Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Splitting the Atom
Sorry about my absence. We've been spring cleaning.
I know. We were supposed to do that before Easter. It makes for a terrific Lenten sacrifice and all the more enjoyment of the Easter season.
We couldn't find the broom.
I'm joking. We have found the broom and Amelia Earhart. But not the top of the desk. Only parts of it are sticking out. It feels so good to get things cleaned out, and so sad the way things pile right back up again.
Here's an easy question to start our day:
Hello Sister, I really enjoy your blog and especially your quirky way of saint matching. My husband works in an international student's office at a university. (Making sure everything is in order for them to go to school in the USA, etc...) Who would be a good patron saint for him to call on to help with his day to day tasks? Thanks!
A breeze! A snap!
St. Raphael, the archangel, is the patron saint for young people leaving home for the first time. Done and done!
Not so fast, Sister Mary Martha. Not all questions are so easily answered.
Sister, I am having a bit of a problem. actually it's a big problem: the person that I am probably getting engaged to later this year is Lutheran- and has no plans to convert. Without a shadow of a doubt I know that I want to be with this person for the rest of my life- but I also know that I cannot marry a Lutheran in the eyes of the Catholic church and God. Do you have any advice for someone in this position? This is less a question and more of a cry for help!! :(
Where did you get the idea you can't marry a Lutheran? I won't pretend we would rather you didn't marry a Lutheran.
But you can.
But should you?
That's where the problem arises. Why? Because you still have to be Catholic around this Lutheran. You still have to go to Mass every Sunday and not 'compromise' by going to his services every other week. You'll need two cars, or a Catholic church within walking distance.
That's doable, right? Sure it is.
It's going to get more complicated, though, when you have kids, because you have to promise to raise the children as Catholics, and so does he. Is he down with that?
Isn't that the expression? "Down" with that? I believe it is. You'll take the minivan to Mass with the kids and he'll walk or drive by himself to his Lutheran Church every Sunday.
That's doable, but little lonely for him.
Here is the official word of the Catholic Church on the subject from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (so you don't have to take my official word on it):
1634 Difference of confession between the spouses does not constitute an insurmountable obstacle for marriage, when they succeed in placing in common what they have received from their respective communities, and learn from each other the way in which each lives in fidelity to Christ. But the difficulties of mixed marriages must not be underestimated. They arise from the fact that the separation of Christians has not yet been overcome. The spouses risk experiencing the tragedy of Christian disunity even in the heart of their own home. Disparity of cult can further aggravate these difficulties. Differences about faith and the very notion of marriage, but also different religious mentalities, can become sources of tension in marriage, especially as regards the education of children. The temptation to religious indifference can then arise.
Don't get confused that we are talking about 'cults'. We don't mean people who believe a giant asteroid is coming to take them to a new home in another galaxy. Seriously, don't even think about marrying those people, not because they are in a cult, but because they are crazy. Don't marry a crazy person. It won't work out.
By 'cult's we mean people who are Christian, but not Catholic. Those are all cults.
I'm especially enamored of this sentence:
The temptation to religious indifference can then arise.
Yeah, howdy. Everyone just gives up altogether so they don't have to fight about it. Or you end up being a Lutheran because it's easier and they serve cookies all the time.
I remember reading the famous Father Z's answer to this question once. He began with, "I won't sugar coat it..." and then when on and on about how dangerous and impossible it would be.
I won't sugar coat it either, but there is much evidence to the contrary that it's not impossible or even necessarily dangerous when two people love each other and they love Christ.
I hope some of my readers, who are in mixed marriages, will weigh in on the subject.
The men who split the atom were very happy they could do that, and very unhappy with the resulting bomb.