Why We Can’t Be Friends

This is intended for a very select, very local audience, as our parish drama continues. One must fight against injustice where ever one finds it, I’m afraid.

“Can we be friends?  We can just agree to disagree about church things.”

But the answer has to be no, we can’t be friends, and this is why.

We were married, initially, by a justice of the peace, David and I. He was not practicing his faith, and I had been raised without one, so we didn’t even consider a Church wedding. But just a few years in, he found himself drawn back to Catholicism, and within two years, I entered the Church, too. As part of that process, we had our marriage made Sacramental.

In a Catholic wedding ceremony, the couple vow to be open to life and to raise their children in the faith. I was already committed to that, as I’d promised the Church the very same thing at each child’s baptism. To me, my role as a Catholic mother was – and is – very clear: I’m to help each of my children grow to know, love and serve the Lord in this life, so they can be happy with Him in the next.  In short, our goal is Heaven, and while God’s love and mercy is freely available to all, it requires an active response from each of us.  How we should respond, as Christians, to God, to each other, and to the world around us, has been our constant quest.

I grew up in my faith under the care of military priests.  I didn’t realize how extraordinary these men were until we found ourselves here, in civilian parishes.  Almost without exception, these soldier-priests devoted themselves wholeheartedly to the care of their flocks.  They sacrificed physical comfort and safety to minister to front-line warriors and families left behind.  They never wavered and sought nothing for themselves.  They were marked by humility and selflessness.  While there are some wonderful civilian priests, too, I’ve noticed they tend to be a lot more cautious, and a lot less driven, but for three blessed months, we had these fine qualities of the military priesthood in Father David.

Father David’s goal was a parish fit for Heaven.  My goal is a family fit for Heaven.  For the first time since I’ve lived here, I wasn’t fighting an uphill battle.  Our sacraments were valid and our instruction was sound.

For the most part, I go with the live and let live philosophy.  What you do is outside my realm of concern, until you make it my concern.  When you chose to drive off Father David, you chose to actively work against me in my mission to raise my children for Heaven, and that is very much my business.

Unfortunately for you, I am a writer.  I do not hide behind my words – I stand behind them – and many an injustice throughout history has been made right by the power of the pen.  This may not be one of them, but I did what I could, and I don’t regret it.

However, there will be no “agreeing to disagree”.  This isn’t a philosophical argument.  People have been hurt and will continue to be hurt by this.  Whatever your motivations were, you have set yourself in direct conflict with mine, and I will not take that quietly or offer you even the slightest bit of support that friendship would imply.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t hate you or wish you ill, but, really, you and I were never really friends anyway, were we?  Which makes me wonder what the point of the question was in the first place.

4 Comment

  1. Thank you for taking a stand for truth. I’ve been praying for your family, your parish and for Fr David.

    1. Thank you, Emily. We need those prayers desperately!

  2. I hope you get to come back to writing soon Jennie! But I totally understand not being able to write much when there is a major all-consuming issue happening. I’ll pray for a peaceful and just resolution for your parish and pastor.

    (And in the meantime, I’ll keep checking in the morning for a new post because your posts are my favorite!)

    1. Thanks, Anne! I’ve not been feeling well or sleeping well, but I have a new post nearly finished for you. 🙂

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