Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

12/1/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Our path is already paved with the insults, accusations and calumny of our fellow citizens. It will get worse.

We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully.We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church must take up (Blessed John Paul II)

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/1/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: culture, conversion, Pro-Life, pro-marriage, culture of life, courage, persecution, anti-Christian, anti-Catholic, spiritual warfare, early Church, culture war, culture struggle, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - Two years before becoming Pope, Karol Cardinal Wotyla spoke to the U.S. Bishops. His observation was republished in the Wall Street Journal on November 9, 1978: "We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully.We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church must take up."

And take it up we have. However, there is much, much more to do. The ground has shifted and the struggle is intensifying. Our cultural mission lies at the heart of what it means for us as Christians to be leaven, light, salt and the soul of the world. This is no time to retreat from culture, we must work for its conversion. What is needed are men and women of Christian courage. 

The struggle we face in an increasingly hostile western culture involves a clash of worldviews, personal and corporate, and competing definitions of human freedom, human dignity, and human flourishing. We need to see our struggle in light of our own Christian history. I do not care how modern the issues of this age purport to be, humans do not change all that much, at least without grace. We need to engage the dictatorship of relativism which claims there are no truths and insist that there is Truth, it can be known - and it must govern our lives. This means facing persecution. Our path is already paved with the insults, accusations and calumny of our fellow citizens. It will get worse.

We are accused of being against progress and anti-science for defending the dignity of every human life - including the lives of our first neighbors in the womb. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are Pro-life because it is right. Science exists to serve the person, the family and the common good. In an age deluded by the architects of a cultural order of death we will never compromise on the truth concerning the dignity of every human life from conception through natural death. Science confirms what our conscience confirmed, those little girls and boys in the womb are our neighbors. It is always wrong to intentionally kill our innocent neighbors. To say and do otherwise is barbaric.

We insist that true marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of the universe. That is because they have. Truth does not change, people and cultures do; sometimes for good and sometimes for evil. Marriage is the first society into which children are to be born, learn to be fully human, grow in virtue, flourish and take their role in families and communities. We must not be afraid to make the claim that children have a right to a mother and a father. They do. Of course we care about the single parent family and the many broken homes. However, their existence does not change the norm necessary for a stable and healthy society. In tact marriages and families are the glue of a healthy and happy social order. We need to be a visible, palpable reflection of this truth about marriage and family in our own lives. To live a faithful marriage is now countercultural.

Our convictions and claims concerning life and marriage are not outdated notions of a past era but provide the path to the future. We also insist upon the existence of a Natural Moral Law which can be known by all men and women through the exercise of reason. This is not only a Christian position. It is the ground upon which every great civilization has been built. It is the source for every great and authentic human and civil rights movement. The Natural Law gives us the moral norms we need to build societies and govern ourselves. It must also inform our positive law or we will become lawless and devolve into anarchy.

The early Church was sent into cultures filled with people who thought they were advanced in light of the arts and sciences of their day. Yet, those cultures practiced primitive forms of abortion and even exposure, a practice of leaving unwanted children on rocks to be eaten by birds of prey or picked up by slave traders. Ancient Christian manuscripts such as the Didache (the Teaching of the Twelve), the Letter to Diognetus and other early Christian sources reveal that the early Christians were called to live in and transform cultures mush like our own.  Cultures of use where people were treated as property, cultures of excess where freedom was perceived as a power over others and license masqueraded as liberty. They changed them from within.

Many of the gods and goddesses of the old pagan regimes they faced promoted lives of selfish excess, homosexual practices, and hedonism masquerading as freedom. The myths they told had the pagan gods acting in much the same way. Our western culture is now sliding through secularism into paganism. The myths, tributes and statues of today are different but the reality is no different. Contemporary paganism, like the paganism of old, is not the path to authentic human freedom and flourishing but to misery and a loss of freedom.

The early Christians did not rail against the pagans of their age when they sought to effect the conversion of those cultures. They proclaimed the fullness of freedom which is found in Jesus Christ to all who would listen to them. They did not change their message to the culture but changed the culture through their message. They also demonstrated its truths with their compelling witness of life. They lived in monogamous marriages, raised their children to be faithful Christians and good citizens, and went into the world of their age offering it a new way to live. This way (which is what they first called the early Church) revealed a very different worldview than the one that the pagans embraced.

With joy and integrity the early Christians lived that way in the midst of their pagan cultures. As a result, they sometimes stirred up hostility. Some of them were martyred in the red martyrdom of shed blood. Countless more joined the train of what use to be called white martyrdom, living lives of sacrificial witness and service in the culture, working hard and staying faithful to the end of a long life spent in missionary toil.

Slowly, not only were small numbers of pagans converted and baptized, but eventually their leaders and entire Nations followed suit. Resultantly, the Christian worldview began to influence the social order. The clash of freedoms continued, but the climate changed significantly. It was the Christian faith and the practices of these Christians that began to win the hearts of men and women. The cultures once enshrined to pagan practices, such as plural marriage, homosexuality, exposure and abortion began to change dramatically and this dynamic continued for centuries.

It was Christianity that taught such novel concepts as the dignity of every person and their equality before the One God. The Christians proclaimed the dignity of women, the dignity of chaste marriage and the sanctity of the family. It was Christianity that introduced the understanding of freedom not simply as a freedom from, but as a freedom for living responsibly and with integrity. The Christians insisted that freedom must be exercised with reference to a moral code, a law higher than the emperor, or the shifting sands of public opinion.

It was the Christians who understood that choice, rightly exercised, meant always choosing what was right and that the freedom to exercise that choice brought with it an obligation and concern for the other. They knew that freedom has a moral constitution and must be exercised in reference to truth. Their Christian faith presented a coherent and compelling answer to the existential questions that plagued the ancients, such as why we existed and how we got here. What was the purpose of life? Questions like how evil came into the world and why we could not always make right choices? What force seemed to move us toward evil and how we could be set free from its power?

Christian philosophy began to flourish. Philosophies of government and economic theory began to be influenced by principles derived from a Christian anthropology and worldview. Christians helped to create the beautiful art which humanizedcultures. Christian artists knew that Creation and Redemption are part of a grand masterpiece by the Divine Artist and there is a connection between beauty and the Christian vocation to manifest the presence of the living God in this world which He still loves. Christians were - and are - the true humanists. That is because to be fully Christian is to be fully human. 

We need to learn from the example of those who have engaged the very struggle we now face. Like them, we must also remember that what we are engaged in is first a spiritual struggle. Our victories will first be won in prayer and then must stepped into a new Christian missionary movement from the heart of the Church for the sake of the world. That movement will flourish and spread through the  witness of a vibrant, theologically orthodox, faithful Christianity that is engaging, relevant and compelling to the new pagans of our age. It will bring about the conversion of persons, families and culture as it has in the past. It will pave the way for the future.

In 1999 the Pontifical Council for Culture of the Vatican released an insightful document entitled "Toward a Pastoral Approach to Culture". It contains helpful insights for us as we consider the road ahead in our work to convert the culture. Here is an excerpt: "From the time the Gospel was first preached, the Church has known the process of encounter and engagement with cultures" (Fides et Ratio, 70), for "it is one of the properties of the human person that he can achieve true and full humanity only by means of culture"(Gaudium et Spes, 53).

This is no time to retreat from culture, we must work for its conversion. 

---


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


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More U.S.

Corpus Christi, The Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Watch

Image of There is also an ancient and beautiful custom in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church called the Corpus Christi procession. The consecrated Host, the Body of the Lord, is reposed in what is called a monstrance. The term is derived from a Latin phrase which means to show or reveal.  The faithful process the Body of the Lord through the streets surrounding their church buildings. This Eucharistic procession can be a powerful witness to an age which has lost its sense of the sacred.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We have received the Bread of Heaven. Let us choose to become what we consume. These Feasts are not just rituals on a Church calendar. They are invitations to encounter the Lord Jesus Christ, and then offer Him to a world waiting to be born anew. On this Feast of ... continue reading


Memorial Day: Honor Those Who Have Given Their Lives in Military Service Watch

Image of Memorial Day

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I live in Chesapeake, a wonderful city in Southeastern Virginia where there are many members of the military. The parish I serve is an example of this. Every day, I witness the many sacrifices which military families make for our Nation. On this Memorial Day, I ... continue reading


$3,600,000,000,000: the price to repair America Watch

Image of America's infrastructure is in need of improvement. Why isn't this a national priority?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

We have money for perpetual war and can afford generous foreign aid, tax subsidies and cuts for the wealthy, but we cannot find the money to fix a pothole or repair a collapsing bridge. This is the sorry state of affairs U.S. infrastructure is in as we let the nation ... continue reading


Violent riot erupts at Trump rally in New Mexico Watch

Image of Unsurprisingly, a Trump rally erupted into a riot in New Mexico (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Protesters at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's New Mexico rally erupted in violent acts including the attempted stoning of police, glass bottles thrown at mounted units and their horses, burning shirts and more. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Record-breaking 38,000 illegal aliens apprehended in the month of April Watch

Image of April 2016 reaches new record for illegal alien apprehensions.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Illegal aliens continue to surge into the United States from the Southwest U.S. border, leading the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) units to announce record-breaking apprehensions in April, 2016. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the U.S. ... continue reading


Edward Nero, arresting officer of Freddie Gray, NOT GUILTY. Will Baltimore erupt once more? Watch

Image of Officer Edward Nero arrives at court. Nero has been acquitted of crimes in the death of Freddie Gray.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The arresting officer in the Freddie Gray case, Edward Nero, has been declared "not guilty" by the judge in his criminal trial. Now, the community waits to see if violence will erupt or if the streets will remain quiet. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Officer ... continue reading


Tell Me About the Trinity: Honoring Jerry and Plumbing the Mystery of God Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

'The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone on Father Daniel Berrigan's Pro-Life Activism Watch

Image of Fr. Daniel Berrigan

By Fr Frank Pavone

Father Berrigan was a radical figure who sent a total of almost seven years in prison.  What many don't realize though is that his activism extended beyond the anti-war movement and into the anti-abortion movement. Believing in what he called a consistent ... continue reading


Law allows persons to sue if you don't use the correct pronoun out of 58 to describe a person's sexual identity Watch

Image of We're going to need a lot more restrooms.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Under a new law, businesses in New York will be fined if they don't use a person's preferred pronoun when referring to them. This especially becomes a problem when it is understood there are at least 58 possible pronouns with at least five grammatical variations ... continue reading


Science fiction? Feds discover the 'Grocery List,' post tweets to promote new technology Watch

Image of After millions of dollars in federal spending, government scientists have discovered the grocery list technology. Where would we be without such courageous efforts?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Federal Government has discovered the grocery list technology. This unlock apparently occurred recently as the Department of Agriculture sent encouraging, rapid-fire tweets to the public about how to use this remarkable new advancement. LOS ANGELES, CA (California ... 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

  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: He will never leave you
  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • Woman diagnosed with 'nightmare bacteria' in US
  • WARNING: Exorcist claims demon is targeting families
  • Daily Readings for Saturday, May 28, 2016
  • Bl. Margaret Pole: Saint of the Day for Saturday, May 28, 2016
  • Advent Prayer HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Peter 4:7-13
7 The end of all things is near, so keep your minds calm and sober for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:10, 11-12, 13
10 Say among the nations, 'Yahweh is king.' The world is set firm, it ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 11:11-26
11 He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple; and when he had ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 27th, 2016 Image

St. Augustine of Canterbury
May 27: At the end of the sixth century anyone would have ... Read More