Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I Don't Need Your Sympathy, Your Eminence!

There is a disturbing trend in the current pontificate of feeling-guys feeling sympathy from on high for lowly people who desperately need their sympathy. It's all so very condescending, their misplaced compassion.

It all begins with the most vexatious and grammatically unacceptable "where they're at" type talk. You know what I mean, how 'of the people' these people are, who are, if anything, not that. How the German bishops have been tripping over each other trying to show that they too are totally of the people.

Cardinal Kasper, in the presence of the other cardinals, said that the Church should give certain people communion who, though twice "married," mean well. No one can blame someone for wanting to lift a burden from somebody, but is it a burden or is it their salvation that is being lifted away?
"I just, I just think it's so great that, in me,
the Church is finally listening to what the people
are saying, to what the Spirit is 'a sayin."

I am personally offended. In effect, what is being suggested here is that lay people (unlike the clergy) are incapable of making life-long decisions, and thus need to be treated like little children who get another chance.

One free-bee marriage. Where does it end - one free-bee bank robbery, or perhaps one free-bee murder, or abortion?

But the matter is not one of forgiveness. No, forgiveness is predicated on sorrow and an amending purpose. When that is lacking, nothing can be done. None of us can undo what we have done. And we must live with the consequences. Let our wills be changed, despite great cost, and the heavens open up.

Will this mercy improve my marriage? What would I have done when I was struggling, had I known that great cardinals somewhere were plotting that I would never indeed need to struggle at all, for had I known at the darkest point of my marriage that I had one free get out of jail card would I not have taken it? That, when I was on my way out the door, that knowing I had failed her and my own dreams, that I could not yet fail God by accepting that this was but a thing to forget and move on from? Where would that have left my children, let alone my wife? What would they have thought, years later, seeing me with my new wife and children receiving Holy Communion?

There are not few men in my position who had only that one thing left to them to dignify their struggle - not the honour of not going back on one's word - which the Cardinal does not respect anymore, not the warm feeling of love from one's wife, nothing but that one thing, that this was God's will and that His grace is sufficient to rescue you from things rashly considered, words too quickly said, actions impetuously undertaken, the presumption that I was actually ready and able to undertake marriage. Who of us has ever made so perfect a choice, one so immune from the effects of sin that he would not have cause to fall back on it, if he could, in his moments of weakness and self-pity?

One free life of vice to be lamented of on the death bed; one free apostasy; to have both God and mammon.

In this way has the Cardinal sold out the dignity of our married state. It is not a sacrament. Though indelible, it is not as important as those other sacraments that the Church can never permit profanation of, but marriage, yes, it is not so important that it cannot be profaned for a while.

Let the priests, then, worship God on Sunday, but some other god on the other days, since, now, sacrilege is no great matter. Unless it is not sacrilege to despise a thing as small as marriage.

Are there grounds to persevere, to encourage perseverance in others left to us now? Are there left any grounds for undertaking so onerous a thing as marriage in the first place? Where has the right to security gone, that any Catholic taking on this sacrament has a right to believe exists, if it is just as well whether you persevere or not, that we shall all be treated the same, those who suffer and remain faithful and those who do not?

No man may say that sin is not sin.

The Church does not create rules, it merely interprets the Law of God. The Church can no more say that sin is not sin than it can say women can be priests and that bread and wine and pizza and beer are interchangeable in the Lord's Supper. The Church's one job is to point the way to Christ, not to indulge people's weaknesses.

My sins are sins. I am a human being. Of all creatures on earth, my kind alone can partake of the mystery of salvation. I have at hand the choice of life or death. That is my human dignity. If you take away my ability to damn myself, to sin, you take away my humanity. You turn me into an animal or a child who has not attained the age of reason.

Clerics do me no favours in treating me like a child unable to sin. Fools and children cannot form an indelible matrimonial bond. Which do you consider all of us now, Cardinal Kasper? My marriage is by the grace of God, not by grace of bishops.

It has never been said that one may persevere in a sinful state and yet remain in communion with the Church.

This is an heretical proposition.

Perhaps if Adam had one more try all of this never would have happened. But God made Adam in His image and likeness, with ability to choose and to suffer from a choice badly made.

Perhaps if God had been as compassionate as Cardinal Kasper things would have gone better.

How dare you, Your Eminence, tell my wife and I that our suffering meant nothing, our suffering for our believe in the holiness of marriage. Bishops are slow to learn that these people who choose "second marriages" are not their friends, and not willing to die for the Faith, are not the really the Body of Christ. Let the crowd go where it will, they are not of Christ.


  1. thanks, Father. Please prayer for Anne-Marie and me...

  2. Thanks for this Colin. It's like when I teach catechism to the grade twos at church. I place an extra emphasis on the fact that we sin. Why? Because if we didn't sin then we wouldn't need Jesus! It's so simple, and the kids get it completely.

    1. empty the cross of its power. that's a solution!

  3. When I first heard about this new German move my first thought was that I was offended. It really felt like all that dave and I were struggling to live suddenly meant very little. Sort of like working really hard for a good mark in a required course only to be told that it was no longer required and all these other people had suddenly jumped the admission line. My second thought was that these bishops do not understand the people. They don't understand what heights people can rise to, whether that be saving a desperate marriage or living celibately after a separation or divorce. We have a family friend out east who was married for one year, had a daughter, became divorced and has lived celibately for the last 31 years. She and her daughter are two of the kindest and most devout women I know. What does the German move say about her sacrifice? On the other hand, I heard Raymond arroyo and some others on his show discussing that around half of all catholic marriages these days could be annulled because so many of these people really have no idea what they are getting into. Dave and I can attest to that due to our marriage prep experience. However, is divorce the solution? Isn't evangelization before and after marriage the answer? The answer is Jesus and some very practical help in the form of good marriage prep, marriage saving programs like marriage encounter and retrouvaille, and higher-ups who call us to great things: your marriage is worth saving. You can do it. Get off your bottom and learn what love is and how it can be lived out in marriage. (One waiver: there are definitely marriages that are not valid and the church has ways of dealing with those. I am not trying to say that all marriages can be saved or should be. Not trying to make anyone feel guilty. The end.)

    1. I could probably write a book-length post on this topic. I am glad this resonates with you and Dan M: two Catholics who know the struggle and the importance of the struggle, and that it dignifies our lives.