Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Reason I Became Catholic: My Wife

Since beginning RCIA and then being received into the Roman Catholic Church on 11 March 1993, I have often been accused of becoming Catholic simply because my wife was Catholic. More often than not, such benign accusations have been in the presence of my mother-in-law, who’s been quick to answer, “That’s not true,” and would then prompt me to explain the rest.

In truth, it was around a three year process, including the process of RCIA, of me carefully studying the teachings of the Catholic Church before I was fully initiated as a Catholic. So while it is true that I didn’t simply become Catholic because my wife was Catholic, what motivated me to more fully investigate the Catholic Church was my marriage to a Roman Catholic. One could also say that I transferred ascription to the Ukrainian Catholic Church because I was married to a Ukrainian Catholic, but it would be better to say that my wife simply preceded me by nine years to the Church we had both been moving towards all our lives.

Thus, all credit for me writing the book My Sister, My Bride can go to two women: the Most Holy Theotokos and the woman who introduce me to our Immaculate Mother, my wife. Since this is the case, in addition to the love letter to my wife at the beginning of this book, I’ve now included a bit of the story that brought me to write this book. It appears that this book, for which I credit the love between my wife and me, resolves the controversy regarding marriage and annulments in the Church today and provides a theological and canonical solution to fulfil these words of Amoris Lætitia: “No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!” ‘“In considering a pastoral approach towards people who have contracted a civil marriage, who are divorced and remarried, or simply living together, the Church has the responsibility of helping them understand the divine pedagogy of grace in their lives and offering them assistance so they can reach the fullness of God’s plan for them”, something which is always possible by the power of the Holy Spirit.’

I can very specifically explain, and I now do in this book, what my wife did that resulted in me becoming Catholic and subsequently writing this book:
I would have certainly become Orthodox if I had followed through with any of my plans to attend an Orthodox service at that time. My wife would have likely followed me if I had become Orthodox, particularly since her father was Russian Orthodox before he married a Roman Catholic. This was not so with the “Church of Christ,” which my wife refused to attend after accompanying me to Sunday services for less than a couple of months. She wasn’t able to make any arguments against the “Church of Christ,” nor even attempt to rebut any of my fallacious arguments against the Catholic Church, but she knew in her heart that the “Church of Christ” was not the true Church.

After I logically understood in my mind what my wife had intuitively known in her heart, she gave me a Rosary and taught me how to pray it.

I believe it was Monday, October 7, 1991, while praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, that I decided to submit to the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and accept all of her teachings regardless of whether I understood them or not. The insight I received that day concerned the immaculate nature of Mary, which was difficult for me to accept due to the Roman Catholic Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Since the “Church of Christ” I had belonged to a couple of years earlier denounces the doctrine of Original Sin and has a teaching similar to the Eastern understanding of Ancestral Sin, it would have been easier for me to have accepted the immaculate nature of Mary in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Submitting to the authority of the Roman Church and accepting all of her teachings was a simple matter after accepting the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, with the exception of the indissolubility of marriage. One of the things that seemed to have been written in my heart and on my mind is that marriage is once for all eternity. Divorce was unthinkable for me and I never accepted the idea that marriage ends with the death of a spouse. There was no reason to suspect, however, that this would ever become a point of contention, so I mostly ignored this particular issue.

The first time my difference of opinion became a topic of discussion was after a love song I had written for my wife gained an audience beyond just my wife. Since my wife had no disagreement with my belief that marriage is for all eternity and I had been told that both the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics, of whom I was now aware, believed the same as I did, it appeared my belief would continue to not be a point of contention.

I had stopped writing songs around a decade and a half ago. However, a priest friend of mine asked me to write a very simple pro-life song last spring. After writing that song, I took its basic idea and expanded it into a more complex and commercial format. After completing and recording that song, I went on to write another love song for my wife, which I recorded and used to produced this video:

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