Friday, August 30, 2013

From the Philly TLM Blog: St. Therese Coming to Philadelphia

From the Philly TLM blog:

Traditional Latin Mass in Philadelphia: Transfer of Relics of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, Parents of St. Therese of Lisieux:

Dear Friends of Carmel, on Saturday, November 16, the relics of the parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, will be transferred in a solemn procession escorted by the Philadelphia Police Department from the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul to the Carmelite Monastery at 66th Avenue and Old York Road.  The solemn transfer is scheduled to begin at 2:30PM and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered in the Holy Spirit Chapel of the Monastery at 5 PM.

The relics will be available for veneration at the Carmel on Sunday, November 17 from 10AM to 4PM.  Thereafter, they will be available for veneration during those same hours on every first Sunday of the month, commencing December 1.

St. Therese, pray for us!

Blessed Louis and Zelie, pray for us!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Grace, Courage Sufficient for Life’s Trials

By Father Ronald Check

Picture courtesy of Traditional Latin Mass Philadelphia Blog,
God loves us infinitely. He knows our strengths and our gifts. He knows our weaknesses and our failures. He knows what makes us happy and what brings us sadness. He knows what lifts up our spirits and He knows what humbles us. He knows everything that there is to know and with such great love. He has even numbered the hairs of our heads (cf. Matt. 10:30).

Knowing sufficiently who we are, He calls us and wants us to follow Him and to walk with Him. And yet so often we are afraid to trust Him. There is an old saying, “The will of God will never take you where the grace of God cannot keep you.”

He knows what we need and He is always there to provide exactly what is necessary. One day St. Paul, after many hardships, was praying to the Lord and asking him to take away his suffering, but the Lord’s response was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

Last weekend [then November 2010]  the Holy Father [now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI] created 24 new cardinals. One of the new cardinals addressed his Holiness saying, “We recognize with trepidation our limitations, and in the face of the awareness of the great dignity with which we are covered, but that we are called to witness with our lives.” They recognize that they have limitations and weaknesses, but then they move forward, continuing to trust in God’s grace.

The Lord knows their limitations and He knows ours as well. What does all of this mean? We all have our different vocations and no matter what place we hold the Lord Jesus has called each one of us personally to fulfill the duties of our specific vocation and for a specific purpose. He calls us to be faithful no matter what. This is not just the case for priests and religious. Everyone is called to be faithful.

One of the reasons we honor the saints is that they trusted, even when things looked impossible, they turned to the Lord and entrusted themselves into His hands, knowing that He would provide for them. We may sometimes feel as if we do not have what it takes or that our limitations make things impossible to accomplish, but the Lord Jesus says, “Take courage.” (John 16:33)

God has called us to a specific vocation, knowing everything there is to know about us. May we always trust His loving providence. May we always trust His wisdom, He who not only gives us what we need to accomplish His will, but who also promises to remain with us always (cf. Matt. 28:20).

May no temptation ever pull us away. May no doubt keep us from believing that when we give everything to Christ we find true happiness. We all have our struggles along the way, but let us remember that His grace is sufficient. Amen.

Originally Posted November 24, 2010, on

Saturday, August 17, 2013


By Father Clifford Stevens

The Assumption is the oldest feast day of Our Lady, but we don't know how it first came to be celebrated. Its origin is lost in those days when Jerusalem was restored as a sacred city, at the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (c. 285-337). By then it had been a pagan city for two centuries, ever since Emperor Hadrian (76-138) had leveled it around the year 135 and rebuilt it as Aelia Capitolina in honor of Jupiter. For 200 years, every memory of Jesus was obliterated from the city, and the sites made holy by His life, death and Resurrection became pagan temples.

After the building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 336, the sacred sites began to be restored and memories of the life of Our Lord began to be celebrated by the people of Jerusalem. One of the memories about his mother centered around the "Tomb of Mary," close to Mount Zion, where the early Christian community had lived.  

On the hill itself was the "Place of Dormition," the spot of Mary's "falling asleep," where she had died. The "Tomb of Mary" was where she was buried. At this time, the "Memory of Mary" was being celebrated. Later it was to become our feast of the Assumption. For a time, the "Memory of Mary" was marked only in Palestine, but then it was extended by the emperor to all the churches of the East. In the seventh century, it began to be celebrated in Rome under the title of the "Falling Asleep" ("Dormitio") of the Mother of God. Soon the name was changed to the "Assumption of Mary," since there was more to the feast than her dying. It also proclaimed that she had been taken up, body and soul, into heaven.

That belief was ancient, dating back to the apostles themselves. What was clear from the beginning was that there were no relics of Mary to be venerated, and that an empty tomb stood on the edge of Jerusalem near the site of her death. That location also soon became a place of pilgrimage. (Today, the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition of Mary stands on the spot.)

At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople, Emperor Marcian asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople to be enshrined in the capitol. The patriarch explained to the emperor that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem, that "Mary had died in the presence of the apostles; but her tomb, when opened later . . . was found empty and so the apostles concluded that the body was taken up into heaven."

In the eighth century, St. John Damascene was known for giving sermons at the holy places in Jerusalem. At the Tomb of Mary, he expressed the belief of the Church on the meaning of the feast: "Although the body was duly buried, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay. . . . You were transferred to your heavenly home, O Lady, Queen and Mother of God in truth."

All the feast days of Mary mark the great mysteries of her life and her part in the work of redemption. The central mystery of her life and person is her divine motherhood, celebrated both at Christmas and a week later (Jan. 1) on the feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8) marks the preparation for that motherhood, so that she had the fullness of grace from the first moment of her existence, completely untouched by sin. Her whole being throbbed with divine life from the very beginning, readying her for the exalted role of mother of the Savior.

The Assumption completes God's work in her since it was not fitting that the flesh that had given life to God himself should ever undergo corruption. The Assumption is God's crowning of His work as Mary ends her earthly life and enters eternity. The feast turns our eyes in that direction, where we will follow when our earthly life is over.

The feast days of the Church are not just the commemoration of historical events; they do not look only to the past. They look to the present and to the future and give us an insight into our own relationship with God. The Assumption looks to eternity and gives us hope that we, too, will follow Our Lady when our life is ended.

The prayer for the feast reads: "All-powerful and ever-living God: You raised the sinless Virgin Mary, mother of your Son, body and soul, to the glory of heaven. May we see heaven as our final goal and come to share her glory."

In 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary a dogma of the Catholic Church in these words: "The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven." With that, an ancient belief became Catholic doctrine and the Assumption was declared a truth revealed by God.

Father Clifford Stevens writes from Tintern Monastery in Oakdale, Neb. — Article Reprinted from the EWTN Website

Thursday, August 15, 2013

On Human Life, by His Excellency Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia

His Excellency Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia, wrote the following pastoral letter to his flock during his time serving the Church in Denver.  

A pastoral letter to the people of God of northern Colorado
on the truth and meaning of married love

Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

1.  Thirty years ago this week, Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (On Human Life), which reaffirmed the Church's constant teaching on the regulation of births.  It is certainly the most misunderstood papal intervention of this century.  It was the spark which led to three decades of doubt and dissent among many Catholics, especially in the developed countries.  With the passage of time, however, it has also proven prophetic.  It teaches the truth.  My purpose in this pastoral letter, therefore, is simple.  I believe the message of Humanae Vitae is not a burden but a joy.  I believe this encyclical offers a key to deeper, richer marriages.  And so what I seek from the family of our local Church is not just a respectful nod toward a document which critics dismiss as irrelevant, but an active and sustained effort to study Humanae Vitae; to teach it faithfully in our parishes; and to encourage our married couples to live it. 


2.  Sooner or later, every pastor counsels someone struggling with an addiction.  Usually the problem is alcohol or drugs.  And usually the scenario is the same.  The addict will acknowledge the problem but claim to be powerless against it.  Or, alternately, the addict will deny having any problem at all, even if the addiction is destroying his or her health and wrecking job and family.  No matter how much sense the pastor makes; no matter how true and persuasive his arguments; and no matter how life-threatening the situation, the addict simply cannot understand -- or cannot act on -- the counsel.  The addiction, like a thick pane of glass, divides the addict from anything or anyone that might help.

3.  One way to understand the history of Humanae Vitae is to examine the past three decades through this metaphor of addiction.  I believe the developed world finds this encyclical so hard to accept not because of any defect in Paul VI's reasoning, but because of the addictions and contradictions it has inflicted upon itself, exactly as the Holy Father warned.

4.  In presenting his encyclical, Paul VI cautioned against four main problems (HV 17) that would arise if Church teaching on the regulation of births was ignored.  First, he warned that the widespread use of contraception would lead to "conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality."  Exactly this has happened.  Few would deny that the rates of abortion, divorce, family breakdown, wife and child abuse, venereal disease and out of wedlock births have all massively increased since the mid-1960s. 
Obviously, the birth control pill has not been the only factor in this unraveling.  But it has played a major role.  In fact, the cultural revolution since 1968, driven at least in part by transformed attitudes toward sex, would not have been possible or sustainable without easy access to reliable contraception.  In this, Paul VI was right.

5.  Second, he also warned that man would lose respect for woman and "no longer [care] for her physical and psychological equilibrium," to the point that he would consider her "as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion."  In other words, according to the Pope, contraception might be marketed as liberating for women, but the real "beneficiaries" of birth control pills and devices would be men.  Three decades later, exactly as Paul VI suggested, contraception has released males -- to a historically unprecedented degree -- from responsibility for their sexual aggression.  In the process, one of the stranger ironies of the contraception debate of the past generation has been this: Many feminists have attacked the Catholic Church for her alleged disregard of women, but the Church in Humanae Vitae identified and rejected sexual exploitation of women years before that message entered the cultural mainstream.  Again, Paul VI was right.

6.  Third, the Holy Father also warned that widespread use of contraception would place a "dangerous weapon . . . in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies."  As we have since discovered, eugenics didn't disappear with Nazi racial theories in 1945. Population control policies are now an accepted part of nearly every foreign aid discussion.  The massive export of contraceptives, abortion and sterilization by the developed world to developing countries -- frequently as a prerequisite for aid dollars and often in direct contradiction to local moral traditions -- is a thinly disguised form of population warfare and cultural re-engineering.  Again, Paul VI was right.

7.  Fourth, Pope Paul warned that contraception would mislead human beings into thinking they had unlimited dominion over their own bodies, relentlessly turning the human person into the object of his or her own intrusive power.  Herein lies another irony: In fleeing into the false freedom provided by contraception and abortion, an exaggerated feminism has actively colluded in women's dehumanization.  A man and a woman participate uniquely in the glory of God by their ability to co-create new life with Him.  At the heart of contraception, however, is the assumption that fertility is an infection which must be attacked and controlled, exactly as antibiotics attack bacteria.  In this attitude, one can also see the organic link between contraception and abortion.  If fertility can be misrepresented as an infection to be attacked, so too can new life. In either case, a defining element of woman's identity -- her potential for bearing new life -- is recast as a weakness requiring vigilant distrust and "treatment."  Woman becomes the object of the tools she relies on to ensure her own liberation and defense, while man takes no share of the burden.  Once again, Paul VI was right.

8.  From the Holy Father's final point, much more has flowed:  In vitro fertilization, cloning, genetic manipulation and embryo experimentation are all descendants of contraceptive technology.  In fact, we have drastically and naively underestimated the effects of technology not only on external society, but on our own interior human identity.  As author Neil Postman has observed, technological change is not additive but ecological.  A significant new technology does not "add" something to a society; it changes everything -- just as a drop of red dye does not remain discrete in a glass of water, but colors and changes every single molecule of the liquid.
Contraceptive technology, precisely because of its impact on sexual intimacy, has subverted our understanding of the purpose of sexuality, fertility and marriage itself. It has detached them from the natural, organic identity of the human person and disrupted the ecology of human relationships.  It has scrambled our vocabulary of love, just as pride scrambled the vocabulary of Babel.

9.  Now we deal daily with the consequences.  I am writing these thoughts during a July week when, within days of each other, news media have informed us that nearly 14 percent of Coloradans are or have been involved in drug or alcohol dependency; a governor's commission has praised marriage while simultaneously recommending steps that would subvert it in Colorado by extending parallel rights and responsibilities to persons in "committed relationships,"  including same-sex relationships; and a young east coast couple have been sentenced for brutally slaying their newborn baby.  According to news reports, one or both of the young unmarried parents "bashed in [the baby's] skull while he was still alive, and then left his battered body in a dumpster to die."  These are the headlines of a culture in serious distress.  U.S. society is wracked with sexual identity and behavior dysfunctions, family collapse and a general coarsening of attitudes toward the sanctity of human life.  It's obvious to everyone but an addict: We have a problem.

It's killing us as a people.  So what are we going to do about it?  What I want to suggest is that if Paul VI was right about so many of the consequences deriving from contraception, it is because he was right about contraception itself.  In seeking to become whole again as persons and as a people of faith, we need to begin by revisiting Humanae Vitae with open hearts.  Jesus said the truth would make us free.  Humanae Vitae is filled with truth.  It is therefore a key to our freedom. 


10.  Perhaps one of the flaws in communicating the message of Humanae Vitae over the last 30 years has been the language used in teaching it.  The duties and responsibilities of married life are numerous.  They're also serious.  They need to be considered carefully, and prayerfully, in advance.  But few couples understand their love in terms of academic theology.   Rather, they fall in love.  That's the vocabulary they use. It's that simple and revealing.  They surrender to each other.  They give themselves to each other.  They fall into each other in order to fully possess, and be possessed by, each other. And rightly so.  In married love, God intends that spouses should find joy and delight, hope and abundant life, in and through each other -- all ordered in a way which draws husband and wife, their children, and all who know them, deeper into God's embrace.

11.  As a result, in presenting the nature of Christian marriage to a new generation, we need to articulate its fulfilling satisfactions at least as well as its duties. The Catholic attitude toward sexuality is anything but puritanical, repressive or anti-carnal.  God created the world and fashioned the human person in His own image.  Therefore the body is good.  In fact, it's often been a source of great humor for me to listen incognito as people simultaneously complain about the alleged "bottled-up sexuality" of Catholic moral doctrine, and the size of many good Catholic families.  (From where, one might ask, do they think the babies come?)  Catholic marriage -- exactly like Jesus Himself -- is not about scarcity but abundance.  It's not about sterility, but rather the fruitfulness which flows from unitive, procreative love.  Catholic married  love always implies the possibility of new life; and because it does, it drives out loneliness and affirms the future.  And because it affirms the future, it becomes a furnace of hope in a world prone to despair.  In effect, Catholic marriage is attractive because it is true. It's designed for the creatures we are: persons meant for communion.  Spouses complete each other.  When God joins a woman and man together in marriage, they create with Him a new wholeness; a "belonging" which is so real, so concrete, that a new life, a child, is its natural expression and seal.  This is what the Church means when she teaches that Catholic married love is by its nature both unitive and procreative -- not either/or.

12.  But why can't a married couple simply choose the unitive aspect of marriage and temporarily block or even permanently prevent its procreative nature?  The answer is as simple and radical as the Gospel itself.  When spouses give themselves honestly and entirely to each other, as the nature of married love implies and even demands, that must include their whole selves -- and the most intimate, powerful part of each person is his or her fertility.  Contraception not only denies this fertility and attacks procreation; in doing so, it necessarily damages unity as well.  It is the equivalent of spouses saying: "I'll give you all I am -- except my fertility; I'll accept all you are -- except your fertility."  This withholding of self inevitably works to isolate and divide the spouses, and unravel the holy friendship between them . . . maybe not immediately and overtly, but deeply, and in the long run often fatally for the marriage.

13.  This is why the Church is not against "artificial" contraception.  She is against all contraception.  The notion of "artificial" has nothing to do with the issue.  In fact, it tends to confuse discussion by implying that the debate is about a mechanical intrusion into the body's organic system. It is not.  The Church has no problem with science appropriately intervening to heal or enhance bodily health.  Rather, the Church teaches that all contraception is morally wrong; and not only wrong, but seriously wrong.  The covenant which husband and wife enter at marriage requires that all intercourse remain open to the transmission of new life.  This is what becoming "one flesh" implies: complete self-giving, without reservation or exception, just as Christ withheld nothing of Himself from His bride, the Church, by dying for her on the cross.  Any intentional interference with the procreative nature of intercourse necessarily involves spouses' withholding themselves from each other and from God, who is their partner in sacramental love.  In effect, they steal something infinitely precious -- themselves -- from each other and from their Creator.

14.  And this is why natural family planning (NFP) differs not merely in style but in moral substance from contraception as a means of regulating family size.  NFP is not contraception.  Rather, it is a method of fertility awareness and appreciation.  It is an entirely different approach to regulating birth.  NFP does nothing to attack fertility, withhold the gift of oneself from one's spouse, or block the procreative nature of intercourse.   The marriage covenant requires that each act of intercourse be fully an act of self-giving, and therefore open to the possibility of new life. But when, for good reasons, a husband and wife limit their intercourse to the wife's natural periods of infertility during a month, they are simply observing a cycle which God Himself created in the woman. They are not subverting it.  And so they are living within the law of God's love.

15.  There are, of course, many wonderful benefits to the practice of NFP.  The wife preserves herself from intrusive chemicals or devices and remains true to her natural cycle.  The husband shares in the planning and responsibility for NFP.  Both learn a greater degree of self-mastery and a deeper respect for each other.  It's true that NFP  involves sacrifices and periodic abstinence from intercourse.  It can, at times, be a difficult road.  But so can any serious Christian life, whether ordained, consecrated, single or married.  Moreover, the experience of tens of thousands of couples has shown that, when lived prayerfully and unselfishly, NFP deepens and enriches marriage and results in greater intimacy -- and greater joy.  In the Old Testament, God told our first parents to be fruitful and multiply (Gn 1:28).  He told us to choose life (Dt 30:19).  He sent His son, Jesus, to bring us life abundantly (Jn 10:10) and to remind us that His yoke is light (Mt 11:30).  I suspect, therefore, that at the heart of Catholic ambivalence  toward Humanae Vitae is not a crisis of sexuality, Church authority or moral relevance, but rather a question of faith: Do we really believe in God's goodness?  The Church speaks for her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, and believers naturally, eagerly listen.  She shows married couples the path to enduring love and a culture of life.  Thirty years of history record the consequences of choosing otherwise. 


16.  I want to express my gratitude to the many couples who already live the message of Humanae Vitae in their married lives.  Their fidelity to the truth sanctifies their own families and our entire community of faith.  I thank in a special way those couples who teach NFP and counsel others in responsible parenthood inspired by Church teaching.  Their work too often goes unnoticed or underappreciated -- but they are powerful advocates for life in an age of confusion.  I also want to offer my prayers and encouragement to those couples who bear the cross of infertility.  In a society often bent on avoiding children, they carry the burden of yearning for children but having none.  No prayers go unanswered, and all suffering given over to the Lord bears fruit in some form of new life.  I encourage them to consider adoption, and I appeal to them to remember that a good end can never justify a wrong means.  Whether to prevent a pregnancy or achieve one, all techniques which separate the unitive and procreative dimensions of marriage are always wrong.  Procreative techniques which turn embryos into objects and mechanically substitute for the loving embrace of husband and wife violate human dignity and treat life as a product.  No matter how positive their intentions, these techniques advance the dangerous tendency to reduce human life to material which can be manipulated.

17.  It's never too late to turn our hearts back toward God.  We are not powerless.  We can make a difference by witnessing the truth about married love and fidelity to the culture around us.   In December last year, in a pastoral letter entitled Good News of Great Joy, I spoke of the important vocation every Catholic has as an evangelizer.  We are all missionaries. America in the 1990s, with its culture of disordered sexuality, broken marriages and fragmented families, urgently needs the Gospel.  As Pope John Paul II writes in his apostolic exhortation On the Family (Familiaris Consortio), married couples and families have a critical role in witnessing Jesus Christ to each other and to the surrounding culture (49, 50).

18.  In that light, I ask married couples of the archdiocese to read, discuss and pray over Humanae Vitae, Familiaris Consortio and other documents of the Church which outline Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality.  Many married couples, unaware of the valuable wisdom found in these materials, have deprived themselves of a beautiful source of support for their mutual love.  I especially encourage couples to examine their own consciences regarding contraception, and I ask them to remember that "conscience" is much more than a matter of personal preference.  It requires us to search out and understand Church teaching, and to honestly strive to conform our hearts to it.  I urge them to seek sacramental Reconciliation for the times they may have fallen into contraception. Disordered sexuality is the dominant addiction of American society in these closing years of the century.  It directly or indirectly impacts us all.  As a result, for many, this teaching may be a hard message to accept.  But do not lose heart.  Each of us is a sinner.  Each of us is loved by God. No matter how often we fail, God will deliver us if we repent and ask for the grace to do His will.

19.  I ask my brother priests to examine their own pastoral practices, to ensure that they faithfully and persuasively present the Church's teaching on these issues in all their parish work. Our people deserve the truth about human sexuality and the dignity of marriage.  To accomplish this, I ask pastors to read and implement the Vademecum for Confessors Concerning Some Aspects of the Morality of Conjugal Life, and to study the Church's teaching on marriage and family planning.  I urge them to appoint parish coordinators to facilitate the presentation of Catholic teaching on married love and family planning -- especially NFP.  Contraception is a grave matter.  Married couples need the good counsel of the Church to make right decisions.  Most married Catholics welcome the guidance of their priests, and priests should never feel  intimidated by their personal commitment to celibacy, or embarrassed by the teaching of the Church.  To be embarrassed by Church teaching is to be embarrassed by Christ's teaching.  The pastoral experience and counsel of a priest are valuable on issues like contraception precisely because he brings new perspective to a couple and speaks for the whole Church. Moreover, the fidelity a priest shows to his own vocation strengthens married people to live their vocation more faithfully.

20.  As archbishop, I commit myself and my offices to supporting my brother priests, deacons and their lay collaborators in presenting the whole of the Church's teaching on married love and family planning.  I owe both the clergy of our local Church and their staffs -- especially the many dedicated parish catechists -- much gratitude for the good work they have already accomplished in this area.  It is my intention to ensure that courses on married love and family planning are available on a regular basis to more and more people of the archdiocese, and that our priests and deacons receive more extensive education in the theological and pastoral aspects of these issues.  I direct, in a particular way, our Offices of Evangelization and Catechetics; Marriage and Family Life; Catholic Schools; Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministries; and the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults to develop concrete ways to better present Church teaching on married love to our people, and to require adequate instruction in NFP as part of all marriage preparation programs in the archdiocese.

21.  Two final points.  First, the issue of contraception is not peripheral, but central and serious in a Catholic's walk with God.  If knowingly and freely engaged in, contraception is a grave sin, because it distorts the essence of marriage: the self-giving love which, by its very nature, is life-giving.  It breaks apart what God created to be whole: the person-uniting meaning of sex (love) and the life-giving meaning of sex (procreation).  Quite apart from its cost to individual marriages, contraception has also inflicted massive damage on society at large: initially by driving a wedge between love and the procreation of children; and then between sex (i.e., recreational sex without permanent commitment) and love.  Nonetheless -- and this is my second point -- teaching the truth should always be done with patience and compassion, as well as firmness.  American society seems to swing peculiarly between puritanism and license.  The two generations -- my own and my teachers' -- which once led the dissent from Paul VI's encyclical in this country, are generations still reacting against the American Catholic rigorism of the 1950s. That rigorism, much of it a product of culture and not doctrine, has long since been demolished.  But the habit of skepticism remains.  In reaching these people, our task is to turn their distrust to where it belongs: toward the lies the world tells about the meaning of human sexuality, and the pathologies those lies conceal.

22.  In closing, we face an opportunity which comes only once in many decades.  Thirty years ago this week, Paul VI told the truth about married love.  In doing it, he triggered a struggle within the Church which continues to mark American Catholic life even today.  Selective dissent from Humanae Vitae soon fueled broad dissent from Church authority and attacks on the credibility of the Church herself.  The irony is that the people who dismissed Church teaching in the 1960s soon discovered that they had subverted their own ability to pass anything along to their children.

The result is that the Church now must evangelize a world of their children's children -- adolescents and young adults raised in moral confusion, often unaware of their own moral heritage, who hunger for meaning, community, and love with real substance.  For all its challenges, this a is tremendous new moment of possibility for the Church, and the good news is that the Church today, as in every age, has the answers to fill the God-shaped empty places in their hearts.  My prayer is therefore simple: May the Lord grant us the wisdom to recognize the great treasure which resides in our teaching about married love and human sexuality, the faith, joy and perseverance to live it in our own families  -- and the courage which Paul VI possessed to preach it anew.

+ Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Denver 
July 22, 1998
(Italicized emphasis added by Blog Administrator)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Top 20 Ways to Mess Up a Marriage

Top 20 Ways To Mess Up A Marriage: 
  1. Have Premarital Sex - This can be with your future spouse or not. Regardless, the statistics show that it means a much higher chance of a failed marriage. 
  2. Cohabitate - This doubles your chance of divorcing your spouse! Go with this one if you almost certainly want to mess up a marriage. 
  3. Use contraception - kids are a burden that make life miserable. Why take the risk? Of course couples that use NFP are happier, have better sex-lives, and stay married more than 95% of the time.  And, by the way, not too long ago the World Health Organization categorized the 'pill' as a Class I carcinogen, right up there with cigarettes!  Read more about it here
  4. Cheat on your spouse - Nothing rings the death knell of marriage like this one.
  5. Use porn - only the fastest growing reasons couples divorce today. Duh!
  6. Drink too much or use drugs - This one is a great way to love a thing more than your spouse. 
  7. Marry for the wrong reasons - Marrying someone merely because you have strong emotions about them (which will eventually go away) or because they are good looking (which won't last) is a great way to eventually ruin a marriage. Attraction is all that matters.
  8. Never Work on Communication - talking is over-rated. You should just learn to tolerate one another, not really communicate. 
  9. Be a Workaholic - being rich and successful is the most important thing on earth. Right? 
  10. Be selfish - expect your spouse to serve your every need and never expect to return the favor. 
  11. Have Different expectations about money or debt - Spend too much, live beyond your means, and then pay the price. Money is the #1 reason that couples argue. 
  12. Don't tithe - The money is your own, do what you want with it. 
  13. Talk negatively about your spouse - who needs to be built up anyway? 
  14. Make big purchases without talking about it first - want that new car? Go get it! 
  15. Spend more time with your friends than your spouse - they are probably more fun anyway. 
  16. Never let love mature - let your love remain all about the emotions and sex (neither are bad in-and-of-themselves) so that love never matures.
  17. Never go to church or pray together - marriage doesn't need God. Does it?
  18. Once you have kids focus all your attention on them - you shouldn't still work on the marriage, because the kids are most important.
  19. Marry a non-Christian - There are certainly marriages that succeed between believers and non-believers, but the least you are doing is putting a strain on a relationship. 
  20. Never grow or change - no need to say you are sorry, no need to humble yourself, no need to make changes. Just stay who you are.
This list is not exhaustive. You could be inventive and come up with another way to mess up a marriage. If you have one, let us know.

(Adapted from Texas A&M Aggie Catholics Blog Site)


Texas A&M University, based in College Station, Texas, has a very large, active, and well-organized Catholic campus ministry, St. Mary’s Catholic Center at Texas A&M University.  In conjunction with the school’s heritage as once an agricultural and mechanical school, its sports teams are called the “Aggies;” hence the blog “Mary’s Aggies.” 

St. Mary’s Catholic Center, an actual parish instituted by the Diocese of Austin to serve the needs of the large Catholic presence at A&M (total enrollment over 53,300, with a Catholic population around 25%), is headed full-time by three priests, four deacons, three religious sisters, and some fourteen lay staff, with regular help from an additional two priests.  Portions of this data are also reflected in a 2009 pastoral letter from the USCCB, entitled Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan.