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Thursday, October 15, 2009


Shaun G

It seems as if the NCR piece begins with the assumption that couples who seek to get married in the Church are all "Christmas and Easter" Catholics who don't really understand or practice Church teaching.

But even if it is the case that the vast majority of couples meet that description, certainly there are SOME couples who do consider their faith important to them, who do recognize the truth of even the "hard" teachings, and who are trying to better live out those teachings.

Maybe I'm just suffering from "obedient son" syndrome (from the story of the Prodigal Son), but I can't help but feel a bit of resentment when the Church's message is watered down (or even contradicted) to be more palatable to those whose faith isn't very important to them — at the expense of those whose faith IS important to them.

Ed Peters

Until the NCRep repudiates Editor Joe "the-bishops-be-damned" Feuerherd's 2008 screed against the bishops (, nothing it says should be taken seriously.


Carl, with a little editing, (you know what I'm talking about) I think your post would be a great response to the post on NCReporter and would certainly help to clarify those points where the NCReporter fails to provide evidence and is, in fact, clueless.


"Young people are coming to request the sacrament of marriage because some part of their heart is drawn to the faith."

Right, like people supporting Obama at Nptre Dame are drawn to the Gospel's insistence on quality of life.


Joe-- that's probably the one point NCR makes that I don't completely disagree with. Marriage, and preparing for the baptism of the couples' first child, are prime moments for (re-)evangelization of Catholics whose practice and understanding of the Faith is, at best, shaky. Shaky, yes, yet they still show up seeking the Sacrament from the Church.

Unfortunately, what NCR gets wrong throughout the rest of the piece is that we shouldn't use those evangelization moments to actually, you know, evangelize the couples in question, and present the real meat and potatoes of Catholic teaching in a faithful, compelling and attractive manner.

Gabriel Austin

Could not the comments on the leaked [sic] unfinished [sic] document have been more simply put?
beginning "not the Nat Cath Reporter, but Mr. Feuerherd's personal opinion is ..."
Then quickly listing the usual Feuerherd complaints: the legitimacy of copulation before marriage; the legitimacy of homoerotic couplings; and the rest.

One may express surprise that he did not include priestesses, married clergy, and a few other favorites.

Charlie B

As the author of Liguori's 4-session program on infant baptism preparation (and marriage enrichment), I can tell you that where it is used correctly and with a welcoming approach, it a) strengthens many marriages; b) wakes up many couples to the importance of faith in their relationship, and for their children. But many pastors/parishes are afraid of it. It does take an effort to implement, but they are afraid parents will leave their parishes. My perspective is most who need the outreach aren't that committed financially or liturgically to the community -and- even so, whether they are "practicing" their faith or not, isn't it better to break open with and for them the Christian vision of marriage and parenthood than to reinforce the irrelevance of church to them with an underwhelming, boring lecture on baptism and leave them to the secular gospel of Desperate Housewives, Married with Children or Two and 1/2 men? Evangelization of unconverted young adults requires time and space.

My larger point is this: I believe and accept the prophetic Catholic vision of marriage and sexuality. But the latest in 40 years of post-conciliar, episcopal teaching/documents on marriage and family represented by the Bishop's pastoral initiative is a waste of the tithes of the faithful IF it doesn't proscribe ACTION. Not suggest. Not encourage. But require a systematic approach to marriage and family over a minumum of 15-20 years.

Archbishop Dolan is correct: "We have a vocation crisis to life-long, life-giving, loving, faithful marriage. If we take care of that one, we’ll have all the priests and nuns we need for the church.” And while the mission of the Christian family is not merely to be a farm club for celibate vocations but ALL vocations, this requires restructuring parish life around adults rather than children. But THAT is a threatening idea.

We have several key intersections with couples/parents: engagement/marriage ~ birth/baptism ~ the years of religious education of children (including 3 more sacraments for their children) but we continue to rescue parents from THEIR primary responsibility.
If you add up the average number of years from engagement to their first child's confirmation and the average number of contact hours with the couples/parish you'll see why we continue to have lukewarm Catholics, overworked tribunals, and few viable celibate or conjugal vocations.

The recent clergy scandal resulted in revised approaches to seminary recruitment and formation -and- ethics workshops in dioceses to protect children. Resources created, resources alloted. Doesn't the crisis in marriage, some 50 years or more now, deserve its own renewal?

Another darn document, no matter how eloquent, will not strengthen marriage. And THAT, is a scandal.

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