This week we started our series of classes on the sacraments. Fr. Joe opened with a brief discussion of what a sacrament is, basically just restating the second half of CCC 1084: "The sacraments are perceptible signs (words and actions) accessible to our human nature. By the action of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit they make present efficaciously the grace that they signify." (For more on the sacraments, see Part Two, Section Two of the CCC.)
Instead of starting at the beginning, with Baptism, we started with Matrimony (Part Two, Section Two, Chapter Three, Article Seven of the CCC, found here), as today is World Marriage Day.
In talking about the enormous importance of careful preparation for marriage, Fr. Joe told several anecdotes from couples he has counseled over the years. One of these illustrated the point most remarkably. The couple met as students at the University of Dayton. They'd both been orphaned as very young children and had grown up in foster care. They were very much in love and came to Fr. Joe for premarital counseling. The pre-wedding investigation revealed, however, that they could not marry one another--they were brother and sister. "Things like this," said Fr. Joe, "are why extensive marriage preparation is so necessary!"
Fr. Joe addressed the issue of homosexual "marriage" during our discussion of the nature of Matrimony by stating quite simply that such is impossible. As the Catechism says, "The matrimonial covenant ... is by its nature ordered toward ... the procreation and education of offspring." Therefore, two people of the same gender cannot enter into the matrimonial covenant. (Before anyone objects about heterosexual couples who are unable (through no fault of their own) to conceive, let me point out CCC 1654: "Spouses to whom God has not granted children can nevertheless have a conjugal life full of meaning, in both human and Christian terms. Their marriage can radiate a fruitfulness of charity, of hospitality, and of sacrifice.")
I'd appreciate it if our readers would keep Fr. Joe in their prayers. He's been under the weather for quite a while now with some sort of throat condition. Thanks.
St. Margaret Clitherow, patroness of converts, pray for us.
File Under: RCIA