Wednesday 17th January 2018

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

A Book Review . . . Moral Truths On Marriage

August 8, 2017 Featured Today No Comments

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN

Three to Get Married, by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen (Scepter Publishers, Inc., New York: 2007), 216 pp. Available from at www.scepterpublishers.org or by calling 1-800-322-8773.

A 2007 reprint of the Venerable Bishop Sheen’s 1951 edition of the book, this modern spiritual classic presents the Church’s timeless wisdom on the meaning of Christian marriage. Because of its luminous clarification of all the Church’s unchangeable teachings on holy matrimony, Three to Get Married offers special insight into the contemporary crisis of marriage and reveals with profound depth the moral truths that address these controversial issues.
In a modern world that blurs the distinction between sex and love and endorses no-fault divorces, cohabiting relationships, and same-sex unions, Sheen writes, “The nobler our loves, the nobler our character,” adding that sex without love offers “nothing personal, incommunicable, and therefore nothing dignified.”
In true love the union that begins in physical attraction also engages two unique personalities — not “egos” — where “the attraction of human to human is physiological, psychological, and spiritual.” In other words, true love unites two persons in mind, body, and soul, “the totality of the person loved.”
In an age ruled by the contraceptive mentality that regards human beings as mere instruments of selfish pleasure, the Church’s teaching ennobles human love by raising it to the highest standard: “Love is so strong it surpasses narrowness by devotedness and forgetfulness of self.”
Sheen observes that while sex always concentrates on self or ego, “love is directed to someone else for the sake of the other’s perfection.” Love is personal and generous, never manipulative or self-serving.
Acknowledging the division in man of body and soul as an effect of original sin, Sheen clarifies that man’s natural instinct for self-preservation, self-respect, and self-love easily degenerates into egotism, concupiscence, and license when it blurs the distinction between sex and love and ignores the fallen condition of human nature.
Again he exalts the Christian ideal of love as “a summons to share in creation, and because man and woman are God’s co-workers, there is an awesomeness about the act” — a truth the population controllers, fanatical about preventing human fertility, subvert by their attack on procreation.
This mystery of sex in its life-giving power gives it a profound religious dimension that is veiled in modesty and secrecy — the sense of the holy, Sheen observes, symbolized by the screen in the Eastern Rite of the consecration. Instead of this sense of awe the popular culture purveyed in the media reduces and cheapens human love to pleasure, devoid of any spiritual content. Pornography especially perverts the inherent sense of “awesomeness” that accompanies the wonder of marital love.
Sheen explicates the special relationship between love and knowledge that informs Christian marriage. A woman cannot love a man she does not know because “the unknown is the unloved.” The book of love depends on an increase of knowledge of the beloved, “a kind of intuitional perception of what is in the mind and the heart of the other.”
Despite the popular saying about the attraction of opposites, true love seeks similarity and unity. Sheen writes: “It is not unlikeness but likeness that attracts,” and he cites St. Thomas’ treatise on the effects of love as the marks that exalt human love beyond biological instincts: unity, mutual indwelling, ecstasy, and zeal — effects of love absent in all illicit relationships.
This bond of oneness in the indissolubility of marriage conveys the mystery of “assimilation” because it perfects the fundamental incompleteness of man and woman and satisfies the great desire of the human heart for unity. The lover does not wish merely to possess but to abide and inhere in the other that the effect of “mutual indwelling” conveys.
This is the holy oneness that God has established because “love never takes back that which it gives” in imitation of God who provides the model of this unconditional giving.
Because the physical unity of man and woman as “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” deepens into the oneness of mind, heart, and soul, this depth of knowledge and intimacy allows for the never-ending growth in love in the course of a lifetime:
“Mutual inherence is much more than a sharing of interest and an exchange of properties: rather these are the effects of a deeper fellowship which reaches into the core of their being.”
In a culture that condones divorce and cohabitation, this miracle of love’s growth, assimilation, and indwelling cannot occur because it depends on the promise of lifelong fidelity.
Sheen explores the mystery of love as a great spiritual good, an abundant outpouring that expresses itself in boundless generosity not regulated by limits or moderation. In Christian love husbands and wives experience “one of the most beautiful effects of love”: its zeal, which makes them “fools” for one another in the words of St. Paul: “We are fools for Christ’s sake.”
The divine plan orders marital love to rise from passionate desire to divine charity in which “the erotic love diminishes and the religious love increases” as husbands and wives continue to love God more without loving each other less. In Christian love a transfiguration occurs when “something lower dies and something nobler is born” as Eros transforms into Agape and love ascends.
Without this understanding of love’s growth in marriage — “the elevation of love from one stage to another” that conquers selfishness — men and women suffer frustration, disappointment, and resentment when they fail to act as sources of grace in each other’s lives but instead imagine the spouse as the agent of infinite happiness.
Because only God can satisfy the deepest desires of the heart for everlasting joy and the human being is only “lovable,” not Absolute Love, no fallible human being can ever perfectly fulfill the other’s desire for perfect, unchanging happiness. The illusion of divorce — “the assumption that some other human being can supply what only God can give” — ignores the truth about man’s creaturely limitations and fails to see “the vestibule of married love as the vestibule to the divine.”
Human love never approximates divine love any more than a spark from a great fire contains the heat and light of its source. For this reason the pretext of incompatibility as the justification for divorce denies a self-evident truth of human nature, “for what two persons in the world are perfectly and at all times compatible?” Thus husbands and wives are called to receive one another as “gifts” from God, not as gods, and grow in patience and humility.
This union is transformative because love is knowledge that changes the soul: “…love does something to us; it affects us so profoundly that the only way we have of expressing it is by the lover’s sigh, which is expressed in the Latin word spiritus!” — the release of the soul.
To love, then, is to give one’s breath, spirit, or soul as in the act of a kiss and to unite in a spiritual bond that resembles the mutual giving and receiving of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This union of husband and wife modeled on the Trinity illuminates another one of love’s mysteries:
“To be one without ceasing to be distinct, that is the paradox of love!”
Just as the Father and the Son generate the Holy Spirit, a father and a mother are also fruitful in their love as they “breathe forth” the spirit of the family by “the reciprocity of their affection.” For Sheen the best image of love is the pyramid, not the cellar, because “from this Triune Love there floods down from the sides…the richness of this Love in Creation” that flows into marriage as a special grace from above.
Because of love’s mutual self-giving, it culminates in “self-recovery” rather than depletion. In the mystery of the Trinity “nothing is lost” because “love circles back upon itself in an eternal consummation.” Because holy matrimony is both “life-giving love” and “love-giving life,” it imitates the Trinity, for “perfect love is triune” as seen both in the generation of the Holy Spirit and in the birth of the child.
In other words, love does not simply expend its energy and then die or dissipate. Instead, in giving it receives in some form: “the recovery in the flesh, or in the soul, or in heaven, of all that was given and surrendered. In love no fragment is lost.”
The wonder, adventure, and romance of love, Sheen explains, transcend human experiences that fade into dullness and satiety. In the book of love a new chapter is always beginning, “a door that is yet unopened, a veil that has not yet been lifted, a note that has yet been struck.”
Without this sense of the mystery of love’s newness, marriage becomes inane and banal. As fathers and mothers age, the fruits of marriage that culminate in the new generation renew the heart, revive the flame of love, and “bind the parents together in the chains of a sweet slavery of love.”
Love, then, is always fresh and surprising. The birth of a child is not a statistic in the population but a resurrection.

Four Mysteries

Four mysteries unfold in the course of love’s unveiling of its secrets: the mystery of the other person’s body and soul, the mystery of motherhood in which “the husband sees something in the wife he never before knew existed,” the mystery of fatherhood in which a wife views her husband in a new light of manhood, and the mystery of the family that contributes profoundly to the nation and affirms the dignity and worth of all children loved for who they are, not for their talents or accomplishments.
This reverence for life founded in the family provides the first principles of all good government: “The State exists for the person, not the person for the State.”
These are some of the great mysteries of marital love that the Church’s magisterial teaching dispenses from its treasury of human and divine wisdom. As the title illustrates, Three To Be Married means that God’s plan and design require that all husbands and wives view love as a great heavenly gift, grow in the spiritual depths of love’s oneness to perfect one another, imitate the self-giving love of the Trinity, and await with hope and joy the unveiling of the next mystery.
Love of God and love of neighbor interpenetrate and grow side by side when man and woman embrace and live holy matrimony as God teaches and the Church affirms throughout the ages.
In an illuminating metaphor Sheen captures perfectly the essence of man, woman, and God’s special triune relationship in communicating the gospel of love in a way that modernity altogether misses:
“Imagine a large circle and in the center of it rays of light that spread out to its circumference. The light in the center is God; each of us is a ray. The closer the rays are to the center, the closer the rays are to one another. The closer we are to God, the closer we are bound to our neighbor. The more each ray departs from the center, the weaker it becomes; and the closer it gets to the center, the stronger it becomes.”

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vikings quarterback lists winning pass as 3rd best life-moment, behind finding Jesus

January 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) –  Vikings Quarterback Case Keenum said throwing the game-winning pass in the last few seconds of Sunday’s championship game against the New Orleans Saints was only the third best moment in his life. Keenum’s first best…Continue Reading

On the purpose of politics and the salvation of souls

“Beloved, our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal creator of all things, today became our Savior by being born of a mother. Of his own will he was born for us today, in time, so that he could lead us to…Continue Reading

Don’t let fear keep you from welcoming the stranger, Pope says

Vatican City, Jan 14, 2018 / 04:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- At a special Mass Sunday for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis said that while it is normal to be afraid of the unknown, we can’t let…Continue Reading

Notre Dame could face legal investigation for flip-flopping on contraception coverage

SOUTH BEND, Indiana, January 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of over sixty Notre Dame alumni attorneys has written an open letter to the university’s president, Father William Jenkins, CSC, to protest the university’s decision to continue the dissemination of…Continue Reading

Poland: Marches of the Three Kings Draw 1.2 Million

Under the motto “God is for everyone”, 1.2 million Poles in more than 660 cities and towns in Poland and abroad joined in the March of the Three Kings. This year’s event was accompanied by fundraising “Kings for the East”,…Continue Reading

Bishops’ letter on sexual identity prompts LGBT counter-lobbying

Washington D.C., Jan 5, 2018 / 12:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Several Catholic bishops’ call for clarity and compassion on sexual identity issues such as transgenderism drew the ire of a dissenting Catholic group which is part of a well-funded LGBT…Continue Reading

Rural Minnesota Catholic parish dismisses musicians over gay marriages

For weeks now, a Catholic parish in the rural St. Croix River Valley north of the Twin Cities has been praying through turmoil, brought by a trio of startling dismissals. On one hand, even many of the most distressed don’t…Continue Reading

Trump replaces Obama-appointed gay ambassador with family man: report

MADRID, January 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump Administration recently installed a new Ambassador to Spain. The former Obama appointee who was a pro-LGBT openly gay man ‘married’ to a man was replaced with a family man who has a…Continue Reading

Former bishop of Charlotte’s Catholic diocese dies at 90

Bishop William Curlin, who presided over the rapidly growing Catholic Diocese of Charlotte from 1994 to 2002, died Saturday at Carolinas Medical Center. He was 90. The cause of death was cancer, which he had battled for years. Curlin was…Continue Reading

Pope takes 27 candidates a step closer to sainthood‎

Pope Francis has authorized 12 decrees on miracles, martyrdom and heroic virtues of 22 men and 5 ‎women. ‎ by Robin Gomes Pope Francis on Monday took 27 men and women a step closer to sainthood.  The Pope received Card. Angelo Amato,…Continue Reading

Catholic League: Boston Globe Refuses to Name Its Own Abusers

The Boston Globe, which has turned stories about child sexual abuse by Catholic priests into a cottage industry, refuses to publish the names of its own staff members who have been charged with sexual harassment, according to Bill Donohue, president…Continue Reading

Facebook Nixes Photo of Vatican Nativity Scene as ‘Sexually Provocative’

In one of the least likely stories of all time, Facebook has vetoed a photo of the Vatican’s yearly Nativity scene, referencing its policy against “sexually suggestive or provocative” images. The manger scene integrates into the typical depiction of the…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Dutch abortion activist: Pope Francis honoring me is a ‘confirmation’ of my abortion work

January 15, 2018 (Lepanto Institute) – On January 12, OnePeterFive and The Lepanto Institute reported that Liliane Ploumen, a Dutch politician and international abortion activist, was received into the Order of St. Gregory by the Vatican in 2017 — a pontifical honor given for “meritorious service to the Church.” Multiple diplomatic sources around the Vatican have now confirmed to OnePeterFive and the Lepanto Institute that the award was given to Ploumen last year when she took part in…Continue Reading

U.S. Congressman: Pro-life ‘turf battle’ preventing vote on bill to ban nearly all abortions

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life groups and members of Congress are divided over whether on the day of the March for Life, the U.S. House should vote on a bill that would ban nearly all abortions, or instead a bill to ban infanticide after botched abortions. The Heartbeat Protection Act would make it illegal to abort babies whose heartbeats can be detected. “It’s the most protective incremental bill in existence,” said one…Continue Reading

Professor rebukes new Academy for Life member’s ‘disastrous’ approval of contraception

ROME, January 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A prominent Austrian Catholic philosopher has issued a forceful rebuttal to the call of a new member of the Pontifical Academy for Life to allow contraception in some circumstances. Professor Josef Seifert, co-founder of the International Academy of Philosophy (IAP) and a former member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, has said the positions of Fr. Maurizio Chiodi, delivered on Dec. 14, 2017 during a public lecture at the…Continue Reading

Catholic groups decry end of immigration protection for Salvadorans

WASHINGTON (CNS) — As the Catholic Church in the U.S. began observing National Migration Week, a time to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, immigrants, refugees, and human trafficking victims, the administration of President Donald Trump announced that it would end an immigration program for thousands of Salvadorans, one of the largest groups of modern-day immigrants in the country and one that includes many Catholic

New Academy for Life member uses Amoris to say some circumstances ‘require’ contraception

ROME, January 8, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Responsible parenthood can obligate a married couple to use artificial birth control, a recently appointed member of the Pontifical Academy for Life has argued, basing his theory on Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia. Italian moral theologian Father Maurizio Chiodi said at a December 14 public lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome that there are “circumstances — I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Restoring The Sacred Humility In The Sacred Liturgy

By JAMES MONTI One of the most serious and endemic problems in how the sacred liturgy is celebrated in many parishes in our own age is a conspicuous lack of humility. Certain contemporary hymns seem calculated to drum into the congregation how supposedly holy, gifted, lovable, and prophetic they are, with scarcely a word about…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… The Sexual Harassment “Crisis” — Time For Some Clear Thinking

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Revisiting “The Four Loves”: The Four Rights

By DONALD DeMARCO C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves, which was published in 1960, is a classic. The author succeeded with his accustomed wit and wisdom in showing how four kinds of love — affection, friendship, amorous love, and charity — are both distinctive as well as interrelated. He penned this work just three years before…Continue Reading

Our Lady Of Fatima… The Close Of The Fatima Centenary

By FR. SEAN CONNOLLY (Editor’s Note: This is the twelfth and final article in a series on the one hundredth anniversary of our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. Fr. Connolly is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. The staff and readers of The Wanderer wish to thank Fr. Connolly for his scholarly and inspiring…Continue Reading

Court Strikes Baltimore Forced Abortion Speech Law

BALTIMORE — The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on January 5 struck down a Baltimore City Ordinance seeking to impose notification requirements on unlicensed pregnancy centers. The ordinance compelled these pregnancy resource centers to post notices that conspicuously state in English and Spanish that they do not provide nor refer women for abortions or birth…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

“Ad Orientem” Dei Gloriam

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK We have all heard the saying that “he who hesitates is lost.” We don’t hear enough about the fact that dithering in the face of opportunity can also mean the loss of an immortal soul. How many priests hesitate every day to courageously proclaim the truth or to offer the traditions of the Church in…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… Confirmation: A Spiritual Coming Of Age

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 11 In previous lessons, we have learned that out of the seven sacraments instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ, three of them can be received only once in life, namely, Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. This is so because they imprint a “character,” that is, a spiritual, indelible mark that lasts forever, and, therefore,…Continue Reading

Requirements For Matrimony

By DON FIER The celebration of the Sacrament of Matrimony between two baptized Catholics, as we saw last week, normally takes place during the Eucharist. “Since marriage establishes the couple in a public state of life in the Church,” states the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), “it is fitting that its celebration be public, in the framework of a…Continue Reading

Follow The Lord And Repent

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: John 3:1-5, 10 1 Cor. 7:29-31 Mark 1:14-20 In the beginning of our Lord’s public ministry, the first message He spoke, as St. Mark recorded it, was that it is a time of fulfillment and that the Kingdom of God is at hand; therefore, it is necessary to…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. In the Mass readings leading up to Christmas, we have the Angel Gabriel appearing first to Zechariah and then to Mary. Both seemed to have the same doubts about the angel’s words, but Zechariah was struck mute and Mary was not. Why were they treated differently? — E.M., via e-mail. A. Zechariah was punished because he doubted (“How shall…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Raymond Penafort

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church has been blessed with a plethora of doctrinal resources, thanks in large part to Pope St. John Paul II. The Code of Canon Law, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the many encyclicals, apostolic exhortations, books, and letters continue to provide the Church with a solid foundation for learning and applying the truths of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord has no limits and conditions for persons whom He calls to sainthood. They may be the richest, such as St. Francis of Assisi, or the poorest such, as the children of Fatima. They may be powerful, such as St. Louis, king of France, or humble, such as our Lady. They may be the most brilliant,…Continue Reading