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Summer Readiness: 5 Things Catholics Forget

June 12, AD2014

\"Anabella

You’re on vacation, zip open your suitcase and slap your forehead when you realize that you forgot to pack your sunhat, flip-flops, band-aids, and lipstick taser. Don’t fret, its normal, and there’s always the souvenir shop with the 200% mark up that will gladly sell you what you should’ve packed in the first place.

Since Catholics are normal people, we tend to get distracted from the essential things when the sun is shining, birds a-chirping and the trees are green. This is a friendly reminder and a short list of tips so that we can stay on top of the five most neglected Catholic things in the summer:

1. Eucharist. Vacation doesn\’t mean we’re exempt from the Third Commandment to Honor the Lord God on Sabbath Day. Canon law 1247 and 1248 summarily teach that it is a mortal sin to willfully neglect our Sunday obligation, but we are excused if due to “grave cause,” participation in the Eucharist is impossible. Necessary travel can fall under this situation, but optional vacations do not. Since the Catholic Church is universal, chances are there’s one very close to our vacation spot and chances are there is a Mass every two hours at least. For a complete list of the Mass schedules around the world, visit www.masstimes.org. St. John Paul II said, “In order to gain eternal life, man needs the Eucharist.” St. John Vianney exhorts us, “All the good works of the world are not equal to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the works of men. Mass is the work of God.”

2. Modesty. Whoo-wee. It’s ninety degrees outside and most of us forget (or want to forget) to put clothes on. We’re tempted to think swimwear-inspired outfits are interchangeable with Sunday best, or acceptable for everywhere else that heat can penetrate through. But keep in mind that we are temples of the Holy Spirit and we shouldn’t encourage lustful glances at the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to wear feathers, silly! Loose, cotton material will keep us cool. “We must practice modesty,” said the lawyer St. Alphonsus Ligouri, “not only in our looks, but also in our whole deportment, and particularly in our dress, our walk, our conversation, and all similar actions.”

3. Our children’s spiritual lives. Summer is fun, yay! But we don’t have to run ourselves ragged and sign the kids up for every camp, every sport, ever lesson. Let’s be selective of the activities our children are involved in and mind those Vacation Bible Schools. Just because they’re labeled “Christian” doesn’t mean they won’t be teaching our children heresies or aren’t working actively to recruit members for their Church. Since the devil thrives in the heat of summer, it\’s not wise to take a vacation from our children’s spiritual formation. Take them to Mass, Confession, or a pilgrimage. St. Damien Molokai wrote, “A parent’s first duty is to provide for their children. I have the obligation of giving my children, newly born of water and the Holy Spirit, the things that are necessary for spiritual life.”

4. Good Reads. Every bookstore will be featuring a bevy of beach umbrella reads. Media marketing has conditioned us to believing that it’s negligible to escape into novels that Catholic eyes shouldn’t be reading and Catholic wallets shouldn’t be supporting. St. John Bosco advised: “Never read books you aren’t sure about…even supposing that they are very well written from a literary point of view…would you drink something you knew was poisoned if it was offered to you in a golden cup?” Good news: we have access to a vast Catholic library and the Bible doesn’t have to collect dust in our shelves! There are saints’ books on Theology, spirituality, private revelation and contemporary Catholic writers who have a treasure of wisdom to share for this modern age.

5. Beach Weddings. Well, who doesn’t love a beautiful, romantic wedding, right? Think of all that vanilla frosting, the band music, bubbling champagne, and the reunions! Alas, we Catholics are not free to randomly RSVP to every single invitation. Sorry to be a party pooper, but Catholics are advised to refrain from attending a non-Catholic wedding ceremony of a Catholic because this is equivalent to condoning sin. Catechism 1868 states that we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them: by participating directly and voluntarily in them; by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them. It’s not “judging,” it’s saving our souls from moral culpability. For more information and discernment on this, consult your pastor.

Have a blessed, fun summer, and don’t forget to lather on sunblock.

© 2014 Anabelle Hazard. All rights reserved.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Anabelle Hazard is a practicing Catholic, non-practicing attorney, learning homeschooler, penniless novelist (of Catholic novels “Written in the Sand and Stars” & “Fireflies Dance”), and unpredictable blogger at Written By the Finger of God.

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  • David Peters

    Anabelle this is an excellent article, and I love these reminders. You’re right there are plenty of good books by the Saints and about them. I love the tips about modesty, and not forgetting our spiritual lives when we are away. St. Alphonsus is wonderful! God bless.

  • Laurence Charles Ringo

    Before I comment on this article, in the interest of full disclosure, let me say that I am a Protestant of the non-denominational variety, if you will. I always wondered what catholics REALLY thought of us,if in fact you DO view us as heretics, and it turns out, you do.Wow.thanks for clearing that up for me.(number 3.) I also. noticed how you quoted the opinions of various men far more than you did Scripture. Why was that? Is canon law a substitute for the Mosaic Law in the minds of catholics? Sounds like another”yoke of bondage”, as the great Apostle Paul would say.Oh, and one more question:in what way are you NOT a killjoy? Don’t you trust the Holy Spirit to guide, instruct, and keep your heart and mind safe? He’s waay better at it than the dry, dead pages of so-called canon law.At least with His guidance you won’t have to struggle to remember to live right; you simply yield to His Blessed Prescence, and Christ in you will be your Strength!!-AMEN!!!

    • james

      Laurence, please do not impugn this strident take on God to all Catholics. The
      number of faithful who take this tack are very few and far between.

    • WSquared

      Hi Laurence, Catholics don’t pit Scripture against Canon Law, and vice versa. Moreover, Scripture is read with the eyes of faith in Jesus Christ, truly present, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. We also don’t claim to follow Christ the Head only by severing Him from His own Body, the Church, and Scripture cannot be properly interpreted without the Church– which herself cannot be formed into the Body of Christ without Christ. Moreover, let’s not forget that Christ “did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it.” Canon Law is simply the internal legal system of the Catholic Church, the Body of Christ, and it is therefore in existence to protect the integrity of that Body and her members. It is there to safeguard that Christological fulfillment of the Mosaic Law. It all fits together.

      Moreover, the classic definition of heresy is simply something less than
      the fullness of the truth. Heresy is half-truth at best. …and that
      definition of heresy, by the way, also applies to any form of “Catholicism,” “conservative” and “liberal,” constructed by those who presume to pick and choose what to believe to suit themselves.

      Scripture is also not self-evidently interpreting: there are oodles of Protestant denominations all claiming that their interpretation of Scripture is correct, except they can’t all be correct. If the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, what this practice of all these interpretations all claiming to be correct despite contradicting each other seems to suggest is that God is a liar, and that His very own Holy Spirit lies. Truth cannot not contradict Truth. If one can’t even decide what the Bible actually says, then why should anyone believe that it’s reliable? Atheists understand that implication, which is why quoting Scripture at them is not going to convince them (and why should it?). A good many Catholics have also experienced those who have cherry-picked Scripture and Bible-thumped them, to say nothing of what individual sinners have done on this score throughout history. We also know that it was one of the ways Satan tempted Christ in the desert– “if you are truly the Son of God…” and so on. So this sort of approach to Scripture doesn’t convince Catholics, either, and nor should it. The Catholic Church, however, does claim that the Truth what Scripture says is knowable, and that there is a right way to interpret all of Scripture– reading it through the eyes of faith in Jesus Christ, which of course begs the question of Who Christ actually IS. Hence reading Scripture within the Sacred Tradition, and hence the Magisterium. The Incarnation also matters, and Christ cannot be separated from His own Body. It is not the Bible or the Church, it is both or neither. For these reasons, Catholic parents have every good reason to be discerning and cautious about various “Christian” Bible camps if they want their children to be raised to live the fullest expression of Christianity.

      There is nothing wrong with the individual Catholic reading Scripture, by the way. There are several forms of doing so in Catholic spirituality– the most obvious way is the readings at Mass, there’s the Liturgy of the Hours that focuses a lot on praying the Psalms, and there’s the practice of Lectio Divina, where one not only reads Scripture, but chews over it, and learns to pray with it (this is also what Gregorian chant does). The Church encourages individual reading of Scripture, although one reads Scripture carefully: at the very least, we don’t presume that the individual person is the most reliable interpreter of it. Concupiscence and actual sin, after all, to say nothing of how the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, should make us only too aware of how difficult it is to guard our hearts, as Proverbs exhorts us to do. But, we do our best to do God’s will, knowing that He also meets us where we are and then enables us to move forward towards Him. Moreover, we know that on the Road to Emmaus, the disciples needed Christ to open Scripture for them, anyway. Therefore, Catholics are to turn to Christ and His Body. As an individual Catholic, I have my limitations when it comes to reading Scripture, which is why I essentially cooperate with the Church’s Sacred Tradition by reading Scripture in light of faith in Jesus Christ, and within that aforementioned tradition.

      In addition, let’s not forget Who the Holy Spirit IS. He’s the Third Divine Person of the Holy Trinity. Invoking Him begs the question of the other two Divine Persons and His relationship to them. The Father is the Lover, the Son is the Beloved, and the Holy Spirit is the Love between them. Jesus Christ and the Father are One in the unity of the Holy Spirit. One does not pit the Holy Spirit against Jesus Christ by pitting the Holy Spirit against Christ’s Own Body, the Church.

      I always wondered what catholics REALLY thought of us,if in fact you DO view us as heretics

      Which is no less than what many Protestants tend to think of us through the very language they use and the assumptions they make, though Catholics don’t— and should not– assume that all Protestants necessarily act in bad faith. Yet, here are some reminders: “traditions of men.” “Catholics worship Mary.” “Catholics put Mary above Jesus.” “Catholics aren’t Christians.” And how about the various invitations to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (we wholeheartedly thank you for that invitation, by the way. Truly: after all, if you’ve been given this wonderful gift, why shouldn’t you share it? But have you ever considered that we already have one as per what Christ Himself gives us and will keep giving us unto the end of time?) The list goes on. Catholic Christian parents wouldn’t send their children to just any Bible camps calling themselves “Christian” for the same reasons Protestants wouldn’t send their kids to a Catholic Bible study or even to Mass on Sunday.

      There is also a difference, however, between a Protestant, who does have some of the Truth, but not the Fullness of the Truth, as he tries to live a life that puts Christ at the very center, and a Catholic who has been given the Fullness of the Truth, and Christ’s Real Presence through His Church as well as the very Sacramental means of living IN Christ, but who chooses to reject it. The Protestant is moving, hopefully, in the direction of full Communion with Christ, whereas the Catholic in the latter example has chosen to turn away from Him and full Communion with Him. Here, I merely expound on the theological implications of both examples, and not the actual state of the souls of any such individuals. Also, Protestants know that there are fellow Protestants who leave the pews on Sunday unchanged, just as there are Catholics who do as much.

      In general, I find that most Protestants just want to know that Catholics love Jesus above all else, and love Scripture, but they have yet to learn what this actually means for Catholics, and how Catholics put them into daily practice.

      Don’t you trust the Holy Spirit to guide, instruct, and keep your heart and mind safe?

      Yes, we do. It’s a false dichotomy to not consider that one of the ways the Holy Spirit does keep our hearts and minds safe IS through all that He gives us through the Church, which includes the Code of Canon Law. That does not mean that we assume that simply following the Code of Canon Law is sufficient to live an authentic Christian life. That would be the error of legalism, which tends to account for the killjoy attitudes you rightly decry. But I see none of that attitude in what Ms. Hazard has written above. I am also only too familiar with those who mistake legalism for orthodoxy, and those who presume that any mention of “rules” necessarily smacks of “legalism” and being a “killjoy,” lest any challenge of our laxness call us to conversion (because God forbid that His mercy and Love should require any coherence at all).

      C.S. Lewis understood these tendencies very well in the introduction to The Screwtape Letters. He understood that leaning either too strict or too lax are two ways of misrepresenting what the Church teaches, and essentially doing the Devil’s work. This is no less than what we see in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, when we observe both the Prodigal Son and his older brother. Catholics, and indeed all Christians, struggle with this, because we all struggle to love. We all want to do what is right because it is right, and sometimes, we can go about it in the wrong way. The learning curve is steep, but we are given opportunity upon opportunity to choose to learn and keep learning. This part of the hard slog puts the practice in “practicing Catholic.” But Christ’s yoke is easy and His burden is light– sometimes, the hardest lesson to learn is not to presume that this means that it’s always simple. Complete trust in Christ is often difficult for any and all sinners, given that we all have a little unbelief in us. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.

      He’s waay better at it than the dry, dead pages of so-called canon law.

      Ah, but this is only true if one approaches Canon Law legalistically. When proceeding while asking the Holy Spirit for guidance, and when proceeding out of love for God, however, Canon Law comes alive– one sees Caritas, true Love, at work.

      St. John Paul II’s understanding of how this all fits together is so beautiful: “The Code is in no way intended as a substi­tute for faith, grace, charisms, and especially not for charity, in the life of the Church. On the contrary, the purpose of the Code is to create such an order in the Church that, while giving primacy to love, grace, and charisms, it at the same time renders their entire development easier, both for the ecclesial society and for the individual persons who belong to it.” (Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Sacrae disciplinae leges).

      You might also want to check out the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and what they are.

      I also. noticed how you quoted the opinions of various men far more than you did Scripture.

      You need to tell us on what authority you think that your interpretation of Scripture– and the way that you interpret Scripture– is correct. The “traditions of men” door swings in the Sola Scriptura direction, too, no more and no less than any and all forms of Cafeteria Catholicism do: show us where it says in the Bible that the Bible is the sole rule of faith.

      In addition, what makes you so sure that the “men”– i.e. the Saints, from St. John Vianney to St. John Paul II– you refer to not only don’t know Scripture, but don’t care about it, don’t love it, don’t understand it, and don’t live it? The Saints and their lives are a witness to what God has revealed through Scripture; how it’s put into practice. You might want to look further into how these “men” approached, understood, and lived Holy Scripture, and how they lived through, with, and in Christ with everything they were given. When Catholics refer to these “men,” as you call them, it’s sort of a shorthand, in that Catholics understand that they witness to the glory of God as revealed through Scripture. Their lives don’t contradict Scripture but reveal ways of living it as different individuals with different gifts, themselves having prepared fallow ground in their hearts for the Word of God, which there does not find rocky soil or weeds to choke it off (see the Parable of the Sower). They testify to His work, to what it means to love Jesus Christ Crucified and Resurrected, and to live in Him.

      you simply yield to His Blessed Prescence, and Christ in you will be your Strength!!

      Oh, but we do.

      More than you can ever imagine (and often in ways that we ourselves don’t fully perceive until we take a step back and deeply contemplate what God has done for us and is doing for us– and doing in us). And at every Mass, through the Eucharist. But we not only “yield” to Jesus Christ in Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, we receive Him into our very selves, provided that we “discern the body,” therefore receiving Him worthily. Through that process, we are actually conformed to Him and united to Him all the more closely: there’s that part of Scripture about us living in Him and He in us. And yes, He does become our strength, and we become rooted and built up in Him, firm in the faith. Not every Catholic, however, chooses to take Him up on the invitation that He extends to us daily. But part of the Good News is that God ain’t done with them yet, just as He ain’t done with you and me. It is understandable that any and all sinners struggle with sanctifying grace as we fumble toward the narrow gate. And not everyone who goes astray is lost…do I hear an “Amen”? 😉

      God bless you, and thank you for stopping by.

    • Jeff_McLeod

      WSquared – wow! When you said that Gregorian Chant assists us in meditating on the meaning of the words in the Liturgy of the Hours it was something I had never considered before, it really caught me.

      Yes Gregorian Chant does this! I sometimes hum the words in Gregorian Chant when I pray the hours alone. When I think about it in light of what you said, I feel like a different part of my mind is receiving the words when they are intoned.

      You are a treasure, WSquared. You are an ambassador of Christ. This is a very thoughtful essay through and through.

    • WSquared

      Hi Dr. McLeod!

      When you said that Gregorian Chant assists us in meditating on the
      meaning of the words in the Liturgy of the Hours it was something I had
      never considered before, it really caught me.

      …you might want to thank Jeffrey Tucker, the folks at the Chant Cafe, and the New Liturgical Movement for those observations.

      But now it’s my turn to go “wow!” at what you’ve written here: “When I think about it in light of what you said, I feel like a different
      part of my mind is receiving the words when they are intoned.”

      For one, you’ve described something that I’ve been trying to get at about how an integrated Catholic faith enables one to fire on all cylinders.

      I’ve been thinking about your observation, or something similar to it, on and off: the Word of God is not just about the words– the text– but how it is conveyed. If we look at Gregorian chant on the page, the way it stops at, illuminates (or should we even say “embroiders”…), and essentially opens up certain words (and thus Scripture as a whole) is something to think about. We make that observation about our tone of voice when we converse with others, particularly when we rightly admonish any conveying of the Truth without love. Why do we not think the same way about music?

      You are an ambassador of Christ.

      God bless you. Please pray for me, particularly that I will not get in His way!

    • james

      W, you should become a writer for Catholic Stand. Of course, the 2234 words, 201 lines and 23 paragraphs would have to be shortened. I think
      Laurence reacted to your use of the term ‘ heretic ‘ which has unholy
      cannotations due to the fact the the CC had them burned. It seems to
      be a very disrespectful term to use if you’re trying to build bridges. .

    • WSquared

      Thank you for your kind words, James. While I agree that some of the above could be shortened, I tried to make sure that I was thorough. I also thought it might be better to give Laurence some ideas of how Catholics live their faith, and not just simply respond with doctrinal statements or quotes from the Catechism (important as they both are).

      As for the term “heretic” and Laurence’s reaction, I specifically used the term “heresy,” not “heretic” for that reason: I refer to actions and ideas, not persons. It’s also why I made it very, very clear that the word also applies to Catholics, and not exclusively to non-Catholics, or even specifically to Protestants. Again, the Protestant who has some of the Truth, but not its fullness out of ignorance is not in the same position as a Catholic who has been given the fullness of the Truth, but who chooses to reject it.

      If not “heresy,” then I would choose
      “error.” But even the latter seems a bit murky (what kind of error, after all?): it doesn’t hold the same
      connotation of denying a revealed truth of the Catholic faith. “Heresy” is more precise.

      There was also no disrespect meant, or ill will. For one, building bridges does not mean that non-Catholics get to have the conversation (or the debate) only on their own terms, or else the Catholic was necessarily being disrespectful and rude. Coming the other way, Catholics should generally not assume that everyone knows what we mean, and should explain ourselves more clearly when asked. So in that, I really do thank Laurence for sparking a good discussion and giving us the opportunity to explain ourselves further. Building bridges involves meeting others where they are. But it also requires knowing where to point them.

      If we’re going to talk about disrespect and building bridges, it seems fair to point out that the false dichotomies and leading questions that
      many Protestants pose to Catholics about what Catholics supposedly believe/don’t believe can also come off as disrespectful. Ms. Hazard’s supposed “quoting of men, rather than Scripture,” is just another wording of “traditions of men,” and is a false dichotomy for reasons I already outlined. Then there was the suggestion that we don’t trust the Holy Spirit. I understand that from a Protestant view, Laurence may feel rankled at hearing the word “heresy,” but he also assumed that Ms. Hazard called him and other Protestants heretics, when she referred to ideas and actions, not people. The onus is also on him to ask what Catholics actually mean by the word “heresy,” and how we use that word. Respect must go both ways.

      Moreover, it’s not that far a step to go from “error has no rights” to the clarification that “error has no rights, but persons who espouse error do” (the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith revoked Hans Kung’s license to teach Catholic theology. It did not say that he should be burned at the stake).

    • james

      ” reading it through the eyes of faith in Jesus Christ, which of course begs the question of Who Christ actually IS. Hence reading Scripture within the Sacred Tradition, and hence the Magisterium.”
      Subjectivity doesn’t get any more beautiful than this.

      ” Building bridges involves meeting others where they are. But it also requires knowing where to point them.”

      To paraphrase the mystery of what the ‘ sound of one hand clapping ‘ is like, I substitute: where on an axis is the direction
      of two fingers pointing ? Anyways, its your passion that I truly
      applaud.

    • WSquared

      Nothing all that subjective, really. I don’t choose to see only what I want to see. I also have to measure what I see or think I’m seeing while reading Scripture against what He actually teaches through His Church. For one, I pray to be careful, lest I not only do Him an injustice, but it would also do those whom I read an injustice. I also try to keep my relationship with Him healthy by an active prayer life and regular partaking of the Sacraments, including Confession. If I don’t immediately see how everything fits together in what I read, I pray for the answer to come, and I pray also for the grace to be humble and patient. If God is Who He says He is, then He can take our questions. It is often we who don’t like His answers.

      where on an axis is the direction
      of two fingers pointing ?

      Toward Christ and what He reveals through His Church– and here, I don’t just mean what the Magisterium teaches, even as I include it, but also what the Church is across time and space: Church Militant, Church Suffering, and Church Triumphant. I can only invite, and I just do the best not to get in His way. Even as I would never claim to be the best of all witnesses, I can only try my best, and I can always point in the direction of those whose witnesses are way better than mine. They’re called the Saints.

      Again, the Protestant claims to point in one direction, the Catholic the other whenever we encounter each other and then engage. And again, the relevant question to both comes from Christ: Who do you say that I AM?

    • WSquared

      And note that I didn’t say that the Protestant necessarily always points in the exact opposite direction as the Catholic. I most certainly don’t mean to suggest any such thing.

      To have some of the Truth but not all of it means exactly that. The Catholic can say, “okay, but go further…” or “but how are those two things necessarily opposed?”

    • james

      ” I also have to measure what I see or think I’m seeing while reading Scripture against what He actually teaches through His Church.”
      Sorry, this does not qualify as objective criteria. In the end whatever you pic and pat and pray on MUST square with ie:
      the magesterium or else you conclude that you MUST be in error. Your mind is made up (for you) as to whatever answer
      you seek.

    • WSquared

      Whoo. It’s not as cut and dried as all that, and the Magisterium doesn’t provide such easy, pat answers. We know this much from observing any and all discussions on NFP, where enough Catholics– like the larger culture– can sometimes behave as though the only options available are providentalism and the pill. There’s a lot of discomfort there with how it’s not that cut and dried and pat, and with how the Church asks that we prayerfully discern God’s will according to individual circumstances, trusting that He will provide (not just for the needs of another child, but also self-control where needed). NFP works in conjunction with God’s grace and an authentic spiritual life, which while it can come with challenges, is not impossible or merely a mechanical managing device. In fact, most of these discussions contain very little mention of Sacramental grace, forgetting that Christ’s warning that “without Me, you can do nothing.”

      The tussles over NFP are a case of the Magisterium teaching the Truth, but individual Catholics struggling with applying it to their lives and living it. The fact that I or any other Catholic struggle with NFP doesn’t make the Magisterium wrong or unrealistic. It just makes us weak and in need of God’s grace to live what seems hard or impossible– namely, to live the life of eternity, the life of God. Which is what anyone would reasonably and realistically expect of human beings.

      In the specific case of Scripture, Truth does not contradict Truth, and the Truth of Scripture does not contradict the Magisterium, whom the Holy Spirit guides. Scripture is the Word of God in the language of Man. It’s not “it,” especially seeing as how the Word was made Flesh.

      “Sorry, this does not qualify as objective criteria.”

      Sorry, but yes it does if– as the Way, the Truth, and the Life– Jesus Christ is God, the Incarnation is a historical reality, and the Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. God is impartial. The Pope and the Magisterium are always obligated to let Him have His say, and He gives them to us in order to preserve the integrity of His Body. The fact that He gives us the Spirit of Truth, His own Holy Spirit, but that that gift is held in earthen vessels doesn’t change that.

    • james

      ” The tussles over NFP are a case of the Magisterium teaching the Truth, but individual Catholics struggling to apply it to their lives and living it.”

      I know this, W. That doesn’t change the fact that each individual makes subjective decisions as to what course they take based on an almost infinite number of variables and sometimes what is a sin for one is not a sin for another. It’s that 2nd clause – you must know that it is wrong. Now, are the consequences, of say ‘the pill’, all the same for everyone ? Yes, they are. And what’s more, when fertility is as easy to know as touching your skin with a device that tells you instantly, the number of abortions will drop to almost zero. When abortion is no longer the evil that is being righteously fought today, the magesterium is going to have to get into the trenches and take on sexual relations :
      a loosing battle, an unwinable war because it is one of the 4 human drives =- eating, fear, sex and agression. It is what started the human race and those fig leaves Adam and Eve put on are now off for good. Their symbolism is shame and dysfunction. Although we’re a sexually inferior species when it comes to knowing how to apply this destructive and creative power, it won’t always be so. Now, I hope you are not three weeks behind in all your replies as I like to end threads when they
      become redundant.

    • Anabelle Hazard

      Thank you, WS Squared. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to comments like this. This deepens my understanding of the Catholic faith and love for the Church. This should be a post submitted to CS.

    • WSquared

      Thank you for your post in general, Anabelle. You raise some very good points, and they go hand in hand with how we should give God our vacation time, too, because He makes that time more fruitful and fulfilling– and therefore joyful in ways we don’t expect.

      What you’ve written is also a reminder that we are Catholic 24/7, because we are to be Catholic. We don’t just “do Catholic things” at particular scheduled times. We may have to put the Catholic book down at times in order to get other things done. But that doesn’t mean that we stop being Catholics in thought, word, and deed, which begs the issue of holistic and integrated practice.

      Sorry to be a party pooper, but Catholics are advised to refrain from attending a non-Catholic wedding ceremony of a Catholic because this is equivalent to condoning sin.

      Exactly. And this one can be very difficult to communicate with charity (for frustration always abounds when we want to do the right thing and when we know that somebody is always going to take the line that because you don’t want to do what they want, you’re necessarily “not nice,” “uncharitable,” “rude,” “unloving,” “disrespectful,” and “mean,” and… “imposing your religion on them”). But Christ is the ultimate teacher, and will meet us where we are. We have to ask Him.

      We can be very happy for someone’s relationship, but be saddened that they are going about it the wrong way. We are not saying “marry in the Catholic Church or I won’t come to your wedding!” So the imposition is not ours. Demands that we celebrate mortal sin are an imposition, and it is unacceptable, both for what is being imposed and the sheer hypocrisy behind any finger-wagging or yelps about “impositions.” We are saying that it’s because we love the couple and want the very best for their relationship that we cannot celebrate mortal sin. Mortal sin kills God’s grace in our souls, and is a refusal of the ultimate in love of both God and neighbor that we participate in at every Mass. Why would this be something to celebrate? We thank them for their kind invitation, but we cannot attend. Respect must go both ways: we respect their decision, but they should also respect ours– someone may choose to not care about their souls, but they may not demand that others keep them company.

    • David Peters

      WSquared, this is the most comprehensive explanation I have ever read. I learned a tremendous amount. Thank you!

    • Anabelle Hazard

      You mistake my view of VBS teachings for my view on Christian people. I love my Christian brothers and sisters but I protect my children from erroneous teachings.

  • Holly Williams

    This is a good reminder for everyone! Thanks for posting this! I shared it with my Catholic Apologetics Facebook page.

  • johnnyc

    Good advice, thanks! St. Alphonsus Ligouri is quickly becoming one of my favorite saints. I just read the Glories of Mary and soon will read The Holy Eucharist.

    For summer reading there are some excellent Catholic books that just became available. Scott Hahn has two new books (Angels and Saints and Evangelizing Catholics) and Fr. Mitch Pacwa has a new one also (Mary-Virgin, Mother, and Queen: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics).