Just as listening at doors carries its own punishment, so does Googling yourself: Sometimes you find out things people say about you that you’d rather not know. Nonetheless, in my line of work, it is a recurring necessity. If someone comes to me concerned about how an apologetics answer I’ve published has been received by the public, oftentimes I must use Google to find out what occurred.
Last week, the need again arose. While scrolling through the search results on Google, I found this post, in which a blogger recounts her experience discussing one of my online apologetics answers with another blogger, a Catholic gentleman who prefers to remain anonymous but describes his site as offering “Catholicism without compromise.”
In the Ask an Apologist Q&A that raised Mundabor’s ire, a woman presented a problem she and her husband were having:
My sister is gay and is “married” (through a civil ceremony) to her partner. My husband is very conservative, and I, too, believe the Bible is clear about homosexuality. My husband wants nothing to do with my sister, and doesn’t even want her visiting our home when he is not around. Is he right to draw this line, and should I support him in this?
I think the issue here is that your husband is acting in an unjustly authoritarian fashion, treating your mutual home as “his alone” by forbidding you, an adult woman, from allowing your sister to visit you in your own home [when he is not there]. I’m afraid this problem really has nothing to do with your sister and her “marriage.” It has to do with your husband’s approach to your own marital relationship and your own apparent tentativeness about making clear to him that he is acting inappropriately toward you. I can only recommend that you speak with a marriage counselor, preferably with your husband but on your own if necessary. Please contact the Pastoral Solutions Institute, a Catholic counseling apostolate, for personalized assistance.
Tra moglie e marito non mettere il dito (“do not put your finger between a husband and a wife”), says the wise Italian. The Catholic Answers apologist puts an entire counsellor [sic]. … This so-called ‘apologist’ needs a very good rapping before she is kicked out, and I truly hope she is never allowed to instruct Catholic women preparing for marriage. … I can assure you from endless, and continued experience—this ‘let’s put a third person in our controversy’ mentality … would be considered the result of an acute [redacted] attack and controlling mania.
If I understand Mundabor correctly—he acknowledges difficulties with English, as it is not his first language—he believes it is foreign to a Catholic understanding of marriage to suggest a married couple experiencing difficulties seek help from a marriage counselor. What does the Church say on this issue?
Bl. John Paul II, in his Letter to Families, said:
Experience teaches that human love, which naturally tends towards fatherhood and motherhood, is sometimes affected by a profound crisis and is thus seriously threatened. In such cases, help can be sought at marriage and family counselling centres [sic], where it is possible, among other things, to obtain the assistance of specifically trained psychologists and psychotherapists.
Be assured that the Church follows your research and your medical practice with her warm interest and her best wishes. You labor on a terrain that is very difficult. But your activity is capable of achieving precious results for medicine, for the knowledge of the soul in general, for the religious dispositions of man and for their development.
To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way: Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved (2478).