Thursday, 22 November 2018
Not all of the prelates we have today are true fathers of the flock of God. Rather than defend and promote the Gospel some seem keen to follow the ways of the world; for example, those who were eager to include the LGBT acronym in the documents of the synod. Where did this loss of good fathers begin? In my opinion it has to be traced back to modernism and its infiltration into Vatican II. It took hold when the Fathers changed the order of the purposes of marriage from procreation as its primary end to the building up of the couple. Although Vatican II tried to avoid speaking about a primary and secondary end (purpose) of marriage, it can be said not have achieved this since it stated, “Marriage to be sure is not instituted solely for procreation; rather, its very nature as an unbreakable compact between persons, and the welfare of the children, both demand that the mutual love of the spouses be embodied in a rightly ordered manner, that it grow and ripen. Therefore, marriage persists as a whole manner and communion of life, and maintains its value and indissolubility, even when despite the often intense desire of the couple, offspring are lacking.” (Gaudium et spes, #50), This appears to place both ends on an equal footing, but it begins by demoting procreation as the primary end of marriage, preferring to speak first of the growth and ripening of conjugal love, and the communion of life, only then does it progress to speak of marriage as a procreative reality. The 1917 Code of Canon Law (from which many students learned their theology prior to the Council since the Code is formed to protect the living out of Catholic Doctrine), is in contrast to that statement and to the 1983 Code which takes up the language of Vatican II:
1917 Code: Canon 1013
§1. The primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of children; its secondary end is mutual help and the allaying of concupiscence.
§2. The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility, which acquire a particular firmness in Christian marriage by reason of its sacramental character.
1983 Code: Canon 1055 §1.
The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman establish themselves a partnership of their whole life, and which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and the procreation and upbringing of children, has, between the baptized, been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.
While the Traditional Code places the procreation of children first the 1983 Code begins with the well-being of the spouses and progresses thence to the procreation of children.
The elements of the doctrine of marriage are not changed, but their order is, and this is significant since it is brings with it a distorting of God’s plan: the well-being of the spouses being placed before the couple’s primary blessing and duty to engage in the procreation of children (Gen1v28). This is the work of the devil. His clever tactic has always been the same; don’t try to ditch the Truth, just distort it. For example, God made man in His own image and likeness, and Satan used that truth against man: “if you eat you will be like God in knowing right from wrong”. One can imagine Adam and Eve reasoning that if God made them to be like Him it cannot be wrong for them to enhance that by eating of the fruit whereby they “will be like God in knowing good and evil” (Ge.3v5). But it was wrong. The devil successfully took a truth and distorted it, and he did the same with the modernists who took their ideas with them into Vatican II. In relation to marriage it seems precisely their placing of the relationship before procreation that provided the opportunity to call for the allowing of contraception, presumably to ensure the marriage relationship was fitting for the procreation of children.
From a secular point of view this placing of the marriage relationship first makes sense: if the marriage is not good children are brought into a situation of disharmony, stress, or even psychological/physical violence of one spouse toward another, so the quality of the marriage must be the first priority. But we are not secular people, and ought to follow God’s plan first (though NOT to the exclusion of secular considerations); we simply need to get back to putting procreation first. When people see themselves as marrying primarily (even if not exclusively) as a fulfilling of their own needs for companionship, fulfilment and/or affirmation, then when the drudgery of daily duties, the stresses of bills, work deadlines etc come into play dissipating the romance, the marriage can be experienced as dead; as no longer fulfilling, and divorce seen as the answer. The idea of following a vocation as a means of seeking one’s personal fulfilment/affirmation is erroneous, since vocations are first and foremost a call to serve God, not self, yet this idea of a vocation being about one’s fulfilment is rife and has affected the priesthood too: a man may be perfectly adequate at carrying out his priestly duties but become somewhat personally unfulfilled and seek to leave the priesthood to find that personal fulfilment and affirmation elsewhere. Thus marriages and priestly vocations fail because those entering into these states are placing their own needs before the vocational duty of serving God. It is good and perhaps ideal if one’s vocation is personally fulfilling and affirming, but it is not essential for the service of God –which involves the carrying of a cross.
The formation of Catholic clergy in the error that the quality of the marriage relationship is primary has also provided the opportunity to say that if the relationship is primary and not procreation, then ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex is acceptable since relationship is the core aspect. We thus have a Church where priests of both ranks (episcopal and presbyteral) are in favour of the use of contraception (with the natural corollary of abortion when contraception fails) and same-sex relationships, are all said to be I conformity with the Lord’s Gospel and plan for marriage. Thus the so-called Synod on the Youth dabbled with the using and thereby authenticating ‘LGBT’ as an ontological reality and thus align the Church with the LGBT agenda. It appears from the scandal of bishops abusing their power to have seminarians ‘share their bed’ arises from clergy who have been malformed on sex, sexuality, marriage and personal fulfilment. Reportsof an American Cardinal’s alleged sexual misconduct with seminarians was not, after all, a case where two seminarians in an all-male environment fell into a same-sex attraction contrary to their natural pre-seminary desires (such as is said to happen in male prisons where released prisoners revert to heterosexual experiences after release), but a situation where one who had power over the life of another is (credibly) alleged to have used that power over them for his own ends.
It would be easy to lay the blame for the Synod’s flirtation with LGBT ideology solely on Pope Francis due to his ambiguous leadership on moral issues, but this would be too narrow: until all the Fathers of today’s Church come back to the received Tradition from their theological ramblings and take up the task of recovering authentic teaching on marriage and sexuality (as well a return to good catechetical teaching and transcendent liturgy) the rotting of the Church from the inside will be impossible to stop.