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Thursday, 24 September 2015

What's a Hero? And is Purity Possible?

I am already tired of the stupid,  -- yes, that's the word I want, -- stupid use of the word "hero" in fashion and cuisine and cosmeceuticals, as an adjective to describe the item that stands out, or makes the others work, or makes the others worthwhile. (It was previously always a noun, not sure but i think this type of usage is called "attributive"?)
An outfit is lifted to the next level by the inclusion of a "hero piece" a striking handbag.
Or a this dish would not even exist without, but now becomes gourmet with, the "hero ingredient" of wild boar.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.

But outside of the worlds of new/different/weird= good, the word "hero" gets misused, or misunderstood at least, as well.

In Catholic spirituality, the notion of "heroic virtue," is one that connotes a degree of bravery and possibly even fame, (even if only posthumously,) in its possessor in the pursuit of the Holy Life, and is one of the marks of sainthood.

Cardinal Kasper is, as all Christendom must know by now, on a laudable quest to extend God's mercy to the all mankind. His particular way of going about it is open to question, however.
I  play fast and loose with logic, and yet try as I might I can't see how one can premise that 1) the marriage bond is indissoluble while both parties live, 2) putative marriages are presumed to be valid unless proven otherwise, 3) sex with one person while you are married to another is a mortal sin, 4) those in a state of mortal sin must not present for Communion,
5) those who have contracted a new marriage while a prior marriage is seen to exist and have no intention of giving up what must then be seen as an adulterous relationship should be admitted to the sacraments.

I could see reasoning that 1) the bond's not indissoluble, 2) tie goes to the runner the burden of proof is on anyone who who says the old marriage is valid, 3) adulterous sex is only a venial sin, or 4) communion should be open to all regardless of their beliefs or the state of their souls.
But Kaspar accepts none of these.
The basis of the Cardinal's argument seems to be that, well -- chastity and sacrifice are too hard.
The failure of a first marriage is not only related to bad sexual behavior. It can come from a failure to realize what was promised before God and before the other partner and the church. Therefore, it failed; there were shortcomings. ... If there was this shortcoming, and it has been repented for—is absolution not possible? My question goes through the sacrament of penance, through which we have access to Holy Communion. But penance is the most important thing—repentance of what went wrong, and a new orientation. The new quasi-family or the new partnership must be solid, lived in a Christian way. A time of new orientation—metanoia—would be necessary.... Is absolution not possible in this case? And if absolution, then also Holy Communion? ...
To live together as brother and sister? Of course I have high respect for those who are doing this. But it’s a heroic act, and heroism is not for the average Christian. That could also create new tensions.
But in fact we are all called to sainthood.
It follows that we are all called to heroic virtue.
From Fr Mark Kirby-
We priests do souls no service when we say, or even intimate, that heroism is not for ordinary Christians. If holiness is the practice of heroic virtue; and if all people, in every state of life, are called to holiness; then all people, in every state of life are called to heroic virtue. Heroic virtue is the fruit, not of an exhausting effort of the will but, rather, of a humble surrender to the all–sufficient grace of Jesus Christ
Much has been made of how dangerous Kaspar's line of reasoning is to all who are married, or wishing to marry, and especially those who struggle in their marriages, but I think this has far wider consequence that are far more devestating.
What about the vowed religious? Some wag, can't remember where, asked whether the Cardinal was admitting a failure to live up to his own vows or or claiming that he himnself was heroic?

But forget about the married, forget about preists and sisters -- what about the young.

Most especially, what about the young?

Is chastity impossible?

Is that what we want to tell them? If two adults, with children and responsibilities and jobs and worries, can't possibly be asked to try to live purely, the Church is surely not going to expect it of one of those blazing furnaces of emotion, hormone and desire that is the average adolesent, is She?

 Don't we owe them more support than that?

Yes. Yes we must.
[Man's] history of sin begins when he no longer acknowledges the Lord as his Creator and himself wishes to be the one who determines, with complete independence, what is good and what is evil. "You will be like God, knowing good and evil" : this was the first temptation, and it is echoed in all the other temptations to which man is more easily inclined to yield as a result of the original Fall.
But temptations can be overcome, sins can be avoided, because together with the commandments the Lord gives us the possibility of keeping them: "His eyes are on those who fear him, and he knows every deed of man. He has not commanded any one to be ungodly, and he has not given any one permission to sin". Keeping God's law in particular situations can be difficult, extremely difficult, but it is never impossible. This is the constant teaching of the Church's tradition.

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