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September 14, 2015 | Volume 90 Number 23


Divorce not seen as barrier to Communion

I am responding to the letter from Robert H. Verbeke in the August 31 edition of the Catholic Virginian. I sympathize with him if he has been treated in a manner other than Christian because of his divorce.

When a marriage cannot be saved, it affects the entire community. This is not just in Catholic families but in non-Catholic as well.

However, I believe that Mr. Verbeke is operating under some misunderstandings. First, unless a divorced Catholic has remarried, he/she if in a state of grace (and divorce does not preclude this) may receive the Eucharist.

Second, the sacrament of Matrimony is not a contract. A contract’s provisions are always renegotiable and can be broken on a whim. Matrimony is a binding covenant between three persons of which the Lord is one. This is why the Church has authority to determine whether or not either of the other two members of the covenant have met the criteria to make such a covenant.

That is why the annulment process exists. This process is not a punishment, but a compassionate way for someone who thought that they were in a lifelong covenant, but perhaps whose partner was unable to make that commitment, to have that covenant made null and void.

The process can be initiated by just one of the partners and it does not affect any of the legal parameters of the marriage, e.g., the legitimacy of the children.

Mr. Verbeke asks what would Jesus do. Actually we know what He has said in the gospels. Read Matthew 5:31-32 and Mark 10:1-12.

Jesus was very specific regarding the subject of divorce. After what Jesus has said regarding divorce, I think the way the Church approaches the matter addresses the challenges appropriately.

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People with disabilities need continued advocacy

We continue to need a Diocesan Office for Persons with Disabilities and I hope and pray that one devoted to that ministry will continue.

The purpose of the Office that began in 2005 was to carry out the USCCB’s 1978 Pastoral Statement on People with Disabilities in which they expressed their concern for and focus on individuals with disabilities.

Their statement encourages parish ministry to persons with disabilities as well as diocesan offices to “coordinate and support parish efforts.” (Paragraph 34).

As a parish advocate and member of the Diocesan Disability Advisory Commission for a number of years, I have been amazed and inspired by the Office’s diocesan-wide and robust efforts to help parishes reach out to people with disabilities.

Among many initiatives, it has done this through parish advocate training, special presentations, workshops, and resource materials on a variety of subjects that assist parishes as they attempt to welcome and include those with disabilities in the life of the parish, including catechesis and sacramental preparation.

More information on its other initiatives and wide-ranging efforts are described in the August 17 issue of The Catholic Virginian. The Office has begun a good work, it has had a real impact. Let’s make sure it is able to continue its special contribution to our Diocese.

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First Amendment rights said violated

In the most recent assault by the government on religious liberties, and states rights, is the case involving a Kentucky woman, Rowan County clerk Kim Davis’ refusal to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples.

She rightly asserts it is against her Christian convictions, conscience and beliefs, but defying a federal judge’s order and refusing to issue the licenses could send her to jail.

This is a blatant and egregious governmental violation of religious freedoms protected under the first amendment. The reason this is true is because according to the text, the federal government has no authority whatsoever in religious matters, either pro or con.

In simple English, the U.S. government has declared in the first amendment that it will not make any laws pertaining to religion or interfere with the freedom to practice a religion. Anything more or less than this is unconstitutional.

Obergefell v. Hodges was unconstitutionally imposed by judicial fiat by a legal term known as eisegesis. This term is defined as the act of reading into a text one’s own desired meaning.

This incongruous action was perfectly and arrogantly emphasized by Justices Ginsberg and Kagen who actually performed same sex marriages before the legality of it had even been ruled on.

Any prosecution or persecution of Ms. Davis is a personal attack upon every American’s freedom from religious persecution and thus should be taken personally.

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