“Remember When…”: What Makes Us Happy in Life?

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Whenever we hear the opening lyrics of the famous Broadway song “Memory” of “Cats” we would probably feel nostalgic because of the fleeting nature of life. Time flies. Only memories remain in our busy minds:

Memory
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember
A time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again…

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What has passed will never be repeated again. Life and time unfold swiftly. If we just follow the labyrinth and race of daily life and refuse to pause and reflect for a while to know where we are actually leading to in life and why we are doing all the things that we do, we would probably miss the essentials and beauty of life.

The Chinese billionaire and founder of the global retail giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, once said: “Life is so short. Don’t be so serious about work. Enjoy the lives.” Although a very busy man himself, Jack Ma knows that life is more important than work, that “being is more important than doing” in life. Another saying states: “Work, but don’t forget to live!” So if we are so preoccupied with work and worldly affairs and neglect to reflect on our life, we would miss appreciating the beauty and nobility of living!

 

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Ultimately, what would probably linger in our minds during our dying moments are not our achievements, popularity, and recognition but our loving memories of people whom we have touched and loved and significant events that reminded us of the beauty of life.

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What would probably make us smile as we struggle our last breath are the good old days when we felt happy that we shared our life with others and achieved our earthly goals! Like the words of the song “Memory”, we can probably picture ourselves reminiscing the past all alone in the moonlight and re-live the memory and happiness we have felt with others:

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Memory,
All alone in the moonlight,
I can smile at the old days,
Life was beautiful then…
I remember the time I knew what happiness was,
Let the memory live again…

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What brings more happiness to our consciousness during this review of our earthly life is probably not the wealth that we have accumulated nor the fame and status that we have  achieved in life as they are part of our past material life, but the spiritual realities of joy and loving memories we have had with our loved ones, with people we sincerely helped, and with our God.

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We can then smile that we live our life as we like it to be or frown for not living a “good” life as our God wants it to be. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, who has achieved the pinnacle of success in the business world allegedly mentioned during his dying moments that what matters most in life is not wealth which can turn a person into a “twisted being” but matters unrelated to wealth and memories precipitated by love:

… In the darkness, I look at the green
lights from the life-supporting
machines and hear the humming
mechanical sounds, I can feel the
breath of god of death drawing
closer…
Now I know, when we have
accumulated sufficient wealth to last
our lifetime, we should pursue other
matters that are unrelated to wealth…

Should be something that is more
important:
Perhaps relationships, perhaps art,
perhaps a dream from younger days.

Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only
turn a person into a twisted being, just
like me.

God gave us the sense to let us feel
the love in everyone’s heart, not the
illusions brought about by wealth.

The wealth I have won in my life I
cannot bring with me. What I can bring
is only the memories precipitated by love.

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Whether these words were indeed uttered by Jobs or not, they nevertheless contain wisdom and insight on the limits of our physicality and material happiness. Indeed, memories precipitated by love can make us smile and happy while we review our life script at the end of our lives: A scholar or scientist who spent hours of research and writing to sincerely help humanity advance in knowledge and solve some of life’s problems and saw people smiling because his/her works and findings cured their disease or helped them see the world closer to the truth; the joy of a mother seeing her baby smiling at  her; the happiness of seeing the glowing face of a dying homeless person who silently say “thank you” in his/her last breath because we have given him/her comfort and care; the consolation of a religious encountering his/her God in prayer; the inner joy a person who stood his/her ground against a tyrant regime for sake of the truth and justice; or the inspiration of the countless unsung heroes who offered their lives for sake of their country, ideology, religion, and social reform. Indeed, what is essential is invisible to the eye. We can sometimes totally influenced by material accumulation. We sometimes take for granted or sideline the spiritual side of life which can provide us lasting happiness and spiritual joy.

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Photo Credit (except the quote from www.kingjamesbiblbeonline.org): Pixabay.com

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8 Scary Signs Your Boyfriend is Abusive

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It is sometimes difficult to know the difference between when your boyfriend is having a bad day and when he is being abusive. In one study, 57% of college students say they aren’t sure how to identify relationship abuse. Abuse can take different forms. It can be physical violence or emotional, psychological, and verbal abuse. are all forms of abuse too. Abusive people try to control you by using threats, coercion, manipulation, and other tactics.

To spot an abusive boyfriend is not an easy task, especially if the romantic relationship is still new. Usually, young men who are courting ladies would hide their negative traits and abusive tendencies to impress them with good traits. But the mask of abuse that boyfriends wear will gradually be revealed during trying moments as the relationship grows older. Signs of their abusive behavior would gradually become manifest.

Based on research, the following attitude and behavior of boyfriends are considered scary signs that they are abusive to their female partners in their romantic relationship. In this case, girlfriends are advised to leave the relationship to avoid further abuse. A healthy relationship is based on trust, respect, and true love and not on control and abuse of the other:

1. He’s domineering and self-centered.

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In a healthy relationship, one partner must not control the other. If the boyfriend is domineering and self-centered, he’s not just acting as a “man,” but the reality is that he is establishing a power (im)balance in the relationship. He’s trying to control you, making the relationship one-sided and exploitative.

2. He shows a Lack of Respect

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If your boyfriend does not respect you as a woman and decent person during courtship and engagement, how would you expect him to do to you after your wedding day? True love is based on mutual respect.

3. He Treats You as a Sex Object

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If your boyfriend is only after of sex and has no plan of observing chastity before your wedding day, leave him. Some boyfriends would just disappear with other women after they treated their girlfriends as sex objects. “Love waits” as the saying goes. You will only be married once in your life. Just wait for the honeymoon after your wedding to make your love a blessing.

4. He’s in Constant Jealousy

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Jealousy can be a sign of insecurity of your boyfriend. A real and mature man is not jealous of what others have. It’s difficult to live a partner who is constantly jealous of others. Jealousy can lead to physical and emotional abuse.

5. He’s Hyper Sensitive

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Hypersensitivity is another sign that your boyfriend is abusive. If he is too sensitive to many things, your relationship will suffer. Leave him. Actually, women like their men to be confident, relaxed, mature, and broad-minded.

6. He threatens violence.

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He makes statements such as, “I’ll cut your throat,” but then dismisses it with, “I really didn’t mean it.” He may be joking, but his constant threats to you reflect his state of mind. It’s only a matter of time that he will actualize these threats to you during difficult situations.

7. He has sudden mood swings.

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If your boyfriend is moody, he can’t be reliable and dependable. He can become unpredictable and abusive. It’s difficult to establish a stable relationship if one partner has sudden mood swings.

8. He has a past of battering women.

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He admits to hitting women in the past but states that they or the situation brought it on. In this case, he has a history of abusing women. Battering can become a habit which is difficult to stop. As the relationship grows older, expect him to do to you what he had done to other women. It’s time to say goodbye to him!

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Why Celibacy is a Major Contributory Factor to Catholic Clerical Sexual Abuse

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The current popular view on the persistence of Clerical sexual abuse (CSA) in the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) puts emphasis on the moral and psychological weaknesses of the individual priests rather than on the structural loopholes of the Church’s social network and control systems as a result of the imposition of celibacy to priestly life. What surfaced in many lawsuits against predator priests is the admission of many bishops think of CSA solely in terms of moral fault and sin (Doyle 2006).

Despite the growing scandals of CSA abuse involving priests and bishops around the world, the Catholic hierarchy still refuses to view the mandatory clerical celibacy as a disorganizing factor in the diocesan priestly life which deprives the secular clergy of social support and direct social control of their behavior which can resist CSA. Church authorities continue to understand clerical sexual abuse as mere moral and psychological aberrations of some problematic priests and bishops that need clinical treatment and spiritual direction.

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Some prominent writers on CSA do not view the mandatory celibacy as connected to sexual misconduct by priests. Father Stephen Rosetti (2002), Father James Martin (2017), and Andrew Greely (2004), for instance, argued that celibacy is not the cause of the current CSA, especially child clerical sexual abuse (cCSA). Responding to the views that priests are more likely to be child molesters than others because they are celibate and that a celibate priesthood attracts a larger proportion of men with sexual problems, the priest-research professor and consultant to the papal Commission on the Protection of Minors Father Stephen Rosetti did not see mandatory celibacy as the cause of CSA and cCSA. He argued that researchers and clinicians have generally accepted the fact that celibacy does not cause child sexual abuse because the sexual difficulties and inner psychological problems that give rise to cCSA are largely in place long before a person enters into the formation process for a celibate priesthood.

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Father Martin too argued, celibacy is not the cause of CSA since celibacy does not cause pedophilia. To him, blaming celibacy is an enormous simplification that leaves out many important causes. He then enumerated some major causes of the Clerical sexual abuse: First, improper screening of candidates for seminaries led to some psychologically sick men being ordained as priests. When some bishops received reports of sexual abuse, the reports were tragically downplayed, dismissed or ignored. Second, the crimes of sexual abuse often went unreported to civil authorities, out of a misguided concern among church officials for “avoiding scandal,” the fear of litigation, or an unwillingness to confront the abusive priest. Third, grossly misunderstanding the severity of the effects of abuse, overly relying on advice from psychologists regarding rehabilitation, and privileging the concerns of priests over the pastoral care for victims, some bishops moved abusive priests from one parish to another where they repeatedly offended (Martin, 2017).

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Finally, the sociologist-priest Andrew Greely (2004) also dismissed the view that celibacy is to be blamed for the current CSA and cCSA in the RCC. This is his reaction to the argument to what he considered a simplistic view: “4 percent of Catholic priests are abusers. Priests are committed to celibacy. Therefore, the frustrations of celibate life led to abuse. Therefore, celibacy must be abolished.” He argued that most experts in sexual abuse of minors and children attribute CSA to a deep and incurable syndrome acquired early in life. Married priesthood won’t cure it. An abuser who marries is a married abuser (Greely, 2003).

These three clerical authors have rightly argued that clerical celibacy is not the direct cause of CSA in the RCC. Thus, abolishing celibacy for priests won’t stop the current clerical sexual misconduct. The obligatory celibacy is not the immediate cause of the CSA. They are right to say that celibacy does not produce pedophilia. But these authors were just responding to the view that simplifies a complex issue. This post argues that clerical celibacy is not the proximate and immediate cause of CSA but its main contributory factor for the persistence of CSA in the RCC, whether it involves minors or adolescents and adults both male and female. Celibacy provides diocesan clerics absolute privacy and deprives them of direct social control by family members if married priesthood is allowed in the Church which can greatly regulate priestly behavior and minimize opportunities for CSA. Pedophilia and child clerical sexual abuse could not be resolved by married priesthood but by a strict screening of candidates to the priesthood in the seminary and immediate dismissal from the clerical state for those guilty of cCSA.

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The causes mentioned above by Fr. Martin only underscores the lack of lay participation in the internal affairs of the Church. The screening of candidates, downplaying, dismissal, or ignoring of clerical sexual crimes are not done by the laity but bishops who have the sole authority to discipline erring priests in the Church. Furthermore, the avoidance of scandal by covering up CSA cases as well as reliance on psychologists and psychiatrists are common patterns done by bishops and clerics and not by the laity who have no authority to deal with abusive priests.

Celibacy is not the proximate cause of sexual abuse but can be considered as its ultimate cause. But from the point of view law enforcement or behavioral control, celibacy hinders the wider regulation of clerical behavior by the laity which can minimize opportunities for sexual deviance. It ultimately prevents effective clerical behavior as it disables the laity to participate in the internal management of the Church and monitor clerical behavior to prevent sexual misconduct in the Christian community.

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The Catholic Church requires ordination which is inseparable to celibacy to participate in ecclesiastical governance. This celibacy requirement obstructs the genuine lay empowerment in the Church which can greatly minimize CSA. Celibacy is the main stumbling block to the laity’s capability, as Vatican II recognized the realm of “secular world” such as surveillance of behavior, as experts in secular affairs who can effectively supervise priestly behavior and sanction sexual abuse. It also facilitates absolute privacy for clerical life and, thus, prone to clerical deviance with the lack of active regulation of priestly behavior by the laity which constitutes 99.9 percent of the total Catholic population.

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CSA is usually done in absolute privacy with priests who are usually alone with their victims. Compared to the religious priesthood, diocesan priesthood lacks an immediate clerical community which can provide mutual support and direct monitoring of clerical behavior. Child sexual abuse by pedophile priests is only a small percentage of the total cases of clerical sexual abuses in which the most common type is sexual abuse is done heterosexual or homosexual priests against adolescents and adults, such as rapes of nuns by priests which is not the focus of the current clerical sexual abuse investigations and media reports. Thus, a married priesthood is the appropriate response to this type of sexual abuse as family life can provide direct supervision or behavioral control of clerical behavior.

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