Cranmer’s Preface and Pope Francis’s Training on Marriage

It’s been forever since I posted here.  I posted the following to the general discussion in my current Church History class, but I doubt anyone will respond.  Figured I’d save it here.

Okay, so this doesn’t actually go with anything we’re posting on, other than the concept that struck me when I read this article on Pope Francis’ training of parish priests regarding marriage preparation.

Cranmer’s Preface to the Bible in 1540 talks about the objections being made by people not wanting to read the Bible in vulgar (vernacular) language.  He points out that it was only about 100 years ago that it was read in the Saxon language, and then switched to Latin (which was also not a language Christ spoke).  Toward the beginning, he says “Neyther can I well tell whether of them I may judge the more offender, him that doeth obstinately refuse so godly and goodly knowledge: or him that so ungodly, and so ungoodly doeth abuse the same.”  I think Tom addressed the Holy Spirit as being a necessary part of determining what was godly and ungodly in one of his posts.

So there were a few things that struck me in the article about the Pope’s training:

In his speech, Francis said priests have a twofold responsibility when it comes to marital ministry: to always bear witness to the beauty of marriage, and to be a consistent support to couples, regardless of their marital status. …

Faced with so many “complex situations” affecting families today, “no one knows better than you and is in contact with the reality of the social fabric in the area,” experiencing firsthand the complexity of various situations they encounter, including valid sacramental marriages; domestic partnerships; civil unions; failed marriages and families and youth, both happy and unhappy. …

He told them to imitate “the style” of the Gospel by meeting with and listening not only to engaged or married couples, but also youth who prefer to cohabitate rather than getting married.

People in these situations “are among the poor and little ones toward whom the Church, in the footsteps of her master and Lord, wants to be a mother who never abandons but who draws near and cares for them,” Francis said.

I can see that there will likely be quite a bit of push-back from both clergy and the Catholic community on these statements, despite this pope’s direction of leaving judging to God and attempting to emulate Christ’s actions to love all your neighbors.

So to go back to our Proverbs 9, how do we recognize Lady Wisdom and Dame Folly?  We may think that we’re listening to the Holy Spirit, but how are we certain that we’re perceiving correctly, rather than potentially following societal changes – which may or may not also be led by the Holy Spirit.

I do realize the two subjects deal with disparate topics, but it essentially boils down to just that:  how do we recognize the work of the Holy Spirit?

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2 thoughts on “Cranmer’s Preface and Pope Francis’s Training on Marriage

  1. How do we recognize the work of the Holy Spirit? In the most simplistic terms, by listening. That still small voice speaks to us through our concious mind as well as our sleeping conciousness, through dreams. When we are in a situatation where we feel like we want to react immediately, but then, we realize that perhaps we need to step back and respond as Jesus would. That is the Holy Spirit saying, “slow up there sunny, let’s think on this a moment…” But the real key to the success of living according to the Holy Spirit, is paying attention #1 and then obeying #2. We can all hear that still small voice, but doing the rest is sometimes a bit more difficult.

    • On a personal level, I agree wholeheartedly. I guess I’m looking at how a church moves and grows, changing from its original form, in whatever way it is they do. Both of the examples above either changed or have the potential to change their respective churches dramatically.

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