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Friday 13 July 2012

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Second Response to Readers--the Single State

If one is a careful reader, I did state that some people have had to live single lives and can be holy in those circumstances. However, as a "call", this is a new post-Vatican II category which I reiterate, comes from a lie, the destruction of the family, and all the other reasons in that post.

Let me try and address some of the comments and e-mails.

Firstly, as to the call to be a hermit, this is actually a status in the Church and one must be under the authority of a bishop to be a real hermit. One is usually only a hermit after being in the religious life for many years, such as a monk in a monastery or a nun in a monastery, and taking vows in an order. Then, if a nun, priest or monk feels called to be a hermit, he or she petitions the bishop.

We have been led astray by modern terminologies which do not exist in the Catholic Church. One cannot merely "choose" to be a hermit outside the hierarchical structure of the Church, just as one cannot be a Consecrated Virgin without going through a bishop.

A layperson cannot be a true, Catholic hermit with standing in the Church, without special permission from a bishop. I have checked this out with a priest hermit, who explained the process to me. Lay people may call themselves hermits, but they really are not. If one is called to live a solitary life, that is an exception, and one must have a spiritual director who is orthodox. This is not a natural state for a human being. But, one should not call one's self a "hermit" as that means something more than just a solitary life. I refer to Catholics. What Protestants call themselves is another story.

As to Opus Dei having single Numeraries, that is fine, as they are part of a community, an order, which is Opus Dei. But, again, that would be a vocation which is not usual. They are not isolated and have the support of a group. These people are also a very small sampling in the much larger Catholic society. That they are lay, I do not dispute, but they are still not unattached in a sense of belonging to a group. These single people have made a COMMITMENT to something more than themselves.

I have met several self-proclaimed, "lay hermits" in Europe and they have all been heretics, and without spiritual directors. That sometimes people go to see them for advice is just plain dangerous and stupid.

Secondly, when I referred to dating in a particular class structure, I meant that in the older days, one was in a stratified social structure which facilitated good marriages. That people were meeting those with similar backgrounds, tastes, interests, even orthodoxy, was a blessing and helped couples get over differences or not even have such, which create disharmony in marriages. Now the dating game is hit or miss and oddly, the total responsibility of a woman to discern. In the old days, the family and community helped a woman discern. A similar thing happens with those who attend Thomas Aquinas College, or Christendom and others, for example. They meet like people, and many good marriage, as well as religious and priestly vocations, come out of those colleges. In 2012, most women are merely thrown out into the world to figure out who are the protectors, predators or peter pans, as in my earlier post.

Thirdly, I am not going to get into multi-cultural arguments over staying at home. I write for Westerners. I usually write for the Americans and the English, and Anglo-Saxons prize independence, which is a good thing. I think cultures which hinder adulthood by letting men and women stay in a state of adolescence by living at home (I am not talking about poverty, or Asia or Africa, which is out of my area of knowledge), have fallen away from Christianity, and are part of the culture of death. Putting off child-bearing is killing Europe. In a study a few years ago, it was revealed that one-third of the households in England were headed by single persons. THIS is not normal.

There is an optimum time for getting married, choosing a religious vocation (most orders have cut-off ages because of formation issues, which is excellent), having babies, having careers, supporting society and the culture. By not deciding on a vocation, one is avoiding responsibility. A man who is living at home in his thirties is not a man, sorry, at least by American and English standards. Part of being a man is taking responsibility for one's own life and not relying on others. We all have been brainwashed to think differently in this individual, selfish world of the West. I am not commenting on the East, and will not.

One may not understand American independence, but it is a sign of adulthood. And, I come from prairie stock. My ancestors left Europe at very young ages, one a young woman at 18, and I have nothing but the greatest admiration for what they accomplished in the Catholic Church as laity, as well as some missionary priests, some monks.

By the way, I am harder on men, as they are the ones who have to ask the lady to get married. That there are so many traditional, good Catholic women not married is not natural. That they may become saints by living alone is without a doubt, when I think of their excellent spiritual lives. But, this was not God's Perfect Will for them. The long list of unmarried women and men is a sign of our dysfunctional society. The lack of religious and priestly vocations is a sign of dysfunction as well. In certain, small communities, this may be changing, but not for most social groupings in the West.

Responses to Readers on Recent Posts--First, Abortion.

I shall try and address some excellent comments and questions on two posts from today. The Americans get them six or eight hours earlier, as I write at night before Europe wakes up, usually and post at Midnight and thereabouts.

However, let me write two posts on these subjects.

This first one will tackle the abortion and excommunication issue.

Firstly, for those who agreed with the post, I can only say "thanks". I may have emphasized that Canon Law cover Catholics, but if a person is a Catholic and falls away, they are still a Catholic. As Aslan states in Narnia, "Once a king and queen in Narnia, always a king and queen in Narnia." We get indelible marks from Baptism and Confirmation (not counting the one priests get in Holy Orders). One cannot erase those, sorry.

Secondly, intention does not matter. Fear and panic may lessen the status a crime and levels of culpability, but the crime stands none the less. That is why the Canon exists.

Thirdly, the Church has determined Canon Law 1398, not Supertradmum. I am always sharing Church's teaching on the subjects of abortion and the sacraments. I have discussed this point with several priests who have said that the Canon Law clearly covers the sin of abortion without any other circumstances intervening. Obviously, if a woman is held down and forced, as recently in China, if she were a Catholic, the Canon would not hold. But, free will decisions do have consequences in Canon Law. Sin has to be a free decision, but one's lifestyle can lead to a lack of freedom and for that, each one of us is responsible. For example, if one chooses to take and become addicted to drugs, and then gets pregnant and has an abortion, one is still responsible. 

As to knowing if there is a penalty, one only needs to read the CCC and the Internet, as publicly this Canon has been promulgated since 1983, with bishops, such as the one in Ireland, clearly stating the case. It begs the question to state that if one does not know, one is not guilty-especially in the case of murdering a baby. That the Church has made a Canon Law on this point is to help the women realize the seriousness of the act in a world of relativism. That is why the special faculties exist.

Lastly, one cannot ignore the wisdom of these abortion laws. One needs to realize the seriousness of the sin and to repent. Coming back to the Church is the Mercy of God. All of us rely on God's Mercy. Thanks be to God.

On Abortion and Automatic Excommunication

I would like to write about the sin of abortion being confessed in the Confessional. A reminder for women that not all priests have this power to release the woman from the automatic excommunication which results.

Some priests, and I know two, have the power to release an excommunication in the Confessional, but only when this is specifically written out in their FACULTIES.

Some bishops want to see each woman who has had an abortion personally to relieve the excommunication. There is one bishop in Ireland who does that. Some bishops give this special faculty to priests in their dioceses, but NOT all priests have this written out in their faculties.

I have seen such, and I know that it must be specifically in the faculties, as a good priest explained and showed me when I inquired about this. The wording is very specific.

Remember, that a person who is in mortal sin, or one who is excommunicated, receives no sanctifying grace through any of the sacraments, until she confesses in the proper manner and in the case of excommunication, returns to the Church.

The bishop of each diocese has the power to give or withhold the special faculties given to a priest who can remove the excommunication.
Here is the Canon Law: 1398: A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.

Think, pray, repent, return. God loves you. We are so fortunate to have the sacrament of Confession and absolute, as well as the chance to return to the Church after excommunication.

By the way, as an aside, in June, many pro-life posters were vandalized. One can read the article here and look at photos and a video. I warn you, the site is an anarchist's site.

Update: this post is to help women who have had abortions and not to scare them away. If one understands the process, it makes it easier. These are not my rules, but those of the Church. There is wisdom is looking at the seriousness of the sin and what that sin has done to the person as well. The Church is considering the woman's welfare.

I do not believe that being single is a vocation

For years and years and years, I have been against the teaching of some priests, deacons, sisters and laypersons that one is called to the single life. I simply do not believe this. I have never believed this.

I think that the single state is a horrible product of the dysfunctional societies in which we live. There are many reasons for this phenomenon and some cures. I am going to jump in the deep end here and say that unless one is caring for aged parents, (a self-sacrificing and holy call), or an unusual person called by God to be outside the mainstream, such as St. Benedict Labre, or if God has allowed you physical and mental crosses which keep you out of religious orders or marriage, I believe one needs to choose. There may be some people with an outstanding job to do in the world, but never alone.

Here are my reasons why liberal Catholics, especially and some trads have fallen into the trap of the "single vocation", which I do not think exists, except for the above calls.

One, selfishness. Our individualistic, selfish and narcissistic society has discouraged commitment. I have recently come across a holy and Catholic psychologist, who has experience with this type of selfishness leading to non-commitment. A person wrapped up with themselves has created their own world and is living in "ME-land". Those types do not get married, have children, or follow a vocation of love and service as a father, mother, husband, wife, priest, monk, nun or sister. I also include consecrated virgins in the category of commitment. This is a relatively new revival under Blessed John Paul II of an old order and should be considered by Catholic virgins who feel the call to be in the world for the Church. I personally know two and worked with one. It is a great and fulfilling vocation-a real call from God, but not for the selfish.

Two, fear. I have written about this many, many times in my posts on love. People fear the love of marriage and the challenges of celibacy. Fear keeps many men from getting married, I am sure.

Three, the society lies to us about "fulfillment". Many women feel they cannot be fulfilled as a wife, mother, nun, sister. But, they have not tried. One must step out, visit a monastery of convent, and look and see. One cannot just let one's life slide into singleness.

Four, the fragmentation of our society has led to a fragmentation of community. In the old days, and I have written about this before, my parents knew the parents of the young men I was dating. We were in one big Catholic ghetto. We shared social and religious lives. The prairie experience of community had something to do with this. but parents expected and rightly so, one to marry in the community and at the level of status to which the family belonged. This was a healthy and natural set-up. Remember when Liz told Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, that he was a gentlemen, but that her father was as well, though less wealthy. Money was not the issue, class was. The levels of our dating partners were somewhat equal and Catholics could get on with life at those common levels.

Five, parents used to take an active part if helping and guiding a child towards his or her vocation. Parents do not do this and it is wrong that they ignore this duty.

God gives parents the insight and knowledge of how to raise and guide their children, if all are in sanctifying grace, which most Catholic good parents are.

I am so sick of hearing that mothers should not influence their sons concerning vocations. Tell that to St. Monica, or Our Lady, who in asking Christ to change water into wine started His public ministry and His road to the Cross.

Six, the acceptance of sexual gratification outside marriage and the contraceptive mentality have ruined relationships. These attitudes have ruined marriages as well, but also courtship, and led to a lack of men asking women to marry.

Seven, the opposite of above, parents allow their adult children to stay at home. No, no, no. This is horribly unhealthy and causes the adult child not to grow up. If a man has his mom, when he is in his late twenties and thirties, cooking for him, sewing, cleaning, doing his laundry, etc. why should he think of another woman or of getting married?

Eight, the lack of responsibility in men not to find jobs which will support a family is another issue. Two of my friends who are married to lovely men and now, with six kids in each family, gave up their dream jobs. The husbands did the same for other ones which would support a family. This is right and good. A man not willing to sacrifice for a wife and family is not marriage material and would not make a good priest, either. A woman who "wants it all" will end up sad and lonely.

Nine, some Catholic leaders have lied. One cannot become holy on one's own. One must be in a community, either monastic, of secular priests as friends, or a family in order to grow in holiness. There are many stunted people who could make a decision to be involved in relationships, and do not. They are denying the opportunities of holiness to which they are called.

Ten, God can work, even in singleness, but this state is that of the Cross, especially for so many women I know who desire children and a loving husband. To be alone in the world, without a protector and facing a life of loneliness as an elderly person, is the sharing of the Passion of Christ. I know many woman who share in the Passion of Christ because of their single state.

Singleness is not a vocation, except in unusual cases, and for these unusual cases we have Blessed Margaret of Castello, St. Benedict Labre (who falls into the category of  what the Byzantines call "Fools" and are highly honored in the Eastern Church), and a few others. God wants excellent priests, nuns, monks, sisters, wives, husbands, mothers and fathers. He wants holy families.

I repeat, the single state is not normal. It is not a default. It is a tragedy of loneliness and a lack of an opportunity to become holy-more holy than one can imagine. Think, pray, act, love, commit...

The Loss of Civic Pride

Discussions online of the three-days of darkness on other blogs, and my own preoccupation with Occupiers and anarchists led to a reminder of the 1977 Blackout of New York City on this day. Now, many of my readers will not remember this, but is was a horrible turning point, I think, for many of us when we realized how quickly people turned into barbarians because of circumstances.

New York City was in the midst of severe financial difficulties and then, lightening struck the Con-Ed substation on the Hudson River. What ensured was an unleashing of evil.

In little more than 24 hours — the blackout lasted from 9:34 p.m. on July 13 to 10:39 p.m. on July 14 — 1,000 fires were reported, 1,600 stores were damaged in looting and rioting and 3,700 people were arrested. Neighborhoods from East Harlem to Bushwick were devastated. The authorities later estimated that the total cost of the blackout exceeded $300 million.

It is also the year the first Cuomo, false Catholic, got in power.

In that year, I was living in Minneapolis. New York City seemed very far away, but the violence at home, in Broadway, struck the media like an omen. 

Chicago is now under a cloud. Who would want to visit the Windy City with the soaring crime rate and inability of the city to ensue safety? I remember as a young person in my teens taking the train from Iowa to Chicago for shopping or baseball games. We would visit the Art Institute, the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, the River and the Lake. We shopped until we dropped.

No more. Even though Chicago has more attractions, the gang warfare and the corruption of the political powers that be put one off. We used to love our cities enough to want to live in them in peace, security and harmony. No more.

Our cities are decaying and does anyone care? Look at the bankrupt cities in California. Civic pride died a long time ago in some places, when selfishness at both the top and the bottom took over.