If one thing should become clear to our inept hierarchy in the dramatic times we are living, it is that “cultural Catholicism” has a limited shelf life of one generation, one and a half at most.
Grandma, born in 1920, was deeply rooted in Catholicism. Catholicism shaped her entire life. Daughter, born in 1950, was much different, but you might not seen very much of it in daily life. There were big differences on several issues, but even Grandma would have called Daughter a Christian, albeit a bad one.
Granddaughter was born in 1980. The values her mother shared never meant much to her. Her mother had a vague feeling that they were good, but she could never really articulate why. She was, herself, not entirely in agreement with her mother on a number of issues; therefore, the granddaughter thought it perfectly legitimate that she also does the same.
Daughter's “cultural Catholicism” consisted in receiving what is comfortable and understood and rejecting what is seriously inconvenient; but granddaughter does not understand why she should accept positions her mother cannot defend herself, and to her everything that causes the slightest riff with her girlfriends is highly inconvenient. The mini m common denomitor is her religion, a vague “goodness” that murders children, but feels very holy.
Grandmothher managed to get to Purgatory. Daughter's fate is far more uncertain. Granddaughter's cards are frankly – unless there is radical change – horrible.
Cultural Catholicism survives for some decades as a fallout of saner times. For one generation or so you will have an army of people who still share much of the building of Catholic values, but do not understand why the building stands in the first place. The following generation will find it more practical, or even moral, to tear the whole building down. It can be as fast as that.
Old people die, young people reach voting age. Your bishop may think the fundamental fabric of Catholicism will remain, but he is a fool. As the old people die, the “why” of things get lost, because the priest prefers to speak like a politician or a social worker, rather than a priest. One generation will do a lot of what was traditionally done without really knowing why; the following one will refuse the doing altogether.
An astonishingly inept (or worse!) clergy thought, all over Southern Europe, that cultural traditions would do for them the work they never had the guts to do. But cultural traditions die in the end, if no one can articulate why they are cherished. The funerals of the old people bury them too, slowly but irresistibly. Unless things change radically, it is only a matter of time before Italy goes to way of Ireland.
In this utter squalor, and in this climate of bankruptcy in many European Countries, we are waiting for the next encyclical of the Evil Clown.
Dedicated to… the environment.
This post is going to be harsh.
I mean, not pussycat harsh. Mundabor harsh. Keep reading at your peril. Complaints will not be published.
Where I grew up, divorce was a heavy social stain. It was already so in bigger cities; but far more so in littler ones.
The reasoning was, and is, very simple because in the end, life is a simple thing: marriage is a cooperation for life, for which two people decide to stake the only card they have. It is also the most important decision of their lives. Therefore, if the marriage fails they have – irrespective of the individual circumstances – both failed in the most important thing of their lives. It’s as simple as that.
I can’t tell you the times I have heard this music in my family, and I can tell you my family was not dominated by churchgoing Catholics – though cultural Catholics, yes.
The man, or woman, you choose, is the man or woman you have deemed good enough to get the only card you have. If the cooperation fails, there’s no way one of the two can call himself innocent. Yes, the wife is a slut. But a real man does not marry a slut, only a child does. Yes, the husband has a wandering eye. But a woman – like the man just mentioned – should have known beforehand what deal she was getting, instead of drowning in a sea of emotionalism and marry just because of “luv”, and then refuse the delivery of the parcel she ordered.
This is why in case of divorce – or separation, which was always the case before 1970 – the stigma remained attached to both. To one side generally more, if there was an obvious culprit. But to the other too, because it had managed to screw up the only thing he or she was required to get right in life. Because again, in that kind of society how much money you make, what a career you have, what house you live in and what car you drive was always far, far less important than whether you have an intact family. I can’t tell you the times I heard the phrase “se divorzi, sei un fallito”; “if you divorce, you are a failure”. Yes, this was so more clearly among the socially conservative minded. But boy, there was an awful lot of them.
Of course, this worked in that way because this was the way society worked. You can’t export this situation to work in countries, like all the Anglo-saxon ones, where such deadly seriousness in matters of marriage was probably dead after the First World War. But Italy was different, being blessedly free from divorce until 1970. When laws change, you will have to wait an entire generation until the morality of the common man follows the legal situation; but then the entire society is screwed, as a generation of children grow up knowing every marriage has a huge door with “emergency exit” written over it. Take away the door, and see how people’s perception of marriage change. Divorce is pure poison.
The results of this brutal social pressure were, though, beautiful. Low divorce rate even decades after the introduction of divorce, and a pervasive social control that worked rather well particularly in smaller centres, and not badly at all even in the big cities.
Note, though, that few people, twenty or thirty years ago, would have bought the thing with “luv”. Once you have married, they would have said, you have lost any right to look for “luv” elsewhere, until and unless your spouse does you the favour and kicks the bucket. If there were children, this search for “luv” was seen – and rightly so – as the madness of middle-aged adolescents, unable to take their responsibility and understand that when you have children, your own “happiness” must give way to a superior interest. Yes, it must give way to a superior interest. There are things bigger than oneself, and one’s happiness. Things like God, Fatherland, and Family; requiring you not to play with sacrament, to give your life on the battlefield if necessary, and put to put your family before your individual quest for emotional satisfaction. Millions of my generation grew up like this. We saw it work. We now see the new generations growing up with a different set of values: divorce, concubinage, even “same sex unions”, and one’s own selfish interests as the metre of what is good and worthy of legal and social protection. What a load of rubbish.
The old system worked. Was it harsh? You bet it was. Is it harsh to mock the young woman who looks like the White Whale at 28, and give her nicknames like “Forrestal”, “Nimitz” or the more generic “aircraft carrier”? Is it harsh to mock the boy who behaves like a girl at 15? Not many of those in the Italy I grew up in. Social control works a treat, but only if it’s harsh.
This has all gone now. Largely in Italy, and completely in more northern latitudes. If you ask me, divorce destroyed it more than anything else.
Nowadays, individual happiness is a human right. Your husband sleeps around, so you have the right to scar your children forever. Your wife is a nagging champ, so you have the right to be tempted by the younger colleague. A family is destroyed; but who cares, because there is simply no social price to pay: not in front of God, about Whom very few care; and not with the neighbours, about whom many more do.
Nowadays, everyone is so full of understanding. “It didn’t work. How sad”. “I am sure you’ll find a better man/woman soon”. “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”. Crap like that. Emotions galore. Families destroyed.
No. The violent drunkard is still your husband. The whore is still your wife. Even in those cases where you cannot live with them, you can still pray for them. That’s the lot you chose. That’s the card you played. It’s yours now. Yes, it’s harsh. Life is. The German poet Friedrich Schiller said it wonderfully:
“Drum prüfe, wer sich ewig bindet /Ob sich das Herz zum Herzen findet!”
“Let him check, he who binds himself forever, whether the heart matches the heart!”.
The same poet lets this follow by a short, but ominous warning: “Der Wahn ist kurz, die Reu ist lang”. The madness is short, the repentance long. Nowadays the madness is short; then up to the next madness. “Marry in haste, repent at leisure” has become “marry in haste, complain about the Church”.
As always, the destruction of family values has far-reaching consequences. In the last two or three generations in most Anglo-Saxon countries, divorce has been an obvious possibility for everyone. So obvious, that people are born with it. Therefore, all my readers from the US, Canada, Australia, the UK have been born and grew up in a society that accepted divorce. How can such a society breed and instil that concept of sacredness of a marriage that is so vital for the marriage to stand the inevitable tempests? If happiness is the new religion, why would a man not go away with the pretty young thing? Who will tell him “no, you must stay on the side of the mother of your children”? Why? He only wants to be happy! Who are you to judge? Has Francis not told you you should not condemn him? I could make similar reasoning for the other sex, but you get my drift.
If Argentina is anywhere similar to Italy – and I am pretty sure it is – I think this is the situation mentioned by the Bishop of Rome when he complains about those who condemn those who “experience failure” in their “luv”.
Being post-Catholic, Francis is obviously unconcerned with the social consequences of such “failed luv”. We were told at University – where people were also far more Catholic than Francis on his most Catholic day – that “every divorce is a bomb put under the chair of society”. Everyone understood it, and understood why. I doubt Francis does, or cares. It was fairly common thinking then; certainly it was among practising Catholics, and very often among conservative cultural Catholics. When one married, “luv” was just not part of the equation anymore, marriage was. The bed you made, and all that.
This is not Francis’ world, of course. He isn’t one to “judge”. It is not told, but implied “luv” is his sacrament. It is not told, but implied marriage must, if “necessary”, give way in some way the Synod will care to elaborate upon.
Implied, mind. Others, like Cardinal Kasper, will dig the marriage’s grave. Francis merely prepares the ground.
But I grew up in times when average people were far more Catholic than today’s Pope; when the social rules were fairly well-known; and when people were expected to decide like adults, and to live with the consequences. They knew – all of them knew, because those were the times – that there was only one go, and they were expected to use it well, and to know what they were doing. Marriage was, as people jokingly used to say, “the prison you chose”. It gives you the idea people were expected to live with the consequences of their actions, like adults; not run away like adolescents. It worked. It worked very well, and most people were smart enough to understand that the second chance wasn’t really likely to be better than the first; then when one has been able to screw the only important decision of his life, the probability he will make it all right the second time is – sacrament aside – slim.
This, as far as the “luv” thingy is concerned.
One suspects, though, that Bergoglio has another target in his sights: the communion for public adulterers. He does not say so, of course. But again, he creates perceptions; he builds a climate; he creates a “do not judge” narrative that can be exported ad libitum to any other situation. Don’t be a pharisee. We don’t do casuistry. You are a bad, bad Christian.
Comments are allowed, but only if they do not touch personal matters. I understand this touches some of you from rather near. I wasn’t there. I do not know you, whom you married, your circumstances, your social system. I understand you did not grow up in Italy. I am talking of the society I know, which I think is the society Bergoglio knows.
But please understand I have no desire to hear personal stories of recrimination. Where I grew up, no one was.
Lifesitenews.com informs us that half of all children in the born in the UK are being raised by one parent.
What apparently happens is not that half of the children are born of girls who have been stupid, but rather that an awful lot of couple who consider themselves “stable” do not marry and end up splitting when there are little children around, or divorce at the same time.
This reflects the utter madness of the modern British society. Divorce is not banned and hasn’t been for a long time now, so every kind of stigma is gone. The same -the British society being so “inclusive” – happens for those couple who don’t even think it a good idea to marry, such old and stuffy social conventions being too primitive for their own elevated selves. The community around them helps them in this behaviour by eliminating every trace of lack of “inclusiveness”. As a result, at the first major difficulty the couple will split, not caring at all that the children pay the highest price. Still, as the article also points out, the same adults will have their lives severely impacted, and this will have a further negative effect on the children.
One is reminded of those cruel times when divorce was banned, forced a man and a woman not only to really think thrice bout what they’re doing, but accustomed since little children to know that normally one has only one card to play, and should play it with the right partner and not nurture nrealistic expectation. In those cruel times, the social stigma linked to separation took care it was a measure generally avoided.
Not so today. After having accompanied and approved the complete demolition of the British family, the Government is now intent in absolutely perverting its very meaning, introducing institutionalised sodomy and sexual perversion and telling us this is good, because in some satanical way two perverts would be a family and you see, we need all the “families” we can get.
The emotional damage made to countless children is now even amplified. If it is traumatic to be raised without a father, imagine the fun at being raised by a couple of bitching faggots, or angry lesbians.
You would think the Country is slowing waking up to such an evident bankruptcy, but this is not the case. In fact, politicians like David Cameron and Maria Miller are merely the prostitutes of a degradation that comes straight from the voting masses, whose most perverted desires they try to satisfy as much as they can .
This is the way a once great Country is going down. The Empire Builders have left, leaving an army of faults who never grew up, trying to raise a generation of scarred children who never will.
Those like me who, now slowly getting old(ish), see around them a world much different from the one they grew up in can also, in a way, observe epochal changes and their roots.
When I was a child, the expression that the sins of the father shall be visited upon the sons wasn’t very easy to grasp. Forty and more years later, things begins to make a lot of sense.
Where shall I start? Let us see: divorce. One generation decides that divorce can be barely tolerated in extreme cases, but thinks it “unchristian” to withheld it from all those women victims of drunken bastards and violent psychopaths now suddenly roaming around (and, apparently, just not there in Jesus’ time…).
The following generation sees a more generalised use of divorce, and many children begin to grow with huge emotional scars, and already predisposed to that absence of serious commitment they can clearly observe in their quarreling, self-centred parents. Their generation, the third, will be largely rotten.
Or do you want casual Catholicism? The generation of those who found V II somewhat “cool” but still believed in God raised up a generation of people who believe, if we are lucky, in a mixture of New Age and Nelson Mandela. Their offspring will believe, if anything, in the X-factor and often will be not even baptised, because such a “rigidity” was obviously inconceivable to their enlightened parents. The consequences of this are as tragic as they are predictable.
If you, however, prefer a more tragic example, think of abortion. Again, at the beginning it is always the “extreme cases” used as “justification” for the legislative novelty; then the taboo is broken and the murder of a child becomes a matter of convenience or, as a satanic generation will not be ashamed to say, ” reproductive health”.
Let us conclude, of course, with sodomy, with the usual geniuses of the Sixties thinking that the sodomy laws were too “harsh”, and their children and grandchildren now confronted with a gigantic Sodom, spreading almost all over the West.
Now, let us take a closer look at your typical new-age aunt (plenty of those around in Anglo-Saxon countries). Her children are caught in destructive legal fight with their ex spouses, and their daughters went around the world sleeping with many men, and still liking none. She does not have grandchildren because they were aborted; if they weren’t , they’ll soon be fatherless. Drugs aren’t really an issue (the old aunt did marijuana herself without any problem), so when the daughter takes to heroin or the son to vodka she will, in a non-judgmental way, speak of “poor choices” as if they were insisting in buying the wrong chocolate brand. She might also be “blessed” with a pervert nephew or niece, and whilst she is obviously disgusted (because she grew up in a world which still knew what is normal and what is pervert) she will have to play the non-judgmental game and “celebrate” this other piece of evidence of what a rotten family she has.
The old lady will, of course, not see the causal links. She will not see the drugs, or the vodka, or the divorces, or the abortions, or the perverted offspring all mean the same: you reap what you sow. We will.
Of course, our marijuana-aunt is symbolic of a generation, and here and there there might be individual disgraces: the good mother tested with the perverted son, the good father whose son insisted in taking the road to drunkenness, and so on. These tragedies happen, and as no parent will ever be able to influence his child more than a certain (pretty good) amount, the risk of things going wrong is never to be completely excluded.
But in general, it’s fair to say parents who believe in commitment will tend to have children who believe in commitment, pro-life parents will tend to have pro-life children, and so on. The merits of the fathers do tend to transmit themselves to the children, too, though at times this will become more evident as the children leave the rebellious adolescence and begin, with slowly thinning hair, to look like their fathers.
The marijuana aunt will never know why her family is so rotten. But we do, we do!
You know how credible certain types of “celebrities” are (beautiful, granted; but come on…) when they:
a) support so-called “gay marriage”, and
b) divorce after 72 days.
The blind are leading the blind. One thinks that these people do have an influence in mainstream culture, and shivers…
(No…. no photos of Kim Kardashian…)
Slowly but surely, the idea starts to enter in some non-Catholic heads.
Take the Tory propaganda, for example. The defence of the family has always been a mainstay of Tory ideology, at least in words. If you live in the UK, you might a noticed an ever so slight tendency to upheld traditional values even among the faggoty, hoodie-hugging, chameleons Tories of these days. In their confusion, they can’t even see what a family is, but at least they start to see more or less confusedly that divorce isn’t all good. I know, Cameron is an idiot who would sell his mother to whoredom for the sake of a fringe minority of voters, but at least he gets some vague glimpse of the truth.
From the University of Virginia comes now a study telling us something for which actually no study has ever been necessary: a divorce is highly expensive, highly disruptive, and the cause of high social costs. The idea would seem to start thinking about making divorce less easy: people would then feel motivated to make the step only when they are rather persuaded, and in general a more solid approach to marriage and a happier generation of children would result.
All very sound, say I. But then one wonders why what is right should be right only when taken in the half dose, and would stop to be right if things are done, well, entirely right.
Believe this Italian-born blogger: nothing creates solid families so much as the inability to divorce. When children grow up in a world where they know that they only have one go, they will mostly grow up into adults who will make responsible choices, will go into a marriage without thinking that it must be an erotic paradise (him) and endless romance (her), and most of all they will go into their new life without a huge door with “emergency exit” written over it, permanently looking at them from the kitchen. Several other things will happen, like the stigma against divorced couples. Say what you will, but this will certainly work and help couples to stay together and work on their problems rather than slam the door with “emergency exit” written over it.
It is astonishing that a country can ask a person to, say, lock himself in a deal with the Army for several years, but doesn’t even feel able to ask them to lock themselves into the matrimonial deal for, say, six or seven years. It doesn’t even square that a sovereign country can ask a person (nowadays, of both sexes in practice) to be drafted and land into a trench in a totally involuntary way, but can’t ask them to stick to the decisions that they themselves have taken.
Slowly, someone begins to open his eyes. The university of Virginia starts to say that divorce might have to be made more difficult. Granted, the taboo of individual happiness at all costs – which then leads to serial divorces and serial unhappiness, only more expensive – is not touched yet, but even Protestant should start to wonder whether – in their opinion – the Holy Ghost was being so wrong when He allowed them to divorce only in a very limited number of cases, and whether He is so right now that it allows them – or “inspires” – them to divorce so rapidly.
But the real crux of the matter is that, once again, the rightness of the Catholic truth starts to slowly filter through increasingly vaster strata of the population; in a confused way for now, but one that already starts to give the right Catholic solution to an entirely secular and Protestant-made problem.
It is highly ironical that basic tenets of Catholic thinking (besides the Church being……. the only Church, She is the country’s second largest Christian organisation after the largely atheists or indifferent Anglicans, and the largest if you consider the number of churchgoers) need the endorsement of a senior judge to make some headlines.
The judge in question is Sir Paul Coleridge talking to the BBC, which reports the conversation as follows:
On the day official figures showed that nearly half of all babies are now born to unmarried mothers, Sir Paul blamed family break-up on social changes including the shift in attitudes towards cohabitation and increasing numbers of children born outside marriage.
He said that 50 years ago ‘on the whole cohabitation was regarded as something you didn’t do, to have a child outside marriage, so that created a framework that stopped very much breakdown.
‘We’ve had a cultural revolution in sexual morality and sexual behaviour,’ the judge said. ‘We need to have a reasonable debate about it and decide what needs to be done – and I don’t mean Government,’ he said. ‘They didn’t cause the problem.’
He added that the change in social attitudes over the past five decades had given people ‘complete freedom of choice’.
This was ‘great’ when they behaved responsibly, he added, but some seemed to think it was a ‘free-for-all’. Sir Paul said the rate of family breakdown among unmarried couples was far higher than among married ones.
It was statistically proven parents were far more likely to stay together until their children’s 16th birthday if they were married, he said.
Official figures suggest that an average marriage lasts around 11 years, but a cohabitation is likely to break up in three if the partners do not marry.
One would give kudos to the judge – a good chap, probably – if what he says were not the most elementary, purest common sense. And in fact the very same fact that his words made headlines shows a typical trait of today’s Britain: the loss of basic common sense.
I personally see as the cause of this a typically English disease, that has been worsening and spreading like a metastasis as the religious sense disintegrated: niceness.
Niceness has slowly become the unique moral criterium, the be-all and end-all of all moral considerations, the golden calf of a new religion. Nice, good. Not nice, bad. The idea that there be values to which niceness might be sacrificed has – encouraged by the “church” of England – all but disappeared. When values disappear from the pulpits, don’t expect to find them much longer in the sitting rooms of the pewsitters. When the “church” of England eliminated Christianity from morality, niceness took its place.
Still, a society in which everyone wants to be nice to everyone is condemned to doom. As divorce became more and more frequent, no one dared to say a word about that as this just wasn’t “nice” towards those among our acquaintances that were in that situation, or knew someone who was. If “nice” is the moral criterium, you have lost your argument – and every hope of avoiding that the country goes down the drain – the very instant someone says he’s “hurt”. Welcome to Nice Britain.
It went on, as more and more couples started to live together in concubinage and no one said a word, least of all the oh so nice vicar (and, all too often, the still-too-nice priest). The country was all too happy with its “Vicars of Dibley”, and didn’t care about the consequences as long as it was convenient to do so.
This obviously led to more and more births of children born outside of wedlock, born from people who were either adolescents or were remained such, the illusory quest for a never-to-be-reached personal happiness more and more frequently put before their own children. Those who went around saying that marriage is only a piece of paper were those who were most prone to leave their partner and children; but to say that was, of course, not nice.
The stigma also went. Being divorced is something, if not almost expected, clearly within the realm of normality. The very idea that there should be a stigma associated with being divorced is considered something bad because, erm, not nice. Strangely, I grew up in a country which – covertly or overtly – used to send the message that if you are separated/divorced, you are a failure irrespective of whatever other achievement you may have, because you have failed in the most important endeavour of your life. How “rude”! How “judgmental”! But you see, in such an environment you think twice before you marry, and thrice before you divorce. Of course there is social pressure: it is because it is good!
The entire “niceness” madness is perfectly epitomised by our Prime Minster, “Call-me-Dave”-Cameron; the friend of everyone, the supporter of every idea and its contrary, the man called “chameleon” even before seriously starting to be a politician, the prostitute of every lobby, and the undoubtedly brownest nose of the Kingdom. Cameron is the kind of person able to say that he is in favour of marriage, and that “marriage” includes homosexual couples. This doesn’t scandalise much. You see, he is being nice.
This is where we are now: a country where marriage is defended with words, without saying that to defend marriage means to condemn alternative forms of convivence; a country where it is recognised that a child needs stability, but its destruction is never stigmatised; a country where there is a lot of talk about values, without ever saying what behaviours these values necessarily exclude.
The country drowns in niceness; starting from the vicar down the road, and the local politician.
It drowns to such an extent, that common sense makes headlines.
The unpleasant news of the Catholic defeat in the Maltese divorce referendum moves me to some reflection as to what has happened, and what the future might bring.
It is clear that the Maltese society is still remarkably Catholic. That almost 48% of the voters have decided to upheld one of the strictest, most difficult to digest rules of Christianity (so much so, that the Protestants have already decided that they do not want to have anything to do with it) is a powerful witness to what proper instruction can do. That it was not enough in this instance does not negate the importance of properly taught, insisted, vocally defended Catholic values in the least.
The question arises now about what will the future generations of Maltese think. What has been decided yesterday is that a rather illusory quest for individual happiness is more important than a society founded on Catholic values. This is not a good sign, as once this “principle” has been accepted other mainstays of Maltese Catholic legislation will be attacked. It seems for example difficult to see how a country accepting divorce may continue to ban the sale of condoms, or the cremation of the dead. If the accepted principle is that what is convenient to the individual is paramount, the rest (from homosexual “partnerships” to abortion) might well, in time, follow.
On the other hand, the demolition of a Catholic society is something that can’t be done so easily; not even then, when the clergy utterly fails the faithful. As an Italian I can bring excellent examples of this: when the Italian clergy was awaken even most Communists insisted on marrying in the church, having their children baptised, and so on. What may smack of hypocrisy (and was certainly, from their perspective, contradiction) still shows the huge power a solid Catholic thinking exercised even in those who would have seemed most allergic to its teaching. Even after the Italian clergy went to sleep (from the middle of the Sixties, with slow signs of awakening showing only now, and only at times) the Italian society remained surprisingly resilient to the assault of the new paganism: not in the sense that modern abominations haven’t paved their way into the Italian society (we have many of them: abortion, though not on demand; divorce, though not on demand; a certain promiscuity, though not even remotely comparable to the mass sluttiness to be found in England), but that their impact has been, even in the almost total absence of serious opposition from the clergy, remarkably low. Last time I looked – and forty years after the introduction of divorce – the divorce rate was around ten percent outside of the big cities, and my foreign friends living in Italy never cease to be amazed at “how seriously Italians take relationships”. If we look at abortion, whilst the situation remains very serious the numbers are stable or decreasing and, most importantly, the opposition to abortion remains rather strong. Furthermore, Italy still has no legalised poofdom, no euthanasia laws, and even the attempt of chasing the crucifix away from schools and law courts has been defeated twice.
All this – let me stress it once again because it is important – after an almost total absence of fighting spirit from those who should be its very embodiment, the clergy.
I look at Italy as it is now – still deeply rooted in Catholicism after 50 years of neglect from the clergy – and wonder what would have happened if the Italian clergy had decided that the lost referendums on divorce (1974, if memory serves) and abortion (1978, ditto) were not the end of the battle, but its very beginning. Methinks, we would have now a certainly more polarised society, but also a more sanely Catholic one. One, most importantly, where the vast majority of people – decent, loving, honest people wanting to do good, and to live rightly – is constantly reminded that there can be no individual metre of what is right. I think it absolutely not improbable (though of course we’ll never have the answer) that if the work of Catholic reconstruction had been begun forty years ago and had been aggressively pursued we might now already have – after only one generation of reconstruction – a different country, where Catholic values are not left confined to the undercurrent moral fabric of the land, but are openly professed and bravely defended.
This is now the choice the Maltese clergy have: to consider defeat inevitable and the march of irreligious thinking unstoppable, or to start a very hard, very long fight to take the lost terrain again. If they do, chances are that in only one or two generations the situation will be under control again. If they don’t, we’ll probably see an Italian situation: certainly not the disintegration of family like in protestant/atheist/muslim England (for this, the Maltese society is still far too Catholic), but a slow descent into the slippery slope of secular thinking.
Best luck to the Maltese people. At least to those who have voted properly.
Unfortunately, the results of the Maltese divorce referendum weren’t as hoped, and the “yes” front won with more than 52% of the votes.
This is very disappointing of course, and I do agree with the worries expressed in the past days: that you start with divorce and then erode Catholic values one bit at a time.
I hope (and frankly, think) that the Maltese clergy will not take this result as an unavoidable “sign of the times”, but will in the next years and, probably, decades continue to press to have divorce banned again. The worst mistake that could be done now is to tone down the polemic in order to avoid “alienating” the sheep. The Church is not there to make marketing exercises, I have seen this happening in Italy and the results don’t speak for the cleverness of the proposer of such “low profile” policies……
Abortion shows us very clearly that the pendulum can and does swing on the other side, if the electorate wakes up to the consequences of liberal legislation.
Malta is a Catholic fortress.
No divorce, no abortion, no cremation, no condoms in grocery stores.
This tiny country in the middle of the Mediterranean is now voting about divorce. It is one of only two countries which still get it right.
The vote seemed to assure victory to the divorce faction; but in the last days, the Catholic front has been advancing. The three Maltese bishops are – God bless them – firing from all cannons. Of the three, the most warly seems to be Mario Grech.
Beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. And the wolf is now saying he is Catholic. This is a falsity, this is deceit
You cannot not be loyal to Christ and say you are a Christian or a Catholic
If you are not in communion with Christ’s teachings, you are not in communion with the Church and you cannot receive communion
to be politically correct and not tell things as they are will lead us to be sorry. There are the brigands among us who are utilizing every means possible to lead the flock astray. They are going after marriage and then other things will follow.
The vote is now too close to call. But if the catholic side loses it will certainly not have been for lack of action of these bishops, fighting with such energy in the last days before the vote.
Oh for English bishops with one tenth of the faith of these brave men!
A very nice blogger priest, who calls himself Reverend Know-it-all, has posted a long series of semi-serious but rather perceptive and very pertinent observations about modern marriage in his own experience (hat tip to Father Z).
This long blog post has reminded me of two things: the sad scene at the beginning of the film “Gran Torino” – that has been haunting me since – and the less haunting, but cynically pleasant song “makin’ whoopee”, though as we are talking about Catholic marriage (and as we are at the vigil of, oh, that marriage) I should obviously not mention the point at all.
Without depriving you of the joy of reading the post, I would add some considerations:
1) the sense of the Catholic marriage as a sacrament has been profoundly damaged in the last decades. If one feels the need of having a DJ for the party after the marriage, then something is clearly seriously wrong. Again, one is reminded of the “Gran Torino” funeral scene.
2) I never cease to be amazed at why marriage be still so idolised by non religiously minded women, when the very same women are the ones who will file the vast majority of the subsequent divorces. With the exception of the minority of people who continue to feel the marriage as sacred and indissoluble (alas, not very many even among Catholics: Catholic Cologne has the same rate of divorce than neighbouring, Protestant Dusseldorf!) marriage is not a definitive choice anymore, but the indication of a serious attempt at most. The fire exit is, though, always there and firmly in the mind of both the component of the oh so smiling and beautiful couple (wanna be sure? Ask them if they are against divorce, or if they would be ready to solemnly and legally shut the fire exit….). It is therefore difficult to understand why – with the exception of the minority above mentioned – the female excitement should be so high, and this with regard to both marriage in general and, well, that marriage in particular.
3) Father know-it-all is suavely ironic, but we can’t forget that part of the guilt resides by the very priest, that in most cases goes along with pretty much everything he describes in his blog post without so much as a grunt, much less a stern reproach.
4) In many countries, like Italy, you can’t be married in the church (a holy cow of many women even in these “liberated” times) unless you subject yourself to a long (six month, I believe) pre-matrimonial course and I even know of several cases where the priest has been inflexible on this (which meant, nowadays, that the bride wasn’t pregnant). Such exercises go a long way to ensure that the couple really dedicate a lot of time preparing for their married life rather than merely for the marriage ceremony.
5) I often hear that it would be “better” for a couple to undergo a phase of concubinage before the marriage, “to see if things work”, but no one has ever proved to me with numbers that this is really the case, and the countries were such habit is common are those with the highest frequency of divorce.
Rather, it seems to me that people who are serious about their marriage as to not choose a phase of (gravely sinful, scandalous, and which even excludes from communion) concubinage are ipso facto those who bring the best ingredients for a successful marriage. Marriage doesn’t work because there was no serious breakdown during the warranty time, but because there is a serious intention not to have the breakdown in the first place.
6) Tomorrow there will be a historic marriage in this country. All the best to the couple, but he who whistled “makin’ whoopee” by the last royal marriage was rather the more perceptive, realistic chap; it there being not only a legal basis, but even a precedent for divorce, we all know what will happen tomorrow is a hope at best.
This is what happens when you take the sacrament out of the ceremony.
Interesting video from Michael Voris about the time Catholics spend… being Catholic.
Voris’ argument is that outside of church, most of the time is spent immersed in the worldly atmosphere around us; in doing this, many people stop being Catholic at every practical level and simply accept that the world around us has become un-Christian to a shocking extent. This not only makes the role of the Catholic ineffectual (or not so effectual) in the world around him, but makes it more probable that the worldly society around him will slowly absorb him and become the normal, legitimate world, opposed to which the 50 minutes at Mass become a short immersion in a parallel universe without any real relevance to our lives.
The matter is less banal that it might appear, because the list of issues about which Catholics are simply silent has grown to astonishing proportions. Divorce, contraception, abortion, sexual promiscuity, sexual perversions, euthanasia and all other behaviour which our ancestors would have considered unthinkable are now tolerated by Catholics with the same indifferent attitude with which rain and cold are accepted, and I don’t want to think how many Catholics are more angry for the queues on the M25 than about abortion.
Yes, most churchgoers are at some level aware that they are against abortion, but this is far from becoming concrete action: from speaking out loud with friends and family, to taking this into consideration when voting, to caring that one’s own children grow up with the right moral values.
Others are more acutely aware of the evils of present times but seem content to keep their Christian practice private, happily (and conveniently) renouncing to make the Truth heard whenever reasonably practicable. No fuss, no anger, no loss of popularity. A bit too easy, says Voris.
Left alone, those 50 minutes are not enough to ensure Catholic values within the family, let alone to make a more Catholic world. Voris’ appeal is, therefore, important in that it reminds the Catholic that his mission begins when he goes out of church, rather than remaining confined to church attendance.
Don’t be a fanatic, but don’t be a coward. Remember that you’re a Catholic and that you are requested to beat witness of the Catholic Truth. Remember your responsibility toward your family and children and as a friend, a colleague, a voter.
From the treasure trove of Lux Occulta, here is another vintage booklet that, if you take the 20 minutes to read it, will make you think.
The booklet is called Why Marry and, in a very English way, tries to explain not only to Catholics but, as it is clear from the text, to non-Catholics the beauty and sacredness of what Catholics call the sacrament of marriage.
The booklet, an English production rather than an Irish one as many other Lux Occulta booklets, is rather disconcerting at times. One is rather astonished at seeing disturbances at Mass described as a sort of “sweet music”, though the biscuit goes to the one with the nagging wife being “worse than the adulterous one” (no, you couldn’t sell this in Italy. Not even to women).
Apart from these strange – as I assume they are – British particularities, the booklet shines with a robust dose of common sense in explaining that the Marriage intended in the Catholic way, so apparently old-fashioned, is vastly superior to every alternative devised by lesser ecclesial communities, or by free-thinkers, or by cinema dreamers, or by the human desire for fast solutions.
The booklet is clearly intended to be read also from a non-Catholic audience because the sacramental aspect of the marriage, and the grace a Catholic expects from it, is duly mentioned but not really the focal point of the work. The focal point of the work is based on a very simple concept: that those who bind themselves for life think much harder before they contract their marriage, and fight much harder for its preservation after they’re married.
As a chap born in Italy from parents – and in a generation – which didn’t know divorce in living memory (nor abortion, come to that; nor a lot of other things), I can vouch personally and from the experience of countless relatives and family friends that this was exactly the case. This was the case to such an extent that I can’t easily explain to a contemporary Brit the deadly seriousness with which the generally so debonair, happy-go-lucky Italians went after the business – nay, the life work – of being married. I can’t, because the poor chap doesn’t have a frame of reference for such a behaviour and doesn’t know what it means when an entire society is structured in that way. To understand how it is, you must have lived it.
The same situation I see described in this booklet, where two worlds noisily collide: the young Catholic couple going toward the marriage with deadly seriousness and confident in the sacramental grace of the bond they are going to contract, and the “modern” (alas, all too modern) non-Catholic couple rapidly married in the Town Hall and just as rapidly dissolved at the first difficulty. A marriage, this last, easily broken because carelessly contracted and which must now be, for the sake of the offspring, re-invented and re-started (clearly with a different mentality) again.
The truth is harsh, but it’s true nevertheless: when you only have one go, you’ll pay much attention to what you do; and when this happens the chance of a happy marriage and serene offspring will be vastly increased.
Legalised divorce is a big mistake. A huge one. It destroys the house merely because the stairs are a bit slippery, or the kitchen at times cold. It creates a momentary solution to a problem, and it substitutes it with an often bigger, and an often permanent one. It is the triumph of the fire escape mentality over the constructive approach, the short-term door to a long-term pain. Besides, it creates an atmosphere or self-victimhood that goes beyond ludicrous (and no, it can’t be that there are millions of cruel, violent men out there; and no, extreme cases always make bad laws…).
Legalised divorce is like living in a house with a huge door in the reception room bearing the inscription “Exit Here In Case Of Discomfort”.
Ban on divorce is like living in a house with an inscription saying “Very Probably Your Only Chance”.
Which marriage is more likely to be well thought before the marriage, and successful thereafter?
The Christian Post has an interesting article about the 5th Circuit of the Court of Appeal (evidently rather different from the notorious 9th circuit), who has negated to a homosexual “couple” (quotation marks, because there’s nothing like that) the right to divorce because… Texas does not recognise any “marriage” (see above) allegedly contracted between them.
The ruling is interesting because whilst the two oh so “gay” people maintained that they only wanted to put an end to a “marriage” contracted in Massachusetts only four years ago; but if the 5th circuit had allowed them to “divorce” this would have been tantamount to a recognition of the legal validity of their marriage, which Texas doesn’t. One can therefore imagine that some sly tricks might have been at play here.
The ruling points out to the other interesting fact that the marriage recognised as a fundamental right is…. the marriage, that is: the union between a man and a woman (for the more visual among you, see photo above).
“Unions” with people of the same-sex (and we may add: with cats, dogs, sheep, own close relatives, and with one’s favourite car) are not fundamental rights because they are “not deeply rooted in this country’s history and tradition”. Basically is nothing to do with Christianity , nothing to do with sound thinking and a lot to do with sexual perversion.
Kudos to the judge of the 5th Court, Kerry P. Fitzgerald, who decided on this case. It is beautiful to see that sanity is, in some place, still well present in the American judiciary.