The other day I was listening to the “Calling All Catholics” 6/12/15 podcast (Station of the Cross, WLOF 101.7FM, Buffalo, NY) with “Father” Jacek Mazur answering questions from listeners.
About half-way through the show a distraught Catholic woman called in who was upset because her Catholic daughter had just gotten married at a non-denominational church. “Father” Mazur reassured her that everything was okay because the church recognized her daughter’s marriage as valid even though it wasn’t blessed by the church. He recommended the mother suggest to her daughter that she should eventually get her marriage “convalidated” by the church. The mother was greatly relieved by Mazur’s response.
Towards the end of the show, another priest, “Father” Frank (no last name provided) from Corning N.Y., called in greatly concerned over Mazur’s response to the mother. “Father” Frank stated that, according to church canon law, a Catholic MUST be married before a Catholic priest for the marriage to be valid UNLESS the person receives special permission (“dispensation”) from their bishop (Canon 1124). If a dispensation is not granted then the Catholic is prohibited from marrying in a non-Catholic ceremony. If the person proceeds in defiance of church teaching then the church does not recognize the marriage as valid and the person will be living in an ongoing state of fornication, a grave “mortal” sin. “Father” Frank stated he hoped the mother was still listening so she would be aware of the correct understanding of the church’s position regarding her daughter’s marriage.
Needless to say, “Father” Mazur had egg on his face and sheepishly conceded that “Father” Frank’s position was the correct one.
The Catholic church has a whopping 1752 canon laws regulating the dos and don’ts of its works-righteousness religion and it employs a slew of canon lawyers to try to keep it all straight. As the exchange above demonstrated, Catholic priests can’t possibly recall all the intricate details of their religious legal system, not to mention all the liberal priests who turn a blind eye to certain requirements. Yet Catholics are taught they must perfectly obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church laws if they are to have any hope of meriting heaven (they must be in a spotless “state of grace” at the moment of their death).
How unlike the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ! The thief on the cross and the 3000 people in Acts 2:41 simply repented of their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior! There was no need for a stable of ecclesiastical lawyers to instruct them on the fine-print details of what THEY needed to do to earn their salvation.
I’m a sinner without a single plea of my own except that I accepted Jesus as my Savior. His perfect righteousness is the ONLY thing that makes me acceptable before a Holy God. Trying to obey a religious legal laundry list never saved anyone.
“God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21
“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” – Romans 10:3-4
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” – Isaiah 61:10