Although many of us have had an inkling, mildly speaking, that there is trouble brewing in the Catholic Church, the statistics we heard at Mass put it into a shocking perspective. For every new Catholic welcomed into the Church, six Catholics leave.
For anyone who is shocked and appalled at this statement . . . tell me, where have you been over the last several decades?
How did you miss the change wrought by the onset of feminism and it’s effect on the women, men, and children? Supposedly, women felt a need to climb down from the proverbial pedestal of respect and be treated like a man. Well, that isn’t working out too well as so many women turn their back on the real power of being a women, wife, and mother to spend their life trying to find themselves while demeaning men and just about anyone else that doesn’t agree with them. When would they have time for God. Besides, God is too Patriarchal for them.
Abortion isn’t a quiet issue as it is almost praised and revered for ‘freeing’ women from the unwonted burden of giving a child life. Lack of chastity and women’s newfound freedom isn’t working out all that well. Repentance and confession doesn’t fit into the mind set of their perceived freedom so they don’t need or want the disapproval of the Church or reminders about saints who gave up everything to respect God.
As has often been said in such times, it seems that good is now bad and bad is now the new good. Fake news, warped news, and liberal news confuse the masses to the point they can’t see going to Mass.
Modesty is ridiculed, fashions bare all, there are protests and parades in public you wouldn’t want your child to see. Freedom of speech is waning quickly. There is a lot more that could be said for the slippery slope on which we’ve set civilization. So, if you are shocked at the dwindling numbers of vocations and the people leaving the Church, again, where have you been?
If nothing else, the elections of President Trump’s predecessor should have been a major clue when over 50% of the Catholic vote in both of those elections went to elect a very staunch supporter of abortion and Planned Parenthood. When you knowingly vote to help kill the unborn, it kind of makes honoring God a contradiction in terms.
In the town of Siroki-Brijeg in Bosnia and Herzagovina, not one single divorce or broken family has been recorded in living memory among its more than 26.000* inhabitants! So what is the secret of their success?
The answer is the beautiful tradition the Croatian people of Siroki-Brijeg have for marriage. In fact the Croatian marriage tradition is beginning to take hold in the rest of Europe and America among devout Catholics who have seen the blessings it bestows!
For centuries the people in Siroki-Brijeg have suffered cruelly as their Christian Faith was always threatened by first the Moslem Turks and then the Communists. They knew through experience, that the source of salvation comes through the Cross of Christ! It does not come from humanitarian aid, peace treaties or disarmament plans, even if these things may bring limited benefits.
These people possess a wisdom that does not allow them to be duped over questions of life and death. That is why they have indissolubly linked marriage with the Cross of Christ. They have founded marriage, which brings forth human life, on the Cross, which brings forth divine life.
When the bride and bridegroom go to the church to be married they carry a Crucifix with them. The priest blesses the Crucifix and instead of saying that they have found the ideal partner with whom to share their lives, he exclaims, “You have found your Cross! It is a Cross to love, to carry with you, a Cross that is not to be thrown off, but rather cherished.”
When they interchange the marital vows, the bride puts her right hand on this Crucifix and the groom puts his right hand over hers. Both are bound together and united to the Cross. The priest covers their hands with his stole while they pronounce their promises to love one other in good times and in bad, proclaiming their vows to be faithful according to the rites of the Church.
Then they both first kiss the Cross, not each other. If one abandons the other, they abandon Christ on the Cross. They lose Jesus! After the wedding, the newly-weds cross the threshold of their home to enthrone that same Crucifix in a place of honor. It becomes the reference point of their lives and the place of family prayer, for the young couple believes deeply that the family is born of the Cross.
In times of difficulty and misunderstandings, as all human relationships experience at some time, they do not turn immediately to an astrologer, or a lawyer or psychologist, they turn to the Cross. They kneel, weep tears of repentance and open up their hearts, begging for the strength to forgive each other, and imploring the Lord’s help. These pious practices have been learnt from the time of their childhood.
Here the children are taught to reverently kiss the Crucifix daily and to thank the Lord for the day before going to bed. These children go to sleep knowing that Jesus is holding them in His arms and there is nothing to be afraid of. Their fears and their differences, so normal sometimes between siblings, melt away in their kiss of Jesus on the Cross. They dream of enthroning a Crucifix in a home of their own one day.
The family is indissolubly united to the Cross of Christ. Is this simply a morbid outlook on marital and family life? Or is it a piece of wisdom that few in our modern world can understand?
The Catechism teaches that “love should be permanent or it is not true love. It is not a feeling which comes and goes, but a power to give which should be there even when feeling dies out”.
In marriage we cannot rely on our own human strength, and if we think we can, we shall fail. Temptation enters into every marriage in one way or another. On one’s wedding day it is hard to imagine a day when it all won’t be perfect. Little do the young hearts know that they are embarking on a road which will travel to the highest peaks and the lowest valleys. It is during those times spent deep in the valley that it takes heroic efforts by both to stay the course. At times it is even necessary for one spouse to have the mental discipline to pull the other spouse back into the marriage. Those who are experiencing this or have in the past can fully appreciate the grace that is necessary to hold on through the storm or the silence. There might be days when it all seems hopeless. Then a moment of true grace can bring a flood of renewed love and vitality back to the relationship to renew the sacramental bond. It is during these times of intense difficulty that spouses can experience what is truly meant by those seemingly prophetic words now being added during some marriage ceremonies: “You may kiss the Cross.”
I home schooled my four children until they went to college. This article rang such a familiar bell.
We had been homeschooling for about a year when out of the blue, we got a post card announcing a pot luck picnic meet and greet. My children were so excited to have a play day with other children and I looked forward to meeting some other mothers. My husband didn’t mind meeting up with home schooling dads and getting their view and suggestions.
We arrived and there was a very large crowd of people already gathered and milling around chatting. We looked around for a place to check in or whatever. People looked at us but turned away to greet arriving friends. I put my offering for the potluck on the designated table. We wandered around. I walked up to one group of women who didn’t even try to include me much less ask my name. My husband and I took the children over to a playground and talked to each other.
Lunch was announced and people gathered in groups happily munching and making room for friends. We found a patch of ground outside the circle and picked at our lunch. The group did a lot of praying before and after the meal but didn’t notice a prevalence of real spirituality apparent in their actions.
I guess that, sometimes, you feel you are pursuing such a noble path in life, you don’t have the time to be noble or caring yourself.
In the wake of Vatican II, many people/priests/bishops ‘translated’ parts of the Mass to suit their own desires in posture and prayer. Lately, however, there have been moves to bring the Mass back into how it should be celebrated not how some people like to celebrate it.
Found this great article on the subject that explains a lot of ‘lost’ meaning in an interesting and the correct way.
Given the world today with it’s lack of morality and dignity, I am often thankful that I no longer have to work my way through the dating circles trying to find a good, Catholic man. Seems that predators know that Catholic women are still looking for this ideal man and taking advantage of it. . .