Wednesday, December 05, 2007

New addition to Year of Grace and On Conversion Stories

An entry on Peter's blog about conversion stories reminded me that I haven't put up a new episode of "Year of Grace" for a while (I have just done so).

11 Comments:

At Wednesday, December 05, 2007 3:04:00 pm , Anonymous Joshua said...

Delightful and moving as always for you to bravely share your memories with us!

 
At Wednesday, December 05, 2007 4:39:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

They're not memories! They are diaries--the blow by blow account of how it actually happened. Sometimes when I read them, I can hardly believe that the person telling the story is me.

 
At Thursday, December 06, 2007 3:05:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

David, I very much appreciate your posts regarding your journey. My husband and I were in a civil marriage for over twenty years before I felt the call to become Catholic. He was not at all comfortable with the idea of seeking an annulment because he had heard so many conflicting stories about the process.

It turned out that his fears never materialized. At all stages he was treated with dignity and grace.

I was received into the Church on the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux and our marriage was blessed on the Feast of St. Francis the same week.

I will always have wonderful, wonderful memories of those days ten years ago.

There is much about your journey I can relate to. Of course, with the added responsibility of your position as a Pastor in the LCA I can appreciate the added struggles you had to deal with on that front.

 
At Friday, December 07, 2007 10:12:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

My wife was 39 when we got married. She had been married for less than a year at about age 20. I had never been married. We were going to be married in a religious but not Jewish ceremony by an Orthodox rabbi, since at the time I considered Christianity in any form a Gentile misunderstanding of messianism therefore the religion of the Hebrew Bible stands. He got booted by his congregation for not winking here and there at kashrut as they were used to.

So we went looking for another way to get married. I thought, my entire family and half of hers being Catholic, perhaps we could have a Catholic wedding -- but as Catholics were married before 1970 when the ceremony as a whole and in particular the beautiful wedding prayer after the Our Father was hacked to pieces by the running dog curs of Vatican II.

I contacted the chancery, and was given of course not a priest but a nun to speak with, who informed me that the "traditional" church in town that offered this rite had no connexion to the Catholic Church and that such a marriage would have to be later regularised. I informed her that if getting married as Catholics "always" got married now puts one outside of the Catholic Church which in turn has to "regularise" what it itself taught me, then this was no Catholic Church at all, and slammed the phone down.

My last, and I hope my last, contact with an official of the Roman church.

We were married by an LCMS minister (from which she and the rest of her family came) in a Lutheran service from the book but not in a Lutheran church. I had no idea at the time I would become Lutheran. Apparently God did.

 
At Saturday, December 08, 2007 1:51:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Um, now let's see. Your wife was married for "less than a year." By your account, she was not Catholic. And what on earth does "half her family being Catholic" have to do with it? You can't marry by proxy!

When my husband married his first wife she was a member of a "non-denominational" independent Christian church. She had not even been baptized. He needed a dispensation to marry her and they were married in the rectory and obviously did not have a wedding Mass.

My Lutheran mother and Catholic father, both on their first marriages, were not married in a "traditional" wedding Mass (as Catholics "always" got married) (and this was in the 1940's, long before Vatican II if you please).

From my other Catholic family members I recall that marriage between a Catholic and non-Catholic was never done through a nuptial Mass (long before Vatican II, again, if you please).

I haven't seen where the SSPX, SSPV or any of the other "traditional" groups make any exceptions.

But because the Church wouldn't play Terry's way he stamped his feet, took his ball and went home.

Yawn.

 
At Saturday, December 08, 2007 5:18:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

My wife's first marriage was to a non practicing Catholic outside the Catholic church. Legal opinion was this would be pretty much open and shut defect of form thus not a barrier to marrying a Catholic in the Catholic church if the other conditions were met, which she was willing to do, given that she was not of any particular affiliation at the time, that the majority of family were Catholic, and that was canonically Catholic. So the sole barrier was not at all inability to marry in the Catholic church.

The path was there. I chose not to take it -- because the Catholic church no longer plays its own way and I would not have my wedding be what every post conciliar Mass is, a hideous distortion and denial of not my ideas but what was taught to me by the Catholic Church, that I have to keep telling myself is really the same thing after all.

Classically, the church distinguished between annuling and prohibitory impediements. The former render a marriage spiritually null from the get go, the latter make them sinful but still valid. Her situation would fall under the annuling impediment of clandestinity: that where one or both parties are baptised Catholics, the marriage must be in the Church to be valid at all, rather than under the prohibitory impediment against mixed marriages.

 
At Saturday, December 08, 2007 6:41:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

-Legal opinion was this would be pretty much open and shut defect of form thus not a barrier to marrying a Catholic in the Catholic church if the other conditions were met,

Other conditions ??

And how could you expect to have a "traditional" Catholic wedding Mass inasmuch as unless your wife had converted she would not have been able to receive Holy Communion (one reason my husband's family didn't want a wedding Mass -- his former wife couldn't receive).

that where one or both parties are baptised Catholics, the marriage must be in the Church

Yes. That applied in my husband's case.

My husband maintains that the personnel who handled his annulment petition were far more compassionate than the lawyers who duked it out in his civil divorce (intiated by his ex).

The misconceptions surrounding annulments (especially by non-Catholics, i.e., an annulment costs "thousands" of dollars) are legion.

Of course, all the churches now have to deal with interconfessional marriages. As I'm so fond of pointing out, Lutheran/Roman Catholic are one of the most common.

 
At Saturday, December 08, 2007 4:39:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

You should know bloody well what the other conditions are.

I suspect but do not know that she would have converted to Catholicism. All of her brothers and relatives who married Catholics became Catholics, with no family complications, and she was at the time not a practicing Lutheran, having left LCMS over Seminex much as I did the RCC over Vatican II.

The reason I do not know is that I myself would not receive Communion from what laughingly calls itself the RCC now, at the time on the same Catholic grounds on which I would not receive Communion at any other non-Catholic service -- I didn't take Communion at either of the RCIA farces in which I lamentably had a part.

Basically, we would have gotten off the hook, so to speak, because of her ex being Catholic. Had he been anything else, the marriage would be presumed valid between two non Catholics following their best lights, but as a Catholic he was expected to act like one and didn't, defect of form (a sacrament requiring valid form, matter and intent, if anyone bothers about that now). The irony is, she was about to enter another defect of form marriage, from a pre and post conciliar Catholic point of view.

But the chancery official made it clear that to marry in the parish which celebrated the Roman rite also put one outside of marriage in the Roman church -- and thereby made it clear, much like this blog, that the shall we say hermeneutic of hostility toward anything before the Peter, Paul and Mary of the 60s Catholicism was alive and well, and this was no Roman Catholic Church but a most foul impostor that must be rejected on the basis of the "faith once delivered".

For the record, the LCMS minister did not marry us in his or any other LCMS parish but a commercial chapel, I not being Lutheran or even Christian at the time, but in a ceremony from the then current LCMS books, and after pre marital counselling that I found exceptionally helpful in understanding gaps in our communication.

He bore the brunt of a lot of my "Lutherans are just people trying to be Catholic without being Catholic" take at the time, as well as my conviction that since the only church that could be the true church imploded therefore Christianity was false in any form.

We lost touch for many years, though he knew Nancy had died. What a joy to have run into him at an event a few years ago and tell him Guess what, I know what I am now, I'm Lutheran. I don't know whether the tears or the bear hug came first from him -- a magnificent moment.

 
At Tuesday, December 11, 2007 2:35:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Basically, we would have gotten off the hook, so to speak, because of her ex being Catholic.

I'm sorry, but your post is addressing so many things I'm getting confused. Was the marriage with her non-practicing Catholic spouse in a civil ceremony?

But the chancery official made it clear that to marry in the parish which celebrated the Roman rite also put one outside of marriage in the Roman church

Good for him. That's exactly the way it should have been if that parish was not in communion with Rome. Unlike you, the Catholic Church for me isn't limited to the pre-Vatican II era.

 
At Tuesday, December 11, 2007 2:22:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

"My wife's first marriage was to a non practicing Catholic outside the Catholic church."

That didn't make it clear enough? If it's outside the Catholic Church, it doesn't matter how it was outside the Catholic Church.

"I contacted the chancery, and was given of course not a priest but a nun to speak with,"

I'm all for the generic, but I did identify the chancery official as a nun. So it would be good for HER.

What is not in communion with Rome is to preach and worship things that contradict Roman preaching and worship. When Rome does that itself, then it is no longer in communion with itself.

Unless one elevates Rome to a position that not even the Apostle Paul took -- that if he or even an angel from heaven should deliver a message other than the one delivered, let him be anathema.

To subject Roman teaching to Scripture and Tradition is appropriately Catholic. To decide that if Rome teaches it, it must be in accord with Scripture and Tradition is idolatry. One can argue whether agreement with Scripture and Tradition is there.

If Rome's teaching about Rome is true, it will always be there. But, if it can be demonstrated not to be there, then Rome's teaching about Rome and everything else falls completely apart, pre or post council, and communion with Rome means nothing.

That's the difference. Trent itself didn't happen until 3/4 through the elapsed history of Christianity so far. It's not about change. There is always change. It's not about Trent or its rites or that they should never change. They weren't always there before, and need not be there since.

It's about the specific changes that have in fact happened -- which could only be maintained as not in fundamental rupture with any and all points of Catholic history before it if one is either deaf, dumb and blind (and probably not even then with appropriate training) or if one has elevated Rome to be God Himself and therefore it isn't there because it cannot be there therfore it isn't there (circularity sic).

 
At Wednesday, December 12, 2007 2:11:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

That didn't make it clear enough? If it's outside the Catholic Church, it doesn't matter how it was outside the Catholic Church.

Yup and Yup.

I contacted the chancery, and was given of course not a priest but a nun to speak with a nun. So it would be good for HER.

Her. HER. (Slapping myself on the forehead.)

The Ursuline sister (we didn't deal with any nuns) whom I grew to know well during my journey into the Catholic Church was a tremendous help in assisting hubby with the ins and outs of the paperwork required for his petition for annulment.

One can argue whether agreement with Scripture and Tradition is there.

Yes, one can. I am satisfied that it IS there.

For me, becoming Catholic ten years ago was the best spiritual decision I ever made.

It's home.

 

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