Belmont Abbey College Takes on Caesar: Has a New Catholic Resistance Begun in the US?
where men and women might live wholly sufficient unto themselves, satisfying their needs and desires through their own ingenuity. This vision presumes a frankly "post-Christian" world ruled by rationality, technology and good social engineering. Religion has a place in this worldview, but only as an individual lifestyle accessory.
"People are free to worship and believe whatever they want, so long as they keep their beliefs to themselves and do not presume to intrude their religious idiosyncrasies on the workings of government, the economy, or Borrowing a trenchant phrase from the late Cardinal Henry de Lubac he warned of the rise of "inhuman humanism" and called for a Catholicism of Resistance:
"Today's secularizers have learned from the past. They are more adroit in their bigotry; more elegant in their public relations; more intelligent in their work to exclude the Church and individual believers from influencing the moral life of society. Over the next several decades, Christianity will become a faith that can speak in the public square less and less freely.
"A society where faith is prevented from vigorous public expression is a society that has fashioned the state into an idol. And when the state becomes an idol, men and women become the sacrificial offering. Cardinal Henri de Lubac once wrote that "It is not true that man cannot organize the world without God. What is true, is that without God, [man] can ultimately only organize it against man. Exclusive humanism is inhuman humanism."
"The West is now steadily moving in the direction of that new "inhuman humanism." And if the Church is to respond faithfully, we need to draw upon the lessons that your Churches learned under totalitarianism. A Catholicism of resistance must be based on trust in Christ's words: "The truth will make you free." This trust gave you insight into the nature of totalitarian regimes. It helped you articulate new ways of discipleship. Rereading the words of the Czech leader Václav Havel to prepare for this talk, I was struck by the profound Christian humanism of his idea of "living within the truth." Catholics today need to see their discipleship and mission as precisely that: "living within the truth."
Like all prophetic men, the Archbishop of Denver used language in this extraordinary address which is inspired in the true sense of the word, filled with the Spirit. He also pulled no punches. The speech contained a searing and insightful analysis of what is rotting western civilization from within.
However, also like truly prophetic Christian men, the Bishop did not leave us there. He proposed a heroic response of living faith and sacrificial action:
"We live in a time when the Church is called to be a believing community of resistance. We need to call things by their true names. We need to fight the evils we see. And most importantly, we must not delude ourselves into thinking that by going along with the voices of secularism and de-Christianization we can somehow mitigate or change things. Only the Truth can set men free. We need to be apostles of Jesus Christ and the Truth he incarnates. So what does this mean for us as individual disciples? Let me offer a few suggestions by way of a conclusion.
"My first suggestion comes again from the great witness against the paganism of the Third Reich, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: 'The renewal of the Western world lies solely in the divine renewal of the Church, which leads her to the fellowship of the risen and living Jesus Christ.' The world urgently needs a re-awakening of the Church in our actions and in our public and private witness. The world needs each of us to come to a deeper experience of our Risen Lord in the company of our fellow believers. The renewal of the West depends overwhelmingly on our faithfulness to Jesus Christ and his Church.
"We need to really believe what we say we believe. Then we need to prove it by the witness of our lives. We need to be so convinced of the truths of the Creed that we are on fire to live by these truths, to love by these truths, and to defend these truths, even to the point of our own discomfort and suffering. We are ambassadors of the living God to a world that is on the verge of forgetting him. Our work is to make God real; to be the face of his love; to propose once more to the men and women of our day, the dialogue of salvation.
"The lesson of the 20th century is that there is no cheap grace. This God whom we believe in; this God who loved the world so much that he sent his only Son to suffer and die for it, demands that we live the same bold, sacrificial pattern of life shown to us by Jesus Christ. The form of the Church, and the form of every Christian life, is the form of the cross. Our lives must become a liturgy, a self-offering that embodies the love of God and the renewal of the world."
We need to heed Archbishop Chaput's call for a Catholicism of Resistance. You can read the entire address here. We also need to stand strong with Belmont Abbey College in prayer and solidarity.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Belmont Abbey College, Affordable Care Act, Religious Freedom, Catholic Resistance, Archbishop Chaput, Health care, Conscience, Deacon Keith Fournier
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