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Monday, January 24, 2011



Empty words in practice yet full of meaning, for sure. But when a
marriage found valid cannot engender the support pastorally or
juridically from a priest or his bishop, to take positive acts,
concretely, to bridge the wounded relationships among
sacramentally united spouses, the same poverty is present
which Mother Teresa saw resulted in abortion.

The poverty, is the same.

The death which results is the same.


Bravo, Karl...Thank you so much for your comment!!! My sentiments exactly and I could not have stated it any better, or even nearly so well and susinctly. I could however expound with examples from experiance supporting EVERYTHING you have said here...but I won't; it's too personal and the betrayal all around, too painful! But again, I thank you for your words here...they need very much to be heard and heard with "ears that can hear", especially within the Church!!! The wreckage from broken marriages, Catholic & non-Catholic alike, is legion and a HUGE player in "the Culture of Death"!

Charlie B

Karl, I've written you in the past. I have nearly 30 years exp in marriage prep, and wrote a still-published 4 sesssion program on infant baptism aimed at strengthening the couple relationship, with sacramental prep as the portal. I was a 3 year lay advisor to the USCCB in the early 90s. This is not a commercial. I'm in the private sector now, because I burned out caring more about this crisis in marriage than I perceive our bishops do. They've published yet another document instead of taking action.
Pope Benedict said something I've long wondered (if I understood): couples may have a natural right to marriage, but not an absolute right to the sacrament.

Regardless, given the grounds of nullity, pastoral leaders cannot get at the roots of invalidity in current marriage prep programs and structures. I've written four testimonies. As much as I dislike the need for Declarations, I believe in some cases they are warranted. WHile we cannot completely prevent divorce, the crisis in marriage over the last 50 years certainly deserves as much action as action the Bishops took to remedy seminary formation in light of the clergy sex abuse scandal. Orders and Matrimony are in the same chapter of the Catechism. Wringing our ecclesial hands about annulments is a waste of time if we're not willing to do something new and different. Otherwise it looks like Orders is the more important sacrament. I guess celibate vocations grow on trees?

Finally, as I see it, the church has 4 opportunities to strengthen the domestic church - the root system of ALL vocations: At marriage, infant baptism, and the sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation. This schema would accompany a couple over a 15 - 25 year period, where at a minimum they currently have less than 40 total contact hours at those intersections (most around marriage prep). I suspect pastors worry about asking too much of couples/parents. I guess we can continue colluding with their being "evangelized" instead by the Fockers, Two and a Half Men, Modern Family, The Kids are Alright, Desperate Housewives, and the latest MTV offering "Skins" etc. etc. Heck, how often to we even pray for the vocation of marriage in general intercessions?

Having worked for a diocese and a parish, I can tell you most documents end up on chancery or parish book shelves, or in the circular file. Until and unless the Bishops decide to take structured, permanent pastoral action to strengthen marriage, orthodoxy about marriage matters little. But it will take a lot of courage to do so. That's what I believe, and I'm sticking to it! Thanks for this site.
(Feast of the Conversion of St Paul).


An Italian bishop, at his elevation party, presented his ring to his mother to jokingly kiss. She slapped his hand down and held up her wedding ring, saying, "If not for this, you wouldn't have that."


"It is important to resist the temptation of transforming simple shortcomings the spouses may show during their married life into defects of consent."

It would also be a good idea to stop using and creating canon laws to cover up the essence of marriage, as it was revealed "in the beginning". The essence is mutual consent between never married or widowed people. The presence of a Church witness or a priest is superfluous and often used to delegitimize otherwise legitimate marriages, to thereby allow legitimately married but separated spouses to enter into second "marriages" with new "spouses" "in the Church".

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