Monday, August 7, 2017

MARRIAGE: PART 1 - FULTON SHEEN: MARRIAGE PROBLEMS


Last week, Fr. Jeff San Nicolas (in the name of the Archdiocese of Agana) hosted a press conference to address the embarrassing news that - as per a 2013 Economist report - Guam leads the world in the number of divorces per capita each year. 

Both Fr. Jeff and divorce attorney, William Pesch, appeared to blame Guam's "off-island divorces" as the reason for the world-leading divorce numbers. However, in my post THE REST OF THE STORY (Part 1),  I demonstrated that Pesch himself had earlier downplayed the number of off-island divorces and that even if we subtracted the number of those divorces, Guam would still rank 4th in the world. 

Further into the Daily Post report on the press conference, Fr. Jeff's comments caught my attention: 
"When I hear the numbers, it doesn't discourage me – I see it as an opportunity, as a calling for us to continue to do more," he said...We need to do what we can to be there for all marriages. ... In the sense that we can support them so that a decision that a couple makes to live together to love each other for life – they are equipped to fulfill that promise that they make to each other."
As evidence of the church's "support" for marriage, Fr. Jeff featured representatives of three groups at the press conference: Couples for Christ, Worldwide Marriage Encounter, and the Sponsor Couple program. 

Of the three, only the Sponsor Couple program is a diocesan initiative, the others being lay initiatives originating elsewhere. And the Sponsor Couple program is aimed almost completely at the engaged and newly married. Meanwhile, national divorce statistics tell us that the real problems begin 5 to 10 years into the marriage. So I'm not sure what Fr. Jeff means by "continuing to do more."

I personally do not think the "church" can do anything to help marriage, at least not so long as it looks (like it does so often) to a "program," instead of to Christ. I know that sounds harsh, but compare the average marriage "support" babble like what you get from the USCCB initiative FOR YOUR MARRIAGE to what our Church taught once upon a time, as Archbishop Fulton Sheen teaches here. Listen to it carefully...and often - especially if you've been married five years or more!



9 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this, Tim. These are timeless words of wisdom.

    Several years ago Dr. Phil McGraw was working with an engaged couple who were having problems. After listening to both sides he made an astute comment: So many marriages fail because people spend so much time preparing for the wedding and little or no time preparing for married life.

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    1. Thanks Andrew. As a married man of 31 years and father of 11 children, may I say that there is no way to prepare for married life, but only for spiritual warfare, which is Sheen's message here. Sadly, the church has put aside the words of great teachers like Sheen for Dr. Phil.

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  2. Our church isn't rich, but it's one of the most beautiful old ones in the US. Unfortunately, a lot of people convert and join the parish just so their weddings can be photographed there. They care nothing about the Faith and have no intention of abiding by its rules. It's no wonder that half of the marriages end in divorce.

    I was watching a huge wedding rehearsal there one night. Two wealthy yuppie families. Nothing suited the bride's obnoxious mother who wanted the place to look like a Hollywood movie set to showcase her daughter. Finally, the very good-natured but exasperated Pastor who was going to officiate at the ceremony stopped everything and loudly shouted: "The wedding is about this Altar, not your daughter's damn dress"!! As usual, he was right. The rehearsal calmed down after that.

    The lavish wedding itself included a veritable fleet of limos and privately owned luxury-class cars in the parking lot. The bride wore an insanely expensive designer ballgown with her boobs hanging out of it. Each of her 12 supermodel-type blonde bridesmaids wore strapless black mini-dresses so tight that they looked sprayed on. The dresses were so short that the women should never have sat down in them.

    I'm not saying that brides and bridesmaids have to be trussed up like Victorian Christmas turkeys. Just that commonly decent church wedding dresses should be worn. Wedding dresses nowadays tend to have disgracefully low cut necklines and low cut bare backs. Brides can look fabulous without going half-naked in God's face.

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    1. All true. But the cause is the same as every other abuse. The priest permits it.

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  3. Hmmmm, sounds like the Pastor was NOT a nice guy.

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    1. Anon 2:45 PM, you don't know what you're talking about. He was the most fantastic, hard-working Pastor we ever had. A rare type of priest in this day and age. Practicing Catholics flocked to the church from all over the region because of him. He's extremely brilliant, deeply spiritual and hands-on pastoral.

      Parishioners and staff became quite depressed when he was transferred elsewhere and we'll always miss him. His conceited successor is his polar opposite and he has driven a lot of fine people away.

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    2. Relax. Anon at 2:45 is complimenting your pastor. He actually spoke up - at least at the rehearsal. I guess the boobs hanging out of the dress (per your description) weren't big enough to matter though. LOL.

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  4. You're right. This is not.a "support" problem. This is a faith problem.

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  5. Had a talk with another person on the topic of priest sexually abusing young young boys here on Guam and around the world. The conversation got so intense were this person gave up on all priest and want's nothing to do with them, the predators and the others for knowing about the abuse and did nothing about it. Hey, the person is baptized Catholic. He has his free will also has his mind set. How many other's out there feels the same way! Unless this guy receives his conversion to truly understand, other than that Fr. Jeff is giving his instruction to the people. Please wake up Fr. Jeff, healing for Guam is so needed at this very moment. This child of God's distance himself from the Church with anger.

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