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The Bible Sometimes Makes Things…Complicated

Margaret Sagarese. Giannetti and Margaret Sagarese focus on the spiritual well-being of the parent as much as the behavior of the child. The authors draw parallels between the real-life struggles parents face today and those endured by the saints. They believe that the qualities that enabled the saints to face great troubles—charity, knowledge, faith, hope, patience, serenity, truth, and humility—can help parents cope with a troubled child. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

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Trusting God in Difficult Times: Life lessons from Elijah

More filters. Sort order. It could be said that in the 20 years from to , the previously normative standards regarding sexuality collapsed entirely, and a new normalcy arose that has by now been the subject of laborious attempts at disruption. In the second part, I aim to point out the effects of this situation on the formation of priests and on the lives of priests.

Finally, in the third part, I would like to develop some perspectives for a proper response on the part of the Church. In Germany, the then-Minister of Health, Ms. What at first was only intended for the sexual education of young people consequently was widely accepted as a feasible option. Sexual and pornographic movies then became a common occurrence, to the point that they were screened at newsreel theaters [ Bahnhofskinos ].

I still remember seeing, as I was walking through the city of Regensburg one day, crowds of people lining up in front of a large cinema, something we had previously only seen in times of war, when some special allocation was to be hoped for. I also remember arriving in the city on Good Friday in the year and seeing all the billboards plastered up with a large poster of two completely naked people in a close embrace. Among the freedoms that the Revolution of sought to fight for was this all-out sexual freedom, one which no longer conceded any norms.

The mental collapse was also linked to a propensity for violence. That is why sex films were no longer allowed on airplanes because violence would break out among the small community of passengers. And since the clothing of that time equally provoked aggression, school principals also made attempts at introducing school uniforms with a view to facilitating a climate of learning.

For the young people in the Church, but not only for them, this was in many ways a very difficult time. I have always wondered how young people in this situation could approach the priesthood and accept it, with all its ramifications. The extensive collapse of the next generation of priests in those years and the very high number of laicizations were a consequence of all these developments.

I will try to outline briefly the trajectory of this development.

Until the Second Vatican Council, Catholic moral theology was largely founded on natural law, while Sacred Scripture was only cited for background or substantiation. He then attempted a more pragmatic moral theology, without being able to provide an answer to the crisis of morality. In the end, it was chiefly the hypothesis that morality was to be exclusively determined by the purposes of human action that prevailed.

Seán O'Malley, a Pope Francis Ally, on the Catholic Church and Sex Abuse - The Atlantic

Consequently, there could no longer be anything that constituted an absolute good, any more than anything fundamentally evil; there could be only relative value judgments. There no longer was the absolute good, but only the relatively better, contingent on the moment and on circumstances. It focused on various crisis points in the relationship between the episcopal magisterium and the task of theology. Reactions to this text, which at first did not extend beyond the usual level of protests, very rapidly grew into an outcry against the Magisterium of the Church and mustered, audibly and visibly, the global protest potential against the expected doctrinal texts of John Paul II cf.

Pope John Paul II, who knew very well the situation of moral theology and followed it closely, commissioned work on an encyclical that would set these things right again. It was published under the title Veritatis splendor on August 6, , and it triggered vehement backlashes on the part of moral theologians. The encyclical was published on August 6, and did indeed include the determination that there were actions that can never become good. The pope was fully aware of the importance of this decision at that moment and for this part of his text, he had once again consulted leading specialists who did not take part in the editing of the encyclical.

He knew that he must leave no doubt about the fact that the moral calculus involved in balancing goods must respect a final limit. There are goods that are never subject to trade-offs.

Desperate Times Call for the Saint of Desperate Cases

There are values which must never be abandoned for a greater value and even surpass the preservation of physical life. There is martyrdom. God is about more than mere physical survival.

A life that would be bought by the denial of God, a life that is based on a final lie, is a non-life. Martyrdom is a basic category of Christian existence. In moral theology, however, another question had meanwhile become pressing: The hypothesis that the Magisterium of the Church should have final competence [ infallibility ] only in matters concerning the faith itself gained widespread acceptance; in this view questions concerning morality should not fall within the scope of infallible decisions of the Magisterium of the Church.

There is probably something right about this hypothesis that warrants further discussion. But there is a minimum set of morals which is indissolubly linked to the foundational principle of faith and which must be defended if faith is not to be reduced to a theory but rather to be recognized in its claim to concrete life. All this makes apparent just how fundamentally the authority of the Church in matters of morality is called into question.

Those who deny the Church a final teaching competence in this area force her to remain silent precisely where the boundary between truth and lies is at stake. Independently of this question, in many circles of moral theology the hypothesis was expounded that the Church does not and cannot have her own morality. The argument being that all moral hypotheses would also know parallels in other religions and therefore a Christian property of morality could not exist. But the question of the unique nature of a biblical morality is not answered by the fact that for every single sentence somewhere, a parallel can also be found in other religions.

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Rather, it is about the whole of biblical morality, which as such is new and different from its individual parts. The moral doctrine of Holy Scripture has its uniqueness ultimately predicated in its cleaving to the image of God, in faith in the one God who showed himself in Jesus Christ and who lived as a human being. The Decalogue is an application of the biblical faith in God to human life. The image of God and morality belong together and thus result in the particular change of the Christian attitude towards the world and human life.

Faith is a journey and a way of life. In the old Church, the catechumenate was created as a habitat against an increasingly demoralized culture, in which the distinctive and fresh aspects of the Christian way of life were practiced and at the same time protected from the common way of life. I think that even today something like catechumenal communities are necessary so that Christian life can assert itself in its own way. This dissolution of the moral teaching authority of the Church necessarily had to have an effect on the diverse areas of the Church.

Why Does the Catholic Church Keep Failing on Sexual Abuse?

In the context of the meeting of the presidents of the episcopal conferences from all over the world with Pope Francis, the question of priestly life, as well as that of seminaries, is of particular interest. As regards the problem of preparation for priestly ministry in seminaries, there is in fact a far-reaching breakdown of the previous form of this preparation. In various seminaries homosexual cliques were established, which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in the seminaries. In one seminary in southern Germany, candidates for the priesthood and candidates for the lay ministry of the pastoral specialist [ Pastoralreferent ] lived together.

At the common meals, seminarians and pastoral specialists ate together, the married among the laymen sometimes accompanied by their wives and children, and on occasion by their girlfriends. The climate in this seminary could not provide support for preparation to the priestly vocation. The Holy See knew of such problems, without being informed precisely.

As a first step, an Apostolic Visitation was arranged of seminaries in the United States. As the criteria for the selection and appointment of bishops had also been changed after the Second Vatican Council, the relationship of bishops to their seminaries was very different, too. Indeed, in many parts of the Church, conciliar attitudes were understood to mean having a critical or negative attitude towards the hitherto existing tradition, which was now to be replaced by a new, radically open relationship with the world.

One bishop, who had previously been seminary rector, had arranged for the seminarians to be shown pornographic films, allegedly with the intention of thus making them resistant to behavior contrary to the faith. Perhaps it is worth mentioning that in not a few seminaries, students caught reading my books were considered unsuitable for the priesthood.

My books were hidden away, like bad literature, and only read under the desk. The Visitation that now took place brought no new insights, apparently because various powers had joined forces to conceal the true situation. A second Visitation was ordered and brought considerably more insights, but on the whole failed to achieve any outcomes. Nonetheless, since the s the situation in seminaries has generally improved. And yet, only isolated cases of a new strengthening of priestly vocations came about as the overall situation had taken a different turn.

In the meantime, it had already become a public issue in the U. Rome and the Roman canonists at first had difficulty with these concerns; in their opinion the temporary suspension from priestly office had to be sufficient to bring about purification and clarification. This could not be accepted by the American bishops, because the priests thus remained in the service of the bishop, and thereby could be taken to be [still] directly associated with him. Only slowly, a renewal and deepening of the deliberately loosely constructed criminal law of the new Code began to take shape.

In addition, however, there was a fundamental problem in the perception of criminal law. As a counterweight against the often-inadequate defense options available to accused theologians, their right to defense by way of guarantorism was extended to such an extent that convictions were hardly possible. Allow me a brief excursus at this point. So here Jesus protects the deposit of the faith with an emphatic threat of punishment to those who do it harm. The modern use of the sentence is not in itself wrong, but it must not obscure the original meaning.

In that meaning, it becomes clear, contrary to any guarantorism, that it is not only the right of the accused that is important and requires a guarantee. Great goods such as the Faith are equally important. It must also protect the Faith, which is also an important legal asset.