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
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…