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11 October 2015
posted by Canon Dakin on 29-10-2015

Today’s readings are in harmony. The first made the point that nothing you may possess is more valuable than wisdom.  The Letter to the Hebrews is a warning that conversion is not the end game; to allow oneself to become bored and indifferent to what God teaches through the Church is to put oneself under the judgement of God, whilst in the gospel Our Lord warns against the superficiality of chasing riches. It’s not just being obsessed with making money that can cloud one’s judgement; hankering after a convenient modern lifestyle can also lead to skating over deeper truth.

Before the Synod on the Family now meeting in Rome a questionnaire was circulated to which all were invited to respond. The responses from most of the English dioceses were published before the synod began. Some of the comments were superficial.  How can a crowd of celibates, with no experience of marriage, presume to dictate to married people how they should live their lives? They don’t. It is for them to point out how the gospel impinges on marriage. It is then for those who are living within marriage to apply the gospel to their lives. The trouble is - some don’t listen. There were comments about contraception: the Church should waken up to the reality of life in the 21st century and give the green light to a modern and convenient way of spacing births. This issuperficial. It follows from what I was saying last week that the act of marriage is sacramental; the language of the body as male and female is designed to signify the mystery of God’s life-giving love. Contraception is a counter sign. Ultimately it was invented to skirt the sacrifice required by the spirituality proper to marriage, which consists in recognising the whole truth of the language of the body expressed in the act of union. That said, we are talking about the ideal. In reality a woman may be subjected to a selfishness totally contrary to that love of the person which is essential to the sacramental character of marriage. No valid sign exists in this case to be negated by a contraceptive. Such a woman, in using a contraceptive, would be defending herself from the consequences of a lie. It may be that the Church in strongly proposing a principle has not been sufficiently clear about exceptional circumstances. It will be for the Synod to find a balance.  

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