Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By F. K. Bartels

8/7/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The reactions surrounding the Chick-fil-A stance on marriage are indicative of not only the steady advance of relativism and secularism, but of a nation suffering from the effects of Christian division.

The solution to the present disunity and doctrinal confusion in contemporary Christendom, the answers to questions about who man is, the nature of the human person and the nature of the institution of marriage, and much more, are all found within the womb of holy mother Church,where we learn how to live a fully human life in loving freedom as God's adopted children.

The Church is an expert on the Word made flesh, and therefore an expert on the nature of man, his purpose, goals and destiny.

The Church is an expert on the Word made flesh, and therefore an expert on the nature of man, his purpose, goals and destiny.

Highlights

By F. K. Bartels

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/7/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Chick-fil-A, moral indifference, relativism, divided body of Christ, natural law, divine law, anthropology, marriage, homosexual unions, F. K. Bartels


GLADE PARK, CO (Catholic Online) -- When Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that, as "an organization," Chick-fil-A "can operate on biblical principles," he was simply stating his family's long held religious conviction that their chicken sandwich business be conducted according to Christian values. In fact, about six decades ago that was the guiding principle of the majority of American businesses. If that alone were all he said, while it would have attracted some attention, today's obdurate critics of Christianity would soon have turned their gaze elsewhere.

However, given the present moral climate of widespread relativism, when Mr. Cathy publicly stated that those same values meant opposing same-sex unions, the fires of outrage against the truth were ignited.

No one minds much when someone insists on principles; however, once those principles are articulated in such a way so as to make clear their opposition to moral relativists who deny, either in word or deed, the existence of the natural law, the divine law, and an absolute truth about what marriage is and about what the human person is, the banners of "discrimination," "intolerance," and "homophobic-hate-speech" are run up against anyone who even suggests that there is a divinely created order and reality intrinsic to human nature which the human person is not free to ignore.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco have all told the Atlanta-based chicken sandwich chain to "keep out." Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel trumpeted: "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values. They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents." Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno, one of fifty individuals who make up the Chicago City Council, showed his own distaste for Chick-fil-A's support of marriage when he voiced his intent to exercise a government strong-arm maneuver blocking the building of a second Chicago restaurant.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a strong advocate of homosexual unions, stated on a radio show that he doesn't think it's the local "government's business" to ban the building of new Chick-fil-A's based on the restaurant chain owners' views on marriage. "You really don't want to ask political beliefs or religious beliefs before you issue a [building] permit. That's just not government's job." Taken at face value, his comments appear to be on the right track. However, less than a week earlier Bloomberg and other city officials gathered to celebrate the first year anniversary of homosexual unions in New York. Apparently, Bloomberg and his political colleagues do think it is the "government's business" to attempt to force a redefinition of marriage.

We should not be surprised by the anti-truth and anti-religious-freedom mentality displayed by these politicians. After all, they are simply following the lead of the present Administration's open, blatant and historically unparalleled-in-America attack on religious freedom and freedom of conscience recently manifested by the HHS mandate. We should also recognize that America has been on a steady march toward secularization for decades. Therefore the relativistic philosophies often displayed by our nation's politicians are but a reflection of the views of a wide section of the populace. After all, these public officials were elected.

But it is not only politicians who are sounding off. So-called ordinary Americans on both sides of the issue of homosexual unions are readily offering their opinions on Facebook, Twitter, and the millions of personal blogs scattered over the electronic social media landscape. There are people who are, both Christian and otherwise, "ashamed of the intolerance of Christians"; and others who "can't imagine why heterosexual people would deny homosexual persons the ability to express sexual love." There are those who are apparently allergic to an objective judgment about what is good and right and what is not, and what is aligned with the nature of the human person and what is out of sync with it. And there are still others who insist that "God's love is without limit, and Jesus accepts everyone exactly as they are, so nobody can say how anyone else should live." What is perhaps most disturbing, is that, given their context and phrasing, the majority of these often theologically bizarre and ignorant statements were apparently posted at the hands of reputed Christians.

Of course there are many comments that reflect a correct understanding of theology and Christian doctrine. Also, as is clear from the response in support of Chick-fil-A, many Americans believe in the unchangeable institution of marriage as God himself authored it: the union of one man and one woman. Praise God! But it is a mistake to ignore the widespread confusion, the doctrinal error, and the unbiblical statements surrounding the issue of marriage that have arisen from Christians who claim to be "following the Bible." Welcome to the age of individual infallibility.

All of this serves to highlight the critical situation presently enveloping America. We find ourselves in the midst of a post-Christian era in desperate need of the truth; one in which reputed Christians who, steeped in an individualistic and subjective interpretation of Scripture, claim to adhere to the Bible yet no longer widely agree on some of the most basic tenets of the Christian religion. Christians do not even agree on what it means to believe in and follow Jesus Christ. Nor do we agree on whether Christ founded an organic, definite and specific, visible and invisible Church (see Mt. 16:17-19; 18:15-18). Nor do we agree on whether Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, or whether there is such a thing as mortal sin, or whether the gift of God's love obliges us to respond to him in the manner in which we live our lives physically and spiritually, and so forth.

Catholics are not outside of this mess either. We have for far too long given ourselves over to pragmatism, with an emphasis on material success and achieved status in society, standing silently by in the public square while the tenets of our Catholic Faith are trampled underfoot, all the while living out our days in tepidity, displaying a lack of zeal for Christ and holy mother Church. Rather than lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, we have laid them on earth (Mt. 6:20). 

America used to be a nation of weekly church-goers. Not any more. We used to be a nation in agreement on the intrinsic evil of the use of artificial birth control. Not any more. We used to be a nation whose view of the institution of marriage was understood in an overwhelmingly and emphatically singular way: as the union of one man and one woman, forming the foundation of the family and society. Not any more. And we used to be a nation in which very nearly everyone was appalled at the idea of intentionally killing innocent children through abortion, let alone legalizing it. That too has long passed.

What is the solution? It is complex yet also as simple as an authentic, repentant encounter with Jesus the Christ. However, in the first place, we must get it into our heads that we are ordinarily brought to Christ by the Holy Spirit working through the Church. It is normally within the sacramental womb of holy mother Church that we are made children of God, not outside of her. Within the Church, the sacrament of salvation, as we assist in the divine liturgy and the work of our redemption is carried out, we are sanctified in Christ, and thus learn how to live a fully human life and are given the grace to do so. Within the Church's arms, we are nourished with the words of truth and the sacraments of life, which heal, elevate and perfect us by the power of the Spirit, raising our human nature beyond what it formally was by the gift of sharing in God's own supernatural life. To be fully Christian and fully human is to reside in full communion with the Church as a disciple of the Risen Lord. Therefore a culture infused with Catholic principles, guided by the influence of the Spirit through the Church, is a truly enlightened one.

The climate of America indicates that we have lost sight of the definitive revelation of Jesus Christ and the transforming power of the mysteries of his life, death and resurrection -- a tragedy that is not unrelated to negative attitudes toward the Church. It follows, then, that we often misunderstand who and what the human person is, as well as how man is to relate to God. We need to answer the question: "Who is man?" and, inseparably bound to that question, is man's relationship to God who, in his divine wisdom, created man in his image and likeness (Gen. 1:27). While the human person is the "Imago Dei," we need understand what it means to live out that sublime reality in fidelity to the Creator. It is the Church who is the expert par excellence in these areas.

All theological questions, including those of an anthropological nature informed by the light of faith that are crucial to the full truth about the human person, are definitively answered only in the Person of Jesus the Christ, since it "is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear" (Gaudium et Spes 22 § 1), who is, as the perfect image of the Father (cf. Col. 15:1), the totality of God's revelation to humankind. However, it is the Church who is an expert on the Word made flesh since she is his one body, and in a real way is Christ. The Church was instituted by Jesus Christ according to the salvific plan born in the Father's heart. She is, then, as the city of truth for which Christ gave his own life, "endowed with light from God" and therefore offers solutions to man's irrepressible quest to know himself (GS 12). If we want to know who man is, what is compatible or incompatible with human nature in its relation to God, the Church has the answers.

Further, "God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life, a communion brought about by the 'convocation' of men in Christ, and this 'convocation' is the Church" (CCC 760). Therefore St. Epiphanius was able to observe that the Church is the goal of all things, since  the Church is the "Reign of Christ already present in mystery" (Lumen Gentium 3). Full communion with the Church, as Christ's body in union with the Spirit, is the goal toward which the Father is directing the whole of humankind, one which is ultimately for the sake of our reception of divine love. By calling us into the Church, the Kingdom of God present in mystery, the Father is moving us toward the gaol of eternal human fulfillment and happiness found only in himself.

The Church, then, is not simply one institution among others, for she is crucial in attaining the full dimension of human life. Nor is she a strictly invisible, abstract, vague and unreachable reality that cannot be seen nor heard, and who has nothing definitive to say on the tenets of the Christian religion. On the contrary, she is a specific and definite reality, vital to the full truth of the human person and the full flourishing of every culture and society. The Church is God's fraternal plan of love and happiness, peace, security, knowledge and truth for humankind, a wondrous divine and human, visible and invisible community who is one single reality, and whose life was gained at an infinitely great cost: the death of the Son of God by crucifixion.

The solution to the present disunity and doctrinal confusion in contemporary Christendom, the answers to questions about who man is, the nature of the human person and the nature of the institution of marriage, and much more, are all found within the womb of holy mother Church, where we learn how to live a fully human life in loving freedom as God's adopted children, for it is through the Church that the mystery of the Word made flesh is revealed, bringing sublime and revealing light to the mystery of man.

-----

F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at joyintruth.com

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More U.S.

Remains of four early leaders of America uncovered in Jamestown with Catholic artifacts Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Under the floor of a Jamestown church, four body remains of the earliest English colonial leaders in America were unearthed. One was identified as Captain John Smith's rival, who researchers speculate to be part of a secret Catholic cell because of some artifacts ... continue reading


Planned Parenthood caught in FOURTH VIDEO showing the horrific practices of selling aborted baby organs

Image of Dr. Savita Ginde, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains' Vice President and Medical Director, standing in the harvesting lab.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Another new Planned Parenthood expose video has been released, making this the second video this week and the fourth revealing hidden camera video in total. The Center for Medical Progress claims to have hours upon hours of footage exposing Planned Parenthood of ... continue reading


AMC movie theaters issue warning to moviegoers urging them to stay vigilant during visit Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A unusual video message is being played at AMC Theaters in Central Florida, urging the audience to keep their eyes open to any bad agendas and malicious or suspicious actions within the establishment. The short film came to be after violent incidents inside movie ... continue reading


A massive 30,000 more immigrants expected to arrive to U.S. before year's end Watch

Image of Illegal immigrants continues to cross the U.S. border.q

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The number of illegal immigrant children and teens in the United States continues to increase. The United Nations and other humanitarian groups predict that a total of 30,000 more are expected to reach the U.S. before the year ends. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic ... continue reading


The youngest convicted murders released from jail after 15 years Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

At just 12 and 13-years-old, two siblings confessed to killing their father's girlfriend and both were charged with first-degree murder as adults, despite evidence they were sexually abused by a family member. Yesterday, the two first faced the world they once knew. ... continue reading


Satanic statue secretly unveiled in Detroit, drawing Christian protest Watch

Image of Satanists secretly unveiled a nine-foot, one-ton statue of Baphomet, the horned devil god of satanic practice in an undisclosed location in Detroit this past weekend.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Satanists secretly unveiled a nine-foot, one-ton statue of Baphomet, the horned devil god of satanic practice in an undisclosed location in Detroit this past weekend. This has spurred on heavy protest from the city's Christian community. Hundreds gathered at Detroit's ... continue reading


Will Pope Francis be warmly welcomed in the United States? Watch

Image of Pope Francis will be in the United States in September.

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis will visit the United States for the first time ever in his lifetime during September. However, amid the excitement, the American populace may have lost some warmth towards the pontiff, who they once believed revived the Catholic Church in the country. ... continue reading


Will religious beliefs be acknowledged when Boy Scouts starts allowing gay leaders, volunteers? Watch

Image of Jennifer Tyrrell of Bridgeport, Ohio, a Cub Scout den leader who was kicked out in 2012 for being openly gay, embraces her son Cruz Burns.

By Kevin J. Jones, CNA/EWTN News

The Boy Scouts of America is moving to change its leadership standards in order to allow openly homosexual adult leaders and volunteers. While the organization promises that individual church-affiliated councils can choose their own leaders, at least one critic ... continue reading


THE THIRD VIDEO: The latest and most shocking footage of Planned Parenthood's abortion practices (WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO) Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

First there was a video revealing Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola casually discussing selling aborted baby organs over lunch, and admitting to using partial-birth abortions to get her hands on intact ... continue reading


Planned Parenthood HACKED, private employee information revealed Watch

Image of

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Planned Parenthood's website was hacked by a group of hackers who managed to gain access into Planned Parenthood and acquire the site's databases, including the names and email addresses of employees. These details were released by the hackers to the public. MUNTINLUPA ... 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, Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37
1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:4 "These ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 81:3-4, 5-6, 10-11
3 blow the trumpet for the new month, for the full ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:54-58
54 and, coming to his home town, he taught the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 31st, 2015 Image

St. Ignatius Loyola
July 31: St. Ignatius was born in the family castle in Guipzcoa, Spain, ... 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