Bishop Olson stresses enduring role of marriage sacrament in a changing society to Young Catholic Professionals
FORT WORTH — Although times change, continued adherence to the sacraments, particularly that of matrimony, remains vital to the survival of a just and right society, Bishop Michael Olson asserted.
Bishop Olson served as this year’s first keynote speaker for the Executive Speaker series of the Fort Worth Chapter of Young Catholic Professionals.
Bishop Olson discussed marriage among other topics in the St. Patrick Cathedral Parish Hall during a Jan. 19 gathering.
He said Christ’s teachings on matrimony as handed off to the Church derive both from spiritual and common-sense principles.
“We know by nature that there are essential qualities to marriage,” Bishop Olson said. “Those are indissolubility or until death do us part, fidelity, and an openness to the natural transmission of human life that is openness to children.”
The public vows stated by a man and woman in natural marriage ceremonies, Bishop Olson said, both encourage those present to pray for, support, and encourage the couple’s marriage and bolster the societal view of them as husband and wife in particular and a family unit in general.
“When a man and woman marry in the Catholic Church — but this is also true in nature — they are committing publicly to those three ideas of indissolubility, fidelity, and openness to God’s gift of children,” Bishop Olson explained. “[They are committing] to the idea that marriage is really the establishment of family, which in Catholic teaching it’s the family that is really the fundamental unit of society, not the individual.”
“That can’t be done away with,” the bishop continued. “Humans are meant to give themselves to each other and are directed toward the procreation of children. That’s how we’re designed by God. Our biology, our psychology is directed towards that. Certainly, our social needs are directed toward that and ultimately our creative and spiritual needs are directed toward that.”
Of natural marriage, an underpinning of true friendship, sense of responsibility beyond one’s self interests, and discernment are crucial, Bishop Olson added, as opposed to simply emotional or self-driven factors.
It’s important to ask “does this person challenge me? Does this person confirm me? Does this person help you to become less centered upon yourself? That takes time and it can't be done through texting. It has to be done in-person with intentionality and respect toward one another.”
Bishop Olson fielded questions on how best to live out one’s Catholic faith in a secular, at times hostile, world and other audience member queries.
YCP member Claire Cox summed up Bishop Olson’s talk as beneficial.
“It’s great that he was here tonight to give his insight on different concepts, especially on marriage, which is appropriate to many of us,” Cox said. “That’s a big benefit of YCP, that they pull in great speakers discussing topics that apply to us as young professionals.”
YCP member Suzi Myers agreed.
“The topic Bishop Olson came up with really applies to our age group,” Myers said. “A lot of us are in relationships or discerning marriage so his perspective on what we should be thinking and praying about in those matters was helpful and practical.
“A lot of our speakers discuss more work and career-related topics, so it was nice hearing from the bishop on something a little more personal and tied to day-to-day life.”
A national organization, YCP originated in Dallas in 2010 with chapters soon spreading to Fort Worth and beyond.
“Our mission statement is working in witness for Christ,” former Fort Worth chapter president Alex Lopez said. “How can we bring Christ to the workplace and the different places in our career, and really apply the teachings of the faith everywhere we go?”
Current President Gabbie Bernhard first encountered YCP during an Austin event Bernhard attended with her sister but became more involved after she graduated from Catholic University of America.
“I was looking for community,” Bernhard said. “When I moved to Fort Worth, the first thing I looked for was a YCP chapter.”
Involvement in the organization led to Bernhard’s current job with the Diocese of Fort Worth’s Advancement Foundation.
“YCP gives me the opportunity to connect with other young Catholic professionals who want to work, witness for Christ, and live their faith in their daily life at work,” Bernhard said. “Since our events pull from all over the diocese, it’s a good organization for young Catholic professionals to connect with others and other young adult groups and start building a place here.”