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.


The Holy Trinity Mirrors Traditional Marriage

by Larry Peterson

This past Sunday the Catholic Church celebrated Trinity Sunday.  The deepest and most profound mystery of our faith is the Blessed Trinity which says there is only ONE God consisting of three separate persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Simply put, there are Three individual Persons in  ONE God.  This is a mystery that cannot be understood.  We believe it because of a gift instilled in us at Baptism. This gift is called faith.

On Thursday, June 19, the second annual March for Marriage took place in Washington D.C.   Times have changed, they surely have.  Why is it necessary to have such a march in the first place?  It is necessary because traditional marriage, marriage between a man and a woman, has been hijacked.  It has been hijacked by those who insist that marriage between same sex couples is no different than marriage between a man and a woman.   Please understand, the Catholic Church does NOT condemn anyone who is a homosexual.  Those persons can live in full communion with the church.  However, the Church has always taught that sexual acts outside of marriage, whether living together or not, are sinful.  This applies to a man and a woman as well as same sex couples.

We live in the Age of Relativism or, as I like to call it, the Meistic Age or the Age of Me.  This Meistic Age has spawned many who now are afflicted with a self-centered mutated sense of Natural Law. This mutation   causes the disease of Meism.  Meism goes something like this: if a person likes something or wants to do something, no matter what that might be, and if it makes him or her feel good and has nothing to do with you personally, there is nothing wrong with it.  This includes marriage.  If a man wants to marry another man, that should be fine.  If a woman wants to marry another woman, that should be fine also.  Who should dare have the right or the audacity to deny those folks their happiness?  Meism does not allow discussion, debate, opinion or any other kind of anti-meistic thoughts into the equation.  It is like the old cliche, “My Way or the Highway”.

According to the LGBTQ and many of their supporters, anyone who opposes this type of “marriage” is guilty of homophobia and hate crimes and needs retraining to continue living in our sophisticated, Meistic society.  Simply disagreeing with the concept of gender neutral marriage or same sex marriage can get a person into a heap of trouble. Take Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco.  Appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in July of 2012 to head up the San Francisco Diocese, the traditionally minded priest is also one of the prime supporters of the March for Marriage.  As such he had incurred the wrath of that renowned  “theologian” and politician, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.

The former House Speaker, apparently a wannabe Catholic theologian, is truly one of the most prominent  Meistics of our time. She  has demanded that Archbishop Cordileone NOT  participate in this March because, as she sees it,  the March for Marriage is all about “hate”.  She told the Archbishop that the March is “venom masquerading as virtue” and “it shows disdain and hate toward LGBT persons”.   Then she quoted (out of context) the words of Pope Francis who had said, “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him.”

She missed the point.  The Pope does not know what is in their hearts. They could be quite willing to lead a celibate life as does a priest.  You can live with another person and NOT have sex with them.  Same sex marriage wants a sexual lifestyle included in the union. The Catholic Church has NEVER approved of this kind of behavior, even among heterosexual couples who are not married.  (By the way, Archbishop Cordileone  rejected her demand and was in the forefront of the parade. His name links to his speech)

As mentioned in the first paragraph, the Holy Trinity is the mystery that there are Three Persons in one God. The Father is all knowing and this total knowledge of all that is, begets the Son, sometimes called the Word. The bond between the two is so profound that it is the ultimate expression of Love. This bond of pure LOVE is known as the Holy Spirit. We cannot understand this but our faith  leads us to believe it. It follows that the Trinity is reflected ( as I see it)  in the union between  a man and woman in the following manner:
      The Love of God the Father and God the Son culminates in the perfect Love called the Holy Spirit.  A man and a woman, in love and united in the Sacrament of Matrimony, share their love for each other in such a way as to bring forth a third person, a child.  That child  now completes an earthly trinity which is the result of God’s creations uniting under the Natural Law and being sealed with the Sacrament of Matrimony. It is truly a beautiful thing when the newly married couple embraces the sacrament and uses it throughout their lives.

Matrimony (Marriage) in the Catholic Church is one of the seven sacraments. It is spiritual and NOT secular.   A sacrament can never be compromised.  If you are having difficulty with this issue talk to a priest and seek the compassion and understanding that the church can offer. We must breathe and eat and sleep and relieve ourselves and swallow etc. to live.  We do not have to have sex to live.  Many people have chosen to live celibate lives. Marriage will always be the union between a man and a woman no matter what anyone says.  I, personally, am in favor of legal civil-unions if necessary. But the beacon that is the Catholic Church and which guides us toward our eternal reward cannot detour for  those that want it strictly their way.

P.S. I am not a priest or a theologian. I am just a Catholic man trying to defend my faith and Church against so many unwarranted, uninformed and vitriolic attacks against it. This is the Church that was founded by Christ Himself  more than 2000 years ago. It is ready and willing to give all people a sanctuary and safe place that they can call home.  But, like it or not, as in any home there are rules that must be followed.