March 26, 2004

Longing for Solutions

I'm uncomfortable discussing someone's personal scandal, even if it is public knowledge. But maybe some good can come of it if there is something that can be learned from it. A tragedy is most senseless when nothing is learned. (There's also a lot of selfish self-interest in wanting to avoid a similar fate.) I've been discussing & recussing the news of Bud MacFarlane's situation with Kathy the Carmelite and I think she has some extremely valuable things to say, so I'll post the exchange on the blog.
My Thoughts: First off, I don't judge Bud Macfarlane; Nathan aptly quoted St. Josemaria Escriva concerning someone else: "It's true that he was a sinner. But don't pass so final a judgment on him. Have pity in your heart, and don't forget that he may yet be an Augustine, while you remain just another mediocrity." As Fr. Groeschel says, "we're all poor sinners".

Obviously one wonders what went awry. And perhaps I'm wrong, and it's pure supposition, but maybe it comes down to prayer. Bud once said, and I can relate: "I doubt anybody in the Vatican will be considering canonizing me as an example of mystical contemplative prayer." I have a sense that this article was a recognition, in the midst of his marital woes, that something needed changing in that department. He says that, "My goal here is not to berate you if you do not have a prayer life. I have fallen short myself until recently, so I am the last one who can possibly criticize you." I think it emphasizes how true it is that you are only as good as your prayer life. How crucial the quality - and not quantity - of prayer! Love is only derivative - from God - we can't ex nihilo it.

I asked a priest on a retreat last year why it is that so many of our priests failed in their chastity vows and so many of our bishops failed to protect young people. He said that I was "only" asking him to explain the mystery of iniquity! Well, they call it a mystery for a reason. Some mysteries are too deep. Would that God make our wills a little less free since it's the freedom that can lead us away from God?

Her thoughts: It often happens that people with a specific temptation they're fighting work hardest and loudest at it.  Perhaps just as Jimmy Swaggart lashed out publicly at pornographers in an effort to preach hard truth to himself; Bud McFarlane may have started E5 men to help himself sanctify his own marriage.  It's probably not so much that he was "Mr. Marriage" all along, then suddenly snapped--the "wonderful marriage extension" of his CatholiCity ministry was probably an act of public desperation, trying to stave off what he believed to be inevitable.

There are always two sides to every story.  Satan loves to take down leaders.  He must be pretty desperate to divorce her.  I haven't heard a peep from his side; I wonder if he is perhaps too gentlemanly to give details.  Nor, on the other hand, have I heard about any co-respondant.

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