Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What do I want most for my wife? That she believe the Gospel.

As a Roman Catholic who stayed in the "church" for 40 years before he left, this message is what I pray first and foremost for my wife who divorced me:

That she believe that Christ alone has won the salvation of all who believe in him--which is the message or the gospel of his finished work that he accomplished by his death on the cross.

I ask her, and all who claim to be Roman Catholics, to read these following paragraphs to get a taste of the real Gospel promises that Jesus has made for all who truly believe in him.

First and foremost, Jesus promises all who believe in him everlasting life! What’s that? It’s heaven, it's eternal life with Him!

“He who believes in me has everlasting life.” (Jesus speaking in John Chapter 6, verse 47)

Yes, Jesus absolutely promises that all who believe in him will one day be with him in his heavenly kingdom.

But what about all of our sins? He died to erase the sins of everyone who believes in him, and he rose from the dead to prove his promise of everlasting life!

Jesus put it this way: “He who hears my word and believes in him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned (will not go to hell). He has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)

If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrightousness. (1 John 1:9)

Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin (whose sin the Lord will never count against him). Romans 4:7-8

But, can’t we lose our salvation through sin and go to hell? No. Because Jesus has given you your belief in him (faith) and your salvation as a gift. So, though you may fall from time to time, you are always in his hands—he says so himself in the Bible—it’s his promise. As God in the flesh, you can count on him to keep it! ..the gift of God is everlasting life. (Romans 6:28)

"I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." (John 10:28-30)

Jesus promises he is preparing a place for all who believe in him: "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and rece ive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Remembering March 6, 1982... our wedding day

It was 28 years ago today--the wedding of the century--for me at least. As I recall, we were both pretty excited about it. I think she had to get some blood because her red blood cells were running low or something. It was a great service with our marriage counselor priest and two other priests who were quite close to me as concelebrants at Mass. There was a nice little reception afterward, and two exhausted newly weds headed off to a nice hotel room in Tulsa. Looking back on it, they were a real sweet couple.

Jesus said:
"But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife: And the two shal be one flesh; so they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

And in the house his disciples asked him (Jesus) again of the same matter. And he saith unto them, "Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, commits adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another she commits adultery." (Mark 10:6-12)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

No support system and plenty of contacts make “Catholic divorces” easy (series)

Growing up in a "different" community
I was a Roman Catholic for more than 40 years. I was the eldest of nine kids and all of us piled into the car every Sunday with mom and dad and made a 15 mile journey to the little mission church in Eufaula.

That was “our church” though it was usually just a Sunday thing, except for an occasional “holy day of obligation” and maybe a church dinner once or twice a year at most.

We really liked all the folks at that little church and they felt like family to us—for a couple of hours every Sunday. And after those two hours…we rarely saw any of them for the rest of the week.

In fact, the rest of the week, we were “real ecumenical” in a hometown that was wall to wall Protestant. Mom even sent us to vacation bible school at the Church of Christ (where I first learned to read the bible) and the Methodist Church (more bible practice).

Another favorite summer vacation bible school was the one out at the lake with the Federated Church minister and his wife (more singing and crafts than Bible reading). We even occasionally went on youth trips throughout the year with the First Baptist (Southern Baptist) Church. And yes, believe it or not, as teenagers, me, my two brothers (twins) and sister made the headcount look a lot better in the Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF). I’m not kiddin’—Catholic kids moonlighting as MYF members. We did it.

So what’s the point? We were Catholic kids who grew up in a Protestant community. Consequently, if we ever had an important conversation, it was usually with a Protestant and not a Roman Catholic. The few times I had an important conversation about one Roman Catholic doctrine or another—mom and dad would go ballistic—especially if I noted the bible we’d learned about with our Protestant friends didn’t say a thing about this Catholic belief or that one.

I wanted to know too much
I was really the only kid, among the older ones in my family, who was interested in what the Catholic Church had to teach us. The same thing was true with the woman who became my wife. She really just didn’t care what the church taught. She was raised to go to a certain church every Sunday and that was that—just like me—except I had this "stupid" interest in what the church required us to believe.

Still, for both of us, the word “church” simply meant a “place” to “be near our Maker” for an hour or two a week. That was all. Even when Roberta began singing at church, that was just another hour of practice. She enjoyed singing, so the extra hour just made her feel better that she was contributing to the worship.

Did we have close Catholic friends who cared enough about the faith that they called us to be “good Catholics?” No. We had some Catholic friends, but we didn’t see them much, except for Mass and none of them ever offered any “spiritual” support. That just really wasn’t to be found—it was always treated as something that was just too “personal.” We didn’t really even talk about it.

When I finally began trying to practice the Roman Catholic teachings I was raised in—my wife was having nothing to do with it. Weekly or monthly confession? I had to be kidding! Daily Mass? What’s wrong with you?

And that was only the beginning, the list of required-for-salvation Catholics beliefs is a long one: Papal infallibility and supremacy, Mary’s immaculate conception and her bodily assumption into heaven, Mary’s perpetual virginity, the existence of Purgatory, the absolute necessity for confession of our sins to a priest and absolution from the priest, the teaching that you will go to hell if you die with a mortal sin on your soul, no assurance of salvation, transubstantiation, the consecrated host containing the “whole” Christ—his body, blood, soul and divinity, the Mass as an actual sacrifice, to name just few.

Blocking me out--facilitating the divorce
So my wife decided she just wasn’t even going to think about all that—just keeping going to Mass and singing on Sunday—block out what she considered negative. She never had anyone but me asking her to try to support the teachings of the church and I was easy to block out. Where were the priests? Where were the devout Catholics? Where was her own family? Her Roman Catholic deacon daddy?

Her Roman Catholic deacon daddy? He was the guy who made it easy for his “baby” to divorce me. He facilitated the whole thing. He and Grandma were there to take our own babies away so their daughter could tell me she’d filed for a divorce, then dash off to join all her liberated “Mary Kay” girl friends for the “conference” in Kansas City.

Had her parents tried to slow her down? Asked her to consider a temporary separation? Urged some serious counseling? Inquired about her antidepressant medication? If her parents did so, they never mentioned a word of it to me and never gave me even one supportive word—and its been nine years now.

Instead, they made it their goal to meet and exceed all their daughter’s selfish, over-medicated decisions. They paid for the divorce attorney, put her up at their place for several months while she got a job and got her feet on the ground, took care of the boys, helped her get into a home. Yes, they’re the salt of the earth, and they haven’t done a damn thing to this day—to help give our marriage a second chance in any way. Baby don’t want that.

On to the annulment
But now comes the one contribution they can make to drive the stake of sure death into this marriage—help baby get that annulment—so she can feel good about doing “things” with other men.

My wife’s own mother has spent the last several years telling my two boys it’s ok for their mom to date other men—because she "deserves" to do so! What? Yep, even Grandma gets to air her twisted doctrine of "divorce deserves good things."

As for my own mom? My wife told the boys that all my “mommy dearest” had to tell her was that she couldn’t believe my wife hadn’t divorce me sooner! I swear, you’d think I had been building a brothel or beating my wife or something. As always, thanks so much for your support mom. There’s nothing like family!

And just when you thought it couldn’t get better for baby—her daddy, the good “deacon emeritus” has a bunch of friends in Tulsa where he’s helped from time to time at the tribunal. Yeah, he’s helped people get annulments there before—and you can bet he’ll be right there for his baby again this time.

These people don’t care about doing the right thing—they just want to help baby get what baby wants. And no, it don’t matter if it’s a sin or not. And no, it don’t even really matter that Jesus says baby will commit adultery if she remarries (Mark 10:12). What matters is what baby wants, and what baby wants, is what baby gets. How’s that for some REAL Roman Catholic doctrine?

To top it all off—the local priest is a canon lawyer! Go baby, go baby, go baby go! We’ll get you the handbasket you want for Hell, and give you the church’s blessing to boot!

The witnesses
The hypocrisy doesn’t get much deeper than this folks. And to think my two young sons are plenty old enough that they’ll remember all this for the rest of their lives.

Talk about a model family.

Lord, have mercy.

Annulments simply finalize divorces--throw spouses to wolves

The easy divorces, like the one my wife got from me, are the norm in the good ol’ U.S.A. these days. She filed in March of 2001, and less than two months later, sometime in May, the divorce was finalized. I wanted to fight it, but my attorney insisted there was no use and he reminded me that’s why I had hired him—to appear in court on my behalf. Still, if I had to do it over again, I’d at least read a message to the judge telling him I was against the divorce.

On the other hand, I had just spent two months in the same house with a wife who had filed for divorce (much to the amazement of my attorney) and I was dead tired of begging her to reconsider and crying myself to sleep at night, knowing we’d have to tell our children soon.

Yes, the attorney was amazed to find that although my wife had filed neither she nor I had any intention of leaving the place we were staying until school was out in May. She’d move with the boys and I would follow two months later

So two short months, and bam—she took off with the boys for her mom and dad’s house, and I was just lucky to find a job nearby. Otherwise my sons may have seen very little of me. Nine year later, I guess I should be grateful they’ve seen their dad about a quarter of the time.

In any case, these easy divorces do nothing good for anyone. The woman in the divorce is immediately potential food for the wolves of the online dating services—which may be what she wanted if she was the one who filed. But it’s hard to believe many women actually “want” that.

One of the things I wondered as soon as I found myself “single” was how stupid this whole “divorce” thing was. In my mind. How dumb could my ex be? I mean, maybe I hadn’t been the most gracious husband lately, but at least I was a damn site better than most of these guys online who want nothing to do but get into someone else’s pants!

I mean, geez, talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire. I wonder how many women actually consider their aloneness and the wolves as they file for divorce? Maybe that’s what it’s all about with these women—going for the fire?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's not me on the annulment babe, it's Jesus. See Mark 10:12

If it was just me arguing that marriage should be this way honey, I promise, I would not bother.

But it's Jesus...you know the Savior--the Son of God in the flesh!? You do know him, right?

Consider the following a quote from him:

And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. (Mark 10:12)

Monday, March 1, 2010

She says divorce is her "God-given right," but Jesus and the pope say "no" (series)

You may remember from a previous post that I told you that my wife was adamant: “she will do what she wants to do, when she wants to do it,” and she believes that is her “God-given right.” She told me she believes that’s exactly what she was doing—exercising her God-given right—when she filed for divorce from me without so much as a marriage counseling session back in March of 2001 (despite the fact that she's a Roman Catholic who is not supposed to believe in divorce).

Thankfully, both Jesus and the pope disagree with her. Yes, it seems the only problem with her “God-given right” complaint is that neither her church nor Jesus himself support her claim. In fact, both flatly reject her claim to such a so-called “right.” Both the pope and Jesus are real clear on the matter.

The pope says a marriage is an “indissoluble bond” and that without some sort of obvious defect, which means someone entered a marriage without the intent to be married or really try (our marriage lasted 19 years) to remain married, or there was something that made it impossible for the couple to have intercourse, etc..(we had two children) then the marriage must be considered valid.

In fact, the pope insists that, even if there is a doubt about the validity of the marriage, without ironclad evidence, the pope says the local tribunal must find that the marriage is valid.

“Marriage enjoys the favour of the (canon) law. Hence, in case of doubt, a marriage must be held to be valid until the contrary is proven. Otherwise we run the serious risk of remaining without an objective point of reference for pronouncements of nullity, transforming all conjugal difficulties into a symptom of a failed union whose essential nucleus of justice - the indissoluble bond - is thus effectively denied.”

In other words, the pope says you can’t just uphold the flimsy reason a person may have used to get a divorce, such as “irreconcilable differences” just because she or he wanted a divorce. And just because the civil government gave it to them easy, you cannot take the easy rout. In fact, the pope told the Rota, the highest authority on Roman Catholic marriages, that easy way must be avoided:

This latter virtue (justice) “becomes more important when injustice seems the easiest path to follow, in as much as it involves giving in to the desires and expectations of the parties involved, or to the conditioning of the social environment.”

My wife has told me she plans to pull out all the stops to make sure she gets her annulment and that means she’s planning to use a lot of character assassination tactics. In other words, she plans to trump up reasons to try to prove that I was immature (at the age of 23) and not ready for marriage and she will come up with reasons that the same might apply to her ( at the age of 21) as well. Of course, the idea is to try to give the tribunal some sort of ammo to come to a declaration that will nullify the marriage.

God the Father forgive me that I left his (God the) Son’s comments on the matter for last. But the fact of the matter is that Jesus specifically mentions the woman’s role in a divorce only once in Mark 10:12 and he is very specific:

And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she commits adultery.

In other words, no matter what the Tulsa tribunal may rule, Christ himself insists that if my wife marries another man, now that she has divorced me, she commits adultery.

Of course, my wife believes all she has to do is ask Jesus for forgiveness and everything will be alright. She doesn’t seem to realize that every time she and her “new squeeze” have “relations” they commit adultery—even if its his first marriage. Jesus says they will never be able to come together except in a state of sin—adultery. In other words, what they are doing is “unforgiven” until my wife leaves him, truly repents and seeks to return to me.

Does any of this make me feel better? Not really. My concern is for my wife and her ultimate salvation. As her husband, I can only do what I can to try to seek reconciliation with her and trust in the Lord to at least help me endure whatever I must.

It’s been tough, but he has been good to me for more than nine years now. Bless his name. Jesus is Lord and I thank him so for saving me completely. My prayer is that it will be his will to awaken the love of my earthly life for her sake first, and mine second.