The author asks:
Are we being as fair to the public about sex as we are about smoking or eating sweets or drinking alcohol?Go read.
Are we being as fair to the public about sex as we are about smoking or eating sweets or drinking alcohol?Go read.
Father, keep them always true to your commandments.Keep them faithful in marriage and let them be living examples of Christian life.Give them the strength which comes from the gospel so that they may be witnesses of Christ to others.Bless them with children and help them to be good parents.May they live to see their children's children.And, after a happy old age, grant them fullness of life with the saints in the kingdom of heaven.
One of Satan’s greatest assets is his camouflage, the belief that he doesn’t exist. Disbelief in Satan and the forces of evil leave us unable to resist them. That is why it is good to remember the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel. We need to remember that each time we pray we work to defeat our real enemies, not each other, but rather the devil and his evil spirits...
While Jesus Christ's death and resurrection have restored the gifts of heavenly treasures for us, we also have to recognize that the devil, Satan, is real, and he will do everything in his power to deflect us from our goal, which is eternal life with Christ in His kingdom...
God permits us to be tempted by the devil but gives us the grace to resist him through prayer in our daily lives. We can and should say the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel at church with the assembly or on our own during the day for spiritual protection for ourselves and for others.
The steps in this passage (Mt 18:16-17) are clear and Jesus is teaching us, but do we listen and follow his example? If this criteria had been followed with dissenting theologians, priests, religious and faithful in 1968 with the encyclical, Humanae Vitae, would we still be dealing with the problem today of those who dissent on contraception, abortion, same sex unions, euthanasia and so many other teachings of the Church?Read the full address here.
One must honestly ask, how many times and years may a Catholic politician vote for the so called "right to abortion", "murder" in the words of John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae (58), and still be able to receive Holy Communion? The continual reception of Holy Communion by those who so visibly contradict and promote a grave evil, even more than simply dissent, only creates grave scandal, undermines the teaching and governing authority of the Church and can be interpreted by the faithful as indifference to the teaching of Christ and the Church on the part of those who have the responsibility to govern. If we honestly pray with the Gospel we can see that hesitancy and non-accountability is not the way of Jesus Christ, but rather it is a failure in the exercise of governance.
Bishops and priests, as an act of loving obedience to Christ, must return to a full exercise of the governing authority of Christ witnessed in the Gospel. If we do not exercise that authority, are hesitant to exercise it, or doubt it, then it only leads to the "father of lies" taking hold of the minds and hearts of the faithful, and their continuing to act in the ways of man and not the ways of God.
Our popular American culture is often in conflict with the teachings of Jesus and His Church. I urge especially young people to not cohabitate which is sinful, but to marry in the Church and prepare well for it.Archbishop Sheehan has written a pastoral letter concerning the pastoral care of those who are co-habiting. He makes it clear that they are not to receive the sacraments (of Holy Communion, Reconciliation and Anointing) without first taking the necessary steps to regularise their situations.
April 3, 2011
Pastoral Care of Couples Who are Cohabitating
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We are all painfully aware that there are many Catholics today who are living in cohabitation. The Church must make it clear to the faithful that these unions are not in accord with the Gospel, and to help Catholics who find themselves in these situations to do whatever they must do to make their lives pleasing to God.
First of all, we ourselves must be firmly rooted in the Gospel teaching that, when it comes to sexual union, there are only two lifestyles acceptable to Jesus Christ for His disciples: a single life of chastity, or the union of man and woman in the Sacrament of Matrimony. There is no “third way” possible for a Christian. The Bible and the Church teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman and opposes same sex unions.
We have three groups of people who are living contrary to the Gospel teaching on marriage: those who cohabit; those who have a merely civil union with no previous marriage; and those who have a civil union who were married before. These people are objectively living in a state of mortal sin and may not receive Holy Communion. They are in great spiritual danger. At the best - and this is, sadly, often the case - they are ignorant of God’s plan for man and woman. At the worst, they are contemptuous of God’s commandments and His sacraments.
Of these three groups, the first two have no real excuse. They should marry in the Church or separate. Often their plea is that they “cannot afford a church wedding” i.e. the external trappings, or that “what difference does a piece of paper make?” - as if a sacramental covenant is nothing more than a piece of paper! Such statements show religious ignorance, or a lack of faith and awareness of the evil of sin.
The third group, those who were married before and married again outside the Church, can seek a marriage annulment and have their marriage blest in the Church. Please remember that divorce still is no reason to refrain from Holy Communion as long as they have not entered into another marriage or sinful relationship. Many Catholics are confused on this point.
Christ our Lord loves all these people and wishes to save them - not by ignoring their sin, or calling evil good, but by repentance and helping them to change their lives in accordance with His teaching. We, as His Church, must do the same. In accord with this, I would remind you of the following:
1. People in the above three situations cannot receive the Sacraments, with the important exception of those who agree to live chastely (“as brother and sister”) until their situation is regularized. Of course, those in danger of death are presumed to be repentant.
2. These people may not be commissioned as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, not only because of scandal, but even more because one commits the sin of sacrilege by administering a Sacrament in the state of mortal sin.
3. Nor are such people to be admitted to the role of sponsor for Baptism or Confirmation, as is clearly stated on the Archdiocesan Affidavit for a Sponsor. It is critical for the sponsor to be a practicing Catholic - and can anyone be seriously called a practicing Catholic who is not able to receive the sacraments because they are living in sin?
4. When it comes to other parish ministries and organizations, I feel it best to leave these situations to the judgment of the pastor. Prudence is needed, avoiding all occasions of scandal. We must see their involvement in the parish as an opportunity to work urgently to bring such people to repentance and the regularization of their lifestyle.
5. Many of these sins are committed out of ignorance. I ask that our pastors preach on the gravity of sin and its evil consequences, the 6th and 9th Commandments of God, and the sacramental nature and meaning of Christian marriage. Our catechetical programs in our parishes - children, youth, and adult – must clearly and repeatedly teach these truths. A Church wedding does not require some lavish spectacle and entertainment costing vast sums of money (Indeed, how often we have seen the most costly weddings end in divorce in but a few months or years!). While beauty and joy should surround a Christian wedding, we must remind everyone that it is a sacrament, not a show.
6. Those who are married outside the Church because of a previous union are urged to seek an annulment through our Marriage Tribunal. If it can be found that the first marriage lacked some essential quality for a valid marriage, the Tribunal can grant an annulment. Your pastor can help someone start a marriage case for this purpose. It is important for such couples to continue to pray and get to Mass even though they may not receive Communion, until their marriage can be blest in the Church.
Our popular American culture is often in conflict with the teachings of Jesus and His Church. I urge especially young people to not cohabitate which is sinful, but to marry in the Church and prepare well for it.
I congratulate and thank those thousands of Catholic married couples who role model the Sacrament of Marriage according to the teachings of Jesus and his Church.
Sincerely yours in the Risen Lord,
Most Rev. Michael J. Sheehan
Archbishop of Santa Fe
Over 700 Catholics converged on York Minster on Saturday March 26 to attend the first celebration of a Catholic Mass according to the Extraordinary Form in the Minster.
William and Kate reflected today’s society in which cohabitation is a fact of life, a try-before-you-buy policy and certainly in their case the balance of power seemed to be one way, with Kate potentially having a lot more to lose had things not worked out. I am able to speak from the fairly unusual position of having cohabited before a marriage, as in the case of my annulled marriage, and also of having remained chaste before marriage and I can testify to the effectiveness of the latter in optimising one’s chances of a successful union. Though the blame for the breakdown of my first marriage cannot be solely attributed to cohabitation, it doubtless did not help us to make the transition from simply living together and sharing a house, to the permanency of marriage. Marriage entailed a lavish and expensive day, but the day after, neither of us felt any different, nothing had really changed, and as we both languished on the sofa the day after the wedding, nursing our hangovers, we even debated whether or not it would be worthwhile to cancel the honeymoon, given neither of us had any energy. Once the excitement of the wedding was over, there was nothing different, nothing new to look forward to.
When I properly entered into the sacrament of marriage, things could not have been more different. Everything was a novelty to the pair of us and highlighted the new status of our relationship. Even doing things like sharing the washing-up together, and sorting out various household tasks, reinforced the new intimacy between us. It was no longer his vicarage, but our family home, and even now, a few years later, having spent a few years dating before marriage, just the act of sharing the same bed to sleep in, still hasn’t quite lost that sparkle. There was a definite demarcation between simply going out and actually being married, there was a positive decision on behalf of the pair of both of us, a saying “yes”, a leap of faith, “this isn’t going to be easy, we won’t always feel as we do now, but I love you, I trust you and I am going to do my best to be the husband/wife that God is calling me to be”. It’s decidedly different from “well I’ve lived with you for x years, we share everything, why not, I think I can risk it and if it doesn’t work out there’s always a get-out clause”. The problem with cohabitation is, as far as I can discern it, is that there is always that get-out clause and its easy to carry that forward into a marriage as well as slide almost unthinkingly into matrimony.
All human life is sacred. Whenever it is endangered we will stand up to defend it.
Thirty eight altar servers attended an afternoon in Selsdon organised by Fr. Stephen Boyle. Tom Caluori from Virgo Fidelis parish, Upper Norwood,
started the day with excellent ice breaking games. He also led one of the group discussions after the excellent presentation by Fr. Behruz Raf'at
which centred on the processional cross.
There was the opportunity for confession during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament as well as the compulsory requirement of a football match. Thanks to Fr. Barry Hughes for hosting the day, and to the altar servers of the home parish who turned out in impressive numbers.
Altar Servers meet up every term for these days. There will be one next term at a venue to be decided.
“She has started exploring different religions. Madonna has always been intrigued by Opus Dei. As yet, she’s not a fully paid-up member – she’s just had informal chats.”
Our resources are depleting rapidly and yet 23 women are currently dependent on us for food each week and 9 of these are being housed by us.