My First Wobbly Post Cancer Post, and It’s About Little g gods.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Daniel R. https://www.flickr.com/photos/zonadearte/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Daniel R. https://www.flickr.com/photos/zonadearte/

This post for Catholic Vote was the first post I wrote after being away so long. I felt like someone trying to ride a bicycle for the first time in years; all wobbles and uncertainty. So, I went with something I believe to my core and have written about many times before: Many Christians on both sides of the political spectrum have made a false god of their political parties. They trim their faith to fit their politics.

I knew when I wrote it that people who are deep into this form of idolatry would become enraged and call me names. Satan is in control of them, and they don’t know it. When someone confronts them with their sin, they attack and vilify that person for telling them what they don’t want to hear.

It’s interesting that not one of these folks had the brains or ability to support their views with actual facts and arguments.  They simply went to the lowest sez-you, you’re-this-or-that denominator. In short, they reached for abuse and a ham-handed attempt to use the combox to commit calumny to support their position.

I knew this would happen. But I’ve been away from the internet, and I was, even after my years of dealing with this particular form of spiritual death, surprised by the vehemence of some of those who have fallen into it. I’m not mincing words here. I am calling the political heresy what it is: idolatry, satanic, sin, spiritual death. The combox viciousness is merely a symptom of how sin sick and lost these people are.

Someone said, You cannot serve two masters, and He was right. He also said, You cannot serve God and Mammon, and He was right again. I believe that Mammon refers to more than money; it is the entire worldly edifice. You cannot walk the Narrow Way that leads to life, and the Broad Way that leads to perdition, both at once.

These people who follow their politics instead of Jesus are, well, not following Jesus. They have become followers of another god, and it is the most pernicious and deadly little g god of them all: Their own vaunting self-righteousness.

I made a list of the worst actors in this regard and I am praying for them. I also pray the St Michael prayer every day for our sin sick nation. This country needs an exorcism, beginning with those who call themselves Christians but put the little g gods of this world on the altar of their hearts, instead.

Here’s part of what I wrote for Catholic Vote:

I have said this many times, and I expect I will say it many more: You cannot follow Jesus Christ and follow either of the two political parties.

This election season has demonstrated in an obvious way that both our political parties are morally bankrupt. It has shown us, if we would allow ourselves to see what is directly in front of us, that this great nation, founded as it was on the idea that all human beings are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, is in danger of being brought down, not by enemies from without, but from the craven manipulations and lies of our political parties.

We will destroy our country if we do not cease and desist from the self-destructive nihilism and corporatism that our political parties are pushing on us.

Far too many people, Republicans and Democrats alike, have made false gods of their political affiliations. They feed this idolatry by hating the sins of the other party without acknowledging the sins of their own party.

In fact and in truth, there is enough fodder for that gun in either party’s behavior. Read the rest here.

 

 

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

There are Two Ways to Survive Cancer

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aaaarrrggghhh! https://www.flickr.com/photos/uselessid/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aaaarrrggghhh! https://www.flickr.com/photos/uselessid/

I’m back. Sort of.

As I explain in this post I wrote for the National Catholic Register, I feel like a shipwreck victim who has washed up on a strange shore. I’ve been so completely immersed in that nether world of cancer treatment and fighting for my life that this normal world seems odd to me.

The values of this world are backwards to me now, more so than they already were backward to me as a practicing Christian. The physical part of cancer is all bad. Every single bit of it. It has left me dealing with a set of deficits and diminishments that will last as long as I do.

But thanks to the love of God, the spiritual side of cancer has been a remarkable gift. The Holy Spirit walked with me throughout, and I have come closer to Him than I thought possible in this life.

Here is a bit of what I wrote for the Register.

I told a friend that I feel as if I’ve been away. I feel like someone who has wintered over at the South Pole and is now peeking from behind doors at the newcomers who’ve arrived with the sun.

In truth, I have been to a different continent, but it is a continent of the mind and spirit, of enclosure and obsessive focus. The topography has nothing to do with the unexplored mountain ranges and rivers that I associate with the idea of a new continent. The unexplored areas of this new land were hospital rooms and surgical suites, doctor’s offices and pathology results.

I been fighting for my life, just as surely as any gladiator in an arena, any soldier in battle. I have been, like they are, on strange soil, someone else’s territory, guarding my back as well as my front as I sought purchase on the shaky ground under my feet, as I fought to find the way out of the nightmare.

Cancer is a fight to the death with killer cells that are, in fact, part of ourselves. Nothing will kill cancer that will not also kill us. Because cancer is us. It is our own cells from our own body, gone rogue. Something happened. Either our defenses weakened, or the cell was overwhelmed with a toxicity that almost, but didn’t quite, kill it, and it changed. The change turned it into a terrifying chimera of its old self, a frightening example of what happens to life when the breaks are taken off and one cell — one solitary cell — can multiply and migrate without limit.

Cancer is the ultimate predator. It is the ultimate parasite, taking up ever larger portions of the nutrients and space our bodies need to keep us alive. Cancer is also the ultimate suicidal maniac, that always ends up killing its host, which is to say, itself. Cancer is suicide by greed at the cellular level.

I suppose that makes it a rather elegant metaphor for the politics of greed which threaten to destroy our great nation. But that is a topic for another post.

Today I want to discuss the stunned, waking-up-from-sleep aftermath of cancer treatment.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/there-are-two-ways-to-survive-cancer/#ixzz477qJrqqU

 

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Cancer and Dementia are Risky Ailments in a Time of Euthanasia.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Wes Peck https://www.flickr.com/photos/wespeck/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Wes Peck https://www.flickr.com/photos/wespeck/

I stopped off at Catholic Vote this morning to write a post adding to another post by my friend Kate O’Hare. Kate took on the questions circling cancer and euthanasia.

Cancer is one of those dread diseases that euthanasia salesmen use to convince people that the compassionate thing to do for people is to kill them. Then, they buttress this cold-blooded thought salad of an argument with claims that people are begging for the opportunity to be killed.

Uh-huh.

These arguments are based on ignorance and myth. It isn’t necessary for anyone in the Western world to die shivering and shrieking in pain. We can manage pain just fine. What is necessary is caring and love. True compassion walks the last mile with the dying and sees them home in love.

That takes work, and it can cost money. So, some folks have hatched up this death with dignity story to justify putting other people down like they were animals. But real death with dignity is to die in peace with the people you love who have walked the hard road to departure alongside you.

Here’s part of what I said about all this:

My friend Kate O’Hare recently wrote a post here at Catholic Vote discussing the question of cancer and euthanasia.

I am living with breast cancer right now, as I type. This evil movement to legalize medical murder is more pertinent to me now than ever before.

Euthanasia pushers tout medical murder as an act of “mercy,” when it is in fact the ultimate act of uncaring. I have cancer. I also am caring for my 90-year-old mother who has dementia.

I googled “undergoing cancer treatment while caring for elderly parent with dementia.” I did not get one hit. This particular combination of responsibilities doesn’t fit in “Ten Things to Do When You Have Cancer” blog posts. The only neat solutions to problems like these are evil solutions. Caregiving and dread disease are messy and complicated. They ask of a lot of us.

My situation seems ready-made for the purveyors of death and their murderous solutions for the burdens of life and love. My mother, in their bleak understanding of life, has “lived too long.” As for me, I’m good for a few rounds of treatment. But if that fails, I need to green light somebody to knock me stone dead and put the world out of my misery

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Cancer or Not, I Know Whom I have Believed and I Trust Him.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Waiting for the Word https://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingfortheword/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Waiting for the Word https://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingfortheword/

This is another article I wrote for the Register. This one is about my surgery for breast cancer. I am having surgery today, beginning at 8 CST. It will run until about noon. I would appreciate your prayers, my friends. Rebecca

(Credit: Andrey Mironov, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

I don’t believe that anyone ever asked me what I would do if I got a bad breast biopsy result. But if they had, I’m pretty sure that feeding a sudden craving for classic rock music would not have been among my answers.

Silly me. I just didn’t know.

Monday was a hard day. My husband and I drove to Dallas and I had a biopsy on my breast. Then, we drove home. For those of you who are wondering, driving 200 miles in a Honda Fit after having had your breast rotter rooted is not a fun time.

The surgeon told me at the get-go that he thought “it” was benign. Then, he turned me over to the radiologist for a little look-see. I went into that encounter hoping that they would be able to determine that everything was good with scans. No such luck. After doing a set of mammograms, with a more hyped-up machine than the one here in OKC, the doc turned serious.

It’s funny, in a non-humorous way, how they keep doing that. They walk in all sunshine and light, then get a good scan and switch to all business. The results came in yesterday, and are a bit too technical for this post. Long story short, I’m still out there, wondering exactly how bad “it” really is; only the questions of it being harmless and of no matter have been settled. It’s not harmless, and it is not of no matter.

Next week I go under the knife. Bizarre as this sounds, I can hardly wait. I want this over with, and I want to know exactly where I stand and what I’m in for.

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/i-have-breast-cancer.-whatever-comes-next-i-know-that-i-am-his/#ixzz3tvGkmgAr

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

God’s Blessings are Circled with Thorns, Dressed with Tenderness.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cindi Albright https://www.flickr.com/photos/rustiqueart/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cindi Albright https://www.flickr.com/photos/rustiqueart/

I wrote this post about family and thankfulness for the National Catholic Register.

Here’s part of what I said:

God’s blessings are circled with thorns, dressed with responsibility and laden with tenderness.

God’s blessings are always blessings of love. St. Paul told us that “faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Everything else — our achievements, our missions for the Church, and our many toys — will drop away from us and be left behind. Nothing abides except those things done with love, in hope and by faith.

My Thanksgiving usually passes in a blur of cooking. From early morning until I collapse on the sofa after the meal is finished, I work. Then, after everyone leaves, I go into the kitchen and put the first load in the dishwasher. It usually takes me all day the next day to get everything cleaned and put back in order.

Does that mean that Thanksgiving is more burden than celebration for me? Not at all. There is something wonderful about cooking a huge feast and gathering my dearest loves around a table to enjoy it. Food and drink, love and being together, are indeed among those blessings circled with the thorns of love, responsibility and tenderness that come from God. I would not trade this day of love for leisure. I am, rather, grateful for the opportunity to be Mom to such wonderful people. They are the warp and woof of my life.

I was grateful for many things this Thanksgiving, and, life being what it is, I am burdened by a couple of things; my beloved drug addict niece foremost among them.  Monday, I go to Dallas to begin the process of determining what the mass in my breast might be. That hangs over me like a cloud, as well.

The thing I am most thankful for and my greatest burden are one and the same thing. God has trusted me with the care of my 90-year-old mother. This is far from easy. In fact, it’s a bit like Chinese water torture.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/gods-blessings-are-circled-with-thorns-laden-with-tenderness/#ixzz3tvBzA3C6

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

At the Evening of Life, We Shall Be Judged on our Love

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Waiting for the Word Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Waiting for the Word Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by

My uncle died last Sunday. I’m going to Dallas early next week for my appointment about the mass in my breast.

All these things, plus a number I haven’t written about, have struck me mostly mute of late. I apologize to all of you for being MIA so much of the time. I have quite a lot to say about the things happening in the world, and I’ll try to get back to writing speed as soon as I can.

In the meantime, I did write this post for the National Catholic Register, inspired by my uncle’s passing. Please pray for him. His name is Doyt.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. We have so much to be grateful for.

In Christ,

Rebecca

From the National Catholic Register:

My husband’s uncle died Sunday. He was 82, and had lived a good life.

Before he died, he saw his dead sister, our Aunt Tid, and his mother. That’s not uncommon when we are nearing the end of this life. We get glimpses of the new life we are about the enter.

My guess is that God sends loved ones to us, to help us make that transition, that they are a welcoming committee of sorts. I believe God sends our angels, alongside our loved ones who have passed ahead of us, to lead us home.

Death is not annihilation. Your body and soul will be separated for a time, but you will not stop existing, not even for a moment. On that day, you will hear someone say, You are mine.

In that moment, we will enter the embrace of the one we have chosen to follow, the one for whom we have lived. Will it be Jesus?

You are mine. You belong to me.

We all die. You will die. I will die. Everyone alive will die. We have no choice in that. But we choose whose voice we will hear when we cross over. We choose now, here, each day of our earthly existence, as we decide who we will follow and who we will trust.

Do you trust Jesus? Do you follow Him?

Read the rest: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/at-the-evening-of-life-we-shall-be-judged-on-our-love/#ixzz3sbsoGj9i

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Faithful Catholic Politicians Need Our Prayers and Support

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Kelly Minars https://www.flickr.com/photos/dokidoki/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Kelly Minars https://www.flickr.com/photos/dokidoki/

Kimberly Hahn, wife of prolific Catholic apologist Scott Hahn, got herself elected to an at large position on the Steubenville city council this week.

We need strong Christians in public office, as well as every other endeavor. I wrote a post about Mrs Hahn’s victory and what it means to get elected office for the National Catholic Register. 

Here’s part of what I said:

America reinvents itself every election. What’s so great about this, is that ordinary people like you and me are part of this process of reinventing.

We can vote, make phone calls, donate money, canvass neighborhoods, talk to our friends and otherwise participate in the electoral process by which Americans chose who will wield the powers of government. If we decide later that we made a mistake, there’s always another election to rectify that.

Perhaps the most important way that Americans can participate in the electoral process is to step forward and place their names on the ballot. Filing for office is the first step. What comes afterwards is usually a marathon.

The winner suddenly finds themselves with a lot of new best friends and a boatload of responsibilities, the complexity of which will daunt and overwhelm them at first. The loser ends with nothing but memories.

As we say here in Okieland, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. When it comes to elections, the winner takes all and no apologies.

Two people just learned that hard fact in Steubenville, Ohio. Kimberley Hahn, who is a prominent Catholic author, as well as the wife of the even more prominent Catholic writer Scott Hahn, won an election yesterday. She is the newly-minted member at large of the local city council.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/faithful-catholic-politicians-need-our-prayers-and-support/#ixzz3qjiPJe9o

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Gay Activists Demand Secular, Non-Irish St Patrick’s Day Parade

Photo Source Flickr Creative Commons by Patrick Burgler https://www.flickr.com/photos/erestor0404/

Photo Source Flickr Creative Commons by Patrick Burgler https://www.flickr.com/photos/erestor0404/

This is unfathomable on the basis of discrimination or any of the other claims that have been made concerning this parade. It is, to use a word I frequently apply to today’s cultural deconstruction, nihilism.

From Crisis Magazine:

Twenty-five years ago, a small group of activists charged the New York City Saint Patrick’s Day Parade with being a public gesture of pure homophobia. They built their case around the allegedly bigoted “Catholic character.” The trial was held before the judges of the left-leaning secular media.

A jury composed of the general public yawned, wondering why a 250-year-old civic and religious institution needed to become a battlefield in the culture wars. The activists found this lack of popular support impossible to fathom. Enraged, they determined to do more than just march up Fifth Avenue. They sought to humiliate their enemies, including the parade’s organizers, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the Catholic Church herself.

Then the unexpected: the committee responsible for sponsoring and staging the parade stopped defending itself against the worst of the charges. The case has now moved to the penalty phase.

This week, the victors revealed their demands: a Saint Patrick’s Day parade that is both non-Catholic and—incredibly—non-Irish. As outlandish as that sounds, all indications are that the activists will get what they want, because they’ve somehow managed to capture the imagination of the parade’s new boss—Quinnipiac University president John L. Lahey.

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Drug Addiction is a Catastrophe for Families

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Imagens Evangelicas https://www.flickr.com/photos/imagensevangelicas/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Imagens Evangelicas https://www.flickr.com/photos/imagensevangelicas/

I wish that the Synod on the Family had been able to spend more time considering ways in which the modern world destroys families, often from the inside out. If they had, drug addiction would surely have found a way onto the list.

Nothing is more insidious or difficult to address than drug addict family members. The rest of the family ends up paying a horrendous price for the love they feel for the addict, and the addict is destroyed utterly by both the addiction and the things they do as a result of the addiction.

I wonder that there is so little genuine attention given to this plague by religious thinkers. I honestly do not know why this is so.

I wrote a post for the National Catholic Register about my own struggles with a family member of mine that I love with all my heart who suffers from a life-long addiction to drugs.

Here is part of what I said:

If you doubt that drug addiction is evil, consider what it does to love.

I’ve been dealing for years with the heartbreak and disaster of a beloved niece who suffers from cocaine and meth addiction. I’ve watched and suffered as the drugs destroyed her personality, health and sanity.

It’s as if the drugs were devils who consumed her. They disassembled her personality and shredded her rationality until there was nothing but rage and violence left behind.

Drugs eat the person alive, hollow them out and leave them as clanking and unworkable faux versions of themselves. Drugs degrade addicts in horrible ways. They do things to themselves and others that scar and mutilate them spiritually and morally, as well as physically. The worst of it is that drugs turn them sociopathic. They become manipulative, dishonest, and without conscience in their dealings with the people who love them.

No one can have a practicing drug addict in their life and stay sane and happy. You can’t help them. If you try, they will pull you into their insanity and destroy you, along with themselves. The choice inevitably becomes a choice to either cut all ties with the drug addict, or be destroyed by their addiction, along with them.

That’s why I said that drug addiction is evil. It destroys life, personality, morality and sanity. But its worst crime against the people it infects is that it turns love into a weakness and a weapon.

Read the rest here.

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/drug-addiction-is-a-catastrophe-for-families/#ixzz3pJFlvmjj

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

No Matter What the Synod Does, I Will Keep on Doing What I’ve Been Doing

Photo Source Flickr Creative Commons by Aleteia Image Department https://www.flickr.com/photos/113018453@N05/

Photo Source Flickr Creative Commons by Aleteia Image Department https://www.flickr.com/photos/113018453@N05/

Conscience is a weak reed on which to lay the foundation of your eternal destiny.

I know from personal experience that I can convince myself of anything. I also know that I am not the only person with this problem. In fact, I would guess that this ability to justify oneself to oneself is part of the universal human condition.

The truth is, people cannot do that which they cannot justify to themselves. I have no doubt that Hitler had justifications that worked for him for everything he did. Ditto for Pol Pot, John Wayne Gacy, abortionists and corporatists alike.

They all manage to justify what they do, at least to themselves. The rapist’s “she asked for it,” works perfectly fine to allow him to sadistically degrade, brutalize and harm another person, just as the corporatists’ blather lets their greed fuel wars, create poverty and destroy hope.

I learned a long time ago that nothing makes a person meaner than being challenged on their self-justifications. The worse the thing they are justifying, the meaner they get when the justification is challenged. Thus we have men who beat their wives yelling “You made me do it!” and following that with another blow to silence any challenge to their justification. We have nations going to war rather than treat their own citizens as full human beings.

Nothing makes a person meaner than telling them they cannot kill somebody they’ve decided it is their right to kill. If you try to confront them with the reality of what they are doing, they become dangerous to you, as well.

The one thing you cannot rely on to make them change their behavior is the whispering of their own conscience. Conscience is an unworkable guide precisely because conscience is so easily shaped by the forces of self interest and human weakness. Perhaps the number one human weakness that damages conscience is the desire to be accepted and liked by the people around us.

That weakness works against good judgement and right conscience in an insidious and steady sort of way. It is buttressed by sophisticated arguments that excuse virtually anything. Today’s advocates for dissolute living are skilled in making good sound bad and bad sound good.

They can and do convince people that everything from killing grandma with euthanasia to dismembering our children with abortion is a positive good. Our conscience is no defense against them unless we have a reliable touchstone by which to judge and evaluate what we are hearing.

For two thousand years, the Catholic Church has provided that reliable touchstone. For two thousand years, the Church has held fast in its teachings and dogma. Individual priests and bishops have been all over the map in their moral teaching. They are all over the map right now on the core challenges facing modern Christians. But the Church itself has never taught that which is not true. It has not deviated from following Christ and Him crucified.

That is why so many Christians found the discussions at last year’s Synod disturbing. That disturbance is why they are distrustful of this year’s Synod. They become restive when Synod fathers talk about allowing individual conscience to be used as a guide for when it’s ok to ignore grave sin because they know — we all know — that our own consciences can lead us straight down the road to perdition.

We need a Church that we can trust to present us with Jesus Christ, Who is the same yesterday, today and forever. We do not need and will not benefit from theological experimentation that runs perpendicular to the explicit teachings of Our Lord and of Scripture.

Jesus said, For this cause a man shall leave his mother and father and join with his wife and they two shall become one flesh, so that they are no longer two, but one. What therefore God has joined together let no man put asunder … anyone who divorces … and marries another … commits adultery. 

He was speaking directly and explicitly about the question of divorce, which he said Moses had allowed due to the Israelite’s hardness of heart. Marriage is between one man and one woman and it is for life. Period.

St Paul said, … whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup unworthily shall be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord … and brings judgement upon himself. 

These teachings put a crimp in things for a lot of people these days. If they are true, then a great many men and women are living in adultery. If they are not true, then the Scriptures themselves are false.

People don’t like hearing things like that. They want Jesus. They know they need Him, and they want Him. They crave communion with the Lord, and Christ in the Eucharist is the best and easiest way to achieve that.

They are good people. Many of them repent of their mistakes and are trying to do better. Divorce is a scalding experience that wounds people to the core. That’s because marriage is exactly what Jesus said it was; the binding of two people together as one for life. Tearing that apart is painful beyond pain.

There are often serious reasons for divorce. Violence, infidelity, drug and alcohol abuse are not fixable unless the offender is committed to changing. The only thing the victim spouse can do is end the marriage and try to rebuild.

That is why the Church has developed the process of annulment; to determine if the marriage was invalid. It lets people move forward.

This is a thorny subject for the Church right now precisely because certain bishops are pushing to place Christ’s teaching on a shelf and ignore it in actual practice. They want to say that Jesus said what He said, and the Church is not changing doctrine, but it will ignore the doctrine in its pastoral life.

To my way of thinking, this is inherently dishonest. It also sets the Church on the path of unraveling the cords that bind it together. The Catholic Church is the Eucharist and the Eucharist is a sacrament.

The Eucharist is a sacrament, established by Our Lord. Marriage is a sacrament, established by Our Lord. No one — including bishops — has to power to undo or nullify a sacrament.

If the sacrament of Holy Matrimony can be dismembered into a meaningless nothing that has no actual power in how people live their lives, and the core meaning of the Church, which is the Eucharist, can be taken by force and popular demand, then the Church itself has come unwound.

Holy Orders are meaningless if the Eucharist and Holy Matrimony are meaningless. If the Church puts doctrine on the shelf and ignores it in its actual, pastoral practices as they pertain to the Eucharist and Holy Matrimony, then the sacraments become pro forma to the people in the pews.

I do not understand anyone who would take the Eucharist by force. I do not.

I don’t “get” people who know that they are living in violation of Church teaching and then demand that the Church change what it teaches to suit them. Their job is to change how they live in order to follow Christ. And Church teaching has, up until now, been a reliable guide on how to follow Christ.

Why would anyone take communion when they know they are in mortal sin? Do they think that Jesus can be fooled? Do they think they can lie to Him and He won’t notice? Why would a bishop deliberately lead people into doing this? Doesn’t the bishop fear God?

I understand full well that much of the arguing in the two Synods has been a manifestation of the culture wars raging in the Western world. I believe that a number of politico-socio movements, including the gay rights movement and the new atheism, have a vested interest in tearing down the Church’s teaching.

Trashing the sacrament of Holy Matrimony would weaken the Church’s witness in the world today far more than even the priest sex abuse scandal has done. If the Church walks away from the sacraments, then it walks away from itself.

The fact that so many secular interests perceive the Synod as something they can influence to act in ways that are contrary to 2,000 years of Church teaching says a lot about at least some of the bishops who are meeting there. The other fact, that so many faithful Catholics who have stood by the Church through all the wounds she has inflicted on herself in the past 15 years, are deeply mistrustful of the Synod, says a lot about the danger that lies within the Church if such a change is made.

If the Synod Fathers accede to pressures from the German bishops to radically change Church practice on marriage in these fraught times, they will make the Church the pawn of special interests.  At the same time, they will alienate many of their most faithful followers.

They don’t seem to understand the synergy at work here. To put it simply, a decision to change Church practice would comfort the Church’s enemies, including those who seek to destroy faith altogether. It would, at the same time, alienate and create confusion and mistrust among those who ardently try to follow the Church. It would weaken the loyalty of the people the Church must turn to for help when it is attacked.

I pray about the Synod, but one thing is absolute: No matter what happens with these bishops, I will not leave the Church. To paraphrase St Peter, where would I go?

What I will do is read whatever the Synod produces carefully and prayerfully. Then, I will think about it. I imagine I may go through this read-pray-think process more than once. If the Church wounds itself with unsound practices, I will pray for wiser minds to undo this mistake in the future.

Whatever the Synod does, I plan to keep on doing what I’ve been doing for quite a while now. I will do my best to follow Jesus within the confines of the Catholic Church.

 

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK