I am Switzerland

Dear family, friends, and strangers on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate,

I am formally declaring my position of neutrality on this matter.

Yes, I am Catholic. Yes, I believe and hold firm to all of the teachings of the Church. And yes, I believe in sacramental marriage which is between a man a woman and God.

However, we do not live in a society that accepts nor understands God’s laws. Our job as Christians is to educate people of God’s laws, and we are to do so with un-judgemental love, charity, and by example. We cannot force someone to believe what we believe, but we are to educate them about the whats and whys of them.

Our government is not a theocracy and it does not cater to any one religious or nonreligious viewpoint. And at the same time it should not force people of any religious affiliation to go against its moral views. For example – the government should not require people to pay for another’s abortion, abortifacient, or contraception if they find such things morally offensive.

From my viewpoint there are two types of marriage: a civil marriage and a sacramental marriage. A civil marriage is a contract recognized and issued by the government that grants a couple certain legal rights and it can be broken via divorce. A sacramental marriage is also recognized by the state with the same legal rights, but it is also a covenant between a man a woman and God that can never be broken.

Am I okay with the state issuing civil marriages? Yes. Am I okay if the state decides that same-sex couples should be granted a civil marriage? Yes. Should the state force religious institutions to perform or recognize civil marriages? No.

What frustrates me the most about this topic is the lack of love and respect from both camps.

Many of the people who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman say hateful things about people who are attracted to members of the same gender. I’ve seen and heard many hateful, unloving things from this group. It makes me feel as if they have forgotten that we are called to “love your neighbor as yourself.” – Mark 12:31  That doesn’t mean you have to agree with nor accept everything that others think or do, but you must love them. And last time I checked loving someone does not include name calling or violence.

Now those who are in support of same-sex marriages are equally guilty of saying and doing unloving things towards those who disagree with them. I often hear from this group that they want tolerance and acceptance, but the actions from some in this group say differently. Several months ago, the owner of Chick-fil-A stated that he was against same-sex marriages, and instead of accepting that this is one man stating his own personal opinion (which he is entitled to even if you disagree with him) many of this group went off and boycotted, staged sit ins at the restaurants and said vile things about this one man.  If you want others to tolerate and accept your choices in life than you too must accept and tolerate those who disagree with you.

I’ve known people who have ended long-standing friendships over this and witnessed strained family relations as well. This is sad.

There are so many terrible things wrong in this world and the simplest way we can make life in this imperfect world a bit more bearable is to show each other love. We all have our crosses to bear, and they are equally difficult to each of us.

I’m not saying that we should always get along, and I’m not saying that we have to like everything that our fellow-man says or does. What I am saying is that we are all equals and we should treat each other with the love and respect that we want shown to us.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you”  –Matthew 7:12

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Saint Joseph

Today is the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, foster-father to Jesus.  What exactly does that mean?  It means that today we celebrate the life of Saint Joseph and everything he did to protect and raise Jesus.  Not a single word spoken by Joseph is recorded in sacred scripture, and yet he was one of the most important people in history.  Here is a very good place to start if you’d like to read up on what sacred scripture tells us about this man who God chose to be the foster-father to his son, Jesus.

And here is an amusing video of Mark Hart from LifeTeen talking about Saint Joseph:

 

That Catholic Show

I wanted to share this goofy video that explains why us crazy Catholics stand, sit, and kneel during mass.

 

 

I highly recommend that you check out New Evangelizers when you get a chance. Greg and Jennifer are an awesome couple who are doing some amazing work in growing The Church.  They have several other episodes of That Catholic Show, a podcast that you can get on iTunes, a book – The Catholics Next Door: Adventures in Imperfect Living, they used to have a radio show on SiriusXM, and they made a pilot for CatholicTV that was very well done considering the extremely basement level budget they were working with.

I first came across this couple’s radio show on SiriusXM about four years ago and I’ve learned so much about our faith from listening to them. During their interviews on that show I heard about several books that were simply amazing at explaining key points of the Catholic Christian outlook on faith and life, and I purchased several of these books for my own personal study. Some really awesome stuff.  Their book, The Catholics Next Door: Adventures in Imperfect Living, was a very good read as well. Not heavy on an theology, but a great look at how they’ve grown in their faith together as a couple.

And if you feel so inclined, please help support their nonprofit (New Evangelizers) so that they can continue to do their amazing work.

Habemus Papam!!

Viva il Papa Francesco!!!

Today the college of Cardinals selected a new Pope to guide Christ’s Church.  I might be thousands of miles away from Rome, but what I felt at the announcement that a new Pope was chosen must  have been akin to the emotions of everyone in St. Peter’s Square. I was getting MRIs done of my knees during the evening papal votes and I checked my phone as soon as I was done to find that a new Pope had been selected.  It was on my drive home that Pope Francis was announced and came out to speak. Awesome moment in history.

Not only is he the first Pope from the “New World,” he is also the first Jesuit and the first to choose the name Francis. To quote Abed from Community, “Cool, cool.”

Before and during this Papal election I had ideas of who I would love to see as Pope, but I was completely aware of my limited knowledge of all the Cardinals. Due to that I didn’t want to speculate as to who would be selected. I’m just excited to see what lies ahead for Christ’s Bride (ie- the Universal Church the Catholic Church).

Lent

This hasn’t been a very good lent for me. There I said it. No, I haven’t had a bunch of terrible things happen to me; I just don’t feel as if this has been a very good lent. In a way I feel as if I’m in a spiritual desert. Granted, that is how this time of year is supposed to feel as we wait in anticipation for Easter. But I feel as if I’ve been an absolute failure this year.

I’ve not been able to “give up” anything for lent; I’ve had a bazillion ideas and non of them have been things I could stick to. I haven’t been able to deep clean my house due to my knees going out on me a ton lately. On Wednesday, I’ll be heading out to get an MRI done of both of my knees in the hopes that we can figure out what is going on.

On a plus note, my prayer life has been getting better. That’s been an easy thing to accomplish between the events currently going on at the Vatican, my knees not working properly, my children and family, and whatnot. Perhaps that’s what I’m supposed to be doing this lent.

Bleh, this entry is a bunch of rambling unpolished sentences.  Oh well, it’s the very best that I can do today.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.