Alzheimer’s Keeps Reminding Me Why I Love being Catholic

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

I have written about my wife, Marty’s, Alzheimer’s Disease several times. This is another. It was unplanned and spontaneous, triggered by the unique world she and I have come to share together.

pineterest.com


I was trying to write something but I was stuck in “neutral”. No pencil scratching, no pen sliding, no keyboard clicking. Then Marty came in and stood there just looking at me and not saying anything.  I smiled at her and said, “What’s going on?”

She shakes her head and says, “I really do not feel like going to work tomorrow.” (She has not worked in almost ten years)

I nonchalantly reply, “Okay, then don’t.”

“Larry, please don’t start with me. You know I have bills to pay.”

“Well then, I’ll call in for you. I’ll tell them you are not feeling good.”

She quickly throws a curve at me. I back away, surprised at the sudden diversion. Raising her voice she says, “We had better get a few things straight. I have standards and I am not going to be living in sin. I cannot be living here if we are not married.”

I did not know what that had to do with her ‘job” but I mentally bobbed and weaved and circled around. Quickly I said, “We are married.”

She was stunned. She stared at me and I stared back. A moment passed and she said, “We are?”
“Yes Marty, we have been married for ten years.”

“I suppose you know this for a fact? How can you be sure?”

“We have the papers to prove it.”

 I quickly said an emergency “Hail Mary” asking for help. God knew I was in over my head and immediately sent one of His special people. Maybe it was St. Therese or St. Joseph or maybe St. Martha. I really did not care who it was but just like that I had a “thought”. (These folks do not fool around when sent on a mission).

I had her sit down on the sofa and wait for me. I headed back to my “office” (some may call it a man-cave) and began rifling through the file cabinet in the corner. The top drawer is stuffed with all sorts of “important” papers and I knew that somewhere amongst the mass of unorganized stuff was our marriage license. I started scratching away, peeling papers apart.

I did not keep track of the time but when I looked at the mess of papers I had strewn about it must have been fifteen minutes. Then I hit pay-dirt. I found our marriage license. I was sure this would prove to her once and for all that we were, in fact, married.

I hurried back to the sofa and to the woman who immediately asked if I had just gotten home. “Yes,” I shouted. “And look what I have.”

The Pinellas County Marriage License was too confusing for her to understand. The print was small and even though our names were legible and the paper was emblazoned with the words, “Marriage Record”, it did not convince her. I realized she needed “Catholic” proof. That was why she had used the words “living in sin”. Now we come to why I wrote this in the first place.

I slowly headed back to the file cabinet to put the marriage license away. But I had not noticed when pulling the marriage license out that behind it was the 8 X 11 marriage certificate that the church had given us. It was behind the license the whole time. I could not believe it.

It was not a legal document but it was a BEAUTIFUL CATHOLIC document. It had our names on it. On the left side was a Cross with connected wedding bands connected to it. The church’s name was there and it was signed by the deacon and the pastor. It was also perfect for framing.

I had an 11 x 14 frame that was unused. Ten minutes later I brought it out to her. I had her sit next to me on the sofa. “Are you ready?” I asked.

“For what?”

I held this framed certificate up in front of her. She stared and stared at it and then she looked at me and began to cry. She put her head on my shoulder and cried some more. We have used the Hail Mary and the Rosary to help us over some rough Alzheimer moments. This time the purely Catholic marriage document was the answer to the prayer. It now hangs in the Florida room and she can see it every day anytime she needs to. Damn—I love being Catholic.

                                        ©Copyright Larry Peterson 2017

Two Teenagers, A Child and Christmas–a Perfect Mix

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME


By Larry Peterson
If it were two thousand years ago and you lived in Nazareth you might notice a young man packing items on a donkey in preparation for a trip. Early the next morning you see this fellow, with his pregnant teenage wife sitting on the back of the burro, heading down the road. They are in compliance with the law of the day. They are embarking on a three or four day journey to Bethlehem, the town of their ancestors’ birth, for the census.
We know so little about the lives of Joseph and Mary, yet they are THE integral part of the Salvation story.  Mary’s acceptance of a pregnancy that might have resulted in her being stoned to death as an adulteress was an act of monumental humility. Joseph, a good man and a faithful Jew true to the law, accepted a pregnant woman as his wife, another act of extreme humility.
To complete this humble family was none other than God Himself. The Creator of all  there is became like one of His creations. He could have come in a majestic way, surrounded by armies and servants and glitter and pomp. He chose to come to us in the womb of his mom, just like all of us. He allowed Himself to be born among the animals in a cave. As He began His earthly life His body was wrapped in cloth and then placed on straw. 


Why would He do this? He did it to show us Goodness, show us Love and show us how to do it.  Finally He did it to save us, save us from ourselves and Satan’s favorite tool, Pride, which had brought down Adam and Eve. The Holy Family was and still is, the complete and perfect embodiment of Humility. It remains so to this very day. Of course, the antidote to Pride is Humility. 
Isn’t God amazing in the way He does things? This is the story of our Salvation and the rebirth of Hope. This Salvation became available to all people for all time and its success was entrusted to a couple of have-not teens whose humility and love of God enabled them to conquer the seemingly impossible. They married against incredible odds and traveled to Bethlehem while Mary was full term. Joseph walked guiding the donkey, protecting his young wife the entire time. Mary gave birth in a cave surrounded by smelly animals and filth and then they managed to escape the soldiers of King Herod who were trying to kill their newborn Son. Lest we forget, they somehow made it to Egypt, about three hundred miles away. We know the rest of the story.
We must never forget that within that family it was the husband and father who protected his wife and Son from the evils of the world. The Son humbled Himself and gave his life for us all.  And the Mom, our Mom too, the most humble woman ever created, stands ever vigilant ready to crush the head of the evil serpent who might harm any of her children. In so doing she is protecting all of her “children” (which includes you and I) for all eternity. She is our protection against all wickedness. Humility conquers pride. Just look to the Holy Family.

If you take a moment to truly ponder all that happened and how it happened and why it happened, it might leave you breathless. And then we remember it was all done for all of us. There was nothing done for themselves, not one thing. We need to get back to “Family” and the Holy Family is the model to build on. 
The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family on the Sunday following Christmas. If you are among the millions of folks who never pay an iota of attention to this family, maybe you should. Why? Because this is the family that “set the bar” for all families. Comprised of two teenagers, Mary and Joseph and their boy, Jesus, their unconditional love for God and each other cannot be surpassed.  The Salvation story comprises the greatest acts of combined Love and Humility ever.
                                 ©Larry Peterson 2015 All Rights Reserved


The World; Yesterday and Today–The Bible Covers It All

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME
By Larry Peterson
As a cradle Catholic who went to twelve years of Catholic school “waaaaay” back in the ’50s and ’60s, I can say without hesitation that my education in the Bible and about the Bible and of the Bible was almost non-existent. The Catechism with its nays & yays and right & wrong dominated the conversation. However, over the past ten years or so I have come to honor and respect the Bible. It took me all those decades to realize how profound and so magnificently in our faces with truths this book, written so long ago, is. The seven Wisdom books alone are worth more than all the jewels on Pharaoh’s crown.
Back to the ‘truths’ I mentioned. The other day, August 26, the gospel reading was from Matthew 23: 27-32. I believe this gospel actually references today’s world and the egotistical and self-centered mindset that so many people have embraced. Countless people have stomped on the goodness within God’s creation by choosing to grasp onto  the secular banner of “meism.” The Bible has their number–literally. It had it then and it has it now.
For me, as a writer, the Bible also has the best writing prompts…especially if you are having trouble getting the words to flow from your brain to the screen or paper. The Gospel reading from August 26 is a prime example of how my brain can get ‘jump-started’. This jolt came from  Matthew 23: 27-32. (I’m just using 27 -28.) Here it is:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.”
There are actually seven “Woe to you” paragraphs in Chapter 23. I quoted number six  because it was part of the Gospel reading for the day. Anyway, the first thing that came to mind was Planned Parenthood. Think about it: “beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.” I immediately thought of the people destroying the lives of babies and joking about it. I thought of all those defending  this organization and insist that those who would  vilify it are taking away women’s health protections. There are many in high places that certainly appear beautiful on the outside and, since I do not get to look inside, I can only imagine. I do know this: abortion is the Holocaust of the last four decades.
In America, marriage between a man and a woman is being denigrated by the beautiful, sophisticated, upscale and highly civilized secular community. Same-sex “marriage” is hailed as a right and the enhancement of freedom. Rejecting one’s God-given sex and deciding to change to the opposite sex is hailed as heroic and courageous. Legalizing euthanasia has taken root in Europe and in America. In Belgium they now permit childhood euthanasia. I could go on and on but you all know what has and is happening. And many of those who proclaim Catholicism as their faith  approve of these practices.
I am amazed that it has taken me so long to realize the magnificence and page-to-page wisdom the Bible holds. So much of Scripture defines the present. It describes us and our world. It tells us how and where are journey began, where it has taken us, and where we are going. It is a great gift and I shall never ignore it again. It is also the one and only book I will reference when seeking out writing prompts. The Bible has it all. If you have not tried you should check it out. It is a GREAT READ.
©2015 Larry Peterson-All RightsReserved


The Supreme Court on Stage: The Fate of the American Family Waits in the Wings

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

G. K. Chesterton said, “This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.”

June is upon us and so is the decision by the United States Supreme Court as to whether or not “same-sex marriage” is  allowed under the U.S Constitution. Proponents have argued that “same-sex marriage” is guaranteed under the 14th Amendment. How the subject of  marriage came to be a topic for the SCOTUS is beyond me. There is NOT one word in the Constitution about ‘marriage’.

A word not being used in the case before the SCOTUS or in the entire conversation is matrimony. The civil and  religious connections between marriage and matrimony are obviously in great disharmony within the secular world. Secular-World wants it all, including validation and approval by the Catholic Church. That will never happen. Now what?

How about the 10th Amendment which was added to assure the people that the Federal Government would not  step outside the boundaries as set forth in the Constitution. This amendment states that if some power or authority is not specifically given to the Feds it is left up to either the state(s) or the people. When did marriage become a federal issue? What does marriage have to do with the equality and freedoms afforded the slaves by the 14th Amendment?

Can two men or two women EVER be equal to a man and a woman? The answer is NO! There are those who  (using the “equality card”) call banning same-sex marriage, racism. How are two men or two women the same as a bi-racial man and woman? That is preposterous. But I am not an ivy-league academician puffed up with an all consuming sense of self (forgive me for being a tad sarcastic but, right now, I do not care). Bottom line–I believe this subject should have been left to the states and the people. (The links have been inserted above so you can read the two amendments yourself.)

With the proliferation of the “gay agenda” or “LGBT agenda” it seems that the nation has as many gay people as straight people. But if you take a look at the numbers they tell a different story. The total LGBT population in the USA is 3.8% with the gay population at 1.6%. I took these numbers from the link inserted in the previous sentence. If those numbers are accurate why in heaven’s name does the print and broadcast media and the Hollywood elite and so many politicians make it sound as if the world has transformed? Why are we watching the destruction of the traditional family? Why are people who simply DISAGREE with this lifestyle called intolerant, racist, or homophobes?  

Marriage between a man and a woman is a beautiful thing–if it is entered into for the right reason. I did not say reasons but rather REASON. For there is one primary reason to enter into this sacrament. The reason is to GIVE–give of yourself to your spouse. Marriage is the ultimate commitment to GIVING. Within that paradigm a family flourishes, thrives and grows.

Children are the result of the love shared between the husband and wife, shared willingly and joyfully, never under duress or out of a sense of obligation. In  a family built on self-sacrifice to each other these children can grow up to be productive worthwhile citizens continuing the human race as God intended. I may sound like a “pollyanna” and, if I do, so be it.

Ah, but the human equation brings self gratification into the mix. Many times that does not matter because the truly committed manage to overcome their self wants for each other. But oftentimes, the outside world gets into the lives of a couple and manages to create doubts and anxiety and suggest to one or the other that they are not being “treated fair”. Sadly, today’s divorce rate is at 50%. These people never entered into a marriage intending for it to end in divorce. At least I hope not.

So, what happened? The outside world got into their world and they fell into the trap of “meism”. And today, that outside world, overwhelmingly secular in nature, is everywhere. Armed  with its electronic friends and fueling the fires of secularism, our society is crumbling before our very eyes.

In less than 30 days the future of our society may well be determined by nine people. The words of Chesterton should become ingrained in our psyche: “This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.”


                              ©Larry Peterson 2015 All Rights Reserved


"Same-Sex "Marriage"; The Great Illusion of the Modern, Secularist Era:

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

The United States Supreme Court has now heard the arguments for and against “gay- marriage”. Now we wait to see what the almighty Justices have decided. We will not hear the decision until sometime during the early days of summer. As for me, I do not get it. No sirree, this does NOT make sense to me. From the modern dictionary  we have this:
MARRIAGE: Noun;
any of the diverse forms of interpersonal union established in various part of the world to form a familial bond that is recognized legally, religiously, or socially, granting the participating partners mutual conjugal rights and responsibilities and including, for example, opposite-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, plural marriage, and arranged marriage.

That dictionary could not be more politically correct so I traveled back in time to the 1988 Webster’s Dictionary; This was a bit more concise (It was before PC had rum amok) From Webster’s:
MARRIAGE: Noun;
the state of being married, relation between husband and wife, married life, matrimony.

This is from Webster’s 1913 dictionary:
MARRIAGE: Noun;
The act of marrying, or the state of being married: legal union of a man and a woman for LIFE, as husband and wife; wedlock; matrimony.

 I had to go back to the dictionary of one hundred years ago to find the words, man and woman, included in the definition of marriage. By 1988 only the words husband and wife were being used to define the word. But I was not deterred. Onward and forward and I looked up the word, “wife”. VOILA! The modern dictionary describes the meaning of the word like this:
WIFE: Noun;
a married woman, especially when considered in a relation to her partner in marriage.

I had one more stop and that was back at Webster’s. Here it is:
WIFE: Noun;
a married woman; specif., a woman in her relationship to her husband.

 But, alas, it does not matter. Within the same-sex marriage phenomena, in a man/man marriage they refer to each other as “my husband”. In a woman/woman marriage they refer to each other as “my wife”. The words, man and woman, are gone. They could use other words such as; companion, partner, spouse, or mate but, what is the difference. Same-sex marriages can NEVER be the same as the marriage of a man and a woman. Why are they trying so hard to get a recognition that is illusory at best?  For crying out loud, even Social Security is available to same sex relationships. Why the obsession over the word “Marriage”?

I am a Catholic man and I love my faith and am probably among those considered as “devout”. I freely admit, I do not understand how two men or two women might be romantically attracted to each other. However, since I do not understand it and I believe we are truly all God’s individual creations it follows that I will not pass judgment on gay couples. I am an individual creation of God just like they are. Pope Francis has said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”  Well, it follows, I will NOT judge nor do I have the right to do so.

The Catholic Church has its teachings and beliefs about homosexual relationships.  It does not condemn homosexuality. If you are homosexual you can be in full communion with the church. But the Church requires living a life of chastity outside of marriage. That also applies to a man and woman who are not married. The Church will never perform or sanction a “gay-marriage”. That is how it is and will always be.

The Church is often denigrated because it holds fast to certain teachings and says “NO” to progressive and secularists who want change only to accommodate their own agenda.  “Same-sex marriage” is foremost among those changes sought. It will not and cannot happen. Let us not forget that the Catholic Church also encourages self-denial because it does bring one closer to God. Chastity is still on the “books” as a moral virtue  and is considered a gift from God (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2344,#2345)

It seems to me that we are in the midst of the Great Illusion of the modern era.  If a man and a man or a woman and a woman want to enter into a pseudo-marriage alliance and call it “marriage”, it seems they are entering into an illusory world. “Marriage” is only a word. It can never change the fact that two men or two women will never be heterosexual. It will never change the fact that they will never be able to procreate and continue their family bloodline because it will not exist.

In fact, the only way to do that would be to create the three parent family and one of the married persons would not be an actual parent.  But to accomplish this the OPPOSITE sex must participate. They would have to be an egg or sperm donor. How can that be a family? Will that also require new court battles to redefine the meaning and constitutionality of what “family” is? Imagine how convoluted and mixed up for the child. When it comes full circle and a child is involved, there had to be a man and a woman  to bring forth that child. Plus, there will be no genealogy and no family tree to build on unless it is outside of the same-sex couple’s marriage. What a damn mess.

Okay, final thoughts: If the United states Supreme Court decides that “same-sex marriage” is the “law of the land”, what happens to tax exempt religious schools who cannot abide by such an unnatural and anti-religious law? Will they all lose their 501(c)3 exemptions? Will it be illegal to teach Traditional marriage? The proverbial can of worms that has been opened is about to explode.

Lastly:  If the SCOTUS declares that same-sex marriage is legal under the United States Constitution that could very well mark the end of The First Amendment and Freedom of Religion.  I think it will be unavoidable, with that entire, magnificent document  falling like dominoes.

                                         ©Larry Peterson 2015 All Rights Reserved


Marriage & Family~~Pre and Post Woodstock

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

This  opening paragraph quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; #1603“The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws….God Himself is the author of marriage.”

Last October there was quite the “kerfuffle” created by the secular press when the 2014 Synod of Bishops on the Family was taking place. In their ongoing quest to ‘secularize’ the Catholic Church the main stream media (print & broadcast) was reporting (speculating is the right word) that, under Pope Francis, the ‘new’ church would soon be embracing homosexual marriage and unmarried cohabitation. They also anointed Cardinal Walter Kasper of Germany as the Church’s “true voice of reason” because, in his keynote address to the Synod, he suggested that maybe it was time for the church to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to be allowed to receive communion.

The media never seems to grasp the fact that it takes more than a “suggestion” by one cardinal to change church teaching. They rarely if ever reported that this meeting of the Synod was only the first part and it would reconvene again a year later. They always seem to ‘pick & choose’ the narrative that fits their constant secular agenda. Let’s face it, the secular world is not interested in what the Church is, what its history and tradition is and certainly not in its dogmatic teachings. We, as a people, deserve more responsible and forthright journalism. The fact of the matter is NOTHING has changed regarding Catholic Church teaching on the subject of marriage.

Matrimony in the church is one of the seven Sacraments. Within the sacramental life it is meant for a man and a woman who love each other to join together creating a new family that ultimately continues the creation that God initially put in place. It is sacrosanct and inviolable. Furthermore, before Jesus Christ instituted this sacrament it existed under what we call Natural Law. Natural Law is given to us by God. (I also like to call it, “Common Sense”. Please use the link for a Catholic explanation of marriage and natural law.)

My initial reason for  starting this essay was to ask the question, “What happened to the concept of marriage being only between a man and a woman? How did that concept seemingly evaporate in only several decades after centuries of acceptance by humankind as “Natural”? In the sophisticated, secular world of 2015 I can be branded an intolerant homophobe for believing that marriage is ONLY for a man and a woman. Let me try to share the world I come from and how most Catholics were raised in the pre-Woodstock era.

Marriage was considered, foremost, an integral part of Natural Law as handed down by God. A man and a woman would meet and fall in love. After a period of time, if they so chose, they would join together as husband and wife creating a new family. It was at this point in their lives when they moved in with each other and lived together. It was a vocation, a calling, and it was not for everyone. Most folks accepted this premise without question. Most folks did choose that path in life. Most were married in a church and most intended to be together “until death do us part”. Finally,  most newly marrieds became parents continuing  God’s plan of continuing the human race. And that was the way it was.

So, what happened? I suggest it started in 1969 at Woodstock. The now “hallowed” rock & roll jamboree that signaled the end of the 60’s  ushered in the officially liberated era of “do your own thing”. We have moved onward since then another 45 years and today, living together BEFORE getting married is almost taken for granted. A matrimonial “test drive” seems a requirement prior to the actual nuptials taking place. No fault divorce makes it very easy to dissolve marriages dismissing vows that were freely taken when the words “until death do us part” were said by the bride and groom to each other. Homosexual marriage is being demanded as a choice and a right and if you disagree you are considered intolerant and a racist. God and Natural Law are being mocked. And that is the way it is. But not everywhere.

The way it was is still in vogue within the Catholic Church. And here is where I will end this essay. From January 5-9, the Confraternities of Catholic Clergy in the United States, Australia, Britain and Ireland unanimously reaffirmed their support for Church teaching on marriage and family rejecting any proposals at the 2014 Synod of Bishops that the Church alter pastoral practices and doctrine in this area.

In a statement issued at the end of a five-day conference  they pledged their “unwavering fidelity to the traditional doctrines regarding marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality, as proclaimed in the word of God and set out clearly in the Church’s ordinary and universal magisterium.”

And that was the way it was and that is the way it is. Maybe they never heard of Woodstock.

                                                                copyright 2015 Larry Peterson


The Catholic Church is the "Bride" of Christ and the Holy Spirit has Her Back: NO Problem

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

It is quite apparent to me that the 2014 Vatican Synod on the Family has been hijacked by the mainstream media and press. (Maybe we should call it the Secular Media Synod). Reports of Synod actions are flying out from the keyboards about all sorts of things and none of these keyboards are privy to what any of the final Synod results will say.  For example, I opened the Tampa Tribune this morning and on the NATION & World page the headline blared,

Vatican Reaches out to gays, cohabitants
Conservatives denounce report as “betrayal”
This was reported by Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press and the first sentence read like this;
VATICAN CITY—-Gay rights groups hailed a “seismic shift” by the Catholic Church toward  gays on Monday after bishops said homosexuals had gifts to offer the church and that their partnerships, although morally problematic, provided same-sex couples with “precious” support. 

A spokesman for the LGBT “Catholics” in the United States and around the world called the Synod’s actions “a light in the darkness, a dramatic new tone from a church hierarchy that has long denied the very existence of committed and loving gay and lesbian partnerships.”

Tell me please, what does the average “news reader” get from that? In a world where iPads and Androids and laptops and Twitter and Facebook fill cyber world with all sorts of information, just those two short news clips leading a story are enough to give a person all the news they think they might “need” to determine what is going on. But this is NOT what the Synod has done. Once again the media, in its quest to make “points” evades the truth.

You know what, we all had better step back and take a breath. The secular media is defining the synod on its own terms. There is NO “seismic shift” taking place inside the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has NEVER DENIED the “existence of committed and loving gay and lesbian partnerships”. The Church has always taught that sex outside of marriage is sinful. That applies to heterosexual couples as well as homosexual couples. The gay community seems to ignore this fact. So do many heterosexual couples. If  unwed couples wish to live together they are supposed to be celibate. That s nothing NEW.

The fact is, the Catholic Church’s end game with marriage is a sacramental union between a man and woman. As Cardinal Baldisseri, the Secretary General of the Synod said as the Synod convened, “—-to seek the truth which is not an abstract concept or the result of philosophical or theological speculation”, but the person of Christ, the God-man, man born-in-time, and Son of the Father: ‘I am the way, the Truth and the Life’ (John 14:6). He is the point of departure.”

The Catholic Church was founded by Christ 2000 years ago. The Church is His “bride”. We are all part of the Catholic family. (The word catholic means ‘universal’ so it is for everyone–if they so choose). This Synod is about family, the Catholic family. That is the primary purpose. Secondly, family starts with a marriage. Not a marriage as defined by the secular world but marriage as defined by the Church. The fact is, within the Catholic Church, marriage is a sacramental union. It is called Holy Matrimony. Christ Himself instituted the Sacrament of Matrimony.

That is the starting point for the members of the synod. This is critical to remember. These synod participants are ordained priests and bishops. They know that their primary purpose is to defend and protect the faith they love and have vowed to serve. Herein is where the confusion begins. They are all different yet all part of the same family. As with any family, discussion among family members about critical family issues (finances, health care, living arrangements, education etc) can be diverse, opinionated, and sometimes even intransigent. Emotions might get elevated as different personal beliefs clash.

This is what the family hierarchy does. They discuss, opine and hopefully arrive at a decision that  reaches out to all family members. Sometimes they have to reach out slowly and “gradually”. Most importantly, they stay within the family’s value system and, no matter who likes it or not, do not stray from that primary goal. Yes, the primary goal is the health and welfare and well-being of the  entire family. That is defined in its family doctrines and dogma. In the case of the Catholic Church, that family and its belief system can be traced back 2000 years and more.

Jesus Christ created the church hierarchy when He founded His church. He appointed his apostle, Peter, the head of the church. Peter, thus, was the first Pope and his lineage can be traced, unbroken, down to Pope Francis who is the 266th Pope. There is one all important factor in all of this that everyone should remember, especially the secular world. The Catholic Church, when it conclaves as it is doing within the Synod, is not political and it is not ideological. There may be arguments and disagreements but that is the way within a family. However, when the day is done, the one who has the final say is Jesus Christ and he does it through the Holy Spirit who guides this Church. Certain rules have been in place for centuries and some can never change.  This is our faith. This is what we believe. This is why I am waiting until spring of 2016 for the final results of the Synod’s work. I refuse to get my information from the main stream secular media.

Finally, according to Catholic World News on October 14, the synod fathers,in summing up synod’s post-discussion report, suggested some of the following:
.the synod should encourage and thank faithful Catholic families
.clarify what is meant by gradualism
.the Holy Family should be presented as a model of family life
.the word “sin” is almost absent from the document
.recalling “the prophetic tone of the word of Jesus,” the synod should NOT conform to the world’s  mentality.
.in offering pastoral care to homosexuals, the Church should not “create an impression of a positive  evaluation of this orientation”

I am not worried about this at all. The Holy Spirit has the back of the “Bride” of Christ. No problem.


Pope Francis: "…Marriage is about a Man and a Woman Walking Together…"

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

Way way back in ancient times, like around 1950, about 22% of American adults were single.  Since the population ‘way back then’ was about 152.3 million that would mean that about 33.5 million Americans were unattached.  In 2013 the population was almost double, coming in at about 316 million people.  Single adults tipped the scales at 50.2%.  That translates into the fact that more than HALF the population of the United States is now single.  The actual number of the percentage of 50.2% would be 158,632,000.  That is actually more than the entire United States population of 1950.  SINGLES have taken over.  Whatever have we wrought?

What we have wrought, or rather allowed, is a secular induced ambivalence about marriage.  It seems  that since marriage translates to “responsibility” and many of the young people of today have been induced into a state of “Meism”, the old cliche, “looking out for Number One” is the dominant standard.  In addition, it seems that our society has encouraged an extended period of adolescence where young adults often stay with mommy and daddy even as they begin to journey into middle age.
 Heck,  even the government  calls people up to 26 years old, “children”.  This way they justify their being carried on their parents’ health insurance plan.  What’s a young person supposed to think.

Of course we also live in a world of “practicalism”.  People are more practical today than back in my day. In the “old days” most folks were “impractical”.  They dated first, then got engaged, and then, about a year later, got married and a  new family was born.  Then they moved into the apartment they had rented and it WAS their first home.  Then along came little “Jack” or “Jill”.  I confess, having been married in 1967,  I was among the vast majority of impractical young people.

Things have changed a bit since the early to mid seventies. In the world of “practicalism” marriage is often looked at the same way one might look at  a new Toyota or a Ford.  The couple want to “test drive” it first.  Meists see many positives to this type of non-commitment:  a) you can have separate bank accounts;  b) you can have your own health insurance and not have to pay for anyone else’s;  c) if you do not like sleeping together you can go sleep somewhere else with NO strings attached; and finally, d) if you do not like the “model” you are trying you can simply walk away and look for another model.  There might be some yelling and screaming but, hey, such a DEAL!

Fear not, the Meistic and Practical world of secularism has some detractors.  Listen to Pope Francis in his homily given right before he presided over the marriages of 20 couples in Rome.   The Pope said, “The love of Christ, which has blessed and sanctified the union of husband and wife, is able to sustain their love and to renew it when, humanly speaking, it becomes lost, wounded or worn out.  The love of Christ can restore to spouses the joy of journeying together.”

The Holy Father continued , “Marriage is about a man and a woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become even more a woman, and wherein the woman  has the task of helping her husband to become ever more of a man. Here we see the reciprocity of differences.”

I love how the Pope used the phrase, “reciprocity of differences”.  This simply points out that men and women do compliment each other.  I would venture that up until the late 1960s, marriage was the state of life that most human beings chose to enter.  Marriage is actually instinctive.  It has always (for the most part) been under the umbrella of  marriage that the human race was preserved. The husband and wife formed the family nucleus and they brought forth children and raised them and nurtured them and educated them.  Most of these children  followed their parents and did the same.

The Holy Father said (in the same homily when talking about the family), “It is impossible to quantify  the strength and depth of humanity contained in the family as demonstrated through the mutual help, educational support, relationships developing as family members mature, and the sharing of joys and difficulties.”

“Families are the FIRST place in which we are formed as persons and, at the same time, the “bricks” for the building up of society.”

The central theme of the Holy Father’s homily, was “Marriage is a symbol of life…the Sacrament of love of Christ and the Church, a love which finds its proof and guarantee in the Cross.”

Pope Francis is quite wise.  He also said, “There is a cure which God offers to spouses who “have become impatient on the way, and who succumb to the dangerous temptations of discouragement, infidelity, weakness, and abandonment. To them God the Father gives His Son Jesus, not to condemn them, but to save them.  If they entrust themselves to Him, He will bring them healing by the merciful love that pours from the Cross, with the strength of His grace that renews and sets married couples and families once again on the right path.”

He said to the couples and these are words all married couples should embrace, “This is the task you share. ‘I love you, and for this love I help you to become ever more a woman.’; ‘I love you, and for this love I help you to become ever more a man.”

Pope Francis has given all people (not just Catholics) a profound and poignant message about the call to the married state.  He recognizes that it is a hard road because two individuals, a man and a woman, are joining together as one. There are differences between them.  But marriage is the ultimate commitment to giving of oneself to another.  A marriage united in the sacramental life of the church has been built on a foundation of solid bedrock.  Its chance to withstand the decades long onslaught from the world around it has been fortified and shielded in the best way possible.  It has embraced the Cross.  Somehow, someway the Church must bring folks back to that reality.  Pope Francis has set the table for this to begin.  He has done the responsible thing.


Pinning on the Marriage Label Changes Nothing

Charles Cooper, the attorney defending Proposition 8 supporters, was prodded in the court  as to what makes marriage between a man and a woman unique? Cooper responded that a man and a woman could procreate. Why the court room “chuckle, chuckle”.  If I am not mistaken, the whole concept goes back to Adam and Eve. So what is so funny?

Why would a Supreme Court Justice, namely  Elena Kagan,  say, “I can assure you, if both the man and woman are over the age of 55, there are not a lot of children coming out of that marriage.” That comment received an appropriate amount of laughter in the packed courtroom. I ask again, “what is so funny?”

It seems to me that gay couples are able to receive every right that married couples do. They can own real estate together, share medical insurance together, can be on the same lease together, be each other’s medical proxy, and be buried together. What is the problem? Is it the word, MARRIAGE? 

We are living in the Age of Relatavism. That means Absolute Truth has been kicked to the curb. There are 24 hours in a day. The earth revolves around the sun in 365 days. We have day and we have night. Our very existence is predicated on the perfection around us. Can you imagine if one day took 24 hours and another day 13 or maybe 16 hours? How would you plan. What time would you go to work? Would 2p.m be 6 p.m  depending on the day which would never be the same length? Absolute truth also says that a man and a woman are needed to continue the human race. Without  the joint cooperation between a man and a woman the human race would cease to exist and it would happen very quickly. If I am not mistaken men and women have been joining together publicly in what is called Marriage for thousands of years.

What is the paranoia about being  able to use the word Marriage? There are civil unions and nine states allow “marriage” between same-sex couples. Even Chief Justice John Roberts said, “Same sex couples have every other right, it’s just about the label.”

Why is that so important? Look, I am a catholic and I do not condemn anyone for what they do or what they believe. The Catholic Church does not condemn homosexuals. It does say “NO” to sexual relationships outside the state of marriage. That also applies to unmarried heterosexual couples. That will not change.It seems to be that same-sex couples want to be the SAME as men and women couples. It is an impossibility. It has nothing to do with hatred or malevolence or anything like that.  Being among those (including myself) who would be accused of that is not funny, it is sad.  The bottom line is this, pinning on the Marriage label changes nothing. Marriage is for men and women, end of story.