by William B. May
SAN FRANCISCO, November 3, 2014 -- Recently, during an audience about marriage and family with 7,500 members of an Marian apostolate, the Holy Father fielded a question about how he could be defined as “reckless” by some people. The media has been having a field day spinning comments he has made to cause tremendous confusion. How he answered the question provides sage wisdom for all Christians.
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Catholic News Agency reported that Pope Francis said he first seeks to surrender “himself to prayer, saying that it helps him to place Jesus at the center, rather than himself.” (see full article: "'What Is Being Proposed Is Not Marriage' Pope Francis Says")
“’There is only one center: Jesus Christ – who rather looks at things from the periphery, no? Where he sees things more clearly,’ the Pope observed, saying that when closed inside the small worlds of a parish, a community and even the Roman Curia, ‘then you do not grasp the truth.’”
“He explained how reality (emphasis added) is always seen better from the peripheries rather than the center, and noted how he has seen some episcopal conferences who charge for almost every small thing, where ‘nothing escapes’.”
Regarding the reality of marriage, we encourage people to follow Jesus divine wisdom when he prayed to the Father, “you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to the childlike” [LK 10:21]. We must have the humility to recognize that we are the wise and learned and must surrender ourselves to become childlike and free ourselves from our own ideas. It is only then that we are able to witness the reality of marriage in its fullness, seen from the periphery as the Holy Father puts it.
From the child’s perspective, a man and a woman has made themselves irreplaceable to each other through their choice to marry starting the circle of irreplaceability that we call the family. So marriage not only unites a man and a woman with each other, but with any children born from their union. That is a fact. When that reality is recognized by state law, it creates the only civil institution that unites kids with their moms and dads. When marriage is redefined that institution is eliminated from the law. So to ground the conversation in reality, the key question to ask is, “Do we need such a civil institution?”
Pope Francis told the gathering, “What is being proposed is not marriage, it's an association. But it's not marriage! It's necessary to say these things very clearly and we have to say it!”
In fact, it is time for us to start from the beginning to re-introduce marriage to our families, to our friends and to the culture. Marriage is a relationship integral to God’s plan for creation and therefore cannot be defined, only described.
How can you help?
When people ask questions about marriage, hand them the pamphlet, “Reframing the Marriage Issue Reveals Reality" to help them discover the true meaning of marriage and what is at stake when marriage is redefined. Ask your Catholic organization to distribute this literature or as many have done, talk with your pastor about the possibility of distributing our two Reality Series pamphlets as bulletin inserts or at a table after Masses.