Catholic Issues

Mom and Dad visiting graves of our ancestors

I am reposting this because of the huge response two years ago. Thought it would be helpful again for many people who have lost their spouse.

My dad died almost eight years ago. Mom misses Dad and was discouraged about Mark 12:25 which her paraphrased Living Bible improperly rendered “will not be married” in heaven.

I wrote the following to comfort my Mom…

Mom, I know it is important to you since Dad’s death as you look forward to eternity and speculate about relationships in heaven. It is important to me too, knowing I want to be with my wife Janet in heaven.

You quoted Mark 12:25 from the Living Bible where it says husbands and wives “won’t be married in heaven.” It is the Living Bible translation – which is not a translation but a paraphrase – that renders the words “they won’t be married.” The paraphrased Living Bible takes great liberties and is quite inaccurate.

Here is how other Protestant translations translate the verse (since I know you like the Protestant translations even though the Catholic Bibles word it the same):

The King James Version renders it:
“For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.”

New American Standard Bible says:
“For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”

New International Version (NIV) says:
“When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.”

No reputable translation translates this in a way to deny there are people continuing in love with earthly spouses. The original Greek language says there is no giving or taking in marriage. In other words, there will be no weddings in heaven.

Interestingly it says that before the flood the people were “marrying and giving in marriage” until the flood came. But after the flood Noah and his wife in the ark were still married :-) And their kids continued to marry and give in marriage.

There will be male and female distinctions in heaven. Jesus appeared as male after his resurrection. Mary is seen in heaven as a woman (Revelation 12:1). Marriage will be known in heaven since the Church is the Bride and there will be the great marriage in heaven with Jesus the Bridegroom and the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).

The Pharisees set up a trap for Jesus in Mark 12:18-27. They propose a situation with seven brothers. The first marries a wife and dies with no children. The second brother “takes” the woman to procreate children for his brother. This was the law of the Jews — a brother must take the wife of his dead brother to preserve his brother’s name in the land by propagating offspring for him with his widow.) This happens seven times. Who’s wife will she be in heaven.

The woman who was the wife of the seven brothers did not marry the seven brothers.  She married the first and was given to the six in order to procreate children in the name of the first.  All their children would be credited to her first husband who was her true love and spouse.

The Old Testament law was very careful to preserve the land and the family heritage. If a man died without a son his brother was to take his widow and have relations with her to continue his brother’s family line. The brother was called a kinsman-redeemer. Here is a good biblical dictionary explanation,

“The role of kinsman-redeemer is found in Leviticus 25, in the case of an Israelite man’s death in which he fails to leave behind a son, the brother of the deceased man is commanded to take his widow as wife and both redeem the land and provide a son to carry on the deceased father’s name. This is Boaz’s alleged position as indicated by Naomi in Ruth 2:20 and it is this responsibility that Ruth pleads with Boaz to fulfill. Being the godly man that he is, Boaz graciously receives Ruth’s offer, but communicates that he is not the nearest kinsman-redeemer (Ruth 3:12). However, he promises that as soon as morning breaks, he will look into the situation. Additionally, he supplies Ruth with six measures of barley. Through a series of events, the door opens for Boaz to fulfill his position as kinsman-redeemer. With the greatest hesed (compassionate loving-kindness), Boaz rises to the task of becoming kinsman-redeemer.” (http://www.ligonier.org/blog/ultimate-kinsman-redeemer/)

The first husband is the real husband of the woman. The others were simply “kinsman redeemers” who would procure offspring with the widow so her husband would continue to have heirs to continue his line in Israel.

Jesus is not intending to teach on relationships in heaven but he is refuting the Sadducees’ denial of the existence of angels and the resurrection. He is cleverly eluding their question and in no way denies husbands and wives will know and love each other in heaven. This is not a treatise on relationships in heaven but a clever response to his opponents about the existence of the supernatural world.

Mom and Dad with my older sister Patty c. 1940

The purpose of marriage was companionship and procreation. The propagation of children and the population of the earth was God’s plan for marriage on earth. The meeting of sperm and egg will not be needed in heaven.”Marital love” to produce children will not happen in heaven so marriage in that sense will not exist. But that does not eliminate the continuance of earthly relationship.

We will recognize each other in heaven just as the three disciples recognized Moses and Elijah on the mount of Transfiguration and John recognized Mary in heaven (Rev 12:1).

Family and matrimony are very important in Scripture and the way God fashioned the universe and created man and woman to be one flesh. There must be spiritual discernment here. The reason why the Jews buried family members together is because they will rest together in heaven. There is a spiritual permanence to family. And an extraordinarily strong spiritual permanence to matrimony. This is why it is described as “one flesh”.

We will not know and love less in heaven – we will know and love more. And can we comprehend that God would command us to love each other down here and would expect us to forget or deny that love in heaven?

Interestingly, Doctor of the Church St. John Chrysostom, in writing on fidelity in marriage said that young husbands should tell their wives, “I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us.… I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you. (CCC 2365, St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in Eph. 20, 8: PG 62, 146–147.)

Would God work to perfect something here on earth, even a sacrament, and not consider it important in heaven?

Nothing in Scripture leads us to believe that relationships between spouses will be eliminated. There is every reason to believe relations will be maintained in heaven though for different reasons – enhanced reasons which we will understand when we get there.

We cannot understand our new spiritual bodies and heavenly existence any more than a caterpillar can comprehend what it will be like to be a butterfly. We cannot anticipate how personal relationships will flower in glory any more than acorn can anticipate standing 50 feet tall.

I’m convinced you and dad will have a wonderful and much better relationship. It will be different. We cannot even comprehend how much better or more in love we’ll be with our spouses, any more than an unborn baby can speculate about the taste of a delicious steak dinner.

Mom and Dad’s Wedding in 1939 (middle couple)

Referring to Jesus’ words J. Vernon McGee 9 (one of your favorite Baptist preachers) writes, “This doesn’t mean that a man and a woman who were together down here can’t be together in heaven. They won’t be together as man and wife. They are not establishing a home up there, nor are they raising children. That’s the thing that He’s saying to them here.”

Marriage is an earthly word to serve an earthly purpose. Marital relationships, on the other hand, will transcend time because love is forever. Faith and hope will pass away but love will never pass away (1 Cor 13:13).

Dad is sitting in his favorite chair having coffee with Our Lord Jesus waiting for you to arrive to love you better than ever before. In the meantime he is praying for you and very intent on your well being.

I also asked Mom to read Hebrews 12:1. “

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.”  This is the language of sports. We on earth are running a race. Heaven in the goal. And who is cheering us on? A whole stadium full of cheering crowds. “Run, run!” and who are these crowds? The saints in heaven. 

I told my mom, “Dad is in heaven watching and cheering you on! Of course he knows what is going on down here and is anxious for you to run and win the race and join him in the stands to cheer on the rest of your family and loved ones.”

(Thanks to De Maria for suggestions and insights which I have included)

Further thoughts from Whalter:

The divine declaration was that it was “not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18) The text reveals that God and the man enjoyed a genuine, interactive relationship in the pristine environment of the garden (Gen 2:15-19, 17; 3:8­-9), but God had created man as a relational being a being with capacity for a relationship with God, as well as a capacity, indeed, need for relationship with others like himself.

This divinely created need for companionship and relationship was part of the original creation to which the new creation returns. Granted, after man’s lapse into sin in the garden, the need for relationship in humanity was seriously marred and deformed.

Mom and Dad in 2006

But, did God declare a law of marriage in a perfect world?  There is no such law. There were no laws of marriage imposed on Adam and Eve either. The only laws were “Don’t eat from that tree” and ” Be fruitful, start multiplying”.

They were made man and wife. In a perfect world, no laws of marriage were needed…But, they were commanded to have sex and multiply. This is what made Adam and Eve to be man and wife. She came out of his rib.

This made them related. Was this a law or an act of God? What law of marriage was imposed upon Adam and Eve? In the portion of Scripture above, God was silent. Adam did all the talking. Adam was prophesying about FUTURE relationships (Adam didn’t have a Mom and Dad).

God didn’t need a law to make Adam and Eve to be man and wife. In a perfect world, no laws of marriage were needed. Why would you even need laws of marriage in a perfect world?

In a perfect world, when God did the pairing, no law was needed. Adam and Eve were made to be man and wife while they were in an immortal state intended to be forever without death.

So, did God intend for them to be man and wife forever? In Heaven, will God undo what He originally did in a perfect world? Think about that. In a manner of speaking, will He return Eve back to the rib and stop their relationship which he made and said was good? God will not undo any laws of marriage over Adam and Eve because there never were any to begin with. They will have their bodies and a wonderfully fulfilled loving relationship, though they will no longer be procreating children.

Heaven will be a perfect world, and no laws of marriage will be needed there either. Jesus made it very clear that in the age to come there will be no laws of marriage, no earthly ceremonies, no contracts being made where the father gets paid to sell his daughter (given in marriage).

Yet, as in the perfect state of union that Adam and Eve had — a relationship God made them to need and to have — in heaven he will not undo what he did in the Garden. A man will know and love his counterpart that God gave him. They will love each other in that relationship for all eternity. Mom and Dad will still be “married.”

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Still Good Bishops Who Speak and Act…

by Steve Ray on August 19, 2018

Everyone is dismayed and uncertain who they can trust right now. The Catholic hierarchy has to be cleaned up. It is certain there are bishops who knew and were silent.

BUT not all bishops were complicit. I know many that I trust were as shocked and angry as us. Here is one:

Read his recent letter — here. And here is my bishop’s letter here.

May all the good bishops rise up, expose and exorcize the rogue bishops. If any of them knew or know — they need to speak.

Pray for those of the hierarchy who do take a strong stand for Jesus, for morality and the Catholic Church!

HERE is a great homily from a good friend of mine, Fr. Steve Mattson of Lansing Michigan, a later vocation. His brother is Daniel Mattson who is a same-sex attracted, orthodox Catholic activist who wrote the book “Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay.”

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“Grand Jury Report Debunked“ by Bill Donahue

by Steve Ray on August 17, 2018

For the the sake of objectivity, I am posting this interesting critique of the recent Pennsylvania Report on sexual scandal in the Catholic dioceses of Pennsylvania. It is written by:

Bill Donohue, Ph.D.
President
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
August 16, 2018

“Unlike most commentators and reporters, I have read most of the Pennsylvania grand jury report. The purpose of this statement is to debunk many of the myths, and indeed lies, that mar the report and/or interpretations of it.

Myth: Over 300 priests were found guilty of preying on youngsters in Pennsylvania.

Fact: No one was found guilty of anything. Yet that didn’t stop CBS from saying “300 ‘predator priests’ abused more than 1,000 children over a period of 70 years.” These are all accusations, most of which were never verified by either the grand jury or the dioceses.

The report, and CBS, are also wrong to say that all of the accused are priests. In fact, some were brothers, some were deacons, and some were seminarians. How many of the 300 were probably guilty? Maybe half. My reasoning? The 2004 report by the John Jay College for Criminal Justice found that 4 percent of priests nationwide had a credible accusation made against them between 1950-2002. That is the figure everyone quotes.

But the report also notes that roughly half that number were substantiated. If that is a reliable measure, the 300 figure drops to around 150. During the seven decades under investigation by the grand jury, there were over 5,000 priests serving in Pennsylvania (this includes two dioceses not covered in the report). Therefore, the percent of priests who had an accusation made against them is quite small, offering a much different picture than what the media afford.

And remember, most of these accusations were never substantiated. Importantly, in almost all cases, the accused named in the report was never afforded the right to rebut the charges. That is because the report was investigative, not evidentiary, though the report’s summary suggests that it is authoritative. It manifestly is not.

The report covers accusations extending back to World War II. Almost all the accused are either dead or have been thrown out of the priesthood. For example, in the Diocese of Harrisburg, 71 persons are named: 42 are dead and four are missing. Most of those who are still alive are no longer in ministry.

There are some cases that are so old that they are unbelievable. Consider the case of Father Joseph M. Ganter. Born in 1892, he was accused in 2008 by an 80-year-old man of abusing him in the 1930s. Obviously, nothing came of it. But the priest was accustomed to such charges.

In 1945, at the request of Father Ganter, a Justice of the Peace interviewed three teenage males who had made accusations against him. Not only did they give conflicting stories, the three admitted that they were never abused by Ganter. But don’t look to the media to highlight this case, or others like it.

Myth: The report was warranted because of the on-going crisis in the Catholic Church.

Fact: There is no on-going crisis—it’s a total myth. In fact, there is no institution, private or public, that has less of a problem with the sexual abuse of minors today than the Catholic Church. How do I know?
Over the past two years, .005 percent of the Catholic clergy have had a credible accusation made against him.

No one knows exactly what the figure is for other institutions, but if there were a grand jury investigation of the sexual abuse of minors in the public schools, people’s heads would explode—it would make the Catholic Church’s problems look like Little League. But no district attorney or attorney general has the guts to probe the public schools….”

For the whole article, click here.

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Willow Creek Protestant Megachurch Paid $3.25M in Lawsuits Over Sex Abuse of Disabled Boys

August 16, 2018

If you don’t like this post, or think I’m pointing fingers, then read below under the line of asterisks ******* By Stoyan Zaimov Aug 16, 2018 | 8:01 AM “Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois reportedly paid $3.5 million in lawsuits over the sex abuse of two developmentally disabled boys. The evangelical megachurch, which recently […]

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About Witholding Funds from the Church

August 16, 2018

There has been a lot of discussion about withholding funds from the Church as a way of speaking out against bishops who have not done their job and been bad shepherds, protecting bad shepherds. I have suggested it is something we should think about especially if we know of abusers or those who facilitate abusers. […]

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Mega-church Mania: One Mom’s Observations (she’s a good writer) and Observations from the Early Church

August 10, 2018

Mr. Ray, My eldest daughter invited me to my grandson’s ‘dedication’ at her new place of worship.  Worship? Sorry. Her new place of…..well, the giant Olympic-sized structure that, after being directed in by police/traffic officers, upon entering, reminded me of a mall.  Oh and by the way, I didn’t witness any worship. My 1st thoughts were…”Wow! […]

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Courageous Homily on Humanae Vitae and former Cardinal McCarrick – a must listen

July 30, 2018

It is sad when you have to send around a homily because it is so exceptional. This kind of truthful and powerful homily should be standard fare at every parish on every Sunday. Sadly it is not, so people like me have to get excited when they discover such a hard-hitting homily. And we send it […]

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Cardinal McCarrick Resigns as Cardinal

July 28, 2018

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-07/pope-francis-cardinal-mccarrick-resignation.htmlhttps://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-07/pope-francis-cardinal-mccarrick-resignation.html

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Are we too conservative for our own good?

July 9, 2018

Conservatives are conservative by their very nature. But we must get over being so conservative and start being real and vocal Conservatives. Conservative silence is no longer acceptable. We are in the middle of a cultural war! If we stand idly by, our grandkids will someday ask, “What did you do Grandpa? Where were you […]

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Farewell, “Catholic” Spain and Secular Europe… While in the United States…

June 4, 2018

Scary statistics from Europe – percentages of people who claim no religion. The big surprise is… Spain, where atheists, agnostics, and those without religion are now at 30 percent of the population and have reached that level in a very short time. To measure how overwhelming secularization has been in Spain, it should be enough […]

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Sola Scriptura and the Canon of Scripture

May 23, 2018

Sola Scriptura and the Canon When non-Catholics are asked to provide biblical support or their belief that the Bible Alone is the sole rule of faith for the believer, they usually cite 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which states that “all scripture is God-breathed and is useful”. However, they somehow miss the fact that the two verses […]

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A Quick Reply to Question about Cremation and Scattering the Ashes

May 15, 2018

I was asked a question about Catholics, cremation and the scattering of ash. Here is my brief answer: The whole issue of cremation goes back to the Romans. They denied the bodily resurrection so they often burned the body and if they were rich they put the ashes in urns and put them in the […]

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Should the Vatican Sell its Treasures…

February 5, 2018

… to feed the poor? Geez, I used to say that myself in my former life as a Protestant – when I was an anti-Catholic. Actually, if you added up all wealth and property of the Protestant churches and organizations it would FAR exceed that of the Vatican or all the individual dioceses around the […]

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Did the Church Ever Support Slavery?

January 25, 2018

By Steve Weidenkopf   September 18, 2017 Many years ago I attended a conference organized by a national Catholic organization on the topics of marriage and human sexuality. One of the speakers was a professor from Creighton University who, in the middle of his talk on contraception, launched into a long tangent about how the Church had […]

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Cardinal Burke on Confusion in the Church, “Perhaps we have arrived at the end times”

December 3, 2017

by Paolo Gambi posted Thursday, 30 Nov 2017 Cardinal Raymond Burke has been much in the news this past year. In November 2016, he and three other cardinals presented Pope Francis with the famous dubia – five questions regarding Francis’s apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia. Then the American cardinal became embroiled in a power struggle within the Order of […]

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Catholics Doing Street Evangelism? Yes, and Growing Fast! Join them!

November 23, 2017

 Cities across the country are now set up with Catholics evangelizing in the streets. And the phenomenon is growing. Many are converts, some have been Catholics all their lives – but all are excited and can’t keep it quiet any longer.  They are training new recruits. It is fun and fruitful. It is blessed and […]

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