The Catholic Defender: Staying Faithful

Posted by John Benko - June 28th, 2013

(Editors note) I took this article from an assignment I turned in previously, and I really feel that the contents are important to share.

The Social Organization of Sexuality (SOS-1994) hints at some of the difficulties facing American families today.

Consider the report that those who cohabit rarely practice their faith. That plays an important role in the lives of the contemporary American.

Without maintaining a firm foundation, the societal conditions emerge resulting in a growth of premarital sexual encounters.

As I will show, this has tremendous impact on society with great social consequences.  I want to stress on the report that those who cohabit rarely practice their faith! Again, that plays an important role in the lives of the contemporary American.

I have shared this before, but it is as true today as it was yesterday.  Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) now are the most common diseases in America next to the common cold and flu. Each year nearly 20 million new STD cases are reported.

That equates to something like 55,000 people per day being diagnosed with an STD. Tragically, this includes more than 10,000,000 teenagers (and growing), per year. Recently, the hard cold reality, 1 in 4 Americans have been statistically been diagnosed with an STD, including young girls down to the age of 12.

It is important to note that today, there are more than  110,000,000 total infections of Americans with an STD.  For many, young people may not know they have such a disease as 60-80% are infected with STD’s that do not develop initial symptoms.

Because of the alarming rates today, female Soldiers are required to undergo annual Pap Smears because STD’s such as gonorrhea can hide behind mild cases of bladder infection or a vaginal infection. Nearly 50% of Female Soldiers had been diagnosed with gonorrhea.

New strains of gonorrhea are resistant to penicillin so treatments vary, but this has become far to routine across America today.

We are certainly living in a very confusing time. American Family values have been totally ignored and rejected. Children are learning how to have sex thanks to our government run public school system.

As we have seen going back to the Kinsey studies, sex education early on were devoid of teaching social norms and morality. It’s not surprising, with this knowledge, there are very little to say about values being offered with these programs in public schools.

This feeds right into the classic stereotypes of boys and girls moving towards puberty growing up. Teenage boys are out to make conquests and the girls are looking to be wanted, accepted, and loved.

As a result of the rejecting of our Christian foundations, there are many children being born out of wed-lock, many being born without Fathers. Many of the Fathers are “Dead Beat Dads” who care little for the children they help create.

This has hit the black community the hardest. They have a 70% plus rate of children born out of wed-lock. The book reports than Black men and women were more inclined to have “three or more partners in the last twelve months.”

It is not easy for teenage mothers raising children and still go to school. Careers are put on hold as our youth are many times growing up to fast in a fast paced world.

Everything in the media want to make the culture of the sexual revolution look enticing, fun, even recreational, yet unfortunately, the reality of this glamorous life style is misery.

I am hearing that people are questioning why men are becoming less emotionally involved with members of the opposite sex. Is this why many men resort to homosexual relations? That could be a future study in itself.

It’s interesting that the SOS (pardon the pun) reports that nearly half of co-habitations end within a year. Some might marry, but many end in divorce.

Tragically, the impact this has on Americans leads to more broken families. I think that is because “romance” is lost and the human heart is absent from the marriage

With the constant barrage on married couples, it would seem hard to find many aging couples out there. But they are out there! It is always great when we have couples celebrating their 50th anniversary in our Parish!

I maintain that there is a huge differences between desire and lust, about as wide a difference as marriage and prostitution.

Lust only cares about self-gratification where desire leads to wanting to please your spouse. Courtship used to be a major way to date, but not today, dating today, our social norms and expectations have turned our society upside down.

That is the per-marital condition. Within marriage, it is still showing that 70-80 percent of Americans still disaprove of adultery, maybe this is residual of a standard gone by, but it is still considered taboo.

In conclusion, it is evident that sexuality in America is like a two-headed coin, because of what we have learned, there are remarkable advances we can take that can enrich marital sexual health.

However, like a loaded gun, if sexuality is not properly understood it can literally destroy people. If sex was love, America would be a very loving Country. That does not seem to be the case. Sin destroys.

Matthew 19:4-6 He answered,  ”Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said,’Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

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*BEST OF DTB #212* The Catholic Defender: A Message from the USCCB

Posted by John Benko - August 27th, 2012

The following is taken from the USCCB (Summer 2012). It is important to see the Bishops teaching the gospel truth of the Catholic Faith as it has been handed down for nearly 2,000 years. The Catholic Faith was built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets and todays’s Bishops are the successors of the Apostles.

“The desire to love and be loved is the deepest need of our being. We long to be known, accepted, and cherished by another. Yet, the ability to fully give or receive this love is unattainable on our own. As Catholics we believe Jesus Christ has entered our broken world to conquer sin and restore us to new life. Throughout every age he continues to invite all women and men to follow him through his Church, to whom he has entrusted his teaching authority, so that all can know and follow him.

Only God can give us the unconditional love and acceptance that we desire. Yet, he has created marriage, a holy union, to mirror this supreme love on earth. At the heart of their married love is the total gift of self that husband and wife freely offer to each other. Because of their sexual difference, husband and wife can truly become “one flesh.” Through the language of their bodies, their sexual union recalls their vows: giving themselves to one another in love that is total, faithful, and life-giving.

This call to love is to follow Christ himself, who handed himself totally over for his bride, the Church. Spouses imitate him by giving the entirety of themselves to one another, including the gift of their fertility and their openness to new life. Contraception and sterilization, which deliberately suppress fertility, reduce the sexual act so that husband and wife withhold the completeness of their total gift to each other. This changes the meaning of their sexual union so that it no longer expresses the fullness of their love.

God our Father loves us and wants our lives to be full and rich! He has given his Church the task of bringing women and men to the fullness of truth which leads to our happiness in this life and in the life to come. Jesus gives us the power and strength of the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of Love—so that we, particularly husbands and wives, can truly love one another.

The teaching on the use of contraception and sterilization may seem challenging, but it is to preserve the true, complete self-gift between husband and wife, the kind of love that brings real, lasting joy and peace. If we have failed to live this in the past, we need not be discouraged. Our loving Father is always calling us back through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and wanting to strengthen us in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

When we embrace the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and marriage and follow Jesus, we invite the Holy Spirit into our lives in a powerful way. When we trust in the Lord’s desire for our happiness, he can transform our love in a way that can transform the world.

There has been much news lately about the Church’s teaching on contraception and sterilization.
As Catholics, we may be asking thoughtful questions or struggling to understand this teaching.
To learn more, or to see questions others have asked, visit

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*BEST OF DTB #199* The Catholic Defender: The Sacrament of Marriage

Posted by John Benko - July 28th, 2012

Oddly, there are those who attack the Catholic Church on the teaching on Marriage. They want people to think that the Catholic Church somehow reduces Marriage when in fact, the Church elevates Marriage to a sacrament in obedience to Christ.

As you read this article and watch the video at the end, I invite you to another round of Chick-fill-a to take a stand for traditional marriage!

Marriage is one of the seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church.

It is really the first Covenant between Adam and Eve (Covenant of marriage).

Genesis 2:23-24 states, “the man said: ‘This one at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called woman, for out of her man this one has been taken’. That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body”.

In the Old Testament, a Covenant is an exchange of persons in contrast to a contract which is an exchange of things. Marriage fits this perfectly as it mirrors the Covenant God makes with his people. It is interesting that God referred to Israels unfaithfulness to Him as adultery when they chose to follow false gods.

The Israelites were allowed to marry anyone they pleased, “provided they marry into a clan of their ancestral tribe so that no heritage of the Israelites will pass from one tribe to another, but all the Israelites will retain their own ancestral heritage” (Numbers 36:6-7).

Moses will eventually grant a written bill of divorce because of the hardness of heart. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 states, “When a man, after marrying a woman and having relations with her, is later displeased with her because he finds in her something indecent, and therefore he writes out a bill of divorce and hands it to her, thus dismissing her from his house: if on leaving his house she goes and becomes the wife of another man, and the second husband, too, comes to dislike her and dismisses her from his house by handing her a written bill of divorce; or if this second man who has married her, dies; then her former husband, who dismissed her, may not again take her as his wife after she has become defiled. That would be an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring such guilt upon the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you as a heritage”.

Jesus refers to this speaking to some Pharisees who had approached Him. He was asked about divorce, Jesus responded, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate. They said to Him, ‘Then why did Moses command that a man give the woman a bill of divorcee and dismiss her’? He said to them, ‘Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery” (Matthew 19:3-9).

This is a very important scripture here! Who is it that declares a marriage “unlawful”?

Can any husband call his marriage unlawful?

No, he or she cannot make that claim. The “annulment” of a marriage is not a divorce, it is a marriage that is dissolved because it was found to be unlawful. It was never a true Sacramental marriage.

What is the process to obtain an annulment?

What is the base for having an annulment?

A man or woman is not capable of declaring whether a marriage is annulled or not. It has to come from the Catholic Church who provides a tribunal to investigate if a marriage can be annulled.

Matthew 18:15-18 states, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen to you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church. If he refuses to listen even to the Church, treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”.

You take the matter to the Church and the tribunal will decide. Today, there are allot of annulments taking place, it is like Canon Lawyers have taken this scripture “unlawful marriage” and builds each case just like a regular case in court.

It has a feel very much like a court. You have a Canon Lawyer who defends the marriage while you have an advocate who tries to prove your case based on the evidence. It can take sometimes more than a year or longer for such a decision.

If there has been no remarriage, the individuals involved are not banned from the Sacraments. If there has already been a “remarriage” the individuals cannot receive the Sacraments until a positive decision has been reached and the current marriage validated.

We are living at a time when marriage is being attacked as divorce is more than 50% in the United States, there are Socialistic teachers and followers who are wanting to change what marriage is.

There are liberal Judges who are legislating from the bench trying to justify homosexual marriage. This is becoming a threat to the Sacrament of marriage.

Pope Pius XII in 1950 at the canonization of St. Maria Goretti warned that in the future the attacks on marriage would be great. The creation of the Birth Control Pill had much to do with the advent of the sexual revolution.

Pope Paul VI recognized the threat as the attack on the family became evident. Not all marriages are blessed as many are conducted outside the Church. Jesus warns, “For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man”.
We know that Jesus blesses valid marriages such as the wedding feast of Cana (John 2:1-12).

Jesus is clearly referring to a secular humanistic condition of many in the last days.

Many times I have spoken to couples encouraging them with my triangle formula. Christ is at the top of the triangle, both spouses are at either end of the other two points.

The closer they move towards Jesus, the closer they move to each other building that foundation that will help them through any valley or any mountain they have to cross over. Not a day goes by that my wife and I tell each other of our love for each other. She is God’s greatest gift to me.

To many times people are quick to abandon their vows. Marriage is a gift to His people. It is the perversion of this gift that is the problem. The Lord wants to bless you abundantly but many times because of our hardness of hearts, we fall into sin many times leading us into a spiritual condition where we are out of the Church.

There are those who have abandoned the Catholic Faith because they are divorced and remarried who rejects the authority of the Church. There are those who forsake marriage for a life of immorality, for orgies, and the like.

There are those who want to make homosexual union a “marriage” which is an abomination against God. All of this us unlawful, St. Paul warns, “We know that the law is good, provided that one uses it as law, with the understanding that the law is meant not for a righteous person but for the lawless and unruly, the godless and sinful, the unholy and profane, those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers, the unchaste, sodomites (homosexuals), kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which I have been entrusted” (1 Timothy 1:8-11).

The gospel St. Paul was entrusted has been given to us through this ministry. The (Catholic)bishops today is the authority for us to believe the gospel message. Let us pray for all Christian men and women that their marriages will be built upon the foundation of the gospel of peace. That children will be raised in loving households being shown good examples of what a father and mother should be. Let forgiveness be center for all of our faults.

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*BEST OF DTB #116* Why Sex Is Complicated

Posted by John Benko - December 15th, 2011

A very wise young man once blew my mind by pointing out a fundamental reality in our fallen world: God made all things good and Satan tries to turn good things evil. Satan can create nothing. All he can do is use his superior intellect to twist our perception of reality to make good appear evil, truth look like lies, the attractive repulsive. He loves to use our emotions, good things, to further befuddle us.
God made marriage. Marriage is good. God made sex. Sex is good. Marriage reflects the unity of the Triune God and the bond between Christ and the Church, so it is a profound good for the world, even without the economic and social stability marriage generates. It is good for the persons involved, too. It takes immature, self-centered creatures and matures them, making their lives outwardly focused on another. With sex in the equation, it also makes them parents, which furthers the process of maturation.
God the Father loves the Son perfectly and completely: so much so it is personified in the Holy Spirit. Your love and your husband’s love is meant to be that beautiful. Your love will grow larger than the two of you, something you will both stand in awe of. In fact, the world will wonder at it, writing news articles about love after 75 years. In fact, marital love personifies, too–in your children.
Speaking of sex: the more selfless it is, the better. The more you lose yourself in your spouse and let go, the more amazing it is. On a fundamental level, sex is about surrendering to each other and becoming one, if even imperfectly. The hormones involved, oxytocin especially, are designed to cement a bond between husband and wife so that each sexual encounter–be it a romp under the covers or merely the promise of one in a look and a wink shot across a table crowded with cranky children and schoolwork–produces oxytocin and other hormones to reinforce the chemical, emotional, and spiritual bonds between husband and wife. That is very, very good.
That’s why Satan hates it. You and your spouse are created in the image and likeness of God. Marriage speaks to the world about the Nature of God. Since Satan cannot hurt God, he will hurt you, His image, or your marriage, His reflection. Satan will interfere with your marriage in any way inhumanly possible. If he can’t end the marriage, he will mar it to make it as imperfect a reflection of God as he can entice the two of you to make it.
God knew you and His purpose for you from The Beginning (Jerimiah 1:5, Romans 8:29). You and your spouse have been called to the Sacrament of Marriage from the moment God created the world. Satan, being a spirit, exists outside of physical time. He is not bound by our bonds. He can see you married when you are still a speck in your mother’s womb. He knows your spouse before you have even met. He will work on you and your husband from birth until death to interfere with your marriage. He will encourage you, a woman, to damage your ability to bond with your spouse by enticing you to sexual encounters without commitment so that you will come to marriage untrusting, numbed and scarred. He will entice your future husband to view women’s bodies as tools for his sexual fulfillment, separating the act of sex from the bonds of marriage and keeping him emotionally and sexually immature and unable to approach true manliness. (The Damage of Sexual Promiscuity–a must read)
Satan insinuates himself into your marriage to make less room for God
But God teaches us forgiveness, repentance, and self-sacrifice. God heals. As damaged as you come to the marriage bed, there is hope. As harmed as your marriage may be by sins against it, infidelity, lust, selfishness, God infuses the Sacrament of Marriage with abundant Graces to heal you both. All you need is God. All God wants is you.
Make yourself precious, like jewels.
Proverbs 31

Open your heart to God and to your husband. By this openness, you will allow Grace to flow into your marriage. Be prayerfully aware of God and set your selfish impulses to ignore, belittle, or bemoan the needs of your husband at the foot of the Cross. If he wants you to bring him a cup of coffee, serve Him by serving him. If he wants you to cuddle up on the couch after the kids are asleep, serve Him by accommodating him. If your marriage is damaged, use your love of God to rebuild it. If your husband is so damaged as to be numb to your needs, let God heal that. Help Him heal your marriage by taking up arms with Him to fight for your husband’s heart. Send a barrage of roses against the fortress your husband has built against you; flood his life with so many small acts of love that he drowns in it. Surrender to God to win the war for your husband’s heart. Make him gasp at the beauty of Love.

Who knows? Maybe your husband has been trying to do the same for you for years.

Your emotions, your desires, and your impulses must be under your guidance. Your guidance must be under God. If you do not guide your impulses, if God does not guide them, you will be manipulated and enslaved by them. Do not surrender your will to your emotions. Unite your will to God’s will, even when your emotions have a will of their own.
Your marriage can work. It can fulfill you, but only if you let God in.
Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

wifey wednesday
Wifey Wednesdays are hosted each week by Sheila Wray Gregoire
at To Love Honor and Vacuum.

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*BEST OF DTB #69* God’s Girl: Marriage: Heaven / Hell?

Posted by John Benko - March 6th, 2011

Marriage: Heaven / Hell ?

Posted on March 5, 2011 by Jojo

It’s your choice.

“I have taken you into my arms, & I love you, & I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, & my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us….I place your love above all things, & nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.” -St.John Chrysostom, advises young husbands to say to their wives.

Marriage was designed by God to Image Him more than anything else.
Many people look at us as a couple, & remark on our delight in each other, in the youthfulness of our Love. My husband sends a Love text message whilst I’m having coffee with friends & the look on my face gives away the romantic exchange … Frequently we are asked, “how long have you been married?” … & then comes a familiar choked shock over the answer, thinking that our romance should have grown cold by this stage, but instead is fresh & vibrant as young lovers.
Many envy what we have, as though we were somehow ‘lucky’. But I want to say … it’s not luck, but God’s grace & the strategies He gives. Available for all who are called to live Married Love. It is His Love that is living in our hearts for each other. I will attempt to tell of the decisions we had to make to keep our Love ever-new, or eternal. How we set our sails for success. It’s not just chance. It’s a decision. A firm resolve. To Love no matter what. To believe. To trust in God & persevere. To BE Happily Married. It’s an attitude, … that took us some time to develop & the perfecting of it is perpetual! :) But worth more than silver or gold.

I needed to wake up & realize “the battle is not with flesh & blood but with powers & principalities” … in the thick of battle we often get punch drunk, the dust of the battle field, mingled with blood, sweat & tears distorts vision, & the capacity to reason well. Then it dawned on me:… we were are on the SAME SIDE of the battle for Marital Bliss, we could stop aiming darts & daggers at each other & in exchange: guard each others back. Minister to my beloved rather than being on the offense.
There is an enemy of Love. An enemy of Marriage. An enemy of Holiness & Happiness. This enemy hates & attempts to destroy anything that resembles God. Faithfulness. Kindness. Steadfast Love. Family: the Communion of Love imaging the Trinity. What does this mean? How can we strategically win this battle, with the least amount of damage? For me, it meant I had to choose to Believe marriage could be Happy, Holy, just when everything around me seemed contrary. That I had to put Faith in God’s ability to bring this about & not lose Hope. I had to Trust. I had to refocus… not on the apparent issue but on God’s view. To gain eternal perspective. Where is the prize in winning an argument, by loosing charity? When I made these decisions… many a fight (that had blown up to catastrophic proportions, as they seem to with the least provocation!) stopped almost instantly. It has such Power.
Putting the other first … basics : “if you are faithful in little things I will put you over bigger things” … so broken down day-to-day living, all you do: consider the other first. ie: I pour his coffee before my own. I choose his favorite meal over what I might be feeling like. Also, I choose to pray daily for my beloved, first thing in the morning & all through the day. I help him realize his dreams… He becomes top priority.
Rather than changing him… I had to choose to over look his apparent failing & change myself. This is the most amazing spiritual tactic for victory. It changes the whole playing field & levels the pitch. Suddenly things that have been an issue for years … dissipate. What seemed so impossible… can’t be recalled !
I made the resolve to become my beloved best friend as we once were before courting, his ‘cheerleader’! His Life-Support… mouth-to-mouth included :) , I had to be his Life Coach & Life-Giving Lover all rolled into one! ! What a brilliant task set out by God Himself. An awesome fun filled privileged: realizing I was called by God to inspire greatness in him & with him as a sacred mission!
I try to honor & respect him as a man & the God-chosen head of our home. The question is how? I used to hear these words ‘honor & respect’ & get all kinds of odd interpretations! Deformed by fallen man into Domination. This is not going to inspire anyone to ‘submit’ with the right spirit! So lets look at these words with fresh understanding. One of the ways I honor my beloved, is to appear in a manner that does him proud. I try to look naturally lovely, …I love it when he grows taller as I enter the room when we’re in a public setting, & winks his approval. One of the ways I now see ‘Respect’ is the understanding that he is a man, respected as one, not a half-wit because he may hold a different opinion to mine, not a child who needs correcting, but the man who has been placed over our household in sacred leadership. I need to trust God’s choice in this! … boy, that took some time! :) …& now, I can’t believe how freeing it is to leave it in their hands (God + Ricky). To not be afraid but to rest secure that all things work to good.

keep your Love fresh

Ricky & I made a commitment to continuously work on our Selves & our Marriage, with our Relationship with God as First Place in our lives, as This Relationship inspires all others.

We went for Marriage Coaching. Thanks to “The Love Dare” - 40 days challenge to a better marriage. This was truly blessed experience, please don’t miss the opportunity. But be sure to go through the The Alexander House because they work wonders! We had Matt & Mindy Dalton as our Coaching Couple, & did sessions via Skype! They were brilliant at tweaking what we had & giving us wings to fly to new heights. Mindy said, “We don’t just want your marriage to merely survive, we want it to Thrive!” . Living in the J.P.II – B.XVI Generation (John Paul II – Benedict XVI ) we leap hearing the Call to Greatness, the call to be ALL we can be, leaving aside the grey existence of the norm & rising to new heights of freedom borne on the wings of Grace! His Power, His Enabling, His Victory … our “YES! be it done to me…” or, more simply put:… Amen. :)
There is something very dynamic about this way of Living. It brings a sparkle to every day, problems become wonderful gifts, challenging us to perfection. “Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” We can do this not because we’re great, but because He is Great. It frees you up to shine with His glory & not feel like you should hide in false humility, you can be happy, you can have a happy home, & mystical marriage… what is impossible for man, is possible with God. If you’re a Christian, living this redeemed life, is… expected! Or we are refusing His gifts won at such an enormous price. We need to Image God, True Love, & allow this dynamic power of Love to fill the house then spill over the gate to all the world.
Challenge the culture that jokes demeaningly of Marriage & erodes the heart of what God made holy. Guard your Marriage Vocation, a holy call from the Lord, not a ‘ball & chain”. What about Guys Nights Out / Girls Nights Out, whats going on here? Singles who hook up now & then? Married but playing the Single Card? I mean, are you married or single? Which is it? There is only one correct answer. “What God has joined let no man separate.”
We delight in being One Heart, One Mind, One Spirit. Never allow this to be taken from you. There is a lot of pressure out there to socialize in opposite directions. Don’t fall for it.
I’ll have to post on this topic again … it’s going to take me… 4 Eva :)
… God bless!

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