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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tough Love

Everyone's kept me busy, I'll say that much.

From Freddie:
Sister, I wish you would write about why the church won't accept people who divorce and re-marry unless the first marriage is annulled. I can't get my wife to understand.

The problem is I want to become a Catholic and my wife was married before. She doesn't get why *she* has to do all this nosy paperwork when *I'm* the one who wants to be Catholic. She is happily Protestant. I might get her to convert someday too, but right now I can't even get myself into the church.

Thanks and have a nice day.


Goodness, Freddie. I'll write about it, but you should read my disclaimer, "Life is tough, but nuns are tougher....and don't expect any sympathy."

To begin with, the church is accepting you. If it wasn't you wouldn't have any paper work to do. So your real question is "why is the church making me do all this paperwork?"

Because that's our job. I know it doesn't seem like it should be our job, considering Jesus was all about love and forgiveness. Paperwork doesn't seem very Jesus-y. But keep in mind that Jesus could, in fact, read and write.

Here's the thing, Freddie. We have to get this straightened out because, as the Catholic church does not recognize the divorce...anyone's...,you are living with a woman who is still married to someone else. Not only are you not married in the eyes of the church, you are actually living in adultery. Surely they've explained this to you.

And as big as this problem is since your sins are being compounded (one would imagine, but let's not for the sake of our own near occasions of sin) as time drags on, the really big problem is your 'wife's' lack of interest in resolving the issue. May I make this suggestion: remind her of her 'wedding' vows "to love and to cherish". Helping you become a Catholic is a very good way to love and cherish you.

That, and separate beds.

You have more hurdles ahead, poor man. Once her previous marriage is annulled (which means the contract was null and void and therefore didn't exist) she is free to marry you. I'm pretty sure the church won't make you spring for another wedding. But you will be married to a non-Catholic.

The Catholic church is okay with that....but not happy about it.You can already see the problems it causes; a veritable field of near occasion of sin land mines.

And ironically, grounds for annulment in the future.

We also have this question, an oldie but goodie that we still get all the time:
Are the people who went to hell for eating meat on Friday there for eternity?

Are they supplied with wieners and sticks?

The people who went to hell for eating meat on Friday were Grandfathered into heaven with all the babies from Limbo when Limbo closed in the sixties. Since they were going to heaven, they left their wieners and sticks for the devil to poke the other people in hell. The people that ate before receiving Communion......

35 comments:

off the farm said...

Sister what do you mean by 'the people that ate before receiving Communion'?

Lisa said...

I'm pretty sure that refers to the fast from midnight until Mass each morning. That's why if you visit a convent or monastery on retreat they will have breakfast right after Mass (and not before). When I was little people wondered whether you could brush your teeth (if you didn't mean to drink any water --what if you did by accident?). Now I think they've narrowed it down to like, an hour before. So just no grabbing a donut on your way in to church. Is Sister saying that they suspended the fast along with closing up Limbo, or is everyone still down there wishing that they hadn't swallowed that toothpaste?

sarah said...

Lisa, you're partially correct.

Firstly, water consumption prior to receiving the Holy Eucharist is not considered eating.

The fast before Communion used to be midnight. Then it was moved to 3 hrs and currently it's 1 hr. Chewing gum breaks the fast.

The Communion fast is rooted in ancient tradition. A physical hunger translates into a spiritual hunger for the Lord.


As far as the Church and divorce is concerned, do recall Jesus saying that a man who divorces and remarries commits adultery. This idea is not "fabricated" by the Catholic Church. Recall with Moses that due to the "hardness" of the Jews' hearts, divorce was allowed. "Hardness of heart" means unwilling to receive/follow God.

Protestant marriages are considered "valid" by the Catholic Church, which is why divorced protestants seeking marriage to a Catholic needs an annulment.

A Catholic who marries not in accordance with Canon Law marries invalidly and even though the union is recognized by the state, the Church considers such a union to be one of fornication/cohabitation. Such a couple can rectify their situation, however, with a little help from a priest.

Of course, those Catholics who have no use for the Church can always formally defect, but I am not advocating that b/c then I'd be formally cooperating in evil by advocating someone to exchange the Catholic Church for a state of heresy or apostasy.

bk said...

hmmm... shady territory in that last paragraph. The Church wouldn't allow it if formal defection was heretical.. where's the logic in that?

dan e. said...

If the Catholic church is so picky about who can and can't be a member and which divorce/annulment they recognize, I am surprised they recognize ANY marriage that was performed outside the Catholic church. If they stopped recognizing those then they wouldn't have to worry about people who don't follow their beliefs getting married to each other and divorced from each other.

dan e. said...

While I'm here, I have another question that I have been pondering for a while now. The Holy Bible has printed on the front of it "King James Version." Doesn't this mean that it is the VERSION of the Bible that King James edited and then approved for reading by the rest of us? Why would I want to read HIS version, as opposed to the ORIGINAL version, which would seem to be THE version we should be following (if we believe in that sort of thing)? I hate it when people say someone is sinning because it goes against what is said in the King James VERSION of the Bible. Show me the original version's stance on these actions and then we'll talk.

(Sorry I am so full of questions today, but I'm just trying to keep you busy.)

Shae said...

I'd love the "original" but you know, I can't read Hebrew at all and my Greek vocab is about 5 words. So I've got to use somebodies translation, right?

Usually when a church says the King James version is the right one to use, they are saying that they believe the Textus Receptus (Greek New Testament) is authoritative as opposed to many of the popular modern manuscript compilations.

However, there are a few other translations based on the received text, and the supposed King James only churches also uphold these.

Shae said...

Also, I notice a lot of you seem to criticize other denominations for problems that are equally rampant in the Catholic church, if not worse. For instance, I know an awful lot of professed Catholics who do not know or understand Catholic teaching and who openly defy teachings of the church.

rjv said...

bk:
basic Catholic doctrine is such that all protestants are heretics. To leave the Catholic Church for a protestant church by formally defecting makes a person a de facto heretic.

Here's the document about the guidelines for formal defection (approved by Rome last year):
http://clsa.org/content/files/USCCB_memo_2006_0405.pdf

rjv said...

dan e:

why would the Catholic Church penalize people who are born into non-Catholic faiths by not recognizing their marriages as valid?

a refresher on reasons that invalidate a marriage so that an annulment can be granted is here:
http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/marital_consent.htm


The King James Version is a protestant version. A big problem b/t the KJV and say, Douay Reims or any Catholic version, is what Luther added: i.e. the sola fide debate.


Shae:
There are many lapsed Catholics or "Cafeteria Catholic" (those who pick and choose what they like. But their persistence in refusing the Truth keeps them out of the state of grace - IF all 3 conditions of a mortal sin are met.

These types of Catholics are problematic insofar as they *think* they know what they're talking about when talking about the Church, thus misleading and confusing others.

When in doubt pick up the Catechism and that will explain things properly.

Shae said...

I've read most of the Catechism (mostly it's really boring). And I agree with most of it. My point is that just because you talked to a Baptist who doesn't know what he believes doesn't mean that all Baptists are ignorant of their faith.

Shae said...

Also the KJV is a much more faithful translation (it follows the literal very closely) than most. Plus it originally included the Apocrypha. Furthermore, the Textus Receptus was prepared by Catholics. I guess I don't really see what makes it "protestant" since it's good scripture. Besides that not all protestants embrace Sola Fide. We aren't all Lutherans after all.

I considered becoming Catholic, but one thing that stood in my way is the common Catholic belief that my current faith is a heresy, which I know that it is not.

alex said...
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Kevin said...

Dan E.,

Your question about the KJV of the Bible is an interesting one, and if I may, I'd like to take a crack at it.

When I was a non-Catholic Christian "back in the day," I used to wonder about this myself. There were so many versions of the Bible (the NIV, the NLT, the Living Bible, old King James, new King James, blah, blah, blah) and many of them contradict each other! Which one was right? There are a lot of folks who swear by the veracity of the King James Version - you mentioned one such individual in your question. These individuals will tell you that other popular versions are garbage or, at least, not as wonderful as the good ol' KJV.

One of the blessings of being Catholic is that we don't have to worry about any of that malarkey. One of the purposes of having a well-developed church hierarchy and a pope who can speak for the entire Church with authority is that issues such as this can quickly become non-issues. If the pope says, "We're gonna go with translation X," guess what? Translation X it is! And all of those stupid, petty arguments go away unless someone really has a penchant for arguing in favor of something that has already been declared the loser by the guy in charge of declaring winners and losers.

Please let me know if this helped at all, and I hope everyone else will set me straight if I am wrong here.

Anonymous said...

What's with all the drug names in some of the posts? Can't something be done about this? It's quite annoying.

Kevin said...

Shae,

In your second post you said, "I notice a lot of you seem to criticize other denominations for problems that are equally rampant in the Catholic church, if not worse. For instance, I know an awful lot of professed Catholics who do not know or understand Catholic teaching and who openly defy teachings of the church." I thought you may be referring to something that I said a day or two ago about having to ask a nun to find out what Baptists believe. If you weren't, my comments at least apply to what you said.

You're right that some Catholics do not know or understand Catholic teaching, but every faith has a significant number of those who are just there to "check a box," if you will. I think, and this is only an opinion, that if you ask most "serious Catholics" they could tell you what separates their beliefs from those of other Christian denominations, but if you ask most "serious Protestants," they could NOT tell you what separates their beliefs from those of other Christian denominations.

Coming from a Protestant background as I do, I know a lot of people who feel just as comfortable in a Methodist church as they do in a Presbyterian or Bible church. Ten years ago, I would have been one of them. For years I spent several hours a week in a church that I chose because it was just down the street from my house rather than because of what I believe.

This may not apply to you at all, but it does apply to a lot of folks, and I think any Catholic who foolishly chooses to be Catholic because there is a local parish nearby is just as amusing.

Shae said...

And how pray tell is the untrained observer to know the "serious" Catholic from the unserious one? And how do you define "serious Protestant"?

I was raised to believe that the denomination label does not matter, but what does matter is that a church has sound doctrine and teaches scriptural truth as well as working to carry out the great commission.

But I would NEVER choose a church simply out of convenience.

And while a person would not likely become Catholic for the sake of a convenient location. A lot of people are Catholic from the convenience of having been born into the faith (they never really looked into what they believe). And a lot of people become Catholic for the convenience of belonging to the same church as their spouse.

But I certainly will grant you that a lot of protestants do not know how there denomination is different from other denominations. Still, this is not the same as saying that they do not know what they believe.

Okay, I'll shut up now. If you really care to know what I believe, you can read my blog.

Debbie said...

"The people who went to hell for eating meat on Friday were Grandfathered into heaven..."

I know God can do anything He wants and correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure "once in Hell, always in Hell." If breaking the communion fast was considered a mortal sin and a person committed that mortal sin (meeting the conditions for the "mortal" part), then they would still be in Hell. Period. They still broke the guideline as it was at that time. Changing it later doesn't change what they already did.

Now if said person's breaking the communion fast did not meet the criteria for being a "mortal" sin, that venial sin would not have gotten them a ticket to Gehenna in the first place. They'd be paying for it in purgatory. Which is where they'd leave if God decided to then given them a "pass" on anything.

DCMS said...

Shae,
You said something that I found interesting, and if you'll pardon a little unsolicited advice, I'd like to give a little. Feel free to ignore, of course.
"I considered becoming Catholic, but one thing that stood in my way is the common Catholic belief that my current faith is a heresy, which I know that it is not."
...so what would make you want to be Catholic if it isn't the fullness of truth? If it's not the Church founded by Christ, holding the complete and total Truth of revelation, why the heck would you want to bother?
I grew up Baptist and became Catholic about three years ago. Let me tell you, being Catholic is HARD. There's a reason nuns are tough. Being Catholic is NOT for the faint of heart. Seriously, sweetie, if you're not convinced that your current faith is lacking something, stay with it. No reason to bother being Catholic if your faith isn't wrong.
Now please understand that your faith being wrong on some important points does NOT mean that we Catholics in general and me in specific think that you're Going To Hell. Seriously? Not my call. That's up to God, and I've heard He's a pretty nice guy. That like, He loves His children and really really wants them in Heaven with Him, since, like, that's what we were made for and all.
So...you're a Christian. Great. Me too. But you're doctrinally wrong on several things, and if I didn't believe that with my whole heart I wouldn't be Catholic. Too much hassle (I mean REALLY. Have you BEEN to Confession? Pain in the ASS! But necessary and worth it, trust me).
So. You still wanna be Catholic? Figure out where we think that your faith has it wrong, and then figure out who you think is right.
Oh, and maybe do a little praying? :)

Kasia said...

I have to second DCMS, with a few of the more sarcastic bits cut out.

I wouldn't have converted if I didn't think the Catholic Church had the fullness of Truth. In fact, my priest told us several times during RCIA that if what the Church teaches isn't true, that we were all basically wasting our time. (He even pulled off his Roman collar and tossed it on the floor at one point to illustrate.)

I freely admit that it's uncomfortable to be Catholic. But I think the Church is teaching the Faith as Jesus taught it. So here I am, and here I'll stay.

Oh - and I wouldn't read too much into "Sister's" forays into flippancy. I am fairly sure she does it for rhetorical purposes. I am also not convinced she's actually a nun. But - she usually encapsulates the Church's teachings pretty accurately (and humorously to boot), and she's a fun read. :-)

Kevin said...

Shae,

Like I said, "this may not apply to you at all." Like I said, it DID apply to ME for many years.

I would define "serious Catholic" and "serious Protestant" in the same manner: one who is genuinely serious about his or her faith and doesn't just show up on Sunday to, as I said, "check a box."

I think you might want to seriously consider what "denomination label" you choose to place on yourself. Some denominations believe some CRAZY stuff which doesn't fall under the sound doctrine category. If you're looking for sound doctrine, by the way, you can't go wrong with the Church that Christ Himself founded and against which he said the Gates of Hell would not prevail.

Kasia said...

Oh - and Shae, one other thing.

You said you know your current faith isn't a heresy. I don't know what faith you are, so I can't speak to the specifics.

But one of the women in my RCIA class broke down into tears at one point, wanting to know why her Pentecostal relatives couldn't receive Communion, and saying that she knew - SHE KNEW - that the Spirit was present at her Pentecostal church.

Our priest is very compassionate. He listened to her, and then he addressed her concerns.

The Church is NOT saying that no one at your church can be a good Christian. The Church is NOT saying that everyone outside the Catholic Church is hellbound. The Church is NOT saying that the Holy Spirit cannot touch people at your church (or hers).

What the Church IS saying is that the Catholic Church, as the Church Christ founded and as the consistent repository of Christ's teachings for the past 2,000 years, has the fullness of God's Truth.

There is a difference.

Shae said...

Yes, a lot of denominations are heretical. If they are then they don't teach sound doctrine. This is usually obvious by attending a single service.

And maybe "the church" is not saying I'm a heretic. But there are a whole lot of serious Catholics who say that I am.

Secondly, I believe myself to be fully part of the church started by Jesus Christ. I cling to the promises in Holy Scripture.

Thirdly, I do not find my own faith lacking in the least. I considered becoming Catholic not because my faith is lacking, but because my "church" seems like it might be. But on the other hand, the Catholic church seems to be very lacking from as much experience as I have had with it.

I don't have a problem with the restrictions of being Catholic, since I do follow many of them anyway. I have some problems with the Catholic approach to many things.

And goodness knows, they could certainly be a little more welcoming to the outsider who comes in and doesn't have a clue what's going on.

Moreover, it is possible to believe that something is both entirely SUFFICIENT and yet still somehow lacking. Sufficient does not necessarily equal complete.

The Catechism says that I'm okay practicing as a Free Methodist and believing as a Christian in that way. Unless I believe the Catholic church is right, and then I'm condemned for not belonging. Huh?

Lord Omar said...

I would be interested in having my Catholic baptism expunged. Where would one start? The Vatican wont return my calls.

Kevin said...

Shae,

You're OK. No one is condemning you for not belonging to the Catholic Church. It is too often Catholics who are condemned as not being "Christian" by the likes of Jack Chick and so many other Protestant ministries. Catholics constantly reach out in the spirit of ecumenism (or is it ecumenicalism? I can never remember.) in attempts to reunite Christ's Holy Church, of which you as a believer are a part.

God bless you.

Anonymous said...

OK, Sister. With all due respect, sincerely, why do you have a picture of a pin-up girl in your favorites at etsy.com? Be honest now, are you really a Sister???

Thanks for the tough love!
Hallie

CMinor said...

Kasia and Kevin, you both make a lot of sense. Especially Kasia's assessment of Sister.

Shea, my husband was Methodist (United, not Free Will) for the first 15 years of our marriage. I don't think he'd have converted if the Church had called him a heretic. Of course, cranks and extremists exist in every denom (I think Kevin mentioned Jack Chick.)

Hallie, I guess the pin-up girl would tend to weaken the "Sister is actually a gay man" hypothesis posed a few posts back!

CMinor said...

Sister, you seem to be having a combox spam problem...

Mike L. said...

So here's my question: If I convert to Catholicism and my lifelong Presbyterian wife doesn't, am I still in trouble with the church?

cattiekit said...

mike l.?

Refer to the first few paragraphs of 'Ster's answer?

I believe that was Freddie's question, too. :>)

alex said...
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Kasia said...

Shae,

I think I may be able to shed some light on your last paragraph...

The Catechism says that I'm okay practicing as a Free Methodist and believing as a Christian in that way. Unless I believe the Catholic church is right, and then I'm condemned for not belonging. Huh?

The distinction that the Catechism is making is this:

Let's say you were raised a Free Methodist (I don't know your particulars). You've always practiced as a Free Methodist, and you believe what your church teaches. You either don't know what the Church teaches that differs from your church, or you think they're wrong.

In that case, as I understand it, the Church would say you're not morally culpable for remaining outside the Catholic Church. You're doing the best you know. Sort of like the Muslim in the mountains of Afghanistan, who might never hear the Word preached (although of course the Church recognizes that you're a Christian). Simply put, the Church says you don't know better (and that's not meant in a condescending way), so you're not culpable.

On the other hand, let's say you research the teachings of the Church. Let's say you decide that everything the Church teaches is true, and that the Church does indeed have the fullness of Truth. But you decide that you're still not going to join the Church for whatever reason. Then, says the Church, that's a very serious thing.

My priest has a great way of talking about the Church's 'fullness of Truth' claim that I found very helpful. He says it's like a box. The Church says that all the means of salvation of which we're aware, all the means that God has told us about, are in this box that the Church safeguards. (This goes back to the claim, which I think is supported by the historical record, of the Catholic Church being the original Christian Church. One could make an argument for the Orthodox as well, but they're not the point of our discussion right now.)

So, putting aside things like God maybe deciding to save folks like that lifelong Muslim in Afghanistan - because He created the sacraments, He is not bound by them - you have the instruments of salvation in this box. The Bible as the revealed Word of God...Sacred Tradition...the Sacraments...

Anyway, what he says is that you can look at another Christian church (for example, the Free Methodists) and see some of those instruments. And they are still means of salvation. But the Church's point, says my priest, is that (a) they are incomplete, and (b) they came from the box.

Does that make any sense?

alex said...

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...

Anonymous said...

Hello All...

My Name is Cathrine... Some call me Maria... Why? I have no idea...

I wanderd onto this board... I have no idea why... I was told to run a search for Martha so I did and this came up...

I am very Grateful for the insight that you have all put onto these boards... And I am no one to critizise anyones beliefs...

I mean no harm or to offend anyone...
But feel compelled to write something...

I have No money... am not rich...
I live in a ghetto, in a hidden and lost town of California...

I was raised catholic by my grandmother who was very devoted...

She helped the Catholic church down the street form into what it is today...

She taught us about love and acceptance with a firm pinch when we stopped paying attention...

We (as children) went to our rosarys during the summer time... every day at 5 o'clock.

I never could understand why she would contradict herself, sometimes...

I tried hard to conform... I was baptized and had my first communion..

I was later thrown out of catacizm, after asking to many questions... and then scolded by my grndmother, and told to repent... To ask God and all of the "saint's" for forgiveness... for questioning the ways of things...

I soon realized what was happening to me...

Something much greater was over powering my life...

This power was inside of me... telling me to move foward... even as a child...in my early teens...

I went down a dark path... I have seen many, many things...

I now know that nothing is in vain...

That we only exist in our minds...

And now that I know Gods love... there is no room for anymore hate from any man...

My lord loves me, even through all of my "sins" beacuase of my sins...

He alone found me in the dark... when no catholic, or christian, prodestant, jahovah, muslim, buddist, baptist... NO MAN, could have understood who I was... or the battle that I was fighting... There minds to clouded by critizism, hate, contradictions, emptiness...

My Lord loves me... just the way I am... He told me I didn't have to hurt anymore...

That through the love of ourselfs we can show his love...

Our Lord is merciful. Bright! Beautiful!

To be able to walk in his light is trully a blessing...

To be able to trully know what wrong from right is...

I am not afraid of the dark anymore... My love, my light, MY LORD guides me...

My religion now is LOVE...

I am grateful... I am blessed...

My children are happy... as they should be... I will not continue this cycle of self distruction...

This constant conforming to mans law... I have been told to love all as they are... to walk with men... not in front not behind... No one is more powerful than I... I carry the unconditional love of God...

I walk with the men who still hurt.. The men our brothers and sisters who carry others' hate with them... Who try to numb there connection to our lord with drugs and alchol... with meaningless sex... and false beliefs in weak men... Who use there athority and ability to conform our minds into thinking that we are weak... Is this thier fault? no! They have not been shown the light... is this our fault? no... we have not been shown the light

They pass thier own emptiness to us...

By not allowing us to connect ourselfs directly to God...

It is possible...
All I had to do was trust my Lord... shush up and listen...

I can hear my grandmother, excited that I have found her...

I can hear My lord, and feel his presence... through love ... only through unconditional love...


As I said before... I do not mean to offend anyone... and if this post is deleted... then so be it...

I love all of you just the way you are... and it is not our sin untill we know... It is not our sin untill our mind is free to choose...

We are no longer born of sin... so stop hating yourselfs...

I love you... I love you... I LOVE YOU!


Trully yours,

Cathrine

PBXVI said...

Catherine,
I think you are closer to the Catholic Church than you realize. I'm afraid your grandmother may have had some things confused and your religion class may have been too hard on you, but please continue to seek after the truth. God is love and He is the one that started the Catholic Church. Study what the Church really teaches by reading the Catechism and you will be surprised. Christ is calling and waiting for you. He loves you and He desires the best for you, and I think that is why He is calling you back home to the Catholic Church!
I'll be praying for you! God Bless!