Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Damien O'Connor

4/10/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It is paramount that sacramentally married couples boldly live their vocations and be a very visible Sign in mainstream society

From the beginning of time there was nothing more natural or understood than the structure of a family being a man, woman and children.  It is shockingly narcissistic and nave to think that suddenly now, we the current (and temporary) stewards of the earth, have come to some sort of unfounded evolution of thought and behavior that contradicts a previously universal truth that has existed since the creation of the world. 

A wedding service

A wedding service

Highlights

By Damien O'Connor

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/10/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: marriage, traditional marriage, defending marriage, marriage and family, marriage as vocation, marriage and holiness, family, children, spouses, Damien O'Connor


BRIDGEPORT, CONN. (Catholic Online) - I remember when I was a high school morality teacher, I used to show a video by National Geographic entitled, Lions in the Darkness.  I'm sure that most of my students questioned my sanity for showing it to them.  Nevertheless they watched the video intently.  The scenes simply documented the daily habits of the lions and lionesses.  The scenes revealed them copulating, hunting/eating, sleeping together, killing the weak and a total disregard for the greater good of the animal kingdom.  It was simply in their nature and their DNA to act this way.  This was their normal state.

The question I presented to my classes was quite simple, "How are human beings any different in today's society than the lions?"    Now these were fairly intelligent adolescents yet they all struggled with this question.  Some simply could not make a distinction between the lions and humans while others, rightfully so, were offended by the implication I was making about them (as part of society) through my question.  Thank God for the students that were offended!

The recent debate over same-sex marriage has gained national attention in the United States and rightfully so.  The institution of marriage or more appropriately, the Sacrament of marriage has been reduced to a simplistic list of qualities a couple should have if they meet the criteria for marriage as understood by mainstream society.   The current language that seems to qualify a couple for marriage is:
- I/We love each other
- I/We make each other happy
- I/We enjoy intercourse together
- I/We would die for each other

There is a subtle yet dangerous dynamic that occurs in every aspect of mainstream society called Normalization.  Simply put, the more we are exposed to something, the more normal it becomes and ultimately accepted.  Rarely do we see qualitative or quantitative studies to substantiate that which we now consider normal even if it had always been considered abnormal or even evil in nature.  Rarely do we see studies that evaluate what benefits the greater good of society, consult teachings from scripture or even basic common sense and human nature.  Nevertheless normalization is all around us and it is often evil.

It has become "normal" and expected to be politically correct and yet no one can provide a credible source through which politically correct or incorrect language and behavior is elucidated.  Beyond inclusive language that in many cases seems reasonable, political correctness is nothing more than an overwhelmingly persuasive way of thinking that is based in fear.  Due to normalization we now live in a very strange reality: we self-censor ourselves.  We are afraid to say anything, so we say nothing.  This is not of God and most certainly not Christian.  Society and I would dare say most politicians, do not want Catholics to think, use logic, common sense and most certainly live our faith through a radical missionary spirit: which is exactly what we are called to do through our baptism.

The marriage debate regarding same-sex couples offends me deeply not because I am anti homosexuals but because the Sacrament of Marriage is immeasurably more than how it is defined by most in society and is most certainly more than a catchy one-liner on Facebook or 120 characters on twitter.  Furthermore, and to be fair, if I was in a homosexual relationship and perceived the way in which marriage is predominantly exemplified in society, it would seem only fair that same sex couples qualify for the same rights.  That is precisely my point.  I have never understood it as a right but as a vocation.

I knew as a young adult that I was meant to give myself to God in some way as we all are.  I had grown up around priests and they deeply influenced my faith development.  I witnessed the profound graces of their vocation as I observed them live their faith.  I also knew them as human beings, who like me, could be Christ to others or falter and need God's mercy through the sacrament of confession.  Needless to say, I was naturally drawn to the priesthood but wasn't sure if that was what God was calling me to.  I began praying daily that God would show me my vocation, because we all have one.  I knew that true joy could only be achieved by fully giving of myself to God and not taking or desiring that which others had.  I spent over a year praying daily that I may grow closer to God and that when my vocation became clear, I would first be completely grounded in our Lord.

Then I was given the greatest gift of my life, my wife Monica.  Far more important than our nascent physical attraction, love for each other and friendship, God called us to be together.  The way in which we live our marriage is a Sign of the Sacrament of Marriage.  Our vocation is to be a living Sign of God's love to all those we encounter, most especially our children, who through the miracle of their birth, bore witness to our Holy vocation and expanded the circle of love.  Although we fail at this often, that is our constant calling and what we have given our lives for.  I simply do not understand marriage outside of these parameters.  Our marriage (as all marriages) is meant to be a gift to the world and ultimately God, and not a gift that I deserve or qualify for.  I deserve it no more than I deserve life itself.

Since Adam and Eve the world has understood marriage and the family as the basis of a civilized society.  It has always been the primary source for education, faith development, morals, dignity, self-worth, sacrifice and the stewardship of God's most precious gift, children.  

From the beginning of time there was nothing more natural or understood than the structure of a family being a man, woman and children.  It is shockingly narcissistic and nave to think that suddenly now, we the current (and temporary) stewards of the earth, have come to some sort of unfounded evolution of thought and behavior that contradicts a previously universal truth that has existed since the creation of the world.

Society needs a "new normal" regarding marriage.  It is paramount that sacramentally married couples boldly live their vocations and be a very visible Sign in mainstream society.  We must all pray publically for vocations to sacramental marriages.  When a man and a woman desire marriage, they must understand that their preparation to receive the sacrament, is just as important as the formation prior to joining religious life or ordination to the priesthood.

They are giving their lives completely united in God.  Canonically, a man and a woman have a right to be married.  However, this does not presume that they are automatically predisposed to be Signs of a sacramental marriage.  We must have the courage and discipline to prepare these couples with the same fervor, spirit and candor that is applied to men who desire ordination to the priesthood or women who wish to join religious life.

From the beginning of Christianity it has always been through our example that we evangelized the world.  I implore sacramentally married couples to live their vocation with a missionary spirit, joyfully in the public square!

Salvation history was changed forever through a family, the Holy Family.

"At a historical moment of severe family fragmentation throughout the Western world, the example of evangelical Catholic families that share joys and burdens, and do so with wit and grace, is one of the most powerful conversion tools available to the Catholic Church." (George Weigel)

-----

Damien O'Connor is the Senior Director of the Office for Pastoral Services for the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT.  In 2011 Damien was appointed to the National Advisory Council (NAC) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  In 2012 he was elected to the Executive Board of the NAC and is the current Proactive Chairperson.  Damien passionately believes that we all must put our faith into action and that by surrendering our lives completely to God, we will know a joy that cannot be measured. He has been married for 15 years to his wife Monica and has three children: Damien, Jr (13), Mary Rose, Ana Theresa (11, twins).  Damien and his family are parishioners at St. Michael Church, New Haven, CT and is a 4th Degree Member of the Knights of Columbus.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More U.S.

Guns Do Not Have Rights, People Do. Legitimate Self Defense is One of Them

Image of Guns have no rights, only people do.Yes, one of them is the Right to Self Defense - and the Right to defend your neighbor. You may ask,

By Keith A. Fournier

We live in a precarious time in the United States of America. Many of us are deeply concerned about the effort to infringe upon the fundamental rights which were delineated in the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. I have written extensively about ... continue reading


Rest in Peace, Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete: Communion and Liberation Priest Enters Eternal Encounter Watch

Image of Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete was a leader in the ecclesial movement called Communion and Liberation. He was also a gifted writer, known for his naturally supernatural holiness of life. Those whom he touched are a living testimony to a life - and a priesthood - which was well lived. In encountering him, they encountered Jesus Christ. That experience is the very heart of the Gospel, the meaning of the Christian claim. It is the key to understanding the Church. It is the spirituality of Communion and Liberation.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

As we pause to honor Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, Communion and Liberation Priest, may our prayers accompany him, lighting his passage into the eternal encounter with the Lord whom he loves. Let us also ask for his prayers - and follow his example. Let us decide to ... continue reading


How far will it spread? A New York doctor has tested positive for Ebola Watch

Image of 33-year-old Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, had recently returned to the U.S. after treating Ebola patients in Guinea.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A New York doctor who had recently returned from Guinea has tested positive for Ebola, the fourth person diagnosed with the disease in the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Craig Spencer worked for Doctors Without Borders where he was treating ... continue reading


Same-sex couples line up to be wed in Wyoming Watch

Image of After the state formally dropped its defense of a law defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, Jennifer Mumaugh says that attitudes across the state have shifted in recent years to be more open to gay couples.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Same-sex couples began lining up around the block in Wyoming for marriage licenses this week. U.S. District Judge Scott W. Skavdahl, appointed by President Barack Obama struck down the state's gay marriage ban last week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Will they riot after this? Autopsy, analysis shows officer Wilson was telling the truth Watch

Image of New analysis and witness reports suggest that officer Darren Wilson was being attacked by Michael Brown and shot him in self defense.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New evidence from Ferguson Missouri seems to vindicate the testimony of officer Darren Wilson, showing that the fatal shooting of Michael Brown may not be as cut and dry as many of the protestors in the area believe. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to ... continue reading


Is this a sign of things to come? 2014 midterm most expensive on record Watch

Image of Early voting has already started in several states including Kansas and Illinois.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Well underway, the 2014 midterms are set to be the most expensive midterms ever, according to projections that the Center for Responsive Politics released on October 22. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While heavily overshadowed by global affairs like the ... continue reading


ACTIVE SHOOTER - Kids, teachers, community terrorized by admin, police at Thompson Jr. HS in Bakersfield in the name of safety? Watch

Image of Terrorization in the name of safety is still terror.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The latest school shooting did not make the national news yesterday because allegedly it was an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated against kids and a working-class community in the name of safety. For about 30 minutes on Tuesday, students, faculty, and their parents ... continue reading


Catholic school forbids Hollywood lesbian drama from shooting on location Watch

Image of In the scene to be filmed at the school, Moore's character, a New Jersey police detective with terminal cancer, applies for a domestic partnership with her partner, played by Page in order to pass on her pension legally after her death.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While actresses Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are big names in filmland, their largesse didn't get them past the authorities at Salesian High School in New Rochelle, New York. The catholic school has declined their request to use their location for a ... continue reading


On the Feast of St. John Paul II, His Prophetic Warning to the U.S. Requires a Response Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier standing under the beautiful bronze statue of John Paul II in Denver, Colorado.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In an address given during that 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia for the bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla spoke some words which I believe were prophetic. - We are now standing in the face ... continue reading


Guest Commentary by Ken Blackwell: Houston's Mayor is Endangering Civil Rights

Image of Ken Blackwell

By Ken Blackwell

In Houston, Texas, we have seen a bizarre twist on traditional Civil Rights play out. The Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, has been waging an uncivil war on people who oppose the far-reaching homosexual rights ordinance she powered through the City Council. That ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you therefore to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:54-59
54 He said again to the crowds, 'When you see a cloud ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 24th, 2014 Image

St. Anthony Mary Claret
October 24: Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was born in Salient in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter