Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day, 2009

I'm enjoying Father's Day. I've watched cartoons with some of the (grown) kids, heard "happy Father's Day" from members of the family who are at home, and relaxed a bit.

In a few minutes, I even plan to spend a little time in an old lazy boy chair.

I'm writing a few posts about Father's Day for another blog, and ran across this advice to priests:
"...Take advantage of opportunities that arise during the course of the year to celebrate marriage and family and the vision that the church has for each. However, be mindful in your preaching of the marriages and families that fall short of those ideals because of domestic violence. Examples of such opportunities include Holy Family Sunday (Sunday after Christmas), We Believe in Marriage Day (Sunday closest to Valentine's Day), Mother's Day, and Father's Day. Pay special attention to your interpretation or explanation of the second reading on Holy Family Sunday. Paul's admonition to wives to be submissive to their husbands' needs to be seen in the context of the times it was written, as well as the context of the entire passage. ...

"...The following are illustrations to introduce a homily that will touch on some issue relating to domestic violence. Look at the newspaper just about any day of the week and find a story regarding an act of violence done within a family system, or relate a time when you were a victim of an act of violence. Draw from the scripture reading teachings that deplore such acts and offer some concrete suggestions as to how the Christian might respond in the face of such situations.

"Present the historical concept of "sanctuary" as "safe space" and relate it to the church's present mission to provide a place where people can gather for refuge from danger, acts of violence, personal storms, and trials...." (USCCB)
That "Paul's admonition to wives" is the business of Ephesians 5, 22: one of the more appallingly misunderstood, misused, and hated verses in the Bible.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has quite a bit to say about those words. (When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women, for starters) It's true, by the way. Jerks who beat their wives and/or girlfriends have used Ephesians 5, 22, as an excuse.

That's "Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord."

The jerks ignore, or possibly don't know about, the next verse: "For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body." The way I see it, when I married my wife, I agreed to act toward her as Jesus did, and does, toward the church.

Which meant that, if necessary, I would die in her service. As my Lord did.

Being the head of something isn't quite the same thing for the Catholic Church, as it is some places. The pope has been the "servant of the servants of God" at least as far back as Pope Gregory X, in 1272.

I realize that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is dealing with a culture that's badly out of whack, but I'd like to point out something that may not be all that obvious.

There are men who don't beat their wives and/or girlfriends.

To all of you who have some clue as to what sort of responsibilities come along with having kids: happy Father's Day.

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I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.