George Weigel in First Things. Amen. Amen. Amen

This is great, with my emphases.

Rome, we have a problem.

Pope Francis understands the crisis of marriage culture in its multiple dimensions, just as he understands that the family, which begins in marriage, is a troubled institution in the post-modern world; that’s why he’s summoned two Synods on the topic of the family. And that’s why the Synod, fully aware of the gravity of the situation, should begin, continue, and end on a positive note, offering the world a pearl of great price: the Christian understanding and experience of marriage.

The Synod discussion, in other words, should take the crisis of marriage and the family as a given and then lift up Christian marriages, lived faithfully and fruitfully, as the answer to that crisis. The Synod should begin with what is good and true and beautiful about Christian marriage and Christian family life, and show, by living examples, how that truth, goodness, and beauty respond to the deepest longings of the human heart for solidarity, fidelity, and fruitful love.

It’s quite obvious that the Church faces real pastoral challenges in dealing with broken marriages and their results. But to begin the discussion of marriage and the family in the twenty-first century there is to begin at the wrong end of things. For it is only within the truth-about-marriage, which was given to the Church by the Lord himself, that compassionate and truthful solutions to those pastoral problems can be found.

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One Response to George Weigel in First Things. Amen. Amen. Amen

  1. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    From your quotation: Rome, we have a problem.

    Pope Francis understands the crisis of marriage culture in its multiple dimensions, just as he understands that the family, which begins in marriage, is a troubled institution in the post-modern world…

    May I dare to suggest that the “crisis of marriage culture” is a symptom of a much more fundamental problem in the Catholic Church?

    People who truly come to faith, submitting their lives to the lordship of our savior, naturally form healthy relationships because that is where the Lord leads them. Prayer becomes the center of the triune marriage, to which the Holy Spirit is the third party, and the spouses discern their way forward together in submission to God — and teach their children to do likewise. The result is a healthy family.

    Alas, there are many people who self-identify as Catholic, but who have not truly come to faith. Their lives are not submitted to the lordship of our savior. Absent the direction of the Holy Spirit, they go off in reckless ways that compromise relationships and that impair their own well-being and the well-being of those around them. The consequence is exactly what we see — (1) disregard for fundamental moral principles with respect to contraception and abortion, (2) a divorce rate that mirrors that of society, and (3) children not really formed in the faith, although baptized, because the parent’s contrary example is a far more powerful witness than a couple hours per week of exposure to the content of a “faith formation” or “religious education” class in which the teacher likely also is not a true believer.

    A couple decades ago, I had the opportunity to volunteer in a telephone center operated by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The basic approach was quite simple: whatever the caller said when we took the call, we would segue to “Question #1” (“Was there ever a time when you submitted your life to the lordship of Jesus Christ and embraced him as your savior and your Lord, or are you still thinking about making that decision?”) as quickly as possible. In many cases, the caller needed to make or to renew that commitment. Only after we were certain of the caller’s commitment of faith would we then turn to whatever other issue the caller identified at the start of the call.

    Norm.

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