Needed: Better preparation for Sacrament of Matrimony

Re: “A time for mercy” (Editorial, Nov. 10) on divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

We need to stop approaching this backward. Mercy and compassion, yes. That does not mean confirming people in their chosen sin.

Until we start doing a better job preparing Catholic couples for marriage and bringing awareness of the graces and blessings in and through the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, fecundity of marriage and dignity of human life, we will never change our Catholic culture. We need to incorporate the New Evangelization into the domestic Church at the very beginning.

Deacon Robert P. Barnard, via online comments

It’s about repenting sins

Re: “A time for mercy” (Editorial, Nov. 10).

“But neither divorce nor the teachings of the Faith are going away, so the Church and those who minister in it must continue to walk the fine line of clearly standing up for the dignity of the sacrament, while at the same time being pastorally sensitive to the feelings of the faithful.”

So, are we to conclude that our primary concern is people’s “feelings” and NOT the salvation of their souls?

This whole argument about needing a more liberal attitude and approach to annulments flies in the face of any hope that one or both parties might seek to one day recognize their sin, repent and ask to be reconciled to their estranged spouse. Sanctioning “remarriage” obviates this ever happening.

We as a Church no longer believe in the efficacy of the grace of the Sacrament of Matrimony nor believe in the virtue of hope — not in us but in God’s grace to seek reconciliation. We can also scratch the parable of the prodigal son from our Bibles.

Deacon Ed Peitler, via online comments

Teaching the truth

The OSV Editorial Board wrote, “... how can the Church remain faithful, yet be a place of mercy for those suffering from broken marriages?” The Church can start by making the distinction the Catechism of the Catholic Church makes. People don’t simply “suffer from broken marriages.” For every broken marriage, one spouse chooses to renege on the marital vows; rarely is it an agreement by both spouses. Widely quoted statistics show that 80 percent of divorces are instigated by one spouse against the will of the other.

When the spouse choosing to file for divorce is a Catholic, the Church can be a place of mercy by exercising pastoral care by teaching the truth. Divorce is a grave offense against nature, it is immoral, and one can’t file for divorce without the bishop’s permission (See Canons 104, 1151, 1692, 915).

Bai Macfarlane, via online comments

Faith, not prestige

Re: “Passing on the Faith” (Editorial, Nov. 3).

Catholic high school education is not what it should be these days in more than one way.

Catholic high schools are now geared, for the most part, toward attracting the best (in sports) and the brightest that will go on to the most expensive colleges; this gives prestige to the high school, allows for the high tuition rates and continues the process. A large number of students who attend are not even Catholic. This prestigious model gives way to a pervasive contraceptive attitude at Catholic high schools. If you have more than one or two kids they’re just not going. It’s too expensive. This is ironic because many (or most) of the parents that do send their children to the Catholic high school are not following what the Church teaches, and most of those who are not using contraception do not send their children there.

Students who are in public school and in CCD for making their confirmation are often taught by volunteer teachers who have no formal training. These students may or may not be well catechized. Confirmation ends their formal Catholic education early in ninth grade, and then the students may or may not attend Mass. Ninth grade is much too early to fully discuss all of the life and marriage issues that these students will face today as they leave high school.

Neither of the above is providing an effective witness to the culture at large nor preparing students to be an effective witness. To add a point, every child has a right to a Catholic education; not every child should be expected to go to college.

There needs to be more leadership from the bishops on what Catholic education really means.

Some ideas might be to: (A) Make standard Catholic high school become more affordable by a mixture of classes over the Internet and classes at the school, kind of a mix of home school and formal school; or (B) abolish the prestigious model for Catholic high school mentality all together and spend your focus on extra Catholic schooling (after public school) on the Faith.

Name withheld, via email

Evidence of evil

Re: “The devil is real” (In Focus, Oct. 27).

Perhaps we in America live in a psychological Disneyland where we tend not to see, hear or speak of evil. But those who have experienced death camps, gulags, engineered starvation or wholesale physical destruction know that Satan exists.

Robert Bonsignore, Brooklyn, N.Y.