The following comes from a Nov. 19 posting by Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute on Mercator.net.
My husband I attended a marriage preparation retreat in a small town in central California a few weeks ago. We were by far the oldest people there. The retreat was developed by an order of priests who are very orthodox in their teaching about marriage, family and human sexuality.
They do not soft-pedal anything. They do not cut corners. In fact in the small-group breakout sessions, one of the young couples said, “this is not the easiest place in town to get married.” All the other young couples in the group nodded in agreement. “But this is my parish. This is where I was baptized. We wanted to get married here.”
So I feel confident when I say that these priests are holding the line on orthodoxy. Over the course of the weekend, the presenters told their personal faith journey. Almost all of the presenters at this conference had had some significant irregularity in their marriage situations.
What I saw was the Church “welcoming sinners.”
One couple recounted their journey from civil marriage to sacramental marriage. Their priest asked that they live together “as brother and sister” in the months leading up to the con-validation of their marriage in the Church.
For the uninitiated, this means: they had already been married civilly for some time and had children. One party had become Catholic. They wanted to get their marriage validated so they could have a sacramental marriage. Since they were not married in the eyes of the Church, they could not licitly have sex with each other. So their priest asked them to abstain until their wedding.
I heard no whining and complaining from this couple. What the husband had to say was quite astonishing. He spoke about how beautiful it was to have that period of time with his wife where they were not being sexual with one another. He spoke of how it deepened their love for each other. They were both grateful to the priest for making this challenging demand of them. They obviously could have reported on the difficulty of the request. But there they were, telling the 20 or so 20-something couples, how grateful they were.
Another couple shared that they had each been married before. One of their marriages had ended through death, the other through an annulment. Each of them had sterilized themselves during the course of their first marriages. The husband had made the decision to have a vasectomy. The wife decided to have her tubes tied. She decided this without consulting her then-husband. She had it done while she was in recovery from delivering her third child.
This couple was the most powerful couple of the whole weekend. They sat in front of us weeping openly about these decisions to sterilize themselves. They came to see that the reasons they gave themselves originally were not good enough. They spoke of their regrets. The most powerful regret was that they could not become parents together with their new sacramental spouse.
They spoke of their love for the church. “No one told me it was wrong.” The man said repeatedly, through his tears. “If only I had known. If only someone had told me.”
I thought to myself: there are probably millions of stories like this. People who followed the Teachings of the World. People who found out only too late that the Teachings of the Church were more profound than they had ever been led to believe.
My point here is twofold. First I am amazed how much these people love the church. I was amazed at how much they felt that the church’s teaching had been wiser and more humane than all the things they had been doing before.
Second, the World would have us believe that an order of very orthodox priests could not possibly be “compassionate” or “pastoral.” Yet there they were, both “welcoming” and orthodox.
These very orthodox priests were obviously not compromising one iota on church teaching. And yet somehow they were finding a way to help people work through their marriage irregularities and their past sins. What they had at the end of that process was not just ordinary-everyday-humdrum Catholics. They had really passionately committed Catholics.
I can attest to this pattern from personal experience. When I went back to the Catholic Church after a lapse of twelve long miserable years, I was lucky. The chaplain at George Mason University, where I taught at the time, welcomed me back gently. He heard my confession. I was in the diocese of Arlington Virginia, which has a reputation for orthodoxy. I was able to learn more and more about the beauty of the Catholic faith and its teaching on marriage, family and human sexuality….
To read the original posting, click here.
“Mrs. Morse”: This is a happy story. It is sad, however, to learn that what you learned at the CA retreat was considered “orthodox”. In fact, what you describe is pretty much down the middle of the road Catholicism. Sadly, many, many in CA churches are not told of these beliefs and expectations.
Nice, as well, that you found a good start in the Arlington Diocese. Once truly “orthodox” under wonderful Bishop Keating, the Diocese is far more Liberal under the Reign of Bishop Loverde. The bishop is a great fund raiser and builds nice churches, but will not permit altar rails, actually forbids them (as told by at least three pastors). He tolerates some Tradition, but the priests that are “too Traditional” are often shunted out and away from the big time parishes.
Still your story is compelling. Thank you for sharing it. One belated wedding gift: try to find, and faithfully attend, a church with the TLM. If that is not possible, try to find, and faithfully attend, a church with the Ordinariate Rite. Your happiness and peace will be profound.
One of the great faults about the post Vatican 2 church. Like the liberals in society, they just don’t want to offend anyone by telling them what sin is and that it is an offense to God. Seems as though some think it is easier to offend God and get away with it. God knows all, what is in our intentions (sinful or not) and heart,,so we really can’t get away from doing anything or nothing at all when we should have done something. The trouble is, we can’t always blame others. Yes, the post Vatican 2 church officials by their neglect will have to account for their negligence, but also the sinner as God has assigned to each of us since our conception a guardian Angel who forms in us our conscience. We know very early in age to some degree, the difference between right and wrong.
Here is the Down Low on Just Who will Tell Us All what is Right and Rong (as in Legal & Illegal, in a warped kind of way) – just as soon as moon-bat Brown’s choices are rubber stamped by ‘our’ Turkey Baster Creationist Courts:
Governor Jerry Brown has nominated a U.S. Department of Justice official for a spot on the California Supreme Court = Leondra R. Kruger, a Yale Law School graduate…Kruger would be Brown’s third appointee to the state’s highest court in as many years.
… Kruger has spent the past eight years working in various positions at the U.S. Department of Justice. Since 2013, Kruger has served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, where she has earned high praise from the federal government’s top lawyer.
“Leondra is an extraordinarily talented attorney who has been a leader within the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and Office of the Solicitor General,” U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a written…
Kruger’s conflict with religious groups
The choice of Kruger is likely to draw the ire of religious groups that have battled with her over First Amendment rights. While at the Solicitor General’s office, Kruger represented the Obama administration in 12 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School vs. EEOC.
This article was originally published on CalWatchdog.com
Thank you for the positive article. I think I know this orthodox group of priests. They strive to live humble hidden lives in parishes that are poor and go un-named. They make the rich uncomfortable in there comfort and comfort the poor in there poverty. They drive old cars and sleep on old beds if any at all. They speak more about social justice in how they live and more about joy of repentences and living love in their homilies.
You will find them in fields with the workers and in the hospitals with the sick and in the homes of humble bread of the farm workers. I know these priests who modle Jouquim and Joseph. I lost them when I thought I was found and found them when I sincerely knew I was lost.
It is not charitable, merciful, or pastoral to – affirm, confirm or condone anyone in their Mortal Sin.
One participates in the Mortal Sin itself when they do so. (CCC 1868).
Conversion requires putting God first, and our own desires last.
Loving God above all means not wanting to offend Him anymore with sin.
Loving another means wanting him or her to get to Heaven for eternity above all else.
About the title – “No one told me it was wrong”.
All literate Catholics have an obligation to read the two most important books in the Catholic Faith:
1) Sacred Scripture (Catholic Bible) is the Speech of God (CCC 81);
2) The “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition” .
Then they can help others with the TRUTH of the Faith – accurately and fully.
Need Christmas, Wedding, Birthday, Graduation, Remembrance, or other GIFT IDEAs ?
Give the gift that can help lead to eternal life. Give a Catholic Bible, and/or the CCC (dark green cover).
CCC: “1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility.
This is the case when a man takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.
In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.”
I recommend the following for ones own reading,
as well as for GIFTS.
For a Catholic Bible – RSV-CE, large print for ease of reading;
CCC 2nd Ed;
and a good Bible STUDY is “Navarre Bible” – New Testament.
All use the RSV CE.
This is the best way to keep Christ in Christmas !
Virtually all of Megan’s recommendation have many probable intentional errors in them.
I recommend the “Haydock Bible with extensive commentaries by the Rev. George Leo Haydock” This Bible is a Douay-Rheems Bible.
God bless, yours in Their Hearts!
May God have mercy on an amoral Amerika and His Church!
Viva Cristo Rey!
Kenneth M. Fisher
Charity demands that the truth be told.
Love of one’s neighbor demands truth.
Even if it is rejected or ridiculed, it must be proclaimed.
God bless these good Catholics, and this wonderful religious order! What God asks of us, is always right, and for our own highest good! It is always necessary to avoid the ignorance, deceits, and lies, of the world, the flesh, and the devil! It is very important, to listen only to Christ, and to follow Him, no matter how different His teachings are, from the ignorant world! Christian Marriage is a holy Sacrament, which helps lead the Catholic Faithful to Heaven! It is NOT a worldly, civil commitment, regulated by the government! All Catholics must follow Christ, in faith and trust! Our Catholic religion is a way of life, a discipline, to help us to become very pure, Christ-like, and close to God, and to lead us all to Heaven! It is a CRIME that the Church has been so poor in teaching and leading her Faithful to Christ, especially since Vatican II!! The cowardly Church leaders are failing in their duty, and many souls are tragically confused and lost!
Pete, On your 26 Nov 3:44 pm comment, the last 4 lines are so very true. I don’t think we have all taken the time to really think about them and how if we wished to follow them, a great of a change it would mean to our self-centered personal lives. The end result would mean rather a much more beautiful world to live in, being true children of God.
So where in the CCC did you find the last 4 lines? So we can share them with our prodigal brothers and sisters?
“I was amazed at how much they felt that the churche’s teaching had been wiser and more humane then all the things they had been doing before”. AMEN!
There are many more beautiful stories like these at http://www.conversationwithwomen.org