My family in the 1950's in East Point, Georgia (Atlanta) (we lived in military housing outside the gate to Fort McPherson, GA which looked like a classic housing project for the poor). I'm the handsome one! The physical, spiritual and emotional position of my brother in this photo, a good study in psychology, says it all!
My father died in 1987 at the age of 77. He was born in 1910. Of course when his three children were growing up, he did not think that one of them would forgo marriage and become a priest. And that child growing up didn't think that he would forgo marriage and become a priest. That's another story.
But when his children were growing up, and I can remember my father's emphatic statement to us, he said, there would be no divorce in his family and we would marry a Catholic and get married in the Church. Of course this was prior to Vatican II and the ensuing confusion that would enter the Church which to this day we still experience.
My sister did not marry a Catholic but she did get married in the Church in 1966. She is still married to the same Baptist husband.
My brother, though, rebelled against his parental authority and their love (and to this day still, although in his last days, mid 60's, but that's another story) and he chose to marry outside the Catholic Church. My father refused to go to his son's wedding because it was a mortal sin for him to be married outside the Church, it would jeopardize his salvation. My father would not enable his son's mortal sin and in any way support it. He did not equate enablement as love.
Maybe my father took seriously that following Jesus sometimes brings division to the family, father against son, son against mother, etc (paraphrase). And my father would not compromise on his Catholic Faith by appeasing my brother's rejection of the Church and the laws that govern Catholics especially as it concerns marriage.
As a child of the 60's although a seminarian of the 1970's, a double whammy, I disagreed with my father's decision not to go to his son's wedding which took place in my sister's house. I flew from the seminary to be there. Why? To appease my brother and keep peace in the family at all costs even if that went against my father's wishes to uphold the teachings of Christ concerning marriage. I think I broke the 4th Commandment. Not sure I ever confessed it. I'll take care of that soon!
What is it about the 1960's and 70's and its free love mentality that bled into the Church like a bleeding heart that we who were formed by it thought love meant enabling sin and disregard for the Church and her teachings especially as it concerned sex and marriage? Why is it that my generation and older and some a bit younger think that enablement of a variety of lifestyles that are opposed to God's laws equals love?
My father eventually reconciled with my brother but never apologized for not going to his wedding. He should not have had to do that. My brother was clearly wrong and my father clearly right. I was wrong in going to my brother's wedding not only because it went against my father's wishes, but it went against my Father in heaven wishes too. I was a seminarian in addition to that and I know now that what I do as a priest can impact in a positive or negative way even more so than if I were simply a member of the lay faithful.
If your are a parent would you enable your son and daughter to commit mortal sin and stand by them as they did it? Is that love or enablement?