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Saturday, December 26, 2009


Charlie B

Nice reflection, Carl. In family ministry circles, we used to talk about "the sacred in the ordinary," in an effort to help family people see that the dignity of their "domestic church" comes from God. A God who was born into an ordinary Jewish tribe, who observed their religious rituals, etc. Of course, Jesus was no ordinary child. But the fact that God comes to us in a family elevates the vocation of marriage to, as the CCC puts it so well, a sacrament in service to communion.
I would really like to see you dedicate an Ignatius Insight issue to the US Bishops Pastoral Initiative on marriage []. As an author (Liguori Publications) and former (ecclesial)marriage & family educator I am concerned that by issuing another document, the Bishops believe they need take no other action to strengthen the domestic church - that essential mediating institution between the Trinitarian family of God and the Church as the family of God on earth.
If you start with engagement and follow a couple through the confirmation of their first child, you might be surprised at how few contact hours that couple will have with their parish (outside of weekly Mass) in any kind of faith formation, esp. sacramental preparation. I estimate about 33 hours max over a 15 - 20 year period. That is insufficient to strengthen marriage & family life, never mind the quality of what happens in those encounters.

I'd like to see some of your authors reflect on the pastoral initiative -and- make observations NOT about the doctrine, but about how the church currently supports and/or fails to support and strengthen the domestic church. It is the family from which all other vocations emerge. If the church does not DO something strategic and structural, more documents and poorly attended enrichment programs will not do the trick.
2010 blessings in 2010!

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