Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Damien O'Connor

4/10/2013 (2 years 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 naďve 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 (2 years 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 naďve 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Rick Santorum Announces His Candidacy saying - It is Time to Take Back America Watch

Image of Rick and Karen Santorum

By Keith A Fournier

There is something which many in the main stream U.S. media do not know, here it is - not many people are listening to them anymore. However, they will listen to this song. And, they will understand it. The sentiment it captures will encourage the heart of a ... continue reading


Treasure hunters claim to uncover $2 million of missing Confederate gold in Lake Michigan shipwreck Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Treasure hunters claim they discovered $2 million worth of gold, originally stolen from the Confederates after the Civil War, in a Lake Michigan Shipwreck. The hunters, Kevin Dykstra and Frederick J. Monroe said they discovered a 19th Century tug boat off of Frankfort, ... continue reading


Woman finally meets man with her dead brother's transplanted face Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Transplant recipients do not normally meet the families of their donors. An exception was made in the case of Rebekah Aversano, who met the man with the transplanted face of her deceased brother for a strange, touching homecoming. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


President Obama meets with ISIS executed journalist Steven Sotloff's family during Florida trip Watch

Image of Steven Sotloff had reported from across the Middle East and covered events in Libya for Time Magazine.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

United States President, Barack Obama met with the family of slain American journalist Steven Sotloff during his trip to Miami. Islamic State militants beheaded Sotloff last year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Obama met with Sotloff's parents, Art and ... continue reading


Michael Jackson's 'Neverland Ranch' up for sale for $100 million Watch

Image of Real-estate investment firm Colony Capital bought the note in 2008 for $23 million and put the title into a joint venture it formed with the pop star.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Late pop music superstar, Michael Jackson's famous retreat, Neverland Ranch is now up for grabs at $100 million. The former fantasyland currently lives under the name "Sycamore Valley Ranch." Located 40 miles from Santa Barbara in Los Olivos, the property spans ... continue reading


ANTHRAX IS BACK: U.S. Military accidentally ships live anthrax Watch

Image of Anthrax contaminants taken from building in Trenton, NJ in 2001. (Times staff photo by Jane Therese)

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Some samples negligently sent by the U.S. Military contained live anthrax. Four lab workers from the United States and about 22 overseas, who come in contact with the shipment, are placed into post-exposure treatment, according to a defense official. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


Baltimore bloodshed continues with unbelievable violence over the holiday weekend Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

May has proved to be the most dangerous and deadliest month Baltimore has witnessed in more than 50 years. There were more than two dozen shootings over the Memorial Day weekend alone; city police have never been busier. Community leaders hope the members will come ... continue reading


BACKWASH: California water officials consider repurposing sewage into drinking water Watch

Image of Unlike non-potable reuse, where treated sewage is used to irrigate crops, parks or golf courses - direct potable reuse takes treated sewage effluent and purifies it so it can be used as drinking water.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While it's "doable," few people in California are actually voicing any enthusiasm. Stricken by a crippling drought, water officials are going through some highly popular alternatives - and repurposing sewage water into drinking water is one of them. LOS ... continue reading


Gallup poll shows that one in four Americans not gay Watch

Image of Only 3.8 percent of Americans self-identify as gay, lesbian or transsexual.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As Gay rights movements continue to disrupt society and political life, poll reveals that gay and lesbians are not as common in the United States as previously perceived. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A new Gallup poll conducted in early May has revealed that ... continue reading


World's oldest woman reaches 116-years-old! Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

World's oldest woman, Jeralean Talley has added another year to her life - the world declared she turned 116 last weekend. Talley and her family, friends, the Inkster mayor and Congressman Conyers, delivered a message from President Barack Obama, celebrating her ... 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, Sirach 51:12-20
12 And therefore I shall thank you and praise you, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:8, 9, 10, 11
8 The precepts of Yahweh are honest, joy for the ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 11:27-33
27 They came to Jerusalem again, and as Jesus was ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 30th, 2015 Image

St. Joan of Arc
May 30: St. Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and of France. On ... 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