Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

6/15/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

This was a textbook example of apologetics, defending the faith, in the classical sense for the contemporary age.

The Bishop explained the truth about marriage. He presented the Natural Law basis for the defense of true marriage as normative for every society and culture. As well as being a good Bishop and top shelf theologian, he is a good lawyer. He explained the Civil and Canon Law issues surrounding the defense of marriage and defended our right to contend for this position in the publlic square.  This was a textbook example of apologetics, defending the faith, in the classical sense, for the contemporary age. It was done in an easily accessible manner which could be understood by all present and proved the truth of the old adage often attributed to Augustine that truth is like a Lion. No one has to defend it. Just set it free and it will defend itself.

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki , the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki , the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/15/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: marriage, true marriage, marriage and family, defense of marriage, culture, gay marriage, New Ways ministry, Sr. Jeannine Gramick, apologetics, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, Diocese of Springfield, Deacon Keith Fournier


PHOENIX, AZ (Catholic Online) - On May 31, 2013, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki , the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, gave an extraordinary address entitled Marriage, Same Sex Relationships, and the Catholic Church. It can - it SHOULD - be read in its entirety here. He also debated Sr. Jeannine Gramick on marriage, and won.

Everything about the speech and the debate which followed is instructive to anyone who takes the Catholic Christian faith seriously, knows the challenges we face, and wants to actually do something about it and not just curse the darkness. He demonstrated how to contend in the culture for the truth and bring about its conversion by apostolic activity and Catholic action.

This courageous Bishop accepted an invitation from the Jesuit Alumni Society of Arizona to participate in a debate with Sr. Jeannine Gramick of the notorious New Ways ministry. Yes, I said notorious. New Ways Ministry has actively and aggressively opposed efforts to defend marriage in direct opposition to the formal support of the defense of marriage by the Catholic Church and the crystal clarity of the teaching of the Church.

The Bishops of the United States formally denounced the dissident organization in 2010 and stated publicly 'in no manner is this organization authorized to speak on behalf of the Catholic Church or to identify itself as a Catholic organization'. The entire text of the denunciation can be read here. The Bishops also publicly denounced the book the organization published andstill  promotes entitled Marriage Equality: A Positive Catholic Approach the following year.

The debate took place at the Shadow Rock United Church of Christ Church and was moderated by journalist Robert Blair Kaiser. This was not the Bishop singing to the choir. The crowd was decidedly against marriage as solely between one man and one woman and was not inclined to agree with the good Bishops position of defending that truth, as revealed by the Natural Law and taught without any equivocation by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

He knew it and rose to the moment.He was not afraid because he knows that the Truth has power to persuade hearts and minds. He also understands what is at stake. Finally, he obviously believes that all men and women have a Right to hear that truth. In fact, it alone will set them free to be fully human and to flourish. Do we?

Regrettably, I was not at this event.However, when I read his address days later I was reminded of one of my great heroes, Justin, Martyr, whose Feast we celebrated in the Liturgical Calendar just a few days ago. I wrote an article entitled Remember Justin Martyr: This a Pre-Christian Age and We are the New Missionaries In that article I said:

"We need new apologists, defenders of the faith, who are unafraid to contend in the marketplace of ideas for the heart and soul of the people of our age. We live in a new missionary age. The Third Millennium of the Christian Church calls us, in the midst of a Western Culture which resembles a new Rome, to defend the faith like Justin did.  May the Holy Spirit inspire men and women who, like Justin and his companions, possess the heroic courage this mission will require."

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki fits the bill. He began by telling the story of Mary Stachowicz, who served as his parish secretary. "Mary, the gentle, devout 51-year-old Catholic mother of four urged her co-worker, Nicholas Gutierrez, 19, to change his gay lifestyle. Infuriated by this, as he later told police, he allegedly beat, stabbed and strangled her to death and then stuffed her mangled body in a crawl space in his apartment, located above a Chicago funeral home, where they both worked." 

He then made these preliminary comments, "Before I get into the substance of this topic, I wish to note that the original announcement for this program billed the presentation as "Two Catholic Views on Gay Marriage."  I corrected that, since there is only one authentic Catholic view. There are two views being presented here tonight by two people who are baptized Catholics, but only one of those views, the one I will present, is consistent with Catholic teaching, while the other view clearly dissents from Catholic teaching."

He continued, "The dissenting nature of the other speaker's views was clearly identified as such by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith fourteen years ago today, on May 31, 1999, saying these views were "clearly incompatible with the teaching of the Church."

Then the Bishop, in a clear, convincing, and extraordinarily effective manner, explained the truth about marriage. He started by stating the premise of his interlocutor and then exposing its fallacy. He presented the Natural Law basis for the defense of true marriage as normative for every society and culture. As well as being a good Bishop and top shelf theologian, he is a good lawyer. He explained the Civil and Canon Law issues surrounding the defense of marriage and defended our right to contend for this position in the publlic square. 

This was a textbook example of apologetics, defending the faith, in the classical sense, for the contemporary age. It was done in an easily accessible manner which not only could be understood by all present but proved the old adage that is often attributed to Augustine that truth is like a Lion. No one has to defend it. Just set it free and it will defend itself. It was done by a Catholic Christian in love with the Lord, informed by the true teaching of the Church, and emboldened by the courage and compassion that such a defense of the faith requires.

His presentation in defense of marriage should be studied by anyone who has the courage to imitate him, wants to contend for the culture - and wants to learn how to do it well. We are living in a Pre-Christian age. I long ago stopped participating in the ongoing debate about whether this is a post-Christian or post-modernist age. In fact, I think it is a waste of time.

We would all use our energies and time better if we just accepted the obvious; this is a new pagan age. However, we cannot stop there. Our task is to do what the early Christians did, proclaim in word and deed the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and transform it from within. Even if should means the shedding of our blood. If it does, God will give us the grace.  

I make it a regular task to call attention to the wonderful Bishops we have in the Catholic Church in the United States. To borrow an expression from my recently deceased mother, I have a pet peeve. A pet peeve is an annoyance which one finds vexing. It concerns my fellow Catholics who spend much of their time in the blogosphere, or in other integrated media venues such as face book, taking pot shots at Bishops. 

I refuse to join with these folks. In fact, I have referred to them as a sort of "Catholic circular firing squad". They seem perched and ever eager to blame the bishops for every challenge we face in the Church and the culture.

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).

Throughout Church history the teaching of Bishops has helped the faithful 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 so it must be in our own day. So too, has the witness of their courageous apostolic actions in the midst of the fire of persecution.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki is just such a courageous and holy Bishop. He was set over the faithful of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2010. What a gift. He writes a regular column for the official newspaper of the Diocese, the Catholic Times.His columns are always excellent. They are a regular feature of this fine newspaper and grouped under the theme of Lex Cordis Caritas - The law of the heart is Love.

Pray for Bishop Thomas Paprocki. He challenges all of us to contend for the truth in a Culture enslaved by lies. If you see him, thank him. And, by the way, if you have allowed yourself to join that catholic circular firing squad, step outside of it. It is not only counterproductive, but your energies could be used far more effectively by following the lead of this Bishop, no matter what your state in life, by focusing on contending for the faith and engaging a culture which has lost its way and deserves to hear the truth.

---


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


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More U.S.

Deacon Keith Fournier: The Courage of the Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, Hobby Lobby and ENDA Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate. Deacon Fournier is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Theology and Philosophy, BA), the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University (Theology of Marriage and Family, MTS), and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD). He has completed requirements for the PhD in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America and is writing the PhD dissertation on the teaching of St. John Paul II.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Catholic Bishops are doing an excellent job standing up for Religious liberty as a fundamental human right. One of my growing concerns is that many Catholics do not even read what they are saying. Sadly, in a propagandized media where sound bites substitute ... continue reading


Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading


Catholic Bishops Decry Obama's LGBT executive order as imprudent act of religious discrimination Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth have been strong in their condemnation of President Obama's legislation on LGBT employees. "Today's ... continue reading


A Tribute to Protestant Bishop Tony Palmer, Friend of Francis and Champion of Christian Unity Watch

Image of The late Bishop Tony Palmer with Pope Francis- He was catapulted into prominence in the broader Christian community when, while meeting with his friend the Pope in January, he was given a recorded message from Francis to deliver to a large group of charismatic, evangelical protestant leaders who gathered in the United States. The video went viral. It moved millions to sincere prayer for the healing of the divisions in the broken Body of Christ and is prompting a renewed commitment to common apostolic action between Christians.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I never personally met Bishop Tony Palmer. However, I look forward to spending an eternity in the full communion of God's love with him. I appreciated his Christian courage and felt that his efforts were prophetic. He wrote his life - and lived his ministry - ... continue reading


Exclusive: Tribute to Bishop Tony Palmer, A Life Dedicated to Unity Watch

Image of (Pictured: Left to Right - Dirk West, Matteo Callisi, Bishop Tony Palmer, and Deacon Darrell Wentworth) - Faith to Bishop Tony Palmer was a dynamic, lived experience and, as a result, his life built up the whole Body of Christ and tore down the walls some have built to separate us from each other! What a legacy! A true example of living Jesus' prayer in John 17! (Deacon Darrell Wentworth)

By Deacon Darrell Wentworth

Monday, July 21, 2014, was supposed to be like most Mondays - the start of a work week. But Deacon Keith Fournier sent me a text informing me that my friend, Bishop Tony Palmer, had died. Shock went through my body as I processed that news; then disbelief as I ... continue reading


Anarchy in Chicago! Weekend of crime tears city apart Watch

Image of The weekend of July 18 saw the death of five people and the wounding of 47 in Chicago.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There were 47 shooting victims in Chicago this weekend, five of which ended up being fatal, statistics from the Chicago Police Department report. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chicago officials met on July 21 to discuss the city's recent surge in gun ... continue reading


The Contraceptive New York Nanny, Bill Donohue and the Catholic League Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The idea that the government is now in the business of arm-twisting women not to have more children - immediately after childbirth - is morally obnoxious and socially disturbing. It is so apt that this is happening in a city where its mayor lusts for abortion ... continue reading


Building a culture of life: Colorado clinic takes brave stand Watch

Image of Inspired to bring their mission home to Colorado, they decided to start a natural women's health clinic that would uphold the dignity of women and give them the care they deserve.

By CNA/EWTN News

A Colorado women's health clinic seeking to offer natural care that respects human dignity has drawn praise for helping to build up a culture of life. (CNA/EWTN News) - Authentic women's care "is essential to the pro-life movement," said Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, ... continue reading


When more than 80 percent of California faces extreme drought -- the spigots remain open Watch

Image of At the headquarters of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, fountains are still operating. The one change is that they turn off at mid-morning, and haven't been running full-time since the spring.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Extremely dry conditions in the state of California has 80 percent of the so-called Golden State in extreme drought conditions. Many couldn't tell the difference in many urban areas: Sprinklers go full blast on many lawns, and lots of waters goes wasted by ... continue reading


IT'S ABOUT TIME: Rick Perry deploys national guard to halt southern invasion! Watch

Image of Texas Governor Rick Perry will send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure the southern border, in an effort to stem the flood of illegals that have crossed over throughout 2014.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an effort to stem the influx of tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children that have been entering the United States illegally in 2014, Texas Governor Rick Perry will send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure the southern border. LOS ANGELES, ... 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, Jeremiah 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13
1 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,2 ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 36:6-7, 8-9, 10-11
6 your saving justice is like towering mountains, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:10-17
10 Then the disciples went up to him and asked, 'Why ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 24th, 2014 Image

St. John Boste
July 24: One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. He was born at ... 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