And then we need to look around and help people who are shouldering way more suffering without the leaven of joy. People like this lady:
When I married my husband, I was full of joy and hope because I believed the Church’s teachings about marriage, and my husband professed them too. He was chivalrous and faith-filled and a true friend when we courted. But as soon as we were married, all thoughtfulness and self-giving from him ceased, and a burning anger took hold instead.
Bewildered, I looked for answers in spiritual direction and Catholic books. Time after time priests turned me down for spiritual direction, saying they were too busy or wouldn’t meet with a woman, so go to the confessional or counselling instead. In the confessional I was told go to counselling. But my husband did not want to go to counselling—it was too hard to make the time with us both working, and it was so expensive we could never afford to attend more than a few sessions. Those few times we went to a Catholic counselor did not change anything.
The Catholic books told me to love more, to sacrifice more, to give him affection and build him up with words. All these things I tried to do, but his temper kept burning a hole in my heart and in the heart of our children. I tried to tell him time and again how his words were hurting us, but he ignored me or simply excused himself as “only human” or accused me of thinking I was perfect to shut me down. I asked what he wanted me to change and he said “nothing.”
When is the last time you heard a homily that talked about the sin of wrath, of unjust anger? When is the last time you heard a priest exhorting his flock to avoid temper tantrums, outbursts of rage, bad language, incendiary speech, and forms of entertainment designed to make people angry and self-rightous toward others (such as certain types of talk radio)? When is the last time you heard a priest start talking about the love of God and neighbor (as most of them do) and then break it down into practical things like, "You know, men who love their wives don't yell at them for not doing the laundry the way they expect it done, or fuss at them because the children are playing loudly when the Almighty Football is on TV. And women who love their husbands don't nag and nitpick them to death over the timeliness of the kitchen garbage removal, or make them feel like an idiot if they don't load the dishwasher the way she likes it done." Things like that.
Now, if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and if you have an obsessive desire to see women admitted to Holy Orders, then even this lady's problem would have been solved by...wait for it...Deaconesses! Because a lady deacon would have cared, and listened, and offered practical help...
Oh, bosh. Nobody is more critical of women than other women. Nuns, now--I could see nuns helping women in these situations. But married female permanent deacons? If married Catholic women want to help other married Catholic women by counseling them in situations where they are struggling in their marriages, then they should just do it. No ordination is necessary for this sort of thing.
What is necessary, though, is that certain feminist agitators and their episcopal supporters stop seeing the Synod as their own personal ideological playground and remember that they're supposed to be helping struggling, suffering, even shattered families. They're supposed to be recognizing that an awful lot of our culture is made up of people who are not merely hostile, but totally apathetic to the idea of marriage, people like this:
For many other couples, especially those approaching the four-year mark, this kind of relationship might lead to a march down the aisle — but not us. Starting with our conversation on our very first date, in which he urged me to “Never get married,” we’ve both made it clear we’re not interested in matrimony, holy or otherwise. If it’s not a priority for either of us, if I’m not invested in becoming his wife — and the cultural baggage that entails — why do it?
My parents got divorced when I was 2 years old, and several of my relatives have divorced as well: grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-aunts and uncles, cousins. So I didn’t grow up thinking of marriage as the only way to ensure the longevity of a relationship. I’ve never lusted after a wedding venue or wanted to plan an elaborate ceremony. Marriage has always felt like something other people do.
There's more of that out there than we want to admit from within the Catholic bubble. There are more young people finding the whole idea of marriage irrelevant. The other side of the coin is made up of young people, many of them Christians, who sort of take it for granted that you're supposed to have a "starter marriage" when you're young, but of course once you grow up a little you'll have an amicable divorce and marry the sort of person you actually want to raise kids with. Sort of the "upwardly mobile real-estate model" of marriage, with its "starter homes" replaced by more expensive and bigger homes in better school districts when it's time to have a family.
And in the midst of all of that is the Church, insisting (as she should) that marriage is supposed to be permanent and faithful and exclusive and open to life. But she herself, through Pope Francis, has been saying that the Church needs to walk beside her children more tangibly and substantially as they embrace this reality amid a culture that ignores or despises it. And walking more tangibly and substantially means not ignoring the woman who comes to her pastor in pain because her husband is a mean-tempered man whose anger is ruining the family; it means not ignoring the woman whose "good Catholic" husband abandoned her for a floozy or, even worse, because he'd rather be alone and basking in a selfish lifestyle full of pleasures than actually be a father to his kids. It means not brushing aside the fears of the man whose wife is addicted to the sort of daytime television that tells her she can't be happy so long as she is married; it means not ignoring the man whose wife walked out on him because his hairline receded, his waistline expanded and his wallet contracted, and is now in a bitter custody battle with him over the kids, whom she no longer wants raised Catholic.
The people are begging for the Bread of Life. Those in the Synod who are handing out the stones of opportunism and the scorpions of feminist ideology instead should be ashamed of themselves.