Pope Francis I and a whole bunch of cardinals and bishops are holding a great big conference on marriage and the family, and so, as complete strangers to how marriages actually work (if they can be said to work at all), the Church Elders heard from an actual Catholic married couple, who spoke frankly about the importance of the horizontal rumble in their marriage:

Ron and Mavis Pirola, parents of four from Sydney, Australia, told a Vatican gathering of some 200 prelates that sexual attraction brought them together 57 years ago and that sex has helped keep them married for 55 years.

"The little things we did for each other, the telephone calls and love notes, the way we planned our day around each other and the things we shared were outward expressions of our longing to be intimate with each other," the couple said in a joint statement to the closed meeting late Monday.

"Gradually we came to see that the only feature that distinguishes our sacramental relationship from that of any other good Christ-centered relationship is sexual intimacy, and that marriage is a sexual sacrament with its fullest expression in sexual intercourse."

It is believed that at least one bishop was ejected from the meeting after yelling "Pics or it never happened!"

New Pope called the synod as a first step in a possible years-long reassessment of some Church doctrines, although anyone expecting the process to end in an endorsement of marriage equality or allowing priests to marry has clearly been huffing from an insufficiently ventilated thurible. Greater tolerance for divorced Catholics to remarry may be slightly more realistic, although a wholesale lifting of the Church's prohibition on divorce is similarly unlikely.

After several decades of pretending that most members of their congregations weren't actually using birth control or getting divorced -- or more accurately, offering annulments that served as fig leaves to pretend that that a previous marriage wasn't actually real -- the Church is attempting to find ways to modernize doctrine while insisting with a straight face that it is simply clarifying matters for a new time.

The Pirolas told the gathering that they occasionally read church documents on family matters, "but they seemed to be from another planet, with difficult language and not terribly relevant to our own experiences."

The Rev. Tom Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said several bishops argued that the church had to find a "new language" to both explain its teaching and invite people in.

"Language such as 'living in sin,' 'intrinsically disordered' or 'contraceptive mentality' are not necessarily words that invite people to draw closer to Christ and the church," he said, citing one intervention.

The family even got a mostly-warm reception for the following story, which seems to suggest that maybe American bishops were off doing some kind of independent study, perhaps looking up various phrases on Urban Dictionary.

The Pirolas told the story of how devout Catholic friends reacted when their gay son wanted to bring his partner home to a Christmas gathering.

"They fully believed in the church's teachings and they knew their grandchildren would see them welcome the son and his partner into the family," they said. "Their response could be summed up in three words: 'He's our son.'"

[British Cardinal Vincent] Nichols said the synod gave them a round of applause.

Haha, we were joking about the tolerance 'n' stuff: there actually was some organized grumbling from conservative lay groups, because of course there was:

[A] group of conservative Catholic groups blasted the Pirola's example as "damaging" to the church.

"The unqualified welcome of homosexual couples into family and parish environments in fact damages everybody, by serving to normalize the disorder of homosexuality," said Maria Madise, coordinator of Voice of the Family in a statement.

John Smeaton, of the London-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said the welcome that the Pirolas' statement received from the synod was disturbing.

"The homosexual agenda is forcing its way into schools, universities, workplaces and sports clubs," he said in a statement. "The last thing families and parishes need is for church leaders to tell them to welcome homosexual couples."

For the most part, however, the prelates seem supportive, if puzzled at times. "This cannot actually be a real thing," said one cardinal. 'This 'Cleveland Steamer'"?

[Yahoo News]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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