Saturday, May 21, 2016

If your Catholic friends are divorcing, read this.

Recently I received a heartbreaking email from a male reader with an all-too-common dilemma. Here is an excerpt, with some identifying details changed (and emphasis mine):

I wanted to get your opinion on something and as always, your prayers. Recently, some good friends of mine have decided to divorce after 6 years of marriage. We were in each other's wedding and remained somewhat close until 2 or 3 years ago. With having additional children (we have 5 children, the oldest being 9) our lives have made it harder to stay in touch. It was only until recently that the husband contacted me saying that he needed some help. His wife had been having an adulterous relationship and he found out about it. He was not without guilt, having had an emotional affair with someone else as well. Both had made mistakes and he was wanting to rectify everything. He went to our local priest, went to confession for the first time in 10 years, and wanted his wife to start counseling. She refused and has since continued her relationship outside of marriage. They have 3 small children. 

The tipping point came this past weekend when I was at a store, and I ran into her (almost literally) in the parking lot and our eyes made contact. I couldn't even muster the strength to say hello. I left the parking lot feeling like I let God down. It was a perfect opportunity to simply say hello and break the ice a little. It has been killing me ever since. She's in a downward spiral, her parents support her adulterous lifestyle and are only adding fuel to the fire. She's all about material things right now and isn't thinking clearly about anything. 

I now feel this call/obligation to write to her. Not to be judgmental, but to remind her of mercy. That she doesn't have to go through with anything, and that I stood by them at their wedding and heard them profess on that day a commitment to love unconditionally. That everyone at that wedding had an obligation to lift them up when times got tough and we've failed to live up to our part of the bargain. That I'm not going to sit by like the countless others and support her decisions. I want her to know the truth. I know in her heart of hearts, she is searching for God. She just doesn't realize it. 

I know they are in the midst of divorce proceedings and I don't want to interject, but I feel I need to do something. I'm just very hesitant. Feelings are fleeting and I'm wanting to really test this to make sure it is the right thing to do. 

What would you do?

What would you have told him? More importantly, what would you do if you were him?

Among the regrets in my life are about three occasions where I did not discourage, and even tacitly encouraged, the divorce of Catholic girlfriends. I can barely type those words. All those instances were many years ago, and today my response to women who come to me basically asking "permission" to divorce (without abuse or safety issues) is very different. However, my previous complicity still hits me hard. Were there "good reasons" for those divorces? At the time, I believed there were, but looking back, I'm not so sure. Perhaps it was simply my desire to see my friends "happy" that informed my bad advice. Or maybe it was simple cowardice on my part.

My answer to this reader was the following:

Please, please, please do exactly that! Oh my goodness, if only we had more people who thought like you!

What you say is really perfect because it is true that it is your obligation (and the others' as well even though they won't do it and would not even think to). Good for you and I will pray for you. Whatever happens you have a clear conscience after this. Oh, I hurt  for those children who will be saddled with the lifelong effects of a broken home. It's always the children who must sacrifice for the adults, isn't it?

As someone said, the children are left to reconcile the two worlds that even the adults couldn't reconcile. What a heavy burden to put on the innocent. 

May God reward you. 

As it turns out, he spent many hours -- and many, many prayers -- composing the letter to his friend. He sent it, and he heard that she received it kindly, although he does not expect an actual response. He also had firm but loving talk with the husband and father, who has since fallen into similar sins.

My reader, praise God, did not sit idly by like so many friends and family do and "support" the break-up of this family. He did what his faith, his friendship, and his witness to the marriage obligated him to do: He spoke. He spoke the truth in love, but by gosh, he spoke.

The marriage/family/"gender" catastrophe in the culture today is happening because good people are too afraid to speak.

Like this courageous reader, you must speak.

You can do this. I promise you. Ask the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother to guide your hand or your tongue, and speak.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Secularists who subscribe to gender fluidity: Is this new science or just a feeling?

Serious question.

After watching these two videos of seemingly intelligent university students saying things that seem utterly irrational (we would almost want to say crazy), my brain craves a clear answer from you, dear secularists who believe in "gender fluidity".

First, please watch the videos. If you don't watch the videos all the way through, please do not bother to comment on this post.

College Kids Say the Darndest Things

Okay, when I watched those video interviews, my jaw literally was hanging open, and my mind was crying out, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no.... I cannot be seeing and hearing this. We cannot be here. This is a joke."

But, I understand that my position is not the "enlightened" nor "educated" nor "acceptable" one today. The college students in the videos are the ones who stand for the vision and view of the secular elite, our ruling class, so to speak: Academia, government, Hollywood, the arts, the media.

Before my main question, some context:

This rejection of "the gender binary" -- the idea that there are two sexes, male and female -- was not even a thing just a few short years ago. Oh, I'm sure it was always there way out on the fringes, but it was not a part of mainstream thought, not even approaching the radar screen of most Americans, conservative or liberal (or most human beings in general, for the history of mankind).

The concept of "gender fluidity" has blazed onto the scene in a fury, a frenzy, and one might even say faddishly. The very same high-minded folk who champion gender identity ideology today had neither thought about it nor believed in it just a few short years ago. How do I know? Well, I've been a citizen of this planet for 49 years, and I've been politically, socially, and intellectually active for at least the past 35 years. Even having been plugged in for all that time, I am bewildered at the speed of this new line of "gender" thought as it burns through every aspect of our lives and culture -- a line of thought that we all now must agree to, lest we expose ourselves as bigots or troglodytes.

Now my question:

You who are secular pride yourselves on being firmly on the side of science and the material, not believing in nebulous, emotions-based things like religion, God, metaphysics, the supernatural, the transcendent. So: What is the new gender science, the science that no one understood or saw before, that has been uncovered recently and requires the overthrow of men and women? 

Where did this science come from? Can you cite it? How did this new science capture the imagination and sweep the nation so quickly? How is it that the populace never before understood that there is no actual distinction between men and women, and why did most secular Americans miss it as well, until very recently? Why did you previously believe that there were men and there were women? Because I think you would agree with me that in the recent past, within all of our memories, we never would have heard the answers we just heard on those videos.

Or, could it be that there is no breakthrough science to which you can point? Maybe this new ideology sweeping the nation is just that: an ideology. Maybe it's based in people's feelings more than in any science or in the understanding of biology/human nature? Perhaps gender ideology is no more than a socio-political movement that seeks to undo sexual norms and constraints so that we are all "free" to do what we want, when we want, with no judgement or opposition?

I guess I'm wanting to know if you changed your mind so suddenly because something concrete and empirical convinced you away from everything you (and everyone else) had previously known, or if you are simply going with the zeitgeist, which has sprung up from feelings and desires?

And why is there suddenly (again, like a flash) such a steep social, political, and even financial price to pay for those of us who hold to the axiomatic idea of male and female, the same one you yourself held, until your very recent "conversion"?

Thanks for considering jumping in the discussion. I want to understand the principle behind your stance, and how it came about so quickly.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Discussion: Is "the single life" a true vocation?

In the first decade or so after my reversion, I heard and accepted the idea that there are four vocations, or "callings" from God:  Marriage (to which most are called), ordained life (deacons, priests, bishops), consecrated life (non-ordained religious who consecrate their lives to God, i.e., sisters, nuns, brothers, lay consecrated), and the single life.

In the past few years, though, I have heard many contend that "the single life" is not and has never been a Catholic vocation. I myself have begun to question if it's merely an idea we've devised to help ease the pain of those who have not found a spouse or discerned a religious vocation. You know what I mean: "I haven't found a husband yet, so I wonder if I am called to the single life?"

Perhaps those who stay single have simply never discerned their vocation (or maybe they keep discerning with no end in sight) or have been kept from living out their true vocation by the conditions of their particular culture or circumstances? I'm not entirely sure.

Two things I do know for sure:

1) There is a primary vocation to holiness, and we all have that vocation.

2) It is possible to miss one's specific calling or vocation.**

I'd like your thoughts. Let's talk this through.


**Even if a soul should "miss" his vocational calling, that person still has not committed a sin if his intentions were good. This is so important for people to know, especially the scrupulous. God will work with whatever path we have put ourselves on. He is not a puppet master pulling our strings. He is a loving Father who makes all things work for good for those who love Him.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Miss Cordelia Therese! 
7 pounds, 3 ounces
19.5 inches
May 3, 2016

Mother and baby are doing just fine!
Thank you for your prayers!


Grandma loves you, Cordelia! See you soon!