America and the Divorce Epidemic
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “How did we get here? Is any of this legitimate? Those are, I think, fair questions to ask. Are they detrimental to society and to culture as a whole? I think they are. To admit that is then to reevaluate or to evaluate our own personalities and our own lives, our own miserable lives from the standpoint of truth. Since I don’t want to have to break the news to some of you, I bring guests on this show from time to time that can break the news to you.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: We are all aware instinctively, our souls are telling all of us: Hey, uh, human body person, something is not right in this world that you guys are occupying. You know, I was sent down here to occupy this body by God and he didn’t tell us that it was going to be like this. What are you guys going to do about this? There’s something that’s nagging all of us. I think it nags you all the time, especially considering that we are immersed in this cesspool of digital media that we call a culture. We are bombarded by images. We are bombarded by audio. We are bombarded by the internet, by books, by magazines. We are bombarded by people running around babbling heresies, not realizing that they’re babbling heresies. We are bombarded by people and their apostasies all day long, every day. It’s impossible to avoid any longer. You can’t shield your children from it if they’re going to be alive.
This has necessitated — at least it has for me and many of you according to my mail — a need, a requirement now to learn more about this and to try and ascertain: What is the correct way? After we ascertain the correct way: What can we do about it? How can we get back to it? The first thing we have to know is the correct way, especially when it comes to the family. The building block of the family is the husband and the wife, with the father acting as the philosopher, king, priest. That’s his role. The mother acting in her maternal role and supporting the philosopher / king / priest, but also having some unique things that she brings that the father doesn’t. They have to be mother and father and they have to be wed. This is the first thing that you have to get correct. Today we can’t even agree on that. Cohabitation run wild, shacking up, that’s just fine. Homosexual marriages, divorces, two, three, four, five. Some people that I know have so many divorces that they ought to have their own divorced baseball card with the statistics on it. Hey, look, that one lasted almost 18 months.
How did we get here? Is any of this legitimate? Those are, I think, fair questions to ask. Are they detrimental to society and to culture as a whole? I think they are. To admit that is then to reevaluate or to evaluate our own personalities and our own lives, our own miserable lives from the standpoint of truth. Since I don’t want to have to break the news to some of you, I bring guests on this show from time to time that can break the news to you. We’re going to talk to Marie Meaney, who writes at Crisis Magazine. Marie has written about this very subject about a week and a half ago or so and is on the Dude Maker Hotline, live from somewhere in former Christendom. Hi, Marie, how are you? Are you in France or Italy today?
Marie Meaney: I’m actually in Germany, believe it or not.
Mike: Paul told me you’re in between France and Italy and Germany or you’re in between Germany and Italy?
Mike: Did I pronounce your last name correct, Meaney?
Meaney: Yes, that’s correct, unfortunately. It’s not very nice but what can you do?
Mike: Marie, by the time we’re finished here, people are going to perceive you as being a meanie.
Meaney: That’s possible.
Mike: After you wrote this piece for Crisis Magazine, did anyone write you any hate mail and tell you that you were a meanie?
Meaney: No, they didn’t. A lot of comments at the bottom, and I sort of skim through them. A lot of it seems kind of hateful but not necessarily against me.
Mike: Let’s talk about what you have written about here. I’ll just read the audience a small portion of your essay. We won’t involve the German bishops and what’s going on in Germany and all that, because this applies to all of us regardless of what they’re doing, as I tried to outline in the little brief monologue before I put you on. So this is what Marie wrote. Folks, we’re concentrating on the family here, specifically on the family unit and the mother and father wed together in holy, sacramental marriage. Let’s get this part of it straight. Now let’s read:
Actually, the bishops themselves are sinning against mercy, for they are encouraging the divorced and remarried to live a lie. They tell them that they may participate in the feast (i.e. Communion) just like the prodigal son did upon his return. Yet the son who participates in the celebration when he has no intention of reforming his life is basing the relationship to the Father on a falsehood. Christ severely condemned those living a lie, calling them whitewashed tombs. He was merciful with sinners who knew what their situation was and were looking for help. Instead of following Christ’s example, we are trying to turn the divorced and remarried into something akin to hypocrites, pretending they are not in a state needing redemptive transformation. Admitting them to the sacraments will be widely understood as a sanction of their lifestyle. But this implicit approval will make things ten times worse, like telling someone with an aggressive cancer that he is healthy and that his symptoms are merely psychosomatic.
Mike: Marie, many people are going to hear that and say: Wow, she is really mean.
Meaney: Well, I hope not. I think we need to clearly distinguish between what true compassion and true mercy is. I understand where some of these bishops are coming from. They see a lot of divorced and remarried who are suffering, who would like to be in full Communion with the Church. They’re hearing their pain. They want to be compassionate. They’re not realizing that by changing doctrine, changing pastoral directives, we are making matters ten times worse. Real mercy actually means showing to the divorced and remarried and their situation unfortunately is painful, is one that is false, that is built on a lie, and kindling the desire to return, kindle the desire to return to Christ. Only Christ can give them the grace to do that because it’s going to take a lot for them to change their life around. I think we’re doing them absolutely no favors by telling them they’re just fine and to return to Communion. That’s, unfortunately, the way they will understand it, that if they can go back to Communion that they don’t really need to do anything. It’s shocking and it’s sad to see in documents — I was, in that article, speaking about the German situation because it’s the German bishops who are sort of spearheading this whole movement, it seems to me, when they brought out some pastoral directives. It’s just a list of confusion and errors.
Mike: Not only is it confusing — we talk in this country all the time about things being unconstitutional. This is unbiblical. If we read the directive when the Pharisees brought to Christ the woman that was the fornicator or adulterer, they said “We have to put her away,” as was written in Matthew. He admonished them and said: No, you can’t put her away. He laid out the terms under which she could be put away — put away is, I guess, the term he was using for divorce. He didn’t hold out that there was any instance where a divorce was acceptable. I think about this, Marie, and I think about the times that we live in here today. No one even has a question mark at the end of: Okay, is it okay to get divorced? The question might be rhetorical but it’s certainly not interrogatory, is it?
Meaney: Yeah, unfortunately it’s become so part of our culture that we don’t see a problem with it. I think about the bishops, rightly pointing out the pope, the new pastoral that we need are in preparing people for marriage, that they know what they’re getting into and know what to expect, and then really build a life together and raise their children and give them the best possible foundation for the life they can. Of course, those who suffer the most from these divorces and remarriages are the children, there’s no doubt about it.
Mike: Let me ask you another question, just following up on this. The really shocking thing about what you’ve written here, you’re just rehashing the dogma as it is and the magisterium as it is and as people are supposed to understand and live it. The real shocking thing is — when I was reading what you wrote, I went: Wow, that’s not going to go over. Your exhortation to people that: Look, you can remain in a state of separation and you can do this by basically adopting and pursuing a life of celibacy. Can you explain that?
Meaney: Yeah. In these directives, for example, the bishops are saying that doctrine is really putting people in an impossible, a dead end. They want a new beginning with a new family, go to mass, participate in parish life. It seems cruel not to allow them to get out of this. I make a few points about this. First of all, I say it’s not doctrine which puts them there, but a combination of their own and other people’s choices. They may have incurred no guilt in the breakdown of their marriage, but their decision to marry again civilly is theirs. Then the bishops say: They didn’t choose celibate life. It’s hard on them. Yes, it is hard, but life often is difficult. Many single people would like to get married. When you marry people, you sort of live a celibate life because their spouses are ill. Life throws challenges at us. If we feel that we can’t cope with that, then this is the moment to fall down on our knees and ask God to help. Nothing moves God more, nothing allows him to act more than when we humbly acknowledge our brokenness.
The bishops and all those who deny that are not allowed this grace to happen. The divine doctrine knows that some suffering is unavoidable while false mercy allows the patient to remain sick for fear of the pain. We have to realize yes, things are going to be painful. It’s going to be very challenging. God is with us in this. We will still experience a kind of freedom and a joy that we didn’t have before. We have the witnesses of divorced and remarried who then either decided to live together celibately as brother and sister to raise their children, or the one left and the other was on his or her own. They still speak about this being preferable. Yes, their heart broke, sure it did, but I think most of us at one point in our lives, we have to do something, make a choice, because we
follow God’s call, and it’s going to break our hearts. Nothing is more fruitful than that broken heart. Nothing ultimately will lead to so much joy and peace as that broken heart. It’s hard to swallow. It’s a hard truth to grasp. It’s a paradox, but I think it needs to be said.
Mike: This is another part of this that should be widely known amongst all Christian peoples because all Christians profess to be readers and devotees of the New Testament and of the Gospels. I shouldn’t be breaking any news to anyone. We talked about this last week on this show, and we have some pretty good precedent on this subject in St. John the Baptist’s refusing — all he had to do was say to Herod: Okay, just this once you can do it but only once. Marie, St. John the Baptist wouldn’t do that, would he?
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Meaney: He wouldn’t, nor did St. Thomas More. He refused to acknowledge the marriage of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn, nor to swear the oath of allegiance, and he gave his life for that. I think we’re reaching that point that we have to be witness of the truth about marriage in ways that we didn’t expect. We didn’t expect that in the Christian West now we would have to stand up for the fact that marriage is between a man and a woman, that divorce and remarriage is impossible. We don’t know what we’re going to be called to. We simply have to witness to the truth about this to give people a real option and make the kind of choices that will actually lead them to peace and happiness.
End Mike Church Show Transcript