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Pope Francis upholds Church teaching on the family
Fr Ken Clark is a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross. The Ordinariate was established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012 to enable former Anglicans to maintain Anglican traditions within the Catholic Church.
This was the third Personal Ordinariate to be erected for former Anglicans (after the United Kingdom and the United States of America / Canada).
Ten parishes constitute the Ordinariate and are located in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
What a time to be a Catholic in the world. It is a time of change, and a time of decision, Let us be clear, I stand for God, His Church, and the Magisterium – the eternal truths as codified in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
One of the things that the world is changing is the definition, and the sanctity of marriage, redefining family and family values.
And yet, people coming for a Catholic Church wedding in the Ordinariate witness the creation of a new order of being, the joining of a man and woman in Holy Matrimony:
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God and in the presence of this congregation, to witness the joining together of this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God himself, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee, and is commended in Holy Writ to be honourable among all men; and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly; but reverently, discreetly, soberly, and in the fear of God, duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.
How can this be twisted to include other forms of "marriage"? The world has turned its back on families and family values.
Of course, everyone is aware that the referendum for gay marriage passed in Ireland, and yet there seems to be a deafening silence from the Church on this.
There have been calls from prelates who are afraid to uphold Church teaching, the German bishops conference, the Swiss bishops conference, and some other bishops, priests and nuns. As Jesus said, "They have their reward".
We must uphold Church teaching, and be prepared to be witnesses to the truth of Christ. One of these truths is eternal, that is that, "Man was made for woman, as woman was made for man, we fit – biologically, socially, spiritually. God made us to be one."
One of the interesting things that seems to be happening is that some Catholics are assuming that Pope Francis has gone silent on what has, and is, occurring in the world. And yet, we have the following:
• At the beginning of his Gospel, the Evangelist John recounts the episode of the Wedding at Cana, in which the Virgin Mary and Jesus, with his first disciples, were present (cf. John 2:1-11).
• Just as the gift of the Holy Family was entrusted to Saint Joseph, so the gift of the family and its place in God's plan is entrusted to us.
• Pope Francis called to mind how Saint Paul introduced the analogy between the couple, husband and wife, and Christ and the Church.
• He said that the "good news" of the family is a key element in evangelisation and that Christians participate in this proclamation by their witness to life.
• ... man recognises woman, and only that one, which is part of him: "Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." Finally, there is a reflection of himself, a reciprocity ...
• Jesus, Mary and Joseph to you, Holy Family of Nazareth,
There are many instances where Pope Francis sums up "family" as man and woman together.
Just because some of the hierarchy are bowing to the wishes of the world, and are falling away from Church teaching, does not mean that the Pope does not know what is occurring.
We should look to the example of the Pope, and our sermons should be on family, husband, wife, and children – that which is called Holy Matrimony – what Pope Francis called, a "masterpiece of society ... the family: man and woman who love one another! This is the masterpiece!"
Perhaps we need to return to being the Church marrying only those who are believers, those who seek "Holy Matrimony".
If that means handing back our licences from the State to marry, then so be it. We can follow France, people get married in a civil union, and then come to the Church for 'convalidation', putting the 'Holy' back into marriage and keeping wedlock for what God intended, unity and sanctity.
I will leave the last word to Pope Francis, and it is one that all Catholics should take to heart:
The social devaluation of the stable and generative alliance of man and woman is certainly a loss for all. We must reassess marriage and the family! And the Bible says a beautiful thing: man finds woman, they find one another, and man must leave something to find her fully. And for this, man will leave his father and his mother to go with her. It is beautiful! This means to begin a journey. Man is all for woman and woman is all for man.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 28 No 5 (June 2015), p. 6
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