July 3, 2014

Divorce, Fortitude and Standing with Mary

Edwin Faust wrote an article for the June 1997 The Angelus entitled Wives and Warriors: The Nature of Fortitude. In the article, Faust stated that Fortitude is "...broadly understood to mean the courage that allows one to advance in the face of adversity", taking the form "...of that patience which allows one to endure suffering, transforming it from an obstacle into an aid to faith and salvation." He makes the natural progression from there, through Thomas Aquinas, that patience is more admirable than a warriors courage, and that when it is prolonged, patience turns into Longanimity, which then becomes a daily way of life that penetrates and marks the individual Soul. And his answer to what makes such fortitude possible? Love. And I might add to that, not just a natural Love, but the Love Christ showed to us from His Cross.

It takes no strength, no fortitude, no courage to file for divorce. No-fault divorce is the law of the land and so the Petitioner will always win. It makes no difference if one spouse wants to heal and reconcile; it makes no difference if one spouse falls to their knees and begs forgiveness; it makes no difference if one spouse documents the many reasons why the divorce is wrong (as if one needs a further reason than children); it makes no difference that the only legacy that will be left to the children will be as some nameless statistic in some sociologist’s research. It only matters that the Petitioner wants out of a troubled marriage and will de-construct the family in order to get what is wanted.  

It takes no fortitude to destroy a marriage and a family. It takes no courage to "fight" to gain a no-fault divorce. It takes no strength to sit in a chair while someone else takes the marital responsibility you do not want and gavels the end of your marriage. No! All that it takes is for the Passions to subdue Reason, and for you to nod your head up and down when questions are asked of you. And that itself begs the question: how can one swear to tell the truth before man, when one cannot even uphold the Truth of their marital vows sworn before Christ? How?? And that is just the beginning of the never-ending compromises that become part and parcel with any divorce. So...who truly has the fortitude, strength and courage - the Petitioner who takes the easy road out of marital difficulties or the Respondent who never stops trying to reconcile, to heal, to fight and to defend their Sacramental Marriage?

We are, perhaps, on the road to establishing the Protestant “personal relationship with Christ” meme within Catholic Marriages. If the the “I’m OK, you’re OK” touchy-feely catholicism gains any more of a Canonical foothold within the Sacrament of Matrimony, it will disintegrate the foundation of those who are Faithfully living their vows after years of being abandoned – by their spouse for a new Prince/Princess and by the Hierarchy through easier and even more-specious annulments. To ease the divorced and remarried outside the church back into full communion by somehow “relaxing” the moral code set forth by Christ, is to effectively destroy two-thirds of the marriage bona. There would be no need for Catholic Marriages, would there? There would be no need for Fidelity and Permanency, would there? It could also bring more pressure to bear upon the innocent spouse to simply cave to this “new evangelization” and to just “move-on” to a new, more "happier" and more "fulfilling" life. And possibly risk further dismissal from a Hierarchy that is apparently more interested in condoning sin than converting the sinner; more interested in preserving illegal alien families than the Catholic ones in their own Dioceses. The inverse of Mr. Spock's statement to Captain Kirk - "The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many" - certainly takes on new meaning, if one takes seriously all the "un-official" comments and quotes coming from our Bishops, Rome and the Cardinal Kasper's of the Church. 

The highwayman's shout to "Stand and Deliver!" should be the rallying cry of abandoned spouses everywhere to the Synod members. "Stand!", Dear Cardinal's, and defend the Sacrament of Matrimony from the assaults of Satan, who seeks to rob it from us. "Deliver!" back to us our marriages, our spouses, our families and our ability to sanctify each others Souls. Urge the Bishops to enforce the Canon Laws that urge the reconciliation of spouses! Demand that any Catholic spouse obtain permission of their Bishop before seeking civil action! You have our prayers! Do not fail yourselves! Do not fail the Church! Do not fail the Sacrament! Remember also, the “battle cry” of Juan Donoso Cortes in his Essays on Catholicism, Liberalism, and Socialism, 1879, which, more than anything else written by myself or others, could be applied to those who remain Faithful to their vows and who continue their defense of their Sacramental Marriages:

In this singular warfare we all fight through forced enlistment; here the system of substitutes or volunteers finds no place. And don’t tell me you don’t wish to fight; for the moment you tell me that, you are already fighting; nor that you don’t know which side to join, for while you are saying that, you have already joined a side; nor that you wish to remain neutral; for while you are thinking to be so, you are so no longer; nor that you want to be indifferent; for I will laugh at you, because on pronouncing that word you have chosen your party. Don’t tire yourself in seeking a place of security against the chances of war, for you tire yourself in vain; that war is extended as far as space, and prolonged through all time. In eternity alone, the country of the just, can you find rest, because there alone there is no combat. But do not imagine, however, that the gates of eternity shall be opened for you, unless you first show the wounds you bear; those gates are only opened for those who gloriously fought here the battles of the Lord, and were, like the Lord, crucified."

A Beautifully written mission statement for those who understand what Catholic Marriage is and why we must defend it, beyond all earthly success, is it not?

I - and others like me - are ready and most willing to continue our defense of this Sacrament and our marriages if the Synod should not. We will continue remain Faithful to our vows, to "Stand and Deliver" at the Foot of Our Lord's Cross our Marriages, our Spouses and our Families, comforted and consoled only by the Presence Our Lady. And as She never abandoned Her Son nor His Church in Their greatest hour of need, so we also will never abandon Them – nor our Spouses and Families, despite the vast array of Wills pitted against us. 

As Catholic Spouses, we can do no less…

Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved