A five-year old boy stood in the midst of his mother and father. He didn’t understand what was happening but he felt the tension and the anger between them.
“Can you at least comb your son’s hair before you go?”
The father took the boy into the bathroom, wet the comb, and combed his hair, giving him a wave in front as he always did. His father made small talk about combing his hair but nothing more. He finished and a little while later his father left the home. The boy didn’t see him again for six months. He didn’t understand what was happening or why, and his brother and sister didn’t either, except that Dad had moved out, had left. His brother, a couple of years older, was devastated, but the boy and his sister seemed to handle it more in stride. It wasn’t until he was much older that he realized how significant this was to his regular sensation of insecurity that never quite went away.
Why the parents had separated and eventually divorced is not important. Eventually, his father came back into their lives and they spent Sundays with him, and then eventually the weekends. Although still his father, the boy did not have him there for most of the times during the course of a boy’s life when he needs his dad, and he was regularly embarrassed when with his friends as they spoke of what they were doing with their fathers, and they knew his father was not there.
His father met another woman and within three years of the divorce, they married. As he and she were both Catholic, and he was now divorced, they could only marry in a civil ceremony. The children were not at the ceremony, but they saw the pictures, and the boy was struck by the stark contrast between those pictures and the pictures of his parents’ Church wedding still found in the album at home.
The children now had a mother and a stepmother. Their mother dated other men very rarely, never regularly or for long, and never remarried. The boy knew that the divorce affected her relationship with the Church, gleaned from overheard conversations with others. She went to Church but stopped receiving the Eucharist. According to her, she couldn’t receive anymore because she was divorced. The boy figured that she knew what she was talking about and he accepted that this was true.
Since the children spent Sundays and later weekends with their father and new stepmother, they would go together to Mass. The children would receive the Eucharist, but the father and stepmother, also raised Catholic, never did. As the children grew older they would explain that they couldn’t receive Holy Communion because the father was divorced and that they had married so that the stepmother could no longer receive. Never once did the children ever hear this explained as something to be rebelled against, that the Church was deliberately hurtful to them, or that this was something that they could decide for themselves. The father and stepmother later had another child, and as she grew, she also had to learn that her parents could not receive the Eucharist, even though she also couldn’t fully understand why, except that this was the law of the Church which was accepted, and that was that.
The boy’s mother never remarried, as has been said, but she eventually left the Church as the children grew older. She never explained why, never berated the Church, never knocked the Faith, but she stopped going to Mass, and still has not returned after thirty years and more.
The father and stepmother always went to Mass, even after the children were grown and no longer accompanied them. They never received the Eucharist, even as the heady days of the ’80s “follow your conscience” and the “spirit of Vatican II” swept over the Church. They could have received without anyone stopping them, and they would have been affirmed by most priests in doing so. But they never did.
The father eventually became ill, and was no doubt able to make a full confession. Since he was no longer able to engage in sexual relations he was able to be absolved in his final moments for his 30-year adulterous relationship, and he received Holy Communion for the first time in nearly forty years. The stepmother was also able to confess her sin and she was absolved and she was able also to receive the Eucharist again after thirty years. She has never remarried and still attends Mass, now receiving the Eucharist.
As the boy grew older and was able to explore and study the Faith, he learned that a divorced person cannot receive the Eucharist if they were the one who sought the divorce or if they had willingly agreed to the divorce. If they did not, they were not living with a mortal sin and they could continue to receive the Eucharist. His mother did not want the divorce, did not willingly go along with the divorce, and only signed when all was lost. Moreover, she never remarried and was not committing adultery.
The boy is now a man. He is saddened that his mother decided herself what the Church’s teaching on this matter was, and her knowledge was based on what she “knew” and what others told her, none of whom were priests. She never sought the counsel of a priest, but just decided that she knew, based upon what she had gleaned as a youngster. She has erroneously deprived herself of the Most Blessed Sacrament and then allowed her Faith to wither and be nearly extinguished.
That is the first effect on the children. That the Church has obscured this understanding and instead has allowed the voices of the dissidents to be heard, has allowed many of Her priests, bishops and Cardinals, and now the pope also, to tell people to follow their conscience, their improperly formed conscience, to decide for themselves whether they can and will receive the Eucharist. They never consider or are concerned about the loss to a person like the boy’s mother, because of their failure to teach the full truth, to explain how they don’t have to deprive themselves of the healing power and strength of the Eucharist. Not too long ago, Pope Francis was said to have told (and has never denied it) a women who is civilly married to a divorced man to go to another parish and receive the Eucharist, telling her that a “little bread and wine never hurt anyone.” He is right that a little bread and wine never hurt anybody, but to receive the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin is a grave sacrilege and hurts that person and many others, particularly those who know the person and witness the sacrilege, and may be led to do the same.
The example of the father and stepmother over the years stands in stark contrast. This is the second effect on the children, and others. In a deep way, their witness is kind of heroic because of the blasphemy so prevalent in the Church that no doubt confronted them and could have led them to believe that they could receive the Eucharist. Yet, they resisted that, and remained faithful to the 2000-year old teaching of the Church, to Jesus, by not profaning Him. They gave a strong witness of this Truth to the children around them, but also to their relatives, friends and neighbors who knew their circumstance, over those many years. It was and remains a powerful witness to their faith, to obedience to Jesus and the Church, to objective Truth that doesn’t change because of the individuals wants and desires, or the whims of the age. In the last days, they were able to live as brother and sister and to once again receive the Eucharist worthily, and with much joy and gratitude. Hopefully, their resistance to the rampant sacrilege in the Church all around them, to the temptation of the devil to profane the Eucharist because “everybody” else does, will matter as they stand before Jesus.
This is a story never heard these days in the Church. Pope Francis, Cardinals Kasper, Marx, Baldiserri, Kupich, Dolan and many, many others in the hierarchy are seeking a way to deny Truth, to permit sacrilege and call it good, and to undermine and distort ultimately the Truth, which will lead to many people eating and drinking judgment upon themselves, as Saint Paul warned long ago, and which saints through the ages have continued to teach and warn others.
This story, this silent witness to the Faith, this example of sacrificing individual wants and desires for the sake of the Truth has not been confined to the boy’s father and stepmother, but has no doubt been played out in many others in these relationships over the centuries. They don’t send press releases or get displayed prominently by the hierarchy to get attention. Yet, the Church has always had a way for them to return to full communion which we don’t hear about today any more.
Over the last forty to fifty years, the Church has relinquished it duty to teach the faithful, and those striving to be faithful, the fullness of what the Church has always taught. This dereliction of Her most fundamental mission has likely led to countless souls being lost, and it has directly led to many more leaving the Church, and many committing sacrilege regularly, to the great harm of the Body of Christ, and to the world. Despite that, the hierarchy today moves forward every day to establish this as the “new” faith.
We are witnessing rampant heresy today throughout the Church, and throughout the body of Her hierarchy, and we hear every day the siren call to adopt a false religion, a counterfeit Catholicism. So many people have been deluded into not studying the Faith beyond what they hear in passing and they will hear that they can act in any manner they choose, that there is no sin beyond not giving to the poor, will go to Mass if and when it’s convenient and receive Holy Communion whenever they want, and they are teaching their children the same stupidity, to their detriment, and perhaps, to the loss of their salvation. They don’t believe that anymore either, convinced now that God is “merciful” and sends no one to Hell, having no knowledge of what Jesus says about that reality.
“When the Son of Man returns, will he find think you, Faith on earth?” Jesus asks. Not much. But I do believe He will among a few remaining in the objective Truth.