This post is dedicated to Maria, Fiona, Rosemary, and Agnes and their future husbands, good Catholic men still unknown.
In a previous post I touched the matter of marriage from a rather mystical point of view. I also mentioned a comment, by a young lady of marrying age, who complained sweetly about the general lack of good Catholic men, the kind of men that have the vocation to form a family. My conversation with those four lovely and very Catholic young ladies was not lacking in substance. They face a serious situation: the times we live in are wicked, many of their contemporaries are willing to cohabit with their potential grooms for a while, and — I learned sadly from them — a number of priests are validating premarital sex when the matter comes up in Holy Confession. For those young women, it is hard to compete. They are offering only purity when the others are giving away the store, so to speak. The problem is compounded by heretical priests that are sending souls straight to Hell by spreading the false doctrine that sex is not reserved only for those who are joined in holy matrimony. Let us pray for pure young Catholic women everywhere because they will be the mothers of a better generation, I hope.
Oh! The phone calls, emails, and letters I am going to get for posting this! But someone has to say it. Of course, it pleases God to show his power and mercy by having a former serial fornicator proclaim these particular truths. “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” (Luke 19:40) And the stone signing this post is doing a special penance by (uncomfortably) writing this.
Also recently, I learned from an elderly Catholic lady about some incident which revealed that a certain curate had “a girlfriend.” Something that is unfortunately quite common, I was also told. My first thought —I’m ashamed to admit it— was: “Thank God he does not have a boyfriend!” Later I concluded that there is no “better way” to go to Hell. Once one goes there, it’s over. It matters little if one ends up there by boy or by girl.
There are those who think that priestly celibacy is too heavy a burden to be imposed on a man. Having previously exercised little restraint in that department, my life as a Catholic eventually produced a continuous decade and a half of celibacy so far. Experience is a brutal teacher but even the unlearned can benefit from it. Now I can talk about this topic with some authority: walking with Christ is not for sissies.
The first element to analyze is sex itself. God Himself married Adam and Eve. Adam, we are told, was alone in a forced kind of celibacy for a long time before Eve was created for him. One can only imagine what a lovely creature Eve was and yet Adam did not “know” her in the biblical sense until after they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. From the beginning Adam’s sexual impulse was perfectly ordered to Reason. That beautiful girl-woman that God had given him had to grow into full womanhood naturally by experience. That had to take some time. Although the physical womanhood of Eve was there, Adam had to be a father and a husband at the same time. Eve had to be a daughter and a bride at the same time, learning gradually from Adam about God, Creation, and the unfathomable marital link with which God had united them forever. In that I see mysteriously prefigured Blessed Mary’s relationship with the Holy Trinity: daughter of the Father, mother of the Son, and spouse of the Holy Spirit.
That link went even beyond Adam and Eve because it tied them to God’s purpose to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it…” Imagine the joy of that first holy mission!
After sin and disobedience caused the fall of mankind, something tainted the glory of human sexuality. Concupiscence made its appearance and became the source of much pain and heartbreak. That continues unabated until today (please see The Ascent of the Two Avarices.) Throughout history, the original form of human sexuality was deformed in many ways. For the purposes of what we are examining here, let us say that there are two kinds of deformations: a) those that are potentially fruitful and can produce life, and b) those that are by its nature unfruitful. Both mock the natural, lawful, joyful union of marital relations but contain none of its supernatural truth.
The joy of marital relations can be sacrificed (see 1 Corinthians 7:5) temporarily by married couples or by a consecration to celibacy (read the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:12.) When sacrificed either way, marital joy does not lose its fruitfulness. The sacrifice simply redirects its inherent supernatural force to the spiritual realm. That is why a married couple that abstains from marital relations as a form of sacrifice to God receives from God fruitfulness in the spirit. In the same manner, a faithful Catholic priest —of the kind that does not fool around with women and/or men (one has to clarify that these days) — offers his celibacy to God in the same manner that Christ did. How does this happen?
God is good and He is a perfect benefactor. No one can be more generous than God. That is impossible. However, every time a sacrifice is offered —any sacrifice— the generosity of God is saintly challenged: “See my Lord, You have blessed me with the love of my spouse and I want to thank you of my own volition, I want to send back to you some of that wonderful blessing as a sign of my love for You.” That will immediately trigger a divine response. God will generously bless that pious couple.
That same principle applies to priests. The manly Catholic priest acquires by his celibacy the power to inseminate his congregation spiritually. That is a great mystery that we have seen in action with individuals like St. Jean-Marie Vianney or St. Josemaría Escrivá just to mention two.
The devil and the fallen angels are the least original creatures in the universe. They are unable to have one original thought. All they do is mock, distort, and profane what God has created first. The unfortunate varieties of “marriage” people are indulging on, are simply ways in which demons influence mankind into mocking God’s graces. Even the legitimate sacrifices of the Christian marriage are mocked.
Jephthah sacrificed his own daughter to the service of the Tabernacle. You can read about that in Judges 11. We also know that many men of antiquity took temporary or permanent vows of celibacy as a form of sacrifice. Certain couples, even to this day, do the same. I know an Italian Catholic journalist and writer who has taken vows of permanent celibacy along with his wife. They are now in their 80’s and have no regrets. They have been blessed richly by God and have enjoyed the friendship of several Popes. When couples do such things, they sacrifice their fruitfulness. The devil mocks that with the following horrific actions: preconception, self-mutilation, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, sterile “lifestyles” and such.
The unfaithfulness to priestly vows
We are living in wicked times. “Through some fissure, the smoke of Satan has entered the Church.” The Catholic flock carries the heavy cross of having been abandoned by their pastors. Few among the bishops are faithful to the eternal teachings, many priests act as if they were infiltrated by some malignant force to fleece and disperse the sheep of Christ. Since this is a matter well covered by many courageous Catholic journalists, I won’t dwell on it but we all know that the quality of the priesthood has known better times. Just to cite one example: a recent drug fueled homosexual orgy had to be interrupted by Italian police. The event took place in the apartments of an Italian Cardinal, reportedly in his absence. That is one specific horrible event among many.
We all know some case of a priest who has fathered children out of wedlock or “hunts” its own flock for sexual thirsts. In many parishes, priests disappear mysteriously or are transferred to far away locations for no apparent reason. The real reason for those transfers often happens to be some sexual misconduct. Many decades ago, I worked with a talented gentleman who is now a high executive in a prestigious American financial firm. That gentleman had been once Father X a member of a fine Irish family who renounced to a life of ease to serve as a missionary priest. Unfortunately for him, Father X was also a very good looking man. His bishop soon put the moves on him. Father X had to ask to be removed from his post. Once in a new location he was pursued by his new bishop. He told me the whole story years ago. He had seen enough since his seminary days. He simply walked away and started a new life. The Church lost a man who could have been a great priest. If that is not a crying shame, I do not know what it is.
Think of the humiliation Our Lord has to endure when those who are not faithful to their vows lift the Holy Sacrament before the souls entrusted to them. Think of the souls of young men and women sent to suffer eternal damnation because those butchers taught them that cohabitation and premarital sex are “just fine” not to mention how they justify even worse sins like “having a little adventure.”
That is the worse mockery of them all. The priest that was called to be a man of God, to offer his sacrifice for the good of the flock, becomes a creature that is worse than a whore-monger, a destroyer of souls, and an abomination before the very God he hypocritically declares to serve. We have the obligation to pray hard for their conversion and the conversion of the souls they are perverting in their unfaithfulness.
For a Catholic husband, marriage is a sacrifice of immolation. Regardless of the many joys he will live in his new life as a husband and father, if he does it right, he will be offering himself as an oblation to God. Let me quote a recent post on that subject:
“A married Catholic man has to master the art of having nothing of his own. His will, he has given to his Lord and Savior; his body, his seed, and his possessions he has given to his bride; his daily labor is his sacrifice offered on the altar of his family. If he is a real man, he has to be ready to empty himself completely just like Christ did on the Cross. If need be, a real man will lose his own life defending his family. And in the final judgment he will have to bear before God the responsibility of being the head of his wife and children: all the good and bad decisions will be his and only his. He will be there to spare his own from divine judgment. Then his self-giving will be complete and he will be ready for the Great Wedding before the sparkling altar of the heavenly Jerusalem pronouncing a simple statement: ‘My Lord, I’ve been your servant, a husband, and a father.’”
The higher form of sex
Sex is a gift of God to mankind. God invented it. He knows how it works best. From the limited information I have received from a few friends who are also good Catholic husbands, the experience seems to be indescribable in human words. One friend recounted to me very tastefully the moment when both him and his wife realized instantly they had just done their part in creating new life. That new life was born nine months later and received the name of Joy.
I thought to myself, as I was hearing the story and seeing pudgy Joy take a nap in her father’s arms: “Contraception is the greatest thief that ever was, Joy is the proof of all the good the sexual revolution robbed from us.”
Nietzsche commented once that “Christianity has given Eros a poison.” After thinking hard about it, after drinking to the dregs the bitter cup this world has to offer, and seeing how that has affected the Church, the priesthood, families, women and men, and myself personally … I think Nietzsche had it wrong. It was exactly the other way around.
On the day of the Most Holy Name of Mary