Sep 9, 2006

If Not For Archbishop Lefebvre...

A number of times I have heard the comment that "If not for Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, then we would not have the indult Mass, the Fraternity of St. Peter, etc." In turn, I have heard several people respond that this is giving Archbishop Lefebvre credit for God's work.

An example of this repartee occurs on Fr. John Zuhlsdorf's web site where comments and responses are posted regarding the announcement that Pope Benedict XVI has authorized a new institute of priests to offer the old Latin Rite Mass.
Even with a sympathetic ear, I do take issue with the statement of “and if it were'nt for them and their founder of blessed memory, there would be no Ecclesia Dei commission nor indult mass.” We have those blessings because of the Lord Almighty and no one else. [corrections made to typos.]
It seems very difficult for some Catholics to acknowledge the contributions of Archbishop Lefebvre to the work of preserving critical elements of the Catholic Church. I'd like to provide a comparison to show the problem of not giving credit where credit is due. Remember, this is an illustration of what I believe to be a difficulty with those individuals who do not give Archbishop Lefebvre credit for his work.
Comment: If it weren't for the Blessed Virgin, there would be no salvation in Jesus Christ. Response: We have this blessing because of the Lord Almighty and no one else.

Religious vs. Civil Marriage

David R. Carlin is a former Senate Majority Leader of the Rhode Island Senate. He has written an article in the August/September 2006 issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review advocating the separation of religious from civil weddings. Carlin proposes that Catholic priests abandon their practice of performing civil marriages because they conform to secularist ideas that allow same-sex weddings and divorce.

I thought of Carlin's recent article while talking to an elderly man at a luncheon held last week. He explained his wife had died about seven years ago and his next door neighbor's husband had died about the same time. The result was that the widower moved in with the widow without the benefit of marriage.

The elderly man explained that if they married, they would lose both medical and retirement benefits. His last comment was that they had discussed this situation with their family and friends and no one thought what they were doing was wrong. I suggested that perhaps they at least could have a small ceremony with family present. Frankly, I was thinking of the children and grandchildren who were seeing their parents and grandparents living together "in sin." Not a good example if you want to teach young people to avoid copying this lifestyle!

A civil marriage is authorized and recognized in the "eyes of the law," and a religious marriage is authorized and witnessed in the "eyes of God." Wikipedia has a fairly thorough discussion of the distinction between religious and civil weddings (that appears to have been partially written by a Catholic).

The Wikipedia article notes

there are examples of people who have a religious ceremony that is not recognized by the civil authorities. Examples include widows who stand to lose a pension if they remarry and so undergo a marriage only in the eyes of God and the community... retired couples who would lose pension benefits if legally married, ... and immigrants who do not wish to alert the immigration authorities that they are married either to a spouse they are leaving behind or because the complexity of immigration laws may make it difficult for spouses to visit on a tourist visa.

So, is it possible for a priest of the Catholic Church in the U.S. to witness a sacramental marriage between couples who do not want to be married civilly? Can a religious wedding occur independently of a civil marriage in U.S. states? Does anyone want to volunteer answers to these questions?

Sep 8, 2006

Tithing of Our Time

Tithing is returning to God 10 percent of what he gives us. Usually tithing is applied to money received, but it really applies to our whole life being a gift from God. We can learn something from one Catholic who is quite ill with MS who writes:

I began a daily prayer time. I prayed 2 hours every night after everyone else went to bed. I have a wonderful Buddhist friend, Veronica, who told me that she tithes her time to God daily, not her money. She reminded me that Jesus Himself said to "give to Caesar what is Caesar's, give to God what is God's." And money was not of God, it was of man. My soul is what belongs to God, and I should devote my life to Him, beginning with tithing 10% of my day every day to His glory and honor.

Veronica made a lot of sense. I tried it. While I wasn't Buddhist, it felt right for a Catholic to follow this very same practice. After all, it certainly couldn't hurt. And it worked miracles in my life! I began reading stories about the lives of the saints. I read about their devotion to the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I saw Him through their eyes, and soon saw my own suffering in a different light as well. I began attending Mass again. I started to feel alive for the first time in years.

One of the most productive times in my spiritual life was when I belonged to the Legion of Mary. Only two hours of apostolic work was required each week, plus a meeting. Together with an active daily prayer life, the Legion of Mary is a good start on giving ten percent of your time to God.

Sep 7, 2006

China Sentences Chen Guangcheng

A young blind Chinese man is continuing Stephen Mosher's work--show how China forces women to have abortions. He has now been sentenced to prison for publicizing women who had been forced to undergo abortions or sterilizations as part of China's family-planning campaign. Even though coercive measures used in Shandong's Linyi region are stated to be illegal, local officials have continued their evil ways. See here.

The European parliament has adopted a report on EU-China relations that slams Beijing’s human rights record and its lack of respect for religious freedom. For the first time, European lawmakers expressed their support for Vatican-China dialogue. For more, see here.

Sep 6, 2006

Matches -- No. 4

I believe in falling in love after deciding on the one you want to marry. A good friend and I looked at many men. I think she dated over a hundred and I dated over thirty. We typically kept our dating to no more than two or three times per guy. We avoided steady dating because we were taught in Catholic school that steady dating was only for those intending to be married. Dating a guy only a couple of times meant you had an enjoyable experience in getting to know different men, but they were far less likely to try to take liberties.

I knew my husband for almost three years before we dated. After a year or so of knowing him in a Catholic organization, I told my sister that I had met a Catholic gentleman who would make an extra fine husband and great father. She asked if I was dating him or loved him and I said no, but he would be very easy to learn to love. Very true!

The same thing happened with my friend whose future husband wanted to marry her after they met in a work environment. She says she accepted his proposal before she fell in love with him because she knew him to be an outstanding Catholic man who would be easy to love. My friend married her husband with a love that was true and certain. What a wonderful advantage it was to know and choose someone for a spouse without the embellishments that typically cover the personality during dating.

Good people are easy to love, but a clear picture of a person's personality and behavior is only possible when you are not dating. That is why the peasant parents in The Third Match recommended their sons marry girls they knew.

Sep 4, 2006

Gov. Sebelius of Kanas

I'm glad Catholic Fire (of Wichita?) has published a post on the pro-abortion Gov. Kathleen Sebelius who is supposed to be a Catholic. See here. Also see the Operation Rescue announcement that Gov. Sebelius rewarded her friends with appointments to the Board of Healing Arts and how she has protected the abortionist George Tiller.