149 – “No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed. Our contemplation of the fulfillment which we have yet to attain also allows us to see in proper perspective the historical journey which we make as families, and in this way to stop demanding of our interpersonal relationships a perfection, a purity of intentions and a consistency which we will only encounter in the Kingdom to come”

We all remember the experiences of so many of our national soldiers who went through arduous, exhausting and seemingly interminable combats. How many of them saw numerous companions fall, and they themselves were uncertain of their own survival… but the desire to defeat the enemy, to save their country, and to fight on like heroes encouraged them to continue without desisting, and even to give their lives if necessary. How many nations have the glory of numbering among their sons men of this valor; men who are more concerned with fulfilling their duty than enjoying a life of betrayal and egoism.

Let us imagine a hypothetical situation. In the midst of one of the worst conflicts that his country ever faced, a general has under his command a certain number of soldiers who start dragging their feet, and instead of promptly obeying orders, react with an attitude of relativism towards the commands received. They even start leaking information to the enemy and go so far as to persecute the few soldiers who remained faithful to their military ideal and discipline. Would there be any possibility that such an army could defeat the invaders, obtaining peace for their country? Would there be some way that the general could rectify this situation? The remaining true soldiers would certainly hope so, and they justly expect that for their efforts and courage, in confronting the enemy and their slovenly comrades in arms, they would receive military honors and that the others would be duly punished.

However, observing the pathetic state of his army, let us suppose that the general summons his soldiers and delivers a speech to encourage… the dissenters!

No army drops down from heaven perfectly formed… we cannot harshly judge those who have tired of the fight. It is time to put the demands of military discipline and honesty in proper perspective…’ Imagine that at the end of his dissertation, he rewards some of the soldiers… the most insubordinate ones.

Do we need to finish the story? Would the few good soldiers want to keep fighting?

Failure to encourage the good is the same as promoting vice. In any life circumstance, the human being has the innate necessity to aim toward elevated goals, but requires incentive and challenge. We don’t need to give examples; everyone has already experienced the daily situations where the expectation of a reward or the fear of scrutiny by a supervisor makes everyone give much more of themselves… If we need a little ‘push’ even in undertaking ordinary things, why would it not be so in the spiritual life?

Relativize… this is a word we never want to encounter in an encyclical, much less so in one about marriage, for family is the basis of society. What intention does he who fails to demand coherence within family life have? Will he be classifying the faulty, false and inconsistent fulfillment of matrimonial duties as something good? What kind of instruction for spouses is this? It is absolutely discouraging for those who fight to remain faithful. And what kind of formation can parents give to the poor children who are born in an atmosphere where heavenly blessings are not felt?

What does the Church say about the virtues essential for Christian marriage? Does it permit relativism?

Francis

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Quote A

Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter the various parts of our study

ContentsAuthors
I – The Holy Family continues being a model for Christian families; an example of the practice of the exalted virtues that should reign in homes
II – The holiness of the matrimonial vocation may not be taken with relativism: the family is called to perfection
III – It is possible to experience truly celestial realities in a family life lead with sanctity
IV – The families of today, as those of all times, should aim at high sanctity
V – The goal of family life cannot be fulfilled with mediocre aspirations


I – The Holy Family continues being a model for Christian families; an example of the practice of the exalted virtues that should reign in homes


John Paul II

The Holy Family is an incomparable model of every Christian family
The family is a communion of love based on truth: The Holy Family is the first model for families

John XXIII

Every home should be a school of virtues in imitation of Nazareth

John XXIII

The Holy Family invites us to consider the greatness of the task that the Church expects of families

Pius XII

The Mother of Jesus, a most perfect model of the domestic virtues

Leo XIII

Perfection shone in the Holy Family, which was destined to be a model for all others

II – The holiness of the matrimonial vocation may not be taken with relativism: the family is called to perfection


John Paul II

Spreading of anti-family initiatives that exalt divorce and conjugal infidelity - Who benefits from this propaganda? From what source do they come?
Families should satisfactorily carry out the role inherent in their most eminent dignity
It is a fundamental duty of the Church to strongly reaffirm the truth about marriage

Benedict XVI

There is a temptation to adopt models contrary to the Gospel, under the influence of contemporary culture that has spread throughout the world

Pius XI

Matrimony is different from the union of animals entered into by the blind instinct of nature, in which neither reason nor free will plays a part

Leo XIII

The family may not only be constituted in a holy manner, but also be governed by holy laws

Pius VIII

No one should ever do anything to detract from the dignity of the sacrament or the perpetuity of the matrimonial bond

Pontifical Council for the Family

Help married couples to be aware of the path of their holiness and to carry out their mission

Catechism of Trent

May the faithful be not deceived by a false appearance of marriage, and thus stain their souls with turpitude and wicked lusts

Saint Augustine of Hippo

In the proportion that the married persons fear God, so much better is the marriage
For no reason is it ever permitted to put away a wife - whosoever does this is held to be guilty of adultery by the law of the gospel

Sacred Scripture

Second unions constitute adultery
The laws on matrimony are from God

III – It is possible to experience truly celestial realities in a family life lead with sanctity


Saint Therese of Lisieux

The Doctor of the Church considered her parents more worthy of heaven than of earth
Louis Martin seemed no longer of this earth
‘I had only to look at him to know how the saints pray’
A home filled with the ‘odor of purity’

Congregation for the Cause of Saints

They sanctified themselves through, in, and by marriage

Pius VIII

Conjugal union has been raised to the dignity of a sacrament and enriched with heavenly gifts

Pius XII

The difficulties of family life do not humiliate, but rather exalt

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Blessed are those that walk undefiled in the law of the Lord
Amid trials, God consoles holy parents with heavenly joys

IV – The families of today, as those of all times, should aim at high sanctity


Benedict XVI

Saint Bridget’s life must still inspire holiness in Christian spouses today
The innumerable examples of holy parents and authentic Christian families in the history of Christianity urge commitment to the path of sanctity
The Church has inscribed worthy spouses and matrimonial models in the catalogue of the blessed

John Paul II

The Hungarian people are called to follow the example of the first saintly Hungarian family in forming holy families

Benedict XVI

The vocation to marriage results in a specific journey of holiness

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

Strengthened by grace couples can strive for holiness of life

V – The goal of family life cannot be fulfilled with mediocre aspirations


Sacred Scripture

Did Our Lord give too demanding a goal?

Alonso Rodriguez, SJ

To attain even mediocrity in virtue, it is necessary to fix the eyes on lofty ideals of great perfection

John Paul II

It is a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity with shallow religiosity

Related studies

  • 151 – “The internet offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God”

  • 148 – “The Church does not disregard the constructive elements in those situations which do not yet or no longer correspond to her teaching on marriage”

  • 145 – “The divorced who have entered a new union can find themselves in a variety of situations, which should not be pigeonholed or fit into overly rigid classifications leaving no room for a suitable discernment”

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  • 105 – Not all discern, in their solitude, the Lord calling them. Around us we find various families in so-called irregular situations – I don’t really like this word

  • 102 – The family is an anthropological fact, and consequently a social, cultural fact, etc. We cannot qualify it with ideological concepts. Today there can be no talk of the conservative family or the progressive family: family is family!

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    3 thoughts on “149 – “No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed. Our contemplation of the fulfillment which we have yet to attain also allows us to see in proper perspective the historical journey which we make as families, and in this way to stop demanding of our interpersonal relationships a perfection, a purity of intentions and a consistency which we will only encounter in the Kingdom to come”

    1. While Bergoglio creates new “perspectives” on the “historical journey” of the family of souls that he is corrupting and leading to Hell, I feel relieved and honored to count myself as one of the family of souls of the Denzinger-Bergoglio. “Perfection and purity of intentions and consistency” are what these priests of the Denzinger-Bergoglio are upholding and defending, while encouraging and teaching Catholics to maintain and practice the unchanging Commandments and laws of God. We ask these brave priests to remember the growing number of souls they are saving in their daily Mass Intentions!

    2. Thank you once again for your painstaking documentation of the multitude of errors of this pontificate. I pray many souls will be spared from misdirection by this and your other studies, and perhaps thereby saved altogether.

      The current topic reminds me of a conversation some years ago with a confessor who was a product of the seminaries’ massive confusion in the immediate aftermath of V-2. After I confessed a particular sin and expressed some self-criticism because of what I viewed as my own stubborn recidivism, the priest asked “Do you really think He expects you to be perfect?” I answered, “No, Father, but I think he expects me to try to be.”

      More recently, I encountered another priest from that era of formation in the confessional, and he tried to convince me that a particular sin against the Sixth Commandment is not really a mortal sin, but just a way of “celebrating the sexuality God gave us.” See, it’s just too hard to be chaste, so let’s define chastity right out of the natural law. I’m sure both of these guys think the current occupant of the Chair of Peter is just marvelous.

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