Families and an Instrument

Rocco whispered from the loggia some general thoughts from Archbishop Kurtz from the USCCB meeting. He revealed some broad details from the reports he compiled from various dioceses and sent on to Rome. The synod leaders have asked these reports not be made public. But if Rocco blogged it, it must be everywhere now.

Go to the link for under ten minutes from the USCCB prez and Cardinal Wuerl. The advance document, the instrumentum laboris, will be out next Thursday. It might be interesting to read.

My attempt at summarizing Archbishop Kurtz’s bullet points:

  • Lay people were happy to assist in the feedback, and were grateful for being asked.
  • The reports from US bishops were thoughtful and pastoral.
  • There is a perceived need for greater effectiveness in communicating church teaching, and that lay people want such teaching to be faithful, vibrant, and accessible.
  • Today’s families feel many pressures: the struggling economy, busy lives, hostility to their faith, and the predominant materialism of American culture.
  • At times, parents are at a loss teaching the faith to their children.
  • Pastoral care for divorced and separated is needed. There is a lot of misinformation out there.
  • Among other things, divorced and remarried Catholics feel alienation.
  • There is a desire to go further on marriage teaching and to understand why the Church teaches as it does.
  • Some report a growing quality in marriage preparation efforts, but there is a need for more remote and proximate formation. Plus there is a need for the ongoing formation of couples already married.
  • Parishes and pastors remain the key first responders to marriages in crisis.
  • How to help families witness to other families what it means to be a domestic church.
  • Affirmation for the growth of small faith communities consisting of married persons–people helping peers.

The so-called “redefinition” of marriage was also raised. I read a commentator say that years ago, same-sex couples would have welcomed unions as a viable civic alternative. But the opposition to this stiffened, and I think the resolve to land a revolutionary change in one effort came as a result.

Intercourse between same sex persons is at the root of the Church’s opposition and teaching. It remains a great mystery to me how two people with civil legal linkage is in any way a threat to my marriage or anyone else’s. I wouldn’t and couldn’t counsel a person to enter into a same-sex union, and honestly: I can’t fathom what the bishops are doing on this. There is no way the Church will ever conduct a marriage ceremony between two persons it judges … wrong, let’s say. Mothers-of-brides haven’t taken over Saturday for their little zillas in white, and that is about as tough a pastoral challenge as anything I’ve seen on the wedding front.

Naturally, I think these points totally miss the boat on adoption. Huge need in this country and around the world, and everybody is focused, still, on adoption as a cure for childlessness rather than as an act of generosity and mercy for children who live without parents.

And as for the divorced, let’s keep in mind the ultimate goal here is not obedience to the rules, but conversion, deeper faith, and discipleship. Rules are the means to an end. They are not the idol.

I’m not going to troll for inclusion, but once in my life, I would love to go to Rome to participate in some synod. I doubt it will ever happen. I think my cred is likely damaged due to the Temple Police from here and there online. But I could give a nice address on the challenges of adoption.  And how most all of the church is totally missing the mark on it.

But I’ll keep an eye on it all. Eventually they’ll come round.

 

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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3 Responses to Families and an Instrument

  1. FrMichael says:

    “It remains a great mystery to me how two people with civil legal linkage is in any way a threat to my marriage or anyone else’s.”

    It’s not such a mystery when one recalls that marriage does not simply concern the spouses but the children in the family as well. With the large percentage of Catholic children in public schools, exposure to school curriculum that would consider civil unions (heterosexual as well as homosexual) a viable alternative to life-long marriage is something to be opposed.

    “I read a commentator say that years ago, same-sex couples would have welcomed unions as a viable civic alternative. But the opposition to this stiffened, and I think the resolve to land a revolutionary change in one effort came as a result.”

    Who is this commentator? I strongly beg to differ with him/her. Facts on the ground (e.g. Scandinavia and California) where same-sex civil unions passed fairly easily years ago indicated that the same-sex agitators weren’t going to be satisfied until they had the marriage label. And now they won’t be satisfied until every for-profit business in the land is forced to do business with these “couples” and religious non-profits are suitably punished (e.g. losing governmental funds, threats to non-profit status, and denunciations by public officials) for not going along with their demonic agenda.

  2. Todd says:

    As you describe it, it seems to be an echo of the profanation vs sanctification dichotomy. Is there any evidence that sheltering children from life’s realities is more of a sure moral protection than knowledge and personal exchange? I’m far more concerned with what’s on the “Family Channel” than anything schools are broadcasting.

    There’s no doubt LGBT supporters have gotten more bold and successful over the past several years. That is galling, I’m sure, to many people. Are they asking, “If only we had tried harder?”

    And frankly, many people find it hard to discern the demonic in health insurance, hospital visitations, inheritance, and the day-to-day stuff we all share as adult human beings. Sex between unmarried persons was decriminalized a long time ago.

    As for people losing jobs, I agreed with you when I was on the short end of the pink slip with Crisis the morning after Election Day in 2008. It’s an unfortunate political tool that happens all the time.

  3. FrMichael says:

    Time’s short– real quick.

    ” Is there any evidence that sheltering children from life’s realities is more of a sure moral protection than knowledge and personal exchange?” Based anecdotally on observing high rates of retention among Catholic homeschoolers and Andrew Greeley’s (albeit dated) retention statistics of Catholic school children, yes, I would say that the “sheltering” approach works better. Of course, I think the “sheltering” vs. “knowledge/personal exchange” axis is not particularly helpful. Better to address the situation of what happens to a young person perceiving differing rights/wrongs from authority figures (i.e. parents and Church vs. teachers and school) coupled with peer pressure which in our evil days has somewhat been tilted toward the LGBT side.

    The “demonic” aspect isn’t the benign items such as you listed. It is the cultural expectation that civil unions and “same-sex marriages” are established by sexually active individuals. And we know as Catholics that fornication is a sin for which God throws the unrepentant into Hell. Civil unions, which are distinguished primarily by their explicit non-recognition of a lifelong union, are additionally evil due to their being a parody of lifelong matrimony. Catholic parents should rightly fear any cultural institution, including schools and the government, that promotes activities that lead people into Hell.

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