Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/26/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Catholic Church needs conversion at every level. Many Catholics do not know what their Church teaches

From the very beginning of the Church, the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops had the primary task of teaching the faithful so that they could fully live the Christian faith and give it away to others. The Church has always been blessed with good teaching Bishops, especially at critical times in her history.  We are living in just such a time.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/26/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Church, ecclesiology, marriage, family, cafeteria Catholicism, Archbishop John J. Myers, Newark, Donald Cardinal Wuerl., Washington, New Evangelization, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - From the very beginning of the Church, the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops had the primary task of teaching the faithful so that they could fully live the Christian faith and give it away to others. The Church has always been blessed with good teaching Bishops, especially at critical times in her history.  We are living in just such a time.

Some of the most profound teaching on the Christian Faith and way of life is found in the Apostolic Fathers. We have letters which circulated from the first few centuries written by giants like Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch. We also have sets of instructions and catechetical teaching to the early church such as the Didache (the Teaching of the Twelve). 

In fact, the word encyclical means circulating letter. We now attach the word mostly to the most authoritative teaching in the letters from the Pope, the Bishop of Rome. However, it is derived from the way those letters from the early church bishops were passed to believers. They were circulated.

Throughout Church history the teaching and pastoral letters from Bishops have helped the faithful of the Church to mature in their faith, apply that faith to their daily lives and grow in their capacity to influence their age and progress in holiness. So it can be - so it must be - in our own day.

Those who read my writing know that I call attention to the wonderful Bishops we have in the Church. There are more being raised up daily by this great Pope.  Today I want to pass along two great examples of teaching Bishops. I will be following up with many more.

I recommend that our readers take the time to read, study, pray through and incorporate two recent letters from two great Bishops into their lives. Though written to their own flock, these letters should be circulated as such letters were in the early Church.

The first letter is from the Most Rev. John J. Myers, the Archbishop of Newark. It is entitled "When Two Become One: A Pastoral Teaching on the Definition, Purpose and Sanctity of Marriage." Please click the live link and download this tremendous instruction.

Send it around to those whom you care about. Make it known to your priests, deacons and lay leaders. Republish it in the blogosphere. Use it in your study groups and prayer groups. In an age when marriage - and the family and society founded upon it - are under ferocious assault, the Archbishop of Newark gives one of the clearest presentations on marriage I have read in a beautifully written, readable 16 page letter!

He writes, "This pastoral reflection is offered to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Newark to help them form their consciences, discern their vocations and, for the married, fulfill their vows. It is also offered to other men and women of good will-of every faith-who join us in the sincere hope of seeing family life flourish in northern New Jersey and throughout our state and our nation."

"Because God loves and cares for us, He has revealed to us the nature, purposes, and meaning of marriage. This revelation is recorded in sacred Scripture and Tradition; it is safeguarded and faithfully developed by the Magisterium, the teaching office of the Church. This gives Catholics the assurance of faith in the Church's firm teaching on the nature of marriage."

"But marriage is also part of God's creative plan and can be known through reason, unaided by revelation. The truth about marriage is, in other words, part of the natural law. This pastoral letter will therefore consider marriage from the perspective of reason as well as revelation."
The second letter is written by the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, DC, His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl. It is a Pastoral Letter on the Church entitled "The Church, Our Spiritual Home."

This letter opens up the fullness of Catholic Ecclesiology (the theology of the Church) in an accessible, profoundly spiritual and inspiring letter format. It will change your life by helping you to comprehend the deeper meaning of living in the Church. Once again, download it and circulate it. Study it, pray over and give it away to everyone whom you truly care about.

Cardinal Wuerl is an extraordinary teacher.  Here are a few "tidbits" to whet your appetite for this wonderful letter. "My purpose in writing you this letter is to reflect on what we mean by the Church, the Body of Christ. The Church is not an abstraction or a mere human institution. The new Body of Christ is made up of all the members of the family of faith who are blessed with the gifts of the Spirit and are united as one body around the Apostles and their successors, with Christ as its head."

"The answer to the question, "Why should I be a member of the Catholic Church?" follows on the response to the question "What is the Catholic Church?" The short answer to these questions is that the Catholic Church is the continuing presence of Jesus Christ in the world - in our day and time. The Church is the Body of Christ. This revealed teaching is not metaphorical language. Nor is it just a figurative way of speaking about the Church. Sacred Scripture holds up the Body of Christ for our creedal profession in a very real, literal sense. We will examine the identity of Christ with his Church as we move through these reflections."

"Again, the simplest answer to the question, "What is the Catholic Church?" is that the Church is the presence of Christ in the world today. The Church is variously described in the pages of Sacred Scripture as the Body of Christ and as the beginning of the kingdom of God on earth."

I am what is now routinely called a 'revert" to the Church. Though raised as a Catholic, I fell away from the practice of the ancient faith. My teenage search for truth finally led me home.
The route was circuitous. Among the places it led was my reading the "fathers" (early leaders) of the first centuries of the Church. In ancient Christian writings I discovered how the early Christians viewed their participation in the Church as integral to their belonging to Jesus Christ. The Church is fundamentally relational.

The Church is God's plan for every culture and for the entire world. We live in the Church. We may leave our buildings after Liturgy but we never leave our communion with the Lord and, in Him, with one another for the sake of the world. The early Fathers called her the "world reconciled". In its treatment of the Church, the Catechism explains: 

"To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is "the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood." (CCC#845)

The Catholic Church needs conversion at every level. Many Catholics do not know what their Church teaches. Some embrace a "cafeteria Catholicism"- choosing what parts of the faith they will follow. A pervasive and practical atheism has had a corrosive effect, evident in those who claim the title Christian and profess the ancient Christian Creed at Mass but fail to live it during the rest of the week.

How many Catholics understand the full implications of their own Baptism? How many understand what the Church teaches?  How many experience the Church as a "mother", or live their lives in the Church as a "communion"? How many have come to perceive the Church as "Some - One" rather than some-thing?

Yet, it is this kind of living faith which is needed. Is it supposed to only be the experience of the "mystics", the talk of the Saints and Fathers? Or, is it supposed to be the truly common experience of every Christian? The answer is clear; it is to be the common experience of all Christians.

It is interesting that both of these letters were released on September 14, 2012, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. That is no accident. The Cross will triumph in our own age as the Church is awakened to proclaim its full meaning in word and in deed.

We live in a new missionary age. For the Church to accomplish her mission she needs a fully converted and well formed clergy, religious and lay faithful who, as the fruit of the New Evangelization, joyfully  their place in the work. What a treasure we have in great teaching Bishops who send us such letters in this critical hour.   They are setting the pace. We should pray for them and be fed by their ministry.

---


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


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More U.S.

Former Catholic priest arrested in connection with beauty queen's murder - 56 years later Watch

Image of Now a married grandfather, former Catholic priest John Feit is accused in the 1960 murder of 27-year-old Irene Garza in 1960 (CNN).

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Many thought, but few actually believed that a small town Catholic priest would be capable of such a savage crime. Fifty-six long years later, former priest John Feit, now a married grandfather living in Arizona has been arrested in connection with the 1960 ... continue reading


Ash Wednesday and Lent. It Works if you Work It Watch

Image of After receiving the ashes, we are exhorted to leave the Church as penitents and pilgrims and continue in a Christian way of life every day

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If we enter into the observance of Lent with our entire person, it can draw us, at its' closure, into a deeper embrace and experience of the power of the Resurrection, beginning right now and stretching into eternity. Our frequent liturgical celebrations present ... continue reading


No Catholic or other Christian Should Support the Candidacy of Bernie Sanders Watch

Image of Senator Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America, denies the fundamental Human Right to Life of children in the womb.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Legalized abortion on demand is an open rejection of the entire ethic of being our brothers (and sisters) keeper. There can be no enduring lasting solidarity upon which to build a secure future in a culture that kills its own children and calls it a right. No ... continue reading


Mardi Gras' several names and traditions: How is it celebrated around the world? Watch

Image of Mardi Gras is famous for its colors, masks, beads, food, floats and more (Pixabay)!

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

People around the world celebrate Fat Tuesday each year with regional traditions - but did you know it is a celebration with roots in Christianity?  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Fat Tuesday" is English for the French "Mardi Gras," and is traditionally ... continue reading


7 Fun facts about Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras celebrations Watch

Image of Mardi Gras first became a holiday in 1582.

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday; it comes directly before Ash Wednesday. "Mardi Gras is a raucous celebratory affair that serves as a final shebang before the 40-day abstinence of Lent," explains The Huffington Post. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Amidst all ... continue reading


605,000 undocumented immigrants to receive driver's licenses in California Watch

Image of California driver's licenses do not bestow any federal benefits to the recipient. State sources say the law is intended to make California roadways safer.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Thanks to a new California law known as AB60, which took effect on January 2, 2015, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV has handed out 605,000 driver's licenses to undocumented workers. It is estimated that 1.4 million migrants will receive licenses under ... continue reading


Center for Medical Progress releases another Planned Parenthood video despite injunction Watch

Image of Pro-life CMP stands against abortionists NAF (imgsuccess).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

After ousting illegal actions performed by Planned Parenthood clinics, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), and its founder Daniel Daleiden, have been ordered to cease further distribution of illegally-obtained Planned Parenthood footage. Unfortunately for the ... continue reading


Huff Po Gestapo, beats down Trump, First Amendment with editorial billy club Watch

Image of Huffington Post has found a way to turn the First Amendment into a billy club for their PC police duties.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Liberal mouthpiece, The Huffington Post (not to be confused with an actual news organization) is pandering to liberal readers by posting an addendum at the end of every story about Donald Trump. The addendum labels Trump a "racist" and a "serial liar." LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Lower Your Nets For a Catch! We Are All Called to Evangelize Watch

Image of Lower your nets for a catch

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The New Evangelization is meant to bring about an authentic renewal of the Church so that she can then undertake a new missionary outreach to the whole world. Only a Church fully alive in the Lord and filled with His Spirit can carry out such an evangelical ... continue reading


'Church ladies' finally force phony priest in Los Angeles to authorities Watch

Image of Erwin Mena  was arrested by Los Angeles police for allegedly impersonating a Roman Catholic priest and on suspicion of grand theft (Los Angeles Times).

By Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News

For months, Erwin Mena donned vestments, called himself "Padre," and convinced Southern California Catholics that he was a priest, police say. Los Angeles, Calif. (CNA/EWTN News) - He was good at it, too, reportedly. He attended seminary in El Salvador for a time ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Palm Sunday HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Thursday, February 11, 2016
  • St. Paschal: Saint of the Day for Thursday, February 11, 2016
  • Is Valentine's Day...? (Take the quick survey!)
  • Take this thought provoking Stations of the Cross survey
  • Stations of the Cross - Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother HD Video
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Joel 2:12-18
12 'But now -- declares Yahweh- come back to me with all your heart, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
3 For I am well aware of my offences, my sin is constantly in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
1 'Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Corinthians 5:20--6:2
20 So we are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were urging you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 10th, 2016 Image

St. Scholastica
February 10: St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict, ... Read More