Mutual Participation – Now there’s a concept
By FRATER BOVIOUS
So, what you’re saying is, if I decide, by my actions, that I am not part of a group – then, I’m not part of the group?
(CARROLLTON, TX – Cradle of Civilization) The upcoming Synod on the Family – heard of it? Know what it is about? Yeah, me neither. Because if you read the press, and I am sad to say I mean all press, including Catholic Press, it would seem this is the upcoming synod on where the Church gets with the times and lets divorced people* receive Communion because that’s all pastoral and stuff, unless of course you have bought into the “Oh my GAWD Pope Francis is the Anti-Christ!” meme, in which case it’s the Synod on where the Church finally and completely apostasizes and lets divorced people receive Communion because that’s what Churches do when they are in league with the Devil.
Or, it’s the upcoming Synod on the proper definition of marriage as an institution that has no definition unless of course it is the Synod on the proper definition of marriage as it’s all about love, love between anything and everything as defined in the moment and for precisely as long as it stays in that moment.
However, I have the persistent suspicion that the upcoming synod on the Family will be about Family. And this would be the right place to start because until you get the idea of family correct, it will be difficult to talk about either of the two topics above.
BUT – I will hazard that the focus of such a Synod probably should be the one thing that is common to all of the above – the concept of Chastity. Until the beachhead of a proper understanding of Chastity is established, it will be meaningless to discuss much else. Family properly springs from Chastity.
Chastity shares a Latin root with Caste – which, in its early usage, included meanings such as cut off, separated, pure. I would like to point out that some of the same meaning is applied to the word Holy. As in set aside for a special purpose. And I would remind that one of the Standards around which to rally coming out of Vatican II was the universal call to holiness.
Meaning, bluntly, that if we are called to be holy, then we are called to be chaste. which, among other things, would entail honesty and fidelity.
And what has all this to do with Communion and Marriage? Please think about it, both broadly and deeply. If you are married, you ought to love your wife and cleave to her, forsaking all others. You can’t dabble with other women, other men, other beings of any kind. There is a sacredness in the holiness, in the chasteness of the marital relationship.
Abrupt shift: Please note the phenomena of Church Shopping. One dabbles here, one dabbles there, not really committed, partaking in the sacraments of first this, church, this ecclesiology, this communion, then that one over there – is this not a sort of fornication? A betrayal? Is this not a relationship of all take and no give? Is this not a one-sided relationship? Where is the mutual participation? Sure, you are showing up, but why? Looking to be fed, to be energized, to be validated, to “feel the holy spirit?” Is that mutual participation?
Let’s examine the concept of “open marriage” where the usual rules don’t apply. You can go out, break all your marriage vows, then come home for Sunday dinner and sit at the table as if you are truly married. And everyone sits there and pretends things are just ducky. Is this not what happens when people come to Communion “unprepared” (a particularly saccharine way of saying “in a state of mortal sin) and receive communion because that’s what Jesus would want? Really? As if Jesus would say, “I don’t really care what you do on your own time, whom you sleep with, how you spend your money on other men or women, just be home in time for dinner.”
There has till now been no need to define the family – everyone knew what the constituent elements of a family are. The loss of the virtue of chastity has caused this crisis in the understanding of family – and the ripple effects are to be seen in the lack of understanding regarding Communion and Marriage and the fundamentally indissoluble nature of both.
There are many images of Church – Christ is the Head, we are the Body. Christ is the Bridegroom, we are the Bride. The Church is our Mother. We are family. When someone walks away from the family, they walk away! Yes, as the Prodigal Son, they can come back. But, the Prodigal Son came back changed. Ready to be family. Wanting to be family. Willing to “sin no more.” Ready, in other words, to be chaste, to be holy, to fully participate in the family, not just be the recipient of its goods – that is to say, no longer willing to just take.
Final related note: Pope Paul the VI was under tremendous pressure to “approve” contraception. It was enlightened, it was with the times, it was what the people wanted. However, he knew that he could not approve this lie. His decision was tremendously unpopular. It was not in practice upheld – when the lay faithful came to their shepherds for guidance, the were led astray and fell into sin.
But Pope Paul was also correct. If you read the document, you will note the logical explication of what will happen if contraception becomes commonplace. Everything he said came true. Everything. Let us pray for Chastity and Holiness, and let us remember, if you want to be part of the Church, then you have to be part of it.
Holy Family, ora pro nobis.
* (editor’s note: should have read as “civilly divorced and civilly remarried” with the presumption of a sacramental marriage)