate second marriages but not accept them, then the faith as we know it will die in the West.
Marriage of man and woman is founded upon the biological reality of the human person as either male or female and the psychological differences between them. Marriage of one man and one woman is the building block of the family which is that of father and mother together with their off-spring. The union of father and mother jointly caring for their offspring is the building block of a stable society, family life being the situation in which equality of dignity within the diversity of biology and psychology is demonstrated in the role of mother and father, and where the stability, fairness and mutual support necessary for a stable, fair and peaceful world are seen and learned. From the spiritual standpoint, marriage is fundamental to the holiness of the vast majority of those in the lay state in that marriage is the sacrament by which a man and a woman make one another holy, and together form holy children.
If we tolerate second marriages (in contradiction to the Gospel and the entire Tradition of the Church), we tolerate that which is objectively wrong and thereby destroy the notion of marriage as a “holy estate” in which husband and wife build one another up in grace. We have spent decades promoting the fact that marriage is a holy vocation in which man and woman minister sanctifying grace to one another, yet some in the hierarchy are on the verge of trying to accommodate irregularities that which God has forbidden. Marriage is either a holy vocation or it is not; if it is holy, it cannot be allowed to be tainted by that which the Lord has forbidden.
If we tolerate second marriages (in contradiction to the Gospel and the entire Tradition of the Church) we also destroy the role of Confession, since reconciliation to God and re-direction of self towards the good by a firm purpose of amendment and reparation will no longer makes sense if situations which are objectively wrong are tolerated, for in toleration of irregularity there is no need for Reconciliation.
If we tolerate second marriages (in contradiction to the Gospel and the entire Tradition of the Church) we make the Eucharist party to adultery; party to an objectively sinful situation, which is sacrilegious guardianship of the Blessed Sacrament.
If we tolerate second marriages (in contradiction to the Gospel and the entire Tradition of the Church) then we destroy the Church’s role as teacher, for what she teaches can be put aside for ‘pastoral reasons’. All doctrine would go out of the window, since if one doctrine can be put aside, any and all doctrine can be put aside.
I don’t always find myself quoting Archbishop (now Cardinal) Nichols; his tolerant words on ‘civil unions’ for homosexuals dismayed many Catholics, but he is right when he says there must be ways in which people can live a very fruitful ecclesial life even if they don’t have access to the Eucharist. Can we not have formal guidance from Rome on how to keep those in irregular situations supported without abandoning Truth? After all, Our Lord does abandon truth to be compassionate. The divorced/remarried could be formally encouraged to keep up their life of prayer and charity, undertake pilgrimages, attend prayer meetings and seek counselling from their pastor etc, and encouragingly reminded that to come to Mass is to stand at the foot of the Cross that the Blood which flowed from Christ’s wounds may wash away our sins that we might be filled with the grace that flowed from His pierced side. They could be reminded too that although they have chosen to remove themselves from the reception of Holy Communion by their attempt to enter a civil marriage, they have not removed themselves from the obligation of attending Mass.
Unfortunately we have become rather casual in regard to the Blessed Sacrament. So much so that people receive by habit and no longer prepare for Holy Communion by frequent Confession; many are just as happy with a “Communion Service” as they are with Mass because they are able to receive Holy Communion, which many see as the whole point of coming to Mass (I have been told by some folk that they stay away from Mass if they have broken the fast because they cannot come to Holy Communion). We seem to have forgotten that we are not obliged to receive Holy Communion every Sunday: we are obliged to attend Mass, but not to receive. An affirmation of this reality would go a long way to helping those in irregular situations. I fully support Cardinal Nichols when he says
“When I was growing up, there was a more reserved approach to the Eucharist. It made demands on us. To receive the Eucharist was the high point. There must be ways in which people can live a very fruitful life in the church even if for the public reasons we all understand they might not have access to the Eucharist.”
It is essential that the Synod uphold the indissolubility of marriage between one man and one woman for the raising of children; it is also essential that Pastoral Care be about “doing the truth in charity”, not putting the truth aside to be ‘charitable’ by which we avoid the practical consequences of Truth. One of the devil’s master strokes in the 20th century was introducing the idea of Pastoral Care as Person-centred charity; he distorted our perception of Truth by turning “do not judge” from “do not judge your neighbour [in himself]” to “do not judge your neighbour[’s acts]”. Satan has distorted our perception of the Truth ever since the fall when he convinced Adam that if God had made Adam to His image and likeness that Adam should be like God in knowing good from evil. He perverted a truth then, and he is perverting the truth of “do not judge” now. We must never forget that we cannot be genuinely charitable to our neighbour by allowing him to live outside of Truth. It is as basic as this: Christ is The Truth, and we cannot encourage souls to live outside of Christ, where no life can be found. After all, Christ is The Truth and The Life; He cannot be divided. We must not imply that He can.