Friday, September 11, 2015

Marriage: Its Strength Lies in Grace

I posted a funny little meme on my Facebook wall today. It said,

"I don't believe in Divorce...
once we're Married, you're mine to annoy Forever!"

Since marriage is being mercilessly maligned by secular society, this was a cute way of stating the obvious - marriage isn't perfect, but with grace, love, and humor it will survive.

Case in point: we were 17 and 18 when we married. Forty plus years later, we're still together - despite some rough spots. This is due partly to the inspirational example I observed from my mother during her struggles - including many years of anticipating an annulment. We also understand the order of priority in our marriage - God First, Spouse Second, Children Third.

Of course, copious amounts of grace played the most important role.

So it came as a total shock to see the comments elicited by the humorous and innocuous sentiment the meme in question inspired. Hurtful, ugly, shameful comment after comment was made - and liked by dozens of admirers.

On the other side of the coin is fellow blogger Annie. In honor of her own anniversary, she has compiled blog posts from our Catholic Bloggers Facebook group. Her aim is to show marriage for what it truly is. A sacramental union of a man and a woman - bound together by their common love and God's grace.

In times such as these - with the upheaval concerning same sex 'marriage', rampant cohabitation, high divorce rates, and general disdain for the nuclear family - it's refreshing to see a young bride's efforts to show the world how to do it right.

Dozens of our fellow bloggers have shared their links with Annie. She will need to share them in several installments throughout the next day or so. Reading through these memories might be just the uplifting message you (or someone you know) need at this time. Be sure to check out Catholic Wife, Catholic Life to be inspired.

As the Synod on the Family quickly approaches, may we gain strength from our mutual goal of living a grace-filled married life. God bless the family - the foundation of society.

As the family goes, so goes the world. May we strive to be a part of the solution!

NOTE (Sept. 11, 2015): Go check out our mention in Annie's anniversary blog post at Catholic Wife, Catholic Life. It's in the final installment, published today.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

5 Reasons Why Abortion is Still Legal and What We Should Do About It

Forty-two years later the ill-conceived legal right to abortion still targets the most innocent members of our society. Despite fervent prayer, educational efforts, transformative heart-softening pleas, and untold numbers of legal attempts, the beast of abortion lives on.

To be noted in our quest for human dignity for all, is the heavy price paid by society. The cancer that is the Culture of Death, hides in the cavernous, dank recesses of the netherworld. Its tentacles reaching ever further into the very fiber of a guileless society, so empowered by selfish greed, it no longer has an identifiable conscience.

Instead of repeating the abortion advocate's mantra of ‘it’s not really a life’, we now hear them say, ‘it’s a life and I don’t care’.

So what brought us here, to the edge of the precipice? Was it simply the natural progression of a world doomed to fall into the abyss of cataclysm or is there an identifiable culprit? A look at the historical fall into the Culture of Death might help us delve into the unvarnished truth.

Ignoring Humanae Vitae

When Pope Paul VI admonished the faithful in his historic encyclical, Humanae Vitae, he made some dire predictions. The faithful, already in the throes of upheaval due to abuses of the Second Vatican Council, largely chose to ignore his ominous warnings. Unlike the internet resources we enjoy today, the faithful of that era depended almost solely on word of mouth – some of which came from those who wished to project their own, personal desires for reform onto the true meaning of the council.

Due in part to poor catechesis or selectively abridged reporting, the family in the pew soon found themselves disobeying Church teaching Рeither by naivet̩ or willful dissent. An entire generation largely missed the enormous impact this would later have on society as a whole Рuntil it was too late.

Allowing Contraception

In ignoring both Church teachings in general and Humanae Vitae in particular, a path of destruction for marriage and family was chosen. It might even be said that contraception was fatal to the Church in that respect. Although the full impact took years, even decades to show, the die was cast. In weakening the nuclear family – the foundation of a healthy society – culture had nowhere to go but down. The moral fiber of individual citizens was soon to follow.

Instead of maintaining the core belief that contraception was immoral, many clerics advanced the notion that sometimes contraception was acceptable. It was a matter of envisioning an end game without acknowledging the illicit path taken.

Up until the Lambeth Conference of 1930 all of the faithful, Catholic and Protestant alike, adhered to the dogma that contraception was sinful – always. As the Protestant churches began following an easier, albeit sinful path, the Catholic Church became the sole follower of this aspect of natural law. Unfortunately, many in the Church began to follow the path to disobedience.

Facilitating Promiscuity

As the natural result and purpose of physical intimacy was overridden, great temptation set in. No longer accountable for the natural repercussions of sexuality, promiscuity became an easy trap. When the consequence of pregnancy could easily be circumvented, marriages and well as single relationships began to devolve and suffer. The nuclear family continued to pay the price – as did society as a whole. Increased divorce, rampant cohabitation, weakening of respect for women, rudderless children, same sex 'marriage' and a focus on selfish sexuality all came to pass.

Science Gone Mad

With rampant promiscuity now a norm for a large portion of society, the masses sought even less accountability. Should contraception fail, a failsafe was called for. Abortion came into play, first in the form of doctors doing the unimaginable in dank clinics or rooms under the cover of night, then legalized as a phantom right to privacy after the inception of Roe vs. Wade.

IVF, cloning, surrogacy, and embryonic research soon followed. If the preborn child was an inconvenience to so many, why not use the body that had been cast aside for some imaginary good? That the end never justifies an immoral means was not considered.

As the value of the human species became more and more debatable, their use as a commodity became the next logical step. Soon inhuman experiments were advocated – vaccines using aborted fetal cell lines, rats implanted with human organs, and finally the sale of unborn baby parts to the highest bidder by abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

Accepting Abortion Exceptions

The commercialization of the human being soon created varying classes of persons – some worth more than others. If a wanted child was worthy of limitless cost, the unwanted child was not – simply on the merit of desire or lack thereof. That the only difference between the two was the ambiguous opinion of someone, with no right to make the distinction, fell to the wayside. Value was determined by the desire of the beholder – not by the Author of Life.

Still, the prolife movement didn’t stand idly by. Marches, prayer vigils, and educational efforts abounded. Yet, there was a chink in the armor of the prolife warriors – exceptions. In their fervor to advance prolife legislation, a system of classes for the unborn was accepted. “If we can’t save them all, at least we can save most of them”, became the rationale. The majority didn’t anticipate the unforeseen consequence of this line of thought. By casting some unborn children as expendable, the security of the whole of their number became endangered.

In the eyes of Almighty God, the Author of Life, each person is immeasurably valuable. There are no favorites. There is no one human who is more beloved than another. Opening the gate to that type of distinction has held us back for all of these years. For, in admitting by our openness to exceptions, we weakened the whole of our argument. If one life is worth saving while due to the circumstances of conception, another is not, we are on shaky ground.

What Can We Learn From Our Mistakes?

Inasmuch as human history has tragically proven that deviating from the narrow path brings chaos, it would be wise to adhere to the hard truths. Abortion is wrong, period. Each and every individual has a birthright, granted by an Almighty God. No mere human has the right to proclaim otherwise. Shortcuts or partially adhered to commands from our God stem from a lukewarm faith. It is ours to bring respect for all life back into the forefront. Fervent prayer, unshakable proclamation of the Gospel, the holy witness of the domestic Church (family), and adherence to the natural law will be our weapons. In order to maintain the respect for every life, we must put on the armor of God and follow the entire Truth – no matter the price!