Mon | Feb 6, 2023

Cynical Robinson way off base

Published:Friday | April 9, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

In your Sunday Gleaner of April 4, in the In Focus section, the article titled 'Catholics should abandon archaic canons', and written by Gordon Robinson, sets up a 'straw man' in order to knock him down. He quotes canons that are indeed archaic, because they are nowhere to be found in the 1983 revised canon law of the Catholic Church.

For the informed, his argument is specious, but for those who are iconoclastic like himself, it might be convincing. I would advise him to procure a copy of the said canon law if he wishes to write convincingly on the Catholic Church.

He is so far off base with his juxtaposing the vocation of marriage to that of the vocation which espouses celibacy as a way of life, which he labels "silly". True, Jesus exalted marriage as something sacred (sacrament); his first miracle was done at the marriage feast at Cana. However, Jesus, in order to dedicate himself to the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, remained celibate, about which he said, "This teaching does not apply to everyone, but only to those to whom God has given it" (Matthew 19:11).

'Gifts' from God

In sum, both vocations, since they are 'gifts' from God, are good and admirable. Some who rush into marriage without realising the sacrifice necessary should perhaps never have married; their marital unions end in disaster. Some who espouse the celibate life without counting the cost of total self-giving for the community end up bringing discredit on such a vocation which others follow faithfully, for the sake of the kingdom, and in imitation of the celibate Jesus, whose manner of life St Paul also followed.

It serves no purpose to lampoon a vocation just because one does not have a call from God to pursue that way of life. The celibate state, which excludes any attachment to any one person, symbolises the cosmic love of Jesus for all, while the marriage state symbolises the individual, intense love of Jesus for each person. Unless we are able to perceive these two admirable calls (vocations) as mystery (cf. Ephesians 5:32), we will end up being iconoclastic or cynical - just because we cannot personally live either of those vocations (calling).

I am, etc.,


Roman Catholic Archbishop of