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Scots Catholic

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What is Christian Marriage?

Posted on October 3, 2014 at 9:48 AM Comments comments (0)
 
What are the essential elements of Christian marriage?
 
(1) Unity: Marriage is a covenant that by its very nature brings about bodily, intellectual, and spiritual union between a man and a woman;
(2) Indissolubility: Marriage lasts "until death do us part";
(3) Openness to offspring: Every marriage must be open to children;
(4) Commitment to the spouse's welfare.
If one of the two spouses deliberately excludes one of the four points listed above at the time of their wedding, the sacrament of Matrimony does not take place.
 
 
What significance does the sexual encounter have within marriage?
 
According to God's will, husband and wife should encounter each other in bodily union so as to be united ever more deeply with one another in love and to allow children to proceed from their love. In Christianity, the body, pleasure, and erotic joy enjoy a high status: "Christianity ... believes that matter is good, that God Himself once took on a human body, that some kind of body is going to be given to us even in Heaven and is going to be an essential part of our happiness, our beauty and our energy. Christianity has glorified marriage more than any other religion: and nearly all the greatest love poetry in the world has been produced by Christians. If anyone says that sex, in itself, is bad, Christianity contradicts him at once" (C. S. Lewis). Pleasure, of course, is not an end in itself. When the pleasure of a couple becomes self-enclosed and is not open to the new life that could result from it, it no longer corresponds to the nature of love.
 
(From the Catholic Youth Catechism)
 
Next week we will look in more detail at the role of children in Christian marriage...
 

What does the Catholic Church say about using condoms to fight AIDS?

Posted on September 24, 2014 at 8:36 AM Comments comments (0)
What does the Catholic Church say about using condoms to fight AIDS?
 
Apart from the fact that condoms provide no absolutely safe protection against contagion, the Church rejects their use as a one-sided, mechanical method of fighting AIDS epidemics and advocates above all a new culture of human relationships and a change in social consciousness. Only practicing fidelity and refraining from casual sexual contacts can provide lasting protection from AIDS and teach a holistic approach to love. Respect for the equal dignity of women and men, concern about the health of the family, responsibility in dealing with one's urges and desires, and also refraining (at appropriate times) from sexual union are all part of it. In the countries of Africa where societal campaigns have promoted such behavior, the rates of infection have decreased significantly. Besides that the Catholic Church does all she can to help people who are afflicted with AIDS.
 
(From the Catholic Youth Catechism, question 414)
 

African Women Rejecting Contraception and Turning to Natural Family Planning

Posted on July 31, 2014 at 10:48 AM Comments comments (0)
A recent family planning conference sponsored by the US Agency for International Development and the World Health Organisation's Department of Reproductive Health and Research threw up a real surprise when it was discovered that natural family planning is playing a significant part in the lives of people across Africa.
 
 
 

Synod of Bishops facing quite a challenge

Posted on July 4, 2014 at 8:18 AM Comments comments (0)
Cardinal Baldisseri, Synod Secretary General, speaks about the challenges facing the upcoming Synod of Bishops, in particular, issues around divorce, same-sex attraction and teaching children about the beauty of marriage.
 
 
 

The Catholic Church will not be changing its views on sex. It cannot, and it should not.

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 1:53 PM Comments comments (146)
Nice to see that the fundamental importance of basic Catholic teaching has not been lost on the entire media.  This piece by the Telegraph's Tim Stanley calms the sensationalist headlines suggesting (once again!) that the Catholic Church is about to change its teaching on sex.

Time for everyone to back down, take a deep breath, and chill out.  The Church cannot change Truth.  End of.

Sacrifice is the Language of Love

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 1:41 PM Comments comments (1)

Nebraska Bishop James Conley's pastoral letter 'The Language of Love' has been well received around the world in recent days.  It rightly puts sacrifice at the centre of loving relationships and suggests an immorality around contraception which means it should be rejected by all Catholic people.



St John Paul II urges us not to be afraid in standing up for life

Posted on May 15, 2014 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (24)
 
A brilliant article from the Zenit website on St John Paul II's call to stand up for life without fear and to embrace suffering as sharing in the suffering of Christ:
 

Vatican hits back at UN interference on the dignity of the human person

Posted on February 5, 2014 at 10:38 AM Comments comments (1)
 
Holy See will consider UN observations on child abuse by clergy but will not take on board abortion criticism
 
The United Nations has accused the Vatican of failing to sufficiently protect children from paedophile clergy, claiming that it has “adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of abuse”.  There is also concern that many children are still at risk of abuse today and has requested swift action be taken to identify perpetrators and deal with them accordingly.
 
While recent moves by Pope Francis have suggested a more robust approach to child abuse by clergy, there is clearly a lot of work still to be done and the Church must ensure it does as much as it can to combat these horrific crimes.  These crimes simply have no place in the Church and, while the Church is full of sinners, it does not mean that the Church should sit back and do nothing about it. 
 
While the full extent of the Church’s work to eradicate such behaviour is still not known and is, I suspect, more widespread than many in the mainstream media believe, this is an opportunity for the Vatican to set out its stall to deal with the matter once and for all.  Thankfully the Vatican has already put in place new procedures to combat these crimes and, further, Bishops across the world, including the Bishops of Scotland, are starting to look at their own processes and put in place new protections.  In Scotland, the Bishops Conference sent a letter to all parishes across the country in November 2013 detailing its plans to tackle child abuse (click here to access the letter).  Among the plans was the publication of a safeguarding audit between 2006 and 2012, giving details of any safeguarding incidents in that time.  There will also be an external review of safeguarding protocols and procedures undertaken by the Very Rev Dr Andrew McLellan, former Moderator of the Church of Scotland, and a statistical review of abuse cases between 1947 and 2005.   Details of the Bishops’ safeguarding service can be accessed by clicking here.  For many, these reviews and new processes will not be enough but there is no doubt that it is a significant step in the right direction for the Church.
 
Sadly, however, in delivering its recommendations, the UN felt the need to criticise the Church for its stance on abortion and contraception.  The Vatican, in response, stated: "The Holy See does, however, regret to see in some points of the Concluding Observations [by the UN] an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom. The Holy See reiterates its commitment to defending and protecting the rights of the child, in line with the principles promoted by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and according to the moral and religious values offered by Catholic doctrine." 
The Holy See quite rightly refers to the UN’s very own Convention on the Rights of the Child in making its point.  The UN, through the Convention, claims that ‘all human beings, rich and poor, strong and weak, male and female, of all races and religions, are to be treated equally and with respect for their natural worth as human beings’.  All human beings except the very weakest it would seem; those who cannot speak for themselves.
 
While the UN is correct to urge the Church to correct past mistakes and do its utmost to ensure they are not repeated, the UN must look at its own human rights failings, particularly those relating to the unborn. 
 
 
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: Speaking Up For Life (Wednesday 22nd January 2014)

Posted on January 22, 2014 at 2:30 AM Comments comments (3)
 
Today's Gospel (Mark 3:1-6):
 
'Jesus went again into a synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand. And they were watching him to see if he would cure him on the sabbath day, hoping for something to use against him. He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Stand up out in the middle!’ Then he said to them, ‘Is it against the law on the sabbath day to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?’ But they said nothing. Then, grieved to find them so obstinate, he looked angrily round at them, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was better. The Pharisees went out and at once began to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him.'
 
 
It is appropriate that this Gospel passage should appear on this day.  Today is the day when abortion was effectively legalised across the United States following the landmark ruling in the case of Roe v Wade in 1973.
 
Thousands of people will descend on the US capital Washington DC today protesting against abortion and arguing for the cause of life.
 
Jesus also makes an argument for the cause of life in today's Gospel passage.  He makes the distinction between good and evil and then draws parallels with these terms, suggesting that to save a life is to do good and killing is to do evil.  This should be obvious to everyone.  Yet given the number of deaths as a result of abortion, this is clearly not the case.
 
Human beings are dying every day in our world because society has made them so easy to dispense with.  How can this be happening?  What are we doing to our children?  In the UK we afford more protection to baby birds as they grow in their eggs than we do to unborn human beings.  And this is no exaggeration.
 
Jesus, in front of the Pharisees in the synagogue, was not afraid to heal the man with the withered hand.  He was not afraid to speak up for life in the face of criticism.  Today, thousands of people will march for life and speak up for it as Jesus did.  Each day in our world there is a growing number of young people standing up for the cause of life.  In the UK and Ireland organisations such as Abort67, SPUC, and Youth Defence are standing up for little children who just never get the chance.  The chance to live.  If we cannot stand up for that, then what can we stand for?
 
If you are able, please spare a prayer today (or even better, a Rosary) for those unborn children.  Spare a prayer for their mothers, their fathers, and their families.  Spare a prayer for the medical staff who are involved in abortions.  Spare a prayer for our governors, that they may be moved to give life a chance.  And spare a prayer for those who are marching in Washington and who, across the world, are working hard to fight for justice for those little ones who have done no wrong.
 
In addition, if you feel compelled to get involved in one of the above groups or other pro-life campaigns then please do so!  You will find you are not alone.  The worldwide pro-life campaign is on a charge and it is growing by the day.  We will win this.  We will win the right to life for the little ones.  
 
Jesus, in today's passage, has given us a choice: we can either save life, or we can kill it.  What is your choice? 
 

Her Life was Precious - an incredibly moving story of a beautiful little baby girl

Posted on January 5, 2014 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)
Please watch this video about a little girl named Clodagh. 
 
No life is worthless....