Modern Family Life: Ever Wondered How Many Brothers & Sisters You Have?

Modern Family Life: Ever Wondered How Many Brothers & Sisters You Have?

I think we’d all agree that the consequences of the much lauded “sexual liberation” of recent decades has yet to be assessed in its full impact. As one mother said to me a couple of years ago, when the time comes that almost every family finds itself nursing an AIDS sufferer, or a family member with some other sexually transmitted disease, people just might begin to realise that the “sexual liberation” of the Swinging Sixties era is not all it was cracked up to be.

The truth of this was brought home to me recently when a couple of friends contacted me, in shock, to tell me about another consequence of the “do as you please” immorality prevalent in our times. One friend from days of yore was stunned to discover that one of her several siblings was, in fact, the product of an affair between her mother and another man. The child was adopted into the family, thanks to the forgiving, although devastated, husband, father of my friend.

Another friend spoke of being stunned on discovering that he has a sister of whom he knew nothing until a few days ago – this time because of an affair between his father and another woman.

This, I believe, is a snapshot of what lies in store for many families in the years ahead. Illicit affairs, and casual intimacy, with offspring who may never know the identity of their fathers, with siblings all over the place unknown to one another – or about whom they only learn in adulthood. And the more commonplace these situations become, the less they will shock. Relativism into nihilism: we’ve fast moved from thinking that things are only wrong in relation to certain other factors, to not knowing right from wrong at all.

 Am I alone in lamenting this dreadful state of (literally) affairs?

And just as I’ve been hearing these “family secrets”, I’ve also been hearing from parents who are worried about the Scottish Government’s proposals to allocate a State Guardian to every child. Think about it. The same politicians who have created, either directly or by their complicity, the current moral chaos around us, want to have the final say in how children are raised by their parents. Crazy.  All ideas on what parents can do to stop this latest political interference in family life, welcome.

Talk to me.

Comments (92)

  • WurdeSmythe

    In the States, nursing homes for the indigent, disabled, and elderly are factories for STDs – it’s a common problem that I presume exists in other countries, though I haven’t looked beyond my own border to confirm. Staff is inclined to just snicker and look the other way when nursing home residents are out for a romp, which goes to my earlier point about lapses in self-control being viewed by society in general as simply no big deal. If people were of a mind to address the problem, is expensive high-tech gadgetry the way to go? Perhaps it would have a place; more mundane solutions like separate dormitories, floors, or wings with monitored access points could probably reduce a number of problems. But first the problem would need to be recognized as such. The children, just to be clear, are not the problem; they do not need to be solved.

    August 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm
  • Yorkshire Rose

    ATHIEST BLOGGERS. Could I suggest this solution maybe. When they pop up and start ‘throwing rocks’ at us, I feel that we should ‘return fire’ by prayer. Even one Hail Mary well said could convert a soul. So, if say, there are five anti-Catholic comments, then five Hail Marys are said, and so on. Our weapons are much more powerful than theirs!

    August 21, 2013 at 4:48 pm
    • WurdeSmythe

      St. Margaret Clitherow would approve, I think.

      August 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm
      • editor

        Definitely, Wordesmythe, St Margaret Clitherow would approve of praying for and treating with charity, those who imagine themselves to be atheists. We know that God has implanted a seed in every soul which will lead us ultimately to Him. Thanks Yorkshire Rose for your edifying suggestions. I’m not even going to give you 100 lines for going off topic!

        Indeed, I’ll round off this off topic diversion by reporting briefly that I watched a tape of Sunday Morning Live last weekend and broadcaster, Lowri Turner was on the panel, describing herself as an atheist. Throughout the discussions (there were three topics) I found myself agreeing with every word, more or less, that she said. I’ve heard her before and had written her off as a mad liberal but she didn’t come across that way at all last Sunday.

        Then, towards the end of the show, the fiercely anti-Catholic self-proclaimed atheist Kate Smurthwaite spoke on the phone on one of the topics. Commenting afterwards, Lowri Turner suggested that Kate’s black & white anti-religion views were possibly a “generational thing” – that she, Lowri, did not rule out…. in the future… trailed off.

        Clearly, she is now more open to religious ideas and claims that she was last time I heard her speak on TV. When that time comes, for her to review the claims of the various religions, I hope and pray that nobody she has encountered from the Catholic Church treated her in such a manner that she discounts Catholicism. On the panel with her, a Hindu gentleman: she actually turned to him and remarked, jovially, that she might look again at Hinduism, so impressed was she by him and his account of his faith.

        We really must not forget that God works in souls – even the souls of alleged trolls – but not to order. In His own time. All we have to do is take care not to hamper the workings of His grace.

        I’m already looking through my wardrobe for something to wear at Arkenaten’s reception into the Church. I demand an invite!

        August 21, 2013 at 7:18 pm
  • Yorkshire Rose

    Well, as a convert herself, she would indeed. So, perhaps a ‘Posy of Prayers’ for the recent lady (Arkenarten) would be in order. Perhaps this poor soul is looking for God and, having crossed our path, can now be helped. Anyone like to join me?

    From me: 1 Hail Mary said today at 5pm.

    August 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm
  • Theresa Rose

    Yorkshire Rose

    I wasn’t here to be on the blog at 5pm, but nevertheless a Hail Mary no matter how late will never go ammiss.
    St Margaret Clitherow as a convert and also a martyr for the Catholic faith would agree with that.

    August 21, 2013 at 6:36 pm
  • Heloise

    I do not know if this will make it onto your blog as I’ve been locked in unarmed combat with WordPress on and off for hours now. Anyway, I have looked in here from time to time and come across some very useful links for which I am grateful.

    On state interference in family life I watched the youtube presentation of a conference on Catholic education in France where things are moving apace. It seems that in state schools all books referring to normal relations between men and women and gender stereotypes are being removed from schools and replaced by “daddy wears a dress” and “Mr and Mrs Giraffe adopt a crocodile” (or possibly Mr and Mr Giraffe couldn’t quite catch it) . Teachers are being forced to include “non-traditional” family structures in their lessons. The two gay men who married in Montpellier earlier this year already had a foreign child lined up for adoption. They had a valiant discussion about what they could do to protect their children but one contribution was from a speaker whose friend insisted to his children on the way to school – “repeat after me ‘marriage is between a man and woman, repeat after me…”‘ I’m afraid it all seems pretty sad and not likely to get much better when today I read that a new app has been launched based on a very successful homosexual model which puts people in touch who want casual, no strings sex. A study of the effects of pornography in Canada had to be abandoned because they could not find a control group of young people who had not witnessed significant amounts of pornography.

    We are looking at the wholesale destruction of souls through the objectification of the body. Sorry if this seems really miserable, I do believe good will win in the end but it’s hard to swim in the sea of piercings, tattoos and apps with your head out of the water!

    August 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm
    • editor


      Your post was languishing in moderation and I’ve only just seen it – apologies. That’s because the support at WordPress persuaded me to change the settings so that any first posts go into moderation. This is to do with the log in problems some people have had although I can’t quite see how that will help. Anyway, I promised to give it a try. Only the first post will be moderated – your future posts will go straight onto the blog.

      Thank you for your very interesting comment. What is happening in France is chilling but it’s on the agenda here, as well. There can be no doubt about it.

      My heart went out to the parent to told his children to “repeat after me, marriage is between a man and a woman…repeat after me.”

      Truly chilling. Diabolically chilling. But entirely scriptural, what is evil is made to look like good and good treated as evil.

      Chilling – and then some.

      August 21, 2013 at 7:37 pm
    • Margaret Mary


      “A study of the effects of pornography in Canada had to be abandoned because they could not find a control group of young people who had not witnessed significant amounts of pornography.”

      I am speechless. How bad is that? No wonder societies in the western world are in terminal decline.

      I heartily agree that good will win in the end but in the meantime, life is very hard for those of us who are not liberal minded. We are painted as nutcases.

      August 21, 2013 at 7:49 pm
    • Laura

      “It seems that in state schools all books referring to normal relations between men and women and gender stereotypes are being removed from schools and replaced by “daddy wears a dress” ”


      France seems to be in dire straits. I keep wondering how children brought up in this sex-mad environment are going to turn out. What chance do they have? All Catholics need to really get down on our knees and pray hard to appease God’s anger. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

      August 21, 2013 at 9:17 pm
  • Yorkshire Rose

    Hello there, Oh thank you that’s wonderful. I would explain though that I only noted the time I said my Hail Mary as a matter of interest to get things started. So, could we have a few more please over the next few days – any time or day is fine.

    August 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm
    • editor

      Yorkshire Rose,

      That’s fine but could we leave it at that now and return to the thread topic. I don’t look forward to reading a succession of posts reporting that “I said at Hail Mary at 1pm…. 2pm ….. 3pm …” etc.
      You’ll get my drift. Let’s leave the subject of atheism for another time. Right now, the thread topic please and thank you.

      On topic…

      A friend of mine is married to someone who has a whole gaggle of children born when he was in a live-in relationship with a girlfriend before he met and married his wife. They are now expecting their own baby.

      It struck me listening to the overjoyed couple that this sort of situation is now widespread, everywhere. In some cases the siblings and half-siblings will get to meet and know one another, in others (I can think of one) the wife won’t want her children meeting their half-siblings.

      Am I alone in lamenting this as a “total mess”?

      Why is it that priests do not preach about the need for purity and chastity and abstinence before marriage? Some priests argue that they do preach about fidelity within marriage but young people don’t relate that to their behaviour BEFORE marriage. They think that’s fine, once I’m married I’ll be faithful, but they are sometimes amazed to learn that they should not be engaging in sexual activity UNTIL they are married.

      Why can’t priests see the need to preach on this issue very clearly, in words of one syllable that any young person will understand? Perhaps it’s time for priests to cite some of the situations, similar to those published on this thread, to make the youngsters in their congregations think of the possible consequences of their “lifestyle (i.e. immoral) choices”.

      August 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm
  • scottish priest

    priests do preach and teach on purity, abstinence and chastity. Modern man does not have the same desire or comprehension for the “higher things” The erosion of faith and the secularization of the culture foster a permissiveness and indeed a flagrant disrespect for natural law as well as Church teaching.Every priest encounters the living together scenario before marriage as the norm.. and yet the stats are if you live together first you are now 3 times more likely to be in the divorced column after marriage. Those who are not sexually active before marriage and do not live together (and for the record , those who pray worship and serve together), and practise NFP within marriage the divorce rate is less than 3% these are all conversation pieces I know a large number of priests will have wit h couples in preparation. Most couples today will play the game of coming to classes and then once they get their “BIG” day we as priests don’t see them until they want a baby baptised that is the norm.. so you have to work on evangelization first – no point in knowing the doctrines of the Church and the rules if you do not have a love for and a relationship with the saviour. Our prayer life is to draw us into the mystery of the faith and develop this relationship with Jesus and his Holy Mother and the Saints. The culture of collusion and entitlement is at the heart of this.

    Leading people to Christ is the goal of the priest we can only show them the way we cant make them etc.. Faith is not simply an academic exercise.. it filters through all the senses destined for the heart (biblically the heart is where you do your thinking); The liturgy is firstly a place of transformation, it is where the human meets the divine; the creature meets the creator – in and through it we are transformed, not merely informed. We have to ask difficult questions when a priest does not speak about those virtues which pertain to the wholeness and health of the human person and indeed the plan of God for human love

    Nor is faith an intellectual avenue for spiritual snobbery. There is a real danger that people lose themselves in the rhetoric of the past and forget the purpose of the gospel. Jesus has strong words for us ” I do not know you” This personal relationship was an OCD quality of St Thomas Aquinas You have spoken well of me Thomas” Even Jesus spoke Latin to St Thomas haha!

    working with parents and young people on a daily basis I also know the need for wisdom and prudence in approaching these areas. promoting healthy authentic relationships has to be done with sensitivity and craft. Eg. recently a so called catholic school presented a number of young people for said Caritas awards 3 young people (Mass attenders), were able to tell me they didn’t go in for the caritas as three of the girls were lesbian; 3 atheist; one Muslim and none went to Mass! When the schools are rewarding young people for printing bulletins, helping father tidy the grounds or visiting the sick without the Catholic identity – its very hard then for the priest to speak into the relational truth of the Catholic Church after the lie that has been created that we are all equal and its OK for you to be this way etc.. Personally I would get rid of catholic high schools as there are really none that resemble the Church they represent.. So speaking of purity has to be done carefully and honestly. This is why JPII asked those very questions “what does it mean to be human?” read – there are some acts that are beneath being human and are in fact inhuman – and since the answer to the first question is to love, we then have to ask “what does it mean to love?” read there are some ways of so called love that are beneath the human person and indeed teach him or her to use another person in such a way that it violates the order of love and ultimately will destroy how human beings authentically communicate .. but wait that’s the Theology of the body.. surely Editor and JPII are not asking the same questions

    Your witness

    August 22, 2013 at 8:38 am
    • editor

      Scottish Priest,

      A very clear and thoughtful post – made me think. Actually, these words in particular made me think…

      …no point in knowing the doctrines of the Church and the rules if you do not have a love for and a relationship with the saviour.

      And what did it make me think? It made me think of my teaching days at secondary and college level. I would tell new students that I was not “into” the popular system of ice-breakers, and getting to know you all before settling down to the work of the course. It is, I used to say, in the teaching and learning process that we will very soon get to know one another (usually raised a few smiles!) And I could almost hear the sighs of relief – those corny ice-breaking lessons really can be a pain.

      So, with respect, Father, how do we enable young people to “have a love for and a relationship with the saviour” if we don’t teach them that Christ actually said “if you love Me you will keep my Commandments.” ? Drum roll…

      The “rules” – in other words – are surely a useful starting point for identifying the boundaries which are integral to any relationship. You are a (very good!) priest (but don’t quote me – I’ll deny it outright!) and I am a (first class, slim, glamorous, intelligent, witty etc) laywoman. We need to keep those boundaries in mind when we meet for tea and cream cakes (I’m still not over the shock of Bradford’s closing down, but I digress) I mean, we can’t have YOU claiming to be slim, glamorous, witty etc. You’d have crossed a line (!)

      You’ll get my drift. It sounds good to talk about “a relationship with Jesus” and such like but, divorced from the Church and the Commandments, there IS no true relationship with Jesus. That, however sensitively it is done, has to be the starting point of every priest and teacher seeking to evangelise the young. How can we speak of Christ without immediately pointing out that He is God made man, come to earth, to save us from Hell… Hell and sin going hand in hand. It’s impossible. To portray Jesus merely as a nice man who wanted to make the world a better place, is confusing for young people. They know that they are not asked to keep the rules of any other nice man who wanted to improve the world.

      Of course the practical problems today evident in the “Caritas” conversation you mention, are very real and, I acknowledge, have compounded the work of evangelising the young. Still, I think that the example of the French parent reported above should be a sort of template for action: immediately after leaving a meeting where material was exhibited promoting same-sex marriage which must be used in state schools, that parent told his child to “repeat after me: marriage is between a man and a woman… repeat after me…”

      In other words, the importance of speaking the truth to young people who have imbibed and believe the homosexual (and other) propaganda, is all the more urgent today.

      And no, not really: Pope John Paul II and Editor are not really “asking the same questions” because I’ve never taken to this question of “how do we become more human”. The question I learned to answer at school and which I have never forgotten is: “why did God make me?” Answer: “God made me to know, love and serve Him in this life, so that I may be happy with Him forever in the next.”

      When did you hear or read of Pope John Paul II (or any modern pope) saying that? Mentioning God?! Kidding, right?! OK, so I exaggerate – a little…

      August 22, 2013 at 10:20 am
    • Josephine

      Scottish Priest,

      Great post – thank you .

      The only problem I see with starting to talk about “the order of love” is that young people today would question Jesus’ authority to make rules about love.

      Is it not necessary to begin with the divinity of Christ to show that he has authority to launch a church and so on? (I ask this and you probably take it for granted – if so, I apologise!)

      August 22, 2013 at 11:00 am
  • scottish priest


    We are saying similar things really. I meant ..being Catholic is a way of living not a way of thinking there is no point in knowing doctrines etc.. if you are not attending Holy Mass. The proper and ordinary way of receiving grace is through the sacraments – so it does make a difference if you are going to mass – people today will say I am a good person, but I don’t go to Mass but we are not called to be good we are called to be saints and for that we need grace and the sacraments.The commandment to keep the Sabbath is precisely that a commandment, not a suggestion The personal relationship with Jesus mean (not in a tree hugging i love Jesus evangelical way), rather the goal of my life is Christ (Paul: I live no longer but Christ lives in me..),

    The question was not “How do I become more human” the question was “what does it mean to be human?” Completely different. the answer is to love and how do we love by keeping the commandments by knowing loving and serving God etc etc,, so you really are asking the same question as Pope JPII did.. and I will be slim glamorous and witty … in the next life.. can’t wait! Perhaps this was why Mary did not recognise Jesus in the garden.. in His glorified state He was revealed in perfection.

    Those two questions (as presented/couched in the language of philosophy by JPII), are a frontal assault on homosexuality and contraception as well as all the major dysfunctional sexual issues that are prevalent today. I do however find it beyond reason that we would/could expect our culture to be a of a higher moral fibre than when Jesus was walking the planet.. It would seem since the fall Gen 3. we have been dealing with the same issues…oops that’s JPI as well. That’s not to throw my hands in the air and saying we should not a t least try. However, the formation of the young is not being handed on properly as our teachers are either ,living with a boyfriend or worse and not attending Mass. There needs to be a follow up character/faith letter from the parish priest that confirms each catholic teacher as practising their faith it would separate the users the careerists and the genuine teachers

    Court closed for lunch, defence rests for a bit

    August 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm
    • Josephine

      Scottish Priest

      “However, the formation of the young is not being handed on properly as our teachers are either ,living with a boyfriend or worse and not attending Mass. There needs to be a follow up character/faith letter from the parish priest that confirms each catholic teacher as practising their faith”

      That is so very true. So many teachers are not living proper moral Catholic lives, as you say but teacher friends of mine who share the same concern, tell me that student teachers and teachers going for promotion, still get a good reference from their priests even though the priest must know that they don’t practise.

      This must be known in Clyde Street, so it is dreadful that it is permitted. Those priests who give good references to teachers who are cohabiting are a disgrace. I wonder how they can live with their consciences.

      August 22, 2013 at 10:51 pm
  • WurdeSmythe

    When I love someone, I want to know all I can about him – likes and dislikes, preferences and whims, background and experiences.

    When I say I love someone and then tell him I don’t want to know at all about all his boring doctrines and silly orthodox formulas, I’m just paying lip service to love. In fact, I’m a fair-weather lover. A fake. A liar.

    Dogmas and doctrines are the source of love: they are the solid foundation that love is built on. Saying that we should learn to love before we bother with the teachings is akin to saying that we should learn to love a sweet aroma before learning what a flower is.

    At issue is that doctrines and dogmatic decrees are not an impediment, and we must never speak as if they were. The heart of the matter is that people really don’t want to love; rather, they want to indulge their appetites and use other people for their own gratification. They live not for happiness, but for pleasure.

    Are people in our age really different from people in our Lord’s age? In their nature, not at all: if our nature was different, then we wouldn’t say we were all people. But there is this difference: in our Lord’s day, people were schooled in the commandments, even when they did not keep them; thus, our Lord reminded them of what they had forgotten or neglected. In our age of secular, amoral, godless education, meanwhile, people have never heard of what the commandments really oblige: they do in fact have to be schooled in what the commandments are and what they mean. Our age needs a good primer that previous ages did not require.

    August 22, 2013 at 6:07 pm
    • Josephine


      “Dogmas and doctrines are the source of love: they are the solid foundation that love is built on. Saying that we should learn to love before we bother with the teachings is akin to saying that we should learn to love a sweet aroma before learning what a flower is.”

      Well said – that is very clear. I think all the talk about “what makes us human” (Pope JP II) goes all round about the houses, as they say, trying to show exactly what you’ve said in a few words. I agree with Scottish Priest that, in the end, he’s saying the same thing as editor and you, but it takes longer to see it because of the JP II verbiage.

      August 22, 2013 at 10:47 pm
  • scottish priest

    Dogmas and doctrines are not the source of love! Jesus is the source of love!, Dogmas and doctrines are the living tradition of the magisterium which breathes the person of Christ into the teaching office, but they a re never the source. Love is not built on doctrine, doctrine is built on love! The person of Christ is the source of love.

    JPII was a philosopher and uses the language of philosophy to identify the struggles of humanity. after “Love and responsibility” in 1955 he clearly build s the foundation for Humane Vitae. Clarity was his gift – perhaps not in the language but in the content for sure..Pope Benedict’s first encyclical was a development of the teaching of JPII – it takes time to sift through but well worth it

    August 22, 2013 at 11:21 pm
    • editor

      Scottish Priest

      I think there is a false dichotomy here, surely. Of course God, Christ, is “the source of love” but can you separate Christ from His Church – i.e. “doctrines and dogmas”?

      Reading the statements of successive modern popes, especially Pope Francis, I learn nothing about Christ. So much woolly, meaningless comments about – I hate to say it again – this “nice man, Jesus” who wants us to forge a “relationship” with Him.

      What does that mean? As Wurdesmythe says, when we love someone we want to know all about them and the only way to know more about Christ is to know what He teaches – even to say we need to know that He suffered and died for us, begs the question “but why?” Answer: to save us from Hell. All roads lead to Christ’s teaching – doctrines and dogmas.

      I think, anyway, – as you said yourself earlier – that we are fundamentally in agreement, but take different routes to our destination. The philosophical approach of Pope John Paul II, the long preambles about “being human” does not appeal to me. The encyclicals of the recent popes do not compare – in clarity and ease of reading – with the older encyclicals of the pre-Vatican II pontiffs.

      Anyway, I’m sure we are basically in agreement – I’m sure you think the same as me / the rest of us on this thread; you’ve just got to grit your teeth and admit that. Repeat after me The lay bloggers are right – this is the age of the laity, they must be right…

      Go on, smile!

      August 23, 2013 at 9:24 am
  • WurdeSmythe

    Scottish Priest is engaging in hair-splitting that has the effect of making faith, hope, and charity formless and meaninngless. Doctrines are based in objective reality and experience – they were an event first, and then became a tradition later. The doctrines are a summation of what it is that we love; if we say we love without bothering with an account of what it is we love, we’ve said something meaningless because the doctrines determine the form our love must take. To profess a love Christ apart from His doctrines is like the fellow whsoa says he still loves his wife in spite of all his infidelities.

    August 23, 2013 at 12:51 pm
  • Jacinta


    I think Scottish Priest doesn’t mean to “hair-split”, it’s just that he’s been reading Pope John Paul II and thinks his writings are clear. I’ve never read any of his writings because I found it hard enough to understand his speeches which were IMHO longwinded without really saying anything helpful.

    Scottish Priest wrote: “JPII was a philosopher and uses the language of philosophy to identify the struggles of humanity. after “Love and responsibility” in 1955 he clearly builds the foundation for Humane Vitae.”

    I would have said that the foundation for Humanae Vitae was just the natural law, that at the end of the day, Paul VI realised he couldn’t change the natural law.

    However, I haven’t read any of Pope John Paul II’s writings so I shouldn’t really say anything more, except I think Scottish Priest, who understands the philosophy of JPII, is more likely than not to be agreeing that young people really can’t be taught about Jesus without also being taught his doctrines.

    August 23, 2013 at 1:17 pm
  • WurdeSmythe

    JPII was a phenomenologist philosopher, which was at the heart of the problem he had expressing himself clearly. Like the rest of the modern and modernist systems, phenomenology begins with the subjective instead of the objective, and then it trips getting over the threshold of epistemology – its practitioners are forever asking “What is truth? How do we know what we know? Is my truth the same as your truth?” Whatever one can say about an individual’s personal sanctity, a muddled philosophy makes for muddled writings. Give me even an amateur moderate realist any day.

    Our Lord is in His doctrines; to put aside His doctrines is to put aside our Lord. An example of this is the Gospel of St. John, chapter VI, in which our Lord teaches that He is the Bread of Life. In verse 67 “After this, many of his disciples went back to their old ways, and walked no more in his company.” He did not back off His doctrine; instead, He *repeated* it when asked. If they had Loved Him, they would have loved and accepted His doctrine – “Lord, to whom should we go? Thy words are the words of eternal life; we have learned to believe…” By rejecting His doctrine, they rejected Him. Acceptance of and adherence to the doctrine is the measure of one’s love for Him.

    Naturally, the detached recitation of ancient formulae will make them appear to be stale and impersonal; that’s true of any subject. Doctrine wakens and engages faith and love when it is taught in a way so as to speak to the soul. If in teaching doctrine one stops at the intellect, then he has given a crumb instead of a loaf. But to talk of love without reference to the doctrine that makes the Author of Love knowable is to give stones instead of bread.

    If one were to use a human example: suppose a fellow says he loves his wife, but he never gives any outward show of affection. This is a source of sadness and frustration for the wife, and after years of this neglect she lets out a murmur. “Wife,” the man replies, “I told you on our wedding day that I loved you. If I’d changed my mind, I would have let you know.” No, it just won’t do. Such a fellow would very much benefit from a Doctrine of a Happy Marriage that summarizes what his conduct as a loving husband should be like: patch the roof; take out the rubbish; trim the hedges; cut the grass; organize the garage; change the oil in the car; pay the bills; don’t stay out late; spend time with the children; speak to the mother-in-law; mind your eyes; remember the anniversary; send flowers now and again; tell the wife you love her and that she makes you happy. Hopefully no one here will say, “This is strange talk, who can be expected to listen to it?”

    August 23, 2013 at 1:55 pm
    • editor



      I do, in fact, though, think that when you write: “If in teaching doctrine one stops at the intellect, then he has given a crumb instead of a loaf” you are, in fact, echoing what Scottish Priest is actually saying.

      I couldn’t agree more with you about the philosophical ramblings – trying to converse with an alleged philosopher is a nightmare due to exactly what you say: “but what do we mean by X, Y, Z” to which I invariably respond, gerragrip!

      Your analogy of the married couple is so simple, so clear. Now that I see what a good husband should be like, I’m beginning to wish I’d got married. If you add ironing to that list, I’ll inform the lucky guy tomorrow…

      August 23, 2013 at 3:11 pm
      • Laura

        I think the secret is not to let our relationship with Christ stop at the intellect, as Scottish Priest says. If we only regurgitate Church teaching, without praying and doing spiritual reading and so on, then the danger is that we are like the person who can recite a poem by rote without really knowing what it means.

        It’s like people who talk a lot about Fatima and don’t do the First Five Saturdays or pray the Rosary every day or wear the Brown Scapular. It can be just talk. I think that’s what Scottish Priest is getting at – it’s what I take out of his comments, anyway, and I think that is correct.

        August 23, 2013 at 6:31 pm
  • scottish priest

    JPII’s phenomenology is not a rambling introspection. For those unfamiliar with it he takes for example Divorce and then asks what your experience of divorce is and then applies the teaching of the Church to it – it s a perfectly reasoned intelligible way and popular because of it s clarity. His philosophy begins in genesis with man being made in the image and likeness of God – he then develops this showing how Christ is the fullness of this revelation in scripture and and then apply it to humanity. There is is no tripping over epistemology..that’s a non sequitor .. rather a methodology that yes begins with the subject but can only point to the Creator.. The gift of self is only understood when given – the self donation as in Christ gives of himself and dies for His bride who is the Church – an example of what it means to be human and what it means to be a man.. the reason we have the crucifix on the altar is to remind us not as some protestants would have you believe to keep Jesus on the cross or worse re crucify him – no its to teach us the meaning of our humanity the ultimate sacrifice to lay down your life. The dying to self is central to to JPII ‘s teaching; its not subject orientated nor is it modernist. absurd

    Now your example of John 6.. firstly, they rejected Jesus’ teaching not because of a rejection of doctrine but because every good Jew would know Jesus had blasphemed “this is an intolerable teaching” He broke the law of Leviticus.. Jews don’t touch let alone eat that which is considered unclean(Incidentally this is PRECISELY why he priests breaks a small piece of the host and adds it to the chalice – it reminds..makes present, us of the new covenant and the living body is added tot he living blood.. anathema to the Jew and just in case you missed all this language and theology of sacrifice its why the last Gospel in the Old rite is Johns Gospel “in the beginning was the Word..” this is he language of he Eucharist in later years… the doctrine of the Eucharist was not developed until much later. When Jesus talks of eating my flesh it means to gnaw on it” SARX” in Greek means .. flesh stripped from an animal this is temple language and the language of sacrifice which again is developed later again by JPII (and of course firstly the Fathers of the Church from whom JPII borrows excessively!!
    What is the purpose of marriage in the Catholic Church? the purpose is for each spouse to get the other to heaven through the saviour .. your functional understanding of the theology of marriage leads to your black and white canvas..its much more rich its much more biblical and please ! Doctrine is the expression of Christ as revealed through the teaching office of the Church you first must know love and serve the saviour.. quoting objective truths without Christ is a form of divorce

    August 25, 2013 at 12:48 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    Testing, Testing.

    August 25, 2013 at 6:49 pm
  • editor

    Scottish Priest,

    I think most informed Catholics have a very good understanding of the nature of marriage, and that the spouses are to help each other to Heaven. I’ve understood that since my twenties at least, if not earlier (infancy – I was a child genius).

    I also understood (in my earliest days, through sound sermons) that today’s Gospel (Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself.. Your Father in Heaven knows that you need all of these things…) was one of the ways God revealed to married couples that they really don’t need to worry about how many children they could “afford” – although it’s many years since I heard a priest in the pulpit, make that crucial connection. We get generic exhortations to trust God, Divine Providence this and Divine Providence that, but not the practical joining-up-the-dots that might herald a moment of grace for young people in the wake of that beautiful Gospel.

    So, to develop your closing words a little, applying the teaching of Christ, (as, e.g. today’s Gospel), to the temptations, heresies and immoral behaviours dressed up as “being responsible”, of our times, is another crucial way of evangelising young people. They need to see the connection between Christ and everyday life.

    Now, I must confess to having raced through your comment very quickly so if I’ve misunderstood, I apologise. If I haven’t misunderstood, thought – ha ha: game, set and match to moi!

    August 25, 2013 at 7:04 pm
  • scottish priest

    I’m impressed with your status of child genius..genius is a term JPII applies to women in Mueleris Dignitatem .. .. I have to say however, that in my time I have never heard any couple in preparing for marriage say the purpose of marriage is to get you to heaven, mostly they say Marriage is for love and raising a family etc.. they usually don’t get that it has a purpose its designed to get you somewhere..all sacraments are! All is gift as St Paul says. I’m reminded that we are merely the stewards of the mysteries of God.. you received without charge give without charge reminds us of providence and of the mediation we are to be in bringing Christ to others.. when we readt he Gospels we encounter the person of Christ not a document it is this living Word that is the foundation of our lives as Catholic. The scriptures must be our first port of call when building our case. Doctrine is formed from them not the other way around. Take the doctrine of the Assumption – our protestant friends would have us believe it is un biblical .. until we discover that there are at least two clear examples of this in the OT can you name the two who were assumed into heaven? Scriptures build a path that doctrine can walk on, this is perhaps why so many evangelicals are joining the faith

    August 26, 2013 at 7:55 am
    • Magdalene

      Scottish Priest,

      I don’t like having to admit it, but I can’t name the two in the OT who were assumed into Heaven. Please enlighten!

      August 26, 2013 at 12:15 pm
      • scottish priest

        this is what i am driving at – ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ.. St Jerome. The person of Christ comes first then doctrine and documents. Jesus is on every page almost in the OT The two who were assumed – Genesis 5 Enoch was walking in the garden of the Lord and was taken up into heaven; Ezekiel entered heaven on a chariot of fire in 2Kings2-1
        Some suggest this was the root of Mohammed ‘s journey to Jerusalem but he was never anywhere near Jerusalem other than in his dreams.Another story. The Blessed Mother obviously is one who was assumed into heaven “when her course in this life had run” CCC. Whether she was in Ephesus or Jerusalem is another matter. I opt for Ephesus as she was there, tradition suggests the Church of Dormition but she wasn’t there unless she was taken there or left Ephesus

        August 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm
      • editor

        Scottish Priest,

        You kidding? I can think of Scripture Scholars who couldn’t name the two OT figures to whom you refer.

        Of course we should know and love Sacred Scripture, but I am very wary of anyone who tries to separate out Christ, Scripture, Doctrine. That can only lead to confusion.

        That Christ is God is a doctrine. That Christ loves us and died for us is doctrine. That Christ founded what is now known as the Catholic Church is doctrine. That Christ gave His Church authority to teach in His name is doctrine. That Christ reaffirmed the Commandments instructing us to KEEP them (and in fact, tightening up a few – see Sermon on the Mount) is doctrine.

        The idea that we can forge a “relationship” with Jesus by singing sentimental “love songs” about Him or pray to the Holy Spirit holding hands and rolling our eyes Heavenwards until such times as we are ready to “do the doctrine” is to create (a number of) false dichotomies.

        August 26, 2013 at 8:30 pm
      • Magdalene

        Scottish Priest,

        What about Elijah (2 Kings 2:11)? Thank you for taking the time to reply – as always, I find your posts particularly enlightening.

        August 26, 2013 at 9:29 pm
      • scottish priest

        sorry that should have said Elijah in 2Kings not Ezekiel

        August 26, 2013 at 10:10 pm
    • editor

      Scottish Priest,

      Some years ago, I was bridesmaid to a (then friend) who was full of the fact that it was her job to save her husband’s soul. She threw him out when he proved to be more of a pain in the neck that she’d anticipated. One of those Catholics in good standing, you know the type. She is the same “then friend” who responded to one of my criticisms of a bishop by expressing shock horror because… “he’s a BISHOP!” Not the brightest button in the box. But, as one would expect from the profile just given, she later climbed the ladder of success in Catholic education. You just gotta love these Catholics in good standing.

      I’m interested in your comment about “the scriptures being our first port of call…”

      Since Tradition came well before Scripture, and since the Church regards both as having equal weight, I’d be interested to know how you reach your conclusion. As one Protestant pointed out to me, the word “Trinity” is among several doctrines not explicitly named in Scripture, so with all due respect, – and acknowledging that they have equal weight – if I were forced to choose my “first port of call” it wouldn’t be Scripture – it would be Tradition.

      And again, with respect, the doctrine of the Assumption of Our Lady may be regarded as having been pre-figured in the Old Testament examples you cite, not sure, never thought about it, but when I corrected Professor John Haldane’s Protestant view of dogmas such as the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption in our newsletter, I did so (with the help of a traditional priest) by pointing out the Catholic roots of these dogmas, including the promise of Our Lord to His first bishops when He left this earth that the Paraclete would come to remind them of all that Christ had taught them (John 14, I think). In other words, we know – from Tradition, the writings of the Fathers etc – that these dogmas were there from the earliest days.

      As for the “many evangelicals who are joining the Faith” – where is this? Glasgow? Edinburgh? Aberdeen? Brazil? Can’t be Latin America because the Catholics there are flocking to join the Evangelicals.

      August 26, 2013 at 8:20 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    I think ‘sexual liberation’ is the wrong term. The ability to go out have sex with man, women or beast is not ‘liberation’. Man becomes a captive of a sexual abomination with a profound weakness towards any type of sins of the flesh. I am 19 and unmarried, with no girlfriend, and I rigidly and follow the Catechism’s teaching on chastity and I feel FREE. ‘Ye shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.’

    A key part of sexual liberation was feminism. These witches, led by Kate Smurthwaite and Germaine Greer are damnable because they want to turn women into men. Feminism is the Western sense of the term equals the ‘right’ to annihilate an innocent unborn child or to get free contraception. Our Church is a truly feminist institution because it says w are equal but different, each sex with a different role, with men allowed to be men, and women allowed to be women. In the Abortion debate in Ireland, the women who opposed Abortion looked like good Catholics, whilst the Pro-Death squad looked like sluts. They may as well have said to the BBC- ‘the reason I want Abortion is not because of women’s rights, but because I’m a slut, and I want to have sex without the consequences.’

    As for AIDs as a product of sexual liberation, society deserves it. AIDs is a righteous judgement. Schools should be teaching that chastity, heterosexuality, fidelity and monogamy are the best things in life, with homosexuality being wrong. Now, AIDs is incurable. FACT. Why aren’t AIDs victims being taken to an Island or a remote Sanatorium instead of being allowed to pollute society? Tuberculosis was curable yet people were carted off to sanatoriums, why ot with AIDS victims? Part of me sympathises with them, but part of me thinks they deserve it.

    Is Garry Otton still on this blog? If so, the sexual crisis is solely the fault of you and your braindead allies in liberal governments and the LGBT rights movement.


    August 26, 2013 at 12:05 pm
  • scottish priest

    tut tut Editor now who is being naughty.. the oral tradition is the scripture 1 cor 111 -16 and it was handed on by word of mouth.,.in our culture we write things down to protect them in that culture it was memorised like the Shammai Deut 6 every Jew would pray this every day. The bible doesn’t mention that Jesus went to the loo but pretty sure he did. I have no issue with doctrine or dogma just remember they grew out of of the scriptures first. the early councils were defined based onwhat was taught by Jesus and handed on tot he apostles …Luke and Matthew both cover the beatitudes but Luke has it on plain Matthew up a mountain so which is it/ Paul says since all have fallen short of the glory of God Romans 3 was Mary not sinless? I can make the bible into whatever I want that’s called protestantism but my point is only and I repeat ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ therefore ignorance of his Church and what it teaches.. There is no last supper account in Johns gospel are we to presume it didn’t happen? Clearly it did- early liturgies and What eventually became e the mass was already happening in the breaking of the bread and the breaking of the word my point is we don’t have dogma and doctrine without scripture and tradition – tradition did not create doctrine the Church didi over time. The trinity is not mentioned as pointed out by Jehovah witnesses but even they don’t believe what they used to

    In the USA there is a constant stream of evangelicals coming into the Church

    August 26, 2013 at 10:27 pm
  • scottish priest

    all our dogmas and doctrines come out of scripture thats my point.. if we dont accept that we are in error and are in a sense protestant and we have to know scripture in order to see it . What changes protestants in almost all cases is scripture and the writings of the Fathers a s they see the continuity there for sure and how doctrine developed..

    August 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm

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