November 30, 2014

First Sunday of Advent: The Beginning of the Divorce Liturgical Year

Today is the First Sunday of Advent. The beginning of the Catholic Church's Liturgical Year. It is also, oddly enough, the beginning of the Divorce Liturgical Year. It is the beginning of my 4th Divorce Liturgical Year, and the fifth of my former wife's divorce (for it certainly wasn't mine).

Advent, as we know, marks the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas as we anticipate the Birth anew of the Christ Child, who brings tidings of great joy for all mankind that their redemption is at hand.  At the same time, in the Divorce Advent Season, it leads up to the anticipation of the hoped for re-birth of renewed Parent-Child relationships with estranged children. An anticipation that will hopefully bring tidings of great joy and redemption for both parent and child, already wracked far, far too long by a seemingly unending separation. Advent marks the first Penitential Season, where prayers and sacrifices are offered in anticipation to the Christ Child and for the children of divorce.

Then, Christmas! The Birth of the Christ Child! The redemption of Man is near at hand! All the Choirs of Angels sing the Alleluias, the Shepherds bring their gifts and the Word of God radiates Peace on Earth, Good Will towards Men. But Alas, will it also bring the birth of renewed parent-child relations broken by divorce? The children bringing gifts to a Parent, and the Parent giving gifts to the children? Will a separated family now joined as one radiate the Peace of Christ so envisioned by others at His birth? Will the Alleluias bring out the Good Will so desired? 

After Christmas comes Epiphany, when Christ was revealed to the Three Kings and to the world and salvation was extended to the Gentiles. All - even sinners and pagans - can now be saved through Him. It is also the Epiphany Season of Divorce, when many a Parent await their own salvation from their children, awaiting the glorious day when they - the children - will extend the salvation and forgiveness granted by the Christ Child towards men, towards sinners, to their own parents (or parents) for the evil they have wrought upon their innocent lives.

After Epiphany comes Ash Wednesday and the Season of Lent, the ultimate Penitential Season of the Church, the precursor to the Risen Christ. The Collect of the First Sunday of Lent pleads for us before the Father: "O God who dost purify Thy Church by the yearly fast of Lent; grant to Thy household that what we strive to obtain from Thee by abstinence, by good works we may secure".  

In the Divorce Season of Lent, this prayer is the mission statement of those wracked by divorce. Through prayers, alms, fasting and good works, they pray that their households may be granted Peace and the restoration, in so far as is possible, of the love between parent and child, the respect between Mother and Father, the Parental concern for the Souls of the children. 

EASTER! The dawning of the Resurrection....the day Our Risen Christ openly defies natural death and assures us of Life Everlasting. Again, the Collect of the Mass says it all: "O God, who on this day, through Thine only-begotten Son, didst overcome death and open unto us the gate of everlasting life; as by Thy prompting grace Thou dost breathe on the desires of our hearts, so do Thou ever accompany them with Thy help." 

The Easter of the Divorce Liturgical Year borrows heavily from this Collect, for on this day the desires of those whose families have been torn asunder by divorce, plead to the Risen Christ to overcome the death of their families, open the gates to forgiveness and renewed Love and through the promptings of Grace, defeat The Destroyer of Families. 

And at the end of fifty days, Pentecost, the beginning of the end of the liturgical year. The day that "... the law of grace, of purification from sin, and the sanctification of mankind, was for the first time announced to the world". The day the Holy Ghost gave to the Apostles all the Graces that were needed to convey Christ's Teachings to the world and to continue to build His Church.

 It is also the beginning of the end in the Divorce Liturgical Year, when it is hoped by its victims, that the law of Grace will somehow permeate the hard-shell of spousal relations and melt - through the quenching fire of forgiveness and the enlightenment of the Holy Ghost - the iron-clad estrangement that has so far been impervious to all other methods. There are about 26 weeks to accomplish this seemly herculean task. 

But what if it doesn't happen...what if it all continues into another year?

Then, like the Church's Liturgical Year, it - and you - simply start all over again. It goes with the vows...

Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

November 29, 2014

One Among Many???

Does this:

Never before seen - Francis bows his head and asks Separated Patriarch: "Bless me and the Church of Rome"

And this:

For the "First Time in History", "silent adoration" and open prayer by a Pope in a Mosque

Signal it's time for this: the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church seems now just another of the umpteen hundreds of sects, none better than the other; all on equal footing; all of whose adherents are destined for Heaven...

Instead of the One True Church, whose Head on Earth is the direct Successor of Peter, into which Church all others must be admitted or never enter Paradise?

Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

November 27, 2014


It's hard to imagine I would have anything to be Thankful for today. Not really. My Thanks seemingly ended in 2010, to wit: my Family ended; my Marriage ended; my financial security ended; my confidence ended. My weaknesses in character and Faith overtook me; my spouse allowed fully-reconcilable differences to overtake her; we both allowed emotions to overtake Reason. We both were complicit in the decimation of a marriage and family. We both were selfish and damn uncharitable to each other and to our kids. We threw off the Cross of marriage we had both willingly accepted 22 years earlier. What has happened - what is continuing to  happen - is enough to drive the sane to an asylum; the religious to an agnostic; the virtuous to the unethical. So...I ask again - what is there to be Thankful for?

Well, for starters, I have thankfully chosen to honor my marital vows and and the woman to whom they were spoken. I have retained my Love for all my children, especially those who have chosen to keep this estrangement fueled and fired; I am thankful I have not lost my Catholic Faith over this divorce and annulment, though in Truth I certainly could have - and some have. (Considering the lack of pro-active assistance from the Catholic Church in preserving marriages and my own weakness of Faith, this is perhaps one of the most surprising.) I am thankful how surprisingly easy it has been to restrict my thoughts to only one woman, when I have the legal and moral right to play the field. I long to lay next to a warm body again, to feel love and not just to make love, and am amazed that that desire is still for only one woman. I am thankful I have chosen not to force my children to divide their Love a fourth time with a new step-mother, nor to force them into a blended family not of their choosing - or perhaps their liking. I am thankful I continue to make mistakes large and small, but more thankful that I merit the Grace to know them and make needed corrections. I am thankful - and privileged - that Christ and His Blessed Mother have continued to look with pity upon this miserable Soul who has tried so hard - and sometimes willingly so - to separate himself from their Loving embraces and Hearts. 

Mostly, though, on this particular day - November 27, 2014 - I am so very Thankful that for the first time in 4 long years, I will be enjoying a Thanksgiving Dinner with three of my ten children: my two youngest teenage daughters who now live with me, and their eldest sister who lives nearby. Deo Gratias!!

And to all families torn asunder by divorce: many changes are forced upon us that we cannot change, though we would wish it otherwise. But of those things concerning our own families that we can change - if only in our attitude - one of the most important is that:

God's Blessings To All!

Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

November 23, 2014




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Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

November 22, 2014

Selective Mercy & Compassion

Photo Credit

I have written before (see here and here) of this false mercy and compassion theme/meme of communion for the divorced and remarried sans annulment. Everyone wrings their hands and bleeds Human red & Vulcan green blood in angst over the poor, poor (did I mention pooooorrrrr?) sinners setting in churches (or not) and with a rainfall of tears (HEY! You in front! Yeah, You! See my tears??!!??) show everyone how sincere they are in THEIR WANT to receive Holy Communion. It matters not what Christ wants - the Salvation of their Soul, true repentance for their sins of adultery and restitution to the offended former spouses and any (former?) children. It's only what THEY WANT, what THEY DESIRE, what THEY DEMAND is THEIR RIGHT to continue in sin and still receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the SINLESS Christ.

The rest of us poor chaps and chappies in the pews have to be silently content to knuckle under and, embarrassingly or not, kneel before a priest to confess our grievous sins so that we may be once again PRIVILEGED to WORTHILY RECEIVE the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the SINLESS Christ. Not so with the above clique, however!

The possible granting of the PRIVILEGE of receiving Holy Communion by the divorced and remarried shows nothing but false mercy and compassion because Justice has not been served via Confession, Repentance and Reparation of the grievous offense committed. The rest of us - if we would commit adultery while still morally bound to our spouse - have to abide by the current practice, but because this minority group has been civilly divorced and remarried outside the Church and has an emotional attachment to Holy Communion, they get a free pass. So, does it not follow - if the privilege were to be granted next year - if a spouse were to commit adultery, all he/she would have to do is to get civilly married to their co-adulterer/adulteress in order to be able to receive Holy Communion! (After, of course, a few months [2? 6?] of showing it a stable, loving and caring adulterous marriage). Afterwards, because they may (or may not) feel badly, they could get another civil divorce from the adulterer/adulteress and return to their first and true marriage and all is good! All without having to go through that embarrassing ritual known as "Confession". YEAH! 21st century Modern Catholicism is such a dream! We can finally have our cake and eat it (or is it Edith?) too!

It is as embarrassingly stupid to write as it sounds in real life via the former and upcoming soon-to-be-further-marginalized Family (of the Synod.) As long as Justice is left out of the Mercy and Compassion triangle, they remain just what they are - platitudes and placating memes designed to become friends with the world - and the modern (c)atholic who survives more on passions than reason. It will never stand the test of time, for the legs of Mercy and Compassion and bound to the foundation of Justice. Absent Justice, and the legs ingloriously crash down, unable to support their own weight. Absent Christ and His laws (or doing our best to circumvent them), we humans also ingloriously come crashing down, unable to support our own sinful weight. 

Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

November 21, 2014

Spero News: Catholic marriage annulments break children's hearts

My latest article was posted today by Spero News, to whom I'm grateful for this opportunity. 

Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

November 18, 2014

God Is Love-In-All-Forms (c)atholic Church INC

It appears this new off-shoot branch of Catholicism has finally found another co-chair administrator: Cardinal Sean O"Malley. If Cardinal Kasper is one of the co-chairs of this new church - the official co-chair of the marital God-Is-Love-In-All-Forms (s)acrament of the wedded blissfulness, then Cardinal O'Malley can be one of its other - the liturgical God-Is-Priest-In-All-Forms of the un-celibate, gender-neutral priest/priestess clergy and (s)acrament of un-holy orders. I suppose all we need now is the co-chair position of chief administrator of God-Is-Love-In-All-Forms (c)atholic Church INC. Perhaps Cardinal Dolan would be interested? Heaven knows there are plenty of closed or about-to-be closed Churches in NYC from which to choose a faux St. Peter's Basicila. It could even become known as "rome, jr." or the "external city" (as compared to the Eternal one, the difference being the latter reflects the Spiritual man and the former the Temporal man.) 

I suppose I might even have to change the blog banner picture from the "The Theresa Trio" to "The Cardinal Trio" in honor of these new heads of this new (c)atholic form of worshipfulness. Maybe surround them with fairies, angels and ivy garlands as tribute to their humility, benignity, generosity and orthodoxy. Yeah! That's it!

Come to think of it, maybe I can approach them about annulling my former spouses' annulment that decimated a family. Or issue an apostolic letter to my children and all children of divorce that there is no need for parent-child estrangements brought about by and implicitly and explicitly condoned by the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, because, well...God Is Love In All Forms, don't ya know. And He does want us all to be good little comrades, now. After all... "Can't We All Just Get Along?"

Where do I sign-up? 

But, in Truth...the much broader and much bigger question is this:



Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

November 17, 2014

The Synod, St. John Marie Vianney and The Bad Death

It is readily apparent to most what all the fuss over the divorced and remarried sans annulment returning to "full communion" is all about: the forgiveness of  a sin without true repentance. The absolution of a sin without requiring restitution for the abandonment of one's marital vows. The cleansing of the Soul without amendment to repair the first vows. In other words, to simply "write off" mortal sin as of no consequence to the Soul, as if it could be erased by a simple signature on a decree or by  majority assent of a college of Cardinals. This proposed course once again follows the path of the past 60 years by de-sensitizing the masses to the effects of sin in general, and mortal sin in particular. If the above cleansing sans confession should ever come to fruition, it's just another domino to fall to the New Evangelation birthed in the 60's, just like respect for True Presence in the Tabernacle, the respect for the Latin Mass, the respect for the One True Faith. Desensitize. Demean. Destroy. Christ is just "one of the boys and my good friend". One Mass is just as good as the other; everyone goes to Heaven no matter what religion-of-the-month they profess, as long the last word you breathe is "Jesus", (even if you follow an heretical one, which all are excepting the Catholic Religion.) 

It is false Mercy and Compassion to give absolution without the required matter and form, which is what is trying to happen, or what some would want to make happen. Consider what the Catechism of St Pius X states regarding the matter and form of Confession

Q: What is the matter of the sacrament of Penance?

A: The matter of the sacrament of Penance is divided into remote and proximate. The remote matter consists of the sins committed by the penitent after Baptism; and the proximate matter are the acts of the penitent himself, that is, contrition, confession and satisfaction.

Q: What is the form of the sacrament of Penance?

A: The form of the sacrament of Penance is this: "I absolve thee from thy sins."

Can a priest give true absolution without proper matter and form? Can a Synod give true absolution by decreeing "I absolve Thee from Thy sins", but not expect Contrition, Confession and Satisfaction from the penitent or penitents? Are we suddenly to go all "Reverend Moonie" with group absolution? Where was this feature of Catholicism when I was awash in the Mortal sins of my youth? Huh? Why did I have to embarrass myself by speaking aloud what I'd prefer to just be forgiven of? Huh?? 

But that is precisely what is trying to happen - the forgiveness of Mortal sin without embarrassing oneself before a priest for letting Passions subdue Reason; without having to admit to the grievous sin of adultery or fornication; without having to make restitution to one's abandoned spouse and children; without kneeling before Christ - before His alter Christus - and beg Forgiveness and vow amendment. This is the false face of the Mercy and Compassion being touted as a cure-all for the weeping tears of those who willingly chose to violate their Matrimonial vows of Fidelity and Permanency! 

Death is inevitable and cannot be escaped from...its hands will find you whether you are an atheist, a heretic, or an adulterer. It will find you whether you are happily ensconced into a second, adulterous marriage or a contentious, unhappy first one. It will come as a "thief in the night" or well advertised in advance (if you're grievously ill, for instance.) But it will come nonetheless: unwanted, unrelenting, uncaring. And we all best be prepared for the unexpected, for our very Eternal Souls are at stake. The only Happiness we have been guaranteed by God is Heaven. None was promised while on this Earth and none, therefore, should be expected. If it comes, all the more good for this great privilege of our Creator and for which we should be grateful.  But when that happiness comes at the expense of great peril to our Eternal Soul, then we had better take a step back and review our priorities. 

And none can help us review those priorities better than St. John Marie Vianney's sermon on The Bad Death. Sobering. Straightforward. Black and White. Though the translation is incomplete, what has already been translated leads us to one clear conclusion: stay straight with God and live your Faith as He intended, with your eyes always on Heaven. Listen, then, to the Cure' of Ars and his sobering homily:

If you ask me what most people understand by a bad death, I will reply: "When a person dies in the prime of life, married, enjoying good health, having wealth in abundance, and leaves children and a wife desolate, there is no doubt but that such a death is very tragic." King Ezechiel said: "What, my God! It is necessary that I die in the midst of my years, in the prime of my life!" And the Prophet-King asks God not to take him in his prime. Others say that to die at the hands of the executioner on the gallows is a bad death. Others say that a sudden death is a bad death, as, for instance, to be killed in some disaster, or to be drowned, or to fall from a high building and be killed. And then some say that the worst thing is to die of some horrible disease, like
the plague or some other contagious malady.

And yet, my dear brethren, I am going to tell you that none of these
are bad deaths. Provided that a person has lived well, if he dies in his prime, his death will not fail to be valuable in God's eyes. We have many saints who died in the prime of their lives. It is not a bad death, either, to die at the hands of the executioner. All the martyrs died at the hands of executioners. To die a sudden death is not to die a bad death either, provided one is ready. We have many saints who died deaths of that sort: St. Simeon was killed by lightning on his pillar. St. Francis de Sales died of apoplexy. Finally, to die of the plague is not a dreadful death. St. Roch and St. Francis Xavier died of it.

But what makes death bad is sin. Ah, this horrible sin which tears and devours at this dread moment! Alas, no matter where the poor, unfortunate sinner looks, he sees only sin and neglected graces! If he lifts his eyes to Heaven, he sees only an angry God, armed with all the fury of His justice, Who is ready to punish him. If he turns his gaze downwards, he sees only Hell and its furies already opening its gates to receive him. Alas! This poor sinner did not want to recognise the justice of God during his life on earth; at this moment, not only does he see it, but he feels it already pressing down upon him. During his lifetime, he was always trying to hide his sins, or at least to make as little of them as possible. But at this moment everything is shown to him as in the
broad light of day. He sees now what he should have seen before, what he did not want to see. He would like to weep for his sins, but he has no more time. He scorned God during his lifetime; God now, in His turn, scorns him and abandons him to his despair.

Listen, hardened sinners, you who are wallowing now, with such pleasure, in the slime of your vice, without casting even a thought upon amending your lives, who perhaps will give thought to this only when God has abandoned you, as has happened to people less guilty than you. Yes, the Holy Ghost tells us that sinners in their last moments will gnash their teeth, will be seized by a horrible dread, at the very thought of their sins. Their iniquities will rise up before them and accuse them. "Alas!" they will cry at this dread moment, "alas! Of what use is this pride, this vain ostentation, and all those pleasures we have been enjoying in sin? Everything is finished now. We have not a single item of virtue to our credit but have been completely conquered by our evil passions."

This is exactly what happened to the unhappy Antiochus, who, when he fell from his chariot, shattered his whole body. He experienced such dreadful pain in his entrails that it seemed to him as if someone were tearing them out. The worms started to gnaw at him while he was still alive, and his whole body stank like carrion. Then he began to open
his eyes. This is what sinners do -- but too late. "Ah," he cried, "I realise now that it was the evils which I committed in Jerusalem that are tormenting me now and gnawing at my heart." His body was consumed by the most frightful sufferings and his spirit with an inconceivable sadness. He got his friends to come to him, thinking that he might find some consolation in them. But no. Abandoned by God, Who gives consolation, he could not find it in others.

"Alas, my friends," he said to them, "I have fallen into a terrible affliction. Sleep has left me. I cannot rest for a single instant. My heart is pierced with grief. To what a terrible state of sadness and anguish I am reduced! It seems that I must die of sorrow, and in a strange country, too. Ah, Lord, pardon me! I will repair all the evil that I have done. I will pay back all I took from the temple in Jerusalem. I will present great gifts to the temple. I will become a Jew. I will observe the Law of Moses. I will go about publicising the omnipotence of God. Ah, Lord, have mercy on me, please!" But his illness increased, and God, Whom he had scorned during his life, no longer had ears to hear him. He was a proud man, a blasphemer, and despite his urgent prayers, he was not listened to and had to go to Hell.

It is a grievous but a just punishment that sinners, who throughout their lives have spurned all the graces which God has offered them, find no more graces when they would like to profit by them. Alas! The number of people who die thus in the sight of God is great. Alas! That there are so many of these blind people who do not open their eyes until the moment when there are no further remedies for their ills! Yes, my dear brethren, yes, a life of sin and a death of rejection! You are in sin and you do not wish to give it up? No, you say. Very well, my children, you will perish in sin. You will see that in the death of Voltaire, the notorious blasphemer.

Listen carefully and you will see that if we despise God always and if God waits for us during our lives, often, by a just judgment, He will abandon us at the hour of our death, when we would like to return to Him. The idea that one can live in sin and give it all up one day is one of the Devil's traps which will cause you to lose your soul as it has caused so many others to lose theirs. Voltaire, realising that he was ill, began to reflect upon the state of the sinner who dies with his conscience loaded with sins. He wished to examine his conscience and to see whether God would be willing to pardon him all the sins of his life, which were very great in number. He counted upon the mercy of God, which is infinite, and with this comforting thought in mind, he had brought to him one of those priests whom he had so greatly outraged
and calumniated in his writings. He threw himself upon his knees and made a declaration to him of his sins and put into his hands the recantation of all his impieties and his scandals. He began to flatter himself on having achieved the great work of his reconciliation. But he was gravely mistaken. God had abandoned him; you will see how. Death anticipated all spiritual help. Alas! This unfortunate blasphemer felt all his terrors reborn in him. He cried out: "Alas, am I then abandoned by God and men?" Yes, unhappy man, you are. Already your lot and your hope are in Hell. 

Listen to this godless man; he cries out with that mouth sullied with so many profanities and so much blasphemy against God, His religion, and His ministers. "Ah," he cried, "Jesus Christ, Son of God, who died for all sinners without distinction, have pity on me!" But, alas! Almost a century of blasphemy and impiety had exhausted the patience of God, Who had already rejected him. He was no more than a victim which the wrath of God fattens for the eternal flames. The priests whom he had so derided but whom, in this moment he so desired, were not there. See him as he falls into convulsions and the horrors of despair, his eyes wild, his face ghastly, his body trembling with terror! He twists and turns and torments himself and seems as if he wants to atone for all those previous blasphemies with which his mouth had been so often
sullied. His companions in irreligion, fearing, lest someone might bring him the last Sacraments, something which would have seemed to them to dishonour their cause, brought him to a house in the country, and there, abandoned to his despair ...
[sermon unfinished - Trans.]

Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

November 15, 2014

An Open Letter to the Pope, Cardinals and Bishops

Matthew the Apostle

Most Holy Father, Your Eminences, Dear Bishops:

You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house.

So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, that unless your justice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

In the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, I Remain Your Most Obedient Servant, 

Matthew the Apostle 

Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

The Theresa Trio - Sts. Therese, Teresa and Ven. Maria Theresa Quevedo


I've recently included the above picture on this blog, put together by a friend from work (H/T Gary M.) of three of the more well known "Theresa's": St. Therese of Lisieux, Ven. Maria Theresa  Gonzalez-Quevedo and St. Teresa of Avila. All have over the course of years proved a part of my life, whether it be from their writings (Sts. Therese and Teresa) or from a relevancy to my children, especially my daughters, (Maria Theresa). And there is also the-woman-formerly-known-as-my-wife, who just happens to share their name and had - as in the case of the two saints - an aspiration for entering the Carmel (though that obviously was not her vocation.) She also had picked the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila as our wedding day, as much for its falling on a Saturday as the month of both Saints' feast day and the Month of the Holy Rosary (to which we were both devoted.) She was also named after Therese of Lisieux.  

Though I feel I should know more of both Saints, I have only read the biography of one (Therese) and will hopefully get to the other (Teresa) soon. As for Maria Teresa, I have read her biography and highly recommend it, especially for those who have daughters. It's affect on me was such that I had offered my 4 daughters ten dollars each just to read it, I felt it so beneficial (they all did read it, but declined my incentive, to their great credit.) You would not do wrong in making a similar offer to your own daughters.

For your convenience, here are the Book Links from Angelus Press:

The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of the Little Flower 
St. Teresa of Avila's well known The Interior Castle

The story of "Terisita" Quevedo (1930-50), the Catholic beauty who wanted to become a saint: Mary was Her Life

Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

November 14, 2014

Every now and again, I read articles concerning marriage, divorce and/or annulment that have the same theme or make a parallel statement to what I've written previously. Anthony Esolen, in a recent article for Crisis Magazine, asks why the children of divorce are sacrificing their happiness for that of their parents. It is the same question I had asked in a post here.

Now, this means nothing more, really, than this: my objections to and writings of and against all things concerning divorce and annulment are rooted in basic reason, common sense, Catholic Teaching and Catechism 101. For every secular objection to a particular point against divorce, there usually is a corresponding basis for it in Catholicism. Hence, even the most non-professional, non-college educated Catholic can understand the fallacy of extending "mercy and compassion" for the divorced and remarried sans annulment, because it leaves out the essential element of Justice. The average Catholic understands (or should) that because the Catechism of the Catholic Church specifically states that divorce is immoral, it is in fact undeniably so. There is no Gray area (or used to be, anyway), just the stark and well defined color of Black. Which, unfortunately, those in power are now trying to change to an ever-fluid, ever-changing mottled-gray.

So...once again, a point has been made by another and more worthy writer that echoes what I've already stated. In a recent Rorate Caeli article by Don Pio Pace, he concluded with the following statement: 

"...It is undeniable that great efforts must be made regarding the preparation of engaged couples in order to educate them on the beauty and the demands that they envisage. There, as in so many other domains, the challenge for the Church of tomorrow is the correct transmission of the catechism."
He echoes a similar thought of mine from a July 2014 post that had within its conclusion the statement that:

"...The Catholic Church and her Bishops should begin to work more diligently to assist Catholic Spouses in preserving their Sacramental marriages by (1) enforcing and applying the Canon Laws that concern reconciliation and (2) remind couples in PreCana conferences the serious nature of and what is meant by Fidelity, Permanency and "till death we do part". By doing so, they may correct the backdoor problems currently being experienced in Catholic Marriages and which is the Raison d'être of the Synod. If assistance in repairing the foundation of the marriage can be done at the earliest stages of cracking, rather than simply abandoning the marriage to build anew, much of the Synod's necessity for existence would be moot and perhaps more fervent and vibrant parish families would result."

Don Pio Pace has stated my own thoughts in far fewer words.

Is it a wrong conclusion to make, then, that more priests like Don Pio, Fr. Michael Rodriguez (see here and here) and Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, need to be a part of the inner circle of Papal advisers and to banish the Cardinal Kasper and Company members to a parish church as far from the big city as possible, where they can be assured of time for reflection and contemplation concerning their priestly ministries?

Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

November 10, 2014

REPOST: Becket, Bishops and No Fault Divorce

UPDATE: A re-post from November 2013, in honor to Cardinals Burke, Mueller, Pell, et al... Though at the time it dealt with the HHS Mandate, it easily segues into the recent rift over Communion for the divorced & remarried sans annulment. They fit perfectly the role of Burton's Beckett, standing before and staring down those who would seek the neutering of the Sacrament of Matrimony; the devaluation of Catholic Marriage; the open condoning of mortal sin through false mercy and compassion. They rose to the defense of Marriage, regardless of the cost to self, which in the case of Cardinal Burke, was swift and notable. 

It brings to mind a quote from Winston Churchill, which I think is very apropos:

"If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."

Better to be banished than submit to heresy; better to continue the fight in open terrain than from within the fort; better to submit to Truth than to error; better to be concerned for the Soul in Eternity than the Body on earth... (ed.)


I came across this gem of a video while reading a review of the book Christians in the Movies: A Century of Saints and Sinners (link here) over at The American Catholic. It is quite apropos - in my opinion - of the type of leadership that is much needed within the Catholic Church from its Bishops. Forceful, steadfast and unafraid - Richard Burton's portrayal of St. Thomas Beckett standing and staring down his accusers clearly shows the kind of fearless leadership that is sorely needed in today's secular world, and the seemingly more secular USA.

Granted, many of our Bishops are now on the offensive as regards to the HHS mandate - and rightfully so. But I wonder if this vigorous offense was present when no-fault divorce started its deadly course. (A quick, though certainly not exhaustive, Google search produced no findings on the offensive plays of the Bishops over the years since NFD's inception, except for New York, though it also passed the law in 2010 and holds the "honor" of being the last of the 50 states to do so.) And I also wonder how likely is it that many of us victims of divorce and annulment might still be at home with our wives, husbands and children had the NFD onslaught been stopped, or at least severely crippled.

Enjoy. But weep also for that which we have lost...

Copyright 2014 David Heath© - All Rights Reserved

November 2, 2014

Divorce and Spousal Relations

Do you truly believe that the relationship with your former-ex-separated spouse will get any better, once they have gotten all they want, whether it be divorce and remarriage or divorce, annulment and remarriage? Do you think you will be treated any differently than you are now or have been? Do you think just because your spouse has now found the "Bed of Roses" they have been looking for (and you, my friend, were definitely not it!) and is now living "happily ever after" that they will be all smiles and giggles as regards you?

Did the 2014 Synod definitively, doctrinaly and morally uphold in clear and concise language the Sacrament of Matrimony and the perennial teaching on sodomy and homosexuals? Uh, huh...

It will never change, so don't be naive about it.  It will be impossible for any relationship to return to what it was before the one decided to split, obviously. But neither will you ever become platonic friends whose common interest and concern - the children - are tantamount and demands a truce, at least as far as any children are concerned. It (the relationship) demands that discussions for and about children should be conducted between the spouses as if they were still married - with the honor and respect due to each of their respective vocations. With any disagreement falling on the side of the Residential Parent, it remains for the the other Spouse to accept such decision charitably, even though it may go against good order and discipline. Even if it goes against the moral good of the children, there's naught you can do but accept it, other than pray, of course.  Your spouse has Civil Law on their side, being the residential parent and all. 

Photo Credit

Erma Bombeck once wrote the best-selling book The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank. And she should know, being a Catholic wife and Mother whose marriage lasted almost 50 yrs before her death at 69. She once said that "God created man, but I could do better" and I believe she was referring to a future time when many would take that as their mantra when faced with the specter of dissatisfaction within a marriage. "Well, hrumph!" you may say..."God may have created man and through His Son the Sacrament of Matrimony, but He certainly didn't create either to mean we really - and permanently? Really? - have to live a man or woman who doesn't satisfy us and our needs. Otherwise, God wouldn't have allowed annulments, right? I mean, don't I know what I need better than He? Hmm??"  Maybe, I suppose...but Erma didn't tell you the reason the grass is always greener - underneath, the sod is full of s**t, slime and sludge - the offal from the septic tank of marital compromises, errors and subjective needs/wants/desires. With so much stink under the green grass permeating the "relationship air", is it any wonder you can't have "peaceful co-existence"? Why there can never, ever be a "can't we all get along" relationship. 

As I've written in a previous post, you will find yourself in a continual no-win scenario: on the one hand, you have to challenge your spouse when faced with errors, especially when your children are involved; on the other, you know such challenges do nothing to ease the tensions - and more than likely will be known by the children, causing further tensions. You will be wrong at times in pursuing this course and right at other times. It's going to be a judgement call among the millions of others you will be faced with over the course of 5, 10, 15 or even 20 years, depending on the ages of your children. So...what to do? You can't stop living your vocation as a Parent, any more than you could walk away from the marriage that was violently ripped from your grasp. You will find yourself at times compromising on your principles, just to keep peace - biting your tongue and making it bleed, so to speak. And you will not be wrong in doing so. So, again...what to do?

It's no easy answer and you'll never know if its the right one. Probably choosing to communicate with as few words as possible is best, ignoring the need to challenge in favor of the greater good to keep peace. Even where it concerns your children, answering directly and with as few words as possible is preferable to a potentially cantankerous email exchange that will do neither of you any good (besides, you run the risk of having second-spouse come to their defense, something you do not need and that will serve no useful purpose.) So, you will find you have to retreat to an almost virtual silence, answering in short, incomplete sentences and paragraphs. Writing more when it concerns children, but never what is truly needed - an over-coffee exchange of two parents chatting about the kids. Not one parent and one non-parent. Not one loving and caring parent and one disinterested one. Just two parents concerned for their children. As the poet Randall Mann wrote: "There was a time we had functional alignment. I was your individual contributor, you my associate director."  

Alas! that time is now no more, as you have been let go in favor of a seemingly more worthy contributor....

Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

November 1, 2014

Holy Days of Obligation in the USA

From the USCCB Website, the Holy days of Obligation here in the USA are, per Canon Law:

Canon 1246, §2 - Holy Days Of Obligation
On December 13, 1991 the members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States of America made the following general decree concerning holy days of obligation for Latin Rite Catholics:

In addition to Sunday, the days to be observed as holy days of obligation in the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States of America, in conformity with canon 1246, are as follows:

January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, the solemnity of the Ascension
August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
November 1, the solemnity of All Saints
December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
December 25, the solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

There is, however, this disclaimer:

"Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption, or November 1, the solemnity of All Saints, falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated." (My Emphasis)

This by extension - to me, anyway -  also denotes that since (1) December 8th and December 25th are Solemnities, the same as the other Holy Days listed above; and as (2) excepting for Ascension Thursday, the others can also fall on a Saturday or a Monday, would it not also follow that for the Solemnities of December 8th and December 25th, that required attendance at Mass for those days also be abrogated? 

I do not understand the reason - doctrinal,pastoral or otherwise - for this seeming abnormality in Holy Day requirements. Or has "gradualism in the degrees", as it pertains to solemnities, already been in effect since 1993 and what was proposed at the Synod not really all that radical?

My question is not mere rhetoric...I truly do not understand the reasoning of the Saturday-Monday-abrogation and would appreciate any enlightenment.

Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved