Can Catholics preserve, for our own flock, true marriage?

One of the reasons I go on and on about a renewal of liturgical worship is without such a renewal, there can be no renewal of Catholic identity.  And if we don’t have a strong Catholic identity within the Church, then no one without the Church is going to bother to pay attention to us.  Why should they?

My harping on renewal of liturgical worship must embrace proper use the sacraments.  I am not only talking about properly executed rubrics.  Sacraments.  For example, let the sacrament of matrimony truly be the sacrament of matrimony.

John Zmirak at Crisis magazine has a piece on how the Catholic Church in the USA capitulated to the proponents of contrary-to-nature unions.  Here is the last part of his piece.

Along the way, Zmirak used the comparison of “Frenchmen willing to collaborate with Germany — supposedly to preserve some shred of French sovereignty and save the country from even more ruthless treatment.”  Zmirak argues that we must stand up to evil instead of seeking “opt-out” clauses.  “The little “opt-outs” we win in return amount to little more than the bones that the Nazis threw Marshal Petain; we got to keep our police chief in Casablanca.”  And also, “Political philosopher and convert Hadley Arkes explains that when we cease to say, “This is evil, and no one must engage in it,” and instead say, “This goes against our religion,” we as good as admit that our position is not based in reason and justice.”

My emphases.

[…]

Well, it’s all over now. We have lost the support of the law. Our conquerors are singing “Lili Marlene” as they march past the Arc de Triomphe. Having crawled back into the sacristy and won the reluctant toleration that is all we dared to ask for, is there anything Catholics can do to preserve at least among our own flock the real understanding of marriage?

Oh yes. There is plenty, all of it long overdue. I recall that in the 1990s some Evangelical activists proposed laws (one passed in Louisiana and two other states) allowing couples the option of contracting “covenant marriage.” This amounts in essence to marriage as it had been defined before the onslaught of lax divorce laws — with few conditions permitting divorce (abandonment, abuse, and adultery), with custody preferences for mothers and guarantees of alimony for wives and children. Once it was enacted in Louisiana, bishops lauded it — but issued a statement assuring Catholic couples that it was merely optional.

It is time for us to revive this idea and encode still stricter provisions that mirror Canon Law, eschewing divorce and remarriage, in a standard prenuptial covenant that must be signed by Roman Catholics if they wish to be married in the Church. No pastor should be allowed to witness the Catholic marriage of any couple who will not sign such a pact — since, by refusing to do so, they would be in essence confessing that they intend not a sacrament but a charade. Rogue marriages conducted without this agreement should be, in the Church’s eyes, null and void. Catholics who still wanted elaborate ceremonies in Gothic environs could go off and rent some empty Episcopalian building.

These covenants, in their intent, should be legally enforceable — though, of course, American courts might throw them out. (The freedom of contract is only applied when it furthers leftist goals.) Still, even if judges invalidate our prenups, the Church should still demand them — and use their existence as prima facie evidence blocking future attempts at annulment. If we could make of marriage an obligation as solemn as, say, one’s credit card debt, we’d go a long way toward making it seem almost…sacred. The day that divorce is tougher and rarer than bankruptcy is the day that our values are rightly aligned.

Alongside these prenuptial covenants, American dioceses must make training in natural family planning a non-negotiable part of every pre-Cana course — since the routine use of contraception by Catholics is one of the key factors undermining lasting marriage. In fact, the way many churchmen respond with dissent or neglect to Humanae Vitae is one of the reasons that no one else takes us seriously. How dare we tell same-sex couples that they have no right to wed, when we barely trouble to teach our own congregations which kinds of sex it’s a sin to have? We wonder why no one listens to us. It could be because we are winking.

And we wonder why no one listens to us.

Can Catholics preserve, for our own flock, true marriage?
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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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34 Responses to Can Catholics preserve, for our own flock, true marriage?

  1. AvantiBev says:

    AMEN! AMEN!!! Yes, I have sat here in the law office in which I work and seen men and women (usually it is the man) shell shocked by how no-fault divorce is like a run away train. Guys, once Oprah and the latest women’s mag rag has assured her that she needs to be “liberated” from you, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. No fault = no reason. After 16 years here, I see it as just another evil fruit of the Sexual Revolution Tree. Strong marriages = strong societies.

  2. aladextra says:

    One more Amen, and we will eventually need a word to describe what “marriage” used to describe. We need a word that means “marriage” “husband” and “wife” that mean what those three words meant in times past. I don’t have any ideas but maybe there are some historic words.

  3. MarylandBill says:

    I in general like the idea of “covenant” marriage legally protected by law; either through a contract or other legal means. The challenge is getting the courts to enforce it. Better yet, lets call it, as Catholics and Orthodox Christians both recognize it as Sacramental Marriage.

  4. OUChevelleSS says:

    Sure, the suggestions are good, but even our own pre-Cana teachings are taught by laypeople who really don’t have a clue. Some of the retreats you go on as part of pre-Cana are, from what I’ve been told (told, not inferred from the details) is that they are very Protestant and almost a little neo-pagan. Also, the teaching of NFP is so off that couples are using it to postpone pregancy for many years simply for leisure’s sake.

  5. Dymphna says:

    Although this “prenup” is a good idea, we should never expect the courts to uphold it. The courts would not, and perhaps, should not enforce such an agreement. Would we want them enforcing Sharia law? (I’m not saying this is its equivalent, only that the U.S. courts may look at it that way.)

    I feel it is high time to take the state out of the marriage business altogether. We are sleeping with the enemy.

  6. pfreddys says:

    This is an excellent point and allows the Church to be the leaven for society. In many ways once divorce was allowed homosexual “marriages” became a logical conclusion.

  7. CarpeNoctem says:

    So, are there any models of pre-nuptial covenants out there that would be suitable for Catholic marriage prep?

    I don’t care what the state thinks about a Catholic covenant document either, but it would be interesting to see the contortions a tribunal would have to turn if hand-written, notarized pre-nuptial covenants from both parties, freely expressing one’s intention to live Catholic Marriage and the Catholic Faith, showed up in a brief at an annulment trial.

    One has to make such a profession of faith and intent when writing a petition for Orders… and we know how often those (do not!) get annulled. (Laicized, perhaps, but almost never annuled.)

  8. Capitana says:

    Washington State has prenuptial agreements concerning property and they are enforceable as long as both parties have an opportunity for independent counsel, there is full disclosure of assets, and there is good faith (like you can’t spring it on the other party the morning of the wedding). The church has enough lawyers who ought to be able to write such contracts for sacramental marriage. It probably wouldn’t prevent a civil divorce, but it would let the parties know the seriousness of the step they were taking and as someone else said make for fewer successful annulments. I think there would be fewer civil divorces if people really knew they couldn’t get married again.

  9. Cubanito says:

    OUChevelleSS,

    You paint with too broad of a brush. My wife and I are Natural Family Planning teachers with the Couple to Couple League and also participate in our parish’s marriage preparation program. In accordance with the Church’s teaching, we teach that NFP is a viable option in cases where the couple has a just reason for postponing a pregnancy, and that such a determination must be made through the use of a properly formed conscience, solidly founded on Catholic teaching. This approach is not unique to us. All of the NFP classes that I have attended in our region (GA and SC) stress proper Catholic doctrine and emphasize that a couple must not revert to using NFP as contraception.

    I am always amazed by how natural family planning seems to get attacked by traditionalists almost as much as it is mocked by the secular world.

  10. LauraPie says:

    We must put the bar back up where it belongs. The bar goes up high. We often miss the high bar but keep trying to get over it. Even better if we ask for the Lord’s Grace and know that it is because of His Grace that we get over the bar.
    Sooooo, the whole truth begins with Humana Vitae and ends with the practice of the Moral and Theological Virtues. In there is some tough stuff on many topics including chastity, masterbation is a mortal sin, love your neighbor especially if your neighbor is your enemy, the 4 last things including Hell and that a person can willingly seperate himself from Christ i.e. the Second Person of the Trinity i.e. God, the Creator etc. and go to Hell eternally.
    I long to hear it from the pulpit. I do pray for priests, bishops and the Pope daily, and I long to willingly support the Truth coming from those in the pulpit. I also long to love my neighbor closer to union with Christ!

  11. ghp95134 says:

    “Frenchmen willing to collaborate with Germany — supposedly to preserve some shred of French sovereignty and save the country from even more ruthless treatment.”

    Ahhhh ….. “Vichy catholique”!

  12. arotron theou says:

    Yes, absolutely, we must raise the bar; yes, absolutely, we must better teach the true meaning of marriage within the Church, and expect Catholics to live up to it, in order to proclaim that truth by example. It is a scandal that the divorce rate among Catholics is no different than that among the general population. This is not, on the whole, a witness to holy living. But no, absolutely not, should we add prenuptial agreements to the sacramental reality of marriage. If I need a written document to bind me to my oath, what is my oath worth? Which is the problem, not the solution.

  13. RichardT says:

    The Church in America could start by granting fewer annulments.

  14. OUChevelleSS says:

    Cubanito,

    Indeed, and my apologies. I can only (and only meant to) speak of the experiences in my own region.

  15. Cubanito says:

    OUChevelleSS,

    Thanks for the response. I also apologize if I came off harshly.

    We are all fighting for the same Church, and we should all work together to spread the message of Mother Church.

  16. o.h. says:

    Just a brief plea from one of the not-few Catholics whose marriages are valid and blessed by the Church, but not sacramental: the dichotomy is not between “marriage as understood by the World” versus “sacramental marriage,” but the former versus true marriage. ‘Marriage’ between two men, or persons already married to another, are not marriage; but not all true marriages are sacramental. I know that the Church discourages such marriages, and that a sacramental marriage is the ideal for a Catholic; but having been dispensed by the ordinary and properly blessed by a priest, I feel bold enough to speak up for those of us in this situation.

    And just to add … I have been occasionally shocked to hear practicing Catholics, who consider themselves conservative, fall over themselves to explain how I could have my (very happy and fruitful) marriage dissolved and marry a good Catholic because, being not sacramental, my marriage is not indissoluble. One threw in, for good measure, that there can be no grace in my marriage. Why thank you.

  17. helgothjb says:

    Some great ideas. However, having NFP taught as it currently is, may not be one of them. Currently, many NPF classes are taught as though all couple will use NPF and should. The Church has never taught that couples are morally abligated to use NFP, only that it is morally permissible to use NFP. Couples are perfectlly free to place the size of their families in God’s hands. Is it really God’s plan for the majority of couple to have 1 -2 children? NFP needs to be taught along with both a healthy understanding of a family’s need to rely upon divine providence and a refutation of the overpopluation ‘doctrine’ that is so prevalent in our society.

  18. mike cliffson says:

    helgothjb Right on!
    Ok John Zmirak, I have known couples go to NFP for reasons in conformity with H vitae.
    I was incensed by the suggestion of mandatory NFP as a given . It makes me distrust the rest.
    WHO said there were too many Irish? Well, there aren’t now.
    WHO said there are too many faithful catholics?Well, there aren’t now.
    WHO thinks the Almighty makes mistakes in doling out kids?
    NFP is so often the soft” holy” way to have your cake and eat it, to buy into the contraceptive mentality, to be Catholic but “nice”.Is that “cute” or “civil” or something Statesside?
    Church led NFP is ONE of the factors in the Irish disaster.
    Lengthen spoon before supping with Satan.

  19. drea916 says:

    Mike,
    Hardly any Catholics are using NFP so how can it be the reason for all of these problems? Hardly 5% of Catholics use it!

  20. Dr. Eric says:

    My wife and I practice NFP, and even with my knowledge of human physiology, I can tell you NFP is not a way to make sure you only have 1-2 kids and only after 5-10 years of marriage. Mrs. Dr. Eric and I have been married for 10 years, have only used NFP and have 5 (FIVE) kids. In theory the reason that said couple has 1-2 kids is that there might be some physiological problem underlying the difficulty conceiving, the wife has spontaneous abortions, or there is something fishy going on in the bedroom.

  21. mike cliffson says:

    drea916
    I don’t say it(NFP) is THE reason for ALL these problems.
    As a massive reason for many problems , I would follow JPII in say, his visit to UK emphasizing the evils of “the contraceptive mentality” as underlying Abortion and many other evils, the “motor” for many structures of sin.
    NFP CAN be a Catholic copout, “Catholic contraception”, and CAN thus spread the contraceptive mentality in the church. I assure you, this does happen, in what proportion of cases, I know not, nor to what exact degree this was intended.
    Above , you will find “Cubanito” defending NFP when taught WHOLLY in accordance with Humane vitae , and he reports THUS presented in his diocese as an option to the faithful , ie to used only SHOULD particular circumstances arise.
    NFP thus differs from rubber objects and things like the pill, which are NEVER licit .Nonethess, saving those couples who use the tehniques to INCREASE fertility, the techniques are to AVOID a baby , which is NOT in itself ever a good end.
    But the proposal HERE is for mandatory NFP teaching, to every future married couple, (who God send will NEVER need it in the vast majority of cases) in a form of words that can be taken to imply that if Catholics contracept , NFP is the way, which implication I am sure is demostrably a VERY common way NFP is offered or pointed at within the church , maybe as a lesser evil : look at episcopal conference websites and catholic news etc around the world, and you will find “babies are evil” as a given, albeit not put that baldly, in relation to NFP .
    “Alongside these prenuptial covenants, American dioceses must make training in natural family planning a non-negotiable part of every pre-Cana course — since the routine use of contraception by Catholics is one of the key factors undermining lasting marriage”.
    Do your words “only 5% of catholics use it ” mean “for general (selfish) contraception – as opposed to (far worse and more selfish) artificial measures” ?

  22. LauraPie says:

    Mike,
    I’ll confess publicly as a woman that our use of NFP was something that was in the end a Divine Grace because it informed my will and my heart deeply on the matter of Faith in God, my Creator. It never felt like birth control to me, and I am the bread winner in our home owing to my husband’s aquired disability. The Lord showed me clearly His plan for us to bear two children, but we were in cooperation with Him. I stepped out in Faith during those years. Temperature charts and theory are great during a weekend retreat when you’re learning the techniques, but, guess what, when the rubber’s on the road and you’re tired and the kids are sick and your spouse has needs and your clinic starts early in the morning, things can get pretty murky pretty fast. So being open to life is, in the final analysis, a willful stance. I thank our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; I thank Christ, personally, for personal knowledge of this Loving God. So loving that I am graced enough, brave enough, to make such a willful stance for life no matter what – no matter what the culture or anyone else tells me. In God I trust. Amen!

  23. Elizabeth D says:

    Formation has to start in childhood… I went to a presentation about the state of marriage prep in our diocese, they said something like 95% of couples seeking to be married in the Church in our diocese admit on a confidential survey they are fornicating before marriage. Good news is that according to surveys the marriage prep made a majority portion of them want to commit to chastity from then until their wedding. The program was only incrementally successful in talking/educating couples out of the plans the vast majority had of using artificial contraception. Having children was not something that figured into their plans and dreams and expectations of marriage. There need to be families committed to the education and formation of their children in the faith and there needs to be excellent catechesis and prayer and practice of the Sacraments.

  24. mrose says:

    I attended PreCana last weekend, taught by the Archdiocese’s Director of Family Ministries – so no cop out on the basis that some under-educated or ill-prepared couple was in charge. He has been doing what he does for nearly 30 years.

    In a way, I felt bad for him. If you paid attention closely, he thinks contraception is wrong, there is no such thing as gay marriage, and that one probably ought to follow Church teaching. However, based upon our (albeit very limited) interactions with the other 35 couples there, I would hazard that maybe…maayyybeee…five weren’t doing some or all of fornicating, contracepting, and cohabitating. When our table was supposed to discuss our ideas of the 3 most important “aspects” of marriage, my fiance and I said “Christ-centered” as #1 – even that a distillation of the 2 primary ends of marriage, those of children and aid&assistance unto Heaven – and that was completely ignored by the others at the table.

    My point being, PreCana often isn’t great, but the problems start waaaay before PreCana, as others have noted. They start with Pastors and parishes tolerating cohabitation, tolerating contraception, etc. Even at our parish, no one ever has told us we shouldn’t contracept, we had to figure that out ourselves. Then we even had to figure out that there is more to it than simply NFP all the time. Our PreCana was seemingly populated with career-oriented twenty-somethings who are marrying because it is the next step in life. Hardly the ideal attitude toward a Sacrament. I remember awhile ago Supertradmum pointing out that perhaps some of the problems in the Church related to marriage have to do with there being so many marriages wherein husband and wife receive no actual graces because they bestow and receive the Sacrament without being in the State of Grace and never repent of that. Which brings us back to Confession, as usual. While there may perhaps be something to the idea that it is a good thing for cohabitating couples to rectify their “situation” by wedding, we must not forget that without an actual conversion of heart, they are bestowing and receiving a Sacrament in the State of Mortal Sin, a mortal sin in itself and also inhibiting the reception of any graces from the Sacrament.

    Catechesis. And more of it, please, Pastors. Deo Gratias for those of you who faithful guide souls entrusted to you. (sorry for the long post, Father)

  25. Banjo pickin girl says:

    o.h., I am just a convert and don’t know anything but I am sorry about the horrendous lack of charity that you have encountered. If these conservative so-called Catholics would spend more time practicing lectio divina in the Gospels and less time monitoring everybody else’s behavior the Church would be in better shape. But lectio divina of the Gospels requires effort and that would be harder than being stupid and cruel.

  26. moon1234 says:

    @Banjo pickin girl
    I am not quite sure what you comment is trying to convey? Anger, contempt, ?

    The gospels are pretty clear about about how marraige is to be and what it’s pupose is.

    I think what you find from many traditionally minded Catholics is that NFP IS pushed as a way to “regulate” family size without any qualifications. Essentially birth control. Just do a simple youtube video search on NFP. Watch a few that are produced by official Catholic diocese and you will find young couples extolling how NFP is helping them decide when to have children (birth control) spacing their children (birth control) and how many children to have (birth control).

    There is NO talk about how NFP for limiting children is for a grave reasons only. No talk about people trusting that God will provide for them if they only trust him.

    THIS is why you are seeing so much pushback from traditional minded Catholics. We have seen too many couples who use NFP solely to not have children until they want them. I have seen this in my own family. I have shown my sister the Church’s teaching and she flat out told me that they are not doing that.

    Mandatory NFP? I am so very glad that did not exist when my wife and I got married. Maybe they should use NFP to teach couples HOW TO ENHANCE the possibility of getting pregnant.

  27. Mrs. O says:

    His suggestions remind me of what I went thru to get a student loan. For 3 days, I had to endure talks and videos that basically could be summed up “This is a LOAN and not a gift/You have to repay when no longer enrolled”,etc. No joke. I really thought something was going on when I came to the final signing and I had to initial not one but several of these statements. I even inquired about this to the instructor which he replied if I didn’t initial, I wouldn’t get the money. But I just was wondering if he knew he was saying the same thing just in different ways….

    And it didn’t stop people from avoiding paying this debt either.

    So, did the extra HOURS and additional signing MAKE some more responsible than others? No.

    As much as I sympathize with Mr. Zmirak, this proposal seems just like what I went through to get a student loan. It won’t make anyone more faithful to the person when society remains the way it is. I do think most of those pre nup retreats need overhauls. We were told at ours that although the Church frowns on pornography, if the the couple was OK with it in their marriage, they could view it in good conscious.
    Also, NFP is great but people can not be forced to practice. I do believe it should be offered and the teachings clearly said and IF they want to learn more, please come back at a later time. Some do not have any reason to use it at all and thus it doesn’t matter when they are fertile or not.

    One more thing. Assistance to those married now needs to be focused on. It can be as simple as counteracting what the secular world says that marriage is going to “feel good” all the time by reminding we may have times that sacrifices need to be done on behalf of our spouse, etc. And also stories of the saints who endured spouses who were not very Christ like would help some. This can all be woven in the homily. Just my thoughts.

    Usually if someone is irresponsible an extra piece of paper isn’t going to matter much. You may just force the others to go thu unnecessary things.

  28. rtsender says:

    I agree with what was said in the post. I do have a question however in something that has come up in discussions among some Catholics I know concerning NFP classes. Some say that the classes themselves are an occasion of sin, in what they discuss, to couples preparing for marriage. That is, the discussion of certain things brings couples, not in sin, to stronger inclinations than they would have had towards the consummation of the marriage covenant. Therefore they say NFP classes should not be mandatory for all couples. I am looking for a response to this argument in favor of the classes, one that is not the argument ultimately of the lesser of two evils.

    I am looking for Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s comment if possible, but will take all I can get.

  29. ContraMundum says:

    So, the idea is to somehow coerce the state into enforcing Catholic sacramental theology, when our own bishops (for “pastoral purposes”, of course) do not?

    Let me hear first, from the bishops, and especially from their local ordinaries, that Catholics who are guilty of manifest, grave sin without public repentance are to be denied Communion. That includes politicians who are living in irregular marriages, or who support abortion, or who support “gay marriage”; it certainly includes a certain governor of New York who fits all three categories.

    You’re asking the sheep to go to the wolves for protection. What we need are some real shepherds. We’ve tried using hirelings, and look what’s happened to the flock.

  30. ContraMundum says:

    OK, I guess technically Cuomo isn’t even in an irregular marriage, but that really is just a technical difference.

  31. Banjo pickin girl says:

    My response was for o.h. who is in a sacramental marriage but is treated as if they are not.

  32. Banjo pickin girl says:

    l wasn’t referring to natural family planning at all, just responding to o.h.’s experience of lack of charity in comments regarding their marriage which is recognized by the Church but no sacramental (I made a mistake above, sorry).

    I don’t think anybody should make pronouncements about anybody’s heterosexual marriage anyway since we don’t know the facts of their situation. Many times assumptions are made which are not true.

    I have been on the other side of this, having been accused of being homosexual when I have always been celibate and chaste. But being a professional female in a traditional male field who has never married in some circles makes one a target.

    We need to keep our moral pronouncements for the obvious.

  33. ContraMundum says:

    @Banjo pickin girl

    I second you in apologizing to o.h. for the way some ill-mannered jerks have behaved in respect to his marriage. Such “suggestions” as were floated to him would have ended badly around me; I have too much of a temper.

    You need to read his comment more carefully, though. He is validly married to a woman who is not baptized. Such a marriage is a real marriage, but it is not a sacramental marriage. His point is that, although the Church discourages such marriages due to the obvious difficulties involved, they are real marriages, not at all like invalid marriages or “gay marriages”, and that the Church needs to support the couple and help them preserve their marriage. He is absolutely correct.

    @o.h.

    God bless you and your marriage. I pray that your wife converts.

  34. benedetta says:

    What I have noticed over some time of observation and experiences and listening to others of varying viewpoints have to say is this. By and large during a certain window of time the laity who desired contraception first and foremost and then other things tended, however encouraged to do so, to speak out with anger and even threats (withholding money, taking their family and leaving etc) to priests who taught or touched on these matters. The next occurrence was it was portrayed as especially sensitive and pastoral to teach the opposite of what the Church asked. Perhaps one could argue that the “pastoral” inclination grew out of the fear of being cursed out by those angry denunciations. So from the angry and vocal objections thus developed a practice that was formulated for all, even those open to or seeing the wisdom and goodness inherent in the Church’s teaching, or, for those who tried the secular way as promoted and crashed and burned their way back to the hope of the Church’s teaching.

    At the same time now another “pastoral” practice has developed which I find quite curious. Now, when thoughtful, accomplished, highly learned people, or humble people of belief make somewhat reasoned and hopeful assertions supportive of the Church’s teachings, the tactic often employed by those in ministry is to employ shame, guilt, lecturing, self-righteousness, moralizing, and act as if the very bringing up of the topic for discussion constitutes the very picture of effrontery and pride incarnate. Of course with that one really doesn’t ever get to bring in the various health statistics that show that abstinence and connection to place of worship for young people is best — scientific research, not from a Pope. And one never gets to ever being able to confer with those like minded who want goodness for their children and see not why they should push 13 year olds into a mindset that says they will “do it anyway” when they are not mature enough at all to consider what they really want for life and when secular measures show that this sort of attitude has really not been helpful towards living an integrated sexuality. All it has really done obviously has furthered certain political demands of certain groups with others then having to sort through with no support from sacraments or the Church.

    And of course this mirrors the very same tactic employed to those who even patiently and sweetly advocate for something more reverent in worship and liturgy. For the asking, you get the shame treatment. I find it fascinating that the treatment and tactic employed by the “pastoral” ministers depends upon what is advocated for. Different causes get different treatment. If you are asking that choice be tolerated and entertained at parish level (essentially “shut up”) then people readily agree on the basis of so many euphemism supposedly relating to women’s needs and you may even be given a position of leadership, parish council or the like. But if you have a concern about liturgy or doctrine, then you are advised to be meek, patient, long-suffering, to be obedient. You are told to do these things by people who appear not to know what these qualities and virtues mean in the first place. Obviously we can all lean meekness and the One to teach us can be discovered in the Eucharist and if we need further time for strength and contemplation we may Adore (if you can find it locally). If we are being sinful, for the asking then, extend time for confession and let’s go and get some concrete ways to do it. If the one advising us to be obedient, to be long suffering, to be patient and meek walks the walk themselves they will have excellent suggestions for us. As an adult I can seek out those who recognize those for what they are and are trying to live it out when I need help understanding what it means for my own life. But if someone is teaching something from the mass media secularist consumerist unhealthy bizarro world and dressing it up as pastoral and sensitive I know it when I see it, it is not about loyalty or obedience apparently, in the first place, and that is my cue that while I may respect that they are called to provide the sacraments to the faithful as to their example of disobedience and preaching those with legitimate concern to shut up and meekly disappear, I reject it. In learning true meekness and in discerning when to act and when to pray, there are excellent examples existing who both talk the talk and walk the walk and though it may take some searching out and a little bit of effort it is discoverable and well worth it.