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Tough Love is Still Love

November 19th, 2014 No comments

My Latest, over at MercatorNet. November 19, 2014

The recent two-week-long synod on the family in the Vatican has been an on-going source of headlines around the world, and not just in Catholic media. After a year of reflection, it will resume next year. In the meantime, many critics are claiming that it is impossible to reconcile traditional Catholic teachings on sexuality with 21st century compassion. Jennifer Roback Morse sees things differently.

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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 Read more…

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Thinking Strategically and Faithfully, about the Pope

November 18th, 2014 No comments

I have received many responses to my somewhat tongue in cheek article last week, “Mom’s Home,” imploring my fellow Conservative Catholics to stop disrespecting the Pope. The responses were all over the map. I thought it would be well to offer a window into my strategic thinking. This post should help you understand what I’m trying to do. Although I am largely speaking with my fellow Catholics, the proper response to Pope Francis concerns everyone who cares about the future of marriage and family.

Pope Francis w Cardinal Muller, who organized the recent Humanum Colloquium on Complementarity of Men and Women

Pope Francis w Cardinal Muller, who organized the recent Humanum Colloquium on Complementarity of Men and Women

Let us begin with what we know, and reason from there to what tactics make sense.

What we know about the Catholic Church:

  • The office of the Papacy is bigger than any man who occupies it.
  • The Pope will not change the doctrine: he does not have the authority to change doctrine.
  • However, he can change the practices surrounding the implementation or promulgation of the doctrine on marriage, divorce and the family that serve it more or less well.
  • The Pope can err on prudential matters, and frequently does. For instance, the track record of Vatican diplomacy over the centuries is not particularly stellar.

What we know about this particular pope:

  • The Pope knows he does not have the authority to change Catholic doctrine.
  • He is charming and exuberant and spontaneous. Many people love him and find him attractive.
  • He loves Jesus and hates the devil.
  • He is not executing his teaching office regarding marriage as well as the world needs him to, and certainly not as well as his remarkable predecessors. If the students are confused, the teacher is not performing well.
  • He has left room for interpretation on some points, and has not clarified some issues.
  • We do not know what he is thinking or planning by this lack of clarity. He may have some wise hidden plan. He may have some nefarious hidden plan. He may just be careless. The fact is, we do not know.

What we know about the advocates of the Sexual Revolution: Read more…

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My prediction about the Vatican’s “Humanum” conference

November 16th, 2014 No comments

According to the Catholic News Agency, “the Vatican is hosting a colloquium seeking to find ‘new and creative language to speak to people where they are.’ This is according to Helen Alvaré, professor of law at George Mason University, and communications liaison for the Humanum Colloquium, which will run from Nov. 17­-19 at the Vatican.”

Helen Alvare, communications Liaison for the Humanum Colloquium

Helen Alvare, communications Liaison for the Humanum Colloquium

I have a couple of predictions about this event. My predictions are based on the full title of the event, as well as my knowledge of the participants.

The full title of the event is: “An International Interreligious Colloquium on The Complementarity of Man and Woman.” Sexual complementarity is not a topic that marriage re-definers call attention to. Ever.

Here is my take on the participants:

  1. Helen Alvare, the communications liaison referenced above, is simply an outstanding spokeswomen for the authentically Catholic view of marriage, family and human sexuality.
  1. I am acquainted with many of the speakers. The line-up includes pro-marriage faith leaders from across the religious spectrum.

One of them, Ignacio Ibarzábal, is the Executive Director of Grupo Sólido, an Argentine pro-marriage organization founded by young adults. A number of their members have attended Ruth Institute events over the years. I have the highest respect for Ignacio and his group. Read more…

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Mom’s home: A word to Conservative Critics of Pope Francis

November 13th, 2014 Comments off

For purposes of this article, I set aside my Ph.D. degree: I am speaking strictly on the authority of my MOM degree.

Archbishop Kurtz' contribution to the working group was wonderful! Did you read it?

Archbishop Kurtz’ contribution to the working group was wonderful! Did you read it?

Ok, everyone. I realize I have been out of the loop for a while. I have been trying to finish a book. And I had an unexpected family emergency to deal with.

But Mom’s home now. Time to shape up.

What have you kids been doing, talking about your Father like this? Just today on my Facebook feed, I found someone referring our Holy Father Pope Francis as a “world class smart ass!”  And this person evidently considers himself a good Catholic! A better Catholic than the Pope!

Some of you are hysterical over the Synod, as though the Holy Father were plotting to change Church doctrine. Haven’t you seen this report from the National Catholic Register? The four American bishops said at their press conference, “There must have been two synods, and the four of us must have happened to be at the wrong one.”

I don’t know what in the world you kids are thinking. You certainly realize that the Holy Father has no authority to change Church doctrine. And he knows it.

Some of you are upset because all the wrong people seem to like the Holy Father. I realize there is a battle to capture the symbolic value of the Papacy. The “Progressives” who want the whole Sexual Revolution, would love to claim the moral authority of the Papacy and the Catholic Church for their team. But do you realize that every time you repeat the liberal media talking points like this, you are scoring for the “Progressive” team? Read more…

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Mercy, Compassion and Orthodoxy

November 10th, 2014 Comments off

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 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

The Prodigal Son: The Turning Point

The Prodigal Son: The Turning Point

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 Read more…

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In celebration of Blessed Paul VI, Prophet and Pope

October 21st, 2014 Comments off

Pope Francis beatified Pope Paul VI at the close of the Synod on the Family.  This means two things. First, the Church officially recognizes the personal sanctity of Paul VI. Second, the Church has no intention of backing away from its ancient teachings on artificial contraception. For Paul VI is the author of the 1968 surprise encyclical, Humanae Vitae.  He dashed any hope, inside or outside of the Catholic Church, about a “new day dawning” on the subject of contraception.  And this is why Pope Francis’ decision to honor Paul VI is especially significant. The rich and powerful who promoted the over-population hysteria back in 1968, don’t look so smart today. Meanwhile, Paul VI’s predictions have been proven correct. And we can see now, that he was the one defending the weak, against predatory governments.

Pope Paul VI: Prophet

Pope Paul VI: Prophet

Against all the “winds of change,” Paul VI reiterated the ancient teaching of the Catholic Church. (In fact, the prohibition on contraception had been the universal teaching of all the Christian churches right up until 1930, but I digress.) In spite of all pressure arrayed in favor of artificial birth control, Paul VI predicted that this social experiment would end badly.

In paragraph 17 of Humanae Vitae, called Consequences of Artificial Methods, Paul VI makes his predictions, all of which have come to pass. Who can deny that we have an “increase in marital infidelity?” Who can deny that there has been a “general lowering of moral standards?” Who can deny that we have obliterated the incentives for “young people to avoid temptation?” Who can deny that men have “lost their reverence for women?”

But his analysis of the misuse of governmental power deserves special Read more…

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Pope Still Catholic: Francis to Beatify Paul VI!

October 17th, 2014 Comments off

Ok, everyone, listen up.  There is no longer any doubt: Pope Francis is definitely Catholic! And completely orthodox on sexual morality!  At the end of the Synod, he will beatify Pope Paul VI, author of Humanae Vitae.  This action leaves no doubt at all where the Holy Father stands.  He absolutely does not have to beatify Paul VI. His doing so will be a major-league thorn in the side to the self-styled “progressives” and “reformers.” He is “sealing the deal” on Church teaching on contraception by beatifying Paul VI.

Besides all that, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI attended the ceremony.  The liberal world loves to hate Benedict, and has tried to create a “narrative” which opposes the “good guy” Francis to the “bad guy” Benedict. Actually, they are on the same team.  They may be playing “good cop, bad cop” as a strategy, as parents must sometimes do with recalcitrant children.  But there is no doubt at all that these Holy Fathers are united.  Paul VI

People, do not allow yourself to be triangulated by media games pitting Pope Emeritus against the current Pope.  Do not allow yourself to be sucked into the liberal spin machine vortex, by repeating their narrative.  They have enough outlets for telling their story, don’t you think?

Get behind Pope Francis. Spread this word as far as you can, in as positive a manner as you can. Church teaching is not changing. We still believe that human sexuality is a great gift from God, that it is deeply meaningful, and that we are not to demean that act by deliberately separating the unitive and the procreative aspects of the sexual act.

Thank the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that we will continue to witness to this beautiful truth, when all the world is teaching the opposite: “A good society must strive to separate sex from procreation and both from marriage. Sex has no intrinsic meaning, only the meaning we happen to assign to it. We ourselves are nothing but meaningless atoms, bumping into each other at random in the cosmos, for no particular reason at all.”

If you have a Facebook page, you are a member of the New Media. If you have a blog, you are a member of the New Media. Use your microphone to make it clear: the Catholic Church will not be changing its doctrine on sexual morality.  If Francis had plans to do so, there is simply no way he would even mention the prophetic voice of Paul VI, much less take steps to canonize him.

BTW, if you are not sure whether Paul VI was prophetic, read paragraph 17 of Humanae Vitae.  Think about the “one child” policy in China, and realize that Paul VI predicted this type of human rights abuse in 1968.

If this post is helpful to you, please “like” the Ruth Institute on Facebook. And spread the word!

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Marriage and Witness: What’s Going on at Notre Dame?

June 6th, 2014 Comments off

by Michael Bradley, a Ruth Institute “It Takes a Family” 2013 conference alumnus and a new graduate of Notre Dame University.

This article was first published at thepublicdiscourse.com on May 21, 2014.

The University of Notre Dame is unwilling to bear an “uncompromising witness,” as Pope Francis challenged it to do, to the moral truths of marriage and sexuality. This is a subtle but certain pastoral failure on the university’s part. Read more…

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Panel discussion on role of Catholic Church in marriage debate to be held at Notre Dame

March 13th, 2014 Comments off

by Michael O. Garvey

A panel discussion on the role of the Catholic Church in the cultural and political debate about marriage will take place at 7 p.m. Monday (March 17) in DeBartolo Hall, Room 101, on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. Read more…

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Ambushed by a kangaroo court

February 12th, 2014 Comments off
A UN committee has roasted the Vatican over sex abuse. And abortion. And the Pill. And homosexuality. And whatever.

The UN watchdog on children’s rights which recently hauled the Vatican over the coals for its handling of sex abuse has today released its recommendations. The report is not only ignorant and misguided, peddling myths for which there is no foundation, but betrays an extraordinary misunderstanding of the nature of the Church and the Holy See, while seeking to impose an ideology of gender and sexuality in violation of the UN’s own commitment to religious freedom. Read more…

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