The Christian family

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Sunday, April 20, 2014


THE Christian family is a human family, composed of humans. That is how God intended the family to be. After God created the man Adam he said: it is not good that man is alone, he needs a companion in life. And then He created the woman, Eve. So the human family is composed of a man and a woman who should marry each other and produce an offspring. God said: ‘Go and multiply’. God gave men a spirit and a heart. They should love each other as human beings, with heart and soul.

The human family is different from the family of the animals. Both are families but the animal family is driven by an instinct,, the human family is inspired by a spirit and a human heart. The man and the woman are created to love each other and thus they create children. It is not natural for a man neither for a woman to stay single. However, they may do that for higher motives.

In the Old Testament it was a curse for a woman not to get married and produce children. A man was supposed to draw up a family tree. In the New Testament Jesus did not change that. When he chose his apostles they were all married men except maybe for the apostle John. John had a close and affective relationship with Jesus. He had a special place in the heart of Jesus.

At the last Supper he was lying at the breast of Jesus. When Jesus said that one of the apostles would betray him the apostles told John to ask Jesus who would that be. John may have been what you call today an homo, he may have been gay. I believe, there is nothing wrong with being gay, to feel a natural inclination to the same sex. The Catholic Church has said that being gay is an objective disorder. That is nonsense. People are born that way and God doesn’t create disorders. The same goes for a woman, I believe. She may be what you call a lesbian who feels a natural inclination towards another woman. What is wrong with that?

The Church says now that if you want to become a priest you must remain a celibate and promise not to get married. This is clearly canon law and not the law of God. The Church has made that law for reasons of discipline. In that way she can control her priests, not to set up a family and to spend money for maintaining a family. He can be a full-time priest, that means full-time saying Mass and distributing sacraments. I don’t believe that Jesus intended his Church to be that way. Then He would have chosen all celibates as his apostles.

Now the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is all made up of men. Is this not discrimination of the woman? The woman is a second class member of the Church. In that sense has the Church not become dictatorial? We who are married, men and women who have a family, we are the Church and not only the bishops and the priests.

Here I don’t want to come up with a comment in my own favor, but I believe God has called me to be a priest and a Carmelite. I promised to remain a celibate because that is what the Church required from me. But during the course of my being a priest I often have felt temptations in the field of sexuality but also on the emotional level. Often I felt lonely.

When God finally called me to marry a woman who had lost her husband and to adopt her children, I got also a child of my own. Then I felt like a liberated man and I became a happy and real father. I am not the natural father to the children I adopted but again, I believe, the Christian family is a family composed of a natural father and a natural mother. My adopted children clearly got a trauma from the fact that they lost their father at a very young age. There are obstacles in their development toward adulthood.

At Easter we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from death to new life. We celebrate the rising again of a new world. That new world is not a utopia. No, it is God’s Kingdom, far away and right here in our midst. It is the area where men and women can court each other communicate with each other consciously and spontaneously.

Here I want to remember also my sisters, the Carmelite Nuns who have chosen a life of total contemplation in a cloistered monastery. Living in the Face of God, I believe, they can find again their true identity as a woman and a virgin, detached from a male culture and anticipating the life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Through Jesus’ Resurrection all of us have been liberated from the shackles of our sins. A Blessed Easter to all of us!

***

[Email: nolvanmvugt@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 20, 2014.

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