Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dear Reinhard -- MAD!

Once again, we look over the shoulder of Germany's favorite advice columnist, Reinhard Marx, as he opens up his mailbag...

Dear Reinhard,

I am "Multi's" sister and "Strudel's" aunt. I have read your so-called "advice" to this unfortunate family and could strangle you! On your say-so, my idiot brother-in-law continues to cheat with his prostitute, only now you've got them in some sort of perverted threesome with my sister! Do you not know the basics of Catholic morality? Or are you playing some sick game of how many people you can send to Hell with your ridiculous, no, evil advice?

But forget the grownups for a moment. My dear "Strudel," as my niece has been called, is, thanks to you, living in a brothel! This Magdalena continues to work as a prostitute in my sister's home! I could strangle all of the grownups in this sorry mess, starting with you!

You need to realize that your advice has consequences! It has consequences here and hereafter, if you even believe in that. From the way you act, I don't think you believe anything Catholic at all!

I want to use your influence for good (for once -- I've been reading your column for some time). You tell my sister and her husband to kick Magdalena out of their home, stay away from her, and get some counseling from someone reputable!

Mad in Munich

Reinhard replies...

Dear Mad:

I detect some negative emotions in your letter, a lot of judgmentalism, and even threats. First of all, you should calm down. Perhaps there is a Buddhist center nearby where you could learn to breathe.

Oh dear, where to begin? 

Words such as "idiot," "perverted," "sick" and "ridiculous," are very judgmental and even hurtful. What you call "perverted" or "sick" is just the manner in which another expresses love. As Pope Francis said -- since you're so interested in Catholic teaching -- "who am I to judge?" So the Church does not judge, yet how fortunate we are to have Mad to show us all the way!

And before you pass judgement (again) on the marriage of "Multi" and "Muddled," you must understand that matrimony is an ideal. Of course we hope everyone is able to live their entire lives in fidelity to one spouse during one marriage, just as we hope all children are raised in a loving home without too much competition from other siblings. But these are ideals. Fidelity to one spouse in one marriage, for life, is something few can attain perfectly.

We must accommodate the sometimes messy realities that we meet in our pastoral practice. Sorry, Mad, but not everyone can live up to your perfect standards! The Church loves us when we are dancing in our traditional Bavarian costumes, and she loves us when we fall down in a drunken stupor in our own vomit. She no longer sets unattainable goals in matrimony that can only frustrate people and make them give up on the Church all together. 

Surely you don't want that, do you Mad? Little Strudel an atheist because you were too rigid about her parents' marriage? We want all the Strudels to stay in the Church! Now who cares about Strudel, hmm?

Above all, the Church has always been about love. Can you honestly deny this? The Gospels are a love letter to a fallen world. And you, Mad, who are so quick to condemn Magdalena for the profession that an unjust economic system forces upon women, should remember that Jesus ate and drank with prostitutes. All the time. Oh how the Pharisees criticized him! Just as you criticize me. 

I think I will continue to be like Jesus, and give the sweet counsel of love. You, Mad, can be whatever you want. Except, apparently, a Catholic.

Yours truly,

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