Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

12/13/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

My return to the Catholic Church as a young man was propelled by my search for truth

It is time to build a "new society within the shell of the old with the philosophy of the new, which is not a new philosophy but a very old philosophy, a philosophy so old that it looks new." (Peter Maurin)

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/13/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: culture, counter culture, hippies, marriage, gay marriage, abortion, right to life, pro-choice, pro-life, reproductive freedom, Catholic Church, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - My return to the Catholic Church as a young man was propelled by my search for truth. It was also fueled by a desire to build a counter culture which embraced values different than the inhuman materialism, nihilism, lack of solidarity, violence and idolatry I saw all around me. I was a teenage hippie - I admit it.

However, I began to see that the alternative offered by that movement was illusory. I came to believe that it would replace the social order it decried with something worse. I also came to see that the problems I  rejected in the society and culture around me were also within me. I embraced the Christian claim that I needed a Savior and found Him in His fullness in the Church which He founded.

I bring this up to make a point. I was not launched out of the womb a "conservative". That is one of the reasons I have never liked the label applied to my politics or theology. If anything, I saw myself as a radical in the truest meaning of the term, one trying to get back to the root.

The root I discovered led me to what early Christian writers called the Second Tree, the One planted on Calvary's Hill where the New Man, Jesus Christ, stretched out His arms to embrace the world in redemptive love and begin a New Creation. On that Cross, the Living Word, through whom the Universe was created, re-created it anew.

Theodore the Studite, an eighth century Abbot, once wrote: "How precious the gift of the cross, how splendid to contemplate! In the cross there is no mingling of good and evil, as in the tree of paradise: it is wholly beautiful to behold and good to taste. The fruit of this tree is not death but life, not darkness but light. This tree does not cast us out of paradise, but opens the way for our return."

"This was the tree on which Christ, like a King on a chariot, destroyed the devil, the Lord of death, and freed the human race from his tyranny. This was the tree upon which the Lord, like a brave warrior wounded in hands, feet and side, healed the wounds of sin that the evil serpent had inflicted on our nature."

"A tree once caused our death but now a tree brings life. Once deceived by a tree, we have now repelled the cunning serpent by a tree. What an astonishing transformation! That death should become life, that decay should become immortality- that shame should become glory!"

A fourth century Deacon named Ephrem proclaimed: "He who was also the carpenters glorious son set up his cross above deaths' all consuming jaws, and led the human race into the dwelling place of life. Since a tree had brought about the downfall of mankind, it was upon a tree that mankind crossed over to the realm of life."

"Bitter was the branch that had once been grafted upon that ancient tree, but sweet the young shoot that has now been grafted in, the shoot in which we are meant to recognize the Lord whom no creature can resist. We give glory to you, Lord, who raised up your cross to span the jaws of death, like a bridge by which souls might pass from the region of the dead to the land of the living.

"We give glory to you who put on the body of a single mortal man and made it the source of life for every other mortal man. You are incontestably alive. Your murderers sowed your living body in the earth as farmers sow grain, but it sprang up and yielded an abundant harvest of men raised from the dead. Come then, my brothers and sisters, let us offer our Lord the great and all embracing sacrifice of our love and our lives"

As a young man I rejected secularist, atheistic humanism - not humanism itself. I came to see that the true humanism is Christianity. That conviction led me back to the mother church of the entire Christian movement, the Catholic Church, because she is rooted in the theological anthropology and world view of the early fathers of the Church.

The existential questions I asked as a young man such as "Who Am I" and "Who are we", are still asked by men and women who hunger for more. They led me to the at the Crèche, the Cross, the empty Tomb and the Catholic Church. As the Fathers of the last Council of the Church reminded us "The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light."

It is time to acknowledge that the collapse of Western civilization will not be remedied by political movements alone. They are inadequate for the task. Crippled by the culture of death and indoctrinated by what Pope Benedict XVI called a "Dictatorship of Relativism", the West has been seduced by the siren song of evil.

What we need is a Christian revolution and, to shake things up even further, I quote from Peter Maurin's insightful book of prose entitled Easy Essays. I do so NOT because I agree with the left wing politics which sometimes co-opted what he and Dorothy Day meant to found. I reject such left wing politics as I reject any political movements, right or left, which offer collectivism as a solution.

Rather, I quote them because they speak to the kind of new movement we currently need. We need to take the values derived from the Christian worldview and knead them into the loaf of contemporary culture "creating a new society within the shell of the old with the philosophy of the new, which is not a new philosophy but a very old philosophy, a philosophy so old that it looks new". 

It was the Church which gave the West the understanding that the dignity of every human person is rooted in the fact that we are all created in the Image of God. From that foundation came the claim that we possess fundamental human rights endowed upon us by the God who created us.

Those rights are not given to us by any Civil Government. They must be recognized by Civil Government or it becomes an unjust government.

We live in a declining western culture increasingly hostile to the Church. Our struggle involves a clash of worldviews, personal and corporate, and competing definitions of human freedom, human dignity, and human flourishing.

We face the growing hostility of a dictatorship of relativism which claims there are no truths. We insist that there is Truth, it can be known - and it must govern our lives. This means we face persecution. Our path is paved with the insults, accusations and calumny of our fellow citizens.

We are accused of being against progress and 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.

We must courageously stand up to the culture of death. We can never compromise on the truth concerning the dignity of every human life from conception through natural death. Science confirms what our conscience long ago 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, in the face of the ascendency of a counterfeit notion of marriage, that true marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of the universe. Truth does not change, people and cultures do; sometimes for good and sometimes for evil.

True Marriage, between one man and one woman, 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. Heterosexual marriage, procreation, and the nurturing of children form the foundation for the family, and the family forms the foundation of civil society.

We must never 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 to build a stable and healthy society. In tact marriages and families are the glue of a healthy and happy social order.

True marriage is the preeminent and the most fundamental of all human social institutions. It is a relationship defined by nature itself and protected by the natural law that binds all men and women. It finds its foundation in the order of creation.

Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they create a right to marry for those who are incapable of marriage. The institutions of government should, when acting properly, defend marriage against those who would redefine it.

Good government has long regulated marriage for the common good. For example, the ban on polygamy and age requirements were enforced in order to ensure that there was a mature decision at the basis of the Marriage contract.

To limit marriage to heterosexual couples is not discriminatory now, nor has it ever been. Homosexual couples cannot bring into existence what marriage intends by its definition. To confer the benefits that have been conferred in the past only to stable married couples and families to homosexual paramours is bad public policy.

To live in faithful, heterosexual marriages open to, bearing and rearing children may soon become countercultural. This will not be he first time in Christian history this has occurred. Homosexualized and liberine cultures have often been the mission field into which the Church was sent. What changed was not the Church, but those cultures.

So it will be with the contemporary West. Our claims concerning life and marriage are not outdated notions of a past era but provide the path to a future of true freedom.

We insist upon the existence of a Natural Moral Law which can be known by all men and women through the exercise of reason.We do so because such a Law exists. We do so because it is the only stable foundation for civil law, giving us the moral norms needed to build societies and govern ourselves. It must inform our positive law or we will become lawless and our society devolve into anarchy.

These claims of ours are unpopular now and will become increasingly ridiculed. Those who hold to them will face growing disparagement and ostracism. However, they are the only antidote to the malady which is rotting western civilization from within. We need to be a counter culture to be ready to face what is to come. That is where understanding our own Christian history can help.  

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 exposure, a practice of leaving unwanted children on rocks to be eaten by birds of prey or picked up by slave traders.

Early Christian manuscripts like the Didache (the Teaching of the Twelve) and the Letter to Diognetus show us that the early Christians transformed cultures very much 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 eventually changed them from within.

So must we. Faithful Catholics are a new Counter Culture offering a way forward to a Western Culture which has lost its way. It is time to build a "new society within the shell of the old with the philosophy of the new, which is not a new philosophy but a very old philosophy, a philosophy so old that it looks new."

---


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


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More U.S.

Fr. Randy Sly on Thanksgiving and Our Roots of Faith

Image of Ceremonies and periods of thanksgiving are woven through the entire tapestry of history. We find them in the Jewish Calendar of Feasts, in other world religions, in European cultures and native practices of North America, South America, Asia and Africa.

By Fr. Randy Sly

Thanksgiving Day has become a time when we watch parades and then take in large amounts of food and football. According to some calculations, 46 million turkeys-around 550 million pounds-will be consumed during Thanksgiving this year. But that's not how it began! ... continue reading


Thanksgiving Day: We are Still One Nation - Under God Watch

Image of The sincere sentiments expressed by this extraordinary leader, George Washington, should inform our response to all of the challenges we face today in the United States of America. We are still one Nation - under God. They should also inspire us to pray for great leaders to emerge in this our great hour of need. Leaders who can help us see this as an hour of opportunity and an invitation to reaffirm our reliance on God.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

This week the people of the United States of America struggle to find a way through the trauma we are experiencing in the wake of the riots in Ferguson, Missouri. Too many self-appointed "experts" seem all too eager to tell us what divides us. However, even in ... continue reading


Following Ferguson shooting, police departments rush to adopt body cameras Watch

Image of The purchasing of body cameras by police departments nationwide has increased dramatically following the shooting of Michael Brown.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Whether you believe the story told by Ferguson police officer Daren Wilson, or by the family of Michael Brown, it is certain that the case has changed the face of law enforcement in America. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The use of body cameras by police ... continue reading


Catholic Shopping .com is about to have its biggest sale ever for Black Friday weekend!

Image of Sign up so you don't miss any deals during this special Black Friday weekend sale!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

This weekend, Catholic Shopping .com is having an amazing sale with up to 70% off of selected items. These deep discounts will help you finish your shopping early, but be prepared, many of these sales will last just an hour or two and then the specials will be gone! ... continue reading


A Boston man has something new to be thankful for after he received a double arm transplant Watch

Image of Will Lautzenheiser, a professor of film production and screenwriting at Boston University had to undergo surgery to remove his arms and legs in 2011 after he came down with a life-threatening streptococcal infection.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Boston man who received a double arm transplant in October is making remarkable recovery, just in time for Thanksgiving. The best part, he says, is that he is able to hug his loved ones again. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Will Lautzenheiser became infected ... continue reading


Dreaded cartel overlord Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez sentenced to 22 years in prison in U.S. Watch

Image of Top Sinaloa cartel thug Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez has been sentenced to 22 years in prison in the U.S. for planning the delivery of more than 600 pounds of cocaine.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Top Sinaloa cartel thug Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez has been sentenced to 22 years in prison in the U.S. for planning the delivery of more than 600 pounds of cocaine. Some of the damning evidence against him was provided by twin brothers Pedro and Margarito ... continue reading


Here's 3,000 reasons why Obama just made illegal immigrants more attractive to your employer Watch

Image of Due to a loophole in Obamacare, the president's new amnesty plans mean that employers who hire illegals don't have to cover them with insurance, and won't be fined for doing so.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama's new amnesty plan is going to have some drastic effects that most American's aren't aware of, one that may just get you kicked out of a job because of all things, Obamacare. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Under the Affordable Care Act, ... continue reading


Acknowledging Unknown Soldier over known soldiers: Over 1.2 million veterans lack health insurance Watch

Image of As a culture, many of us feel more comfortable honoring the tomb of the Unknown Soldier --

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As many leave laurels at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the United States refuses to acknowledge the health and benefits of known soldiers. While most people assume that veterans automatically receive health care coverage through the Veterans Health ... continue reading


Ferguson in flames as policeman who shot, killed teenager found not guilty Watch

Image of Police claimed they came under heavy automatic weapon fire. Some buildings were left to burn because of the danger.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People have responded to violence - with violence. After Police Officer Darren Wilson was been cleared of all charges in the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown in August. His surrounding community of Ferguson, Missouri has responded with widespread ... continue reading


Priest in Ferguson reports deep mistrust between groups fueling tension Watch

Image of Police in Ferguson move detain a protester.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Catholic priest assigned to Ferguson, MO, spoke with Vatican Radio about the "festering" mistrust between the populace and police. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Vatican Radio shared an interview with Fr. Arthur Cavitt, a parish priest who was asked about the ... 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, Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9
1 After this, I saw another angel come down from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:2, 3, 4, 5
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:20-28
20 'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 27th, 2014 Image

St. James Intercisus
November 27: James was a favorite of King Yezdigerd I of Persia and a ... 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