Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

3/11/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

''The leaflets produced by Chick Publications are hateful, discriminatory, and full of prejudice and bigotry.'

Bishop Richard F. Stika of the Diocese of Knoxville, Defender of the Faith.

Bishop Richard F. Stika of the Diocese of Knoxville, Defender of the Faith.

Article Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/11/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in U.S.


KNOXVILLE, TN. (Catholic Online) -  In March of 2009 the faithful of Knoxville received a special gift, Bishop Richard Stika. Beloved by the faithful, we understand that this wonderful Bishop has had to deal with a lot since he responded to the invitation of the Holy Spirit working through the Church.

As a Bishop in the South, that includes having to face the anti-Catholic hostility of some Christians who not only are terribly misinformed about the Catholic Christian faith but actually participate in promoting virulently Anti-Catholic literature. There are few examples worse than the notorious "Jack Chick" tracts. One of the worst is the horrid anti-Catholic tract entitled "The Death Cookie" which denigrates the most Holy Eucharist, calling it a "death cookie".  It is sacrilegious, blasphemous and disgusting!

These hateful and virulently Anti-Catholic "tracts" were being distributed in this Bishop's Diocese. They were disturbing the faithful and misinforming those Christians of other communities who are called to find the fullness of Christian faith in the full communion of the Catholic Church. They were also also causing a controversy among the faithful.

So, what did this Bishop do? He did not sit idly by. He did not delegate the task to a member of his staff. Rather, he defended the Catholic Faith handed down to us from the Apostles. In so doing he demonstrated both his skill as a Catholic apologist and his courage as Bishop. He is indeed a successor of the Apostles in this new missionary age. 

As someone who has spent over three decades in authentic ecumenical work, experiencing both the fulfillment and the struggle, I know the challenge very well. I also know how important it is for Bishops like this one to show us how to respond to this kind of attack against our beloved Catholic faith while remembering that "to those to whom much is given, much will be required."

We present the statement of this good Bishop as a model for how we are all called to defend the Catholic faith against attack while using every opportunity to instruct those who are misinformed...and even reach out to those who are Anti-Catholic. We also commend this good Bishop for showing us all the way. That is what it means to be a true teacher of the faithful and a Catholic Bishop.

************************
Bishop Stika responds to distribution of anti-Catholic tracts

KNOXVILLE- Bishop Richard F. Stika of the Diocese of Knoxville has made the following statement in response to the recently publicized distribution of anti-Catholic tracts in Pigeon Forge: "The Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville includes 47 parishes and 36 counties in East Tennessee, including Holy Cross Parish in Pigeon Forge. As bishop of the Diocese of Knoxville, I wish first to state my deep respect and love for my Protestant brothers and sisters, with whom we acknowledge and worship but one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ-and for all the members of other faiths, with whom we also share certain foundational beliefs. I also wish to acknowledge the many Christian denominations, including the many Baptist churches in East Tennessee, with whom we pray and work in solidarity, according to the truths of the Gospel, in order to promote a culture of life. This culture of life is based on a Christian anthropology that recognizes man and woman as images of God, an essential truth for the formation of a correct vision of society. I am thinking also of our shared efforts in promoting and protecting the sanctity and dignity of every person in the womb and of the holy institution of marriage and the family as our Heavenly Creator designed them to be. At this moment, however, I am greatly saddened by the reprehensible acts of prejudice and hatred of a few souls who, out of ignorance of Catholic teachings, have promoted the distribution of anti-Catholic tracts. These tracts contain outright lies and blatant exaggerations. The rationale one Baptist pastor gave in support of distributing these reprehensible, discriminatory, and bigoted tracts was that he was trying to point out the primary difference his church has with Catholics: the belief that a person does not and cannot work his or her way to salvation. Unfortunately, this pastor does not have a correct understanding of what the Catholic faith teaches in this regard-and he even admitted as much. In Catholic theology, the term justification means the cleansing of a person´s sin and the communication -  by grace - of "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ" (Romans 3:22) through baptism. Additionally, Catholics take very seriously the Sacred Scripture, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" ( James 2:24). Perhaps some Christians misinterpret both Paul and James, thus concluding that their statements about faith and works contradict each other. This is simply not true. There are differences in emphasis but no contradictions in teaching if one understands both properly. Paul and James agree that both "faith" and "works" are essential to Christian life. Jesus himself makes this crystal clear in his description of the LastJudgment (Matthew 25:31-46). From his judgment seat, the Lord will welcome into his eternal kingdom those who fed the hungry, welcomed the stranger, clothed the naked, and visited the sick and imprisoned-in other words, those who saw Christ in the suffering and acted in response, inspired by the love of God. Those who did not perform these "works" of love will "go off to eternal punishment" (25:46). Catholics take the "works" cited above very seriously. As an example, empowered by the grace of Jesus Christ, Catholic Charities of East Tennessee Inc. addresses the unmet needs of the most vulnerable of our region by providing shelter, nourishment, counseling, and education in order to foster human dignity. Catholic Charities of East Tennessee delivers 17 services through 24 programs throughout the region. This agency´s services are provided regardless of religious affiliation, race, or ability to pay: fewer than 5 percent of the more than 20,000 clients served annually are Catholic. Regarding the reprehensible leaflet titled "The Death Cookie": The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence asserts that in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is literally and wholly present-body and blood, soul and divini¬ty-under the appearances of bread and wine. Some Christians attack this doctrine as "unbiblical," but Catholics believe that the Bible is forthright in declaring it (l Corinthians 10:16-17 and 11:23-29 and, most forcefully, John 6:32-71). Catholics recognize that many of our Christian brothers and sisters do not share our belief in the Real Presence. Even though we may not share the same doctrinal belief, we are thankful that our Christian brothers and sisters of different faiths deeply respect the Lord´s Supper and what it represents. Even the Southern Baptist Convention states, "The Lord´s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming." As bishop of the Diocese of Knoxville, I pray that all Christian pastors will develop a spirituality of ecumenism, with a willingness to explore with other Christians the common beliefs of our Christianity-primarily our belief in the one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ-rather than focus on our differences. The leaflets produced by Chick Publications and distributed locally are hateful, discriminatory, and full of prejudice and bigotry. Jesus warns that each of us will be judged by the same standard with which we judge others. If we are harsh or judgmental in our analysis of others, we will face harsh analysis. Those who are gentle and gracious toward others will be treated gently and graciously. Perhaps we should remember the golden rule:

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Matthew 7:12)." 

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More U.S.

Suffering, Struggle and the Christian Revolution Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Christian tradition instructs us that even undeserved and unmerited suffering, when joined in love to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, can produce extraordinary fruit within us - and then through us, as we change. This is a part of the teaching on the mystery ... continue reading


Holy Saturday: God has Died in the Flesh and Hell Trembles with Fear Watch

Image of Holy Saturday Byzantine Icon. This is a day which presents to those who approach it in contemplation, an opportunity to probe the mystery of life and death. It is a day to enter into the deeper mysteries of the faith with the millions and millions of those who have gone before us.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all ... continue reading


The Birth of Catholic Evangelism Watch

Image of I recently interviewed Jeff Cavins  for my weekly show  on Ave Maria Radio.  Jeff, who is nationally known for his study guides to the Bible, has just taken a job as Director of Evangelism at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.  It's a significant point in this nation's Church history that an apologist/educator with EWTN origins has taken a significant job inside an archdiocese.

By Deal W. Hudson

In spite of being ignored, and in some cases blacklisted, several of the hosts of EWTN radio and TV shows grew ministries of their own in the evangelistic Catholic style of Mother Angelica's still-prospering network. Jeff Cavins is one of the most successful of ... continue reading


Good Friday: Behold the Wood of the Cross Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This is Good Friday. This is the day when the whole world stands still. We recall the great Sacrifice offered on the second tree on Golgotha's Hill. There, the one St. Paul calls the New Adam (1 Cor.15), in the perfect obedience of love, did for us  what we ... continue reading


Finally Justice! Small town city manager gets 12 years in jail on corruption charges Watch

Image of Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo's party came crashing down when it was revealed in 2010 that Rizzo was giving himself an annual salary and benefits package of $1.5 million.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bell, California is a small town with less than 36,000 people. That didn't stop City Manager Robert Rizzo, along with his friends, from awarding themselves hefty raises and drawing yearly salaries as high as $1.5 million. It was fun while it lasted - now Rizzo ... continue reading


FORCED BESTIALITY: Evil teenage girls sexually assault autistic boy - and record it for posterity Watch

Image of Seventeen-year-old Lauren Bush along with her 15-year-old accomplice are accused by the St. Mary's County sheriff's department on numerous charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an episode shocking for its sheer cruelty, two teenage girls in Maryland are now in custody after they repeatedly abused a 16-year-old autistic boy - eventually making him perform sexual acts with a family pet - and recording it all on their cell phones. LOS ... continue reading


HOW LONG BEFORE THE SYSTEM BREAKS? Working Americans increasingly made to pay for those on welfare Watch

Image of Those who work in America are increasingly being made to pay for those who don't -- in the manner of an over-burdened ox.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're an American who awakes each day to begin a day of toil you have no interest in, take heed: There are only more reasons to hit your pillow in frustration each night as you drift off to sleep. You are an endangered species, and the media has not rallied ... continue reading


Ron Paul warns Feds may stage 'Waco styled' raid Watch

Image of Cliven Bundy has been fighting with the Bureau of Land Management for 20 years over his cattle and grazing rights.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While Cliven Bundy, his family, their supporters, and myriad militiamen forced federal agents from the Bureau of Land Management to back off of the Bundy's Nevada ranch and release hundreds of captured cattle, one politician warns that the feds could be planning ... continue reading


What does this say about America? More people getting food stamps than women working full-time Watch

Image of There were only 15,678,000 women who worked full-time, year-round in the United States in 1969.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a distressing figure that shines a most unflattering light on affairs here in the United States. According to recent statistics, those  participating in the food stamp program, or SNAP outnumbered the number of women who worked full-time, year-round ... continue reading


Palm/Passion Sunday: Will We Make This Week Holy By Encountering Jesus Christ? Watch

Image of Holy Week invites us to let go of self and embrace the Lord Jesus anew through saying Yes to the invitation to continuing conversion. How desperately we all need to hear the Good news that we can begin again!

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Palm/ Passion Sunday: Make This Holy Week a Deep Encounter With Jesus Christ!During this week called Holy, the Lord Jesus is extending His saving Hand to each one of us anew. The timeless one has broken into time and now transforms it from within. The question is ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 1:1--2:2
1 In the beginning God created heaven and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11
5 My birthright, my cup is Yahweh; you, you alone, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 28:1-10
1 After the Sabbath, and towards dawn on the first ... Read More

Reading 2, Genesis 22:1-18
1 It happened some time later that God put Abraham to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 19th, 2014 Image

St. Alphege
April 19: Archbishop and "the First Martyr of Canterbury." He was born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter