Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hello again Monsignors and Fathers,

As per the USCCB's Homily Notes for Natural Family Planning Awareness Week:

Listening to Kresta in the Afternoon <http://avemariaradio.net/christian-radio-host.php/Al-Kresta/> this past week, I learned of a related piece in Time Magazine,

  • "There is no other single force causing as much measurable hardship and human misery in this country as the collapse of marriage. It hurts children, it reduces mothers' financial security, and it has landed with particular devastation on those who can bear it least: the nation's underclass....
  • "The poor and the middle class are very different in the ways they have forsaken marriage. The poor are doing it by uncoupling parenthood from marriage, and the financially secure are doing it by blasting apart their unions if the principals aren't having fun anymore....
  • "on every single significant outcome related to short-term well-being and long-term success, children from intact, two-parent families outperform those from single-parent households. Longevity, drug abuse, school performance and dropout rates, teen pregnancy, criminal behavior and incarceration — if you can measure it, a sociologist has; and in all cases, the kids living with both parents drastically outperform the others.
  • "Few things hamper a child as much as not having a father at home....
  • "groundbreaking research on the effects of divorce on children from middle- and upper-income households comes from a surprising source: a Princeton sociologist and single mother named Sara McLanahan....[As per her] 1994 book Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps....'Children who grow up in a household with only one biological parent,'...'are worse off, on average, than children who grow up in a household with both of their biological parents, regardless of the parents' race or educational background'....children of divorced middle-class parents do less well in school and at college compared with underprivileged kids from two-parent households....
  • [As per] "David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values....: 'Children have a primal need to know who they are, to love and be loved by the two people whose physical union brought them here. To lose that connection, that sense of identity, is to experience a wound that no child-support check or fancy school can ever heal'....
  • "When children are born into a co-habiting, unmarried relationship, says [Robert] Rector [of the Heritage Foundation], 'they arrive in a family in which the principals haven't resolved their most basic issues,' including those of sexual fidelity and how to share responsibilities. Let a little stress enter the picture — and what is more stressful than a baby? — and things start to fall apart....Poignantly, the one thing that unites the poor and the middle class in their hopes for family life is the imperishable dream of being married forever, grabbing hold of the golden ring of lasting partnership....
  • "The fundamental question we must ask ourselves at the beginning of the century is this: What is the purpose of marriage? Is it — given the game-changing realities of birth control, female equality and the fact that motherhood outside of marriage is no longer stigmatized — simply an institution that has the capacity to increase the pleasure of the adults who enter into it? If so, we might as well hold the wake now: there probably aren't many people whose idea of 24-hour-a-day good times consists of being yoked to the same romantic partner, through bouts of stomach flu and depression, financial setbacks and emotional upsets, until after many a long decade, one or the other eventually dies in harness.
    "Or is marriage an institution that still hews to its old intention and function — to raise the next generation, to protect and teach it, to instill in it the habits of conduct and character that will ensure the generation's own safe passage into adulthood? Think of it this way: the current generation of children, the one watching commitments between adults snap like dry twigs and observing parents who simply can't be bothered to marry each other and who hence drift in and out of their children's lives — that's the generation who will be taking care of us when we are old....
  • "What we teach about the true meaning of marriage will determine a great deal about our fate" <www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1908243,00.html>

While we could be tempted to despair, another author reminded us this week that the Church has the Truth, to remedy all of our ills!

  • "The Church forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics....we are called by the prospect of a world in need of profound cultural renewal, a world that needs to rediscover fundamental values on which to build a better future....
  • "Openness to life is at the centre of true development....The acceptance of life strengthens moral fibre & makes people capable of mutual help....
  • "The Church, in her concern for man's authentic development, urges him to have full respect for human values in the exercise of his sexuality. It cannot be reduced merely to pleasure or entertainment, nor can sex education be reduced to technical instruction aimed solely at protecting the interested parties from possible disease or the 'risk' of procreation....
  • "there is a need to defend the primary competence of the family in the area of sexuality...and to ensure that parents are suitably prepared to undertake their responsibilities. Morally responsible openness to life represents a rich social and economic resource.
  • "Populous nations have been able to emerge from poverty thanks not least to the size of their population and the talents of their people.
  • "On the other hand, formerly prosperous nations are presently passing through a phase of uncertainty and in some cases decline, precisely because of their falling birth rates....The decline in births, falling at times beneath the so-called 'replacement level', also puts a strain on social welfare systems, increases their cost, eats into savings and hence the financial resources needed for investment, reduces the availability of qualified labourers, and narrows the 'brain pool' upon which nations can draw for their needs. Furthermore, smaller and at times miniscule families run the risk of impoverishing social relations, and failing to ensure effective forms of solidarity....
  • "It is...becoming a social and even economic necessity once more to hold up to future generations the beauty of marriage and the family, and the fact that these institutions correspond to the deepest needs and dignity of the person....
  • "It is contradictory to insist that future generations respect the natural environment when our educational systems & laws do not help them to respect themselves....
  • "In vitro fertilization, embryo research, the possibility of manufacturing clones and human hybrids: all this is now emerging and being promoted in today's highly disillusioned culture, which believes it has mastered every mystery, because the origin of life is now within our grasp....
  • "How can we be surprised by the indifference shown towards situations of human degradation, when such indifference extends even to our attitude towards what is and is not human?
  • "What is astonishing is the arbitrary & selective determination of what to put forward today as worthy of respect. Insignificant matters are considered shocking, yet unprecedented injustices seem to be widely tolerated. While the poor of the world continue knocking on the doors of the rich, the world of affluence runs the risk of no longer hearing those knocks, on account of a conscience that can no longer distinguish what is human.
    "God reveals man to himself; reason and faith work hand in hand to demonstrate to us what is good, provided we want to see it; the natural law, in which creative Reason shines forth, reveals our greatness, but also our wretchedness insofar as we fail to recognize the call to moral truth" <www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20090629_caritas-in-veritate_en.html>

The Holy Father's words are so beautiful, incredible, and timely!

Simply put, married couples who adhere to the Church's teaching about marital relations are receiving incredible blessings - evidenced by a miniscule divorce rate. As per the USCCB's Homily Notes, I hope that you will

This weekend, it would also be greatfully appreciated if you would remind your people of the following:

  • In anticipation of the USCCB sponsored "Natural Family Planning Awareness Week", Holy Trinity (Morrisville) is hosting a highly informative, inspiring presentation on "NaProTECHNOLOGY" (Sunday, July 12, 1PM). All are welcome!

I hope that you, yourselves, will also consider joining us.

Thank you!!!

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About Me

I am an enormously blessed husband and dad. In regard to my Catholic theological background, I have a certificate in social ministry & a master's degree (moral theology concentration), as well as a catechetical diploma from the Vatican's Sacred Congregation for the Clergy (Nope, I am not now - nor have I have ever been - a seminarian, deacon, or priest.). I feel particularly proud to have a mandatum. I also have a doctorate in Christian counseling psychology.

And yup, that's me!

And yup, that's me!
(from page 1 of the NY Sun, 3/22/04)

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