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A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church

8/12/2008 - 09:31 PST

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Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver Colorado recently addressed a group gathered in a in Sydney, Australia. The topic was, “Mission Possible: This Double Life Will Self-Destruct.” In a chillingly honest fashion, Archbishop Chaput shares his thoughts on our lives today, as Catholics, and how we ought to realize our need to live wholly and completely for Christ.

We can't live a half-way Christianity. The organizers of tonight's event were right [those who named it ‘Mission Possible: This Double Life Will Self-Destruct’]. Every double life will inevitably self-destruct. The question then becomes: How are we going to live in this world? How can we lead a Christian life in a secular age? We can't really answer that question until we get some things straight about what it means to be a Christian. And that means first getting some things straight about Jesus Christ.

This is another one of the by-products of our secular age: we don't really quite know what to think about Jesus anymore. A few years before he became Pope Benedict XVI, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote something that is unfortunately very true. He wrote: "Today in broad circles, even among believers, an image has prevailed of a Jesus who demands nothing, never scolds, who accepts everyone and everything, who no longer does anything but affirm us. . . . The figure is transformed from the 'Lord' (a word that is avoided) into a man who is nothing more than the advocate of all men."
We all know people -- friends or family members or both -- who think about Jesus in these terms. It's hard to avoid. Our culture has given Jesus a make-over. We've remade him in the image and likeness of secular compassion. Today he's not the Lord, the Son of God, but more like an enlightened humanist nice guy.


This is, very much, the message in Catholic radio host, author, and speaker Teresa Tomeo’s new book, “Newsflash! My Surprising Journey from Secular Anchor to Media Evangelist.” Teresa did her best to live a half-way Christianity and found the great many ways in which such a life will self-destruct.

“Newsflash!” is Teresa’s powerful testimony in which she shares her public and private tragedies and triumphs. Like a listener of Archbishop Chaput’s message, Teresa’s isn’t for the faint of heart as she calls each and every Catholic to live out his or her baptismal vows in a more conscientious way. As Teresa pointedly admits, “Being a Catholic isn’t for wimps!’

Teresa begins by sharing a key event behind the telling of her story: the suicide death of a friend and former colleague. Teresa then takes her reader behind the scenes of the life of glitz and glamour that is secular television, to give the reader a sense of what this dear sister-in-Christ had experienced. Once behind the scene, Teresa tells of her own very public fall from fame, when she was unceremoniously fired as a secular anchor, and then the ensuing road to recognizing and accepting God’s graces.

With great honestly and humility, Teresa puts herself, her world, her decisions, and her attitude under the lens of an extreme close-up camera. Revealing her own determined nature, both before and after the public debacle of her job loss, she reveals the fragility of her marriage, which almost succumbed to her very ambitious career goals and the proverbial brass ring for which she was reaching. She speaks openly about her prideful behavior and has since learned to boast about her public humiliations, recognizing them as God’s love and mercy. Teresa’s is forthright in her recognition that despite our best intentions, not one among us can remain unaffected by the media saturated world in which we live and thus must live intentionally and with awareness of what is at stake, which, as she boldly admits, is our very soul. Teresa’s intimate sharing of her own life, as catechized first in the Church and then in this environment, is quite effective in opening the reader’s heart and eyes to the Truth that is found in the Catholic Church.

Teresa speaks about her commitment to pro-life issues while also sharing with the reader circumstances that led to her own life as a spiritual mother when God did not make her a biological mother. She really doesn’t leave any stone unturned in her zeal to make each and every one of us more aware of our treasures as Catholics and our call to honor God in whatever circumstances that we find ourselves, whether they are our own doing or His.

Teresa, herself an effervescent personality, encourages us all to embrace the story of our life. Each of the ten chapters begins with a news slogan that Teresa then applies to the reader as a Catholic. For instance, one of the first chapters is titled “Newsflash” where Teresa gives a brief definition: A NEWS BULLETIN OR BRIEF ITEM OF URGENT NEWS, OFTEN BROADCAST AT SHORT NOTICE INTERRUPTING A
SCHEDULED PROGRAM. The chapter then ...

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